From ‘Ozark’ to ‘You’: The 5 best voice-over narrations in Netflix shows
(Credit: Netflix)

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From ‘Ozark’ to ‘You’: The 5 best voice-over narrations in Netflix shows

Voice-overs are nothing new. From documentary narrations to films and series, plenty of pop-cultural content has featured voice actors. However, they were most popular in animation where actors lent their voices to breathe life into animated characters.

With the advent of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram reels, voice-overs have received an oomph in their popularity. Voice-overs are instrumental in setting the tone of a particular film or series and often add meaning and context to a certain B-roll.

Netflix has an extensive audio description feature. However, the platform has also used plenty of voice actors in some of its series who have been an integral part of the narrative. Here are 5 such voice-over narrations on Netflix which are perhaps some of the best.

The 5 best voice-over narrations in Netflix shows

Julie Andrews – Bridgerton

Dame Julie Andrews is a childhood emotion. She is resonant with the sound of hills from Sound of Music and of magic in Mary Poppins. When Shonda Rhimes managed to bring her onboard for her Regency-era Netflix drama Bridgerton, based on Julia Quinn’s eponymous novel series, fans already knew it would be an absolute auditory delight.

Bridgerton revels in the grandiose of Regency-era London and the whims and frills of the aristocrats as they engage in balls, courting season, steamy affairs and more. Andrews lends her voice as the elusive Lady Whistledown who is the literal whistleblower in the society and exposes scandalous secrets that often jeopardize the fate of the high society folks and expose their facade. Andrews never makes an appearance yet her narration drips with wit, humour and a subtle flirtatiousness that weaves in playfully with the series.

Penn Badgley – You

Penn Badgley plays Joe Goldberg in Netflix’s popular series You. Besides being a scary psychopathic stalker, Badgley’s inner monologues and vacant, soul-penetrating stares have become a characteristic of Joe Goldberg who is without a doubt one of Netflix’s creepiest creations.

Goldberg’s monologues are equally disturbing and nerve-wracking. It gives an insight into his perverse desires and fetishes and also shows what a man like him is capable of. Interestingly, most of these scenes were filmed in silence where Badgley stared into the void to add authenticity to his character while the voiceover plays in the background. Badly is phenomenal as Goldberg.

Jason Bateman – Ozark

When financial advisor Martin “Marty” Byrde’s money-laundering scheme with an infamous drug cartel goes wrong, he is forced to make amends by setting up an even bigger operation in the Lake Ozarks region, Missouri. To protect his family, Marty and the rest of the Byrdes move to the quiet Osage Beach. Soon they get embroiled with the local criminals such as the Langmores and the Snells, as well as the Kansas City Mafia. 

While Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde has plenty of brilliant dialogues throughout the series, his three-minute opening monologue in the series is perhaps one of the most intriguing voice-overs in any Netflix series. Dark, gritty and moody, his sombre tone sets the pace for the series which soon takes a violent and gruesome turn.

John McEnroe – Never Have I Ever 

American tennis star John McEnroe was better known for his confrontational own-court behaviour and rivalries with peers. Nobody ever imagined him to lend his voice to a teen coming-of-age comedy series and narrate the life and escapades of an Indian American girl, Devi.

McEnroe was admittedly smitten by the screen time or rather voice time he had on the show. He told LA Times: “I didn’t realize until I got into it — I was, like wait a minute: I’m in the head of a high school girl who’s Indian American? And I’m supposed to be like her uncle, as well as her psychiatrist, as well as a few other things? And there’s a lot of lines? I was happy because I’ve done a lot of cameos over the years, [which] are fun, but this one seemed like I was actually, in a way, part of the cast.”

Katherine Langford – 13 Reasons Why  

One of Netflix’s most controversial and gut-wrenching shows, 13 Reasons Why is based on Jay Asher’s book and documents teenage problems like bullying and abuse which escalate into a morbid affair. The show unravels through a box of tapes left behind by the quote Hannah Baker to her classmate Clay Jensen following her suicide.

Katherine Langford’s revelatory performance as Hannah Baker earned her applause. Her voiceover in season one is phenomenal as it highlights her anguish and agony, focusing on the effects of buying on mental health and the eventual ripple effect. Langford’s haunting voiceover has a looming presence and highlights her pain like no other.