The Netflix bingewatchers’ guide: Comedy
Winter has come and gone, Game of Thrones is nearly at an end, and summer is on the way. Now it’s about time for us to sit in our air-conditioned boxes and start a summer of bingewatching.
Who cares if we used up all our vacation days attending comic cons and TV premiere parties? With so many great comedy shows to stream on Netflix, we’ll happily be on staycation all summer.
We therefore humbly present you with our Netflix bingewatchers’ special, comedy edition. Sorry in advance for your eye strain.
A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017 – )
Looking like a mescaline fever of Tim Burton-esque proportions, the updated Netflix Originals take on Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the now-classic tale of three orphans – Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Sunny (Presley Smith) Baudelaire – who are investigating their parents’ mysterious death.
The siblings are saddled with an evil guardian named Count Olaf (curiously performed by Neil Patrick Harris), who will do whatever it takes to get his hands on the Baudelaires’ inheritance.
If you’re of the young adult variety or you just loved the books and are looking to recreate some of the magic you felt during simpler times, this rendition of the story is a weird and wonderful masterpiece – a visually delightful treat that offers an equally whimsical story filled with dry, gothic humor.
A Very Secret Service (2015 – )
A Very Secret Service is often featured in the top ten of any international Netflix Originals list: a French dramedy series created by Jean-François Halin and produced by Gilles de Verdière that follows hapless rookie agent André Merleau who, during the height of the Cold War, joins the French Secret Service and contends with enemies both foreign and bureaucratic.
The laughs from this political parody are effortless, using its setting as a tool to poke fun at the inept bureaucracy and eye-roll-worthy office affairs, all while somehow making the heaviest of topics light with its spy-themed action & comedy. It’s feverishly funny, ferociously French, and a fantastic farce.
Alexa & Katie (2018 – )
Created by Heather Wordham with comedy veteran Matthew Carlson serving as showrunner, Alexa & Katie (Paris Berelc & Isabel May) tells the story of two lifelong best friends eagerly anticipating the start of their freshman year of high school.
A massive wrench is thrown into the works when Alexa finds out she’s got cancer, proving there are some things even more complicated & heartwrenching than trying to navigate through kidulthood.
Alexa & Katie is not only lauded for its stunning portrayal of tight female friendship, but also its narrative centered on serious illness – a topic not often broached among young television characters. Alexa is fighting cancer, but it isn’t her only definable trait.
As the story progresses, we see the two friends motivated by similar experiences – crushes, passions, and friendship – only they’ve got an extra battle on their hands. While Alexa & Katie eschews the gritty reality of the illness and borders on simplistic sitcom territory narrative, it’s still refreshing to see a TV show on a mainstream platform putting such topics front & center into the public eye.
American Vandal (2017)
We’re well aware many people thought American Vandal was an absolutely genius metacomedy offering a satirical take on true crime obsession, but quite frankly we thought it was kinda mediocre, and kinda obvious.
We’re all for spoofs on societal trends, but this mockumentary on the surprising success of such shows as Making a Murderer was so formulaic that it came across as the television equivalent of a comic who sees a pair of dogs humping and remarks, “Gee, ain’t that funny!”
Perhaps we missed the mark, though: American Vandal was a sleeper hit, drawing so much acclaim it even bagged a Peabody Award. Don’t get us wrong, it has its moments – but by creating a parody on one of Netflix’s most bankable genres, we think there was opportunity to do so much more.
Arrested Development (2003 – )
The recent Arrested Development resurrection was a little lackluster, adding proof that some things are better left in the past (particularly when you’ve got such dark clouds as Jeffrey Tambor and his questionable return hanging over a project).
However, the first four seasons centering on the hopeless and therefore hopelessly funny Bluth family were pure genius, standing up as one of Netflix’s best original comedy shows even to this day.
Shoutout to the nevernude Tobias (stunningly portrayed by David Cross) for giving us such one-liners as “I just blue myself” and “I was an analyst and a therapist; the world’s first analrapist”, and to Lucille for teaching us that it’s always okay to enjoy a vodka rocks for breakfast – so long as you enjoy it with a slice of toast. Chin-chin!
Atypical (2017 – )
Netflix’s coming-of-age dramedy is still heavily debated over its paint-by-numbers depiction of autism, explored via its central character Sam (Keir Gilchrist) and the effect his condition has on his loved ones.
