Yes, it is true that this 21st century deluge of cool shows and streaming websites have eaten into our leisure reading time. But that does not mean that you have to cut away your ties to the literary world. With some of the most stellar shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards being based off of books, you can still get plenty of story time while enjoying some good old Netflix.
If you are a fan of historical fiction, powerful female lead characters, or Margaret Atwood’s brilliant prose, this one is for you. It has it all. Following an Irish immigrant in Canada, the story is a fictionalised account of a real life “murderess” called Grace Marks, who was sentenced for life for her crimes in 1843. While Alias Grace is not set in an overtly dystopian regime as in The Handmaid’s Tale, it does share its themes of patriarchal oppression and women finding an outlet for suppressed rage. Plus, with just six episodes, the show is well-paced and very binge-worthy.
Slow-burning but insanely gripping, The Sinner takes a different approach to murder mysteries. Instead of a wild-goose chase of potential suspects to pick out a criminal, the show reveals the murderers in its first episodes and chooses to investigate why the murder was committed. Based on German writer Petra Hammesfahr’s novel by the same name, The Sinner is an anthology series, with the central character of Detective Ambrose analysing a different crime/criminal in each season. The third season is currently in the works – with Matt Bomer joining the cast – which gives you plenty of time to catch up.
If you haven’t seen this show already, you must ASAP. Sharp and intense, Mindhunter brings together great performances, a tight storyline and real references. The original book called Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit is written by an actual former FBI agent, John E Douglas. Currently awaiting its second season, the show provides insight into the twisted psyches of “serial killers” – and how that term came to be coined. Follow up a binge-session of this show with the Ted Bundy Tapes to spot some thrilling similarities between fact and fiction.
Anne with an E
Prepare to feel fuzzy inside with this adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, the childhood classic written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Set in the late 1890s, the show revolves around the eponymous Anne and the Cuthberts. Produced by Netflix as an original, Anne With An E takes its liberties with Montgomery’s actual story, adding new characters and situations to make it more relevant and meaningful than a mere kids’ show.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Netflix holds a special place in its heart for crime dramas – especially for pacy thrillers like Sacred Games. Based on Vikram Chandra’s humongous novel by the same name, the show stands tall on the talents of its cast and crew, which includes biggies like Anurag Kashyap, Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. With some potent writing as its backbone, the show combines violence and vintage Mumbai, and manages to become much more than a petty hard-boiled detective story. Watch for the original soundtrack and design elements too.
The Haunting of Hill House
If you belong to that community of people who have no trouble going to sleep at night after a spooky story, you might enjoy this. Created by famed horror filmmaker, Mike Flanagan, the show borrows its story from Shirley Jackson’s novel with the same title. And while the family drama at the heart of The Haunting of Hill House keeps you emotionally involved, the hidden ghosties and ghoulies in each episode keep your eyes glued to the screen. What’s better: the second season will bring Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw as The Haunting of Bly Manor. Prepare for the spooks!
A Series of Unfortunate Events
From one of the quirkiest children’s series ever comes an equally quirky TV show. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (or Daniel Handler, as the man is really named), follows the Baudelaire orphans as they fend off the evil Count Olaf and survive a chain of (mis)adventures. The three seasons on Netflix cover all nine of the books, and contain some of the most eccentric plotlines, visuals and characters – the most noteworthy being Count Olaf played by Neil Patrick Harris (and Jim Carrey in the movie – which is also worth a watch).
Based on Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments, this show is classic YA fare. Shadowhunters is a heady mix of angels, demons, hybrid beings with supernatural powers and a load of VFX. And, of course, there are a bunch of hormonal teenagers trying to find their way through their feelings. Relatable, amirite? And before you ask how this can have any takers in the post-Twilight Saga/Teen Wolf world, think again, because thousands of Shadowhunters fans rallied for the show to continue after it was cancelled. If that piques even a bit of your interest, there are 3+ seasons on Netflix ready for you to stream.
Stories By Rabindranath Tagore
Originally aired on the TV channel, Epic, Stories by Rabindranath Tagore is a wonderful way for newcomers to familiarise themselves with Tagore’s writing and pre-1947 Bengal. The 26 episodes of the show, directed by Anurag Basu, are based on twenty of Tagore’s most well-known stories, including gems like Chokher Bali, Strir Patra and Nashtanirh (better known for being made into the movie, Charulata). Tackling serious socio-political themes like women’s rights and the Hindu-Muslim divide, all the stories are a peek into Tagore’s progressive ideologies and nuanced writing.
- Published on :