5 seasons, 60 episodes | IMDb: 8.5/10
BoJack Horseman might originally turn off viewers in its first few episodes due to its silliness. But it gets deeper than a show about a horse-man and fellow animal-people should get, getting very real and very depressing in some spots. But there’s always a layer of comedy woven into its intricate plots that are only heightened by the sadness. After all, there’s a recurring character named ‘Vincent Adultman’ who is very clearly a few young children stacked up inside a trench coat. That’s the kind of show we’re dealing with here.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
4 seasons, 51 episodes | IMDb: 7.8/10
This joyful series has no business being so sunny, especially considering its pitch-black premise: Kimmy, kidnapped as a teenager and forced to live among a doomsday cult in an underground bunker, is finally rescued, and trying to rebuild her life. But as played by the effervescent Ellie Kemper, this female is strong as hell, and determined to make the most of her freedom. A ragtag roster of supporting characters helps her through her transition (her roommate Titus the most delightful among them, though pretty much everyone she encounters is comedy gold), whether it’s figuring out what slang is outdated, or how best to kill the sentient robot you suspect is sleeping with your husband. Season two delves a little deeper into the psychological toll the Reverend’s kidnapping had on Kimmy, but despite the darker material, the show maintains its madcap charm. Special shout-out to delightful guest star Tina Fey, who co-created the show with her 30 Rock collaborator Robert Carlock.
2 seasons, 13 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
Ricky Gervais followed up his nearly unfollowable first show, The Office, with Extras, another tale loosely based on his own life, only this time his struggles with finding and being satisfied with success in television. On the exterior, Gervais’ character Andy Millman is much different from The Office‘s David Brent, but at their core they’re the same, chasing fame and thinking they’re better than they actually are. The show is stolen, though, by Millman’s refreshingly platonic friendship with Maggie (Ashley Jensen), his clueless agent (co-creator Stephen Merchant), and the celebrities willing to poke fun at themselves in every episode (including a bitingly memorable diddy from the late David Bowie). It’s another two-series-and-a-Christmas-special show, so a binge’ll take no time at all.
2 seasons, 21 episodes | IMDb: 8/10
The animated, coming-of-age comedy from Nick Kroll is full of familiar voices and even more familiar life problems. Centered on a group of pre-pubescent friends, Kroll voices a younger version of himself, a kid named Andrew who’s going through some embarrassing life changes like inconvenient erections and strange wet dreams and bat-mitzvah meltdowns. All these traumatizing and hilarious happenings are usually caused by Maurice, Andrew’s own Hormone Monster (also voiced by Kroll) who takes pleasure (literally) in abusing the poor kid. As painfully accurate as the show is, if you’re lucky enough to be removed from that angst-ridden era of life, you’ll probably appreciate the humor in all of it.
2 seasons, 16 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
“Who did the dicks?” The question seems juvenile at first, but it’s the enigma that drives American Vandal. Netflix decided to produce a parody heavily inspired by one of its own shows, Making A Murderer, with this teen mockumentary that focuses on the vandalism of 27 faculty cars in a school parking lot. With all the evidence pointing toward the local troublemaker/burnout, the case seems wrapped up before it even begins, but once the protagonists start looking more closely at what really happened, everyone becomes a suspect. It’s a hilarious show but also a tense one as the mystery gets deeper and deeper. Season two only builds on season one’s success, this time having the teen investigate a poop conspiracy that makes those dick jokes look tame. Unfortunately, Netflix has pulled the plug on the show.