Netflix uncovers your new obsession with the best TV shows
We all know what Netflix is and how great it is, but many of us do not know how much content there really on there. Can you believe in ancient times (not even 10 years ago), that we TV fanatatics used to spend hundreds of dollars buying box sets of our favorite TV shows?
Here is what I know…every time that I see my box sets of Ally McBeal, Nip/Tuck, or Dawson’s Creek, I want to cry because I now can just pull them up on my TV through Netflix and watch them all for free.
And of course by “free” I mean $7.99 a month. Compared to the hundreds of dollars many have spent on DVD’s of their favorite shows, it’s nothing.
Let’s start with some classics that many of you are sure to already have on DVD. Pretty recently, Netflix put up all 11 seasons of Cheers…wow! Unfortunately Friends is not yet part of instant streaming (fingers crossed), but Cheers is just as much of a classic, that you can watch over and over again. Oh…and did I mention that every season of Saved By The Bell is on Netflix as well? I am not saying you will want to watch this teen classic on a regular basis, but I would be lying if I told you that it did not cross my mind every once in a while when I needed a throwback.
Now let’s get into the wonderful world of “binge watching.” It’s pretty self-explanatory, but most BW is done when watching a series that puts you on the edge of your seat. This is most fun to do with mystery or suspense series, as opposed to comedies, but to each their own.
Speaking of mysteries, one of the best and most suspenseful shows of all time has every single season up on Netflix. Lost ran for six seasons and still leaves viewers guessing. If you have never seen Lost and want jump on the bandwagon, it’s never too late! However be warned, you may not leave you house for several months until finished, it’s that good.
Is anyone out there a fan of Mad Men or Breaking Bad? Do you have some catching up to do? No need to go on demand or purchase episodes you missed because almost all of the seasons of each series are on Netflix.
Perhaps you feel ashamed and embarrassed every time your co-workers obsess over Don Draper or Walter White and you have nothing to contribute. Worry no more, Netflix is here to save the day!
Are you a fan of family dramas that warm your heart? How about the amazing feeling you get when you cry over a fictional character because you are so attached to them? Well Netflix has some goodies for you that you can watch over and over again.
One of my all time favorite shows that Netflix introduced me to is Parenthood. Currently it’s in its last season on NBC, and Netflix has the first three seasons to get you going. By the time Parenthood takes it final bow this spring, I am betting Netflix will have put up the rest of the seasons.
Another great family drama that I never would have watched if it was not for Netflix, is Brothers and Sisters. This show was extremely under-rated, but it had a good enough fan base to last for five seasons. This one is a real gem and a must see!
Being a huge fan of teenage dramas myself, Netflix has got me covered. It has every season of Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and Friday Night Lights — what more could you ask for? I watched each of these series while they were on television, but have now re-watched them again on Netflix … what a beautiful thing!
Anyone out there a big Syfy fan? Well if you are, Netflix knows what’s up. Almost all of Joss Whedon’s shows are available for instant streaming — Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse — in addition to several of his movies, but that is a whole other article.
Also available is Alias, which is another classic created by JJ Abrams. It’s sure to have you binge watching in no time.
Heroes is another one of my favorite syfy shows that is on Netflix. If you did not watch it when it was on TV, you should at least give the first season a try!
Being a comedy lover myself, Netflix has a great selection of sitcoms, dramadies, dark comedies, standup….you name it. The Office, The League, Parks and Recreation, Scrubs, 30 Rock, Weeds, Glee, Louie, How I Met Your Mother, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia — the list goes on and on. Netflix has got your back if you are having a bad day and need a laugh.
There are also some hidden gems on Netflix that you may have never even discovered before! The brilliant Judd Apatow was actually a TV writer and producer before he went on to create legendary film comedies such as “The Forty Year Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” and “Superbad.”
He created two television series, with many of the same actors, and both are on Netflix for your viewing pleasure. Undeclared stars Jay Baruchel, Jason Segel, and Charlie Hunnam, and is a hilarious depiction of freshman year of college.
The cult fan favorite Freaks and Geeks, starring James Franco, Busy Phillips, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel, is also available on Netflix for you to watch over and over again.
Netflix also has past seasons of many shows that are still currently on the air. Who out there is a fan of Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, New Girl, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother, American Horror Story, or The League? These are just a handful of all of the amazing shows that Netflix has streaming that are currently on the air. No need to hit up the DVR or the itunes store, Netflix has got you covered.
More recently, Netflix has started creating their own original series! It seemed like a great idea, maybe too good to be true. However, Netflix has proven to everyone that they are a real contender and potential threat to television networks, truly changing how we as an audience watch television.
“Binge watching” is exactly what Netflix had in mind when creating their own original series because they release seasons at a time, as opposed to most series that release only one episode weekly.
House of Cards has done exceptionally well, and stars one of the world biggest movie stars, Kevin Spacey. Orange is the New Black also did very well and was extremely well received, especially with women between the ages of 25 and 44.
Less successful, but in my opinion just as groundbreaking, is Eli Roth’s first television series Hemlock Grove. While I doubt it will get another season, it helped break barriers in really pushing the envelope and helping to create a space for horror in the TV format.
Netflix has also become a way for series that have been cancelled to get back on the air, by producing more seasons in the “binge watching” format. What an amazing idea, right? Netflix gave one of the best gifts to it’s viewers, another season of the prematurely cancelled (and fan favorite) Arrested Development!
If you are television fanatic like I am, clearly you have a lot of work to do. Now don’t get too overwhelmed, it will all be okay, just one step at a time.
One day when I win my Emmy, I will have Netflix to thank for continuing to educate me in the beautiful world of television!
(Editor’s Note: this article was updated because we first published the wrong draft. The missing paragraphs have now been included. Our apologies to Sam and our readers.)
Sam Davidson is a graduate of The University of Southern California, but is a Midwest girl at heart. Davidson is a true television and film fanatic, with an appreciation for all different genres and formats. Sam’s love of television and film started at a very young age, so much so that as a child she had a portrait of Lucille Ball hand painted on her bedroom wall. Currently working in television production and development in Los Angeles, Sam always makes time to watch and appreciate all of her favorite shows and films!