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Free Netflix in December | How to prepare for binge-watching 48 hours of the best of movies and shows!

All geared up? Doesn't ring a bell? Free Netflix days are on. December 5 and 6. Here's a list that we've drawn up, of the best movies and TV shows on Netflix.

December 05, 2020 / 08:49 AM IST
Over the last couple of years we’ve shared the joys and excitement of discovering fabulous content across OTT platforms with you. But there are some who are simply intimidated by the volume of content and feel more comfortable watching reruns on television. The free forty eight hours of Netflix is a great opportunity for those still wondering what to watch to dive right in.  I’ve discovered a penchant for European shows, shows coming out of Latin America, and of course what is known as K-Dramas, Chinese and Japanese shows as well. That’s me, and these are from just one of the OTT platforms that is offering us all a break from the monotony of being inside and safe from the pandemic taking so many lives.
Over the last couple of years we’ve shared the joys and excitement of discovering fabulous content across OTT platforms with you. But there are some who are simply intimidated by the volume of content and feel more comfortable watching reruns on television. The free forty eight hours of Netflix is a great opportunity for those still wondering what to watch to dive right in.  I’ve discovered a penchant for European shows, shows coming out of Latin America, and of course what is known as K-Dramas, Chinese and Japanese shows as well. That’s me, and these are from just one of the OTT platforms that is offering us all a break from the monotony of being inside and safe from the pandemic taking so many lives.
Sex Education | It’s not like those awful special classes we had to attend in the school auditorium, taught by the sternest nun at school with the help of really bad slides show taken off a biology textbook. There are no dire warnings about how the Devil would strike us bad pennies… I still remember how we stuffed handkerchiefs (yes they were a thing once) in our mouths or we would be caned if found laughing. This show is like summer rain: refreshing, funny, relevant, and simply brilliant. That Gillian Anderson plays mom should make you more than happy.
Sex Education | It’s not like those awful special classes we had to attend in the school auditorium, taught by the sternest nun at school with the help of really bad slides show taken off a biology textbook. There are no dire warnings about how the Devil would strike us bad pennies… I still remember how we stuffed handkerchiefs (yes they were a thing once) in our mouths or we would be caned if found laughing. This show is like summer rain: refreshing, funny, relevant, and simply brilliant. That Gillian Anderson plays mom should make you more than happy.
Kingdom | It's the softest diplomacy ever! BTS on Spotify and Korean shows on Netflix. Not only do they do crime shows and love stories and family dramas well, their period pieces are simply marvelous. The setting is elaborate, the costumes are amazing, and the stories can give our love for saas bahu dramas a run for their money. This show combines Zombies with period drama. What else could you want?
Kingdom | It's the softest diplomacy ever! BTS on Spotify and Korean shows on Netflix. Not only do they do crime shows and love stories and family dramas well, their period pieces are simply marvelous. The setting is elaborate, the costumes are amazing, and the stories can give our love for saas bahu dramas a run for their money. This show combines Zombies with period drama. What else could you want?
Criminal | The setting is deceptively simple: an interview room with four chairs and cameras that record the conversation, an observation room behind that mirrored wall manned by police officers who frantically do background research. And a corridor with vending machines that work when kicked. The show is so universal, you can transplant the room from the UK to France and Germany and Spain and the solid writing will keep you occupied. The acting, the stories are so good, you will forget that bowl of popcorn sitting next to you. I’m hoping they’ll come to India too.
Criminal | The setting is deceptively simple: an interview room with four chairs and cameras that record the conversation, an observation room behind that mirrored wall manned by police officers who frantically do background research. And a corridor with vending machines that work when kicked. The show is so universal, you can transplant the room from the UK to France and Germany and Spain and the solid writing will keep you occupied. The acting, the stories are so good, you will forget that bowl of popcorn sitting next to you. I’m hoping they’ll come to India too.
American Vandal | Wait, what? That was my first reaction when I watched this show, and then the smile would not leave my face. They took crime and turned this most watched genre upside down and made it stand on its head. It’s smart, it’s clever and has no equal. There are two delightful seasons and I recommend you watch as much of this ‘cool’ show as you can. I must confess that as always I watched the first episode waiting for it to seriously find who-dun-it without reading reviews first. Realised that the clever filmmakers were laughing at all of us who are steeped into cop shows from all around the world, waiting for the bad guys to be either put away or shot in ‘encounters’. They showed us a mirror. And I’m glad for it.
American Vandal | Wait, what? That was my first reaction when I watched this show, and then the smile would not leave my face. They took crime and turned this most watched genre upside down and made it stand on its head. It’s smart, it’s clever and has no equal. There are two delightful seasons and I recommend you watch as much of this ‘cool’ show as you can. I must confess that as always I watched the first episode waiting for it to seriously find who-dun-it without reading reviews first. Realised that the clever filmmakers were laughing at all of us who are steeped into cop shows from all around the world, waiting for the bad guys to be either put away or shot in ‘encounters’. They showed us a mirror. And I’m glad for it.
