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The Best TV Show I Watched This Year

The Best TV Show I Watched This Year

Last night, I had dinner with some friends, and I mentioned the best TV series I’d seen this year. To my surprise, none of the four other women had heard of it. So, I want to spread the word! If you’re in the mood for an incredible show, here you go…

The Best TV Show I Watched This Year

Have you seen Alias Grace, the six-part miniseries on Netflix? Alex and I devoured it this month, and it was brilliant, chilling and totally gripping. We ended up staying up past midnight multiple nights to watch “just 15 more minutes,” and then “just 15 minutes more.”

The story follows Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant and housemaid in Canada, who was convicted of a double murder (of her boss and his lover!) in 1843. A handsome psychiatrist, who suspects she is innocent, meets with her in prison to figure out the truth — she tells him that she can’t remember anything about the day of the murder, so he sets out to see if she is lying, insane or innocent.

The show is based on the 1996 novel by Margaret Atwood and was adapted by Sarah Polley, who is a master screenwriter. (Did you ever see Away From Her?) Alias Grace has a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes — higher than the Sopranos or Mad Men.

Most of all, Alias Grace feels timely. “‘Alias Grace’ offers a look at what it was like before women had any rights,” Polley told the New York Times. “To look back and forward is very important at this moment when women’s rights are incredibly precarious and fragile.”

Here’s the trailer. I’m jealous of people who haven’t yet seen the show!

Will you watch it? What shows or movies have you enjoyed this year?

P.S. Five other thrilling shows and who’s your celebrity crush?

  1. I have to admit I never heard about this show too, but it sounds amazing! I’m definitely adding it to my 2018 watch list.

  2. Sarah says...

    DEVOURED this show this week. Thank you for the recommendation. So dialogue driven and suspenseful.

  3. izzy says...

    I wanted to like Alias Grace, I really did, but I found it incredibly dull. Not sure I would ever describe it as gripping. Most other TV recommendations you’ve made I wholeheartedly agree with, but not this one. Bummer…

  4. Ella says...

    Will for sure watch this. On the other side of the spectrum. The Marvelous Mrs. Mazel is HILARIOUS and wonderful and a must watch. Plus its NYC in the 50s which is fun to see :)

  5. I LOVED Alias Grace right up until the end. To me, it felt a little unfinished. I won’t spoil it for anyone else, but there were certain story lines that I wanted to know more about. Also loved…The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Crown, Big Little Lies, and Godless. So many fantastic new shows with strong leading ladies!!

  6. Cindy says...

    Oh my gosh I just started watching this and realized that it’s actually filmed in Kingston Ontario, where I went to school for 8 years. They also filmed in the real Kingston penitentiary which was very cool. I thought I recognized the boarding house where Dr Jordan lives and it turns out its the house of our medical school dean! :D

  7. I was totally taken in by Alias Grace! Even more so once I realized that Atwood based her novel off of actual events and that Grace Marks was a real person.

  8. Emily says...

    Started watching it last night after reading your praise.. It’s SO good. My boyfriend wasn’t sold on it after seeing the trailer but I made him start watching it with me. Needless to say, we got half way through the season by the time it was midnight and way past our bedtime. Can’t wait to bake holiday cookies and binge watch it again tonight. Thanks for always being that trusty girlfriend I can turn to for any recommendation!

  9. Julie says...

    Loved Alias Grace also… Margaret Atwood and Sarah Polley are Canadian gems. Read the book years ago, and this is a lovely adaptation.

  10. David says...

    I fell hard for “Better Things.” The last episode of season one is one of the best episodes of TV I have ever seen. I still think about it.

  11. Just saw that Peaky Blinders Season 4 is on Netflix starting Dec. 21st. Merry Christmas! :)

  12. Cathy says...

    Godless on netflix!

    • Oh definitely Godless- it was so good and I’m not normally a western fan!

  13. Joanna says...

    Oh my gosh, we loved this!! I’ve been telling everyone to watch it… I’ve loved Margaret Atwood, as an author, since my teens and it’s just fantastic to see such accurate and appropriately unsettling adaptations of her work… I hope everybody watches it!

  14. I wasn’t going to watch it…but now after reading your post, I am going to. :)

  15. Katie says...

    I just discovered Search Party on TBS and LOVE IT! I tore through both seasons and now must wait till next year for season three (fingers crossed there’s a season 3!).

    • I second this! Search Party is soooo good.

  16. I watched this a few weeks ago at the suggestion of my coworker and loved it! The details were so good, and it kept me captivated to the very end. I, too, am jealous of people who have not yet seen it, the same way I am jealous of people who are watching Friday Night Lights the series for the very first time.

  17. Loved it.

  18. I was absolutely riveted by this show. I started watching one evening on a whim and stayed up until the entire thing was done. I’ve always loved Sarah Polley’s work, so I’m happy to see her get her due.

  19. Yes, I just finished Alias Grace a little while ago. So brilliant. I went back to re-read it, only to find I lent my copy out and it’s who knows where. Arrrgh. I really hope someone makes Atwood’s book Cat’s Eye into a miniseries. It’s my favourite of hers.

  20. I just discovered The Beautiful Lie on Hulu. I watched the entire thing in one weekend, its only 6 episodes and has a very similar vibe to Big Little Lies, highly recommend!

    • Elisa Mallinder says...

      Loved A Beautiful Lie! Great recommendation.

  21. eg says...

    SMILF on Showtime is great! I was a little wary of the title, but it is so smart and funny.

    • Chen says...

      @EG thx for the recommendation, just started watching and loving it.

  22. Diana McNeill says...

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    Ozark

    The Crown – Season 2

    Master of None – Season 2

  23. Katie. H says...

    Oooo I can’t wait to watch this one! Looks fascinating and little scary… Thank you for the PSA!

  24. Cindy says...

    I have been a long-time fan of “Transparent” on Amazon. The newest season, season 4, is probably my favorite so far (and so welcome after what was, for me, a disappointing season 3). Aly’s and Maura’s characters especially are really strong. I hated for it to end!!

    • Suzanne says...

      I too LOVE Transparent. Well, I love to hate the characters – they are all miserable to varying degrees. I think it’s a really well done show, though, and family dynamics are always (messy and) interesting!

  25. Twyla says...

    Thanks for the recommendation – we will watch it over the holidays! I LOVE Sarah Polley – Away From Her is one of the most amazing films I’ve ever seen. I still think about it years after first watching it. She is amazing and deserves a lot more credit/recognition than she gets.

    • Vicki says...

      Do you know that Sarah Polley was the little girl on Avonlea, the Disney show that was kind of an Anne of Green Gables spinoff? I am so glad when child actors grow up to be brilliantly talented and successful adults … Well, that’s silly, because I am glad when any child grows up to be brilliantly talented, but I do think children in the spotlight can have a rough beginning. Also interesting? Charlie from the Gene Wilder Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? He’s now a veterinarian.

  26. Loved Alias Grace! Also loved Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. Also a story about women and a period when they had fewer rights, this story takes place in the 1950’s. The actress who plays Midge Maisel is so amazing, I believe she was just nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance!

  27. Ann Soares says...

    Baskets – Best thing I’ve seen in a long time. Louie Anderson is fantastic and it is so weird and funny. Love it.

    Ann

  28. Emily says...

    Good Behavior starring Michelle Dockery. This is such a departure from her character Mary on Downtown Abbey. Seeing her diversity as an actor is reason enough to watch it. In fact, I’ll be tuning into Godless soon, just because of her! She deserves more recognition!

  29. Kathleen Heffner says...

    That’s my next one to watch!

  30. Martha says...

    “Rectify” is one of the best shows ever. It’s suspenseful and beautiful, and the characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional. It’s set in the south but takes neither a maudlin nor a judgemental approach to the area. Daniel, the main character, gets out of prison after twenty years on death row. The show tells the story of his attempts at reintegrating into family life AND the investigation to find out if he actually committed the crime.

    • Mona says...

      I agree….loved that one.

    • Meagan says...

      I am really looking forward to watching ‘Alias Grace’ (yay for a break from grad school!), but I have to agree with Martha; ‘Rectify’ is simply one of the most compelling and thoughtful shows I have ever seen. Great acting and beautiful cinematography too. Please, please add this to your viewing list!

    • Anne-Marie says...

      Loved Rectify! I have had such a hard time convincing others to watch it.

  31. Alice says...

    I’m jealous of people who haven’t seen the show yet – I feel exactly this every time I read or see something spectacular.
    That sentence sold the show me, will watch this weekend!

  32. Oh, I cannot wait to see this — I’ve long adored Margaret Atwood and am happy to see her get this recognition. (I’m out of the States for the year and not on Netflix so I won’t be able to catch it until next August — a treat for when I return?)

    My favorite show: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I think the third season is the best so far!

  33. Robin says...

    I agree! We just watched it and it was fantastic. The actress who plays the protagonist is incredible. I loved the book many years ago and the show does it justice indeed.

  34. Katie says...

    Sarah Polley’s “The Stories We Tell” is SO INCREDIBLE.

  35. Elise says...

    I think British sitcoms have killed it recently !
    My husband and I particularly love “Catastrophe” — co-written by the amazing Sharon Horgan (my girl crush) and the great Rob Delaney (think a taller, quirkier Jon Ham). They both star in it and they are incredible (and on a side note, Sharon Horgan’s character totally deserves her own “Week of Outfits”, for her talent at mixing and matching prints while still looking accessible). It has to be one of the most honest and brutally funny portrayals of married life and parenthood I’ve seen (they are the Coach and Tammy Taylor of comedy). Also by Sharon Horgan, “Motherland” is an absolutely ferocious comedy about the demands of middle-class motherhood in London.
    And of course, “Fleabag”, written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, yet another amazing actress-writer. A truly poignant and funny sitcom about sex, grief and depression — it sounds weird, and the show certainly is weird, but it is also trailblazing in terms of female writing and portraying. Not for the faint at heart, but totally worth your time.
    On a lighter note, a wonderful BBC show “Detectorists”, about two unlikely friends in the British countryside whose hobby is metal detecting (?!). It is mellow, bitter-sweet, fantastically written and acted, and totally underrated.

    • Stacy says...

      Yes re: British shows!! Have you seen Line of Duty? One of the best police shows I’ve EVER seen. Highly recommended.

    • Gene says...

      LOVE Detectorists!

  36. Bethany says...

    Wow, I am binging this thanks to your rec! So good and it is scarily timely! Thank you for the recommendation!

  37. Edith says...

    For all French and Paris lovers: Dix Pour Cent or Call my Agent on Netflix. It’s French, takes place in Paris, about a group of movie star agents, their work and their lives. Lots of intrigue, affairs, drama, emotions and humor! I love that the movie stars the agents represent, are real life movie stars, such as Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Adjani, Audrey Fleurot. Just watch the first episode and you won’t be able to stop..:) The second season just came out on Netflix.

    • Louise Burlinson says...

      Hi Edith,
      Thanks for the recommendation -this looks fantastique!

      Cheers from Lulu.

  38. Agh time to subscribe to netflix!

  39. My favorite new show is the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

  40. Lacey says...

    Mindhunter (series about serial killer profiling) and Manhunt (series about the Unabomber), both on Netflix!

