Saturday, December 10, 2011

Netflix's Hidden Gems

Netflix streaming is the best 8 dollars I spend monthly. It is a steal of a deal. There is an endless assortment of television, movies, and documentaries to tap into. In addition, as a parent, it is ideal. It gives me greater control of my children's viewing habits, and radically reduces the amount of influence commercials exert on them.

About a dozen years ago, I bought one of the first available DVRs, the ReplayTV. My favorite function was that it automatically skipped past commercials. My children grew up only watching recorded shows or video their mother and I selected. They rarely saw a commercial. Netflix has continued this reality for me. I think this lack of commercials has had no small effect on who my children are as consumers. A few years ago I asked Jake what he might like for Christmas. He shrugged, "I don't know... what is there?"

Netflix has so much available, and growing all the time, that it is easy to miss true gems that are hidden. I have found a few. What are some of yours?

This is a 6 part BBC mini series. James Nesbitt is a marvel to watch as he flips back and forth between Jekyll and Hyde.

Being Human
Three short seasons about a ghost, vampire, and werewolf living as flatmates. Sy-Fy has made a copy of this show, but here is the UK original. Great stories about the human condition.

Life on Mars
This show deserved more than a single season. Jason O'Mara stars as a modern day cop who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973.  I am not usually into cop shows, but my brother Steve kept recommending it and he was right.

The Guardian
Simon Barker stars as a corporate attorney who gets assigned 1500 hours of community service as a child advocate, after being caught with drugs. If you like the Mentalist, you will probably like this.

The Last Airbender
Ok, the movie was terrible; but the show from which it came is inspired. I am not usually one to watch animation but The Last Airbender is wonderful.

The Twilight Zone
These should almost be required viewing in school. Many of these stories, though still subversive today, must have been scandalous at the time. I have been slowly working through the whole series. Considering how many times I have seen Telly Savalas try to saw a laughing Tina, or Shatner overact on an airplane - there are quite a few of these I had never seen before.

Dead Like Me
Reapers who get their reaping assignments from Mandy Patinkin while having breakfast at the local waffle house. Outstanding character development and dialogue. Curse Showtime for only giving it two seasons!

Lie to Me
Outstanding first season. The show is about a doctor who solves crimes by reading people's body language to tell when they are lying. They must have gotten new writers by mid-second season, because they ruined Tim Roth's character.

Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis
I know most of you are aware of these two, but I have to mention them to demonstrate the dangers of Netflix. I watched the first episode of Stargate Universe having never watched the previous two series. Having enjoyed SGU, I decided to give the other two a shot. I watched 15 years of Stargate in about 6 months. This amount of TV watching can be hazardous to your health and your marriage. Approach new Netflix shows, that have many seasons, with caution.


ASAP Trainer said...

Almost finished watching the entire series of Lost. I never watched it when it was out. Glad you are giving me somei ideas of what to watch next

WES ELLIS said...

When we had Internet at our house we loved streaming on Netflix! It's truly awesome! Now we just do the 2 DVD thing in the mail... Still pretty cool. We've been watching Dexter and Fringe.

As for the lack of commercials, I think that's the best hidden gem of all! I have often thought about how commercial watching shapes us spiritually. I often try to imagine, for my self or for my students, what sort of spiritual disciplines we could engage in order to counter them... Ironically, I rarely think of abstinence. The more we are treated and targeted as consumers, the more we tend to think of ourselves that way. The more we are told that we need or "deserve" something, the more we gravitate toward that sense of self.

Andrew said...

Wes - That is a great point about how ads play to, and mostly likely entrench, our sense of self (in an unhealthy way).

I often get compliments on my children by other adults, and it tends to focus on their courtesy and empathy. Though I would LOVE to say it is all about the parenting :), I suspect that their commercial exposure plays into it rather heavily. I don't think I am exaggerating to say that what they have seen in their whole lives is probably what the average American child sees in a month.

Welcome ASAP, thanks for stopping by!

Kay said...

I love every show you've listed, plus a few more.

Based on your likes, what might I recommend that is available on Netflix streaming? Hmmm ...

You might like "Merlin," (three seasons so far). Fun retelling of the legend.

"Eureka" is another.

On the, ahem, more intense side, I love Dexter and The Walking Dead.

Kay said...

*subscribing to comments*

Sarea said...

I enjoyed Jericho, and my newest guilty pleasure has been Daybreak, and Justified (dvd only).

P.S. Just finished US version of Being Human...will start the UK version tomorrow after church!

Kay said...




White Collar

Burn Notice

Vampire Diaries

All are currently on Netflix Streaming. :)

Steve H. said...

Good post my brother! It was a welcome respite from your runaway train of posts on evangelicals and homosexuals :)

One of the things I miss over here in Hong Kong is my "Netflix". Anyhow, I am into "Downton Abbey" now but your recommendation of "Jekyll" has me intrigued.

Eruesso said...

We're rewatching Doctor Who (for the 4th time). Don't remember if you're a fan or not. I've also been watching Rocko's Modern Life. Nostalgia.

-Sam M.

Andrew said...

Haven't done Dr. Who yet.... waiting till I get a big block of time :)

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