Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Felicia Day as Codex in The Guild.

Courtesy of Netflix

Things are out of whack. You know that and I know it. Off-kilter, off-balance, call it what you will.

The other day in this space I was telling you about doing online shopping. Among other things I ordered two pairs of gym shorts from a certain outfit. In a spirit of optimism, you might say. A day will come when I will be back at the gym kicking up my heels. Now, daily I receive an online flyer from this outfit. “Check All-New Arrivals For Brighter Days Ahead,” “New Deals On Denim” and that class of exhortation.

Then one day the flyer arrived with this subject line: “Do Whips & Chains Excite You?” Aghast, I opened it. Of course I did. No mention of whips, chains or related things. Just an announcement about “Modern Overalls” being in stock. This is the world we live in now, where strangeness reigns and whackery is everywhere.

Story continues below advertisement

Binge-watching guide: More than 30 series and specials to help you get through winter

With that in mind, here are three wonderfully off-beat, unorthodox comedy series on Netflix to suit the tenor of the times.

The Guild (one season on Netflix) began as a web-only series, and it shows. Episodes that were originally a few minutes long are stitched together on Netflix to resemble a normal comedy show. It’s about a group of gaming-addicted people who have trouble dealing with life away from their computers and their number-one game, which is never named but sounds like World of Warcraft. These obsessives have formed an online “guild” but don’t know each other. Central character Cyd (Felicia Day, who created the show) is a young woman using online therapy sessions to deal with her addiction to the game.

It ain’t working but when another gamer in the group shows up at her door – that’s Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh) who has a crush on her but has never seen her in person – Cyd sees an opportunity to take the gaming gang out into the real world. The show looks like it was made for a handful of dollars but the writing is sharp, deadpan and often hilariously droll in its mockery of geek and gaming culture. If you’re tempted, watch it soon, as it leaves Netflix on March 1.

Norsemen (three seasons on Netflix) is an outrageous spoof of Vikings and other series – let’s throw in Game of Thrones – celebrating the derring-do of warriors and pillagers. It is set in the village of Norheim in the year 790. (It’s in English, but a Norwegian production.) The comedy emerges from the sheer absurdity of solemnizing these bloodthirsty, primitive people, and it tilts toward Monty Python.

Norsemen is an outrageous spoof of Vikings and other series celebrating the derring-do of warriors and pillagers.

Courtesy of Netflix

To give you a sense of it, the series opens with a hardy band of pillagers returning from a raid somewhere, bringing back goods and captured people to work for them. One captured chap complains about his plight. Top Viking man Olav punches him in the nose. Then Olav confesses to his second in command, “That’s not really me, you know, that fear-based leadership style.”

Nominally in charge of the village is Orm (Kare Conradi) who is filled with brilliant ideas, such as confiscating all the weapons to make them into an art installation. It would make the village stand out. Questions arise: Can you go out raiding and pillaging if you can’t find your helmet? Do you need to take a pillow for those long journeys on a Viking warship? A cross between The Office and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it’s absurdist, occasionally gross and beautifully original.

Feel Good (one season on Netflix) is the creation of, and stars, Mae Martin, a Canadian comic who is big in Britain. When it aired there last year, it was called “a glorious, shining jewel” in one review. No masterpiece but fascinating, it’s a romantic comedy with a dash of drama and a fair amount of fast, surreal humour.

Story continues below advertisement

Mae Martin as Mae and Charlotte Ritchie as George in Feel Good.

Courtesy of Netflix/Netflix

Semi-autobiographical, it features Martin as a version of herself, a queer stand-up comic who falls heavily for her new girlfriend, George (Charlotte Ritchie), who has never had a same-sex relationship before. The engine that drives the surface action and energy is that mad, passionate feeling of head-over-heels romance. They can’t get enough of each other. Lisa Kudrow has a recurring role, adding some acid tone to the deftly done farce.

Martin is one compelling figure – and, yes, sometimes her character plays up her Canadian roots – and one can see the reasons for her appeal in Britain. She’s direct, concise, puckish and the show’s strange malarkey is rather sweet.

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies