Keen for a new on-the-screen series to binge-watch, or something to listen to on your phone during your daily commute? Try one of these binge-worthy TV, Netflix, movie and podcast recommendations from EL editors and readers.
This isn’t the jolliest or most relaxing of Netflix shows, but it’s certainly gripping and psychologically fascinating. The three seasons each star Bill Pullman (Independence Day) as brooding police detective Harry Ambrose. He investigates crimes committed by unlikely culprits – for example, Jessica Biel, who stars in Series 1 and is also the show’s executive producer. Storylines have twists and turns, some of them mind-bending and impossible to second guess. It’s less of a “whodunnit” and more of a “whydunnit”, featuring cliffhangers designed for binge-watching, and characters who stay with you long after you’ve finished watching.
– Jo Upcraft
The Queen’s Gambit
This is an unexpectedly gripping series about a girl who plays chess! The lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy is a delight to watch as she breathes life into her character Beth Harmon. Beth is a child-star chess player who goes on to win some big chess tournaments, eventually beating a world champ. As an orphan, she struggles with dark personal challenges and addictions during her rise to the top of the chess world.
– Dee Khanduja
Recreating a true story from the not-so-distant past, A Confession focuses on the disappearance of a young woman in England after a night out with friends. It follows the heroic efforts of the local police to resolve the mystery as well as dealing with emotional families and bureaucratic obstacles along the way. Over six episodes, it is a gripping drama and a vivid reminder of the societal threats that exist outside the safety of our Singapore bubble/home. It’s not your standard murder-mystery crime show and it had us hooked from start to finish. See it on BBC First (StarHub channel 522).
– Jason Keys
Emily in Paris
I loved this Netflix series. From the writers of Sex and the City, it’s light-hearted and funny – and of course, it’s always lovely to dream of being in Paris! The story follows Emily who is sent to the Paris office of her company, Savoir, to take on the assignment of a lifetime. Emily moves to France and brings her American perspective to the Paris staff of Savoir.
– Jacqui Young
Get Organized with The Home Edit
I love getting things packed and arranged nicely – there’s this feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, don’t you agree? When I spotted Netflix’s new series Get Organized with The Home Edit, I knew I had to watch it. The Home Edit’s all-woman team takes on everything from bedrooms to garages, and transforms them into neat and beautiful spaces – truly #homegoals. The first episode was already pretty exciting; it featured Reese Witherspoon who starred in Legally Blonde, one of my fave movies. I loved seeing the before and after shots of her closet – and, of course, the Legally Blonde outfits and memorabilia!
– Lindsay Yap
The Little Nyonya
I’ve been watching an oddly compelling local drama on Netflix called The Little Nyonya. It first came out here in Singapore in 2008 and had a bit of a cult following; now there’s been a 2020 remake. It’s not exactly EastEnders, but it’s a great insight into Peranakan culture and local history. It starts in the 1960s and spans for decades.
– Jo Upcraft
My husband flicked on the first episode of this series and I thought, “Ugh. This show has everything I hate: extreme violence, graphic sex and drugs.” But since he has had a rough couple of months (COVID sucks!), I figured I’d humour him and watch one episode – and I was hooked.
While it’s true that the show does have all that awful stuff I usually avoid in spades, it’s also an amazing, tender and sometimes disturbing story about a father and his two sons, all MMA fighters. The intricate plot lines are brilliantly acted with such emotion that each episode left me exhausted and wanting more. I was in awe of the raw acting talent, and equally awed by the amazing physiques of these talented actors, who all sport eight packs and bulging biceps. The three-season Netflix show’s plot-twist finale took me totally by surprise.
If you can stomach the realistic fight and sex scenes, it’s worth the watch. It’s one of those shows that haunts you long after the final credits.
– Melinda Murphy
This three-season Netflix thriller is very interesting, but I’m not sure if the show is making me anxious, or if it’s just the ongoing COVID-19 situation! The ending is revealed in small snippets all the way through, so you’re kind of just waiting for it to happen.
– Rebecca Bisset
Umbrella Academy, Season 1 & 2
I’ve always loved shows like X-Men or anything where people have superpowers, so I thought I’d give Umbrella Academy a go. The show is about seven gifted children who are adopted by an eccentric billionaire, who raises them to save the world. Klaus (one of the siblings at the Academy) is hilarious – actor Robert Sheenan will have you in stitches. This is witty, quirky viewing and it shouldn’t be missed! Season 1 got rave reviews, but Season 2 was even better!
– Michaela Bisset
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons
This documentary began airing back in 2016, with Season 4 being released this year. It’s an eye-opening series, getting down and personal with prisoners, showcasing their back-stories and exploring their daily life in some infamous jails.
– Lindsay Yap
I love watching cooking competitions (The Final Table and The Big Family Cooking Showdown, anyone?) so Crazy Delicious caught my eye when it was released on Netflix recently. Set in a magical edible forest, the British series features talented self-taught cooks who go all out to please the “food gods” and win the golden apple. The whimsical elements of the show can get a little over the top but the creations you’ll witness are amazing, so it’s totally worth it. Don’t watch too late at night though as your stomach will start to rumble!
– Lindsay Yap
The Night Manager
This is one of those shows I tripped over while scouring Amazon Prime, and boy am I glad I did. It’s a six-episode BBC series based on the 1993 novel of the same name by John le Carré and stars the delicious Tom Hiddleston and impeccable Hugh Laurie. Hunky Hiddleston is a former military man working as a night manager at a hotel in Cairo when a guest comes to him with some papers to copy. Soon, he’s entangled in an international ring, smuggling arms headed by Hugh Laurie’s character. It’s a wonderful game of cat and mouse and both my husband and I really loved it. There are just enough episodes to entertain, but you don’t have to commit hours and hours to finish the story arc. I hope the rumoured season two comes to fruition.
– Melinda Murphy
Brilliant! This 2003 movie tells the story of an introverted young boy (Haley Joel Osment) who is sent to live with his eccentric great-uncles (Robert Duvall and Michael Caine) on a farm in Texas.
– Franci Malan
Miracle in Cell No. 7
A remake of the original South Korean film from 2013, this movie set in Turkey is truly heartwarming and will definitely tug at your heartstrings. It has a very interesting storyline about the relationship between a daughter and her autistic father who gets accused of a crime. Please be ready for a good cry!
– Siti Shahirah
Just like almost every other human in the English-speaking world who carries two X chromosomes, I have just finished binge watching Normal People (on BBC Player with a VPN). Oh god, it’s good. It’s just so, so good. Trigger warning: it can and will bring up any and all feelings of young adult anguish that you may have successfully repressed – just with a lovely saturated Instagram filter.
The show centres around Connell and Marianne who have a clandestine affair in high school in their bleak, Irish county town where they’re both misfits in their own way. The ripples of their relationship follow them onto university in Dublin – and it ain’t all roses. In fact, it almost never is. And it’s glorious. Normal People has been carefully adapted to screen from the novel of the same name. You become so invested in this relationship – whether you want to or not! It’s wonderfully painful and human. And it’s just so beautiful to watch. I can’t stop thinking about it. (But be prepared to have your heart ripped out of your chest. Just sayin’…)
– Kate Marsden
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