AFTER LIFE (2019)
3 seasons / 18 episodes
It’s hard for me to sum up how moving, hilarious and important I believe this series to be. Comedian Ricky Gervais created, produced, directed, wrote and stars in this series about a man who loses the will to live after his wife dies of cancer. No matter how you feel about the controversial Gervais, I hope you will give this show a try, as it is truly one of the most emotionally fulfilling shows that I’ve ever seen on television. It is about grief, so be warned if you have recently lost someone, but, at the same time, it will probably speak to you more directly than you ever could have imagined.
THE IT CROWD (2006)
4 seasons / 24 episodes + 1 episode
This is a series that originated on television, not a streaming platform, but the original series was only on British television, so I’m going to include it here, since most of you most likely missed it and/or have never even heard of it. The IT Crowd is an absolute banger of a situation comedy set in a corporate IT office, starring Chris O’Dowd and the underrecognized genius Richard Ayode as the nerdy guys in the basement who you only call on when your computer goes down. While every episode is gold, season two features the arrival of Matt Berry (What We Do in the Shadows) as a regular cast member, and a show that was already good becomes great. Also look for the occasional appearance of Noel Fielding (The Great British Baking Show), in a spectacularly goofy recurring role. Treat yourself to this gem of a series, you will thank me.
5 seasons / 84 episodes
It’s hard to explain how happy this show makes me. Everything about it is pure genius. Jason Bateman stars as the one level-headed member of a dysfunctional family that is plagued by scandal, and each one finds a way to make things even worse. Scathingly smart and laugh-out-loud funny, this show has no weaknesses.
RUSSIAN DOLL (2019)
2 seasons / 15 episodes (so far)
You’ve never seen anything like this show, which is the brainchild of Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler, which stars Lyonne as a kooky New York City woman who, on her birthday, dies and finds herself in a perpetual time loop. Lyonne is dynamite, and the witty, incisive and philosophically daring dialogue is catnip for anyone who loves to be intellectually and spiritually challenged by their comedies. But, mostly, it’s just a total, binge-worthy trip.
DEAD TO ME (2019)
2 seasons / 20 episodes (so far)
A shocking secret bonds two new friends, played by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. The best part of this show is the friendship and chemistry between these two actresses, who absolutely kill it, especially Applegate, who traverses every emotion and masterfully proves her dramatic chops are just as honed as her comedic ones. Season 3 is coming in November, 2022.
GRACE AND FRANKIE (2015)
7 seasons / 94 episodes
It took me a while to get to this one, but when I finally did, it didn’t disappoint. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda play wives whose husbands fall in love with each other, leaving them hilariously stuck together. Tomlin and Fonda’s chemistry together is magical and the show’s ability to mine all the humor and compassion that comes with love, loss and aging makes this one of the most unique shows on air, never once shying away from appealing to its target demographic, which is decidedly NOT Gen Z.
THE KOMINSKY METHOD (2018)
3 seasons / 22 episodes
It took me a long time to get to this one, but, once I did, I was thoroughly charmed by the spectacular writing and the performances, particularly from Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, who plays two old Hollywood has-beens who reconnect late in life. It’s the brainchild of perennial sitcom maestro, Chuck Lorre, so that’s a bonus.