With cable tv season rounding up, our (ahem) beloved Toronto Maple Leafs putting an end to hockey season in Toronto, and the Blue Jays simply not living up to the hype, I’m sure we can all use some more Netflix in our lives. I’ve sought out the assistance of my good friend Alanna because, well.. she has fabulous taste and an incredibly discernible eye for arts & culture in many mediums, but particularly in film (and yes Alanna, in fashion, food, music, and art too!).
I’ll follow Kelly’s lead and break these up similarly to her picks in our original Best of Canadian Netflix post. Enjoy Alanna’s commentary here :)
With the much anticipated Season 4 of Arrested Development to be released on Netflix on May 26 (all 15 episodes at once), get pumped by watching the first three seasons to remind you how much you love this show. In case you’ve been living in a hole (sorry!), this show features Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett & Michael Cera , a dysfunctional and formerly wealthy family. It’s a hilarious character series that has garnered a cult following.
The award-winning, IFC produced Portlandia should not be missed. The sketch comedy featuring stereotypical hipsters living in Portland, OR, played by Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (Wild Flag, Sleater-Kinney). It’s quirky and funny and if you’re anything like Kelly and I, you’ll be not-so-secretly be laughing at the hilarious similarities to your own lives. The epsiodes featuring guest stars and cameos with the likes of The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, Tim Robbins, and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder are among my favorites.
Alanna and I agree that House of Cards is BEYOND truly outrageous. Kevin Spacey as the Majority Whip of the House, Robin Wright as a non-profit CEO and the other half of this bizarre modern high-achieving-at-any-and-all-costs power couple, Kate Mara as the most annoying journalist/blogger/lame girl all star in this DC-political-psycho-drama that frequently breaks the fourth wall and features BBQ. Sold. This is also Netflix’s first original series, with all 13 episodes of the première season released at once, effectively changing television distribution and consumption forever.
The Inbetweeners is a fantastic, hilarious, cringe-filled British comedy about four regular to below average dudes in high school. It is uncomfortable to watch, but I can never tear myself away. This is NOT to be confused with the not worth the price of Simon’s new car U.S. remake, which obviously blows. A similar story with Skins which is the best show for making you yearn for a reckless British coming of age experience and has one of the best soundtracks ever (I would only vouch for Seasons 1-3).
Luther is an AMAZING detective drama starring the hottest of hot Stringer Bell (okay, Idris Elba, but whatever…I don’t care what you call him, he is delicious when he isn’t making terribly cheesy music videos). It is also an amazing modern London detective show, so obviously great for Anglophiles. Similarly, Sherlock is a dark, gory, gritty suspense filled detective show with less attractive leads, but whatever. Still, it is an incredible movie-quality mini-series with each episode running 90 minutes. It is fantastic.
Honourable Mention: The Riches is a short-lived highly underrated dramedy about Irish con artist/travellers starring Eddie Izzard, Minnie Driver, Shannon Woodward and Noel Fisher. I really enjoyed this and it was a casualty of the perfect storm of low ratings and the 2007/8 Writer’s Strike.
Obvious and slightly less obvious choices that are worth your time: Freaks and Geeks (followed by the lesser known Undeclared), Community (until Dan Harmon’s departure), Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter (early seasons), Damages (early seasons), Misfits Season 1- 3 (another BBC outfit).