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10 Netflix Instant Watch Series To Get You Through Rerun Season

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | November 30, 2011 |

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | November 30, 2011 |

Just the other day, Dustin posted a list of Fall/Winter finales of some of your favorite shows. In it he wrote, “There’s almost nothing on television between December 18th and January 3rd, which is ironic because for many of us, that’s when we want television the most. Now, there’s nothing but holiday specials to distract you from you family and in most cases, family is actually preferable.” Well I don’t know about that. I’m all about decking as many halls as I can. But if you’re looking for something to fill your time and your TV screens between now and the New Year, here are nine excellent series currently available to watch Instantly on Netflix…provided you still have an account.

The Unusuals Many of you mentioned this show earlier today when we were discussing the baffling charisma of Jeremy Renner, but ol’ blue eyes isn’t even the best part of this cast which features the luminous Amber Tamblyn, Harold Perrineau (WAAAAAAAAAALT) and Adam Goldberg (who will always be Chandler’s crazy roommate to me). This show was fun and funky and did not deserve to be cancelled so soon.

Gavin and Stacey This show, a love story between a pretty young Welsh girl and her gap-toothed British love interest, is, on the surface, a “wacky” cultural comedy of errors. But, as is often the case with these love stories, it’s the less comely sidekicks that steal the show. The brusque Ruth Jones and James Corden (aka Craig from “Doctor Who”) get some of the best lines (probably because they are also on the writing staff), but my heart belongs entirely to Rob Brydon whose earnestly awkward delivery gets me every time. I gather that it’s not “cool” to like “Gavin and Stacey” if you’re British. I also get the feeling James Corden is generally looked upon with disdain. An English Kevin James. But I’m sorry, I’m a fan.

Louie A far cry from other self-titled stand-up sitcoms (“Seinfeld,” “Roseanne”), Louis CK’s queerly formatted show lends itself perfectly to his brand of dour, self-deprecating comedy. As we’ve said many times on the site, Louis CK is a genius. Go ahead, give it a whirl.

Being Human” (BBC) : If you’ve only seen the American SyFy abomination called “Being Human,” then you haven’t seen this show. The first season is nearly perfect. Darkly comedic and sweetly brutal, it’s a genre-lover’s delight. While Aidan Turner and Lenora Crichlow are splendid as the brooding vampire and overly friendly ghost, it’s Russel Tovey’s high-strung werewolf that steals the show.

Parenthood I don’t know why more of you haven’t been watching this show from the start. Do you hate well-written, ferociously acted drama? Do you hate seeing your own family dynamics played out for you in ways that are both familiar and shocking? Is it Dax? It’s Dax Shepard, isn’t it? You guys, he’s great. As are the always wonderful Peter Krause and Lauren Graham. But watch out for Craig T. Nelson and Mae Whitman, they’ll shamelessly steal every scene they’re in. From Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights”…you LOVED “Friday Night Lights”!), this show is so much better than your standard family soapy fare.

Downton Abbey Speaking of soap, there’s plenty of suds in this laced up British show. I know some of you think it’s all perfectly coiffed hair and hand-beaded bodices, but there’s sex, y’all. And death. And INTRIGUE. Our very own Sarah Carlson already made a very compelling case for the show. I only have this to add: Maggie Smith, Maggie Smith, Maggie Smith.

Quantum Leap: If you somehow missed this during its first run, or its constant rotation on USA, then now’s the time. I cannot objectively judge this show, given that it was one of my favorites growing up. I can admit that the special effects look fairly kitschy to a modern eye. But that’s part of the charm. The rest of the charm is furnished effortlessly by the one-two punch of Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. Seriously, this is a classic.

Parks and Recreation I’m guessing you’re already watching this show, yes? We pimp it enough. But just in case the wobbly first season put you off, please please give the show another shot. You can skip right to season two if you must. The whole cast is a delight.

Sons Of Anarchy I have no idea why it took me so long to finally watch this show. I was put off by the violence? The misogyny? Well, h*ll, that’s like not watching “Mad Men” because I hate the smell of cigarette smoke. The violence and gender politics are part of a culture being depicted. And it’s no more violent than “Hamlet,” where creator Kurt Sutter drew his central premise. Sutter has constructed intricate interweaving plot lines that are never dropped: ghosts from early episodes will come back to haunt you several seasons later. Sutter has also populated his stage with fantastic actors (many refugees from “Deadwood.”) An incredible series and well worth the investment.

******Dishonorable Mention******

The Vampire Diaries This list would be a lot hipper if I left off this last entry. (What, “Downton Abbey” is hip, you guys!) But I cannot tell a lie. This show is awesome. You may not want to take my word for it, I was brought up on a steady diet of “Buffy” and “Dawson.” But the inane teenage soap opera sh*t aside, this is a really fun show. I don’t know where Ian Somerhalder was hiding all his talent during his BORING run on “Lost,” but he knocks it out of the park with this show. He’s all bulgy eyed sarcasm and seductive sneer. The rest of the cast handles the preposterous twists and supernatural mumbo jumbo admirably, but he’s the clear stand-out.

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