5 Netflix Shows You Should Have Already Binged in 2019

UPDATED June 13, 2019

2019 is a crucial year for Netflix. Apple and Disney have announced their plans to come up with their own streaming platforms, and this is putting Netflix at an awkward position. 

They’re dealing with this threat in the only way they know how to: doubling down on original content. Here are our favorites so far, we will be completing this list as the year goes – so make sure you bookmark or save it!

As the name indicates, Losers tells stories of failure in sport – an unconventional way to look at competitive personalities. The first episode is on boxing, the second is on soccer, and so on. But if you stick around, you’ll make it to episode five – my favorite (full disclosure: it is set in Morocco, where I’m from).

Every episode is about a different story, so you can watch one or two not in any particular order, then keep the rest for later. It is the perfect documentary style with enough of a narrative to keep plot-addicted people like me captivated.

A bonus is that this show is created and directed by renown animator Mickey Duzyj – prepare for stunning yet purpose-driven animations.

User rating: 0/100. Staff rating: 84/100.

I can’t think of a good reason why this review shouldn’t just be two words: David Attenborough. With a voice that makes you wish every other voice in your life was the same, the star of Planet Earth teamed up with Netflix to make this new nature show. It took four years to film, and it bounces countless times between continents in every episode. It’s rich, vivid, and oh so beautiful. So they just made another Planet Earth? Not exactly. Our Planet has a much stronger environmental message. It’s not a line here and there about the negative impact we’ve had on the planet – it’s the theme behind the whole show. It’s frank, sad, but always, always, stunning.

User rating: 0/100. Staff rating: 85/100.

Nadia is a game developer and proud aging hipster living in New York. Her story starts at her thirty-sixth birthday party looking at herself in the bathroom mirror. On her way out, she finds a friend who hands her a joint laced with cocaine, “that’s how the Israelis do it” her friend says.

Nadia hooks up with a guy and they stop at a bodega on the way back to her place. So far everything seems normal (in a New York-hipster kind of way). But on her way out of the bodega, she is hit by a car and dies. The story restarts, at the same birthday party, staring at herself in the mirror.

Russian Doll can be summarized in what Nadia screams later that night: “the universe is trying to f*ck with me, and I refuse to engage”. Her strong personality and the events that happen to her allow the show to explore themes of vulnerability, trauma, and even life and death. Russian Doll repeats almost every episode, but its originality and plot twists make it more refreshing with every repeat.

This rhythm takes some quick getting used to, but the moment you do you will not be able to look away. Natasha Lyonne from Orange is the New Black is masterful at playing Nadia. She co-created the show with Amy Poehler and Sleeping With Other People director, Leslye Headland. She packs a lot of the originality and character that possibly makes Russian Doll the most fun and original show you will watch in 2019.

User rating: 80/100. Staff rating: 90/100.

There hasn’t been a docuseries as worthy of a binge since the Netflix production Wild Wild Country. 1994 might be even more gripping since its modest episode count (five) doesn’t delay any revelations.

And just like Wild Wild Country, the events in this show get more and more mind-blowing as the episodes roll. Most of the story would be hard to believe if it wasn’t… you know… based on facts and backed by footage and interviews.

The show starts with Mexico’s prominent presidential candidate, a shrewd political activist who was determined to bring change to the political structure, getting shot during a televised political rally.

What follows is a series of in-depth interviews, including with Mexico’s president at the time (pictured above) and pretty much all the relevant people to the story who are still alive today.

This is a rich, informative, and fascinating account of a violent and tumultuous year in Mexico. As the people being interviewed point out, understanding the relevance of 1994 in Mexican politics will help understand the country’s political and economic landscape today.

User rating: 0/100. Staff rating: 90/100.

Some of the best black actors working today team up for When They See Us – the list includes Michael K William (Omar Little from The Wire) Jovan Adepo (Fences) and Jharrel Jerome (Moonlight).

And as most on-camera faces in this miniseries are recognizable (there is also Felicity Huffman and Michael Peña), so is the writer, director, and creator of the show, Ava DuVernay. She is the director of Selma, for which she became the first female black director to ever be nominated for an Oscar.

I’m spending a lot of time on credentials because the performances and high-quality direction are one of the few things that will get you through this show. It’s a tough watch – chronicling the story of five black teenagers who get falsely accused of rape. The case, known as The Central Park Five, was also made into an excellent documentary by the same name (available on Amazon Prime).

When They See Us goes through the mechanisms and details of how the U.S. justice system framed these teenagers. It also pays special attention to their time in prison, and their family relationships. It’s an excruciating but incredibly important watch.

User rating: 0/100. Staff rating: 94/100.