Atypical | By Robia Rashid and Academy Award-winning producer Seth Gordon (Netflix)
Who: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist and Michael Rapaport
What: Sam, an 18-year-old who is on the autism spectrum, decides to get a girlfriend. His bid for more independence puts his whole family on a path to self-discovery: can they now let go and be their own persons too?
“(My therapist) She thinks that I should put myself out there and find someone to have sex with… She didn’t say the sex part, I added that,” says Sam to his family at the dining table mid-meal. Heartwarming comedy with memorable lines, this coming-of-age drama has three series on Netflix to stay up for all long weekend.
Why: Gillian says, “The direction, performances and writing are so good. The show managed to balance the combination of funny and heartfelt moments perfectly. I also like that it was a high school story told from a different perspective.”
The Crown | By Peter Morgan (Netflix)
Who: Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton, Vanessa Kirby, and Helena Bonham Carter
What: With the key characters assumed by different thespians over the seasons, it’s fun to debate who played it better while watching the three seasons to date. Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret from season 3 onwards is one to watch: she comforts the Queen by sternly saying, “You cannot flinch. It’s only fallen apart if we say it has. That’s the thing about the monarchy. We paper over the cracks.” Enough drama for now. Watch it to believe it.
Why: Gillian says, “It looked really boring at first, but so many people were recommending it I ended up giving it a go. Once I did, I was hooked! I loved everything about it, from the direction and writing to the sets and costumes. I’ve always loved stories inspired by real-life events, and this was no exception.”
Chernobyl | By Craig Mazin and Johan Renck (HBO and Sky UK)
Who: Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson
What: With multiple natural disasters, the pandemic and the recent Beirut explosion all having happened in 2020 — this hits home. The five-part miniseries dramatises the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes, which happened on April 26, 1986. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, Soviet Union suffered a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and as far as Scandinavia and western Europe. Grit your teeth through all five episodes following the sacrifices made to save Europe from the aftermath.
Why: Gillian says, “I loved how it was able to make a situation so complex and multi-layered very accessible. Overall, a story really well-told. Plus, I was personally very intrigued by Chernobyl so when this came out, it was a must-watch for me.”
House of Cards | By David Fincher (Netflix)
Who: Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey and Michael Kelly
What: Doesn’t a ruthless politician who stops at nothing to conquer Washington, D.C. sound all too familiar? If you’ve been suppressing any disgust or frustration at what is happening in that part of the world, vent it through this gripping drama of Machiavellian scheming. Grab your popcorn, to throw some of them at the screen, as you witness Congressman Frank Underwood embarking on his ruthless rise to power where blackmail and schemes seem to be the best he can offer to the job.
Why: Gillian says, “Kevin Spacey’s performance was a huge part of why I was so drawn to this show. Also, I love political dramas so this was right up my alley.”
Breaking Bad | By Vince Gilligan and Michelle Maclaren (AMC / Netflix)
Who: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul
What: Watch a well-meaning family man who is a high school chemistry teacher transform into a ruthless drug kingpin after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Hell-bent on making the quickest buck for his chemotherapy and to secure the future of his family, Walter White’s journey is complex, driving the show with its character-driven plot. And it will take you on a roller-coaster ride as a man who is running away from death, ironically, purveys death in the form of cooking meth for sale. Simply brutal.
Why: Gillian says, “The best TV series I’ve ever watched. I especially loved the pilot, which got me hooked immediately and the ending, which gave the story perfect closure. There is nothing I didn’t like about it.”