Netflix show you need to watch that are NOT The Office, Parks and Recreation or Gossip Girl by renee wang

Small spoilers appear in some descriptions of the shows

Umbrella Academy

As a long time fan of the “X-Men” series, I love the “Umbrella Academy” and it has become one of my favorite shows. In 1989, 43 babies were born to women who have shown no signs of pregnancies. Seven of these babies are adopted by a billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves who harnesses the superpowers of the children to assemble a crime-fighting team. One of the children, a violinist named Vanya, is said to have no powers and is isolated from her siblings.

Years later, the family reunites at the funeral of Hargreaves and must work together once more over the looming threat of an apocalypse.

The characters all have a variety of powers, which makes the fighting scenes extremely entrancing and engaging. The superpowers include super strength, mind control and time travel. Aside from the superpowers, what this show touches well on are complex family dynamics.

As a large group of people raised for a purpose ahead of their wellbeing, the theme of family dysfunction and dealing with the aftermaths of being raised by a less than ideal parent are evident. The characters grapple with not feeling good enough to their siblings, always seeking approval from a parent and what it's like being branded a “screwup.”

The Politician

“The Politician” is created by Ryan Murphy, who also created “Glee.” There are several similar elements between the two shows such as the occasional breaking out in song and a sense of surrealism in an otherwise very real setting.

The show follows a high school election for student body president, except these students give it their all and the race is almost akin to an actual presidency. The fact that it draws some interesting parallels to real elections demonstrated through high school nuances serves an interesting mix and a lesson I cannot quite put my finger on.

The season follows the main character Payton all throughout his high school years to college, and what I applaud Murphy’s direction with this storyline is that it is very realistic. Payton, the most ambitious character, does succumb to alcoholism in the last episode and the story of an over-achiever who dedicates his life to one goal but fails is very relatable. “The Politician” does not follow an upward trajectory where everything is ultimately resolved at the end like most fictional series, but rather an up-and-down climb just like life.

Kim's Convenience

“Kim’s Convenience” follows the Kim family who runs a convenience store in a diverse neighborhood in Canada. The show explores a myriad of both family and cultural dynamics in an apt comedic way. There is the division between the younger and older generations and a clash between Candian and Korean cultures.The plot covers how this division affects both the older generation who immigrated to a new country and the younger generation who live their whole life in a country apart from their parent’s.

What Kim’s Convenience does expertly is relay the subtle Asian family dynamic that I definitely picked up on as an Asian-American. The most notable example is the father’s estranged relationship with his son, and how certain cultural factors worsen their relationship despite the fact that the two deeply care for each other.

Furthermore, the show depicts the parent’s relationship in a wonderfully dimensional way. While Asian characters are rare on television, elderly Asian characters are even rarer. The marriage between the parents is a good relay into the way that for some couples, it is the smaller, more “practical” actions that signify love over the more showy and affectionate Western portrayal.

Ultimately, “Kim’s Convenience” adeptly portrays Asian people beyond a blanket stereotype and is expert in exploring different nuances of Asian culture while still making it relatable to a broader audience.

Billy on the Street with Billy Eichner

Billy Eichner’s talk show is perhaps the most iconic thing I have ever watched in my life. You may know Billy Eichner as Craig Middlebrooks, the character who more often than not screamed his lines in “Parks and Recreation.” I’ll admit, Billy Eichner’s loud, in-your-face humor is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea.

But give him a chance and he may be your favorite person. “Billy on the Street” is outrageous in the very best way. This fast-paced on the street talk show has Eichner sometimes getting into arguments with New Yorkers. His two games, “Quizzed in the Face” and “For A Dollar” require participants to answer based on Eichner’s liking. There are no rules, and everything is to Eichner’s whim.

And, if you thought his interactions with everyday people are funny, wait until you watch his interviews with celebrities. His interviewing style involves running up to a random person, screaming a question and running away before a person can answer him as the celebrity trails behind. The taken-aback look of these celebrities is priceless; whether it is the cast of “This is Us” or Mariah Carey, Eichner gives no effs.

Hart of Dixie

Fans of romcoms will enjoy this soapy show with a Southern charm. “Hart of Dixie'' follows doctor Zoe Hart who uproots herself from her glamorous New York life to a small town in Alabama, where a stranger leaves her half of his medical practice.


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