For the weekend of Dec. 16, Streamline recommends “Easy” in the top Netflix spot for the second time.
The comedy series has much to say. It follows the struggles of contemporary young people who are trying to get ahead in the gig economy or sorting through the nuances of contemporary social progressivism. But it’s really fun! The characters are mostly people you’d want to at least get a drink with, which makes this one to check out.
The recent release of “The Crown” certainly overshadowed shows like “Easy” and other Netflix projects that debuted this month. That lavish (and extremely expensive to create) show is very good and deserving of the attention, though. As such, that project remains high on the list.
“Wormwood” joins the list this week. This Errol Morris docu-drama blend is earning a ton of comparisons to his 1988 documentary, “The Thin Blue Line.” This Netflix original focuses on a mysterious death that might have involved the CIA.
Morris enlisted high-profile actors (including Peter Sarsgaard) to recreate relevant scenes from that time. This is a controversial practice that Morris has used in the past, as it dramatizes arguments the filmmaker is presenting alongside hard evidence and interviews. As an exact re-creation is impossible, critics have expressed frustration that these dramatizations are presented as definitive.
Still, the performances are affecting and make the show’s surrounding factual material much easier to grasp.
Including “Wormwood” also somewhat goes against our typical methodology of only including explicitly scripted shows. “Wormwood” follows more of a documentary-style format and features many actual, on-camera interviews. We’re still including the show here due to its recreated scenes.
This week, Netflix earned nine nominations for the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards, a best for the company. “The Crown” and “Stranger Things 2″ each earned spots in the Best TV Series, Drama category. Other Netflix shows with nominations included “GLOW,” “13 Reasons Why,” “Ozark” and “Master of None.”
Overall, this has been a great year for the company. Vulture argued this week that Netflix became the “best network for scripted TV.” Streamline agrees — we’ve compiled a ranking of the platform’s best original shows from 2017, as well as its most underrated material.
Still, the company has faced some troubles recently.
The sitcom “The Ranch” returns this week, a fact that Netflix’s public relations site doesn’t even mention right now. Star Danny Masterson was fired earlier this month after multiple rape allegations. HuffPost reported that a Netflix executive had told a woman that the company didn’t believe the rape accusers. The woman then responded that she was one of the victims. Netflix fired that executive this week.
Although not exactly a blow to the company, it was also troubling that a subject of controversial documentary series “Making a Murderer” had his conviction upheld in court last week after being overturned by a lower court in 2016. Brendan Dassey is a learning-disabled individual whom police badgered into a murder confession while he was a teenager, a central point in the Netflix series.
This outcome unfortunately shows the limits of such journalistic endeavors, regardless of their massive popularity.
Most troubling of this week’s streaming news: The FCC repealed net neutrality protections. This could mean that internet providers could charge more for access to Netflix, hindering the platform’s ability to compete as effectively in the marketplace.
In much lighter news, Netflix released a bit of internal data about its subscribers’ viewing habits in 2017.
Apparently the “most devoured” Netflix show both in the United States and globally was the incredible “American Vandal.” This means that tons of subscribers binged the program for more than two hours a day. Clearly, that show — a parody docu-series about a teenager accused of drawing penises on his teachers’ cars — had something for everyone.
The “most savored” in both the U.S. and globally was “The Crown,” meaning many watched it, but for less than two hours a day. The show’s first season did progress at a beautiful, but glacial, pace that left many outlets wondering if the show was good or not. So this makes sense.
The service also had a viral moment when it called out “the 53 people who’ve watched ‘A Christmas Prince’ every day for the past 18 days” on Twitter, referencing a holiday movie that’s been poorly reviewed, but popular.
But after going viral, the tweet also caused a wave of criticism aimed at the service. It’s been heretofore unknown that the service had such in-depth data about its subscribers’ viewing habits. That the company would use that data to make fun of their users ― especially about those watching a bad movie created by the company itself ― was deemed “creepy” by many outlets.
The company ended up releasing a statement:
The privacy of our members’ viewing is important to us. This information represents overall viewing trends, not the personal viewing information of specific, identified individuals.
Stream at your own risk.
Also below the show recommendations ― Streamline includes a suggested documentary as well as a list of other shows and movies joining the service this week.
Note: This list only includes shows that debuted their most recent episode less than a year ago. Much like the main list, it prioritizes newness.
Netflix Documentary Recommendation For The Week:
So for this week, since “Wormwood” is already a documentary style, Streamline is recommending it here as well. For more context, listen to the interview that The Ringer did with Errol Morris on the “Channel 33” podcast.
Related reading material:
This is a plug, but HuffPost published a comprehensive story on the extreme economic challenges facing young people today compared to preceding American generations. Many Netflix shows, such as “Easy” and “She’s Gotta Have It” address these issues (while “The Crown” obviously does not). So if you want additional reading, Streamline highly recommends this piece.
And here are the shows and movies arriving on Netflix next week:
- “Hello, My Twenties!” (Season 2, Netflix Original)
- “Miss Me This Christmas”
- “Russell Howard: Recalibrate” (Netflix Original)
- “The Indian Detective” (Season 1, Netflix Original)
- “You Can’t Fight Christmas”
- “La Casa de Papel” (Season 1, Netflix Original)
- “Peaky Blinders” (Season 4, Netflix Original)
- “72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America” (Season 1, Netflix Original)
- “Bright” (Netflix Original)
- “Dope” (Season 1, Netflix Original)
- “Fuller House” (Season 3, Netflix Original)
- “Rosario Tijeras” (Season 1)
- “The Toys That Made Us” (Season 1, Netflix Original)