With a steady stream of long weekends ahead for the rest of 2017, it’s the perfect time to binge watch all the shows you missed over the last 365 days. After all, the weather outside might be frightful, but the cozy blanket on your couch is so delightful. And, if you’re planning on getting in some quality time with your television, we all know the first place to start binging is
Netflix. We’re all either paying for the streaming service at this point or harbouring someone’s password, right?
While settling on a holiday Netflix binge helps limit your prospective options a little bit, it doesn't exactly cut things down all that much. The internet giant
did drop over 50 new shows in the last year alone. To genuinely make your catch-up session manageable, we picked out the best Netflix original series of 2017, and then chose each show’s single best episode.
So, now, instead of blankly flicking through Netflix’s endless categories, you can check out the absolute best of the best. Keep reading to find out what to add to your queue ASAP.
Stranger Things Season 2, episode 6 “The Spy” The best part of Stranger Thing 2, as Netflix calls the sci-fi blockbuster’s sophomore year, is the addition of Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) and Steve Harrington’s (Joe Keery) perfect friendship. “Spy” is where the love-fest truly starts, with the twosome trying to track down Dart, Dustin’s pet who ends up being a creature from the Upside Down (duh). While this fact would already lock down “Spy’s” place on this list, it also features Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan Byers’ (Charlie Heaton) long-awaited hookup and a great twist for season 2 MVP Will Byer (Noah Schnapp).
13 Reasons Why Season 1, episode 11 “Tape 6, Side A”
It’s hard to say which
episode is best, since each and every one is filled with unfathomable trauma including rape, stalking, and suicide. So, I will call “Tape 6, Side A” the most crucial, as it explains the question plaguing both viewers and protagonist Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette):
What did Clay do to Hannah Baker
This episode reveals Clay technically didn’t do anything and Hannah simply needed him metaphorically “there” to tell her story. Despite an awkward hookup, for once, nothing traumatic happened.
Yet, nothing on
can be tragedy-free, as “Tape 6, Side A” is also the all-important episode where Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) finds out about her own rape.
American Vandal Season 1, episode 2 “A Limp Alibi” American Vandal was one of the best new shows of 2017, and a single scene illustrates what makes it so darn good. In “A Limp Alibi,” our three truth-seekers — Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez), Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck), and Gabi Granger (Camille Hyde) — head to a local summer camp to figure out if Sarah Pearson (Saxon Sharbino) could have really given Alex Trimboli (Calum Worthy) a hand job by the lake, as Alex so claims. It has to do with the plot, I swear. What follows is a 20-second recreation of the alleged handjob, complete with digital recreations of the act from all angles, including a digital erection, and true crime-serious narration. Despite Vandal's ridiculous premise — Who drew the dicks?! — the satire couldn’t have taken its subject more seriously.
Master Of None Season 2, episode 8 “Thanksgiving”
This Lena Waithe-penned episode isn’t merely one of the greatest Netflix episodes of 2017, it’s one of the greatest episodes in all of television this year. Its genius is dropping the romantic drama of Dev (Aziz Ansari) and manic pasta dream girl Francesca (Alessandra Mastronardi) in favour of telling the story of how Denise (Waithe) came to terms with her sexuality in a conservative Black household.
“Thanksgiving” has Angela Bassett, emotional honesty, and people repeatedly saying “NipplesAndToes23.” No wonder
it won an Emmy
Glow Season 1, episode 8 “Maybe It’s All The Disco” I watched Glow about half a year ago and still haven’t stopped thinking about how well, and matter of factly, “Maybe It’s All The Disco” handled an abortion procedure. This episode deserves to pick out its own pink frosted donut.
Big Mouth Season 1, episode 2 “Everybody Bleeds” Have you ever seen animated tampon who sounds impossibly similar to R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe sing a version of “Everybody Hurts” where the song is actually about first-time menstruation as opposed to depression? No? Neither had I until Big Mouth gave me just that with “Everybody Bleeds.” So, of course it’s on this list.
Mindhunter Season 1, episode 5 “Episode 5” This is the episode where Mindhunter goes from being a good show to a truly great show. Watching heroes Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) traverse the country meeting serial killers is fun and all, but watching them attempt to unspool the mystery of Beverly Jean Shaw’s disturbing murder and subsequent post-mortem mutilation is where it gets addictive. “Episode 5” is Mindhunter at its most bingeable, and, dark.
The Crown Season 2, episode 4 “Beryl” The Crown is such a restrained series, every genuinely sexy touch, glance, or word is all the more thrilling. That is why “Beryl” has stayed with me for weeks. It’s a joy to watch the budding flirtation between Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) and Tony Armstrong-Jones (Matthew Goode). The longing stares! The witty banter! The darkroom scene. There is nothing sexier than Tony purring, “Keep it,” when Margaret offers him back his motorcycle helmet. I too would giddily dance around in my underwear after that. Oh, yes, and I assume Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy) and Philip (Matt Smith) did some stuff too during this episode? P.S. The runner up here was “Paterfamilias” if only for its little boy makeover montage and truly chilling look at the reality of Nazi Germany.
Alias Grace Season 1, episode 6 “Part 6”
A woman talking under a sheet in a dark room sounds like the most boring thing ever.
make that exact scenario riveting, as Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon)
finally reveals what (likely) happened
the day Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin) and Thomas Kinnear (Paul Gross) were murdered. The
is haunting, eerie, and psychology fraught enough to stay rolling around your mind long after
And, on the lighter side, it has Zachary Levi The Old-Timey Peddler-Turned-Hypnotist in charge of the chilling proceedings.
Orange Is The New Black Season 5, episode 10 “Reverse Midas Touch” There are very few things more satisfying than seeing sadistic corrections officer Desi Piscatella (Brad William Henke) get taken down by a bunch of Litchfield inmates thanks to a handy dart and a good bobby trap. Especially when Piscatella was blathering on about breaking women moments before a few women broke him.
Grace And Frankie Season 3, episode 7 “The Floor” Grace And Frankie is one of the greatest hangout buddy comedies on TV and “The Floor” is the Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin-starrer at its best. Why? Because half of the episode is literally just its eponymous characters being trapped on the floor together, since, you know, old people problems. The rest of “Floor" is tiny houses, misplaced paranoia, and brotherly love. This is peak Grace And Frankie.
The Keepers Season 1, episode 5 “The Suspects” True crime is at its best when it manages to balance its obsession-worthy mystery with the emotional depths of its major characters. “The Suspects” accomplishes just that as it introduces two new, well, suspects in the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik. It’s done so well, it just might give you a nightmare or two.
Godless Season 1, episode 4 “Fathers & Sons” “Fathers & Sons” is a wild mix of Godless’ highest highs and lowest lows (like the beating of Louise Hobbs or Callie Dunne being attacked for sex worker past), but, boy howdy, are the highs here high. We get elderly Native American woman (Tantoo Cardinal) showing up youthful gunslinger Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) during a hunting trip, Roy failing at asking Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery) on a date, and law man Bill McNue (Scoot McNairy) accidentally stumbling upon the horde of outlaws he has been tracking for days, if not weeks. On a far more somber note, we also get visually stunning explanations as to how, precisely, the men of La Belle died and why Alice ended up marrying a Paiute man. The latter answer includes an attempted gang rape, a badass, day-saving woman, and an actually competent Bill. I told you, highest highs; lowest lows.