Winter is coming, y’all. For many of you, it’s already here. And while there are still plenty of shows in the air, pretty soon we’ll be facing the fallow Winter hiatus of many of our favorite shows. I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to be using that hiatus to deck the halls and smooch under mistletoe and mull cider and, ye gods, talk to each other. Well to avoid that horror of horrors, here are 8 TV shows you can cuddle up in front of on Netflix in the upcoming months. This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. Just something we like to do from time to time to highlight some shows you may not have seen or those you want to revisit.
“Life”: With the Damian Lewis “Homeland” star on the rise, NBC has to be kicking themselves over canceling this fantastic show. Season 1 is, admittedly, far superior to Season 2, but both Lewis and his parter (played by Sarah Shahi recently of “Fairly Legal”…the only show USA has ever cancelled) are fun to watch. Equally fun is the crazy talented supporting cast (Adam Arkin, Donal Logue, Robin Weigert, Garret Dillahunt, Titus Welliver, etc.)
“The Riches”: I’m biased because I have a weakness for all things Izzard. But even I get why FX cancelled this show after only two short seasons. But, then again, it’s two fun, short seasons with some vintage Minnie Driver, that cute brunette from “Raising Hope” and Eddie Izzard. Someone find this man a TV vehicle that will stick. He’s just the best.
“Prime Suspect”: Yes you all worship at the alter of Helen Mirren, but have you all done your Mirren homework? Dame Helen played DCI Jane Tennison for 15 years and if you think the American version with Maria Bello taught you anything about how great this show was, you are dead wrong. Most of the “seasons” come in three hour chunks. Lap ‘em up.
“Traffic Light”: This was such a fun and frothy sitcom, both Dustin and I were saddened when it was cancelled. If you pretend it’s a comedic mini-series, you might not feel the same pangs when it comes to an end.
“United States Of Tara”: Toni Collette got all the attention for this show. As well she should. It’s a bravura performance that puts most other lead actresses to shame. But the rest of the cast (the under-appreciated John Corbett, Brie Larson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Keir Gilchrist and the great Patton Oswalt) are what make this show truly a joy. It’s funny, it’s terrifying and it’s lovely.
“Shameless”: I’m sick of people talking about the American version and, specifically, Emmy Rossum’s breasts. You know what? The British one was better. And James McAvoy’s breasts were better. SO THERE.
“Dollhouse”: Oh, Joss. This could have been amazing. This could have been an incredible series. But Joss had to cast Dushku in the lead and her leaden performance just drags the whole thing to its knees. But BUT, if you ignore Dushku, dear god this is Whedon gold. Much specific love to Olivia Williams, Fran Kranz (now of Cabin In The Woods fame), Enver Gjokaj (soon, we hope, of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” fame), Dichen Lachman and Reed Diamond. If you watch it (and skip the stupid episodes where Dushku is a dominatrix or a cheerleader) you’ll be rewarded with fantastic turns from Whedon Regulars like Tudyk, Glau, Acker, Sheppard and Day.
“Criminal Justice”: It’s no surprise that this British miniseries is being adapted by Richard Price (“The Wire,” Clockers) for HBO. It feels like “Oz” and “The Wire” had a blue-tinged, British baby. In the first season (the only one currently available on Netflix), Ben Whishaw (“The Hour,” Cloud Atlas, Skyfall) plays Ben Coulter, an aimless young man who is accused of murder. The show follows him through arrest, jail and court. Like a loooooong episode of Law & Order, with a lot more prison rape. The late great Pete Postlethwaite shows up in episode 2 as an older con in the system who looks out for Coulter. It’s a great, gritty, juicy drama which, like “The Wire” has a slow burn. Though I haven’t seen Season 2, I understand the British series (like Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story”) was an anthology, picking up with a different accused and new actors each season. That should be great fun on HBO with James Gandolfini in the lead and Richard Price at the helm.