  41. I literally just finished the 4th episode! I read the book over the 4th of July this year while staying in a house in CT built in 1806, and it was very spooky. The show definitely definitely does the book justice! I’m so happy that Margaret Atwood’s work is moving onto the screen (again)!

  42. Libby says...

    I haven’t the show Alias Grace yet, but I remember loving the book. I think it is my favorite Margaret Atwood book. Looking forward to checking it out.

  43. Bets says...

    I also really loved this but was tortured by the ending. Anna Paquin was truly amazing in this.

  44. Claire says...

    Also – we LOVED the series “Godless”, on Netflix.

    • Paula says...

      YESSS. Godless is everything. So good.

  45. Claire says...

    I have seen Alias, Grace. My husband and I both loved it. We are currently watching season 3 of Broadchurch (fabulous mystery series), and I’ve been watching the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (so wonderful!)

  46. Chatsy says...

    Fantastic series SO informative

  47. Amy says...

    For something funny- American Vandal on Netflix. It’s a satire of Serial and other investigative crime series. The comedic acting is great, the dialogue is hilarious, and it is such a faithful satire that I am totally sucked into the “mystery,” which is deliberately silly (Who vandalized the high school faculty’s cars by spray painting dicks on them?). It’s truly original and hilarious.

    • Maria says...

      My husband and I loved this for a laugh!

  48. L says...

    Cup of Jo team – I am dying for you guys to write about/discuss Good Girls Revolt! It was a new show released on Amazon last year and it was amazing! So good, based on a true story (female reporters at Newsweek) and so relevant to the conversation about women’s rights today. It was unceremoniously canceled (some scandal around the why and by who) and now the fans and amazing cast are trying to get it picked up again. The show is amazing and the story behind it’s creation, cancelation and grassroots movement to bring it back is inspiring.

    • Kate says...

      Yes, I agree! Good Girls Revolt is great! I hope they bring it back!

    • Alexia says...

      Second this!

    • june2 says...

      Yes, really hoped this would get another season!

    • Totally agree! Bring it back!

  49. Gina says...

    Watched it and really liked it as well! Living in Toronto, it was also neat to see how it would have been back in the 1800’s ;)

  50. Caitlin Gaffer says...

    Does anyone have any amazing book recommendations? I have about 2 weeks off from grad school and want to read a really great (non-school) book!

    • its as corny as them come but The City Bakers Guide to County Living. I finished it in 48 hrs.

    • Claire says...

      yes! I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, and it is excellent – the writing is so good, and it is even sometimes funny.
      Here are some others that are on my list: Louise Penny mystery series, Sherman Alexie’s book “You Don’t have to Say you Love me”, and Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan.

    • Chelsi says...

      I just finished Promise Me, Dad. It was beautiful and sincere. Loved it.

    • Annie says...

      Two recent reads I loved were The Idiot by Elif Batuman and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee — they were both super engrossing and beautifully written and now I just want everyone else to read them too!

    • Celeste Ng’s Tiny Fires Everywhere! (I love that this comment section is a place to ask such a question).

    • Keri says...

      Read Alias Grace if you haven’t!
      East of Eden
      Night Circus
      The Goldfinch
      All the Light We Cannot See
      The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
      Bel Canto

    • Bonnie says...

      (In case you’ve missed these not-so-recent great ones!)
      Fiction I’ve not been able to put down:
      The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson
      This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel
      The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss
      All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

    • Twyla says...

      The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I picked it up on a recommendation and it’s in my top 5 books now. Her writing is so, SO good. I’m jealous of anyone picking it up for the first time…

    • Paula says...

      everything by Alice Munro

    • dd says...

      There are SO many great resources out there for book recs. I love finding mine on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s What Should I Read Next podcast. I think it’s all about what you’re in the mood for, but I have really enjoyed Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline this year. If you’re up for a thriller, I Let You Go by Clare McIntosh was un-put-downable.

    • june2 says...

      State of Wonder by Anne Pachett – about the drama around the search by a pharmaceutical co for an Amazonian tribal resource that extends women’s fertility indefinitely.

  51. RBC says...

    It was a CBC mini series so we watched in on TV here in Canada (also available to Canadians on-demand on cbc.ca). I’ll have to tell my mom (in Carroll Gardens) that it’s on US Netflix now since she just read the book this fall!

  52. Di says...

    I’m dying to watch this but need to read the book first. I have to read before I see. Now to find the time!

  53. Paula says...

    Thanks for this! I’ve been wondering if I should watch it or not but hadn’t found any reviews on my go-to blogs. Now I have :)

  54. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time!

    • Same!! I loved every minute.

    • jessica says...

      I agree; I’m on episode 3 and already don’t want it to end!

    • Jen says...

      Yes! First show I’ve binge-watched like that in a looooong time.

  55. TW says...

    The Big Family Cooking Showdown on Netflix! Families compete with their homegrown skills and favorite recipes. Its so fun – highly recommend!

  56. Stacy says...

    Yes, this show is in my Watchlist on Netflix, I just haven’t gotten to it yet since we just moved. But now that I know how good it is, I’m definitely bingeing on this Saturday when my husband is out of town!

  57. Lyn says...

    What channel is this show on?What day and what time does it come on? Sounds good!

    • Paula says...

      It’s on Netflix!

  58. Laura says...

    I have never cried harder watching a movie than I did during Away From Her. Like, I was literally sobbing… Will definitely be watching this show. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Lorena says...

      Yes! Away From Her is heart-wrenching!

  59. Thank you for the recommendation! I’ve been scrolling right past, the Netflix description/image is not very compelling. Should hold me over until season two of Handmaid’s Tale. Can’t wait to start!

