January 5, 2014

10 Shows to Love on Netflix

Snow day? Sick day? Introvert-post-social-function-recovery day? Wanting a show to watch, episode after episode? Or maybe you're just looking for a new show to enjoy a little at a time, not something to binge on in one day.

Whatever your reason, if you're looking for some good television viewing here my top ten picks, all of which are available for streaming from Netflix.


(Disclaimer: Some of the shows have mild language, some scantily clad women, some guns. I don't know what will offend you or be fine by you but I am definitely not encouraging you to sit down with the whole family and a bowl of popcorn before you preview them for your kids.)


Detective Charlie Crews was framed for murder, spent several years in jail, and was then exonerated. After prison Charlie gets a whole lot of money and his job back, where he begins to investigate who framed him and why. The show is told a bit like a documentary, especially in the beginning as they are establishing Crews' back story. The things I love about this show: how quirky and funny it is. While in prison Charlie missed some advancements in technology (like phones have cameras), he really missed fresh fruit, and he picked up Zen thinking to help him cope. I'm not sure why this show was cancelled - it's so good! - but the writers saw it coming and were able to wrap the show up nicely by the end of the second season.


Smart, witty, beautiful: this show is really different than a lot of television. White Collar follows Neal Caffrey, a con artist who does white collar crimes like art and bond forgery, as he works off the remainder of his prison sentence by serving as a consultant to Peter Burke, the head of the FBI's white collar division in New York City. Things I like about this show: the characters are all smart and are pursuing important pieces of art, history, and culture. (I know that sounds snooty but you'll like it too.) Peter and his wife have a really great marriage. Also, Tiffani Thiesen stars in it and that makes me happy to see "Kelly Kapowski" again. The best part about the show: MOZZIE! 


Zombie apocylpse, at it's best. The Walking Dead is based on the graphic novels by the same name. It follows police officer Rick Grimes and the band of survivors as they try to find a safe place to live and try to thrive in a world filled with the living dead. The show is gory, scary, and gruesome and, speaking as a parent, the premise is 100% horrifying. The first time I watched the show I literally watched through my fingers as I covered my eyes with my hands. The show is interesting and really well done. It's scary but it's worth the lack of sleep.


Friday Night Lights
"Clear eyes, full hearts can't lose." Okay, really I never know what Coach Taylor is talking about when he says that but I was never an athlete. Yet I still love this show. Despite the fact that it's about high schoolers and some of the characters are just annoying (Jason, Lyla, Julie). Reasons to love it: Coach and Tammi Taylor's relationship, Tammi Taylor, Landry, Seracen, Seracen's grandma, football. It's a sweet show about relationships, small town life, and how sports can build community.


A plane crashes on a mysterious island and the survivors try to figure out what the heck is going on. You try to figure out what is going on. And then it ends and you're still trying to figure it out. But just enjoy the ride. There's so many interesting, likeable characters and I found myself really invested in what happened to them. The other nice thing about Lost is that so many of its actors have gone on to star in other shows. I love flipping on the tv and bumping in to an old friend from the island.


A modern retelling of Sir Arthur Connan Doyle's classics, which I've never read so I have no idea if they "get it right" and quite frankly I don't care. Sherlock is brilliant. Each episode is movie length and those 90 minutes are filled with excellent writing, clever characters, fantastic dialogue, and British accents. What is not to love?! And please allow me to go on record and state that I love Molly Hooper.


If you're looking for a more family friendly end of the world type show this is it. Jericho isn't a very slick show, it's simple and sweet, though, and a nice watch. It takes place in a small town that remained safe from a series of nuclear bombs that took out all major US cities. It's borders on cheesy from time to time but, quite frankly, I'd prefer some more cheesy, sentimental, "we'll-pull-through-it-together" type shows. Some books are "light reading" - this is "light viewing."


Freaks and Geeks just might have been the perfect show about teenagers ever. It's the most real account of high school and adolescence I've ever seen and watching it is like looking at old pictures from my family album. I appreciated Lindsey and Millie's friendship, Mr. and Mrs. Wier's marriage, how the show talks about sex, and Bill's peanut allergies. It's funny, sweet, and really well done. The only problem with the show is that there just one season. And how it ends (What the heck, Lindsey?!?). So two. There's two problems. But that's not bad for tv!


