5 Netflix Originals That Represent
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5 Netflix Originals That Represent

Shows that slay by featuring strong characters representing minority groups and the issues that face them in modern society.

5 Netflix Originals That Represent

I’ll be honest, when Netflix first started releasing original series several years ago I was skeptical. I assumed that since Netflix is an online streaming network rather than an actual television studio the shows would be unimaginative and cheaply made. I am pleased to say that I was wrong.

Netflix has been cranking out hit after hit; and with the upcoming releases of reboots such as “Fuller House” and “Gilmore Girls,” it looks as though the trend will continue. Part of the massive success of these shows is the incredible level of representation and presentation of modern social issues amongst the plots and characters. So here’s to the Netflix originals that represent by addressing societal issues that affect their viewers, and by promoting minority representation.

5. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Plot Synopsis: After being part of an underground cult religion for fifteen years, Kimmy Schmidt is finally living in the real world again. The series follows Kimmy’s quirky misadventures through New York City. Kimmy also learns to find her own voice and independence as she comes to terms with her past and attempts to embrace the present.

Why it’s Awesome: The characters of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” are truly what make the show lovable. They also provide a fairly diverse representation of individuals of various ethnicities, backgrounds, and identities. For example, one of the main characters, Kimmy’s roommate, Titus, is a gay black man looking to make his big break on Broadway. Kimmy is also a very empowering character due to the feminist undertones in which she is portrayed. Kimmy is presented as a real person. The series primarily focuses on her own self-growth rather than her romantic relationships. Despite being a fictitious character, this non-romanticized depiction of a young woman’s life subtly promotes gender equality and combats the use of female character tropes.

4. “Master of None”

Plot Synopsis: Dev, an actor struggling to branch out from his standard GoGurt commercials, confronts racism, sexism, and relationship problems as he blindly wades into the void that is the future.

Why it’s Awesome: The question is why isn’t it awesome? Practically every episode deals with a new social justice issue; from racism within the acting business, to male privilege, and more. Aziz Anzari, one of the creators of the show as well as the actor who portrays Dev, draws upon his own experiences to bring attention to often less frequently discussed issues of inequality that he and countless others have experienced in modern America. “Master of None” covers these important topics in a light-hearted manner that is both comedic and potent, through the use of a stellar cast of diverse actors.

3. “Orange is the New Black”

Plot Synopsis: Set in an all female prison, “Orange is the New Black” provides entertaining and emotional narratives on each of the inmates, detailing the crimes they committed, as well as their various backgrounds in order to explain what led them to break the law.

Why it’s Awesome: Its no secret that “Orange is the New Black” pushes boundaries within the world of popular media. With a cast primarily composed of women, including women of color and various sexual preferences and identities, OITNB is certainly a big name in the celebration of diversity through representation. In addition, OITNB provides fascinating commentaries on societal issues including racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and corruption in the United States.

2. “Jessica Jones”

Plot Synopsis: Based on a Marvel comic series, the show chronicles the life of Private Investigator and part-time superhero Jessica Jones. A series of murders trace back to Jessica’s manipulative ex, Kilgrave, who uses mind control to bend people to his will.

Why it’s Awesome: Many superhero movies or shows focus on the incredible invincibility of muscular, masculine characters, “Jessica Jones,” however, redefines that cliché. Jessica is portrayed as cynical, strong, and independent. At the same time she is also a victim of mental illness triggered by memories of her toxic relationship with Kilgrave. With mental illness currently affecting so many people across the United States, it is comforting to have a character to relate to in a television show, especially one who is portrayed as so much more than just her mental illness.

1. “Sense8”

Plot Synopsis: Eight different people from around the world realize that they have a unique connection, which allows them to access each other’s knowledge and skills.

Why it’s Awesome: I honestly don’t know why anyone wouldn’t like this show! No matter how you identify yourself, there is almost certainly a character that represents that community. There are people of color, lesbians, gay men, people living of various economic statuses, and a trans character. Not only is the level of minority representation unheard of so far in mass media, but the plot also highlights and provides multiple perspectives on important controversial topics such as interpersonal violence, religion, arranged marriage, family obligation, mental illness, and more. Somehow the writers of “Sense8” manage to strike a beautiful balance between creating a fascinating, sci-fy-esque plot, while addressing real world issues and empowering minority groups.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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