Atypical does try a little too hard to present autism in a frank way, but it winds up feeling a little on-the-nose in its generic sitcom setting. The first season sees Sam trying to find a girlfriend. However, trying to enjoy the life of a regular 18-year-old proves difficult when you’ve got a condition whereby certain emotions and empathy are learned rather than instinctive.
The initial episodes see Gilchrist giving a compelling performance alongside his on-screen parents (Jennifer Jason Leigh & Michael Rapaport), protective sister Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine), and therapist Julia (Amy Okuda), whose advice often clashes with Sam’s mom’s perspective.
While the humor on first appearances gave a lightness to its subject matter, the quality of writing steadily declines as the characters continually make bad decisions and the show loses an edge possible if the showrunners had taken on writing talents with real-life experience of the condition in question.
Big Mouth (2017 – )
Netflix has built up a solid collection of adult animated comedies and Big Mouth is a welcome addition to the slate. Showing that going through puberty ain’t great even for a cartoon character, this show from the creative talents of Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett follows a group of teenage friends who find their lives upended by the wonders and horrors of that time when hair starts to grow everywhere.
Big Mouth is undeniably hilarious, particularly since literally every viewer from all walks of life can relate to that awkward moment in their lives. But what gave it a legit spot in our hearts is that it wasn’t just jokes about boners, boobs, and masturbation rituals (although those were some well-received silliness); it also contained a surprising amount of emotion and pathos when exploring the stories of each character and their family ties.
Plus Maya Rudolph as the Hormone Monstress is everything!
BoJack Horseman (2014 – )
Netflix Originals animated show BoJack Horseman sits right at the top of the rankings. Sardonically, wittily dry and emotionally wrenching, delving as they do into some darker topics associated with the human experience, Bojack and his anthropomorphic buddies continue to delight fans & critics alike with sharp satire and deconstructions of Hollywood (or rather, Hollywoo).
In addition to Lisa Hanawalt’s impeccable graphics, Bojack’s solid script writing contains oodles of wordplay, subtle social commentaries, and celebrity takedowns. Bojack is notable because, unlike many other shows that romanticize the torment of depression, it presents mental illness in an honest, raw, and frank way.
It all culminates in one of Netflix’s most critically lauded original shows, one that you should always make time to binge or rebinge on a hungover Saturday morning.
Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent!) (2015 – )
Call My Agent! is a gem of a show from creator Fanny Herrero you’d be well worth tuning into if you like your comedies sharp and smart. Set in Paris, Dix Pour Cent plunges us into the madcap world of talent agents, as we follow a group of movie star agents who must figure out how to go about their lives and work after the passing of their fearless leader.
Much like Ricky Gervais’s Extras, the show features a feast of A-list actor cameos playing exaggerated versions of themselves. It’s an innovative satire on the industry and its issues that at times plays out like a soap opera, though elevated by engrossing stories, witty dialogue, and stunning performances from its core cast including Camille Cottin, Liliane Rovère, Grégory Montel, and Thibault de Montalembert.
Club de Cuervos (Club of Crows) (2015 – )
From the creators of the Mexican dark comedy film We Are the Nobles comes Club de Cuervos a.k.a. Club of Crows – a show blending comedy and drama with tact and style.
Club of Crows was a trailblazer for Netflix when it started, presenting the battle between a brother and sister as they cope with the expectations of inheriting a soccer team. As well as being a truly entertaining watch, Club of Crows features unbelievably solid performances from a strong cast including Luis Gerardo Méndez (Time Share), Mariana Treviño (Luciana), and Antonio de la Vega (The Lord of the Skies).
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer but with bad language and a down-to-earth attitude to sex and romance” – you can’t go wrong with a description like that. Crazyhead came and went relatively unnoticed and it’s not hard to see why – a British B-movie style comedy-horror from Misfits creator Howard Overman, it’s a niche show to say the least.
A dark comedy about an unlikely duo of demon hunters (Cara Theobold and Susan Wokoma) isn’t exactly a critics darling – but its gags come in thick and fast in this horror romp that at once explores female friendship while also pumping in action sequences and some delightfully campy gore.
Cuckoo (2012 – )
Dad humor comedian Greg Davies stars in this Brit sitcom which, despite being aggressively unfunny, seems to keep going. About a girl who comes home from her gap-year with a “free-spirited” new husband (he’s got a beard and likes to remind people of his redundant and superficial experience of spirituality) and causes her pearl-clutching parents a whole world of bother, Cuckoo just misses the mark.
