Five More Shows You Should Be Watching On Instant Streaming
Last September I posted a list of five shows you should be watching on Netlfix via instant streaming, which included Doctor Who, Scrubs, Mad Men, Parks & Recreation and The Kids in the Hall. A Nerd Occurrence received a lot of positive responses after publishing the list (thanks for that), and with some months past (giving everyone enough time to watch each recommendation) it felt right to take a look at five more shows you should be watching on instant streaming, especially now that most current TV shows are done for the season.
The IT Crowd
The IT Crowd is a British sitcom that aired from 2006-2010, featuring Chris O’Dowd (you may know him better as the cop in Bridesmaids), Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson. The show is set around three characters — Roy (O’Dowd), Moss (Ayoade) and Jen (Parkinson), who all work for the I.T. department at the fictional Reynholm Industries. Roy and Moss are played as your standard nerds, in terms of their dress attire and overall love for computers and sci-fi, while Jen is more a “proper” woman that ends up in I.T. because of lying on her C.V. (curriculum vitae).
What makes this show great is the dynamic between the three characters. Roy is an easily frazzled Irish man that enjoys nothing better than slacking off from his duties, or figuring out schemes to better his situation with money or the ladies. Jen is a woman that’s very into herself and bettering her situation, and often times is overly concerned with being seen with her fellow workmates (though in reality they are her only real friends). Moss, easily one of the best characters in television history, is the reason why the word “unique” exists. His overall demeanor and hilarious one-liners are reason enough to give this series a go.
Who should watch this series: This show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like sitcoms or British television you’re in for a real treat.
How I Met Your Mother
The basic plot of the How I Met Your Mother, starting from the pilot, is that Ted Mosbey (Josh Radnor) is telling the story (narrated by Bob Saget, playing the older version of Ted for some reason) to his kids about how he met their mother. Currently, the seventh season just wrapped and I know the first question you want to ask is, “Has the mother been introduced yet?” Unfortunatly, the answer is no, but that’s not the point. Many fans of this show will tell you that while the show began focusing on Ted, it has shifted to focus more on the other characters, Marshall (Jason Segel), Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).
Personally, I think How I Met Your Mother is by far one of the best sitcoms on television today (commenters please note that said one of, not the best). It’s true that the show is anchored by Neil Patrick Harris’ portrayal of Barney, the womanizing catchphrase machine, but really each character is funny and lovable in their own way. However, the thing that makes this show great is how often it calls back to earlier episodes (something you don’t find in a lot of shows). It’s true that there have been some moments when fans have been met with some plot contradictions, such as why Lily had to do a nude painting of Marshall (he supposedly ate her bowl a fruit, but the earlier episode said it was a requirement for her class), but these are such minor flaws that they’re easily forgiven.
Who should watch this series: This one is for the comedy and sitcom fans, though I high recommended it to everyone. I started out being one of the only few people I knew that watched the show and have since introduced it to multiple friends that absolutely love it (including our very own Aaron Boyd).
This Showtime original has continually been a hit with fans and critics alike, staring Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin, a 40-something woman living in a California suburb that begins dealing marijuana after her husband suffers from a fatal heart attack while jogging. The shows also features her sons (Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould, who also voiced Nemo in Finding Nemo), brother-in-law (Andy (Justin Kirk)), pot dealers (Heylia (Tonye Patano) and (Romany Malco)), and a random assortment of other suburbians (Celia (Elizabeth Perkins), Dean (Andy Milder) and Doug (Kevin Nealon)). It’s hard to summarize this show in way that doesn’t give up too much information, but starting out in season one we see Nancy start from humble beginnings as she attempts to grow her dealing territory (only to find that it’s not really as simple as she makes it out to be).
What kept me watching through all seven seasons was seeing just how far Nancy would go to achieve her goals, and even better, how she handles the hairy situations she constantly gets herself in to. Weeds is based on the premise that you’ll cheer for Nancy, even though she’s rarely the good or moral person, and for the most part I found myself doing that very thing nearly every time.
Who should watch this series: Weeds is one of those show that I think most people would find enjoyable in one way or another, provided you’re not easily offended. If you’ve watched the first few episodes and do not immediately want to watch the next one, you may want to call it quits.
Louie is a show that’s loosely based on the life of Louie C.K. (similarities include that he’s a famous stand-up comedian, is divorced, has two kids and lives in New York) and each episode may feature two shorter stories or an entire episode long story. The theme of each episode is usually inspired by bits of C.K.’s stand-up material.
If you’re a fan of Louie C.K. I’m sure you’ve heard or seen this show by now. So why list it? Because until I started watching Louie I wasn’t a fan of Louie C.K. I’m a very big fan of stand-up comedy (my current favorites include Mike Birbiglia, Demetri Martin, Jim Gaffigan, Marc Maron, Chris Hardwick, Patton Oswald, Maria Bamford, etc.), but I just could never get into Louie C.K., even after listening to “Shameless” and “Hilarious”. But after watching three episodes of Louie, I began to realize what’s great about the show (and subsequently Louie C.K.) — the interactions are simply amazing to watch. Louie C.K. has a very interesting point of view on life, and it’s because of that he finds himself in wonderfully awkward situations that you’ll just love to see how he’ll handle them.
Who should watch this series: Anyone that’s a fan of Louie C.K. (obviously), as well as fans of comedy or really awkward interactions.
Psych is a detective comedy-drama series that stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer and Dulé Hill as Burton “Gus” Guster (both of whom are the executive producers of the show). Spencer is a proclaimed physic, but really just has heightened observational skills due to his years of training by his dad Henry (portrayed by Corbin Bernsen). Nearly episode follows a similar plot flow (much like all detective shows) in which the viewer is shown (or informed of) a crime and eventually Shawn and Gus solve the case before the local authorities do. Now, I know that may sound a bit boring (again, like most detective shows), but the real enjoyment of his show comes from the friendship of Shawn and Gus, as well as their interactions with all other characters.
USA, the network that air Psych, uses the tagline “Character’s Welcome,” which is more than suiting when describing Shawn. His unique, if not immature, sense of humor and the overall way he carries himself is simply a joy to watch, especially when teamed up with Gus, who tries to portray himself as a very serious and professional person, but more often than not enjoys getting into trouble with Shawn. The side characters of the show, including Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson) and Chief Karen Vick (Kirsten Nelson), often act as spring boards to Shawn and Gus’ antics, but are really enjoyable characters in a lot of ways.
Who should watch this series: Fans of comedy and detective shows will absolutely love this show, but if you like like comedy but not detective shows I recommend that you give Psych a watch (but not detective fans that don’t like comedy).
There are a lot of great shows available on Netflix right now and it really was a challenge to select only five. While this list may not feature the “best” shows available, I wanted to provide a diverse list that would include a little something for everyone; however, here are some additional titles I personally recommend: 30 Rock, Arrested Development (especially with the new season/movie coming in 2013), The League, The Office (both the U.S. and British version), The Wonder Years, Chappelle’s Show, Family Guy, That 70’s Show, South Park, Futurama, Firefly, Spaced, The Walking Dead, Important Things With Demetri Marin, Dollhouse and Archer.