What to Watch on Netflix: Jenn’s Top Picks from 2017 #StreamTeam

2017. What a year! For our family, 2017 was a year of change and adventure and a very tired and grumpy mommy! We took a trip together last February to BC to visit family – our youngest’s first time on a plane!  I got a job at WestJet, completed their intensive training program, and realized over the course of my temporary 8 month contract that – while the work is challenging and interesting and the people are fantastic – I AM NOT ABLE TO OPERATE IN REAL LIFE AS A SHIFT WORKER. Getting up to work at 3am just DOES NOT WORK for this person. But. My husband and I got to take some awesome trips to Europe on the cheap because of the job, and my mom and I got to fly to Calgary and reconnect with a cousin I haven’t seen in decades! We had a great school year last year, left an amazing neighbourhood that we loved, moved to a new one which we ALSO love, and are having a great school year this year. I had 2 temp jobs this year, which led to me obtaining an amazing and unique contract position at a college next door, meaning that my commute to my desk is a 12 minute walk from my front door. 

I also watched a LOT of Netflix in 2017. I was going to use one post to highlight MY favourites, OUR favourites (the ones we committed to watching together), HIS favourites, and KID favourites, but wow, apparently I’ve loved a LOT of things this year. So. Here we have MY favourites (the ones I was allowed to binge on my own). Fear not. I haven’t forgotten some of THE BEST SHOWS of this year – they’re just coming in a post tomorrow. :) 

Offspring

Offspring TV Show on Netflix Canada

If you like Grey’s Anatomy, The Mindy Project, and Call the Midwife, you’ll (probably) binge this.

Oh my word. Have you seen this yet? It’s weird, it’s bizarre, and it’s entirely endearing. Nina Proudman is an Australian Obstetrician with quirks up the wazoo. Her family and friends make up a cast of crazy and lovable characters who all live in Melbourne, Australia, as does Nina. I will warn you – it’s just as heart-wrenching as it is hilarious and awkward. I sat on the couch and absolutely bawled for a few episodes – but they deal with the hilarity and heart-ache equally well. Watch it NOW. 

Frequency

Frequency TV show on Netflix Canada

This is a series based on a 90′s movie of the same title – Frequency – that I absolutely loved. The premise is this: A police detective turns on her deceased dad’s old HAM radio and finds that, due to some inexplicable time-warp, she can communicate with him. Through their chats over the radio, they work together to crack a serial murder case.  I must warn you: this wasn’t renewed for a second season, but that first season is just SO GOOD. Binge-worthy, even. 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix Canada

I went back and re-watched all of season one and two before season three came out. I will admit that the humour isn’t for everyone, especially those who find themselves landing on the more conservative side of the scale, but wow, my husband and I find it funny and SO CLEVER! The wordplay in that show. Amazing. Bonus: the episodes are bite-sized 30 minute chunks, perfect for that, “I’m not quite ready to go to bed yet…” Netflix debate.

Greenleaf

Greenleaf on Netflix Canada

This one is a bit of a guilty pleasure – it feels entirely like a soap opera, but with the powerful (and entirely fictional) Greenleaf family and the Memphis Megachurch they run at the centre of things. The drama, the intrigue, the betrayal – and yet – the real issues like substance abuse and familial sexual abuse…. Check it out sometime, especially if you want to see what Oprah acts like when she’s drunk. 

Grace and Frankie

Grace and Frankie on Netflix Canada

I don’t know what it is about Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin that I love so much. I remember, from back in my early childhood, watching movies staring these ladies – usually as strong characters – and just having so much fun. I like the idea that aging doesn’t have to mean doing what’s expected of you. These ladies are fierce and daring, and I love that. 

Cable Girls

 Cable Girls on Netflix Canada

I do most of my Netflixing while cleaning / cooking / crafting / laundering, so Cable Girls was a bit of a struggle for me, but only because it’s in Spanish and I dislike watching dubbed shows. However. It’s a period drama (set in 1920′s Madrid) and follows a group of switchboard operators through their daily lives and relationships. The modern music used in the series is a little strange, but other than that, I really loved it. I am, after all, a big fan of historical fiction both in novels and on the screen. 

