This year continues to be a year for the books, as streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney plus are popular due to the pandemic. Not much has changed since its start, and while many students are spending hours hitting the books, there is always time to escape reality for a solid hour or 12.
Here are five phenomenal streaming-platform exclusives to sink all of your time into:
“The Boys” Season two- Amazon Prime Video
Despite the stigma that this show has regarding its focus on men, it is shocking to find out that this is also about women. Women are involved in the writing and directing of the episodes, and it stands out.
There are many stellar acting performances in this show including Jack Quaid, as the main protagonist Hughie Campbell, and Antony Starr, as the antagonistic superhero Homelander. Starr is particularly good, and many of his best moments are bone-chilling.
The show discusses themes of capitalism around a world similar to ours; however superheroes are real, and some of them are real pieces of work.
“Hamilton” - Disney Plus
“Hamilton” is an immensely popular Broadway production which won 11 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2016. It is not every day that the highest level of theater is made accessible to those who do not frequent Broadway.
Seeing a show about the founding fathers of America played exclusively by people of color is an extraordinary experience, live or not. The set pieces are spectacular, alongside the catchy songs, brilliant singing and acting performances. Come for Leslie Odom Jr. 's patient Aaron Burr, stay for Jonathan Groff’s show-stealing King George III.
The core themes of the show involve the importance of legacy in the minds of the founding fathers in the early United States. However, watch with caution since these songs will seep into every aspect of your life if you aren’t careful.
“The Vow” - HBO Max
“The Vow” is a 10-part documentary series that follows prominent members of the organization NXIVM as they attempt to tell the story of how a group promising to save the world was actually a deceptive pyramid scheme and a diabolical sex cult.
The story broke when it was revealed that actress Allison Mack, who played a prominent role on the popular television series “Smallville,” was at the top of the sex trafficking ring, along with lifelong grifter Keith Raniere. Mack was arrested in 2018 and pled guilty to racketeering charges in 2019. Mack's involvement provided a lot of intrigue, and the story arc from the first episode onward continues to get exponentially more bizarre.
However, the true horror of “The Vow” is the way that the first episode is presented, which is from the perspective of somebody new to the organization. In the show, the organization offers the release of the fear of vulnerability, and being present in the moment to its members.
The organization claimed to be saving the world, and even the Dalai Lama had endorsed it, making it appear legitimate. In real life, the Dalai Lama had to come out with a statement clarifying the issue.
“Lovecraft Country”- HBO Max
“Lovecraft Country” is an ambitious show that is inspired by different genres of horror and fantasy that span a century, based on the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft.
The show’s main cast is all Black, and follows Atticus Freeman, played by Jonathan Majors, Leticia Lewis, played by Jurnee Smollett and many others as they attempt to reveal the motivations of an ancient order of grand wizards.
Set in the ‘50s, racism hangs over nearly every aspect of the show. The acting is top notch, and the two leads routinely deliver breathtaking performances. The show is well written, well acted, and best of all, tells an entirely Black story that ultimately feels American.
“PEN15” Season Two- Hulu
“PEN15” is a lovable sitcom that revolves around Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, two adult women, who play fictionalized 13-year-old versions of themselves with braces and a bowl cut. In the show, they navigate their awkward years around actual children.
Every episode strikes a new layer of cringe that seemed unattainable before. Driving this home are the acting performances of Erskine and Konkle, who are almost too good in their portrayals of their child-selves. Erskine in particular has many moments that trick the audience into thinking she is indeed a giant 13 year old in all of the most uncomfortable ways imaginable.