Hi. It’s January, and nobody wants to move. So we become one with our couches and we bingeflix (binge on Netflix), especially now that Serial is over (amiright?). At some point, you might feel like you’ve run out of good things to watch, but fear not! Check out these shows that you might have missed and that are available on Netflix and Hulu (free!). Listed in order from good to awesomest show ever. (The ratings are mine.)
1. Bomb Girls
They had me at the 1940s. A Canadian show about women working in a bomb-making factory. They deal with sexism, making a living amid dangerous and uncertain times, losing loved ones overseas, and juggling the boys back home. The acting is a bit spotty, and it’s a little too straight-drama for my taste (I usually like a bit of comedy, black humor, or weirdness or something mixed in), but come on, those costumes! 2 seasons, Netflix. (Rated PG-13: some sex, language, and violence. But not enough. ha!)
You’ll like it if you liked: A League of Their Own, Pearl Harbor, dramas like One Tree Hill (which I never watched, but they weren’t wearing retro clothing).
British humor set in the kitchen of a quaint country inn. You’ll get to see some of The 6 British Actors You See in Everything including Dobby from Peep Show (Haven’t seen Peep Show? Watch it.). 1 season, Hulu. (Rated PG-13: language)
You’ll like it if you liked: Any British comedy.
3. Party Down
A group of caterers in Hollywood try to figure their lives out, and the normal ones just try to keep the loony ones from running completely amok. 2 seasons, Hulu. (Rated PG-13: There’s some adult content, but it’s more weird than offensive.)
You’ll like it if you liked: Arrested Development, Parks and Rec.
4. Moone Boy
Chris O’Dowd (remember the cute cop from Bridesmaids?) is charming as always as the invisible friend of a cheeky Irish boy growing up in the 1980s. It’s a coming of age story, though not a sentimental one. 3 seasons, Hulu. (Rated PG-13: yes, it’s about a kid, but it’s written for adults; language, sexual content.)
You’ll like it if you liked: About a Boy, A Christmas Story, Home Alone.
Yup, that’s the name of the show. Comedians/illusionists Penn and Teller investigate and usually debunk some of the things that we *think* are important to us, but maybe we haven’t really thought critically about them. Some of the topics include: PETA, recycling, conspiracy theories, obesity, Wal-Mart, and vegetarianism. I don’t always agree with them (there are times when their arguments are more of the “come on, really?” variety, and not so much, shall we say…data and facts and stuff), but they definitely get me thinking. The topics range from thought-provoking to completely inane, so I’d recommend just sorting through the episodes for topics that you find interesting. This is not a show that you need to watch as a serial. 8 seasons, Hulu. (Rated R: depending on the episode, the topics can be mature in nature.)
You’ll like this if you liked: Morgan Spurlock’s stuff (Super Size Me, 30 Days), any other smart documentaries, 20/20 (only if you hate-watch 20/20 because it bothers you that they get all worked up about stuff that is really not that big of a deal).
You’ll like it if you liked: The Office (original), Get Smart, comedies of any sort.
7. Booth at the End
This guy sits in a booth at a diner, and strangers come to him for help, but the help he offers is never what they expect. It raises questions about human nature (how far would/should a parent go for their child?) and about its own characters (is he magic? is he God?). 2 seasons, Hulu. (Rated PG-13: boring/confusing for children, but nothing visually disturbing.)
Ricky Gervais plays against type as a kind, earnest man who works in a nursing home. The show is a mixture of Gervais’ usual crass humor as well as honest-to-goodness sweetness. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be hooked by the first episode. 2 seasons, Netflix. (Rated PG-13: some immature humor)
You’ll like it if you liked: Anything by Gervais. The show even features his impossibly round-headed friend, Karl Pilkington.
9. Grand Hotel
A Spanish (yes, you’ll have to read subtitles) show about a luxury hotel at the turn of the 20th century. That makes it sound so boring. But oh man, it’s so great! I forced my dad to watch an episode, and though he didn’t like it (he’s simply wrong), I can’t help but tell him the latest developments every time I see him. So much happens on this show. Murder, intrigue, lies, deception, romance. The action never stops. My dad says it’s a soap opera, but I hate soap operas. I guess it’s a little like a soap opera, but the action is actually good (not just people staring at each other and breathing heavily), and it’s all very well done (acting, writing, production values, etc.). 3 seasons, Netflix. (Rated PG-13: some sexytimes, some violence, but mainly just storylines that younguns would find boring.)
You’ll like it if you liked: Downton Abbey (I don’t like Downton Abbey because it’s too soap opera-ish, but I guess there are similarities), Pride and Prejudice, mystery crime dramas like Poirot.
You guys. This is such a damn good show. It’s about a group of teenagers who develop “super powers” (though sometimes they’re more like curses). Fights, murder, romance, time-travel, comedy, it’s jam-packed full of action. Watch it now. Do it! 5 seasons, Hulu. (Rated R: sex, drugs, and rock n roll. Er, I mean, sex, swears, and violence.)
You’ll like it if you liked: Anything. Just watch it. Also, if you liked Heroes (I guess, though I haven’t seen that), or any super hero show/movie.
-The IT Crowd: I’ve heard from various sources that it is very good, but I don’t particularly like it. Maybe you will? (It also has the charms of Chris O’Dowd and a few of The 6 British Actors You See in Everything.)
-The Wonder Years: You have probably heard of this show (if you haven’t, you’re either young, or you are incomprehensible to me), but I am mentioning it because it has previously been unavailable on dvd/internet/anything (get this: it was because the music was so iconic that getting the rights was very difficult, so some of the music has been altered), but all episodes are now available on Netflix! It’s still very good.
-Peep Show: As mentioned above, you should watch it (it’s not about a peep show). If you’re not yet familiar with The 6 British Actors You See in Everything, you’ll meet most of them here.
-Inside Amy Schumer: If you like standup and sketch comedy, you’ll like this, as long as you’re not easily offended.
-Peaky Blinders: I haven’t watched it yet but I’ve heard good things.
-An Idiot Abroad: More Ricky Gervais. He sends Karl Pilkington around the world against Pilkington’s will (documentary). Great in small doses, but it can get repetitive.
-A Young Doctor’s Notebook: Haven’t watched it yet, but Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe? Could it possibly be bad? Am I tempting fate by saying that?
What under-the-radar shows do you watch?