“American Vandal” – an eight-episode fictional docu-mystery that dropped last fall on Netflix – explores the snicker-worthy case of someone spray-painting penises on 27 cars. And to be sure, creators Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda intend the straight-faced talk about “dicks” and “ball hairs” and “mushroom heads” to appeal to our inner juvenile comedian.
“The Cloverfield Paradox” (which recently debuted on Netflix), the third installment of the loosely connected Cloververse saga, takes topical physics such as the recently discovered God Particle and the popular multiverse theory and smashes them into a movie that has little to do with science. Let’s just say it’s not going to pass muster with Neil deGrasse Tyson or Michio Kaku. But while the space station crew’s paranoia amid a series of disasters is familiar, there’s still fun to be had here if you’re in the mood (and if you already have Netflix, you saved money on a movie ticket this time around).
Following up on BBC’s “The Office” – which aired back in “Two Thousand and cough-cough” (actually 2001-03) – Ricky Gervais finds there’s still plenty of room to pound the joke into the ground in “David Brent: Life on the Road” (released last year in the U.K., and now available on Netflix). Although there are some viewers who feel the punchline already landed in “The Office,” I enjoy a joke being stretched out till it becomes funny again, and that’s what happens in “Life on the Road,” which impressively adds more layers … well, to the one layer.
“The Secret Circle” (2011-12, The CW; now available on Netflix) shouldn’t be nearly as good as it is, but because every actor plays the witches-and-spells mythology with total seriousness, and because the Pacific Northwest imagery is gorgeous, this series based on L.J. Smith’s young-adult books from 1992 ends up being one of my favorite one-season wonders.
When I started watching “The Fall” (2013-present, Netflix) I could hardly remember the names of the characters at the end of each episode. It was just The Killer (Jamie Dornan) and The Cop (Gillian Anderson). The early hook was watching The Killer – soon to be known as the Belfast Strangler — get away with breaking into women’s houses and sneaking out, and later sneaking in again and strangling them to death.
Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino warmly invite fans back into Lorelai and Rory’s world in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” four 90-minute episodes that hit Netflix last week. I had always been satisfied with the seven seasons of “Gilmore Girls” (the cancellation of “Bunheads” after one season left a much bigger void), but by the end of these six hours, I realized that this bow was indeed needed to tie up the saga in a more perfect way.
The 1980s nostalgia is strong with the 2016 Netflix series “Stranger Things.” The eight-episode first season, which came out in July and rates a staggering 9.0 on IMDB, takes a lot of things we loved about Eighties movies – particularly in the coming-of-age and horror genres – and molds them into what is essentially a six-hour movie that can be enjoyed in two or three sittings.