Daniel Falconer, Entertainment Editor: It’s been an incredible start to the decade for Netflix. January has been packed full of new releases, with returning favourites Sex Education and YOU proving to be the perfect escape from the usual traumas of the real world! Both utterly different from one another, each made a comeback for a second season, earning critical acclaim thanks to the slick and witty writing, as well as stunning performances and unexpected twists and turns.
Let’s start with Sex Education. Ever since its debut season back in January 2019, audiences have been wondering exactly where the stories of the socially awkward teenagers at sixth form would go, following the explosive realisation from Maeve (Emma Mackey) that she did have feelings for Otis (Asa Butterfield). We also saw Adam (Connor Swindells) exploring his sexual identity after getting caught up in a tryst with Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), before being shipped off to military school by his mentally-abusive father.
With so many different paths to go down, creator Laurie Nunn was going to have to pull off a miracle to impress all those viewers returning for Season 2. Fortunately, that’s exactly what she’s done, even surpassing the quality of the first season with the exploration and in-series discussion of taboo topics, which are handled appropriately with care.
Meanwhile, over in the second season of YOU, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) has his sights set on a new woman after escaping the clutches of his ex, who he thought he’d murdered before the events of Season 1 even took place! Of course, nothing is ever that easy for Joe. He’s a psychotic stalker, who will do anything for what he calls ‘love’. In an odd turn of events, the new lady he’s fallen for is actually called Love (Victoria Pedretti). Her family and the Los Angeles environment he’s now forced to become embedded within however, will prove to be some of the most challenging life changes he’s ever faced.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all in YOU, the show manages to shock and surprise you in different ways. It’s a thrill ride from beginning to end, and I for one cannot wait to see what the third season has in-store.
Tiny House Nation
Lucy Walton-Lange, Editor: In searching for shows on minimalism, I came across Tiny House Nation, a story about people who are downsizing from a typically-sized American home to one a fraction of its size. Some want to reduce their carbon footprint, other couples are desperate to pay off debts, there are younger tiny house seekers who want to travel and there are couples whose aim it is to give something back to their family or local community. Every episode features a family or single who have good reason to go small.
Even if you aren’t looking to move into a tiny house, the show is engrossing all the same. The storage and practical solutions that renovation experts and hosts of the show John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin come up with are both fascinating and astonishing. They visit the family and tailor each tiny home to suit the individual needs of the people who will be living in them. It’s heart-warming and addictive proving a life with less is something great.
With season one and two already on offer, here’s hoping Netflix will secure seasons three through five so we can continue on our Tiny House viewing journey!
Grace and Frankie
You know when names like Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Marta Kauffman (Friends) appear in the opening titles of a show, you are onto something amazing.
Grace and Frankie are friends for no other reason than their husbands are business partners - they have nothing else in common. Grace is a poised and immaculately presented socialite while Frankie is a hippy who prefers a night in making her own personal lubricant than conversing with other people.
However when their other halves announce that they are leaving their wives for each other, the pair are thrown together and forced to forge an unlikely bond.
The script soars along from the first scene and the interplay between the characters of Grace and Frankie is the perfect balance of acerbic and sympathetic, which is perfectly executed by these two acting greats. Definitely one for Galentine’s Day and with six seasons on Netflix for the taking, you won’t be searching for your next bingeing fix any time soon.
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