What is the finest program on television right now?

54

The 6 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now

The veteran naturalist and TV host David Attenborough has realized one of his career-long ambitions with the new three-part series “Life in Color,” which relies on special cameras to help depict the world the way animals see it. Shot in exotic locations across the planet, the series emphasizes how color affects a wide variety of creatures as they hunt, eat and mate. Our critic hailed the show’s “dazzling images, here made even more arresting because of the series’s focus on varicolored plumage and skin.” (For a more cautionary take on the natural world, watch Attenborough’s docu-series “Our Planet,” which emphasizes the effects of human progress and climate change on the animal kingdom.)

The American version of this cleverly constructed reality competition show has now completed two unpredictable and enlightening seasons. Contestants interact with one another strictly through a special social media app, which allows them to craft their personas to their highest advantage — even to the point of total fabrication — in what is essentially a popularity contest for money. The show originated in Britain but has become an international franchise. In an article for The New York Times, Etan Smallman wrote, “Amid the naked gamesmanship engendered by ‘The Circle,’ beautiful human stories emerge.” (Netflix also carries a few seasons of one of the most popular and influential “social game” shows, “Survivor.”)

“Selena: The Series” portrays Selena, played by Christian Serratos, as both a typical American girl and a born superstar.
“Selena: The Series” portrays Selena, played by Christian Serratos, as both a typical American girl and a born superstar.Credit…Michael Lavine/Netflix
Michael Aloni in scene from “Shtisel.”
Michael Aloni in scene from “Shtisel.”Credit…Netflix
Advertisement

After a long layoff, this quietly compelling Israeli series recently returned for a third season, picking up the story of one Haredi Jewish family in Jerusalem a few years after the events of Season 2. Collectively, the entire run of “Shtisel” to date removes some of the mystery of an ultra-Orthodox Haredi community by following one traditionalist rabbi and his grown children as they cope with everyday relationship and career struggles. In a Times article about the show’s popularity, Joseph Berger wrote, “The tension between the Jewish laws that guide their daily lives and the yearnings and whims of the characters makes for emotionally powerful television.” (For a different kind of character- and culture-driven Israeli drama, try the action series “Fauda.”)

Created by the Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley, the anthology series “American Crime” features an outstanding cast — anchored by Regina King, Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton and Benito Martinez — playing different characters in each of the show’s three seasons. The stories are set in different parts of the United States (California, Indiana and North Carolina), and each explores how class and race affect the way justice is served. Ridley assembled an all-star team of writers and indie film directors, who were given the freedom to produce something unusually sophisticated and nuanced for a network television show. Our critic called it, “A depressing story told so skillfully that it’s almost impossible not to be happy to see it unfold.” (For a more sensationalistic procedural, watch the equally superb “American Crime Story.”)

Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Pooch Hall in Season 4 of “The Game.”
Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Pooch Hall in Season 4 of “The Game.”Credit…Paul Abell/PictureGroup

One of the longest-running sitcoms with a predominately Black cast, “The Game” ran for nine years, offering an alternately funny and soapy look at the private lives of professional football players and their wives. Netflix has the show’s first three seasons, which are largely concerned with three women: Melanie (Tia Mowry-Hardrict), a med student whose boyfriend is new to the league; Kelly (Brittany Daniel), the socialite wife of a respected veteran player; and Tasha (Wendy Raquel Robinson), the meddling mother of a star quarterback. The series deals with these ladies’ doubts and fears as they watch their men risk their health for million-dollar paydays. The Times called it, “More real than reality TV.” (“The Game” is a spinoff of the sitcom “Girlfriends,” which is also available on Netflix.)

Advertisement