Ranking Netflix Original Shows: Part 1

I was hesitant to give a Netflix original a try back in 2013, but when the buzz around “Orange is the New Black” became too loud to ignore, I was swayed to appreciate the brilliant concept streaming really is: Consumers like it because of the lack of annoying network regulations and censorship, plus no commercials, and the ability to devour episode after episode without waiting a week in between (thanks to Netflix for that; other platforms like Hulu lack that particular perk). Showrunners probably appreciate the flexibility and innovation. And Netflix, well they get to see their numbers start shooting up because no one wants to be left out when the hype starts circulating about an awesome new show, so they hurry to sign up. Without delving into too much research, I believe Netflix was the first to offer streaming-only television. Now Hulu and others like Amazon Prime and HBO Go have jumped on the money-making bandwagon. I haven’t strayed too far from Netflix because it’s still top banana in my eyes, but I may have to make an exception soon to check out Aaron Paul in “The Path” (Hulu).

Anyway, the list of Netflix originals started small and has significantly expanded over the past couple of years and within the past few months, I’ve finally started to branch out and try a few more. Some of the newer ones with short episodes and truncated seasons take barely a day to watch. Others are more of a long-term commitment. And many are pleasant surprises. Below is a sampling of the ones I’ve tried so far and where they rank in my personal opinion. 

1. Orange Is The New Black

OITNB

The OG of Netflix originals. I was hooked instantly on the story of Piper Chapman, a wealthy good girl whose brief stint as a drug mule catches up to her just before the statute of limitations reaches its cut-off. She winds up having to leave her fiancé and incredulous family grappling with many questions and a slight inability to cope with these revelations as she enters a women’s prison in upstate New York for 15 months. What ensues is a very real, scary, uplifting, unflinching, funny, and sometimes heart-breaking look at life as an inmate. I read the biographical tale on which the show is based and was impressed with how the smallest paragraph in writing became a running theme for an entire episode on screen. I love learning the backstories of these incredibly complex characters. The show does hit some speed bumps, particularly as the seasons go on, but it still has that X factor that keeps you coming back for more. It’s also morphed into an all-out event that keeps viewers itching with anticipation. When season 3 was released a day early last year, the social handles for the show knowingly acknowledged that people would be devouring it all on the spot, tweeting out questions like, “Who’s still with us?” at 4 a.m. with winking emojis. It’s fun to feel like you’re part of a collective watching party and few shows elicit that vibe the way OITNB does. Continue reading

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Best Bad Boys of TV (conclusion)

Just in case you missed my last few PSAs, let’s refresh:

You gotta love a good bad boy. That quintessential television character always seems two-dimensional on the page until they get fleshed out into living, breathing, brooding boys who don’t want your heart, but you’re still compelled to yank it from your chest and give it to them anyway. It’s up to the actors who play them to let their softer side show through just enough to make you love/hate them and look forward to the next time they grace your screen.

I shuffled through my long list of favorite shows in my head and realized that almost every single one had one of those leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding, look-me-in-the-eyes-and-swoon kind of guys. So POP was broken into segments and I’ve explored this topic for the past few PSAs. (Because I said so.)

Last time, I covered characters from NBC’s short-lived “Smash,” CW’s primetime soap “One Tree Hill,” and ‘90s gem “Full House.”

This has been a lot of fun, but we’ve finally reached the end of my list. And now, the conclusion of TV’s baddest boys:

Avery Barkley | Nashville
Played by
Jonathan Jackson

Avery

Avery came to Nashville to jump-start his career as a famous musician and completely disregarded his girlfriend’s own talent and ambition in the process. After destroying his relationship with his college honey by being willing to sleep his way to the top, Avery realizes he’s on a path he doesn’t want to follow. He instead becomes a roadie for a starlet’s tour, which works out in his favor—two seasons later, he’s a successful producer, happily married, and expecting a bouncy baby girl with said starlet. Continue reading