Come on, folks. It’s work-from-home season again. And home-based learning season.
If you would rather be on Netflix than on Zoom (in a hypothetical scenario where you productively complete all tasks assigned to you and are able to participate in a meeting fully through this alternative application), here are ten ‘meetings’ you should attend.
This one’s a classic. The story started with five interns (doctors fresh out of medical school in their first year of training) at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital as they journey the trials and tribulations of an apparently enviable but in reality harsh and unforgiving profession.
As the show progresses, friendships are made and lost, love blossoms and withers, and patients come and go, sometimes to catastrophic consequences. What’s to be said about this show is its extraordinary humanising power, both on a group of people we perceive as emotionless, flawless “angels in white” and the people who go to them for help in their most desperate states, and the confusing, even infuriating decisions they sometimes make.
And besides, it’s got 15 seasons (and counting) on Netflix. You literally cannot finish binging it.
The next on our list of Singapore’s favourite careers. Featuring big-shot lawyer Harvey Specter with his invincible record in court (kiasu moms’ eyes light up in excitement) and his accidental assistant Mike Ross who was kicked out of law school (kiasu moms promptly censor the show from family wifi), the series is a courtroom drama and out-of-courtroom drama at its finest.
Though the later seasons start to feel more like any other generic office production, the adrenaline kick as our lawyers exercise their big brains to win a case we thought impossible will very soon prove very addictive.
And here’s a career show about what’s not exactly a Singaporean favourite career
The political drama follows the unexpected rise of Statsminister Birgitte Nyborg to the head of government in Denmark, in a riveting tale that sees her wrestle with the complexities of a dynamic, multi-party democracy and the hot-button issues of the day, while still holding on to the ideals that led her into politics in the first place.
And, as the head of a coalition government, she achieves most of them as a popular and widely respected figure. It’s almost as if you don’t need a parliamentary supermajority to achieve your legislative goals. You know, unimaginable.
But the series is more than the stories of a single prime minister. At the heart of the show is a portrait of the tension between the politician as a human and as an instrument of the democratic mandate.
It is a much-needed interrogation on the relationship between democracy and people: between the government and the electorate, among the people that claim to represent their people, and more. A must-watch regardless of whether you are a politics aficionado.
The Good Place
How about something lighthearted? Let’s say… Philosophy?
Before you close this page, I promise this series doesn’t involve 500-page books of philosophers philosophising things. Well, it kinda does. But it’s more than that.
In light pastel colours and with cheery, upbeat music, the show follows the resolutely unethical Eleanor as she finds herself an imposter in The Good Place—a place reserved for only the most morally spotless.
As the story progresses with more liberal use than Goodyfeed’s of better jokes than Goodyfeed’s, Eleanor encounters her friends who all seem a little bit out of place, and tries to learn the philosophy of ethics so that she might actually be worthy of where she is.
Would be a pity if she’s already in The Bad Place, though.
Otis Milburn, an insecure teenager at Moordale Secondary School, decides to set up—wait for it—a sex advice business as he and his friends navigate the complexities of high school romance. Without shying away from discussions on sexuality. (For a show on teenagers, it’s, well, R21).
Nor should it, about a topic important to our daily lives but receives only cursory attention from, say, the sexuality education curriculum in schools that many believe to be vastly inadequate.
Emily in Paris
Don’t watch this if you are French.
Built upon implausible, rosy stereotypes of French life is the story of marketing executive Emily, who pursues an unexpected job opportunity in Paris despite not knowing a word of French. Somehow always dressed in impeccable pret-a-porter outfits, Emily tries her hardest to succeed in the workplace while avoiding cultural faux pas everywhere.
Like… not having an affair? I’m sure people in France don’t have affairs every other night either.
Taking place just across the English Channel is something much more serious. This series is an intimate look at the lives of perhaps the most glamorised royal family in the world, following the journey of Queen Elizabeth II as she grows into her position as a seasoned monarch.
Beneath the glitz and glamour are idols made human. As the story develops, we see the self-abnegation of the royal family as they struggle to fit into an impersonal cultural institution that the Monarchy has become, one increasingly losing relevance in a changing Britain.
It is a gripping story, even if few are likely to relate to the literal queen of a country.
Another political show on our list. (Don’t we love politics)
The series begins with a doomsday scenario: the entire US Congress and its Cabinet are assassinated in a catastrophic terrorist attack, leaving Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman as the successor to the Presidency.
What follows is a riveting tale of suspense and action as President Kirkman grapples with rebuilding a nation and delivering justice to those responsible. As usual, the problems he faces are inevitably resolved at the last second, but always in a way that makes you cheer in excitement.
Star Trek: Discovery
Maybe you are tired of politics and prefer spaceships shooting at each other instead. How about the latest rendition of Star Trek?
The newest incarnation of the celebrated sci-fi series takes us aboard the USS Discovery, whose first officer Michael Burnham starts an interstellar war in her rash belligerence. The imagination of the creators really impresses as they take us to another universe (literally) on Michael’s journey of redemption.
Even though it builds upon a decades-long franchise, the dialogue is entirely beginner-friendly. Or, you know, just be excited by the CGI instead. It’s beautiful.
The Half of It
What about a film instead? Instead of Discovery’s interstellar flamboyance, this is a quiet, peaceful film about friendship and self-discovery.
Asian-American girl Ellie Chu is approached by Paul Munsky, your typical jock, when he needs her help ghostwriting love letters to his crush named Aster.
But as the transaction continues and escalates out of proportion, the coming-of-age drama tenderly touches you with the gentle love and longing of teenhood, in a story that leaves you aching for what Ellie, too, must have ached for.
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Featured Image: Youtube (Netflix)