Entertain Me!
February 6, 2012 9:20 AM   Subscribe

I know everybody asks this (and I've read through the previous questions looking for recommendations), but what should I watch next? Preferably on Netflix or Hulu Plus (not web only). In general, I tend to like: mysteries/crime procedurals/law dramas, especially with a quirky twist, and also shows involving a quirky band of misfits (or individual) working outside the law to bring justice to the little people while finding out who done them wrong (e.g. the A-Team, Burn Notice, The Pretender, etc.) I also like heist shows and sci-fi. And occasionally anime.

Despite the fact that I love mysteries/crime shows, I have a pretty intense phobia of serial killers, so anything with a large focus on tracking them (e.g. Dexter) is not an option.

Stuff I've loved:
The Pretender
Veronica Mars
Firefly and Dollhouse (sometimes Buffy & co)
Nero Wolfe
The Middleman
The Unusuals
Due South
White Collar
Dead Like Me
How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory
Monty Python's Flying Circus
The Muppet Show

Stuff I've seen and enjoyed
Law and Order (all of them except CI and the more serial killery episodes of SVU)
Ally McBeal
Murder She Wrote
Twin Peaks
The Defenders
Star Trek (All of 'em)
House (the first couple seasons)
Dresden Files
The Ateam
Gunslinger Girl
Haibane Renmei
Burn Notice
Murdoch Mysteries
Quantum Leap

I'm sure plenty of others I'm not thinking of.
posted by kittenmarlowe to Media & Arts (58 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
The Practice
posted by ajr at 9:25 AM on February 6, 2012

You might like the original 1960s Mission Impossible series (all 7 seasons are up on Netflix Instant). It's formulaic (in a good way), super fun, and has better production values and camerawork than most shows from the following three decades. I'm kind of addicted to it right now.
posted by theodolite at 9:26 AM on February 6, 2012

I word-searched this page just to make sure I wasn't overlooking it, but apparently not - if you like sci-fi and quirky bands of misfits and haven't watched Misfits on Hulu Plus you're in for a treat.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 9:26 AM on February 6, 2012

Life is on Hulu. It stars Damian Lewis (of Homeland fame, but he's doing a different kind of character here) as a cop who was falsely convicted of murder and recently let out of prison. Now he's back on the police force, solving crimes and trying to figure out who framed him. Mysteries of the week are quirky, with an overarching mystery that's more serious.
posted by craichead at 9:27 AM on February 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

I don't think it's web-only but I've been watching a show on Hulu called (appropriately enough) Misfits. It's British and more graphic than I was used to but still very entertaining. The basic premise is that this weird storm rolls through and leaves people with various powers.
posted by brilliantine at 9:27 AM on February 6, 2012

Picket Fences.
posted by drlith at 9:28 AM on February 6, 2012

Watch Cold Case! A damaged band of misfits solves historical crimes, usually involving the tragic, untimely murder of some sort of social transgressor, bringing them justice after all, but acknowledging that not everyone can get justice (there is one arc with a serial killer, but you can avoid it, which is the joy of procedurals). Unfortunately, because of music licensing costs, it's not available on DVD or Netflix, ahem.
posted by kickingthecrap at 9:29 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Dolley at 9:31 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Surprised nobody's mentioned it, as it's a crime series with a quirks and misfits:The Wire.
posted by knile at 9:31 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Doctor Who! I suggest starting with the Christopher Eccleston episodes (Season 1 of the "rebooted" DW, which aired in 2005), if you're unfamiliar with The Doctor.
posted by purlgurly at 9:33 AM on February 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

The first four seasons of Law & Order: Criminal Intent are really good. The lead is quirky and the show is fresh. (It goes downhill after that, unfortunately.)
posted by ambulatorybird at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2012

You liked "Dead Like Me", you may like "Pushing Daisies"
You liked "Monk", "Bones" & "The Big Bang Theory", you may like "Chuck"
You liked "The A Team" & "The Pretender", you may like "Burn Notice"
posted by mce at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I second Life. Only two seasons, but I enjoyed the characters and the general atmosphere of it.

As for anime, I would highly recommend Durarara!!, but I kinda doubt it's on netflix/hulu plus. It looks like it's on crunchyroll, though, if you'd like to take a look at it.
posted by that girl at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2012

Given your list of 'loves', I might also suggest Arrested Developement.
posted by mce at 9:36 AM on February 6, 2012

You might like a bunch of British crime stuff. Think Prime Suspect, perhaps the newer Sherlock series, Inspector Lynley.

Try Spaced, Black Books, Hyperdrive and of course if you haven't yet IT crowd. And kind of assuming you have seen the new Dr. Who, but perhaps Torchwood as well?
posted by edgeways at 9:38 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

(Adding to my rec: if you enjoy DW, you may find the spin-off also to your liking: Torchwood)
posted by purlgurly at 9:38 AM on February 6, 2012

The new Sherlock
Pushing daisies
Malcolm in the middle
posted by littlesq at 9:40 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cowboy Bebop
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:42 AM on February 6, 2012

Oh since you mentioned anime, I would suggest Cowboy Bebop as well.
posted by littlesq at 9:43 AM on February 6, 2012

you like sci-fi and police procedural: Life On Mars - the UK version
you like lighter comedic drama: Being Erica
you like quirky weird smart British stuff: Green Wing
posted by flex at 9:43 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you can stomach the first 6 or so episodes of Vampire Diaries, it gets a lot better (more True Blood than Twilight).
posted by coolguymichael at 9:43 AM on February 6, 2012

If you liked Veronica Mars and Dead Like Me, you will like Wonderfalls, no question about it. Plus it's easy to get through as they only made half a season of it (DAMN YOU, FOX)
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:44 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, watch Avatar. It's not anime but it's LIKE anime. It's extremely charming, and it ruined a good three weeks of my life by making me go to bed at 4am every night ("Just one more episode! They're only 25 minutes long!").
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:47 AM on February 6, 2012

Slightly off-center, Stargate SG-1 (and subsequently, if you're into it, the sequel Atlantis and the smattering of movies) is about a band of misfits although they are not working outside the law (although they are working in deep secrecy to the majority of the public). There's a definite build up where you get far more out of each episode if you watch it in order - the continuity and regularity of funny callbacks makes it really rewarding. I find nearly every character on Stargate to be super likeable. Generally in ensemble sci-fi shows there's one or three people who just drive me nuts but when it came to SG-1 it's like I fell in love with the entire team at once. There's tons of the show out there, too, and it's primarily episodic so you can pace yourself easily.
posted by Mizu at 9:48 AM on February 6, 2012

Can't believe no one has mentioned Fringe yet!

Make sure you watch the series in order... it goes pretty far through the looking glass by the time you get to season 3.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:49 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

You might enjoy "Lie to Me" with Tim Roth.

The characters are imperfect people with extraordinary skills and abilities.
The casting is first-rate for an ensemble that has to balance an "energy" as big as Tim's.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 9:49 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lie to Me and In Plain Sight both seem like they'd be right down the middle for you.
posted by maxim0512 at 9:49 AM on February 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far! Some of them were things that I should have had on the list: I loved Lie to Me and Black Books and enjoyed Stargate and the new Sherlock (the latter might be a love when they have more episodes.)
posted by kittenmarlowe at 9:53 AM on February 6, 2012

You might also like The Good Wife.
posted by janepanic at 9:55 AM on February 6, 2012

Hustle. It's a BBC show featuring a group of grifters. Somewhat like Leverage, there's an angle of bringing justice to the little guy and pulling off great heists, but I find the whole show far more compelling. The first couple seasons were the best.

I also agree with maxim0512 that In Plain Sight would probably be of interest to you.
posted by zachlipton at 9:58 AM on February 6, 2012

Franklin and Bash. Not sure if it's on Hulu though.
posted by PSB at 10:07 AM on February 6, 2012

Lillyhammer? (EW: "a cross between Fargo and Northern Exposure.")
posted by iviken at 10:26 AM on February 6, 2012


It only lasted one season. A recovering alcoholic ex-cop and his reformed-criminal best friend run a private detective agency in southern California. Funny and well-acted. On Netflix.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:33 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Wordwoman at 10:48 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Going off of mce's second comment, if you do end up liking Arrested Development, then I'd suggest checking out Archer.
posted by wiskunde at 10:53 AM on February 6, 2012

Given your lists of likes and loves, you might also want to check out Castle.
posted by wiskunde at 10:56 AM on February 6, 2012

I watch a LOT of BBC shows on Netflix. Two I would recommend to you are Luther (it has a nice arc to it) and Lewis (which is a pretty straight procedural).

You might also enjoy Jekyll (great characters, compelling story arc, a bit serial killy, a given with the subject) and Doc Martin (which feels a lot like Northern Exposure).
posted by OrangeDisk at 11:06 AM on February 6, 2012

Rough Diamond is a full heist film in each hour long episode condensed to it's purist form.
posted by Garm at 11:17 AM on February 6, 2012

The Wire in the Blood - I keep watching other BBC crime dramas hoping they will fill my Wire in the Blood void. They don't. sigh.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:50 AM on February 6, 2012

Isn't the Wire In the Blood all about serial killers? Kittenmarlowe specifically said she had a phobia of serial killers and didn't want anything related to them.
posted by craichead at 12:08 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm slightly surprised no-one's mentioned NCIS yet. Also seconding the recommendation for Hustle.
posted by *becca* at 12:15 PM on February 6, 2012

The Unusuals might also be worth tracking down.
posted by peppermind at 12:27 PM on February 6, 2012

The old Perry Mason TV series is terribly underrated, imo. The core cast is fantastic--Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, and William Hopper do the best job of portraying friends who love working together short of the cast of "Mary Tyler Moore"--and the plots are always smart and convoluted. Lots of fine 1950s B-movie actors as guest stars, too.

Xfinity is streaming them online at the moment.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:52 PM on February 6, 2012

The Equalizer is another show you might enjoy, starring the great Edward Woodward. No idea where you could find that other than ordering the DVD, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:20 PM on February 6, 2012

If you're into mysteries, the Marple series for Masterpiece Mystery is fantastic.

