Another year, another batch of binge-worthy series produced by Netflix. As we stare into the face of deadlines and projects with a feeling of impending doom, these new shows are the perfect way to distract yourself from the growing pains of responsibility. Here are five shows released in 2019 that are more than worth the watch.
1. “Sex Education” — January 11
First on our list is “Sex Education,” a bold yet uplifting eight-episode series. As reflected by the show’s score of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, Laurie Nunn does a wonderful job of capturing the delicate mix of teenage awkwardness and curiosity that comes with emerging sexuality.
The series follows Otis Milburn, a quiet, gawky high school student who is just trying to keep his head down and get by. His only problem: his mother is a sex therapist. When his private life is exposed to his fellow classmates, he realizes that not only do they need his help, but they can help him become popular.
Otis joins forces with friends Eric and Maive to begin to follow in his mother’s footsteps as a small-time sexologist. As he aides his peers in ensuring their sexual health while he climbs the social ladder, you can’t help but root for this lovable character.
Starring Asa Butterfield (Hugo in “Hugo”), Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully in “The X-Files”), Ncuti Gatwa and Emma Mackey, this healthy mix of experienced and first-time small-screen actors gives the show a fresh feel with a little bit of edge.
Overall, “Sex Education” leaves its viewers feeling a deep connection with its characters, their problems and the meaning of self-acceptance. If you’re looking for a slightly cringy, funny, feel-good series, look no further. “Sex Education” will fulfill all of your procrastination needs.
2. “Russian Doll” — February 1
Shifting from comedy to drama, the Netflix show “Russian Doll” offers its viewers a more mysterious, intense experience. Creators Amy Poehler and Natasha Lyonne construct a striking narrative that earned a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Nadia, a skeptical 36-year-old New Yorker, is forced to relive her 36th birthday — and her death — in a seemingly continuous loop. As the season progresses, she begins to unravel the mystery behind her metaphysical, cyclical life.
The 16-episode series stars its own creator, Lyonne. A seasoned actress, she is known for her appearances in “American Pie,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Scary Movie 2.” Her performance is jarring yet intriguing as she peels back the layers of her character.
If you’re looking for a compelling drama-mystery with a hint of supernatural, this is the show for you. It’s almost impossible not to binge this fantastical new series on Netflix.
3. “One Day at a Time” (Season Three) — February 8
Next, we have the heartwarming third season of “One Day at a Time.” Creators Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce outdid themselves in their representation of the typical Cuban American household and its challenges. The comedy series’s 100% on Rotten Tomatoes was well deserved, an obvious rating after having watched only the second season.
The recently-divorced Penelope, a former military wife and mother, has a lot on her plate with her children and mother all living in the same house. The show follows their journey of growth and hilarity as they figure out what family means to them.
The critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes is as follows: “As timely and tender as ever, ‘One Day at a Time’s’ third season manages to up the comedy ante without losing the intimate family moments that help it hit so close to home.”
Reminiscent of shows such as “Family Matters” and “Full House,” “One Day at a Time” will make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings. If you’re hoping to shed a tear or two while pretending to do your homework, you’ve met your match.
4. “Documentary Now!” (Season Three) — February 20 – March 27
Heading in an entirely new direction, “Documentary Now!” is the parody you didn’t know you needed. The creators of the series, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen, also star in it, making for a witty depiction of the general population’s current obsession with documentaries. They must be on to something, because the third season of the series earned a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Each episode pays tribute to the different types of format, style and story commonly seen in documentaries. The season opens with the classic cult analysis and ends with the common sports professional review. This pseudo-niche series has a little something for everyone, and we’re here for it.
Both interesting and humorous, “Documentary Now!” is like a book you can’t put down. From business majors to creative writing and even theoretical physics, we can all use this show as an excuse to put off that essay for a few more hours.
5. “Tuca and Bertie” — May 3
Saving the best for last, “Tuca and Bertie” blows the charts with a 100% and status as the fourth highest-rated show on Netflix according to Rotten Tomatoes. The show, created by Lisa Hanawalt, could best be described as “Bojack Horseman” on steroids with a feminist agenda.
Ten episodes are just too few when it comes to this hilarious series. Tuca, voiced by Tiffany Haddish, is a spunky, can-do toucan living it up as a single, 20-something, bold bird. She is best friends with Bertie, voiced by Ali Wong, a slightly less spunky but all the more determined songbird who’s trying to find her place in the world.
“Tuca and Bertie” sends a message of inner strength, self-love and friendship wrapped in a kooky package of baking competitions, naked plants and more. This seemingly whimsical show is surprisingly chock-full of life lessons. The main moral of the show: As a woman, you can be independent, talented and powerful on your own.
The series has not been renewed for another season, but fans and critics alike are hoping for more to come in the near future. Maybe after watching this Netflix show, you’ll actually want to do your homework. With such encouraging and motivational messages, who wouldn’t want to tackle their homework — and maybe the rest of the world!