  60. We just finished watching Fearless ( Amazon Original) Loved the actress, good to see a more mature woman lead and definitely a nail biter for me. Also, I believe someone mentioned The Bridge, well we watched both seasons of PBS The Tunnel, ( excellent !) which I believe is based on the bridge. Oh, yes and The Durrells in Corfu..charming.

  61. Anna says...

    Yes! Totally loved it!

  62. Canada represents!

    • jenn says...

      Right?!! Margaret Atwood is killing it.

    • Erin says...

      It’s so Canadian to get excited when Americans start liking Canadian stuff. :)

    • Meghan says...

      Gooooo CBC! Margaret Atwood has a farm near my house, I see her occasionally at the local feminist coffee shop- no big deal.

    • Elise says...

      Agreed on all counts. Go Canada!

  63. Alicia says...

    Yes! This miniseries was mesmerizing. I had the same experience– asking others if they’d seen it and finding that no one had and then making urgent recommendations to go watch it! Spooky, dreadful, beautiful, romantic, and yes, timely. I would like to watch it again. And, I can’t help but be a fan when I heard that Sarah Polley (who first stole my heart as Ramona all those years ago) was the screenwriter.

  64. sarah says...

    Alias Grace is on my list of shows to watch, I can’t wait! For the past few days I’ve been caught up in the Marvelous Mrs. Mazel on Amazon. So brilliantly funny and full of hilarious characters and moments. Dark is also great but I felt so tense every minute I was watching it — sometimes I need to take a break from thrillers and just laugh!

  65. This show looks AMAZING!! Thanks for the suggestion. I love how Netflix has completely raised the bar for television and they have so many excellent shows that there are still so many to watch. My husband and I binge watched Mindhunter, which was SO excellent. And I still have a lot of catching up to do on The Great British Baking Show, and I haven’t even seen the Handmaiden’s tale!

    • Hillary F. says...

      The Great British Baking Show is the best!

  66. I’ve been looking for a new show to watch! I’m intrigued and queuing this up right now :)

  67. Jennifer says...

    I am probably totally late to the game, but I am loving Grace and Frankie (Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterson, how could you help but love it?) and Jane the Virgin. Both are excellent.

  68. Amy says...

    I adore Margaret Atwood (have read nearly every book she has published) and loathed the Netflix version of A Handmaid’s Tale, which has made me skeptical about watching Alias Grace. Sounds like I may have to give it a go!

    • Julie says...

      But this is a CBC show, not Netflix (even though it’s on Netflix). Hope you watched the latest Handmaid’s Tale with Elizabeth Moss. It is simply captivating.

  69. Kim says...

    It had massive promo on the CBC here in Canadia, but I didn’t get into the first episode… I think I wasn’t over Handmaid’s Tale yet. I shall try again.

  70. Charity says...

    It was amazing! Pretty true to the book and so interesting that it’s loosely based on true characters!

    I’m currently loving The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, on your recommendation!!

  71. Heather says...

    I love how Margaret Atwood’s star has been rising this year for work she did so many decades ago. After I read “Cat Person” in the New Yorker this week I was reading all of these interviews with the author, and she said that she was partly inspired by that Margaret Atwood quote, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” I thought, of course she was inspired by Margaret Atwood! Atwood has been coming at these issues with wisdom and clarity all these years, and in 2017, when we’re finally all starting to talk about it – really talk about it – she’s already given us the words and stories to help make sense of it.

    • Alice says...

      This!!!

    • Meghan says...

      She’s a modern prophet. Have you read Orx and Crake? This is the discussion we’ll be having in 15 years about our destruction of the earth and climate change.

  72. Rachael says...

    My husband and I fell in love with Turn (on Netflix) and managed to finish all four seasons in an eight-week span during which we sold one house, bought another, planned a move with six kids, and my husband spent 3 weeks out of the country. It is RIVETING. 😂😂

    • Lindsey says...

      Thanks, adding it to the queue now!

  73. Tricia says...

    Guys! No one’s mentioned Detroiters????

    • Katie says...

      Detroiters is hilarious!

  74. Nancey says...

    I have not seen it! I will certainly watch this, I’m in the middle of ‘Trapped’ it’s Icelandic and I’m totally hooked, I just finished ‘The Bridge’ and truly nothing can compare to that but I will keep trying. I am a Nordic Noir freak!!!

    • Sasha says...

      You might like Case. Also Icelandic, and noir. Very very noir.

    • Heather says...

      It’s an oldie, but the movie version of Hoeg’s “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” with Juliette Binoche is Nordic noir supreme.

  75. Emily B says...

    Loved this show as well. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but I wish I could hear your thoughts on the ending Jo! Did she do it or not?!?!? Aghhhhh.

    • Madie says...

      So it’s left open-ended? That’s disappointing to know ahead of time… :(

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes honestly I have to say that I watched this in 2 days with high hopes but the ending was SO unsatisfying that it kind of ruined the whole thing for me. Maybe just me, but I was left kind of feeling like what did I just watch?? Loved Handmaid’s Tale though.

    • laura says...

      *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT*
      did jeremiah really hypnotize her or was she in on it since she knew it was jeremiah? as long as she wasn’t in on it, she had to have been involved through her “mary whitney” self, and maybe thought it was unfair nancy wasn’t getting the same punishment mary whitney had for the same situation. I just wonder why she portrayed mary whitney as this more evil character when through her stories she didn’t seem so.

  76. Ashley H. says...

    My mom and I binge Netflix every Sunday when I visit. That’s on our list to watch next after we finish The Crown!

  77. I really enjoyed Great British Cooking show!!!
    Also, Broadchurch (especially the first season).
    FAUDA was incredible, and my host family from ages who from Israel loved it too, which gives the show even more credibility.
    For something lighter, my twin (Joanna: we both have twin sisters!!!) talked me into watching Miranda: such fun ;)

    • Sophie says...