If you’re looking for something of this Brit comedy beat but is far less annoying, check out The Inbetweeners or Fresh Meat. Or watch the whole thing and risk going cuckoo!
Dear White People (2017 – )
The second season of Netflix’s Dear White People turned out to be even better than the first, about a group of students of color at Winchester University – a predominantly white Ivy League college – as they are faced with a torrent of cultural bias, social injustice, and slippery politics.
Justin Simien’s dramedy takes a lot on its shoulders by tasking itself with satirizing modern-day racial tensions, but it does so with all the effortless vigor of a bodybuilder on a good day, avoiding on-the-nose commentaries and utilizing the stories of its characters to create a gripping and poignant statement on the discrimination of minorities found in society today. In the words of every one of its characters, Dear White People is as woke as they come.
Derek (2012 – 2014)
One of the most underrated works of Brit comedian Ricky Gervais, Derek is a mockumentary-style comedy follows a group of outsiders living on the fringe of society.
At the core is Derek (played by Gervais) – a naive and undeniably kind-hearted soul who works at a retirement home, alongside his buddy (although he wouldn’t call him that) Dougie (Karl Pilkington, of course) and workplace soulmate / protector Hannah (Kerry Godliman).
Like many of Gervais’s preceding shows – The Office, Extras, and Life’s Too Short – there’s a level of human emotion at the heart of the narrative that’ll have you reaching for the tissues to mop up those tears (whether they be from joy, sorrow, or sheer laughter). It might not be the best show in the comedian’s canon, but it certainly is worth a watch if you haven’t already.
Disjointed (2017 – 2018)
Netflix’s Disjointed was cancelled are just one season and rightly so – we wept for Kathy Bates (Misery) when this mess of a show hit our screens back in 2017. There are no words to suitably express how utterly dreadful this one-note comedy about a marijuana dispensary is.
For a show about highs, it’s full of lows; as CNN astutely put it, “There’s not enough weed in the Golden State to wring consistent laughs from a show that’s mostly as stale as an unwashed bong.” Don’t watch this especially when high, unless you want to totally twist that melon in the wrong direction.
Easy (2016 – )
Described as Netflix’s most “Netflixy” show ever, Easy features a parade of flawed, self-interested sadsacks living in Chicago while trying to navigate through a modern tangle of love, sex, technology, and culture.
Written & directed by Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies), it’s a unique and charming watch, offering self-contained stories that always manage to reach some sort of meaningful resolution at the end. It also boasts an all-star cast including Orlando Bloom, Dave Franco, Elizabeth Reaser, Zazie Beats, and our Broad City lover Hannibal Buress, among others.
Everything Sucks! (2018)
We think it’s a shame that Netflix cancelled this coming-of-age nostalgic throwback after just one season. In a sea of mediocre Netflix Originals, it’s maddening that a show with so much quirk, humor, and heart wouldn’t at least be given another season to explore and develop its story and characters further.
While it wasn’t perfect, the show hailed from writers Ben York Jones & Michael Mohan was reminiscent of NBC’s Freaks and Geeks, following two groups of high school misfits – an audiovisual club and a drama club – as they collided in 1996 Oregon. For those on the favorable side of the review pool (us included), the show was a charming throwback to an era that echoed many of our childhoods. The fact that it was axed so soon proves that everything really does suck. (Grrr, first world problems!)
F is for Family (2015 – )
F is for Family is a show that we loathe to compare to Bojack Horseman but also can’t help but doing so – not only for is similar graphic design, but for walking the line between light and dark, humor and misery. Set in the 70s, this adult cartoon is inspired by the life of stand-up comic Bill Burr, who is a co-creator and executive producer of the series.
The Burr-inspired Frank is the male patriarch of the family who sit at the center of the show, highlighting domestic horrors and the effects of emotional abuse (but in a totally light-hearted manner).
Taking us back to a “different time, when men were men”, F is for Family is a satirical play on the sitcom family tropes we still see in TV shows today while also being a show that glaringly emphasizes the destructive behavior that seemed normal in the 70s but is horrifying today.
