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Looking For Something To Watch This Holiday Season? Check Out These Shows

If you’re into politically-charged conspiracy thrillers, or grisly old school detecting, there are two series now steaming on Netflix that are definitely worth your consideration. The two series also figure prominently in the upcoming Golden Globe  Awards (January 6th in the USA), so this holiday season may be the best time to kick back, find your favorite armchair, pop some corn, and catch up on these critically acclaimed TV series.


A big hit when it first aired in England, Netflix picked up the 6-episodes series and you’ll immediately understand why it was so popular. Ripped from today’s headlines, this one centers on an army vet, David Budd (Richard Madden), who served in Afghanistan, and now works for the police, and is assigned to the security detail of the home secretary, Julia Montague (Keely Hawes). A tense terrorist attack on a train kicks off the proceedings; and its a steep roller coaster ride from then on. 



Conspiracy theorists will have a field day as everyone we encounter will have his or her own agenda. And true to most people who work in the government, each one of them cloaks their self-interest with pronouncements of how it’s for the common good and part of their serving the people. Suffering from PTSD, Budd has his own issues, as he’s used as a pawn and scapegoat by the powers-that-be.


Richard Madden played Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, and was the Prince in Cinderella; and you’ll be impressed by his attack on the David Budd role. A gritty, tough soldier who’s more than ready to do his duty, he’s psychologically fragile, separated from his wife and children, and ready to do damage to himself and the people around him. Plot twists and turns keep us off-balance and the final episode is a master class on ratcheting up the tension.

The Alienist 


Yes, this is based on Caleb Carr’s 1994 book; and while 24 years after publication may be a long time to finally have an adaptation of this brilliant novel, let’s be thankful it isn’t some abridged and botched up film version. With a superb sense of time and location, we’re whisked to 1896 New York, where an Alienist (something akin to a criminal psychologist before the formal birth of psychology) and a newspaper illustrator work together to assist then NY Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.



With a powerhouse cast led by Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning, there’s a lot of strong acting, amidst all the gory goings-on. If you recall the novel, it’s about a serial killer who turns his victims into disemboweled ‘works of art’. He purposely seeks out young boys who cross-dress, and the police are themselves mired in corruption so that it isn’t in their interest to seek out the real perpetrator, and just find someone to confess to each crime.


What’s great here is how they present turn of the century New York with all its filth, low-life, and murders most foul. How women are treated, the on-the-take Irish cops, the persecution of Jews, and the difficult birth of such now-standard procedures as fingerprinting and criminal psychology; they’re all on display here. It’s detective work when detecting was something less than the science it is now.


Images from IMDb