      Had to jump in! Miranda is wonderful!! Loved the cheeky ‘such fun’ there ;)

  78. Alexandra says...

    I’m reading the book right now and can’t wait to finish so I can watch the show! The book had a bumpy start but after 50 pages is fantastic!

  79. Rebecca says...

    The Sinner! Amazing.

    • Emily says...

      I downloaded the USA app just to watch The Sinner. And, I’m so mad, because they only have 3 of the 8 episodes on it. What up????? Anyone know how I can watch the rest?

  80. Stacie says...

    Wow, I had no idea! The title definitely screams Margaret Atwood, of course! We will have to check it out since we just finished Stranger Things. (:

  81. Sarah says...

    Better Call Saul was good. Bob Odenkirk is just so good.
    I liked Ozark a lot. Stranger Things was addictive and I loved it!
    Just watched the first episode of Godless. After Terry Gross interviewed the writer/director I was intrigued. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.

  82. Laura says...

    Love Alias Grace and also enjoyed Handmaids Tale- truly the year of Atwood. Other shows I loved this year: Rick & Morty, Stranger Things 2, Mindhunter and Riverdale

  83. Jill says...

    LOVED this show!! I’d also recommend Godless (Western with a town of only women and an outlaw plot) and Dark (Stranger Things with more mind-bending twists and German angst)! Both Netflix originals.

  84. the cape on the corner says...

    oh, also thanks to your readers recommendation, i watched the big sick on the plane i was on last week. so glad i did! super sweet!
    b

    • Heather says...

      Yes! So good! And also, a GREAT pic for watching with relatives/in-laws. Mostly sweet and very few uncomfortable sexy scenes.

  85. the cape on the corner says...

    this is on my list. i just watched a series called wanted, about 2 women who witness a murder of a crooked cop/are part of said murder, and it’s sooo good. also, i think thanks to one of your followers, i’m devouring broadchurch (and getting to hear my favorite scottish accent at the same time!)
    b

  86. I really enjoyed The Sinner. It was dark and creepy and twisty, but well done. You can’t stream Younger in Canada (really, really sad about that) but spent a week in Michigan and watched Seasons 1-3. It was the most perfect escapism (ahem, Team Josh) which made me even more depressed that I can’t watch an episode on a whim when I’m at home.

  87. Kato says...

    Going on my list. We’ve just finished Ozark which I found slow in a good way; it really sucks you in. Would also highly recommend Peaky Blinders and Line of duty (both british) And I thoroughly enjoyed The Good Fight!

  88. Tania says...

    OMG I am watching this tonight!! Please, sonny boy, fall asleep with nary a protest at 730 tonight….

  89. alison says...

    Search Party! What a wild ride. Alia Shawkat is amazing, and John Reynolds is a dream boat.

    • Katie says...

      Yes, totally agree! Love this show and Alia Shawkat is such a refreshing new actress.

  90. Lucy in England says...

    Also, Poldark is excellent. A little bit of a fluffy feel good costume drama but there are darker themes and Eleanor Tomlinson is a great actor. Cornwall is the setting and the landscape is very much one of the stars.

  91. Lucy in England says...

    If you love Claire Foy, have you seen her as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall? Amazing.

    Alias Grace is going on my list. I loved the Handmaid’s Tale but it felt too real to me- I was so gripped but cried every week. Really glad to have watched it on TV as it was so intense.

    • Megan says...

      Wolf Hall is incredible.

  92. I’ve been meaning to watch this!
    In this past year I have loved Good Girls Revolt (RIP) and I Love Dick – which I watched twice, once alone and then again with my husband. We both work in the art world and the depiction of it is so. spot. on. Aside from that, there are some incredible moments that are so great they almost had me screaming.

  93. ND says...

    We just finished watching “Black Mirror”, its the most thought provoking sci-fi series, I have ever seen…n I have seen a lot of sci-fi. We also loved “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, special mention coz my non-GG fan husband laughed out loud more than I.

  94. aga says...

    Margaret Atwood is a brilliant woman. The pride of Canada! As good as the series are, the novels are better!

  95. Emily says...

    Yes! I’ve only watched the first episode, but I’m already hooked. Another great Netflix show is Dark. It’s in German, so get excited for subtitles. If you like Stranger Things and dark international dramas it’s perfect; although note that it’s much scarier than Stranger Things. A boy goes missing in 2019, in a small German town, which appears to be linked to another boy’s disappearance 33 years before. Then you find out there’s some crazy black-hole time-warp situation going on there. The music is so wonderfully dramatic, I’d watch the show just for that.

    • Yulia says...

      Just finished watching that show last night. It has to be one of the most complex, beautifully plotted shows out there. I loved the gorgeous, moody cinematography and music, and was entranced by the characters and he we go deeper and deeper into our knowledge of them. It’s one of the very best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

  96. Becca Lynn says...

    I couldn’t stop watching this show! It was captivating, disturbing, and mesmerizing in all the best ways.

  97. Kristen says...

    I highly recommend reading the book! It is a FANTASTIC read! Kingston, Ontario is my hometown and where I live and I get a little thrill reading it in the book and seeing one of our prisons used in the miniseries. There is a fantastic prison museum directly across the street from the prison you see in the miniseries, and inside is a cell from the early 1900’s that looks exactly like the one they use in the miniseries. When I saw this cell at the museum, I gasped b/c it is so incredibly narrow, the only space available is for the bed, nothing more. I did read that in those times, inmates were out of their cells during the day working and only in their cells to sleep which is good b/c otherwise I think one would easily go insane. Oh, and the upright, wooden solitary confinement box you see very briefly at the beginning of the miniseries is at the museum and it so terrifically scary! I couldn’t imagine being put inside of it. A stand up coffin essentially.

