5 Shows on Netflix for Criers that don’t want to Cry

IMG_2232I crave real substance in my television shows. Sometimes, I will sit for forty-five minutes surfing Netflix on the television with the laptop open to reviews of whatever shows I happen to be investigating. Before I begin a show, I like to know what people are saying about it, and more than that, I like to know if it is a show that will make me cry. I hate shows that induce tears for no apparent reason. I will cry to see some growth, I will cry to see some virtue, and I will even cry if it cannot be helped, but I will NOT cry for deteriorating characters, depressing themes with no redemption, or an ending that had little reason for ending that way. I don’t mean that I physically will not cry, I just mean that I won’t even turn on the show because I am a crier. I know I’m not alone, and in fact, my own mother is the same way. She taught me to value virtue in television before I even knew what that meant!

That doesn’t mean that every show I watch must never feature sin in any way (there would be startlingly little to watch if that were the case), it just means that it must not feature the glorification of sin, or even the majority tolerance for sin for it to be in my “to watch” list. I am Catholic, and I believe there is a lot to learn from seeing different scenarios played out and seeing the consequences for them, but I also believe in a good redemption story! If you’re reading along and thinking the same things, you may have found five new shows to love that are currently streaming on Netflix.

Call the Midwife – I had heard my mom and aunt talk wildly about this show, and had it in the back of my mind for a rainy day, but I wasn’t convinced to try it right away because I’ve never been a “birth fanatic.” I finally decided to try it and was surprised that I was moved as much as I was by these midwives doing their job and the friendship that they shared in doing it. There are really so many medical scenarios to cover in the 1950s as well as political and cultural scenarios, and since it is narrated by the main midwife, “Nurse Jenny Lee,” this show may feature the most character growth of all five shows. She learns not just about her midwifery job, but about life in general, of people, and love, and tragedy. The other midwives are much the same and this show also has a healthy dose of humor throughout (especially where Sister Monica Joan is concerned). The themes I love about this one are friendship and compassion. And a word for the men, Daniel watched this one with me until we became pregnant ourselves (and knew he might be too sensitive towards the medical scenarios during the course of our pregnancy) and he really loved it. He never shied away from the birth aspect of it and commented often of the high quality of writing and filming. This is really a great date night show!

Death Comes to Pemberley – I just tried this one recently after running out of “Jane Austen shows” on Netflix and I have the least to say about this one, but it deserves mentioning. It’s meant to be taken as a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” and is adapted from P.D. James’ novel of the same title. The quality of filming is wonderful, the sets and dresses are beautiful, and it really feels like a Jane Austen show, although I don’t know that I can say it is on par with Austen’s books. I haven’t read the novel by P.D. James but watching this show made me really want to read it! It’s a murder mystery which I found to be interesting in a Jane Austen setting, but I think that’s what makes it. No one is trying to “be” Jane Austen in the making of the miniseries, and there is enough original style to make it appealing. I will say that it is enough like Austen’s books that it makes you value virtue and loathe dishonesty and immorality.

The Paradise – This is a show that is gorgeous to behold. The sets are dreamy, the costumes are intricate and trim, and the actresses are pretty. This show is basically eyecandy. It follows character “Denise Lovett” around a department store in the late 1800’s as she learns the ropes of being a shop girl for high society. Her curious, bright eyes make the show and you find yourself as enthusiastic as she is in pursuit of bettering the store. This show was canceled and I’ve heard that the show, “Mr. Selfridge” is quite similar and did better overall, but I don’t think this one should be overlooked. The theme that stuck out the most to me in this show was diligence to work your hardest, and love your work.

Merlin – This one was recommended by a friend and while it is geared to a younger audience than the rest of the shows, both Daniel and I enjoyed it! The main actor that plays Merlin also looks like a young Benedict Cumberbatch so there’s that for all of you Sherlock fans (also another great show). I kept thinking that I want to watch this one with Eliot when he’s old enough. It’s influenced by Arthurian legends and has a healthy dose of fantasy involved. Camelot is a place where magic is banned and Merlin is a boy who has to hide his true nature because of it. He ends up becoming Arthur’s manservant and there is a lot of “polish my armor, clean my bedchamber” dynamic going on, but what makes this show is the character development between the two. The two grow a friendship between them and explore themes of trust and kindness. It’s a pretty awesome bromance. I will definitely re-watch this one (probably before Eliot is even old enough to watch with me)!

Parenthood – This is by far my favorite Netflix show, and I happened upon it randomly. Normally, I’m not one to try a show without recommendation or extreme screening before turning it on, but I was in the thick of Pregnancy, stuck at home, and desperate for a new show. I have to say, Parenthood hooked me by the end of the pilot episode. It is a show about family all the way from Grandfather to Grandbaby and as you can imagine, having episodes that feature different family members can offer a look into many different situations and problems that arise in a typical (or not so typical) family. Parenthood takes problems like spoiled children, rebellion, absent fathers, and health scenarios and solves them in an atmosphere of family, love and patience. There is only one scenario that I can call to mind that made me want to skip for controversial reasons (this goes back to what I said about tolerance of sin and even glorification of it) and there is really only one character throughout the series that has little development from start to finish. I cannot stand serious shows that feature little character development or even worse, a deteriorating character over the seasons. I’m very drawn in by character driven shows that feature the character(s) growing. Out of all of these shows, this one is more likely to make you cry than any of the others, but I did make it through with all of my raging pregnant hormones and was not depressed for days when it ended! The obvious theme in this show is “family” but the underlying theme that I really love is the theme of elderly wisdom (and sometimes not) in the place of the Grandfather’s role.

