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agoodmovietowatch recommends highly-rated but little-known movies and shows.

agoodmovietowatch

The Very Best TV Shows

This excellent new miniseries is a drama that takes place in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family. Esty, a nineteen-year-old girl who is unhappy in her arranged marriage, escapes this community and travels from New York to Berlin in hopes of starting a new life.Like all good realistic dramas, there are no truly bad people in Unorthodox. Everyone is trying to do what they think is right, which still makes for very complicated situations. Esty is played by Israeli actor Shira Haas and I know this word is overused but she really is a revelation.

8.5

This addictive thriller is about two groups of Swedish young people: one already radicalized, fighting in Syria, and the other, still in high-school and on the path to radicalization.An anti-terrorism officer with a questionable past is put in contact with a woman who traveled to Syria and wants to get back to Sweden. In exchange, this woman offers information about an upcoming attack in Europe.Caliphate is fascinating, deeply thrilling, and made with an authenticity that sees past cheap stereotypes to offer genuine insight into what drives young people to become terrorists.

8.9

Jared Harris (Chernobyl) stars in this drama-horror show co-produced by Ridley Scott. In 1845, two huge ships, Terror and Erebus were sent on an expedition to the arctic to try to find the Northwest Passage, a century-old dream of connecting Asia and Europe through North America. When things don't go as planned, the captains of both ships, two very different men, find themselves facing a tragedy.This well documented historical event (Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition) is told by mixing in mythology and folk tales of the Indigenous Inuit people.

8.0

An extremely bingeable and thrilling Norwegian TV show about a world in which Norway decided to stop its oil production to fight climate change. Russia, with support from the EU, occupies Norway.This scenario might seem far-fetched at first, but watching Occupied I wondered how there is a future in which it doesn't happen (I'm sure there is, I just don't want you to think this show is not realistic).At the center of the story is the police department, who, just like in most occupations, have the difficult position of protecting both their population and the invaders. There are personal stories and geopolitical dynamics, all intersecting to make for a deeply engaging series.

8.7

The Guardian’s lead critic said of Trapped: Seductive, involving, gripping...I am already, thoroughly, trapped. I’m quoting a publication to give some grounding to my overly excited claim: Trapped (or Ófærð) is one of the best TV shows ever made. I am obsessed with it. The plot is simple: a cop tries to solve a murder before a storm arrives, but the way it gets stretched is exceptional, and can only be compared to Scandinavian classics like The Hunt, The Guilty or Headhunters. And the fact that Trapped is from Iceland (not Norway or Denmark) adds a more chilling twist to the Scandinavian thriller genre. I don't want to say more and ruin the show for you, but this is an amazing binge.

8.6

Here is a TV show where the performances are so good that it's hard to give any credit to the story. Patricia Arquette as a prison employee, and Benicio Del Toro and Paul Dano as inmates are an unbelievable trio. They all shine in their own right in this true story of escape from a prison in Upstate New York. Arquette is almost unrecognizable in the role of a frustrated middle-aged woman who gets romantically involved with the inmates. Dano plays the young one, a smart but easily excited guy. Del Toro plays an experienced, shrewd, and boss-type prisoner. Together they take an already exceptional story and create one of the most realistic mysteries in recent memory. Because of this, the pacing might be slow for some - but remember, it's not like the cast is difficult to follow.

9.3

This excellent legal drama starts with a successful partner losing her retirement savings to a Ponzi scheme. The person accused of running the scheme is the father of her newest junior associate. They both find themselves out of options and join a black-run firm that specializes in police brutality cases. From legal questions that start on Reddit and 4Chan to trying to find a Trump supporter in the firm, The Good Fight is relatable without being cringy. Everything is believable, including the characters and the arcs.  The Good Fight feels like Suits or The Good Wife, but it also feels much better. It's sharper.

9.1

Patriot is about a secret agent who is assigned meddling with the Iranian elections to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Sounds serious? It is and it is not. What Patriot is really about are the bureaucratic pitfalls that involve such work. The secret agent’s team parks on the wrong street and he ends up killing the wrong guy. The bag of money he wants to use to meddle with the elections gets stolen by an airport worker in Luxembourg. Etc, etc. For all of this, Patriot is a funny and clever show. the best part is that the secret agent in question is also a folk singer - and sometimes sings awfully honest and descriptive songs of his missions in open mics. Patriot is a mix between real-life thrills and real-life laughs, and it's a near-perfect TV show.

9.0

Arabella is a Twitter-famous writer from London who has one night to submit a draft for her second book. She gives herself an hour break during that night to go out for drinks with a close friend. When she gets back she realizes that much more than an hour had passed, that she had blacked-out, and that she has bruises all over her body.Like the excellent Chewing Gum, I May Destroy You is a Michaela Coel one-woman show: she is the showrunner, the writer, co-director, and leading actress. And whatever Coel makes, she makes it personal and without compromises. I May Destroy you is based on her experience being sexually assaulted while making Chewing Gum.To make sure she told this story right, she turned down a $1 million deal from Netflix over creative ownership.

8.1

Olivia Colman stars in this crazy comedy about an unusual family of intellectuals living in the English countryside.Colman plays Deborah Flowers, the mother of the family and a music teacher. She’s struggling in her marriage to her miserable and unfaithful husband Maurice (played so well by Julian Barratt). Together they live with a Japanese butler who barely speaks English and their adult twin children who are always on the verge of killing each other.Broken families have always been a premise for jokes on TV, but if you think about it or if you watch Flowers, you’ll be reminded that broken families are also a serious and dreadful affair.

8.3
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