25 Underrated Shows You Can Binge-Watch on Netflix Canada
From gripping gangster sagas to wacky workplace comedies, these hidden gems are well worth watching.
In the not-so-distant future, medical breakthroughs allow humans to live forever. When the suicide of several teens threatens this modern “paradise,” a tough detective (Yvan Attal) teams up with a rebellious 25-year-old (Garance Marillier) to uncover the truth behind the deaths. Together, the pair uncover an underworld of dangerous religious groups and a conspiracy involving France’s wealthy elite.
Based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning novel, Alias Grace follows Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), a young Irish immigrant and maid in 19th-century Canada who is convicted of two murders. A psychiatrist (Edward Holcroft) is brought in to perform a psychological evaluation—and decide if Grace should be pardoned due to insanity. Written by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho).
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Anne with an E
Over the course of three seasons, Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty)—a high-spirited 13-year-old orphan sent to live with an aging brother and sister—fights for love and acceptance in the town of Avonlea, PEI. While Anne with an E recreates many beloved moments from the original Anne of Green Gables novel, series creator Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) explores a number of timely issues, including feminism, bullying and discrimination.
Check out our interview with Amybeth McNulty.
Club de Cuervos
Chava (Luis Gerardo Méndez) and Isabel Iglesias (Mariana Treviño) battle high expectations—and each other—after inheriting a soccer team, Cuervos FC, from their deceased father. Can the family business overcome the siblings’ shenanigans? Class, gender and workplace politics are constantly lampooned in this fast-paced Mexican comedy-drama.
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Dark is made for binge-watching. Get a load of this premise: two children have vanished from the German town of Winden, and all signs point to the elaborate cave system beneath the woods that surround the community. Add a few apocalyptic flourishes—birds falling from the sky, livestock dropping dead in fields—as well as some time travel, and you’ve got yourself a truly original sci-fi tale that can be dissected and discussed for hours on end.
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A nuclear blast destroys the city of Glendale, California, leaving in its fallout gangs of evil jocks, cheerleaders-turned-warriors and Zombie-like creatures called Ghoulies. As outsider Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) searches for his girlfriend, he’s joined by an eclectic group of misfits to help him navigate this treacherous new world. This post-apocalyptic comedy-drama is The Breakfast Club meets Mad Max.
Set in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, Derry Girls is the funniest sitcom you’ve (probably) never heard of. Brash, nostalgic and utterly relatable, the series follows Erin Quinn (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) and her friends as they navigate their teen years at the tail end of the Troubles, the decades-long conflict between Protestants and Catholics over a united Ireland.
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Diagnosis follows seven patients on their journeys toward a diagnosis—and potential cure—for their rare illnesses. Each case, from mysterious fainting spells to unexplained paralysis, is untangled with amazing new insights that had previously eluded doctors. Based on Dr. Lisa Sanders’ popular New York Times Magazine column.
The End of the F***ing World
This pitch-black comedy follows James (Alex Lawther), a 17-year-old who’s convinced he’s a psychopath. When rebellious classmate Alyssa (Jessica Barden) convinces him to run away with her, the two embark on a hair-raising road trip—unbeknownst to Alyssa, James intends to murder her. Thoroughly unpredictable and genuinely moving, The End of the F***ing World is a very odd take on love and adolescence, indeed.
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F is for Family
Parents beware: the animated sitcom F is for Family is definitely not for children. Set in the 1970s, the raunchy series chronicles the daily lives of the dysfunctional Irish-American Murphy family, headed by the foul-mouthed Korean War vet Frank (voiced by co-creator Bill Burr). Laura Dern, Justin Long and Sam Rockwell co-star.
The Innocent Man
This true crime docu-series examines two cases of murder that shook the small town of Ada, Oklahoma, in the early 1980s. While three of the convicted men were later exonerated, the remaining defendant is still in prison for a crime he likely did not commit. The Innocent Man reveals just how imperfect—and frightening—the American legal system can be.
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Meet the Kim family: stubborn father Sang-il (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), kind-hearted mother Yong-mi (Jean Yoon), artsy daughter Janet (Andrea Bang), and estranged son Jung (Simu Liu). Kim’s Convenience follows the day-to-day misadventures of Umma and Appa (that’s Korean for mom and dad) as they run their convenience store in Toronto and deal with customers, each other, and the ever-evolving world around them.
Check out our interview with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee!