There you have it, five shows that are definitely binge worthy and should not make you ball like a baby for no reason (although you might cry through some of them, the tears will be worth it).

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4 thoughts on “5 Shows on Netflix for Criers that don’t want to Cry

  1. First off, this is one of the funniest titles for a blogpost that I’ve seen in some time. I totally know what you mean: crying at films or shows can be so irritating but strangely okay if it’s for a “good” reason.

    Call the Midwife! This is easily one of my favorite things on Netflix of all time. The period, the sisters, the crazy childbirth stories and practices, the romance, the humor. So good.

    The Paradise… I have a love-hate relationship with this show. Mostly love but is it okay if I kind of don’t like Mr. Store owner man (what is it, again? Murray or something?). [SPOILERS!] He’s all quiet about his past, he isn’t honest to his betrothed when he gets with Denise and he kind of treats Denise like a pet rather than a companion. I mean, I understand that the audience is supposed to want him with Denise. Whatever. But I also wonder if Denise’s little independence at the end of the show would have popped up at all/for quite a long time if the writers didn’t need to end the series. She was such a strong, intelligent and independent character and I think she just got too moony over him. No, girl, you’re awesome. Keep doing that. I have a lot of feelings about this. Rant done.

    I haven’t watched Merlin or Parenthood: I’ll have to check out both of them now.

  2. Haha, Haley, when I went to see the recent Hobbit movie at the theater with Daniel (I really only go to the theater a couple times a year because I get so overwhelmed with the volume and intensity), I was about three months pregnant and SUPER emotional. I don’t know if you saw the most recent one, but there’s little in it to cry about, but I had a terrible time keeping myself under control at a dinner theater and was more embarrassed than ever. It’s so frustrating to cry for no reason. Haha!

    I totally agree with you about The Paradise… I love the show but I also was very frustrated with the male lead character. I’ve never been a huge feminist kind of person, but his attitude towards Denise and how he could be so possessive over her (as his most pretty object) really made me mad.
    It’s like the anti-jane-austen mini-serires! There’s little virtue in the male character, but I do believe it portrays a good outlook on working with your best attitude, improving your surroundings, and loving what you do, which is very lacking in this day and age. So many people just float along through life working for all the wrong reasons, never pursuing passions, and doing the minimal amount to “get by.” It’s that whole “Surviving” vs “Thriving” thing. The Paradise definitely gets the passion part right!

    If you try Merlin, get through the first few episodes (which can be a little cheesy–good for a rainy day) and then I think it will surprise you! Sometimes it gets really deep, and sometimes it’s very lighthearted. The tone is hard to nail down, but definitely worth it. And I SO recommend Parenthood!!

  3. I also cry at seemingly everything and hate it! I think that’s why I have enjoyed intense dramas like Game of Thrones and Hannibal so much. They can freak me out, but they don’t ever leave me crying without reason (I swear, if Danaerys or Jon Snow ever die, I WILL contemplate harming myself). Anyway, I also have a problem with shows that glorify sin! You may ask, “Mia, how can that be? You just said you watched Game of Thrones and Hannibal?” I frequently weigh the moral values they present. I don’t think either of them really have moral messages per se, but I don’t think either glorifies sin. Just look at GoT. All the characters we love and admire are the most moral and admirable characters, with strong virtues and honor. I can’t really say the same of Hannibal, but it’s just such a guilty pleasure that often leaves me unable to sleep….lol

    I’ve never watched any of these shows! I know you recommended Call the Midwife and I totally plan on watching that one! As for the others, for some reason I’ve never been drawn to 1800s era or Jane Austen type stories. I don’t know why, but it might just be that I’m not really “romantic.” Joe and I have been watching Star Trek (the original series) and it really is neat to be reassured that there is such an awesome show that I won’t be ashamed to watch with my children that also often has such poignant themes. Well, once you get past the god-awful costumes and set design…lol

    • I end up with such a moral dilemma if I try to watch something that I cannot find any virtue in, or even read something like that! It’s not that I can’t get sucked into it, but rather that it bothers me and I end up obsessing over it (unable to stop thinking). I still think that those kinds of shows can teach us things just as much as shows that portray characters with virtue because as a Catholic, you can see what happens when a character completely ignores God and takes faith out of the mix. Daniel totally watches shows like that and I don’t have a problem with him watching them, but just for myself, I’m barely able to get through a few minutes because it depresses me. Difference in personality.
      I do often watch funny sitcoms with little that is edifying in them, but I think it comes down to the way I watch… When I watch something intensely, I have to go by the requirements above, but when I just want something on in the background just for atmosphere or noise I often re-watch episodes of sitcoms that are pretty shallow and all about the one-liners. I just never expect to imitate those characters and if I did take the characters seriously, I couldn’t watch them because of their despicable behavior.
      I’ve never been able to get into Star Trek but that’s not to say I never will! I like geeky shows as much as the rest of them. 🙂
      Speaking of shows that are good and edifying, have you tried “Daredevil” on Netflix yet? I’m really enjoying it. I’m sure you’ve heard that the character in the show is Catholic and also the actor that plays him is Catholic. Daniel wanted to start a new show with me so we’ve been watching it although we are only a few episodes into it.

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