Streaming is now more popular than ever and, regardless of your device, Netflix is the king as far as streaming TV goes. Don’t go thinking we’re on the payroll, no doubt there are better equipped services out there for films in particular (Lovefilm springs to mind), but that aside, with Netflix branching into original content and signing a deal with Marvel and even Dreamworks for brand new content, the future is rosy.
Now then, is a good time to get on the bus, so with that in mind allow us to present five shows you should get under your belt right away:
The Thick of It
With Peter Capaldi about to step into the shoes of the most famous role in television (love it or hate it, you know it is), the time is now to get to know the actor. Capaldi’s turn as spin doctor Malcom Tucker is a masterclass in intimidation.
As British TV shows go, The Thick of It is one you could have missed back in 2005. A political fly-on-the-wall style show along the lines of Yes, Minister but injected with 2000’s satire and plenty of venom.
Simple ideas well-executed are often the best and in this case as the show changes it manages it without losing its flair. The rest of the cast are good fun, particularly a pre-Mock The Week Chris Addison.
We all love Nathan Fillion, or we should, and Richard Castle is a role which he wears like a glove. The detective genre is nothing new, but the way Castle is executed makes it a class above – the humour it particular is perfectly balanced on the chemistry between the two leads.
A compelling mix of action, drama and comedy, Castle follows the escapades of crime writer Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) as they solve real life crimes together.
The supporting cast are equally well-rounded, and bring life to what might otherwise be a fairly procedural drama. The overall story arc as the series continues ramps up, though unfortunately the best is yet to make its way onto Netflix itself. That said the first two seasons are a very strong start.
House of Cards
Little more can be said than the excitement expressed in our recent Ten most anticipated titles of 2014, but don’t forget Netflix is the only place you can find the show – unless you pick up the DVD of course.
Just in case you missed it, the short version is that House of Cards is a political drama like no other. Completely unlike The Thick of It in almost every way – apart from quality – the show follows senator Frank Underwood on his rise to power, as he struggles to the top regardless of the consequences or what he has to do to make it.
With the entire series dropping at once on February 14th, you could even squeeze in a re-watch if you’ve already seen it to get you in the mood.
Following the goings-on of Military Intelligence 5 (that’d be MI5 then…), Spooks is a high production value show which puts characters at the centre of its stories. It created a name for itself when it killed off one of the regular cast early in the first series – from here it flew in continued to change things up, refusing to let itself go stale over a run that lasts a decade.
In fact, it is one of the most re-assuringly long UK shows in recent years, and acted as a springboard for others such as Life on Mars and Kudos’ own Hustle. Most satisfying of all, watching the show in full is a journey through the technological and cultural changes of a post-9/11 Britain.
British comedy is an institution, and in many ways you either get it or you don’t. There is a wealth of it sitting on 4oD alone, and Black Books is one of the strongest examples of a show which is small, but perfectly formed.
More focused than the madness and reference-filled journey that is Spaced, Black Books is a simple sitcom starring Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Grieg. The characters gel together well and reflect the personalities of their actors, and at just three seasons the show stays just long enough to avoid overstaying its welcome.
A particular highlight is an episode in which Bernard Black (Moran) and Manny (Bailey) write a children’s story, with typically hilarious results. There’s also plenty of familiar guest stars cropping up now again to boot.
Of course there’s more than enough to keep you going from now until the end of time, so what are you waiting for? Head to netflix.com to find out more, at only £5.99 a month it’s one of the best options on the market, but don’t take my word for it – give a free trial a go.
Top shows to add to your watch later list, or to plan in some time to get into, are: Breaking Bad, Firefly, Archer, Hustle and Star Trek: The Next Generation
James Michael Parry