    • Jan says...

      I love your comment! I’m also a born and bred Kingston girl (hi!), although I live in Toronto now. My Dad worked at one of the prisons as a guard for 35 years before retiring in 2010. The stories he could tell!

  98. Kim says...

    I loved this show as well – the actresses who played Grace and her best friend were so captivating. Also, a delayed thank you for getting my husband and I into Peaky Blinders. What an incredible series – I’m already nostalgic for Grace from Season 1.

  99. rach says...

    I love Margaret Atwood-her cameos in Alias Grace and Handmaid’s Tale were delicious.

  100. jen says...

    Sarah Gadon is amazing. Some of the scenes were filmed where I work, which was really cool to see!

  101. Meagan says...

    Yes!! It is so good. When it was over I wanted more. So well done.

  102. LG says...

    It was soooooo good!

    Also, the Edward Holcroft’s (Dr. Jordan) American accent on the show sounds exactly like Dylan McDermott’s actual voice…

  103. Emily says...

    I recently discovered this show as well, and finished it in less than week. It was gripping, and the actress who plays Grace is fantastic.

  104. Laycee Suiter says...

    The best new show this year is the good doctor.
    I will miss the hell out of scandal. I love how to get away with murder , Grey’s Anatomy, Marvels Shield, designated Survivor, Empire, star and Lethal Weapon.

  105. Susie says...

    Have you seen “Stories We Tell”? AMAZING documentary (sort of) by Sarah Polley, about memory, family, truth and subjectivity. It’s incredible.

  106. Kate says...

    Perfect timing! We’re looking for a new show now that we’ve finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – which I highly recommend! Will have to check this out….. I love the hour or two my husband and I spend on the couch Netflixing after baby boy goes to bed!

  107. Sasha says...

    We just watched a couple episodes last night. Meh. I wanted to like it. I found the acting stilted, except for the main character, who I thought was brilliant. I agree that it’s a fascinating plot and story, but given the horrific and graphic nature of the story, it’s just not well done enough to keep me watching. It has to be really exceptional for me to watch that kind of thing. (I may read it, and honestly having read other Margaret Atwood works, it’s what I expected-profoundly disturbing).

    Just finished the second season of the Crown, so much fun.

    • Jenny says...

      I agree! I was so excited for it but neither my husband nor I really loved it. I will say that the main actress is amazing and the idea is compelling, but there were some plot holes that just made it fall a bit flat for me. I think I’d prefer the book since I’m generally a big Atwood fan. I would say it’s worth watching, though, since it’s not a huge time commitment and is definitely thought-provoking.

  108. Oh, my, god! This sounds like something up my street, why haven’t I seen it nor heard of it yet?? Thanks for sharing! You already know what I’m gonna do now haha

    Hannah

  109. Lindsay says...

    Yay! Margaret Atwood has long been a literal star in a Canada. So wonderful to see her brilliant stories find a bigger cultural presence on screen. Her short story collection “Wilderness Tips” is one of my favourite books. Ever. Those characters and stories have never left my psyche.

    • Lindsay says...

      *literary star*

    • rach says...

      I reread handmaid’s tale, yearly. love her, too!

  110. Heather says...

    I was already sold, but when I saw Zachary Levi, that was it! I have to watch!

    • Heather says...

      Update I watched all of this on my sick day yesterday, and feel tempted to watch it again on my sick day today! Thanks for the recommendation!

  111. Corinne says...

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was excellent. The costumes and set design were superb.

    • Loveee that show! She is so chic!

    • Erinn says...

      Yes!! I wasn’t sure I was going to like it but it immediately drew me in.

  112. Ruth says...

    Yes! Just watched this and loved it. Wish it had been longer.

  113. I have to see this!
    My brother and I have been huge Sarah Polley fans waaay back since her Avonlea days. Her acting, directing and screenwriting is amazing and we just can’t get enough of her.

  114. Abbie says...

    I got chills just reading your description! What would I do without Cup of Jo to keep me updated on the best things out there of all varieties :) :) :)

  115. Steph says...

    Gosh… I may have the give it a second go. I watched the first 20 min and was bored. Maybe I need to hang on longer???

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, it really really sucks you in.

    • KL says...

      At first, I couldn’t really take the acting/writing. It felt… weird. But somehow as the show goes on, it feels more and more like it was acted/written that way for a reason. I’d give it another go if that was the reason you stopped watching. It almost stopped me from watching but given the accolades my friends had given it, I kept going. SOO glad I did.

  116. So this was partially filmed in my city and one of my coworkers was an extra in it! She played a fellow prisoner at the pen and go to eat a bowl of oatmeal a few rows behind Sarah. I’m so jealous.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      WHAT???? that is amazing!!!!!!!!!

  117. Kyla says...

    Sarah Polley! She’s so wonderful

  118. karen says...

    ‘Alias Grace’ the book, AMAZING! Sarah Polley, AMAZING! I remember watching ‘My Life Without Me’ and being really moved. We just started Netflix in the Fall, so I know what I’m starting tonight. Thank you for the reminder!

  119. I tried to start Alias Grace and found the first episode kind of slow and boring! Maybe I’ll have to give it another try. Some shows I’ve loved this year are Mindhunter, Manhunt, and the Sinner. AND!!! The new Netflix show “Dark”!!!!!!! It’s so good! It’s German-language (and the subtitles are much better than the dubbed option), and it’s so twisty and mind-bending (and dark).

    • Babs says...

      Yes to “Dark.” We are completely hooked, though it wholly lives up to its name. I also enjoyed Alias Grace. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie because there are so many better television shows.

