Ok, so the Netflix we get isn’t quite as fully featured as the service our cross-pond cousins have access to, but for €7 a month, I challenge you to not get full value out of it, especially when you can use it out of home too on your phone or tablet.
So quit yer whinin’ Netfix naysayers. With that in mind, here are my top ten shows* you need to catch up on, or watch for the first time. Remember people. Seven euro. No, they’re not paying me, more’s the pity.
1. Battlestar Galactica
An embarrassment of sci-fi riches, this. Four fracking amazing series’ of twists, turns, FDL drives spinning up, intrigue and issues handled in a way no science fiction show ever has before or since. The excruciating Caprica wasn’t a patch on Battlestar Galactica, for shame.
And, here’s the thing I think I love it for the most: it absolutely passes the Bechdel test, and then some. The Bechdel test? Oh, just a lil’ thing so often – in fact usually – ignored in all forms of broadcast media. It asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. And God knows, that’s all us women do, right? Yawn.
2. Breaking Bad
Didn’t get into it when it was on originally? No probs. Watch this tale of a meek man go rogue now and then finish up with the new series currently rolling out on Netflix. It’s been accused of glorifying the meth trade but every character is completely horrible and unsympathetic so it’s slightly hard to see how they’re making a case for that. With lots of hands-over-eyes and violently black comedy moments, you really won’t ever want to take drugs (again) after it.
It’s hit and miss, sure, but the funny bits are laugh-out-loud. Carrie Browstein (yes, her from Sleater Kinney) and Fred Armisen (SNL) created this sketch show set in Portland, Oregon, a city famed for its hipsters. Lampooning so many behaviours you’ll either recognise in yourself or others – obsessive ‘foodie’ assholery in restaurants, the need to have birds on all items of home decor, being a complete neurotic dick, etc – it’s the ultimate send-up of white person first world problems.
4. Arrested Development
You will be making a terrible mistake if you don’t watch this from start to end. So many classic episodes. So many classic quotes. Tobias being a Never Nude. Mother Boy. Light treason. Such awesome casting. It’s just genius. I even didn’t hate the just-for-Netflix series they recently released and that’s saying something, wha?
More sci-fi here with this single series that’s a space western from the brilliant mind of Joss Whedon (Buffy), it seriously deserved more than a mere 14 episodes. Starring Nathan Fillion (he does lots of game VOs, fact fans), its popularity was such that it spawned a post-cancellation film, Serenity (named after the spaceship in the show) and continuing online fan support to bring it back. As you’d expect from something from Joss Whedon, it’s funny, kind of bonkers and very entertaining.
Starring our own curly moptop Robert Sheehan, things start to go very wrong for a rag-tag bunch of delinquent brats on community service when weird-ass lightning strikes the South London resource centre they’re meant to be cleaning up. Lots of blackly comedic moments, quasi-rubbish-superpower stuff and hijinks ensue.
7. Orange is the New Black
I’m about halfway through this and it’s looking mighty fine. WASP goes to low-security prison for white collar crime committed in her rebellious youth; endless cockups ensue. I’ll let you know how I get on but I’m predicting-slash-knowing I’m going to have an insane amount of like.
8. Hemlock Grove
This made me laugh so hard. Based on the 2012 book of the same name, It’s not meant to be funny at all, and in fact super-serious horror man Eli Roth directed it. If you like your telly ridiculous, full of vampires, werewolves, complete gibberish, fluid-to-non-existent plotlines, nonsense and heavy-handedly evil femme fatales, then hey: you’ll love Hemlock Grove. And bingo! There’s going to be a second series. All my side-splitting Christmasses have come at once!
9. Gossip Girl
Look. You’ve just got to, have to, need to watch all of this from start to finish if you’ve never seen it. The crazy carry on, the clothes, the shenanigans, the intrigues, THE CHUCK BASS. Mostly, to be honest, the Chuck Bass. The last season isn’t on Netflix yet and I am living by the day until I can watch it all in one technicolour go. Love you Gossip Girl. XoXo.
10. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
One of the finest shows of all time, this criminally-underrated comedy is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Following the exploits of four truly awful, horrible, vile human beings, Charlie, Dee, Denis and Mac, its genius really kicked off in season two when Danny DeVito joined the cast as Dee and Denis’ dad. He brings a whole new level of mayhem to the mix and his and Charlie’s plots and plans in particular are the stuff of script-writing genius. Now into its ninth season, there’s just so much goodness to catch up on. Lucky, lucky you if this is a new one on your radar.
*I left House of Cards out simply cos I haven’t watched it meself yet, like. I’m also reliably informed that TOWIE’s on there too but I just can’t.
Now, tell me what I’ve missed out/what I need to see/what you recommend in the comments. Go on!