Critical reception can be a strange and fickle thing, be it by professional reviewers or just the general audience. Basing a full and complete opinion of a movie or TV show on the feelings and understanding of an individual can lead to wildly differing results.
Luckily for us, sites such as Rotten Tomatoes exist to give the reader a broad spectrum opinion of a product based on the average score of multiple independent voices. This hopefully results in a fair and unbiased result, allowing us the prospective viewer to see what people in general are feeling.
Now... like everything in life, it isn't an exact science and some things do slip through the net – I'm looking at you 2017 Wonder Woman – but on the whole, it's a great indication of what's, well, great.
Here recommend some of the less obvious Netflix shows that have hit the magic 90% and above score. You should put them on your watchlist.
- Stars: Jonathan Groff, Anna Torv, Holt McCallany
- Directed by: David Fincher
To be fair, any drama focusing on serial killers and directed by David Fincher was never going to be bad. Considering this is the man who brought the world Seven, The Game, Zodiac and Fight Club, it was always a safe bet that his first real push into TV direction would be a success. With Mindhunter he showed us all what can be achieved on the small screen.
Set in the late 1970s, the two season show follows a duo of FBI agents (Groff and McCallany) who fight the departmental stigma of backroom boys by developing innovative investigative methods to catch serial killers. This is done through incorporating psychology, anthropology, and sociology to reveal the motives behind some of the most notorious murderers of the day.
Mindhunter hits every mark with its solid sense of tone, beautiful direction and cinematography, and a razor sharp and intelligent script. There are fantastic performances too, and some of the most intense and panic attack inducing scenes in modern television. It is by far the best of the current raft of serial killer inspired dramas.
At no point watching it do you feel safe, there is no relax, there is always the looming threat of the people they interview and the whole show is made even better by the fact it is based on real people and real events.
Fincher brought his big screen horror to our living rooms with this one and it's very easy to understand why not only does it have a dedicated fan base but also holds such a high score.
It's just a shame that a third season has been parked for some time, but the first two are still very much worth your while.
- Stars: Natasha Lyonne, Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee, Elizabeth Ashley
- Created by: Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler
Natasha Lyonne... is there anything she cant do?
In what became one of Netflix’s first real cult hits, she plays Nadia, a woman who on the night of her 36th birthday is killed, only to find herself instantly alive again, destined to relive the night again and again until the mystery is unravelled.
A theme seen many times before in movies such as Groundhog Day and Palm Springs (an absolute hidden classic), this series sets itself aside through being a pure showcase for Lyonne. In recent years, she has just gone from strength to strength delivering memorable characters that I have no doubt will grow as time goes on.
Russian Doll is intelligent, cynical, sharp and most importantly funny. It looks great with huge detail given to the New York of the 70s and 80s and the overall vibe of each scene.
Still having a score this high after four years of release is impressive, especially as a promised second series is still to materialise. Until then simply enjoy watching an actor at the top of her game... and then go binge Poker Face!
- Stars: Katherine Kelly, Lee Ingleby, Rochenda Sandall, Shubham Saraf, Mark Stanley
- Created by: Jim Field Smith, George Kay
Part police procedural drama, part anthology show, Criminal: UK is an ambitious project where the same premise is created in many different nations. It features a core cast, a special guest per episode, and a crime relative to the nation it is produced for. This has resulted in numerous versions of the show, all independent, all linked.
Criminal: UK has set itself apart from other crime shows of its kind by focusing on methodical detail, glacial pace and a perfect balance of tone. With each episode being set in a police interview room, the show presents itself as a stage play. On one side of the table, the police, desperate for answers, on the other the possible criminal, determined to keep their secrets and get out of that room in one piece.
Very much like a piece of theatre the Criminal: UK is a showcase for some of the country's finest actors, all putting in beautifully nuanced performances that really prove what well written and well devised drama can do.
It is a fantastic show, very limited in terms of episodes, but with absolute rewatchability, gripping storylines, fantastic performances and a level of tension that most of its type cannot achieve. It deserves its high Rotten Tomatoes score and with a possible new season currently in the works, we have a lot more to look forward to!