DAR TV: 5 Netflix Series And Stand-Up Comedy Specials

By @TrueGodImmortal

Netflix is one of the biggest streaming services in the world. It started out as a simple streaming service with TV shows and movies, and soon enough, it had taken on a life of its own. This would end up becoming the new wave in how we consume television and movies, as Netflix became synonymous with so much in pop culture. As a result, they began to grow as a company, eventually moving into their own original programming, whether it was movies, stand up comedy, or television. Handing out huge deals to Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld, Netflix has proven itself to be a huge business. Today, I wanted to talk five original TV series and five original stand up comedy specials. Some of the shows aren't perfect, and some of the stand up specials aren't either, but they are all worth a watch at least. Let's take a look.

5 Netflix Original Series
There were so many shows I could have chosen to discuss, like Orange Is The New Black, The Defenders, Luke Cage, and many others, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and talk 5 series that range in genre and premise. Let's take a look at 5 Netflix Original Series that have made somewhat of an impact.

*House Of Cards (5 Seasons, 65 Episodes)

-Any show that features Kevin Spacey is sure to be special, and this show is no exception to that rule. Many shows have tackled the truth about politics, and House Of Cards isn't a trendsetter in that respect, but it has supplied us with 5 smart and well put together seasons. Following the journey of Congressman Frank Underwood and his wife Claire, the show takes a look into the manipulation and power that politics can breed. Over the 5 seasons, we see the numerous situations and the schemes that come from Frank Underwood and Claire. He is sworn in as Vice President in the beginning of the 2nd season, and the dynamic of the show got even darker during that season. With all the nonsense and drama that surrounds the 2nd season, Frank ends up as president by the end of it. From season 3 to the recent season 5, we see revenge, murder, Claire leaves Frank then comes back, a live execution of a hostage, the breaking of the fourth wall, the mention of a secret society that can influence elections, and so much more. House Of Cards is a ride from start to finish, and it's a show that you have to see to believe. It's that good.

(3 Seasons, 30 Episodes)

-One of the most popular shows on Netflix, Narcos blends everything that viewers enjoy into one program that recently released their third season. The show is based around the crippling rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia, and is inspired by the real life events and stories of former kingpins and drug dealers from the late 80's. The first two seasons centered around the rise and the subsequent fall of Pablo Escobar, with many interesting characters entering the fray and showcasing his dealings and involvement with the DEA. We see Escobar escape from prison, a lot of murder, a lot of drugs, and a lot of collusion through the seasons, and the eventual death and execution of Escobar. Season three recently debuted and showcases life after Escobar and the battle between the DEA and the Cali cartel. Narcos is well written, fun to watch, and one of the more concise shows on Netflix. It definitely deserves a watch if this genre intrigues you as a viewer. 

*Stranger Things (2 Seasons, 17 Episodes)

-With the 2nd season on the way soon, many people have expressed their appreciation and love for this series. Equal parts Sci-Fi and horror, this show has enough engaging elements to draw in the viewers. In a few weeks, the 2nd season and 9 new episodes will debut, taking the total episodes of the show to 17. However, the first season gave us more than enough to stay tuned in, taking us to the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana as we look at the disappearance of a young child with some crazy supernatural events surrounding it. Fans can take to the characters as well, as some of them are interesting in their own right and provide some memorable moments and scenes throughout the show. The characterization and the atmosphere of this program is top notch and it pays homage to classic 80's films of similar genres, helping to draw familiar links to past cinematic pieces. Stranger Things is one of the most popular shows on Netflix and I'm sure the 2nd season will take it even higher.

*Bojack Horseman
(4 Seasons, 48 Episodes)

-Another popular series on Netflix, Bojack Horseman is definitely a favorite for a certain demographic and audience. Adult animation has always been fun to watch and this show is no different. The show is a blend of comedy and some serious topics, as the show can be satirical when looking at pop culture related things, current events, and show business, it does have a reality based perspective on depression and trauma, something that most adult animated shows don't handle or cover. Based around a former star of a 90's show, Bojack Horseman showcases smart writing, hilarious scenarios, and a tongue in cheek style of comedy that pokes a lot of fun at Hollywood and everything that surrounds it. The show has gotten considerably better since the first season and a fifth season is rumored to be on the way.

*Master Of None (2 Seasons, 20 Episodes)

-I will be honest. I'm not a big fan of Aziz Ansari at all. However, I will say this: this show is surprisingly funny and not too bad to watch. I wouldn't recommend it over the other series on the list, but this was my wild card pick, as I'm sure this is an acquired taste. The show stars Aziz as an actor named Dev who recently turned 30 and the experiences he goes through. From his mundane dating life to his cultural lifestyle and everything in between, the show balances a good blend of everyday life and comedy. The first season was set in New York City, but the second season would end up in Italy based upon some dreams that Dev wishes to follow. Once again, this show is an acquired taste, but it has received countless critical acclaim and is one of the better comedy series on Netflix. I think everyone should at least check an episode out, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Stand-Up Specials
For me, my favorite market of Netflix originals is their stand-up market. Many of the stand-up specials on the Netflix service aren't that great, as I've tried to sit through Ali Wong, Louis CK, and other various white comedians as well. Those specials won't get mentioned on this list. While I'm sure there's an audience for Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Bill Burr, and the other white comedians who have a ton of specials on Netflix, it just isn't my cup of tea. However, I will take a look at 5 specials from black comedians, most of whom are huge stand-up stars in their own right. Let's take a look at 5 stand-up specials on Netflix.

*Chris Tucker Live

-In what was shockingly mediocre, Chris Tucker makes his return to stand-up comedy with his 2015 special that gained some attention. Chris is rarely seen by the public in movies these days, so it was a big deal to see him take this leap and I was excited to see what he brought to the table. After a few missed jokes, and some lackluster material, Chris comes into his own near the end of the special with his Michael Jackson story and the funniest part of the special, as he details how his success forced his family to seek his assistance for financial help and his response to them is hilarious. Surprisingly, Chris is more guarded and safe on this special, which is why it feels like it misses something, but overall, this is a glimpse of the comedic genius Tucker used to have before he took his self imposed hiatus.

*Michael Che Matters 

-An important cast member on Saturday Night Live, Michael Che actually surprised me with this and I think this is the most underrated stand-up on the entire streaming service. It didn't get the fanfare of say the Mike Epps or Chris Tucker stand-up, but it's better than both. He touches on hot topics in today's society from inequality, racism, the "phobias" of today, interracial dating, and much more. His comedic delivery is great, his jokes are just honest and raw, and you almost feel like he's making his audience slightly uncomfortable with some of his points, which is great in its own way. Michael Che instantly became a comedian on my radar and hearing his own material and perspective outside of his condensed window on Saturday Night Live was actually pretty funny and engaging. Aside from Chappelle, if you want to watch any other stand-up on Netflix, this is definitely one to put on your list.

*Cedric The Entertainer: Live From The Ville 

-I have always been on the fence about Cedric The Entertainer. He is funny in spurts, but sometimes he misses the mark. I'll be honest, I watched this and didn't pay it much attention, so my second time watching it caused me to have a bit more of appreciation for it. It's not a great special by far, and while the crowd in Nashville was solid, the special doesn't connect 100% like it should. Cedric tells jokes and talks directly about hip hop and lyrics, the new generation and attempting to raise kids, and of course, the usual stand-up comedian's go to, politics. Cedric delivers his jokes with charisma, and that's what makes him an engaging comedian, and although I wouldn't categorize this special as one of the best on Netflix, it does deserve at least one, or in my case, two watches.

*Mike Epps: Don't Take It Personal 

-If you find Mike Epps to be hilarious, then there's no question that this will be an enjoyable watch for you. Though not as good as his previous standups, Mike is as honest and open with this stand-up, as he talks kids, his baby mommas, and a number of other topics. There are moments when Mike is in rare form, and there are moments when Mike sometimes misses the mark, but overall, this is still a decent watch. What is missing from this special however is the free flowing comedy that made Epps a top comedian during his rise to success, and some of the jokes on this one feel forced. Still, I would say give it a watch if you're a big Mike Epps fan, but this is nothing special compared to his previous standups.

*Dave Chappelle: The Age Of Spin And Deep In The Heart Of Texas 

-If there is anything on Netflix better than these two specials, I honestly can't see it. Sure, if you watch one of the series on this list, you'll love it and it'll last longer, but I maintain that these two Chappelle specials are works of genius. Despite this unnecessarily sensitive society, Dave speaks from his always realistic view, and he tackles the most simple subject with such complex comedy. Chappelle has two specials included in this one, one from Texas and the other from California, and I still debate over which special is better. The Texas special shows Dave in a more free flowing performance, carrying the crowd along with him through jokes on his family, his life as a father, and hilariously, a joke involving Lil Wayne and... well... the term pussy juice. His California special shows him detailing the truth on the fight and agenda of the LGBT community, how he envied Kevin Hart briefly during a show of his, and the numerous times he met O.J. Simpson. Simply put, Chappelle reminds the world why he is one of the funniest in the game, and how the years away never took anything from him. For a master class in top tier comedy and stand-up, you need to watch these two Chappelle standups. If you're overly sensitive or a part of this unnecessarily soft or always offended generation, either lighten the fuck up and enjoy, or don't watch and miss out on greatness. This special, like everything else on this list, deserves a watch and is noteworthy for Netflix, thus why it got listed here. Check them all out and see what you think.



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