If you still haven’t subscribed to Netflix DVDs, summer is a great time to give it a try. Whether you’re traveling or keeping cool on the couch, Netflix has a variety of TV series that can help take your mind off the heat or help you get caught up in time for the new fall season — and they’re not all available for streaming.
7 Great TV Series on Netflix DVDs
The cult Peacock series is still hanging in there, but may not be around for much longer. NBC has only ordered 13 episodes for the fall. The show is essentially a workplace comedy, satirical in tone and playing up the stereotypical students one encounters as an adult entering secondary education. Each character has his or her own reasons for being at the fictional Glendale Community College, but it’s an ensemble that balances well. The storylines often deliberately parody certain popular films or TV shows, which at some point in the episode will be explained by Abed, the resident pop culture maven who is arguably the show’s most popular character. The first four seasons are available.
The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Favorites
The classic sketch comedy show that was part of the comedy education of the likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig has been recently released on Netflix DVDs. The show may feel a bit dated to some. Its formal proscenium stage, 3-camera presentation is quite different from the faux verité style we’ve become used to in today’s comedy offerings. The chance to see the original Went with the Wind sketch, featuring Carol in a curtain rod dress giving the classic line, “Thank you. I saw it in the window and just couldn’t resist it,” is itself a reason to add these discs to your queue.
The surprise hit reality show about the Robertson family’s self-made empire of duck hunting paraphernalia. A loving Louisiana family, who doesn’t smoke, drink or require bleeping during broadcast, often find themselves in embarrassing (and hilarious) situations. These are the kinds of naturally occurring “characters” that you could never deliberately create for scripted television with any real authenticity.
Showtime’s Emmy-winning series that follows the twists and turns, intrigues and alliances of the nation’s protective agencies. Has Brody really become an Al Qaeda agent or is he just a patsy? If so, who is behind the elaborate deception, and why? Claire Danes and Damian Lewis lead a powerful cast in this well-informed, realistic take on current events.
If there’s one thing the British do with adeptness, it’s period drama. If you’re one of the 47 people in this country who has somehow managed to avoid the saga of the Crawley family’s determination to preserve their eponymous estate, now’s your chance to jump on board the Downton train. Even if you’re not much of a fan of melodrama, it’s difficult to resist being drawn into the lavish costumes and extraordinary attention to detail of Downton’s art department, which only enhances the superlative performances of the all-star ensemble cast. For longtime fans who are cheering for the Crawleys to remain in the peerage, Series 4 won’t come around until early 2014. There is plenty of time to relive the series’ most memorable moments, including Dame Maggie Smith’s scathing one-liners and the shocking finale to Series 3.
If you’re like me, you’re not much of a fan of musicals and never really got caught up in this show the way your “Gleek” friends have. I am happy to admit how wrong I was, once I actually sat down to watch it. These young performers are amazingly talented, but they also get the benefit of some beautiful arrangements and creative mashups of well-known pop songs. The stories are more or less typical high school drama fare, but there is always the incomparable Jane Lynch as the caustic Sue Sylvester to keep things from getting too maudlin. As an added secret bonus, feel free to sing along as the characters belt out their innermost feelings and heartfelt dreams. Not-so-secret bonus: Glee is also available on streaming.
The entanglements, alliances and neo-mythology of the supernatural denizens of Bon Temps, Louisiana is still part of HBO’s Sunday night lineup. Now in its sixth season, Netflix has all five previous seasons available on DVD. The psychic Sookie Stackhouse is at the center of the bizarre happenings, secret revenge plots and regular old family escapades as she and her brother Jason search for the truth on who their parents really were.
There are countless more series available on Netflix DVDs, some of which can also be viewed via streaming, some going all the way back to the earliest television broadcast era. Generally, new subscribers to Netflix get the first month free, so you’ll get a good opportunity to really get a sense of the service as well as what’s available. What series would you consider worth joining Netflix to see again? Let us know!