Monday, January 2, 2012

28 Netflix Streaming, free Hulu, and TV Recommendations: Part 2

It's time for part two of my Netflix Streaming, free Hulu, and recommendations. I hope you all enjoyed my first 14 picks in part one. Here's a reminder as to how to list is set up:

First of all, Netflix Streaming recommendations have red text next to them, Hulu recommendations have green, and theWB recommendations have blue. Secondly I've put parentheses next to each suggestion with the available seasons and the total number of seasons. For example, if it says (2/5), that means that season 2 is available and that there are five total seasons. That does not mean that the first two seasons are available. Lastly, the second set of parentheses is either (sc) for series complete or (ca) for currently airing.


These shows are all creative and somewhat offbeat. While they all lasted at least at least two seasons, none lasted beyond three. After watching one of these picks, you can join the legion of fans who are outraged at its cancellation.

1. Arrested Development (1-3/3) (sc) Watching Arrested Development will allow you to understand a much larger percentage of references on the Internet. This off-beat show is loved by many, and if you give it a shot, you'll likely join in on that love. It's funny on many, many levels and is ridiculously witty. Even after watching the series and reading some trivia lists, I'm sure there are plenty references and jokes I've missed. The show centers around Michael Bluth, a man dealing with his crazy family and trying to keep their family business afloat after his dad lands in jail. There's much more to the show, but it's best if you just discover it for yourself.

2. Better Off Ted (1-2/2) (sc) After you watch all three seasons of Arrested Development and are in the process of waiting for its new episodes to appear on Netflix, you can watch this gem to tide you over. It's not quite as good as Arrested Development, but it reminded me a lot of it. It has that quirky feel and it features Arrested Development's Portia de Rossi. Better Off Ted is a strange, satirical show about an evil corporation, Veridian Dynamics, and a single father and fairly-nice guy Ted Crisp who works there. I'll be honest, it took me a couple of episodes to really get into Better Off Ted, but once I did, I breezed through its short list of episodes.

3. Eli Stone (1-2/2) (sc) Eli Stone has one of the most ridiculous premises I've ever heard of: a lawyer with a brain aneurism begins have hallucinations (often in the form of a song) that lead him to help people. Yet somehow it manages to be a pretty great show. It's been a while since I've watched an episode of Eli Stone, but I remember really enjoying it. If you're looking for a quirky show, this one definitely manages to bring the quirk, along with some fun musical numbers.

4. Pushing Daisies (1/2) (sc) Pushing Daisies has to be one of the cutest shows about murder ever created. The show centers around Ned, a piemaker with the ability to bring the dead back to life with a touch. He must touch them again, taking that life back, within 60 seconds or someone else will die. Once he reawakens his dead childhood sweetheart, they and Ned's grumpy friend Emerson Cod use Ned's power to solve murders. There's a surreal fairy tale atmosphere to the show, and visually it's stunning. Each episode is truly a unique treat.


These shows all come from either the UK or Canada. So, check oot what they're all aboot, and grab a cup of tea as you watch these blokes. No, that previous sentence wasn't forced or full of blatant stereotypes at all.

1. Downton Abbey (1/2) (ca) Downton Abbey is very much like a Jane Austen novel in television form. It follows an aristocratic British family and their servants in the early 1900s. It took me a while to warm to the series, but once I did, I was hooked. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the Crowley family's and their servants' drama. This is the kind of show that the phrase "clutching my pearls" is perfectly fitted for. I've yet to watch the second season of Downton Abbey, but if it's anything as good as the first, I know I won't be disappointed.

2. Doctor Who (revived series) (1-5/6) (ca) Doctor Who is about a time lord from another planet who travels around time and space in his TARDIS. Typically he brings a human companion with him in his travels. It's a show that can be pretty cheesy, but it's almost always fun. After hearing a lot of hype about it, I first tried watching Doctor Who last summer. To be honest, I thought it was pretty stupid. I was expecting some cheesiness, but I decided I just couldn't take it after watching three and a half episodes. Many months later, I thought I'd give it another shot and watched a highly-praised season three episode, "Blink," and I actually enjoyed it. So, I started with season two and found myself quickly sucked into Doctor Who. Plenty of people actually like Doctor Who from the beginning, but if try it and don't, you may want to try watching it in my order.

