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August 31, 2011 / mandalaymai

Netflix, I wish I knew how to quit you…

You know, like a lot of people, I was super pissed when Netflix came out with its brand new pricing scheme that separated it’s streaming content from the actual getting DVD’s in the mail plan. I ran through lots of ‘screw you, Netflix’ scenarios in my mind. (check out this Jason Alexnder Funny or Die clip on the subject ) And while I am still considering ditching the DVDs in the mail plan, I know that it will be a cold day in May before I give up the streaming. I love it too much. It has allowed me to go “couch-marathon” in splendid fashion. I mean, even when you get a DVD box set you have to get up to change DVDs. How archaic!
But even more awesomely than that is the discovery of new shows that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Here are some of my Netflix streaming picks for you. Pick one and let it tide you over until the fall season gets underway. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the dog days of summer!

“The Office” (UK version)

I am cheating a little with this one: I had seen it before. I am a huge fan of the US version, but the Ricky Gervais’s original is a masterpiece. A totally different animal. I got the DVD’s from Netflix a long time ago back when they didn’t have this newfangled streaming business and I loved them. I guess I just assumed that the most rabid and devoted fans of the US version would have made an effort to check out the original. But, I have been surprised to find that some of the most die-hard fans I know have never checked this out. Come on, people! It’s only 14 episodes and you have to see it. And once you love it, may I recommend the following link? These analyses / recaps of the show are spot-on and there is an article that also addresses the pilot episodes of several of the international versions that were spawned by the original.,58263/


Ok, yes, this is another British show and coincidentally also stars Martin Freeman who plays Tim on The Office as one of literature’s most famous sidekicks, Dr. Watson. But this take on Sherlock Holmes does actually bring something new to the table. It’s set in present-day London, and is consequently more high tech, while still retaining the ‘Sherlockian’ coolness and adventure of it all. Sherlock Holmes is so iconic that he has inspired countless other characters (on your TV right now Gregory House, Shawn Spencer on ‘Psych’ and the Mentalist, for example). But this version takes the original character and manages to make it fresh and relevant in a modern setting.  One of the best things about this version is Freeman’s take on John Watson. The writers give his character a reason, a motivation of his own for why he follows Holmes around aside from boredom and worshipful fascination (as it sometimes seemed to me in the books) or exasperated caving in (the way Jude Law did in Guy Ritchie’s version which I also loved).  Also, I really like the device of Watson’s blog being the vehicle for Holmes’s growing noteriety.  It’s a nice take on the original stories where Watson’s case studies are published in The Strand.

“The League”

I just discovered this one this past weekend and it makes me pissed off at Netflix all over again that they only have the first season. (I looked it up and Season 2 comes out on DVD in October. I am hoping that it will be streaming also.) This is not a British show. It’s about five guys in a Fantasy Football League in Chicago. You actually cannot get more American than that. This show is hilarious and you don’t have to be a football fan to think so. It’s the interaction between the characters and the easy way that they riff off each other that makes this show. One of my favorite scenes in the pilot is where two of the characters who are lawyers on opposite sides of a plea bargain, manage to wrap draft pick trades into their negotiation, to the befuddlement of the accused criminal. Also, the whole Mr. McGibblets episode rocks.
They so totally better have season two available on streaming.

Maybe, I will keep the DVDs in the mail plan, too. Damn it! I reiterate, “I wish knew how to quit you, Netflix!”  What recommendations do y’all have for me? Help me kill time until the September premieres of the fall season…


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