Flaked (2016 – )
Arrested Development’s Mitchell Hurwitz executive produces this show in which Will Arnett (also of Arrested Development fame) plays yet another broken thirty-something – in the case of Flaked, a recovering alcoholic who is forced to face reality after a life changing accident in Venice Beach, California.
If you’re sick of seeing insufferable manboys who try to act funny but are in fact more entitled and irritating that they have any right to be, Flaked is not for you. The male friendship portrayed Chip (Arnett, who is also a co-writer and co-creator) and Dennis (David Sullivan) is kinda promising, but ultimately the show lacks originality and is simply another exploration into a stunted white male who has a hard time growing the fuck up.
Friends from College (2017 – )
As soon as we’d watched this show, we wanted to wave goodbye to its characters and forget we ever knew them in the same way we did with our friends from college.
Friends from College is a ridiculously one-dimensional portrait into a group of 40-somethings who were once friends at Harvard college, Friends from College details their interwoven and “complicated” relationships with each other (one’s having an affair with another one – OMG!), exploring friends, romance, and nostalgia for better (easier) times.
The character development is so piss poor in this sitcom from Nicholas Stoller, it’s impossible to root for any of them. There’s not a lot else to say about this terrible excuse for a comedy series aside from don’t watch it. Oh yeah, and it was once described as an “arsehole safari”, which is probably the best thing about the entire show.
Fuller House (2016 – )
Ugh. Fuller House is almost a parody of itself: a suburban, Aryan wasteland of tired family sitcom cliches, canned laughter, one-dimensional characters, and rehashed storylines.
A sequel that no one asked for to the late 80s to early-90s show of the same name, is not worth yours, ours, or anyone’s time, containing a level of low brow wit that ignites memories of such satires as Ricky Gervais’s When the Whistle Blows in his hit meta-comedy Extras. As The Washington Post so perfectly put it, “There’s a point where nostalgia becomes more like necrophilia, and Fuller House immediately crosses that line.”
There are two ways to view this show about Sophia Amoruso and the rise of her multimillion-dollar fashion empire, Nasty Gal. You could dismiss it as a charmless waste of a good idea that’s smarmy, irritating, and incredibly poorly written. Or you could accept it for what it is – a lighthearted bingeworthy few hours of easy watching and a mindless feast for the eyes.
We’re guessing you’re leaning on the former, but if you do decide to give it a go, just be aware that Britt Robertson takes the role of Sophia and she’s got one heck of an insufferable laugh. RuPaul takes a cameo as her wine-guzzling neighbor so that’s something (although you could argue the role he’s given is a waste of his talents).
GLOW (2017 – )
Jenji Kohan’s feverishly funny Netflix Originals show is one of our fave of hers to date and is well worth your time (if you haven’t binged every single episode already). Don’t let the whole wrestling thing put you off – GLOW is so much more than just sweaty women in spandex body-slamming each other into oblivion (although we can’t deny we cherish these moments too).
A diverse cast including Alison Brie (The Disaster Artist), Sydelle Noel (Black Panther), Sunita Mani (Mr. Robot), and Britney Young (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) star as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling as they grapple with life both in and out of the ring.
This show is so full of genuine friendship, stunning action sequences, and nostalgic throwbacks to a bygone era that it will take you to the ring and bodyslam its way into your heart. Oh yeah, and the costumes are to die for.
Good Morning Call (2016 – )
If it’s trash TV you’re after, Good Morning Call is a good call. This Japanese shōjo manga series created by Yue Takasuka centers on a high school girl who finally gets her own apartment, but she has to share it with the most popular boy in school. Just imagine that were too happen in real life!? Shannon would be so jelly.
Filled with oddball humor, kawaii cuteness, and an innocent and bubbly narrative, Good Morning Call is not the show if you’re looking for originality or character stereotypes. However, it does make good use of quirky dialogue and the transitions between arcs feels natural. Perhaps we’re overthinking it – Good Morning Call is a good bit of manga fun. End of.
Grace and Frankie (2015 – )
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older? It certainly would it our winter years looked like this! About two women who are forced into flatsharing after their husbands leave them for each other, Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin star as the titular characters who begrudgingly set aside some of their differences and what blossoms is a profound, meaningful, and quite frankly hilarious friendship.
As besties in real life, Fonda and Tomlin’s on-screen chemistry is palpable and their hilarious misadventures that playout from episode to episode are at once funny and heartfelt, resulting in a show that challenges industry ageism while showing us that getting older can be pretty damn fun!
