Baby Reindeer has captured the world’s attention, here’s what to watch after you’re done

Baby Reindeer has captured the world’s attention, here’s what to watch after you’re done
  • PublishedMay 4, 2024

Baby Reindeer is currently the #1 most-watched show on Netflix globally for the second week running, clocking in more than 87 million hours viewed.

To put the show’s runaway popularity into perspective, #2 on the list, the first season of Dead Boy Detectives, has 22 million hours viewed.

Far from being just a ratings hit, Richard Gadd’s quasi-autobiographical series has produced glowing reviews and perhaps too much interest in the fictitious show’s real life inspirations.

Netflix described the show as “piercingly funny” and revolving around a comedian, leaving many viewers gobsmacked by the dark content, based on Gadd’s award-winning play.That’s not to say there aren’t some moments of laughter in Baby Reindeer, but they come in the form of exasperated gasps that escape only when Gadd allows a brief reprieve from the ever-mounting tension.

But what are you meant to do when that tension is released and the story is over? Where else do you get the hit of comedy and tragedy that you had you on the edge of your seat?

Worry not, here are five more shows that are the audio-visual equivalent of those smiling and frowning theatre masks. You know the ones.

I May Destroy You (Binge and Foxtel)

In 2018, Michaela Coel gave the keynote speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival and shared that she had been raped while writing the second season of her hit E4 comedy, Chewing Gum.

She also revealed that she was channelling her experience into a new project and, two years later, we got Coel’s miniseries I May Destroy You.

In it Coel plays Arabella, a prolific Twitter influencer turned author that is struggling to churn out a second book when, on a night out, she’s sexually assaulted.

The rest of the series sees Arabella come to terms with her assault, while also juggling her burgeoning career and the people around her who are relying on that second book.

I May Destroy You lives in the grey areas, intent on exploring how unattended trauma can bring a life to a standstill. Its final episode is subversive, surreal and unlike anything previously seen in content on the same topic.

I May Destroy You sits comfortably alongside Baby Reindeer as a transcendent show that you’ll never want to revisit for a second watch.

Feel Good (Netflix)

Like Baby Reindeer, the title of comedian Mae Martin’s semi-autobiographical Netflix series is a little bit of a misdirection. The show isn’t concerned with making you feel better. Rather it chronicles Martin’s agonising quest to make themselves feel good — no matter how many people they devastate along the way.

Martin writes and stars as Mae, a comedian flailing in an industry that prioritises straight, cisgender, males. At a less-than-ideal gig, Mae meets George (Charlotte Richie), a neurotic, hyper-feminine beauty that has been pushed deep into the closet by her conservative upbringing. They have sex immediately.

Season one follows Mae and George’s tumultuous relationship, but it’s not just George’s internalised homophobia that gets in the way of their undeniable chemistry. Mae is a recovering drug addict (Martin has talked at length in their work about struggling with drug addiction after entering the comedy industry in their early teens), and their wobbling sobriety feeds into George’s relationship anxiety, and vice versa, in a way that feels both frustrating and realistic.

I know it sounds like a lot (this is just season one), but there are such wonderful moments of levity, largely thanks to Martin and Richie’s glowing magnetism.

Mae and George’s relationship is a rare media representation of a queer couple that are allowed to be sexy, charming, complicated and off-putting all at once. Just try and get to the end of season two without a crush on Martin or Richie (or both).

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (ABC iview)

Australian comedian Josh Thomas already proved he’s a deft hand at balancing comedy and tragedy in smash-hit Please Like Me. In the equally excellent Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Thomas takes the experience and exports it stateside (US of A).

Just as Nicholas (Thomas) is preparing to leave his American father’s house to return to Australia, his Dad drops a bombshell — he’s dying, and soon. Not only that, but his dad needs Nicholas to take over the care of his two half-sisters: the gifted but overlooked 14-year-old Genevieve (Maeve Press) and 17-year-old Matilda (Kayla Cromer), an autistic piano prodigy.

Don’t expect a long goodbye to dad, he exits stage right very quickly, leaving Nicholas with two traumatised young people to care for while also dealing with his own repressed grief.

Throughout all this, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay lives up to its title, punctuating the thorny conversations on mental health, death, sexuality, autonomy and autism with moments of irreverent levity.

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay will probably make you cry, but you’ll be dancing in-between sobs.

This Way Up (Stan)

Like many comedian-led tragicomedies, This Way Up relies on the supreme charm of its creator, writer and lead actor, Aisling Bea.

The Irish comedian just oozes comfortable relatability as English tutor Áine, no matter if she’s dancing euphorically in her kitchen or sobbing hysterically…in her kitchen.

We first meet Áine as she’s being picked up from rehab by her sister Shona (Sharon Horgan) who grumbles at the fact that most of the people there are recovering from substance abuse, not a mental breakdown like Áine. Returning to London, Áine attempts to put her life back together while also avoiding the triggers that put her in rehab in the first place.

Bea has spoken previously about how she was pushed to explore the lead-up to Áine’s breakdown, but she fought to have a firm focus on the recovery journey. Because of this, This Way Up has a lightness encouraged by lightning-fast dialogue (much of it improvised) and the central relationship between Áine and Shonda.

Both characters are afforded complex and intricate storylines that will hit close to home for anyone who’s tried to juggle a close sibling relationship into adulthood.

Lady Dynamite (Netflix)

Maria Bamford’s universally beloved Netflix series Lady Dynamite is painfully saturated: big colours, big performances and big laughs. Even when they’re joking about topics that other shows wouldn’t dream to approach.

Lady Dynamite opens at the close, with the fictionalised version of Bamford moving back with her parents after months in a treatment facility dealing with a mental health breakdown and bipolar II diagnosis.

The meta-comedy is told using a shifting timeline that jumps between Maria rebuilding her life, heading back to LA to restart her stand-up career and revisiting the moments that led to her breakdown.

While it might not closely resemble the other shows on this list with its absurdist visuals, Lady Dynamite mines the sorrowful tragedy that bubbles below and sometimes above Bamford’s irresistible presence, and turns it into honest and impactful comedy.

Bamford has been open about her experiences of going in and out of psych wards in the early 2010s, before Lady Dynamite gave her the opportunity to channel it into art.

It can be challenging trying to make the comedy in a tragicomedy feel bolder than the tragedy, but Bamford does it with ease.

Bo Burnham: Inside & The Inside Outtakes (Netflix and YouTube)

Okay, so Bo Burnham’s 2021 madcap special isn’t a TV show per se, but it falls so far outside what we’ve come to expect from stand-up that an exception will be made.

Inside was written, performed, filmed and edited by Burnham while he was in COVID-19 lockdown in his Los Angeles home.

Despite being mostly hyper-specific to what Burnham was dealing with (having to call his mum, turning 30), the comedian expands on his emotions to create an unbelievably relatable hour of fear, frustration and the downright madness we all felt when the world ended for a couple years.

It’s also incredibly silly — there’s sock puppets and twitch streamer parodies and puerile songs. But it’s where the silliness interacts with the surreally serious that your stomach drops.

Take White Woman’s Instagram, a superficially silly song that pokes fun at the banality of its titular subject’s social media habits. But with a single bridge and aspect ratio, Burnham pulls the rug out from under the audience to make a veiled yet intriguing point about what people are actually trying to communicate on IG.Pair it with Burnham’s equally ingenious The Inside Outtakes and you’ve got yourself one hell of a tragicomic double bill.

SOURCE: ABCNEWS

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