    • I love Margaret Atwood’s books, but there’s something about this show that seems off for some reason. And yes to Dark! It is so much creepier than Stranger Things and much better paced, too. We are also watching it with subtitles because the English dubbing is TERRIBLE! And I just finished the second season of Easy. It was okay.

  120. I googled the story after I finished the series only to find out it was based on a true story, which made it even more gripping and mesmerizing!

  121. Megan says...

    Just finishing up with “The Crown”, Alias Grace will be next. Thanks for the heads up!

  122. Yes! I too binged this show…sooo good

  123. Shannon says...

    THE CROWN!!!!!!! I am so obsessed!

  124. Frin says...

    I saw this too and am just as surprised even some so-called Atwood superfans haven’t heard of it. That being said, FAVORITE movie this year was Logan, I recommend it to anyone and everyone. Also, The Crown season 2, that “Paterfamilias” episode was so gripping.

    • Kim says...

      Yes! “Paterfamilias”- like a movie within the series. So good.

  125. justine says...

    Thanks so much for the reco. A shame we don’t have this on Canadian Netflix since Atwood, Polley and the star are Canadian (go figure). There is hopefully a way to watch this here in Canada. I have memories of reading Alias Grace and The Handmaid’s Tail in University. Post grad I kept a little picture of Margaret Atwood on my wall in our apartment. It’s lovely to see these acclaimed adaptations of her work. If you like Atwood’s dystopian work, I recommend her novel Oryx and Crake, and also Dave Eggar’s The Circle (gave me chills). I’m binging The Crown way to quickly so it’s nice to have a new show to look forward to – thanks!

    • Shell says...

      I watched it in Canada on CBC awhile ago. Maybe you could still find it there?

    • Lill says...

      Justine! This show is actually produced, in part, by the CBC. You can watch it on the CBC website if you’re in Canada.

    • I believe it’s coming to Canadian Netflix soon! I know that CBC and Netflix had some kind of agreement about it. Or yes, you can watch it on the CBC website or their app.

    • Sam says...

      YES! Oryx and Crake is one of my favorites!

    • Heather says...

      I read Oryx and Crake before I had kids, and it shook me up, but now that I have kids it genuinely haunts me. I feel like bit by bit parts of that dystopian world are upon us. (Chicken nubbins? Is that they were called?) What chilled me in that story was the way that the young people were able to identify morally questionable/offensive actions, but nonetheless easily adapt to them, adopt them. Arguably, people have always been able to slide right over the tug of internal moral objections, and Margaret Atwood is the queen in shining a light on this in our past and in our future.

  126. Jennifer says...

    I read that book when it came out. I’ve read all her books but this is the only one based on a true story. Loved the book and am excited to find the time to watch this. Darren Arrinofsky is doing a series for HBO based off of her MADD Adams trilogy. I expect it to also be brilliant. Thanks for the review – just moved it to the top of the list!

  127. Sam says...

    Netflix has just started playing an Australian show called Offspring. To say I become obsessed is an understatement. Seven seasons of awkwardness, love and comedy. So fun!!

    • judy says...

      I very rarely comment, but I had to say I am ADDICTED to Offspring.

    • CB says...

      I am Australian and love Offspring. Also try Love My Way if you can find it

  128. Meg says...

    Thanks for the recommendation! I read the book years ago now, and I remember it being very powerful and well written. Got to go check out the Netflix version.

  129. Jess says...

    Dang Canadian Netflix! Hopefully they add this for us soon – it looks amazing!

    • Kyla says...

      It was on CBC! Might still be able to stream it from them…

  130. Elizabeth says...

    The Korean Drama Misaeng (Incomplete Life). It came out a while ago but I watched it and it’s probably the best one I’ve seen. A former professional Go (Baduk in Korea) player fails out of the professional training system and somehow gets an internship at a large international corporation. It follows him and a few other interns as they take their first steps out into the world as young professionals. It could be any old office drama, but it is elevated by the analogy that threads its way through the show.

    One of my favorite quotes from the show:
    “Mr. Oh: The people you meet can change your life. If you follow a fly, you’ll end up near a toilet. If you follow a honeybee, you’ll end up in a flowerbed.

    Jang Geu Rae: So that’s why I’m in a flowerbed. ”

    I could post about a million other quotes…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, so good.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Also…it’s on Netflix with subs if you want to watch it!

  131. Courtney says...

    This show looks great! One I highly recommend is Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s created by the same folks who made The Gilmore Girls, and it has some wonderful similarities–funny, independent women in leading roles, fast-talking with witty cultural references, and great outfits. And, always a plus for me, it passes the Bechdel test!

    • I just binge watched that show! Its the best show I’ve seen in years :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      can’t wait to watch!

    • Sasha says...

      After trying Alias Grace, and no, not finishing, we’re trying this next!

      The Crown is a hard one to follow, sets the bar bloody high ;)

    • Stephanie says...

      We just finished this last night! Cannot recommend it enough. As a lifelong Gilmore Girl fan, I was hooked just by the mere fact that this was created by the Palladinos. But I truly loved this show in its own right — clever, charming, had me laughing out loud and rooting for the characters! I’m thrilled we already know there will be a season 2.

    • Katie says...

      We are also watching The MMM and loving it. I got the rec from last week’s Friday round-up and I’m so glad we gave it a try.

    • I have mixed feelings about the show. All the characters seem slightly neurotic (and I’m Jewish!!), and it bothers me how she spends almost zero time with the kids (neither does the dad). I have 2 or 3 more episodes to finish.
      The costumes ARE great!

  132. Erin says...

    I was a big fan of The Leftovers which had it’s last season this year. I loved the mysteriousness of the show! I also really enjoyed Insecure, and can’t wait for more seasons!