Haters Back Off (2016 – 2017)
It would appear that when it came to Netflix’s Haters Back Off, the haters won as it was cancelled after just two tumultuous seasons. We’re not surprised – unfortunately you can only replace comedy with pulling funny faces for so long until you get figured out. The story itself follows the off-the-wall family centered on a fictional YouTube star named Miranda Sings – a character created and portrayed by Colleen Ballinger, who also served as an executive producer.
Unfortunately that character turned out to be obnoxious and while it was supposed to be a parody on such YouTuber sensations who once dominated the intersphere with videos in which they cry out to “leave Britney alone” and encapsulate the awkwardness of this phenomenon, the whole idea went a little too realistic, making Ballinger’s Miranda impossible to endure for more than a few minutes. Two seasons was two season too many.
Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman (2017 – )
It’s difficult to put into words the curious appeal of Netflix’s Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman, but we’ll give it our best shot, goddammit. The series is a live-action TV dramedy adaptation of the manga series Saboriman Ametani Kantarou, starring Onoe Matsuya as a salaryman who gets by in his job as a fast and efficient employee, but the reality of it is he slacks off to fulfill his greatest desire – an obsession with sweet desserts.
As you’d imagine, its quirky, kooky, and kinda batshit, but also because the story is fictional but the places are real, Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman is surprisingly bingeable as a travelogue around the eateries of Tokyo. Food porn at its finest (and wackiest), this show will allow you to leave those worrying caps at the door so you can spend a mindless few hours simply enjoying this man enjoying sweet treats. Let him eat cake!
Lady Dynamite (2016 – 2017)
From Pam Brady and Mitch Hurwitz comes this complete mind assault of a sitcom, and while Netflix called it a day earlier this year with the decision to not move forward with the show. Maria Bamford stars as Maria Bamford.
This show is based on what Maria Bamford has accepted to be “her life.” The surreal episodes, refracted across multiple periods inspired by the actor/comedian’s life, tell the story of a woman who loses – and then finds – her s**t.
Lilyhammer (2012 – 2014)
This Norwegian-American TV show stars Steven Van Zandt about a former New York-based gangster named Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano who goes into hiding in the Norwegian town of Lillehammer after grassing up his former associates. The show marked the early days of Netflix’s TVscape domination, paving the way for such MVPs as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Stranger Things.
As a standalone work, Lilyhammer is not the streamer’s most outstanding work, but it’s definitely watchable as a character-driver dramedy with slick production that walks the line between light & dark.
Love (2016 – 2018)
From comedy master Judd Apatow, Love is far from the frothy romcom it’s pitched to be – rather more a study on flawed relationships and addiction to substances, sex, and unhealthy relationships. Love stars (our love) Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust as a couple who are very capable of fucking life up all by themselves, thank you very much.
When they strike up a relationship, it appears cursed from the start, and for three seasons the pair navigate themselves through the exhilarations and humiliations of intimacy while trying to get by in their high-flying jobs (which come with their own share of complexities).
The show proved addictive and intoxicating as its characters (particularly Jacobs’s Mickey and her kick ass style) – we’re also handing Apatow a hefty back slap for decided to call it quits at three seasons. Instead of milking that cash cow dry, Apatow saw the movie had run its course and Love was wrapped up with a tight and satisfying finale (which is more than what can be said for many TV shows today).
Master of None (2015 – )
Comic / “woke bae” Aziz Ansari and writer Alan Yang are the creators of this exceptionally executed take on modern dating, with Ansari starring as Dev, a commercial actor who struggles his way through life in the Big Apple and his pursuits both professionally and personally.
Funny, charming, and mature in its delivery, Master of None launched onto Netflix like a fine aged wine, making sharp observations on life that are both topical and thoughtful. As it progressed, we saw Dev travel to pastures new, settling in a new location in season two but continuing with its same whimsical takes on serious subjects.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (2017 – )
The cult classic TV show returned to the small screen in 2017, much to the delight of its dedicated fanbase! Alongside the acting talents of Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt, comic Jonah Ray takes on the role of Jonah Heston – a hapless human who is forced by evil scientists to endure a vault of cheesy movies. Mwah, ha, ha, ha!
