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Ask the Mary Sues: What Films and Series Are We Sleeping on?

Discover some under the radar gems with these picks.

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We are currently living in the golden age of content. As more streaming services are established, there is a rush to fill these spaces with original films and series across a wide breadth of genres. We are positively inundated with new things to watch on a daily basis, so it’s no wonder that we can’t keep up with whatever is trending at every moment. Then there’s the binge model of streaming, where viewers consume an entire series within a weekend and then forget most of what they’ve seen in half the time they spent watching.

This is all to say that in the endless rollout of new stuff to watch, certain series and films are bound to fall through the cracks. After all, there are only 24 hours in the day, and we still need to eat/work/sleep/raise kids, etc. The Mary Sues got to talking about underrated gems we love. These are films and shows that we really enjoyed but somehow got lost in the shuffle. If you’ve streamed everything on your watchlist, maybe give these a whirl.

Princess Weekes:

Feel the Beat came out on Netflix in 2020 and I ended up watching it with my movie night group and it was so good. The film stars Sofia Carson as April Dibrina, a dancer who is working to get her big break on Broadway. However, in a rush to get a cab she ends up making an enemy of sponsor Ruth Zimmer. Broke and shamed, she returns home and finds herself becoming the coach to a group of young dancers. It is a very cliché premise, but Carson was effortlessly excellent in the role. She has the kind of pose and talent that should made her the lead in a bunch of these kinds of films. I especially love how inclusive it was without being overbearing AND that April was allowed to be ambitious. Being a dancer is hard and I’m glad she was allowed to fight for it and win.

Chelsea Steiner:

Is Colossal a real movie or did I imagine it? Nacho Vigalondo’s 2016 brilliant dark comedy follows Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an out of work writer struggling with alcoholism who moves back to her childhood home in New Hampshire. There she reunites with her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), and discovers that her antics manifest themselves as a destructive Kaiju in South Korea. The unpredictable, hilarious and moving film offers a brilliant metaphor for substance abuse, personal responsibility, and toxic masculinity to boot. An absolutely phenomenal watch that is anchored by strong performances from Hathaway and Sudeikis. I simply cannot recommend Colossal enough.

Dan Van Winkle:

British Channel 4 TV series Flowers (2016–2018), created and written by Will Sharpe (who also stars), always comes to mind when I think of truly great movies and TV I’ve watched that I don’t hear enough people talking about. The series centers on beloved and depressed children’s author Maurice Flowers (Julian Barratt), the rest of his dysfunctional family, and his live-in illustrator, Shun (Sharpe).

It’s definitely not for everyone—being a dark comedy about depression—and runs fairly short at only two six-episode seasons, but it packs a lot of incredibly strong storytelling and a singular artistic vision into that runtime.

However, while I found it funny and cathartic, parts of it also completely gutted me, so I could see how others living with depression or other mental illness might not take it the same way. If you’re up to it, though, Sharpe does an amazing job of blending humor and serious insight, along with, as he puts it, adding layers to turn a 2D character into a 3D one—and using that process to make an important point.
The rest of the cast is also great, including Olivia Colman and Sylvie herself, Sophia Di Martino, in a pre-Loki role. The whole series is on Netflix.

Rachel Leishman:

Only Murders in the Building is a surprisingly fun show that will make you like Martin Short in a way you never thought possible. With his comedic partner Steve Martin at his side, the two host a murder podcast after someone in their building was killed. They are joined by a young woman played by Selena Gomez and honestly, the dynamic between the three of them makes it all worth it. I love this Hulu show so much and as someone who loves Steve Martin but never really liked Martin Short, I am shocked by how much this show makes me enjoy him.

What are your favorite underrated gems? Let us know in the comments!

(image: Netflix)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.