Netflix FOREVER!

10 May
I may have mentioned at some point or other that I’m a serious procrastinator–let’s just say I’m embarrassed to show my face at the local library and I’m pretty much required to set up all my bills to pay automatically. In my lifetime I’ve had to pay out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in various late fees. The idea of movie rentals that wouldn’t require me to go to the store was good; not having to return them by a certain date and time was even better.

When we signed up for Netflix way back in the early aughts, our subscription cost a whopping $19.99 per month and we were allowed to have all of three movies out at any given time. It was still cheaper than renting movies locally so long as we remembered to return the discs promptly, to keep the queue moving. It was worth it for a while. We got to try shows we wouldn’t normally have access to at the local Blockbuster (like TV series and anime), plus there was a lot of kid-friendly content to keep our then-toddler entertained.

After a while our use tapered off. We lost a disc. One thing (procrastination) led to another (more procrastination) and I came to realize we were still paying for a service we hadn’t used in several months. I called to cancel and customer service offered me a year’s subscription for free if I would reconsider. Let me tell you, I took pause at that. It’s really flippin’ hard to say no to free stuff, not to mention an entire year of free stuff, but I was deep into MMOs by then and making more time for TV was out of the question. I knew if I took the offer I’d just be on the phone again 18 months later, so I politely declined, dug my fingernails out of my desktop, and forgot about Netflix for over half a decade.

Last October, we solved my husband’s daytime TV problem (“it’s all crap”) by putting Netflix on our Wii. Ho-lee-crap. Instant streaming is infinitely better than renting out three discs at a time and it costs half as much as our old sub back in the day. If I decide I don’t like a show I can just start up a new one without setting myself back a day or two of queue time; if I want to watch Dead Like Me on the computer while my husband watches Better Off Ted in the living room, I can. It rocks.

I’m embarrassed to admit just how many shows we’ve watched since last fall, but everybody loves a good confession so I’ll tell you anyway: nearly 1600 movies, TV shows and specials have graced our television screen and computer monitors in the last 8 months. Bill likes to watch an entire TV series in one go: MacGyver, The Rockford Files, My Name is Earl. He loves comedy specials and Carl Sagan, and will queue up an old Cosmos special whenever he has trouble falling asleep (“If the soothing voice of Carl Sagan can’t cure your insomnia, nothing can”).

We don’t always see eye to eye on what qualifies as entertainment. Example: I whinge, flounce out of the room, or deliver blow-by-blow mocking critiques of the show whenever he vegetates in front of daytime reruns of Charmed. He pokes fun at my House addiction and teases me when certain of my favorite characters appear in our guilty-pleasure animes. In spite of that we still find a lot to watch together, sometimes by surprise. Last week I tried a British comedy about relationships called Coupling and he loved it, which surprised me. We watched every episode together over a few evenings (he suggested that it was somewhat ironic for me to rank the six main characters by how neurotic they were, but that’s his opinion). Now we’re in the middle of Death Note, which is pretty dark, clever and thought-provoking. I like it so far in spite of some minor issues that nag at me (that would never happen, why is the main character such a douchebag, WHERE DID ALL THAT MONEY COME FROM) but they fall well below the threshold of intolerance.

Now that there’s no risk involved in trying an unknown, I’ve tackled a long and heavy list of recommendations from friends and followers on Twitter (you can add to my list too. If there’s something I absolutely must see, just tweet me @beckymew and I’ll add it).

Here are some of my favorites so far:

Seven Samurai– There was nothing NOT to like about this classic film. The heroes and their sacrifices moved me, as did the plight of the downtrodden. I’ve never seen a movie that did such an excellent job of showing what it means to be hopeless, and the cost of triumph.

The Boondock Saints – Give me action, clever twists and a crisis of ethics. I want to root for the good guys and for the bad guys. This one was everything I wanted in spades. Also bloody.

Fargo – I was delighted to find I’m not the only wife with a husband who will stumble out of bed determined to make her some eggs. Great story, great characters, worth watching for the accents alone.

Dead Like Me – I love me some dark humor and existential themes. The main character isn’t always very likeable, but it’s interesting to watch her grow as a person over the course of the show. Plus, MANDY PATINKIN. Come on!

Ink – More thought-provoking introspection and heartstring-tugging here (you’d think I have a secret lust for films that make my brain hurt/make me cry), but this one comes in a fantasy flavor that doesn’t ruin things by overexplaining. Sometimes it’s better just to show the bare minimum and let the audience fill in the gaps.


8 Responses to “Netflix FOREVER!”

  1. Mom May 11, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Ummmm….DEXTER. And because of Boondock Saints, I never leave home without a rope.

  2. Fallah May 11, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    DEXTER, yes it is awesome.

    The Tudors. Sorta trashy, not historically accurate but beautiful and engaging and compelling. And the music is beautiful.

    30 Rock. Wasn’t sure about this one when my friend raved about it, but even my husband came around. The humor is both relevant and totally bizarre in turns.

    Weeds. At least the first 3 seasons. Then it starts going off the rails into “why am I still watching this it is like a trainwreck”-ville. The main character is SO flawed but some of the dialogue is just amazing.

    Arrested Development. I skipped this when it was running but it is now on Netflix in all it’s absurd glory. Some of the humor is incredibly subtle and sometimes they take crazy absurd and run with it. It is unpredictable, which is rare these days.

  3. Fallah May 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    If you like science/nerdy stuff: Eureka. The first episode is definitely weird and awkward but it picks up immensely after that.

    LOST. I have a love/hate thing with LOST. We are still somewhere in S5 but have lost interest in it, it goes off rails around S4. It was engaging but a lot of the cool weird stuff doesn’t lead to anything. A very odd complement of characters though.

    Scrubs. I still ❤ this show so much. Funny but definitely has heart to it.

    Can you tell we have our own Netflix addiction? When my husband was unemployed, oh god. He'll watch 5 or 6 episodes of a show back-to-back anyway, when he was home all day I'd get home and he'd be done with 3/4 of a whole season.

  4. Itanya Blade May 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Stargate: Universe was amazing.

    Numb3rs. I really liked the show.

    Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex


    Sherlock – Watched most of them on PBS.

    Robin Hood – The British Series

    • Itanya Blade May 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      I might be an anglophile. Maybe

    • falconesse May 12, 2011 at 9:41 am #

      SG:U /mourn. I second the recommendation and shake my fist at SyFy for cancelling it.

      Also seconding Eureka. It’s a whole lot of nerdy fun.

      I loved Dead Like Me, too. I haven’t watched the movie they put out after the series ended because Mandy Patinkin didn’t come back for it, and they replaced the actress who played Daisy, Daisy Adair. Much as I liked Henry Ian Cusick in Lost, his presence isn’t enough for me to watch the DLM movie.

      If they bring Leverage back to streaming, I’ll be adding that to my queue, too. I was about halfway through the first season when they yanked it. (I assume because a new season started on TNT.) BOOOO.

  5. Caulle May 12, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Just incase you get stumped on what to watch next!


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