What many were worried about with the remake was whether it was able to capture the humor and the magic of the original. The answer? Absolutely, and Ray was more than capable as the guy in a yellow jumpsuit.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return manages to strike a balance between nostalgia for MST3K (including a certain recurring punchline from the old days) while also adding a fresh, new spin. But most importantly, the reboot is an absolute laugh – we recommend leaving yourself an entire day to enjoy the whole thing in one riotous sitting.
Neo Yokio (2017 – )
This American-Japanese animated series has received more bad reviews than good, perhaps because it came from the creative mind of Vampire Weekend band member Ezra Koenig and features the voice talents of Jaden Smith (enough to throw any TV project into insufferable territory before it’s even hit the small screen).
What Neo Yokio lacks in sluggish pacing it makes up for in confusing narratives – something about capitalism, and fighting demons in a town called Neo Yokio? We’re not sure, but what we are sure is this animation is a flaming trash heap within a genre filled with so many greats.
On My Block (2018 – )
About a quartet of bright, street-savvy friends who are navigating their way through high school, On My Block is earnest, funny, and appealing. Offering an earnest look at inner city life, it has been described as the first coming-of-age Netflix teen drama to focus on people with color (a milestone that should’ve been reached long before 2018, but we’ll take it nonetheless).
On My Block is an intriguing and joyful watch, one that delivers on the teen romance angle with enthralling and dramatic storylines.
One Day at a Time (2017 – )
Netflix’s One Day at a Time is a solid reimagining of the 1975 sitcom of the same name, returning in 2017 as a part-slapstick, part-serious dramedy following a Cuban-American family living in Los Angeles.
The show deserves merits for its portrayal of Latinx culture which delivers the most complex and genuine depiction of a Latino family (which like On My Block is not a statement we should only just be celebrating in 2018, but again, we’ll take it), with phenomenal performances from Rita Moreno (West Side Story), Justina Machado (Torque), and Isabella Gomez (Modern Family).
Orange is the New Black (2013 – )
Jenji Kohan’s Orange is the New Black needs no introduction. The show has established itself as a Netflix Originals mainstay for a number of reasons, comprising its diverse and outstanding cast, compelling storytelling, and commentary on gender, LGBTQI, racism, sexual assault, abuse, and the US prison system.
OITNB provided its many characters of color and sexuality storylines with depth, heart, and complexity – women who are unapologetic for their strengths and their flaws. Unfortunately, the show got a little too big for its orange jumpsuit as it progressed into seasons four and beyond, growing sloppy with its statements on the Black Lives Matter movement and rushing its narratives – going the opposite way to two of key reasons we fell in love with the show in the first place.
We just hope it is restored to its former glory soon. In the meantime, we’d happily binge the first few rounds for a second (or hundredth time) and you’re more than welcome to join us.
Pacific Heat (2016 – 2017)
If you’re wondering what Archer would look like if it wasn’t funny, just watch Pacific Heat, an Australian animated comedy with basically the same graphics as the American counterpart and a storyline about a group of ruthless undercover investigators sounding more or less like a carbon copy too.
We’re wondering why the makers of Pacific Heat didn’t just throw in some edits and an Australian dub on Archer’s episode and remarket the damn thing as Smarcher. It would’ve been a lot more enjoyable (and a lot less offensive) than this dreck.
Pompidou (2015 – )
Matt Lucas, we hardly even recognize thee. One a regarded figure of cult British comedy, he’s now reduced his once theatrically whimsical talents to this garbage can of a show, starring as a tubby, pompous, penniless, eccentric, yet ultimately lovable aristocrat.
Although there are definite hints of his Shooting Stars sketches and turn as the onesie-wearing George Doors and the slapstick gags of Little Britain, unfortunately they are overshadowed by the painful-to-watch Mr. Bean wannabe that consistently misses the mark. Overall, it’s probably best to give Pompidou a swerve – there are far better British comedies on Netflix than this.
Prison Playbook (2017 – )
Prison Playbook fulfills is a South Korean dark comedy starring Moo-Seong Choi, Jeong Jae-Seong, and Krystal Jung, about life of the convicts inside a jail house. The story follows fallen hero Kim Je-hyeok, who goes from mighty baseball pitcher to inmate overnight after being sent to prison for defending his sister from a sexual assault, days before he was due to fly to the US to join the Boston Red Sox.
Prison Playbook is funny, sweet, and filled with heartfelt lessons on this thing we call life, showing that the strongest of bromances can emerge from the darkest of places.