Indian Matchmaking | Didn’t you feel left out when everyone and their aunty was discussing Seema aunty’s matchmaking services that went global? Young women got mad at anyone who said they needed to be ‘flexible’, people snickered when dunking biscuits in their tea as Seema Taparia, matchmaker for rich Indians said,’Marriages nowadays are like biscuits, they keep breaking.’ It is a show that everyone loved to hate. But it brought to light how unbelievably regressive Indian society can be. Before you start collecting sarees for your daughter or decide who your ‘raja beta’ is to marry, watch this show and then invest in your child’s education instead. Break the norms!
Indian Matchmaking | Didn’t you feel left out when everyone and their aunty was discussing Seema aunty’s matchmaking services that went global? Young women got mad at anyone who said they needed to be ‘flexible’, people snickered when dunking biscuits in their tea as Seema Taparia, matchmaker for rich Indians said,’Marriages nowadays are like biscuits, they keep breaking.’ It is a show that everyone loved to hate. But it brought to light how unbelievably regressive Indian society can be. Before you start collecting sarees for your daughter or decide who your ‘raja beta’ is to marry, watch this show and then invest in your child’s education instead. Break the norms!
Ugly Delicious | What is the point of recommending shows to you if you cannot take a food break? There are many wonderful shows that celebrate food, this one shows you the secrets behind great food across countries and tells you it’s okay to eat the contents of that instant noodle pack in fun new ways...And it helps because Chef David Chang has the best dimples. The foods that he helps you discover will guide you on that next trip you are planning for when flying to fabulous places becomes okay again.
Ugly Delicious | What is the point of recommending shows to you if you cannot take a food break? There are many wonderful shows that celebrate food, this one shows you the secrets behind great food across countries and tells you it’s okay to eat the contents of that instant noodle pack in fun new ways...And it helps because Chef David Chang has the best dimples. The foods that he helps you discover will guide you on that next trip you are planning for when flying to fabulous places becomes okay again.
The Umbrella Academy | One is super strong, one is super old, one can put thoughts into your head, one can jump through time and space and one can destroy it all… These are very different superheroes and this original series is one of the coolest you will watch on Netflix. They are supposed to be siblings and they are caught in time. As all superhero stories go, the plot has so many twists and turns, you cannot place your loyalty to one. You end up liking all of them. That’s impossible, you might say, but watch this show because no other superhero show gets into your head as this one does…
The Umbrella Academy | One is super strong, one is super old, one can put thoughts into your head, one can jump through time and space and one can destroy it all… These are very different superheroes and this original series is one of the coolest you will watch on Netflix. They are supposed to be siblings and they are caught in time. As all superhero stories go, the plot has so many twists and turns, you cannot place your loyalty to one. You end up liking all of them. That’s impossible, you might say, but watch this show because no other superhero show gets into your head as this one does…
Night On Earth | Have you ever wondered what happens outside in nature when you’re safely ensconced in your home, tucked up for the night? This is by far one of the best series you will ever see about nature. A close second to magic that is Earth you will discover on Moving Art (also on Netflix), but stunning simply because it captures the inhabitants of our planet at night. The series has been shot in the dark, and you will experience the magic of technology that helps us see scorpions and poisonous frogs and how Cheetahs hunt. But my heart went out to baby seals trying to stay alive at night from all kinds of predators...
Night On Earth | Have you ever wondered what happens outside in nature when you’re safely ensconced in your home, tucked up for the night? This is by far one of the best series you will ever see about nature. A close second to magic that is Earth you will discover on Moving Art (also on Netflix), but stunning simply because it captures the inhabitants of our planet at night. The series has been shot in the dark, and you will experience the magic of technology that helps us see scorpions and poisonous frogs and how Cheetahs hunt. But my heart went out to baby seals trying to stay alive at night from all kinds of predators...
Mindhunter | ‘Are criminals born or are they created?’ If you love solving puzzles, want to know why did someone murder and not just how and whodunit, then you will enjoy understanding how the FBI created a marvelous system which helped them catch serial killers and brutal muderers. I love crime shows, I love it when the good guys catch bad guys especially when all the odds stacked against them. The bad guys have deep pockets, lawyers that help them get off from paying their debt to humanity, and they don’t care who knows it. When some kill for pleasure, and others because they can, how do they put them away? This show takes you back to the days when the brave chaps in the FBI had to convince their own that profiling will help catch criminals.
