Pressured by the feeling that everyone is having sex except him, Otis (Asa Butterfield), like most teenagers, is very uncomfortable with sex, masturbation, and intimacy in general. In addition to the standard-issue teenage awkwardness, to make things worse, he grows up in a sex-positive household under the watchful eyes of his mother Jean, played by Gillian Anderson, who is a sex therapist. Obviously, the subject is omnipresent as are erotic art, oversized dildos, and coitus-craving couples all over the house. The twist comes when he transforms his tribulations into a business model by teaming up with bad girl Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey) to counsel his teenage peers on sexual issues of all kinds. As you can imagine, uninitiated teenagers have a lot to offer in that department. Apart from its raunchy premise and explicit images, this is a hilarious, diverse, and warm teen comedy thanks, in particular, to the writing of playwright Laurie Nunn. Lauded by critics for its honesty, this future comedy classic will surely teach you a thing or two about sexuality yourself.
Find the best movies and show to watch from the year 2021. These handpicked recommendations are highly-rated by viewers and critics.
Vibrant and quirky in a way that always rings true for its plucky protagonists, this abruptly cancelled children's series embodies the optimism and empathetic spirit that we should all hope to gain from the younger generations. By starting their own neighborhood business, the core characters of The Baby-Sitters Club (played with undeniable star power and chemistry by its young ensemble) learn how to bring joy and healing to others while facing everything from discrimination and generational trauma to their own imperfect family lives. Behind the club's humorous, sugarcoated antics is a real sense of helplessness that each character struggles with—forging ahead and doing whatever they can to fix things that they've been told are out of their control. It's an unexpectedly touching gem of a show that proves kids' entertainment can be truly beautiful.
TV has never been as diverse as it’s been today, but despite the multitude of perspectives, nailing an authentic and enjoyable story that’s outside the realm of the classic white experience continues to be tricky. How do you relay very real dangers like gang violence and poverty without undermining universal teenage concerns like heartbreak and rejection?
Enter On My Block, a series that manages to stuff many things on its small plate without compromise. It’s funny and charming, but also smart and serious when it needs to be. Unlike a number of teen sitcoms before it, On My Block is in touch with the real world, and it’s unafraid to shove its characters into difficult situations at every and any moment—not just during special episodes. This authentic setup coupled with its very likable and well-drawn leads is sure to draw in viewers of all leanings.
This offbeat drama is about a Syrian refugee who gets sent to a remote island in northern Scotland. “There was a better signal in the middle of the Mediterranean,” another refugee tells him when he arrives. Omar is as the title suggests stuck: until his asylum request is processed he can't work or continue his journey onwards. His situation is frustrating and difficult, but it's also full of absurdities, as Omar is stuck around some very weird people.
Limbo perfectly portrays the duality between sad and nonsensical in the refugee experience. In the entrance to the isolated and rundown facility that houses Omar, a handmade sign said "refugees welcome". The next day a "not" is added between "refugees" and "welcome", in the exact same paint.
If you like Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki's work, this has a similar brand of dark humor to his also refugee-themed 2017 drama The Other Side of Hope.
This comedy is about a girl whose family moves to the U.S. on September 2001. She grows up to excel academically but, as she asks from the shrine in her room on her first day of sophomore year, she has yet to be cool. “I want to be invited to a party with hard drugs,” she prays, “not to do them, but just to say: no cocaine for me, thanks. I’m good.”
The show is narrated by tennis legend John McEnroe who was known for his explosive temper (played recently by Shia Laboeuf in Borg vs McEnroe). It’s a genius arc because Devi is a “hothead”, exactly like McEnroe. Instead of recoiling, Devi keeps boiling over, making for a fresh and original high-school comedy.
Three kids from a poor neighborhood win scholarships to the best high-school in Spain and later find themselves at the center of a murder. There is a lot that comes to the surface from the working-class kids clashing with the wealthy. Themes of money, power, religion, and even sexuality make this show so compelling that I never felt like I needed a murder to keep watching.
Keir Gilchrist who you may know from the movie It's Kind of a Funny Story plays Sam, an 18-year-old on the autistic spectrum trying to navigate the "typical" aspects of a teenager's life: dating, independence, friendships, etc. Perhaps people dealing with autism can better attest to this, but the show feels genuine and realistic. Don't get me wrong, it's a comedy, but it's a really heartfelt approach to the funny sitcom format. In a lot of ways, Atypical is the perfect 2017 Netflix-age coming-of-age sitcom: it's funny and smart, but also keen to be realistic. And Atypical is about Sam's family almost as much as it is about him, and how they adjust to his new quest for self-discovery. Look out for newcomer Brigette Lundy-Paine, who does an amazing job playing Sam's siter Casey!
It's slower and stranger than most comedies you may be used to, but there's still lots of heart to be found in the way Classmates Minus follows the lapsed hopes and wishes of its core characters. Beneath all its stereotypically male yearnings for control and romantic wish fulfillment, there are potent ideas here about how a tired economy and jaded political culture can turn those in their middle age into completely different people. Writer/director Huang Hsin-yao provides narration for his own film, but rather than being distracting or conceited, his words add a level of needed sympathy to everything we see on screen.