The Doctor is an alien, of the Time Lord race, who travels through all of space and time in his Tardis - a spaceship that is disguised as a blue, British police box. He travels with companions and they go about saving the day. Also, he can regenerate so start with the 9th Doctor (I know, living mannequins, but it gets so much better.) and hold on to your hat. The show is a little silly, a little goofy, a little sentimental, and a lot of fun. Watch it and finally get all the jokes about Whovians, bow ties being cool, things being fantastic, and not blinking. Allons-y!


The Chicago Code follows a small group of police officers as they work to bring down the most powerful and corrupt city alderman. Good writing, good acting, and a really good story - my husband and I are still unsure why this show was cancelled. If you usually like cop shows then you should definitely watch it. If you don't usually "do" cop shows you should still give it a try, especially if you love Chicago.



So there you go. My ten favorite series, all available for streaming on Netflix.
Did I pick your favorites? Did I overlook any? I'd love to hear about your faves in the comment box.

And happy viewing!

28 comments:

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    1. Isn't she just the best? Every time I watch the Christmas party scene my heart just breaks for her. She's so lovely.

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  2. I am sooo glad I'm not the only one who recognizes the greatness of Mozzie!!!

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  3. I've never heard of many of these...probably because I don't have cable! Thanks for the tips--my husband and I enjoy getting seasons from the library or from friends to watch :)

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    1. Actually, the great thing about most of these shows is they are or were on regular old tv: NBC, PBS, Fox. White Collar, Doctor Who, and The Walking Dead take cable but the rest didn't. Although some of the shows listed have been cancelled for awhile...

      The next season of Sherlock starts on January 19th! Be ready! Check your local PBS station's listings!

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  4. Standard disclaimers apply - my latest netflix favorites are My Name is Earl and Raising Hope.

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  5. I haven't seen half of these, so yay! More netflix to try. Love Doctor Who, Sherlock, Walking Dead, and Freaks and Geeks. I watched Lost way back when and got frustrated with it and quit. Maybe I'll have to give it another try.

    Watching complete series on Netflix has made me believe that two seasons is just right. (Except for Doctor Who of course!) one is too short (Firefly, Freaks and Geeks) but most of the shows I have loved got weird and frustrating about season three. They mess with the characters too much, but I can't stop watching because I'm all invested.

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    1. Wow. You just brought clarity to my life. That is the same problem I have, but never really noticed it. I usually hang on too long and either get irritated at how a show left me or realize I'm devoting way too much time to Netflix and pull the plug for awhile. (Of course, then I wander around for a few days computing the time I spent watching it...) I should make a two season rule and quit unless I Dr.-Who-Love-It.

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  6. Introvert-post-social-function-recovery-day.
    Yes, this.
    I've heard you need a day for every hour you spent on a plane to recover from jet lag. I'm starting to think I might need a day for every hour I spent with extended family over Christmas to recover from that. And I'm almost out of Doctor Who episodes, so this is very helpful.

    Abbey@Surviving Our Blessings

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  7. Joel and I just discovered Family Ties is on Netflix now. That show was a family favorite in both of our families growing up, so we've been having fun watching it. My guilty pleasure is Mad Men. There, I publicly admit it. I watched every single episode in one month. #NoDiscipline

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  8. I love FNL, freaks and geeks, and The Walking Dead. I will def have to check out the others. Loved me some Saracen! And Riggins, "Texas forever!"

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  9. So...how do you make the time to watch episode after episode of netflix shows? Serious question here. We homeschool and my kids are always around, so I can't really watch during the day, at all. And, at night, I just can't stay awake. I can maybe manage one episode...,,maybe...but then I can't do anything else that night...so.?? Serious question, because I would love to watch more of these (like I LOVE Sherlock and I'm into Lost right now), it's just so hard to find the time. It takes me FOREVER to get through a series..so I'm saving this post and I'll come back to it in 3 years. LOL

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    1. Amelia, it sounds like our days may be really different since my oldest goes to school so I don't know if I'll be much help. I may watch an episode or two:
      - during nap / quiet time
      - while I hold / nurse the baby
      - while I clean the kitchen / do meal prep (I watch on my laptop)
      - after the kids are in bed, my husband and I like to veg in front of the tv.
      Also when I'm pregnant and early in the postpartum period I tend to be really tired and I end up watching a lot more tv because I just can't get off the couch.
      Some days I may not watch any tv, some days I don't watch until after bedtime (8pm), some days I may watch a couple of episodes during quiet time because I have to sit and hold the baby for a couple of hours.

