2021 TV Review: Top Rated Shows For Those Who Don’t Have Netflix

Samantha Scott, Staff Writer

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and facilities remain closed, seeking out other forms of entertainment at home is important. TV remains one of the most popular forms, but there are only so many shows to watch on the widely-used streaming service, Netflix, especially with so many fan favorites, such as “Friends” and “Gossip Girl”, that have left the platform. For those who have watched all the content that interests them, those who dread the departure of their favorite series, and those who simply do not have access to the service— below is a comprehensive list of top-rated original shows that are not on Netflix.

Hulu Original Series:

“Looking For Alaska”: This series, directly inspired by author John Green’s first novel, depicts the thoughts and feelings of main character, Miles “Pudge” Halter. Halter enrolls in boarding school and gains three loyal friends. As the show progresses, the group endures a tragic event, and the close-knit friends try to process new emotions and make sense of the tragedy.

For those looking for a show that depicts a teenage experience, with all of its ups and downs, this may be for you. Although dramatic and full of emotion, the series also appears relaxed due to the nature of its cinematography. Overall, critics and viewers both agree that “Looking For Alaska” is worth watching. “This show made me feel excited, angry, and super sad all in just eight episodes. The plot and acting drew me in, and I felt a deep connection to the characters,” junior Allyna Bagga said.

“The Act”: This show tells the startling true crime story of Dee Dee and Gypsy Blanchard, a girl who attempts to escape the control of her overprotective mother. In Gypsy’s quest for freedom shocking secrets hidden in their toxic relationship are exposed, eventually leading to a tragic murder.

“I can definitely say that this show was intense and super interesting. I had heard about the real-life case of Gypsy Blanchard before I watched the show and was interested in how Hulu would portray it. Overall, I feel that they did a pretty good job depicting the people involved in the case,” junior Kate Sinha said. The extremely strange nature of the case is highlighted by the show’s plot, dialogue, and cast, which is made up of actresses Joey King and Patricia Arquette. Critics agree that the show is often hard to watch, but that’s the point.

Amazon Prime Original Series:

“Jack Ryan”: “The Office” star, John Krasinski, stars in this action-thriller as Jack Ryan, an up-and-coming CIA analyst who is forced into a dangerous field assignment for the first time. The series spans two seasons and is inspired by a collection of books written by author Tom Clancy. The first season follows Ryan’s investigation into a string of strange bank transfers being carried out by an Islamic extremist, while the second season covers Ryan’s journey and experiences in Venezuela during a heated presidential election.

The show combines Ryan’s dry humor with suspenseful action to create an overall entertaining plot. Due to Ryan’s work ethic and wit, many viewers find themselves rooting for the main character. If thrill and adventure are appealing, this show may be right for you.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: This award-winning “dramedy” series is comprised of three seasons and is set in 1958 New York City. It follows the life of Miriam “Midge” Maisel, who’s married with two young kids and living in an elegant Upper West Side apartment. Suddenly, Maisel discovers that she has a hidden talent; she’s remarkably funny. Inspired by this talent, she decides to go from housewife to stand-up comedian. 

“I really enjoyed watching this because it always kept me entertained. I love being thrown into the fifties in New York City and getting to listen to music from the time period whenever I watch the show. It is also lighthearted and a great way to distract yourself,” junior Ally Smith said. This show is produced by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who also produced the hit series “Gilmore Girls”. For those that liked this older show, they may enjoy a similar feel in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”.

HBO Max Original Series:

“The Flight Attendant”: This new series, whose first episode was produced late last year, follows the adventures and clear downward spiral of Cassie Bowden, a reckless, alcoholic partier who works as a flight attendant. After a blurred night in Thailand, Bowden wakes up next to the dead body of one of the passengers on her previous flight and realizes that she must clear her name. She struggles in doing so, as flashbacks from her troubled childhood and night in Thailand fill her mind. 

Bowden, played by “The Big Bang Theory” actress Kaley Cuoco, is a dramatic but independent character that attracts viewers’ attention. The plot is full of twists, turns, and mysteries that keep you on the edge of your seat. The show simultaneously exposes a string of corruption while guiding viewers on Bowden’s journey of self-growth. “I recently found this show on HBO Max, and I am beginning to watch it. So far, the episodes are super intense and full of surprises. I would highly recommend it so far,” junior Apameh Berloui said.

“Westworld”: A bit of an older show, with its first episode airing in 2016, “Westworld” remains highly rated by viewers and critics alike. This sci-fi and dystopian series portrays a futuristic Wild West-themed amusement park called Westworld. Westworld isn’t your typical amusement park, as it is intended for rich vacationers and  looked after by robotic “hosts” that act convincingly human-like. The park allows its visitors to live out their fantasies through artificial consciousness.

Inspired by a 1973 sci-fi Western film also titled “Westworld”, the show consists of three seasons, with the last two differing greatly from the format of the first season. However, the stories portrayed in each season are equally intriguing and the acting convinces the audience of a changing futuristic world. Once unknowing machines, the “hosts” begin to become aware of their brutal surroundings. The show is also fast-paced, keeping viewers on their toes. Although a bit violent and unnerving, this show is not for the faint of heart, but it does an excellent job at addressing important themes such as free will.