Safe (2018 – )
Now we know what you’re thinking: Safe doesn’t belong on a comedy TV show list. But if you were to take the show out of its context and watch it from a comedic angle, you’d realise that Safe the crime-drama is quite literally one of the funniest shows to have hit Netflix in quite some time.
Come on! That script, the acting, Michael Hall’s accent. We were rolling on the floor when we watched it the first time. Don’t get us wrong – we are in no way criticizing the show and we too binged the whole thing in the space of a day upon its release in the same way we’d read consume a pulpy page-turner.
Santa Clarita Diet (2017 – )
One of the most underrated Netflix shows in our opinion, Santa Clarita Diet is a genre mashup of a show that’ll get that bloodthirst going.
Santa Clarita Diet is a gloriously gory story of what happens when a family’s perfect suburban life gets interrupted by a zombie infection, starring Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as a pair of realtors whose lives are turned upside down when a bad batch of clams sends Sheila down a road of death and destruction that even the bloodiest of raw beef mince can’t satisfy.
There aren’t many shows that can poke fun at sitcom tropes with genuinely sickening gore sequences and bring in the laughs while they’re at it. And if all of that hasn’t convinced you to go and binge / rebinge the whole thing right now, Santa Clarita Diet stars Nathan Fillion as a zombie head – and who can argue with that?
She’s Gotta Have It (2018)
A seriously sexy comedy and rousing celebration of female empowerment, She’s Gotta Have It season two offers a timely and topical portrait of rising talents, with free-spirited artist Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) at the center. Struggling with newfound success against a backdrop of black art and culture this season, Nola must decide if she will remain true to her creative ideals or give in to the corporate world.
Her journey of self-discovery helps transform the lives of those around her, including friend and sometimes lover Mars Blackmon (Anthony Ramos), who sets out to pursue his true passion of music as well as her inner circle of Opal (Ilfenesh Hadera), Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony), Jamie Overstreet (Lyriq Bent), Clorinda Bradford (Margot Bingham), Shemekka Epps (Chyna Layne) and Winnie Win (Fat Joe).
Their journey expands to new destinations this season beyond their home base of Fort Greene, the vibrant Brooklyn enclave, that continues to evolve and change as gentrification remakes the neighborhood. Created by Spike Lee, who also directed all episodes and executive produces the series alongside Tonya Lewis Lee.
Some Assembly Required (2014)
A teenage boy wins a toy company in a lawsuit after his house is destroyed by a defective toy? He hires kids from his high school to help him run the company?
We’re not entirely sure either, but what we do know is this Canadian teen sitch comedy is only funny if you’re 12 and you’ve run out of Nickelodeon reruns to watch. It’s also very handy if you’re kid is 12 and they’ve run out of Nickelodeon reruns to watch – that’s Saturday afternoon sorted out!
The End of the F***ing World (2017 – )
Proving that love can sometimes feel like the end of the world, this misanthropic coming-of-age miniseries sees 17-year-old James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) embark on a road trip that takes a sinister turn as the pair search for the latter’s long lost father.
A killer soundtrack, offbeat characters, tight cinematography, and an indie black comedy tone, The End of the F***ing World came together as a masterful whole and crammed an awful lot into its eight episodes. Although it worked as a standalone series, we’re looking forward to seeing what creator Charlie Covell has up his Hawaiian-patterned sleeve for S2.
The Letdown (2016)
New mother Audrey needs help with the new addition to her family, so she joins a support group for new parents. While attending meetings, she makes quirky friends who are facing their own challenges and life changes. Outside of the group, she seeks support from work-stressed partner Jeremy and even the neighborhood drug dealer.
As Audrey navigates the learning curve that comes with motherhood, she deals with issues that include sleeplessness, shifting relationship dynamics and Jeremy’s career ambitions.
The Ranch (2016 – )
Set in present day on a Colorado ranch outside Denver, this multi-camera family comedy series stars Ashton Kutcher, Sam Elliott, Debra Winger and Elisha Cuthbert. The show follows Colt’s (Kutcher) return home after a brief and failed semi-pro football career to run the family ranching business with his father Beau (Elliott).
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2016 – 2019)
Having been trapped and abused in an underground bunker for almost 20 years by the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), Kimmy’s (Ellie Kemper) return to the world and subsequent sunny disposition in the face of her harrowing psychological trauma is obviously the boldest expression of this idea.
