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Feature Articles

10 Netflix shows you should really watch this weekend

By Koh Wanzi - 7 Sep 2019

When They See Us, Dark, Elite, Mirage & Arthdal Chronicles

6. When They See Us

Despite being about events that took place nearly three decades ago, When They See Us is more relevant than ever today. Based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case and the wrongful conviction of five black and Hispanic teenagers, who came to be known as the Central Park Five, the four-part series provides a harrowing look at the all too real consequences of racial profiling and the systemic injustices that persist even today.

Helmed by Ava DuVernay, When They See Us is at times infuriating and also deeply disturbing. It provides an incisive look at the decades-old case and more importantly forces us to think about the very human individuals behind any biases that we might have. When They See Us shows that it's easy to think about different groups of people as a collective and paint them with the same brush. But while this collective is often felt to be very much present and in plain view, the individuals are often hidden from sight and clamoring to be seen. 


7. Dark

Dark is quite simply, insane. This is science-fiction at its most ambitious, featuring a tortuous, multi-generation narrative that somehow still manages to keep it all together. However, it's not going the way of Lost just yet, and the second season may be even better than the first. Dark is the kind of show that will have you Googling for explanations and recaps every time you finish an episode, and that's really all part of its artistry. 

Set in the fictional German town of Winden, Dark is well, pretty dark. It's not exactly something you'll watch when you need something light-hearted to help you unwind. It all starts with the mysterious disappearance of a child, but it then spirals out to encompass time travel, sinister secret societies, and increasingly higher stakes including a literal apocalypse. 


8. Elite

The second season of Elite will arrive on 6 September, so now is the perfect time to catch up with the first season. If you watched Money Heist, you'll also recognize some familiar faces on this Spanish teen murder-mystery drama.

It follows three working-class students who are given a chance to enroll in an elite private school in Spain following the collapse of their old school building. Samuel, Nadia, and Christian have to navigate the treacherous waters of their new prissy, upper-class social circle, and of course, plenty of drama ensues. Elite is basically what happens when Riverdale meets Gossip Girl, except no one is as annoying as Archie (I know, that's a low bar). Best of all, Elite is replete with thoughtfully written characters with their own stories and believable motivations, so this is a significant step above your average vapid teen drama. 


9. Mirage

A mother saves a boy's life while talking at him through the TV. Somehow, she wakes up in a new reality where her daughter was never born and she must try to get her back. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but Mirage is a pretty interesting take on space-time continuums and alternate realities, underpinned by an emotional and very relatable story of a mother simply trying to get back to her daughter. The premise is also slightly terrifying. What if you woke up in a world that was very similar to yours but also different in very fundamental ways? 

Ultimately, Mirage rides largely on the wonderful performance of Adriana Ugarte, who plays Vera Roy. The show is a mix of science fiction and family drama, but it's the weight of the latter that really keeps it going. It also stars Alvaro Morte, who plays The Professor in Money Heist.


10. Arthdal Chronicles

I like to think of Arthdal Chronicles as a Korean version of Game of Thrones, all the way down to the suspiciously similar costumes. It might not have dragons, but it otherwise checks many of the same boxes, including an entirely fictional universe, magic, and a main character who destiny appears to have decreed will do great things. Honestly, I just hope he doesn't go the way of Jon Snow. The series also features plenty of Thrones-style scheming, including slightly hilarious segments where characters provide a voice over for whatever nefarious plots they're cooking up. In yet another parallel to Thrones, there are also various tribes (ahem, houses) that have pledged loyalty to the same leader but are at the same time still jostling for advantages over one another. 

It boasts a star-studded cast though, including Descendants of the Sun's Song Joong-ki. While nowhere as elaborate as Westeros, the world of Arth is still pretty enthralling, and it'll provide a decent bit of entertainment if you're looking for this specific brand of political scheming set in a mystical land. 

Read Next: Our previous round of Netflix recommendations!