You've probably gathered by now that I watch a lot of Netflix.
Not trying to hide it. Remember, I live in the woods, I'm single, I don't like going out all the time, and we don't have TV service, and after a full day of speaking to strange and nasty people on the phone, I WANT TO BE ENTERTAINED.
Yes, I clean up when I get home, yes, I cook dinner too, sometimes I even leave the house and visit with friends, but then: Netflix.
Binge-watching? Sure. Re-watching The Office for the third time? Well, yes. Never getting around to those documentaries because I keep watching North and South again? No, YOU have a problem.
BUT, for $8 a month, I feel like I'm finally getting the equivalent of the liberal arts degree I always wanted and never needed.
Here's a list of tips to get you started if you're stuck:
- Scandinavians make the best black comedies. Not comedies about black people. Terrible, horrible, AWFUL situational comedy, things that make you cringe, but with a thread of bleak humor running through. The Danes are particularly gifted at this.
- When in doubt, anything with Paul Newman or Cary Grant in it is going to be fine. Paul Dano is not half bad. (John Wayne doesn't quite make the cut, because he really only ever played one character, but it was a fun character.)
- Cooking shows should never be watched at dinner time, unless you made yourself a really great meal, or else you will feel resentful and sad about the leftovers.
- Some shows really suck in the first season. Sometimes it's worth pushing through (I didn't like 30 Rock until the fourth season, or Parks & Rec until the third), sometimes it's not (didn't make it through the first episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia).
- If a documentary looks interesting, you should watch it immediately, or else it will sit in your queue for 2 years while you scroll endlessly through the new releases.
- Don't watch foreign films with impressionable young people or conservative friends. Trust me. You're going along great and then, SURPRISE! Non-sexual full-frontal nudity.
- Don't waste your time on an American remake of anything if the original is available. I'm looking at you, "No Reservations".
- In terms of Hepburns, I recommend Katharine.
- If it has tall ships, there's less chance of it sucking.
- Earlier Steve Martin is funnier.
- Steer clear of Jack Black in leading roles, except in "Bernie". Steer clear of Adam Sandler, with no qualifications.
- Learn how to clear your schedule quickly in case you accidentally watch all of Peaky Blinders in four days. Be honest with your friends and tell them why you're cancelling. If they start watching it, they'll probably understand.
- The Dick Van Dyke show is medically guaranteed to lower your blood pressure, and also less blatantly sexist than the Andy Griffith Show.
- Lost only makes a bit more sense the second time, it's just that now you know to skip the last season.
Shows you might have missed:
- Hell on Wheels (1800s railroad building! Unspoiled prairie! Unironic leather vests!)
- Longmire (not enough people talking about this show. And a VISIBLY OLDER LEAD!)
- Chef's Table (again, not when you're eating sad leftovers.)
- Lie to Me (cancelled too soon. Body language education is important.)
- Wallander (elegant and depressing.)
- M*A*S*H (don't mock me. I see you mocking me. It's funny.)
Movies you might have missed:
- Scapegoat (two Matthew Rhyses for the price of one, and conspiracy theories!)
- Mostly Martha (priceless illustration of the difference between Germans and Italians)
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Ruprecht!)
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm trying to find room in my schedule to watch this 4 hour version of Lawrence of Arabia.