SPOILERS for both Dexter and Breaking Bad – please don’t read on if you’re watching either series and aren’t up to date.
I watch a lot of television. I say that unashamedly. If I had children, I’m sure I’d consider it brain rotting, but I don’t have children, and therefore my television is nearly always on.
I think there is a certain age where people need to know EVERYTHING – and I capitalise that, because it’s the way I feel about knowledge. I turn 38 this year, and I feel as if time is running out in some way, so I must know everything there is to know.
At school, I was pretty much like I am now – I wasn’t interested in history, was laughably bad at geography, and the only things I did well at were Art and using computers (so well, in fact, that I won the prize for Computer Studies in sixth form, and I didn’t even take the A level). At that age all I wanted to know was when I would next be allowed to go and see Suede live, and whether you could see my knickers through the pjyamas I was wearing on the stage during assembly. All I remember from school is how oxbow lakes are formed, who built the first arch balanced on a column, and that Pride & Prejudice is a terrible book.
I am in the stage of my life where I want to not only know stuff, but I want to see everything that’s ever been filmed – I watch every documentary I can get my hands on, because I will learn something from it, I watch every film that gets added to Netflix because I have to know if it’s any good, and I will literally try every TV series which exists to see if it’s any good.
It’s partly because I feel that if someone took the time to put it on film, it deserves to be watched by someone; it’s my strange need for everyone to be happy, like the way I wish all football teams would allow the losing side to score if it’s, for example 4-0. If there are a dozen of the same piece of clothing on a rack, I feel a bit sorry for it, and if it fits me, I’ll buy it. My friend once told me she would throw another pea on the floor if she dropped one, so it wasn’t lonely – as a sidenote, I’m sure it’s no mistake she eventually had twins.
I’m getting off message, as always.
What I’ve learnt in the year I’ve had Netflix is that there are some truly awful TV programmes out there, in the UK as well as in the US. However, there are also TV programmes I like more than films. Here, then, and finally, are the 3 best of all time, and 3 hidden gems, and they’re all on Netflix.
- Breaking Bad
This is so far away from a hidden gem, but it should be up there with Twin Peaks, The Sopranos, The Wire… any of those programmes which are regularly touted as the best ever. Personally, I like BB more than any of those 3. I don’t really know why, it’s just gotten under my skin. Bryan Cranston is a fantastic actor who hasn’t made it into films, for whatever reason, but he can act for 15 minutes without speaking.
I thought this seemed like a ridiculous idea when I heard about it, and after the first series I read the book and thought, ‘this is shit, it’s not going anywhere.’ However, the series has veered away from the books, thank goodness, and it’s truly watchable, tense, television.
The funniest sitcom ever made. It’s laugh out loud as well as being smart – the best way to watch it is with the subtitles on telling you what the action onscreen is referencing, or with the commentary. In turn I use references to Spaced in every day life, and every time I watch it, it reminds me of my old friend who was so much like Daisy.
We stumbled across this Irish comedy one night, and I’m disappointed we haven’t seen the second season. It’s basically about a pub quiz team in a small Irish village, but it spreads out and encompasses the characters involved in the quiz team, and there’s a lot of scope for them to continue.
- The Office US
A lot of people refuse to watch this, thinking it’s just a carbon copy of the UK version. It isn’t – after the Pilot, it veers away dramatically away from the UK storyline, and there are some amazingly touching, cringeworthy or hysterical episodes.
- Lie to Me
A series about a team of ‘facial expression’ experts. Tim Roth overacts, the premise is ridiculous, but it’s just goddamn entertaining watching Roth hamming it up. It’s sort of like CSI but watching people’s faces as they’re interviewed. Give it a go, it’s entertaining, even if the acting isn’t amazing.
- Damages – very good, but not as good as the other 3, and not really an undiscovered gem
- 30 Rock – only recently discovered on Lovefilm, working through it
- Arrested Development – we only recently watched series 1-3 as Netflix recommissioned a new series – however, the most recent season has nearly undone all the good the first 3 did
On the whole, I prefer a TV series box-set to a film. There’s more scope for offshoots, you really get into the nitty gritty of a story, and explore each facet, usually over a number of week. However, there’s always the worry that I’m going to die before I see all the episodes – this may seem stupid, but it’s a constant fear I’ve had all my life, rather ridiculously.