This is a strange and peculiar time that we are living in. With most of us struggling to come to terms with the chaos that rumbles outside, deciding what to watch becomes increasingly difficult. Some of us have decided to stick with the classic exposure therapy route, binging on films like Contagion. For others, this chaos calls for some good old fashioned escapism, as binging on shows like Schitt’s Creek on Netflix India give us some much needed solace.
Despite receiving tremendous competition from other streaming platforms like Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime, Netflix has risen to the occasion to offer a vast line-up of films and tv- series, making sure that there is something for everyone. During the course of the last 3 months, I happened to binge my fair share of series on Netflix (for a lack of better things to do). Below are three underrated female- led series on Netflix India that stood out in sharp contrast to the other mainstream series that dominate screens worldwide.
Dead to Me
This Emmy nominated dark- comedy series features Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini as leads (a win for me right there). Upon suddenly losing her husband in a hit-and- run accident, Jen (Applegate) reluctantly makes her way to a Grief Support Group chaired by her local pastor. That is where she encounters the jovial and happy-go- lucky Judy (Cardellini), who insists on giving Jen a hug and seeks to form a bond between them.
On one of the many sleepless nights that Jen experiences, she finally gives in and gives Judy a ring. Judy immediately responds and an instant friendship begins to bloom between the two. Before we know it, Jen and Judy become inseparable, with Jen even offering her dead husband’s office space to Judy as a temporary space to live in. What seems to be a perfect friendship (and one that we all secretly long for) is actually a farce. As Jen is determined to find the perpetrator and seek justice for her late husband, Judy is hiding secrets of her own. Their friendship is actually brimming with secrets. Secrets are a complex business and can get notoriously challenging to manage. And Dead to Me is full of secrets.
But this is where Dead To Me subverts expectations. It isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill murder mystery. It delves deep into the intricacies of grief and its effect on the human psyche, especially when the grief that Jen and Judy experience is not of their own making. In the midst of all this chaos, we also see Jen stepping up to try and desperately fill the void her late husband left. And her perpetual swearing is a constant mood.
Dead to Me is bound to keep you engaged throughout and aids in forgetting (albeit momentarily) about all the chaos in the world. The second season to this enthralling series premiered this summer. Word is that Applegate, alongside her fellow creators have decided that Season 3 will be the final instalment in the series.
Watch the trailer for Dead To Me here.
Self Made: Inspired by the life of Madam C. J. Walker
If you are on the hunt for something inspirational to binge over a weekend, Netflix’s new mini-series “Self- Made: Inspired by the life of Madam C. J. Walker” starring Octavia Spencer might just be the perfect fit for you! The series follows the legacy of the infamous Mrs. C. J. Walker who is accredited with being the first self- made female millionaire in the United States. Drawing inspiration from the book On Her Own Ground, penned by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, the series brings to light the many setbacks and challenges Walker had to face whilst building her Empire.
Born as Sarah Breedlove to former slaves a mere two years after the Emancipation of Slaves, Walker lived a life that was replete with hardships- she was orphaned at the age of six, married at 14, widowed at 20. It was then when she decided to move to St. Louis along with her two- year old daughter and took on the role of a washerwoman.
As a woman constantly driven by the need to provide a better life for herself and her family, she now faced a dilemma. She believed she had the potential to do better. This perspective led her to assume a more proactive role and she refused to sit on the sidelines and let society dictate the kind of life she was going to lead.
Around the same time, she experienced a scalp ailment due to which she began losing hair rapidly. After consulting with the black haircare professional, Annie Turnbo Malone, Walker took note of the immense potential the haircare arena had. This propelled her to embark on her own entrepreneurial journey with the aid of her supportive husband, Charles J. Walker. Harnessing her self-promotional skills to the fullest, she charged ahead and the rest is history.
One can glean her true grit from a little interview featured in the New York Times dating back to 1917.
“If I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard. I have never doubted anything and I have always believed at keeping things with a vim. I got my start by giving myself a start. It is often the best way. I believe in push, and we must push ourselves.” – Madam C. J. Walker
Watch the trailer for Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker here.
Currently streaming on Netflix India, this Irish sitcom is set in the city of Derry. It centres around The Troubles which a period marked by great conflict and strife. Derry Girls follows the lives of 4 teenagers and their male sidekick. In particular, it sheds light on how this female ensemble tries to make it through high- school despite living in an area riddled with sectarian conflict. In the midst of all the conflict, the constant violence and bomb-scares, Erin, Orla, Claire, Michelle and James (the ‘wee English fella’) are determined to live life to the fullest and make the most out of their teenage lives.
Right from burning down a beauty salon to hitchhiking with complete strangers to attend a music concert, to finding ways to sneak out of a test, to Michelle calling James a ‘dickweed’ and ‘ball-ache’, this light take on The Troubles is nothing short of a LAUGH RIOT. Each scene has me cackling out aloud and soothes my soul. Derry girls and its all- girls ensemble (including James) really hits home as it has me reminiscing my high-school days at an all-girls Catholic Convent school. It also serves as a reminder of my teenage days where we tried to maximize all the experiences we could get out of life (with minimal embarrassment, though).
Discussing and bonding over its complete absurdness yet wholesomeness has led me to make some beautiful friends along the way. The series currently features two seasons and always leaves you wanting for more.
Watch the trailer for Derry Girls here.