I’m a big fan of Netflix. It’s great to be able to watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, without commercials. Instead of waiting a week to catch a new episode of a show — or a whole year for the next season — viewers can watch through an entire show in order, on their own schedule. Netflix is also great because it allows people to discover shows they might have otherwise missed. Shows that have already gone off the air or might have flown under the radar are able to reach new audiences.
Here are some of my favorite “binge watches” on Netflix. These are all shows I discovered through Netflix and probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise. I’d also be curious to see what your favorite Netflix finds are, as well!
If you think your family is dysfunctional, you probably haven’t met the Bluths. The only “normal” member of the family is Michael (Jason Bateman), who finds himself doing some major damage control after his father is arrested for fraud and thrown into prison. He also has to manage his alcoholic and sharp-tongued mother, his self-absorbed magician older brother, his work-averse, materialistic sister, and his younger brother Buster who really just defies description.
This show is sometimes cringe-inducing but never fails to be hilarious. I discovered it a few weeks ago thanks to a friend’s recommendation and I’m wondering why it took me so long to find this great show.
The IT Crowd
A friend and I were musing one day that wouldn’t it be funny if someone created an “Office”-style comedy about an IT department at a major company, where nobody appreciated or even understood what the IT department did and kept them isolated down in the basement of the company. We later discovered someone actually had made a show with this exact premise. I couldn’t be upset that someone had “stolen” our idea, though, because this show is just so funny.
“The IT Crowd” is a quirky British comedy with a cast of highly eccentric characters. My favorite episode involves the two geeky IT techs leading a group of visiting businessmen in a surprisingly emotional and cathartic game of “Dungeons and Dragons.”
The legend of King Arthur has been retold many times, but one of my favorites is this BBC version. The series focuses on the friendship between a young Arthur, before he becomes king, and Merlin, before he becomes a great wizard. The two don’t exactly get along at first, and Merlin has to hide his abilities, since magic has been outlawed in the kingdom of Camelot. This is a creative and fun retelling of the King Arthur story, with great characters. Bradley James and Colin Morgan, the actors who play Arthur and Merlin, are perfect foils for each other, and their comedic timing is spot-on.
The show has funny moments and sad moments, including a truly heartbreaking take on the famous Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot love triangle. The series’ bittersweet ending is one that lingers long after you’ve finished the last episode.
Imagine what would happen if you were frozen in a moment of time and woke up 1,000 years in the future. For pizza delivery guy Philip J. Fry, it’s actually quite a stroke of good fortune. His life back in the present time isn’t so great, and he sees a better future for himself in, well, the future.
He makes some new “friends,” including Leela, a ship captain and pilot who tries to keep the group in line, and Bender, a grumpy, drunken, chain-smoking robot (no, it doesn’t make sense, but yes, it’s really funny). “Futurama” is silly (in a good way) and cleverly written, and it’s easy to binge watch.
I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, so I never thought I’d end up watching “Supernatural,” always assuming the show would be too serious and scary. The show definitely does have its scary moments, but it also has some great humor, thanks to the talents of Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, who play the demon-hunting brothers Sam and Dean Winchester.
The brothers investigate a variety of supernatural creatures, such as demons, ghosts and monsters. One of the best (and funniest) episodes involves a trickster spirit who traps Sam and Dean inside various TV show scenarios, serving as a very witty parody of medical shows, crime dramas and even drug commercials.
Edgar Wright’s quirky “Cornetto Trilogy” — “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End” — is one of my favorite film series, and it has become a cult favorite. However, before Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost teamed up for these films, they were part of a British comedy called “Spaced.”
The show is about eccentric people living in an apartment complex. It’s a decidedly strange comedy (in fact, it actually makes “Arrested Development” seem normal), but if you like Wright’s offbeat brand of humor, you’ll enjoy this very funny series.