The character is almost cartoonish with her relentless approach to dealing with her trauma, including practicing what she calls “Kimmying” – smiling until she feels better.
With its strong female characters, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt offers a reminder of the power of laughter, the tenacity of happiness in the face of hardship, and why enduring the world with moxie & grit is something strong-as-hell women have to do to make it through.
White Gold (2016 – 17)
In 1980s Essex, UK cocky salesman Vincent Swan and his unscrupulous team will do anything to get the sale – including throwing honesty out the window.
We’re far too old to be commenting on this shit, but if you’re a tween after “an updated Mean Girls for the digital age”, you’ll probably love #realityhigh.
Fernando Lebrija’s romcom/dramedy/whatever sees the dreams of high-achieving high school senior (and aspiring vet student) Dani Barnes (Nesta Cooper) thrown into disarray when a glamorous new friend and social media sensation Alexa Medina (Alicia Sanz) comes along and threatens everything she’s worked for.
#realityhigh is silly, packed full of romcom tropes, and probably an entertaining watch if you check the “11 – 16yo” box when filling out forms.
A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)
A Futile and Stupid Gesture is a testament to the writing talents of scribes Michael Colton and John Aboud and the directing skillset of David Wain, who lovingly crafted this silly yet honest homage to the infamous 70s humor magazine, National Lampoon.
Starring Will Forte as Douglas Kenney – the relatively unknown founder and inventor of the magazine’s modern form of comedy and satire – the film manages to conjure up some of the publication’s madness while avoiding the mistakes made by many within the genre by genuinely bringing some laughs. And while it might not be a movie that breaks new ground, it’s an engaging biopic – one that is far from futile and stupid.
A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
And a Murray Christmas to you! Even in the height of summer you’d find joy in turning up the AC, cracking out the fake snow, pouring yourself a glass of eggnog, and enjoying some Yuletide cackles to Sofia Coppola’s musical comedy. Along with a turkey stuffed full of A-listers including Paul Shaffer, George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Jason Schwartzman, and Chris Rock, ya boy Bill Murray stars as himself as he worries no one will show up to his performance due to a terrible snowstorm in New York City.
Instead he hangs out with the other snowed-in guests and performs a series of festive tunes with his buddies. Murray and Jenny Lewis sing “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, Clooney joins Murray to give a rendition of Albert King’s “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’”, and Miley Cyrus joins the Ghostbusters star to sing “Silent Night” to near perfection.
A Very Murray Christmas is a joyful, oddball musical that takes delight in its ridiculousness and will spark a festive fever in even the most cynical of Scrooge’s and the grouchiest of Grinches.
If you’re in love with Gillian Jacobs (Community) and you want to enjoy a girls trip to Ibiza without having to get up off the couch, Netflix’s Ibiza might just be the film for you. Jacobs, Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust), and Phoebe Robinson (I Love Dick) star as a group of friends who go to Ibiza to seek out a hot DJ who Jacobs is totally looking to bone. Because why else does anyone go to Ibiza?
Ed Harris is front and center in this film that’s basically a photographer’s wet dream, taking us back to when the era of Kodachrome color film was phased out. Jason Sudeikis (Colossal) plays an estranged son who embarks on a road trip with his dying father (Harris) and nurse (Elizabeth Olsen) in tow, their mission to deliver four old rolls of Kodachrome film to the last lab in the world that can develop them before it shuts down for good.
Full of homages to the power of analog technology, the film isn’t nearly as niche as it sounds. If you’re not one to drool over the entire thing being shot in 35mm, you’ll at least enjoy the on-screen chemistry between the fine-tuned actors, the conventional road trip storyline peppered with some unconventional twists, and the complex yet heartwarming father-son dynamic.
Because as we all know, life isn’t always black & white.
Set It Up (2018)
“Can Netflix’s Set It Up help revive the romantic comedy?” was a question The Atlantic asked about Claire Scanlon’s recent romcom offering. Probably not, but what it can do is provide you with an easy way to kill 90 minutes while chuffing a bag of popcorn and wearing a onesie.
Also starring Zoey Deutch alongside Glen Powell (Hidden Figures), the pair play two corporate executive assistants who hatch a plan to match-make their two bosses (played by Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) which as you might imagine, paves the way for all sorts of japes to unfold. Original? No! A bit of a laugh if you don’t take it too seriously? Absolutely.