What to stream on Netflix

A sci-fi teen drama, a scandalous period piece and an LGBTQ+ romantic comedy highlight Netflix’s best offerings.

INDIANAPOLIS — The COVID-19 pandemic halted production on many movies and TV shows in 2020, prompting an influx of original content two years later.

With so much to see in so little time, here’s what to watch on Netflix.

“Bridgerton” (2 seasons, 16 episodes)

You’re cordially invited to see how quickly you can enjoy this outrageous period series, with each season focusing on a sibling from the titular family.

It’s true that “Bridgerton” starts slowly with so many families/characters/stories to follow, but episodes 3 or 4 will have you hooked. Think of it as a mix of “Downton Abbey” and the provocative nature of other Shonda Rhimes shows. like “Scandal” or “Grey’s Anatomy”.

“Bridgerton” has been renewed for a third and fourth season.

For those who like: “The Crown”, “Downton Abbey”, “Scandal”

“The Circle” (4 seasons, 51 episodes)

Let’s get this straight: “The Circle” is much better than Netflix dating reality shows “Love Is Blind” and “Too Hot to Handle.”

For those who haven’t watched, the reality competition centers on a group of strangers competing for $100,000 via a social media app to present themselves however they want.

“The Circle” has been renewed for a fifth season.

For those who like: “Big Brother”, “Love is blind”, “Survivor”

“Cobra Kai” (4 seasons, 40 episodes)

Confession: I had never seen any of “The Karate Kid” movies as of 2021. I wanted to see the first three movies before watching the series, and would highly recommend it as well, as there are references to all three in the show.

The series is set more than 30 years after the movies and follows former bad boy Johnny Lawrence, who has been down on his luck since his glory days in high school. Meanwhile, Daniel LaRusso has taken the opposite tide and made a name for himself in suburban Los Angeles.

It’s great to see the former child actors reprise their roles later in this fun, action-packed adventure!

The fifth season of “Cobra Kai” will premiere in its entirety on September 9.

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For those who like: “Big Shot”, “The Fighter”, “Warrior”

“Heartstopper” (1 season, 8 episodes)

Based on the young adult LGBTQ+ graphic novel and webcomic series, “Heartstopper” follows an openly gay high school sophomore (Joe Locke) who falls in love with his athletic classmate (Kit Connor).

Here’s a coming-of-age show the whole family will enjoy—without the sex, drugs, alcohol, or profanity—for its infectious charm and outstanding lessons on acceptance.

“Heartstopper” has been renewed for a second and third season.

For those who like: “Border Seventeen”, “Love Simon”, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”

“Inventing Anna” (9 episodes)

I will try to ignore the fact that Netflix paid Anna Sorokin $320,000, more than she swindled her victims, for the rights to tell her story, which was allegedly used to pay restitution and legal fees.

Julia Garner (“Ozark”) plays the Russian swindler, who posed as a wealthy German heiress and defrauded banks, hotels and acquaintances.

Fair warning: the episodes are long, with the shortest at 59 minutes and the longest at 82 minutes. Despite the somewhat cluttered storytelling and overacting, “Inventing Anna” is a worthwhile true-crime limited series about one woman’s persistent desire for a lavish lifestyle.

For those who like: ‘The Dropout’, ‘I Care A Lot’, ‘WeCrashed’

“Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” (4 episodes)

It is hard to imagine that some of these crimes within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints occurred less than 20 years ago.

Netflix’s four-part documentary series examines Mormonism within the polygamous Jeffs family, led by Rulon and Warren Jeffs, who had dozens of wives as a means to attain the highest form of salvation.

Featuring never-before-seen footage and testimonials from FLDS wives and members, “Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” is a haunting and riveting look at a real-life horror story.

For those who like: “Our Father”, “Incredible”, “Under the Flag of Heaven”

“MAID” (10 episodes)

The perseverance of a single mother to provide for her daughter is unmatched.

Margaret Qualley (“Fosse/Verdon,” “Novitiate”) stars alongside her mother, Andie MacDowell (“Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Groundhog Day”) in the powerful limited series inspired by Stephanie Land’s memoir about a woman who leaves her emotionally abusive boyfriend (Nick Robinson) and finds work as a maid.

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My recommendation is that you take your time with all 10 episodes instead of a weekend binge due to the touchy but necessary subject matter.

For those who like: “Incredible”, “The Unforgivable”, “Unorthodox”

“I never” (2 seasons, 20 episodes)

Who knew that the people of India loved the “bad boy” of tennis, John McEnroe? The seven-time Grand Slam champion hilariously recounts Devi Vishwakumar’s (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) journey through high school shortly after her father’s death.

There’s no “sophomore slump” to the coming-of-age comedy, as Devi continues to struggle with her dating conquests and overbearing mother (Poorna Jagannathan).

The third season of “Never Have I Ever” will be released in its entirety on August 12, with a fourth and final season scheduled for 2023.

For those who like: “The Edge of Seventeen”, “PEN15”, “She’s All That”

“Stranger Things” (4 seasons, 34 episodes)

On July 15, 2016, the Duffer Brothers’ sci-fi drama debuted on Netflix, and the rest is history.

Six years later, “Stranger Things” has become a global phenomenon, focusing on a group of kids in a fictional Indiana town in the 1980s as they try to solve mysteries and put a stop to supernatural events.

“Stranger Things” has been renewed for a fifth and final season.

For those who like: “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, “ET the Alien”, “The Goonies”

“Decoupled” (8 episodes)

How is one (Neil Patrick Harris) supposed to get back into the dating pool in Manhattan after being abruptly dumped by his long-term partner (Tuc Watkins) of 17 years?

Harris (“Doogie Howser, MD” “How I Met Your Mother”) shines in the title role, effortlessly balancing comedy and emotional trauma as she navigates her midlife crisis. He won’t be surprised if he spends four hours watching the romantic comedy in one sitting.

For those who like: Loot”, “Queer as Folk”, “Sex and the City”

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