Getting a little bored of Bridgerton? Whether you’re looking for something new to watch during the current lockdown or just procrastinating on college assignments these titles might be just what you need for your next Netflix binge. Likewise, there are titles included at the end that we recommend you avoid.
What to watch
Mortel combines a modern setting and characters with the old-school power of Voodoo and the Gods to incredible effect. Victor, a depressed artist and loner and the troubled Sofiane make a deal with the deceitful god Obé. They are granted absurd powers in return for the murder of Sofiane’s brother’s killer. The young god agrees to this as he needs another death in order to be able to return home. Their behaviour arouses the suspicions of Luisa, granddaughter of the local Voodoo priestess and possibly the only one who’ll be able to help the boys out of the jam they’ve got themselves in. The friendship that forms between the boys is believable and the action within the story will grip anyone not there just for the characters. This French Netflix original is available to watch dubbed in English or with subtitles.
Blood and Water
The 2020 drama all about Cape Town’s elite and the shady practice of illegal adoptions has quickly been confirmed for a second season. Following two potential siblings Fikile and Puleng and their friendship and rivalry as the mystery of their pasts gets darker and darker. This is a show for anyone who loves a good mystery; and the gorgeous, colourful setting creates a stunning contrast to the sometimes-murky plotline. If you missed the series when it initially came out in May or just want to revisit the twists and turns of Puleng’s mission to find her long-lost twin and all the scandal at Parkhurst College before the next season is released, Blood and Water is waiting to be watched.
The Bonfire of Destiny
The Bonfire of Destiny, or Le Bazar de la Charité as it was originally titled, follows three women’s paths after a suspected arson attack in 1897 kills 126 ladies and maids: but not a single man. Odette, Alice and Rose’s lives intertwine with a case of stolen identity, forbidden romance and fighting for what’s right as the main plots in this miniseries, all spurred on by the idea of the brutality of powerful men. Loosely based on real events, this is a show for those of us looking for a period drama with a little more action – think ‘Pride, Prejudice and Zombies’ only this time aristocratic men are the problem not the undead.
What to avoid
Fate: The Winx Saga
Despite having nothing to do with its popular children’s cartoon origin, Fate: The Winx Saga should be watchable in its own right, if you do your best to forget the source material. Unfortunately, the writers seem to have confused ‘compelling and gritty’ for ‘edgy’ and failed even then. You do not need to throw the word ‘fuck’ into every other sentence to make a drama for young adults. In times like these I think a lot of viewers are tired of having ‘dark’ interpretations thrown at them and we really didn’t need a Riverdale rehash with wingless fairies added to the mix. Winx Club was adored universally for its diversity, portrayal of strong, supportive women and the bright, glittery aesthetic and Fate doesn’t do that justice. If you’re looking for some nostalgia and a trip down memory lane, I wouldn’t look here. If you’re a fan of the modern supernatural though, and can forgive the series for what it says it was based on – you’ll likely enjoy this live-action adaptation.
Tiny Pretty Things
This show named after the book by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton is one that due to the high drama occurring in the Archer School of Ballet you won’t stop watching but once you’re finished – you’ll question what exactly it was you sat through. The casting directors focused on casting dancers not actors and this pays off in the necessary scenes – however the bad writing makes interactions between characters bearable at best and painful at worst. The sex scenes every ten minutes are unnecessary and the time they used up in hour-long episodes would’ve been better put towards making the plot and relationship progression between characters coherent rather than starting and stopping haphazardly. The renaming of the sole black female portrayed as the lead in trailers only to be relegated to the supporting cast by the second episode was also problematic to say the least. Yet another glossy Netflix adaptation that doesn’t do the story it was based on justice.
Lucy Mackarel, film contributor