3. Being Erica (1-3/4) (?) Like Doctor Who, Being Erica features time travel; however, it's really more of a drama than a sci-fi show. The show begins with Erica running into therapist Dr. Tom after a terrible day. Unlike most therapists, Dr. Tom has time-traveling abilities and sends Erica back into different moments in her past to try to fix her regrets. Being Erica could have easily strayed into saccharine territory, but the lessons she learns almost always manage to seem fresh. Plus, time travel is always fun. Being Erica is a cute, sweet, and enjoyable Canadian gem that you shouldn't overlook. The series seems to be completed, but I can't find any definitive word as to if it is.


I feel like I should have come up with a funny way to introduce these shows, but if you really want to laugh, that's what these are for.

1. How I Met Your Mother (1-6/7) (ca) If you've never watched How I Met Your Mother, you might be kind of turned off by its name. It's true, the series uses the framing device of father explaining a long winded story to his kids about how he met their mother. Besides that, it's pretty much a Friends-eque "group of friends hanging out" comedy. It's kind of ridiculous how much I love How I Met Your Mother. I've seen every episode at least once, but I've seen the episodes in the first four seasons a ridiculous amount of times. It's got a great cast and plenty of hilarious moments. I could gush about How I Met Your Mother for paragraphs, but I'll just leave it at this: watch this show.

2. Parks and Recreation (1-3/4) (ca) I'd probably say that Parks and Recreation is my favorite comedy currently on television. It had a bit of a rough start; season one was uneven and was too similar to The Office. However, season two and onward have been hilarious. Parks and Recreation is about the Parks and Recreation department in the town of Pawnee, Indiana. The main character is Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) a go-getter with high ambitions for the departmen, but Parks and Recreation is one of those shows where every character is so likable that I just can't choose a favorite. I just want to smile the whole time that I'm watching it.

3. The Office (U.S.) (1-7/8) (ca) Go ahead. You can laugh at me for including The Office. I feel like 99 percent of television-watching people have seen at least part of an episode of The Office at some point. In fact, there's probably no reason for me to include a short synopsis, but for those of you who haven't seen it: it's a mockumentary about an inappropriate boss, Michael Scott, and the paper company he works at. Anyway I'm including The Office for two reasons. One, I wanted to make those who are big fans of The Office aware that it's available on Netflix. Two, if you've only ever casually watched The Office, I'd recommend marathoning at least the first few seasons in order. There are definitely some good episodes in the later seasons, but there's a freshness in the early episodes that works well for episode-marathoning.

4. Raising Hope (1/2) (ca) I've previously written about Raising Hope in more detail, but I'll briefly talk about it again. Raising Hope follows the Chase family as the son, Jimmy, raises the daughter he received after a one night stand with a serial killer. The show gets a lot of humor out of the Chase family's tackiness, but it always manages to laugh with them rather than at them. Plus, the babies who play Hope are among the cutest tv children I've ever seen.


This list is really short because a lot of my favorites aren't available on Netflix streaming or for free online.

1. Solitary (1-4/4) (sc) I think the fact that I enjoy this show says something disturbing about me. The premise of Solitary is that nine contestants are placed into individual pods with only the voice of Val, a computer companion, as company. They are forced to undergo uncomfortable situations and challenges during their time in this solitary confinement. I almost feel bad for enjoying this show, but it's pretty fascinating.

2. Primetime: What Would You Do? (2-5/5) (ca) I've never been able to figure out the pattern for when Primetime: What Would You Do? airs on television. My sister and I would just set it to record on the DVR and be pleasantly surprised when it appeared in our recordings. Primetime: What Would You Do? is a show where actors act out various situations such as a boyfriend speaking abusively towards his girlfriend or a shop owner showing racism. Then the show documents various people's reactions towards the situation. The situations are not necessarily the most accurate social experiments and the show has a tendency to villanize bystanders, but the show is interesting and enjoyable.


This really should have been placed in the previous list with the others in the short-lived category. However, I had only watched one episode at the time I posted my last list. Since then, I've managed to watch all 13 episodes. I can now say with certainty that it deserves its spot on my list.

1. Terriers (1/1) (sc) When I first read about Terriers, I took one look at the name and thought "thanks, but no thanks." Weeks into the show, however, I read an article that compared it to Veronica Mars. If you read part one of this list, you know that I adore Veronica Mars. So I checked Terriers out as soon as I saw it had been added to Netflix streaming. Terriers focuses on Hank and Britt, two unlicensed PIs who become involved in a scandal that's much bigger than they initially realized. It's not Veronica Mars, but it shares some similarities and is an enjoyable detective show.

Well, that marks the end of my list and my realization that I watch far too much television (okay, maybe that's more of a reminder than a realization). Hopefully, you found something interesting to check out.

If you want to share your thoughts on any of the shows in this list or add another suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment.

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