Here’s what’s trending on Netflix while you’re stuck indoors
1. ‘All American’
The sports world is shut down right now, so fans are filling the void with “All American.” Created by April Blair, the series was inspired by professional football player Spencer Paysinger (Daniel Ezra). We follow his journey getting recruited from Crenshaw High School to play for Beverly Hills High, creating a culture clash off the field as much as the competition on the field. The CW series was just renewed for a third season after premiering in 2018. Netflix is streaming the first two seasons.
2. ‘On My Block’
Created by Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft, this Netflix original teen series is now in its third season, telling the coming-of-age story of four friends navigating high school in South Central Los Angeles. The half-hour episodes explore issues from dating to gangs (a la “Boyz n the Hood”), starring Sierra Capri as the Afro-Latina tomboy Monsé, Jason Genao as the Mexcian-American conscience Ruby, Brett Gray as the African-American nerd Jamal, and Diego Tinoco as the peer-pressured troublemaker Cesar influenced by his out-of-prison brother.
3. ‘Love is Blind’
This Netflix reality dating series premiered the day before Valentines’ Day, on Feb. 13, 2020, as an answer to ABC’s “The Bachelor.” It follows 30 men and women who spend 10 days speed dating in “blind” pods where they can speak but not see each other before proposing. The engaged couples then meet for the first time at a couples retreat in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, before moving into the same apartment in Atlanta to meet their families. Will they make it to Wedding Day? Is love blind?
4. ‘Spenser Confidential’
Mark Wahlberg has become the go-to guy for all things Boston, from “The Departed” to “The Fighter” to “Ted.” Now, Marky Mark reunites once more with director Peter Berg, who cast him in “Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon,” “Patriots Day” and “Mile 22.” Their fifth collaboration, “Spenser Confidential,” is a Netflix original co-written by “L.A. Confidential” scribe Brian Helgeland. It follows a former Boston police officer who’s released from prison after assaulting his captain, only to become a private eye investigating dirty cops across Beantown. Stay tuned for my review Friday.
5. ‘The Boss Baby: Back in Business’
Look who’s talking! No one saw the success of “Boss Baby” coming in 2017, as it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Film (losing to Pixar’s “Coco”). The Dreamworks animation starred Alec Baldwin as Theodore Templeton, a baby with the mind of an adult working for Baby Corp. in the war between babies and puppies for adult affection. Immediately, Netflix ordered a TV spinoff, which is now in Season 3. Sadly, Baldwin’s voice is replaced by JP Karliak. You also won’t find co-stars Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Steve Buscemi or Tobey Maguire. Eric Bell Jr. is the only actor to reprise his film role, returning as The Triplets.
6. ‘Lost Girls’
Based on Robert Kolker’s 2013 novel of the same name, “Lost Girls” premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it was purchased by Netflix and released March 13. Adapted by Michael Were and directed by Liz Garbus, the mystery film follows Mari Gilbert, who urges law enforcement to search for her missing daughter, in turn exposing the unsolved murders of young female sex workers by the Long Island serial killer. The film stars the talented Amy Ryan, known for her roles as Beadie Russell in HBO’s “The Wire” and Holly Flax in NBC’s “The Office.”
7. ‘Bert Kreischer: Hey Big Boy’
If you’re looking for a laugh, you might try “Bert Kreischer: Hey Big Boy.” The shirtless standup special stars Kreischer, named by Rolling Stone the “top partier at the No. 1 party school in the country” during his sixth year at Florida State University in 1997. The article was initially optioned by Oliver Stone before being sold to National Lampoon as “Van Wilder,” starring Ryan Reynolds. Kreischer has since appeared on Comedy Central, hosted “Bert the Conqueror” on The Travel Channel and penned the memoir “Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child.”
8. ‘100 Humans: Life’s Questions Answered’
Based on the Swedish sci-fi TV series “Real Humans,” British writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley decided to turn a social experiment into a most unique reality show. It follows 100 individuals taking part in interactive experiments exploring sex, happiness, torture, robotics, artificial intelligence and other aspects of human life. The co-production of Channel 4 in the U.K. and AMC in the U.S. was canceled after three seasons, but it’s seeing new life now that Season 1 is available on Netflix.
“The single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is the virus.” German director Wolfgang Petersen (“Das Boot”) starts off his 1995 cult classic with this quote from Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg, Ph.D. What follows is an action-thriller about army doctors trying to stop a fast-spreading disease in California. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Rene Russo, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Donald Sutherland, “Outbreak” surely hits close to home during the coronavirus.
10. ‘The Assignment’
Rounding out the Top 10 is “The Assignment,” starring Michelle Rodriguez as a hit man named Frank whose body was surgically altered to become a woman against his will. Thus begins a revenge tale against the rogue plastic surgeon, played by a twisted Sigourney Weaver. Who knows why this bizarre action thriller is trending? The film and its awkward double-meaning title received a measly 34% critics score and 21% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes upon its limited release in 2017. Instead, I recommend the sci-fi gem that previously held the No. 10 spot, “Freaks.”
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