Mindhunter | ‘Are criminals born or are they created?’ If you love solving puzzles, want to know why did someone murder and not just how and whodunit, then you will enjoy understanding how the FBI created a marvelous system which helped them catch serial killers and brutal muderers. I love crime shows, I love it when the good guys catch bad guys especially when all the odds stacked against them. The bad guys have deep pockets, lawyers that help them get off from paying their debt to humanity, and they don’t care who knows it. When some kill for pleasure, and others because they can, how do they put them away? This show takes you back to the days when the brave chaps in the FBI had to convince their own that profiling will help catch criminals.
Marriage Story | This film had Oscar winning writing and performances written all over when it showed up on our screens in 2019 at the Mumbai International Film Festival. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanson are a once perfect couple discovering that they each need to write their own story before they can be divorced. How families are torn apart and loyalties need to be established and how lawyers can make things difficult when they’re trying to turn marriage into a ‘deal’. This will remain one of the brightest and the saddest films made about a marriage falling apart. And yes, Oscar worthy performance by the incredible Laura Dern in her red stilettos will teach you what screen presence is.
Marriage Story | This film had Oscar winning writing and performances written all over when it showed up on our screens in 2019 at the Mumbai International Film Festival. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanson are a once perfect couple discovering that they each need to write their own story before they can be divorced. How families are torn apart and loyalties need to be established and how lawyers can make things difficult when they’re trying to turn marriage into a ‘deal’. This will remain one of the brightest and the saddest films made about a marriage falling apart. And yes, Oscar worthy performance by the incredible Laura Dern in her red stilettos will teach you what screen presence is.
The Trial Of Chicago 7 | ‘Give me a moment, will you friend, I’ve never been on trial for my thoughts before.’ Aaron Sorkin proves it to the world that his writing can resonate with the world. The young men who led the protests were standing up to the government who wanted to send more young men to fight a cause lost thousands of miles away in Vietnam. The government was using everything in its power to silence them. With beatings with batons, tear gas and arrests by cops in riot gear to unfair trials in openly biased courts, will truth ever come out? This film needs to be seen because it can inspire us across borders, across time to stand up and say out loud, ‘We the people…’
The Trial Of Chicago 7 | ‘Give me a moment, will you friend, I’ve never been on trial for my thoughts before.’ Aaron Sorkin proves it to the world that his writing can resonate with the world. The young men who led the protests were standing up to the government who wanted to send more young men to fight a cause lost thousands of miles away in Vietnam. The government was using everything in its power to silence them. With beatings with batons, tear gas and arrests by cops in riot gear to unfair trials in openly biased courts, will truth ever come out? This film needs to be seen because it can inspire us across borders, across time to stand up and say out loud, ‘We the people…’
Yeh Ballet | You’ve seen boys dance bhangra at weddings and do the Bollywood song and dance thing at college fests and TV talent hunt shows. And that seems fine! But ballet? And boys? Are they going to wear pink tutus? What is going on here?! Director Sooni Taraporewala and Roy Kapur Films bring you a marvelous story of passion and how to defy a bigoted society and follow your dreams. Two boys, both fabulously talented dancers, rise beyond their upbringing and touch the stars. This is a true story and a brilliant film. One of the best reasons to subscribe to OTT platforms because then you can smile into your coffee and at once cry into your popcorn in the privacy of your home.
Yeh Ballet | You’ve seen boys dance bhangra at weddings and do the Bollywood song and dance thing at college fests and TV talent hunt shows. And that seems fine! But ballet? And boys? Are they going to wear pink tutus? What is going on here?! Director Sooni Taraporewala and Roy Kapur Films bring you a marvelous story of passion and how to defy a bigoted society and follow your dreams. Two boys, both fabulously talented dancers, rise beyond their upbringing and touch the stars. This is a true story and a brilliant film. One of the best reasons to subscribe to OTT platforms because then you can smile into your coffee and at once cry into your popcorn in the privacy of your home.
Unorthodox | What can you say about a young woman brought up in a world of orthodox beliefs and strict codes of life, if she wants to run away and sing? If you thought the world you live in has too many rules and very few freedoms, then be inspired by the story of Esty, a young Jewish girl who has been forced to marry according to custom and needs to escape this loveless prison she finds herself in. She makes a daring escape and society sets all kinds of traps to bring her back… This makes a powerful statement against organised religion and its excesses. And yet, it will make you sing. (Copyright of all images belong to Netflix Inc.)
Unorthodox | What can you say about a young woman brought up in a world of orthodox beliefs and strict codes of life, if she wants to run away and sing? If you thought the world you live in has too many rules and very few freedoms, then be inspired by the story of Esty, a young Jewish girl who has been forced to marry according to custom and needs to escape this loveless prison she finds herself in. She makes a daring escape and society sets all kinds of traps to bring her back… This makes a powerful statement against organised religion and its excesses. And yet, it will make you sing. (Copyright of all images belong to Netflix Inc.)
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication.
first published: Dec 4, 2020 03:21 pm

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