Quantico

Quantico on Netflix Canada

If you watched Alias or Covert Affairs, Quantico is one for you. FBI recruit Alex Parish goes through 9 months of training with fellow recruits at Quantico, but the series keeps flashing forward to a terrorist attack in which Alex is the prime suspect. We follow her as she tries to figure out which member of her training class was the mastermind. 

The Blacklist

The Blacklist Netflix Canada

Not unlike White Collar, The Blacklist features a prominent Con Artist who turns himself into the FBI and tells them that he’ll work alongside them to help them capture some of the FBI’s most wanted criminals in exchange for immunity from prosecution. He insists on working with an FBI rookie, Elizabeth Keen, whom we soon learn has some sort of connection in her past to this Con Artist. If you’re a fan of twists and turns and double crosses, check out The Blacklist. 

Atypical

Atypical Netflix Canada

I LOVED THIS NEW SHOW! I didn’t say much about it when it came out because the protagonist, Sam Gardner, is on the Autism spectrum, and there was a fair amount of controversy on my facebook feed from those who have kids on the Autism spectrum about Sam’s portrayal. Generally, I find it best to stay out of these discussions if I don’t have any skin in the game, so to speak. However. I will tell you right now that I found this show brilliant, from an outsider’s perspective. I found Sam to be such a fantastically rounded character – one of the best I’ve seen in a show in years, regardless of where they land on the spectrum. I found it really interesting to watch each member of the family go through life as Sam’s mom/dad/sister. I loved the struggle with real emotions. And man, Sam is funny. Not as in, “he doesn’t even realize how ridiculous his behaviour is,” but as in a “he’s got the makings of a comic!” hilarious. I can’t wait for the second season to come out. I’ve got a bit of a crush on Sam. 

The Big Family Cooking Showdown

The Big Family Cooking Showdown on Netflix Canada

The one thing that I miss most about broadcast TV is my cooking competition & reality shows. I really enjoy shows like Kitchen Nightmare, Hell’s Kitchen, and MasterChef – and I really miss them now that we’re a pure-Netflix family. Which is why I was absolutely DELIGHTED when Netflix came out with The Big Family Cooking Showdown! I devoured it right away – and then proceeded to watch it over a second time when I had time to not multitask and  could actually look at the dishes that the families were creating! Love it. More of this, please, Netflix!

Wanted

Wanted on Netflix Canada

Thanks to Netflix, I’ve really developed a love for Australian programming – and Netflix has gone and developed their own AMAZING Australian show. By sheer bad luck, two strangers waiting for a bus end up as prime suspects in a murder investigation and they soon realize that they’re a part of a much larger conspiracy. This show is so well written and so well acted. I’m thrilled that season 3 is in the works!

Schitt’s Creek

Schitt's Creek on Netflix Canada

I think it’s fantastic that Netflix is picking up Canadian shows like this. It’s funny, it’s awkward, and Eugene Levy comes from Hamilton, the city I’ve called home now for 17 years, so I have to like it. Plus, it’s another one of those magic 30-minute shows that you can squeeze in. So good. And awkward. And funny. Did I say those things already? 

These were my favourite shows of 2017 to watch on my own – I have a whole entire post dedicated to shows that my husband and I love to watch together and which ones he was wowed by on his on in 2017. Do share your favourites below!

Disclaimer: We’re part of the Netflix StreamTeam! Because of that, we get special perks now and then in exchange for posting our opinions on Netflix-related things, but as always, all opinions remain ours alone. 

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Jenn vanOosten

I live in Hamilton, Ontario, and love my city. I'm a Netflixer, choral music geek, bookworm, inventor of recipes (I take Artistic Licence on EVERYTHING that I make), wife of one, mother of two, and owner of a neurotic Schnauzer. I respect people who respect others. I love good food that's well done, but my favourite lunch is KD & hotdogs. With ketchup. I'm addicted to Clearance Shopping. I will ALWAYS get the product that I want at the price that I want, eventually.

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