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    2. I'm with you, Amelia. The only show we used to watch was The Office because it was only 30 minutes out of the whole week. I keep hearing rave reviews about Downton Abbey but I don't want to start watching it because I figure it will take me too long to ever catch up. Same for movies. As for the postpartum/nursing period - that's when I try to catch up on the reading I never seem to get to either. Perhaps I need to be more efficient in my cooking and housecleaning?

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  10. Chicago Code and Life are the only ones I'm missing. Jericho is great television...minus the Thanksgiving episode. Since we have such similar tastes, I exhort you to try Burn Notice. I also enjoy Glades.

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    1. Haha! We're total Burn Notice addicts...even through the last couple seasons which have been not-so-good.

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  11. We pulled cable awhile back, but via a Roku box we use Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc., for TV watching.

    When we first started watching Friday Night Lights, I said to Atticus, "I can't decide if I like it or if it makes me want to kill myself." :) (We proceeded to watch all five seasons.)

    Sherlock? Check. (We're always watching a day late, via the Roku PBS channel.)

    Lost? Check. (Binge-watched it all on Netflix with my older daughters. So. Much. Fun.)

    Dr. Who? My daughters are HUGE fans (we just made a gingerbread Tardis and a gingerbread 221B Baker Street....) and I have to start watching or they will kill me. :)

    Lisa, I'm with you on Mad Men -- SUCH a well done show, if depressing. Don, stop self-destructing!! I'm begging you!!

    Amelia, sometimes I watch stuff while I'm working out. I have a Fitness Flyer, and I plop the laptop on a dresser in front of it and watch as I work out. This is easy for me these days, but when my kids were younger, I rarely watched any TV, other than some weekend nights with my husband.

    Bonnie, I think my all-time favorite show ever in terms of writing, craft, story arc, characters, and moral center is Breaking Bad. (Very rough/violent, but amazing.)



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  12. Oops -- I didn't mean to open the Breaking Bad can of worms again. :) Forget I mentioned it. :D

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  13. We recently "inherited" access to Netflix so I FINALLY have the excuse to drag my husband (kicking and screaming) through the entire LOST series. I know he'll be hooked (even though he may not know it yet)!

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  14. I loved reading one of your replies about finding time to watch TV....you watch it while you nurse. I am having flashbacks of nursing Charlie and staying up with him at night. I watched more TV in those 9 months than I had in years. Looking forward to catching up on Sherlock!

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  16. I think it's almost a brave thing anymore to admit what stuff we watch on TV. We all know that modern television/movies/music is fraught with such crap, I barely risk turning on the TV or starting a series without reading all the spoilers. But I love recommendations like this, and Bonnie, I'm going to blatantly steal this idea and do a five-favorites for the Amazon Prime set. Consider it the highest form/flattery and all that. :)

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  17. Sherlock. My love. And, maybe I need to give Dr. Who another shot?

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  18. Thanks for remind me about Lost and The Walking Dead. Both, I think, available on Netflix instant streaming. I've got to finish Game of Thrones, and then I really should do Once and Merlin, because I need to keep up my reputation as a fairy tale enthusiast; then Downton Abby . . . but really, I will get to Lost and tWd eventually!

    By the way, if you ever want to geek out about Molly Hooper, I'm a total Molly/Sherlock shipper. ;P

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  19. There are a couple on here I have not tried yet (been thinking about Freaks and Geeks) but LOVE Sherlock and Walking Dead. Out of the new TV season we've also added The Blacklist, Sleepy Hallow, The Michael J Fox Show and PBS Masterpiece The Paradise to our faves. (And that doesn't even count the "teen" shows I watch without Brian like Pretty Little Liars and The Originals and Switched at Birth. LOL)

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  20. Anyone who loves Sherlock should check out Inspector Lewis. AMAZING. Not sure that all of the seasons are on Netflix, maybe check out amazon prime?

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  21. I may have to give Dr. Who another try. I couldn't handle the mannequins! We've watched through Lost a couple of times now. Love White Collar (and yes to Mozzie!!!). Sherlock seems to be on the fringes of being too long for me right now. I may need to save it for when baby goes to bed but I can't sleep yet. Excited to check out Life and Chicago Code!

    My go-to series on Netflix (with disclaimers) are definitely Gilmore Girls and The West Wing. I can watch them over and over and never get tired of them. I also like About a Boy (with lots of disclaimers) mostly because Minnie Driver is hilarious.

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  22. Can I just say that I wish we were friends in real life? So you nailed 7 of my favorite shows, two at the tippy top of my much watch list, and one I had never heard of -- so based on this blog post alone, I've now started it. :-) Seriously though, can we be friends?

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