From the Oscar-nominated cinematographer of City of God, this is a Brazilian Netflix TV show that I can only describe as a smarter Hunger Games. In a dystopian society, the majority of the planet’s population lives in extreme poverty while a select 3% (hence the title) live in a heaven-like world called “The Offshore”. Every year, the 20-year-olds of the planet get a chance to join the 3% in a selection process that for the first time might harbor moles. With an intriguing first episode that shares just enough to keep you informed but engaged, it’s easy to want to binge-watch the whole first season of 3% in one sitting.
Bosch returned recently for a fifth season, with a sixth one confirmed. It’s a sleeper hit that you may not have heard of, but with time should get the coverage it deserves. Titus Welliver (Lost, Sons of Anarchy, Argo) plays an L.A.P.D. homicide detective who is on trial for using questionable methods during a fatal shootout. At the same time, he is trying to solve an open murder case. Bosch is carried by almost entirely by Welliver, who delivers such a good multi-layered performance that it’s hard to think anyone else could have played this character.
Graduation is a Romanian movie from the director of the Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (also number 15 in the BBC’s 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century.) Romeo is a 49-year-old doctor in the city of Cluj-Napoca. He is immensely proud and dedicated to his daughter, Eliza, who gets awarded a scholarship to go to Cambridge provided that she does well in her last high-school exam. The day before this exam, Elisa is sexually assaulted outside her school, and her wrist is broken. The event haunts the family and jeopardizes Elisa’s chances of succeeding in her exam. Romeo, still determined to ensure his daughter’s success, vows to do anything to not let the assault ruin his daughter’s future. Graduation is about this father and daughter duo as they go against a corrupt but quickly changing Romanian system.
There are two ways to sum up this documentary. One will make you decide against watching it. Here’s that pitch: This is the story of a homeless woman who was found dead.Here’s the better pitch: That woman was highly educated and generally lived a happy life. But she also left behind a detailed journal that recounts her final days in one of the coldest winters on record. She lived on apples and rainwater and fought off insanity.Her heartbreaking story is one of disappointment and betrayal by society at a time when she was most vulnerable. A haunting and compelling documentary that is sure to stay with you for a long time and, in a way, might help you take on adversity.
The body of a footballer from Togo is found in a small Belgian village. Suicide is suspected, but things don’t quite add up. Recordings of Skype sessions with his family show him happy, excited and looking forward to sending money back to them. The seemingly quaint town where the incident takes places sees its secrets uncovered by a detective from Brussels. The farm where the body was found harbors Nazi symbols, 100-year-old weapons, and um.. a dominatrix. If you liked Broadchurch or Happy Valley, you will love The Break. It’s a true hidden gem that sports a production value rivaling the biggest U.S. hits. A good reward for anyone willing to turn on the subtitles (or the dub).
A TV show by David E. Kelley, the mogul that was also behind Boston Legal, Picket Fences, and recently the amazing HBO show Big Little Lies.You’d think a name that big is enough to carry Goliath. But in comes Billy Bob Thornton in one of the best performances of his career.He plays a big-time lawyer who fell down on his luck for unknown circumstances. A big case randomly comes his way that allows him to go against his former big law firm. With an escort as his legal aid, he embarks on a David and Goliath journey to find justice for the victims and redemption for himself.A great supporting cast. Great writing. Old-school premise brought back to life. Goliath is the perfect binge.
A wealthy family has to cope with the sudden loss of their fortune and their relocation to a dreary town that the father once purchased as a joke. Their life changes but their expectations of life don’t. Expect the undemanding, easy hilariousness of reality television. This is definitely a no-brainer TV show that gets better as the seasons go by and you get more used to its kind of humor.
This is a fantastic BBC thriller series. Perfect writing, exceptionally well-developed characters and great actors across the board make this production a classic crime show. A middle-aged Yorkshire Police sergeant is coming to terms with the release from prison of a man who had caused her great harm. His comeback coincides with a kidnapping attempt by a local drug kingpin. A seemingly quaint small town reveals its crime underbelly in a plot that mixes personal vendettas with life-threatening crime. Happy Valley has a great sense of suspense, it’ll keep you on edge at all times. It might not seem like much at the start of the first episode but grows on you. It also follows the BBC tradition (think Luther, Line of Duty, Broadchurch) of addressing the darker side of police work.
Set in Victorian London, it’s about a guy who sets out on a mission to find his missing family. He is helped by a mysterious medium played by the ever-amazing Eva Green. If you make it to the second season, I genuinely think it’s the better watch. The first season is good, so it won’t be that hard to get there. (Side note: This super cool show pays tribute to some familiar fictional characters like Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula and, Dorian Gray. )