Written by Brock Poulsen, brockst4r Saturday, 08 October 2011 05:00
If you own a game console, chances are very good you use it to stream Netflix. After hearing people complain about a lack of quality shows, and after the Qwikster debacle has caused many people's Netflix faith to be shaken, I was inspired to compile a list of some great reasons to hang on to your streaming subscription.
The Good Guys: On the surface it looks like a tired cliche: the straight-laced cop tasked with keeping the rebel cop in check. But here it really works. If there's one thing Colin Hanks does exceptionally well it is "straight-laced," and Bradley Whitford is incredible as Dan Stark, a washed-up cop whose career peaked in the 80's and who still talks about hitting the streets and busting punks. It is excellent over-the-top police action, and it is consistently funny and often hilarious.
The Unusuals: Probably one of my favorite law enforcement shows, The Unusuals unfortunately lasted only 10 episodes. It's an intelligent concept: the cops and their various lives are the focus, rather than the crimes or the corpses. Jeremy Renner and Amber Tamblin are both great, but for my money there's no beating Adam Goldberg and his Serpico-esque mustache. Each character has actual substance and depth; from the reformed petty criminal who has found religion but must hide from his past, to Amber Tamblin's conflicted character.
Sports Night: From the mind behind The West Wing and the aforementioned Studio 60, this dramedy takes place behind the scenes of a sports news show. Correspondents Dan (currently on Parenthood) and Casey's back-and-forth and smart dialogue brings the world of sports reporting to life. The signature Aaron Sorkin dialogue formula ("This thing?" "This thing." "This thing?" "This thing.") is fully intact, so if that's not something you enjoy this might not be the show for you. Speaking of which...
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Studio 60 was a victim of timing; it debuted at the same time almost to the day as 30 Rock, and since they are very similar (and Tina Fey's is the better show), only one could live. This is not to say that Studio 60 was some kind of clone of 30 Rock; the two programs have their setting in common (along with an odd similarity in names), but not much more than that. While 30 Rock is essentially a live-action cartoon -- albeit a fantastic, smart, hilarious one -- Studio 60 takes more of a dramatic approach. It had a good run of episodes, with some very talented people and interesting storylines. 30 Rock may have been the rightful victor, but Studio 60 is worthy of a look back.
NBC Shows: NBC's best show, Community, is unfortunately not available on Netflix Instant, but there are some other good shows represented. Parks and Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock were all just updated with their latest seasons, and have been dominating my television the last few days.
Kid's Shows: I won't bore you here with all the reasons I love Phineas and Ferb. I'm saving that for another article suffice it to say it's smart, funny, and subtly teaches kids positive messages about family, friendship, and creativity. It's just one example of the large selection of kids' shows available, including Sesame Street, Word Girl, the 90s X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons, and loads of others.
"Educational" Programming: Netflix has a huge selection of documentaries and other pseudo-intellectual programs, ranging from Mythbusters to Swamp People; from Dirty Jobs to Ancient Aliens.
There are droves of programs to enjoy on Netflix, so before you gripe about the selection, I encourage you to take another look and see what you can find. What are some of your favorites?