The Last Kingdom
In 872 AD, Anglo-Saxon England has been separated into seven kingdoms. As one kingdom after another is overthrown by the Vikings, only one remains: Wessex, under the rule of King Alfred. The Last Kingdom follows Uhtred (Alexander Dreymond), the son of a Saxon nobleman who’s captured as a child and raised by Danes. When he becomes an adult, Uhtred must choose which side to be loyal to: the land of his ancestors, or the people who raised him.
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
While most of Tokyo is asleep, Master (Kaoru Kobayashi) is busy cooking food—and playing the role of therapist—for the guests at his restaurant. Open from midnight until 7 a.m., the rules of the Midnight Diner are simple: Master will cook any dish you wish, so long as you bring the ingredients. Each episode of this fictional drama features patrons bonding over their shared love of a particular dish—and finding resolutions for their trials and tribulations.
Four-hundred-and-thirty kilometres north of San Francisco lies Humboldt County, one of the biggest cannabis-producing regions in the United States. The thriving industry draws visitors from around the world—unfortunately, as you’ll find in Murder Mountain, some are never seen again, while others turn up dead. Case in point: 29-year-old cannabis farmer Garret Rodriguez, whose body was found in a shallow grave in the region in 2013.
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One Day at a Time
Norman Lear’s classic sitcom is reimagined for the 21st century, this time following three generations of Cuban-Americans living in Los Angeles: divorced military nurse vet Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado), her two teenage kids, and her old-school mother, Lydia (Rita Moreno). In true Lear fashion, One Day at a Time explores serious issues like racism, depression and PTSD with real heart and humour.
Peaky Blinders follows Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy), head of England’s most powerful crime syndicate in the 1920s. Through five seasons and 30 episodes, Tommy clashes with hard-boiled detectives, Italian mobsters, Soviet spies, British fascists, and threats from within his own family. His biggest obstacle? Overcoming the trauma of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest conflicts of the First World War. It won’t take long to figure out why Peaky Blinders has achieved cult status in the TV landscape.
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After spending two decades on death row for the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Daniel Holder (Aden Young) is cleared by DNA evidence and returns to his hometown of Paulie, Georgia. As he catches up on lost time with his younger sister (Abigail Spencer), Daniel learns that the townsfolk are not about to make his journey of redemption easy.
Cynical software engineer Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne) is struck by a car and killed on her 36th birthday… only to find herself back at her own birthday party earlier that night. When she dies again and her timeline resets, Nadia realizes that she’s trapped in a time loop—and must figure out how and why before mortality catches up with her once and for all. If you combine The Good Place with Fleabag, it might just look something like Russian Doll.
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Santa Clarita Diet
Sheila and Joel Hammond (Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant) live a seemingly perfect existence in Santa Clarita, California, with their young daughter. The family’s blissful reality turns into a nightmare, however, when Sheila is turned into an undead cannibal. Can the Hammonds provide the hungry Sheila with a constant supply of fresh meat? Santa Clarita Diet is one of Netflix’s strangest—and silliest —offerings yet.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Based on the popular children’s books by Daniel Handler (a.k.a Lemony Snicket), A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the orphaned Baudelaire siblings, who must fend for themselves against a host of evil grown-ups, including the scheming Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris).
The first season of this anthology series follows Cora (Jessica Biel), a homemaker who stabs a random man to death at a beach, while the second follows Julian (Elisha Henig), a young boy who poisons his parents. It’s up to Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) to find out the truth behind these seemingly open-and-shut cases, though Ambrose has more than a few dark secrets of his own.
Based on the memoir by Ryan O’Connell, Special follows the journey of a gay man living with mild cerebral palsy who manages to keep his disability a secret from his friends. O’Connell, who also serves as the sitcom’s producer and star, seems to have made the series with binge-watching in mind, too: each episode of Special is only 15 minutes long!
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Tales of the City
Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis reprise their roles in this present-day sequel to the 1993 PBS miniseries of the same name. Mary Ann Singleton (Linney) returns to San Francisco and reunites with her daughter (Ellen Page) and ex-husband (Paul Gross). Soon, she’s drawn back into the orbit of her former landlady, Anna Madrigal (Dukakis), and a new generation of young queer residents at 28 Barbary Lane.
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On her 27th birthday, Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano), the great-great-granddaughter of iconic lawman Wyatt Earp, inherits her ancestor’s 12-inch barrel revolver—and the special power to banish demonic revenants to Hell. Along with the immortal Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) and Deputy Marshal Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson), Wynonna faces off against the supernatural beings that inhabit a cursed territory near the Canadian Rockies. If you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Orphan Black, you’ll love Wynonna Earp!
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