On HBO’s Sharp Objects, based on Gillian Flynn’s book of the same name, Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) returns to her tiny Missouri hometown to report on the disappearances of two young girls.
Camille was obviously troubled before her homecoming, but that’s just the beginning; something about her family is just off, and everything about the decaying town is unsettling. It instantly hooks you; it’s perfect appointment TV.
The only problem is, you can’t binge it. So if you like your close-knit communities plagued by crime, cover-ups, family dramas, and the generally “unexplainable,” here’s a list of shows you can stream on Netflix while you wait for more Sharp Objects.
The thing about Broadchurch is that it gets under your skin, and it stays there. What starts off as a fish-out-of-water story — gruff city detective reassigned to sparkling seaside town in Dorset — quickly becomes a mystery about who killed 11-year-old Danny Latimer and left him on the beach in the middle of the night. As the story progresses, it grows more disturbing, because everything about it is so normal. When there’s no reason to suspect anyone, there’s reason to suspect everyone. The truth is somehow better and worse than you could guess; there aren’t any jump scares, and its haunting conclusion is impossible to shake.
The Killing was originally broadcast on AMC, but only got better after Netflix picked it up. The arc of Season 3, in particular, is something special. It focuses on a demographic not often represented in media — homeless LGBTQIA+ youth — and examines notions of predator and prey as it tugs at the heartstrings. The series is set in Seattle, but the close-knit community of kids makes it feel a lot smaller.
Safe is a six-episode series based on Harlan Coben’s book of the same name. It explores what happens when an idyllic, suburban, gated community suddenly experiences a murder and a missing teenager overnight. It stars Michael C. Hall as a widowed father of two determined to uncover the truth, and the closer he gets, the darker his reality grows. It’s not perfect, but it’s supremely enjoyable, and even veterans of the small-town mystery genre will appreciate the twists it takes toward the end.
At just four episodes long, Retribution is perhaps the most claustrophobic entry on this list. After a young, thriving couple from a remote part of the Scottish countryside is found dead in their home, a powerful storm literally drives the killer to their families’ front doors. In close quarters and beset by grief, the neighboring families struggle to understand any motivation for the murders — and, more importantly, how to exact revenge, er, justice, for their loss.
In Hinterland, which is also available in Welsh, they play all the hits: Detective’s first day on the job, bathroom covered in blood, spooky names for local landmarks (“Devil’s Bridge”), and a missing person that works with kids. Yes, it’s another atmospheric BBC TV series, but they just do them so well over there.
If the creepy, sexy content of Sharp Objects piqued your interest, BBC series The Fall is definitely the one for you. What’s interesting about The Fall is it chooses to reveal the murderer right out of the gate, so it’s not so much a matter of whom to “catch” as it is when and how to do it. Definitely recommended if you enjoy suspecting that every cozy family person you meet is actually a clever psychopath in sheep’s clothing. This one leans really heavily into graphic sexual stuff, too; if you’re not sure that’s for you, tread lightly.
Unlike the rest of the series on this list format, Requiem deals with elements of the supernatural, and it’s more of a slow burn. The series has everything: A spooky old mansion, sweeping shots of the Welsh countryside, and suspicious locals. It manages to play with viewer expectations of the genre while delivering a genuine scare. It’s best to go into this one cold for maximum effect.
Images: HBO; Netflix