  133. CityMaus says...

    This has been in my Netflix queue forever, but now I’ll have to pull the trigger! Besides, my husband and I need something to keep the tv-peace when we’re all home over the holidays.

  134. Denise says...

    O I loved Alias Grace! I wish I hadn’t seen it yet so I could watch it again for the first time. Sarah Gadon’s face in the first monologue is stunning. The tiny changes she makes in her expression are impressive. I have been hit & miss in liking Atwood’s work but this series makes me want to go and read the book.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      her acting is incredible. it’s so subtle and specific — kind of like claire foy in the crown. she holds it all in but you can still tell what she’s feeling with the teeniest tiniest facial expressions.

  135. Lindsay says...

    Hi there,
    My best friend just started watching this and said that it’s a good show, but it doesn’t compare to The Handmaid’s Tale, which is also based on a Margaret Atwood novel, a fellow Canadian. :) If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend! It sort of has that George Orwell 1984, Big Brother vibe . :)

    • Lauren says...

      Haha – I’m in the opposite camp. I couldn’t commit to Handmaid’s Tale even though I really wanted to like it, but I watched Alias Grace in one sitting over the weekend. Perhaps it has something to do with timing? I started this in the middle of a snow storm, so I was definitely looking for any excuse to stay cozy inside.

  136. Amanda G says...

    Alias Grace has been on my list – this must be a sign it’s time to watch! Netflix really seems to be hitting it out of the park recently – I completely ate up the first season of MindHunter in little more than a week (which is unheard of for me!). Also, if you haven’t seen MindHunter, I recommend it wholeheartedly. Just like you, I’m jealous of people who have yet to watch because it’s SO GOOD.

  137. Kaitlin says...

    I’m so glad that Americans are getting to see more Canada in their Netflix! I don’t know if it’s the colder weather and the wild regions, but Canadian literature often does a great job with the surreal in our realities.

    If you haven’t watched Sarah Polley’s documentary-memoir, Stories We Tell, it’s soooooo good. In it, she tells the story of her parents relationship and how her mother’s affairs ultimately effected her own identity. It’s available to download on the National Film Board website!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i haven’t seen it, but i LOVED away from her (another of her movies). she is such a huge talent. can’t wait to look up stories we tell. thank you for the rec!

    • Sasha says...

      We love the Republic of Doyle ;)
      Hope we find more Canadian shows!

  138. rach says...

    Alias Grace was fantastic…I don’t think it will have a second season. But, there is always Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu!

  139. Maggie says...

    Was JUST trying to decide on a new show to watch with my husband (since Handmaid’s Tale and Master of None we’ve been unimpressed with most recent shows that we’ve started). Can’t wait to dive into this one! The trailer looks thrilling. Thanks for the recommendation, Joanna.

  140. Did you read the book before you watched? I am super intrigued, but do not want to ruin either experience!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i didn’t but now i wish i had!

  141. Ooh, thank you for the recommendation! I feel like I’ve been starting shows here and there but not committing (Ozark, Manhunt). I’ve got my few favorites, but a modest sized show is right up my alley.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      big little lies is also great if you want another miniseries. xo

  142. Have you watched Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu? I LOVED IT! I haven’t watched Alias Grace yet (it’s on my list), but I’ve heard that both show attract the same audience and have somewhat similar messages. Warning: Handmaid’s Tale is tough to watch at times, but soooo worth it.

  143. Olivia says...

    The Leftovers, hands down. The final season, in particular, was a masterpiece from start to finish. I’ve never been so moved by a show. I’m still thinking about it six months later.

    • Liddy says...

      Me too. The best series I have ever seen.

    • Jess says...

      Agreed. I tell people that the final season of The Leftovers makes the whole series worth watching. Amazing. Moving. THE MUSIC.

  144. Kristin says...

    I LOVED Alias Grace, but was anyone else extremely bothered by the speech patterns (i.e., the non-use of contractions)? I binged the whole thing and then spent a half a day googling whether people used contractions in the 19th century. I could not get over it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so interesting, kristin! i hadn’t noticed that, but now i want to go back and see.

    • Sasha says...

      I found it really obnoxious. After a bit we decided they were doing it on purpose, but the manner of speaking reminded me most of my daughter’s high school drama productions. You’re rooting for the characters and you want to love it, but you just can’t get swept up and frankly, it’s a little painful.
      The actress playing Grace was the exception for sure, she’s amazing.

    • Kathleen says...

      YES. I thought the lead actor did a great job but the hammy acting and weird speech of everyone else was really distracting for me. I found it inauthentic and a confusing choice for a production of that calibre.

    • Jenny says...

      Yes!!! I wondered the same! It was definitely distracting (though Polley is amazing).

    • Iz says...

      So glad somebody else noticed this!! The speech patterns bothered me so much that I stopped watching after episode 2.

  145. Megan says...

    Ooooh, I was super intrigued by your description, but by the time I watched the whole trailer it looked like it might be a little too scary for my taste! I’m a wimp. How scary is it, really? Or just suspenseful?

    • Kirsten says...

      I also waited to watch it when it came up in my recommendations because I was afraid it would be too dark/scary but found it more meditative and suspenseful when I watched it. I actually forgot it was a series and not a movie…because I watched it all in an epic binge. Hope you enjoy it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it’s SO suspenseful. most of it is told in flashbacks — of her leaving ireland and coming to canada with her family, of her getting a job as a domestic servant, of her making a best female friend, of what it’s like to work in a household with all the hierarchies/class systems/etc involved, etc….. it’s SO GOOD. very very suspenseful and psychological, more than keep-you-up-at-night terrifying.

  146. Sahana Kumar says...

    haha being jealous of people who haven’t seen the show yet is EXACTLY how i feel about alias grace!