Netflix may be everyone’s favorite way to catch a flick at home, but it can be easy to lose obscure titles in the mass of films and shows available. To help you get the most out of your Netflix experience — and maybe find a new favorite — we’ll be bringing your attention to some that may be flying under your radar, but deserve a place in your queue.
Among the beloved series we binge-watch and movies we guilt-watch, Netflix has some of the most entertaining international programming to hit TVs. In some ways, Netflix’s access to shows from around the world is revolutionizing what we watch, removing country blocks and creating cultural touchstones across national borders. One example of this is Rita. The Danish comedy- drama was such a hit that the streaming company co-funded its third season.
The titular main character, Rita, is a free-spirited schoolteacher with a way of getting herself into trouble. She’s wildly popular with the students in her 4th and 9th grade classes, likely in part because she doesn’t pull punches and speaks to them in a way that many parents don’t find appropriate. She’s less popular with administration and her fellow adults, and a tense relationship with the principal, Rasmus, is only exacerbated by their affair. At home, Rita has two older children and one boy in high school.
Ultimately, although at times frustrating, Rita is a totally loveable character. She’s compassionate and passionate, fiercely independent but insecure. She makes her decisions and is willing to live with their consequences, no matter what that may mean. While those around her may play the game, Rita isn’t out to change who she is for anyone else and that’s what makes her an ideal heroine.
The show is equal parts funny, dramatic, and at times absurd. The comedy is subtle, not an exaggerated caricature as much as a nudge and a wink. The drama, though, is realistically emotional, more about the interior lives and worries of Rita and her kids than anything overstated. The strangeness of Rita’s life, as a teacher and single mother, provides plenty of fodder for both laughs and tears.
Rita, like the woman it is named for, is a complex, many layered show that balances entertainment and relevancy, tenderness and harsh edges, and the complicated relationships between women and society.