TV Exstreamist | I Know What I Watched Last Summer

Rusty Unger Spends a Season Binge-Watching

Who spent countless summer nights on streaming benders when she wasn’t even depressed? I did, and, luckily for others, I am here with my report.

Dead to Me (Netflix):  This dark comedic thriller (yes, all three adjectives apply) about two California women who meet in a grief group is surprisingly addictive. The plot is unpredictable, the dialogue is clever, and both actresses — Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini — are wonderful.

Das Boot (Hulu):  I know, I know. You may remember the excellent 1981 German movie that took place entirely within a WWII submarine, and you can’t imagine watching an entire season based on it. It was only after I got tired of hearing how great it was that I gave it a try, and I discovered the critics were right. A lot of the series takes place on land (whew!) in the Nazi-held French command port that launches the state-of-the-1940s subs. It follows the crew members as well as their families, neighbors, and officials. Intrigue runs as high as the submarine runs low.

Unbelievable (Netflix):  This dramatization of a true serial rapist case is a revelation of writing and acting. Suspenseful and heartbreaking at the same time, Unbelievable is unforgettable.

Delhi Crime (Netflix; subtitles):  This was one of the best procedurals of the season and is also based on real-life events — a gang rape that horrified India out of a national numbness to violence against poor women. The series tracks the five-day police task force investigation led by a brilliant lead detective and her rookie assistant, both females. Every character, including the victim and her parents, the individual detectives and their families, the officials and politicians involved, and the perpetrators, are all impelling and sensitively drawn. It’s so good that more seasons about different Delhi crimes are in the works.

Better Than Us (Netflix):  This Russian futuristic sci-fi saga is noteworthy for its amazing creativity and design. You’ll be surprised (and a little nervous) to realize how good the Russians are at addictive entertainment. Alas, it was so good that the creators kept adding episodes even after more than one obvious ending. You’ll know when to quit while they’re ahead.

Rusty Unger has been a New York–based magazine and book editor and writer as well as a film executive. She has written for television, motion pictures, and many national publications. 


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