If you liked Dollhouse, you might also be into "Persons Unknown". It's available on Netflix instant and, although it got poor reviews, it was actually quite entertaining and interesting.
posted by oxfordcomma at 2:25 PM on February 6, 2012

Seconding Terriers, which is really really good and not at all about a terrier.

I don't think anyone has recommended Criminal Minds yet. It's a network show about the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit flying around solving wacky (and dark) crimes. It's been on forever, and the middle seasons at least might actually pass the Bechdel test for female characters which is really rare in a network drama.

Supernatural showed up on Netflix last week and thus far the first season is pretty entertaining. It's ... a lot like Criminal Minds in structure, but with monsters and things that go bump in the night rather than human psychopaths. I hear the show has a solid plot arc through the fifth season and then things go sideways, but that's a whole lot of viewing.
posted by jess at 3:11 PM on February 6, 2012

Oh, derp, I just noticed the bit about serial killers. Okay, skip Criminal Minds, but my Supernatural recommendation stands!
posted by jess at 3:13 PM on February 6, 2012

You might like ReGenisis.
posted by willnot at 5:23 PM on February 6, 2012

I've really enjoyed re-watching The Rockford Files on HuluPlus. And, as my son pointed out the other day, it really is a lot like Burn Notice, which he and I both enjoy.
posted by unclejeffy at 5:58 PM on February 6, 2012

The Mentalist - fun, quirky and smart mysteries. A few episodes per season focus on a serial killer the team is trying to catch, but those episodes can be easily skipped. All other episodes stand on their own.

Intelligence. A Canadian tv crime series, set at an agency sort of like the U.S. FBI. Went on for maybe 3 seasons - just discovered this recently and loved it.
posted by daikon at 6:42 PM on February 6, 2012

Definitely Damages!!
posted by Rocket26 at 7:44 PM on February 6, 2012

Omg Breaking Bad?
posted by costanza at 8:00 PM on February 6, 2012

For Sci-Fi (both should be on Neflix):
Sarah Connor Chronicles (*shakes fist at FOX*)
Battlestar Galactica

For working outside of the law for justice:
Nikita (since you liked Burn Notice and the Pretender. 1st season on Neflix, really kicks in around the 4-5th ep.)
Revenge (I kind of think of it as Veronica Mars hell bent on getting...well, revenge. On Hulu.)

Nthing these recs:
posted by jyorraku at 10:17 PM on February 6, 2012

Justified!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, Justified. The seasons are short, and there are only two of them (currently in its third season). It's my favorite show on TV right now. The writing, acting... the show is fantastic, intriguing and unique.
posted by wondermouse at 7:14 AM on February 7, 2012

If you liked Buffy and Dollhouse then you might enjoy Lost Girl.

The central premise can feel a bit squick at times (protagonist feeds on sexual energy). and plots are obvious but the characters are helluva fun. The women are scripted as well as the men (if not better), everyone looks sexy-fabulous and McKenzie the sidekick makes me laugh like a loon.
posted by Ness at 8:49 AM on February 7, 2012

Nthing Justified and Terriers. You might try the British series Murder in Suburbia. There are only two seasons but it was fun and not too heavy. Also, have you seen The Lost Room mini series?
posted by gudrun at 10:54 PM on February 7, 2012

Since you like quirky, British, and legal, you might enjoy Kingdom. It stars Stephen Fry and is streaming on Netflix.
posted by acorncup at 11:02 PM on February 8, 2012

A lot of overlap with my fav shows!

Archer is awesome; fits a lot of your criteria except "helping the little guys." Everyone needs to at least give the show 3 (22 min) episodes before deciding to stop watching. I suspect that Pam is the fan favourite character over even Sterling Archer, now.

Oz also fits a lot of the criteria but maybe from the other side; shifting relationships between groups of prisoners and prisoners within those groups, with an over-arching dramatic storyline involving the inmates up to someone running for governor or something. Some focus on maximum security prison procedures and practical legal stuff that inmates have to deal with. The acting is great, a lot of the cast reappear elsewhere, noticeably as LE rather than as criminals. Intense inter-character story arcs that span through the entire run.

Fringe might tickle all of your sweet spots; 'roid up your suspension of disbelief muscles. Season 3 and beginning of 4 slogs some, but I've been won over - again - and highly anticipate 5. In S4, they worked in why some of the "monster of the week" episodes from S1 actually mean something to the overall plot.

Lost Girl is really fun. The acting isn't that strong, consistently, and the fantasy world is highly derivative although it's great to see mostly accurate portrayals of legends and discuss the differences between popular beliefs in particular legends and what those legends actually are, but there are some great dramatic moments and some "awww, bff, FOREVER!" moments. Big plus on the "helping the underdog" thing.

New Amsterdam is another 1 season wonder; if you liked Highlander, you'll like this cop show.

Give Painkiller Jane a shot. Based on a comic book (?), has small-team problem-solving action-drama stuff. Fun show, while it lasted.

Witchblade is another comic (book) adaptation (?) that is another variant on the cop show show. S1 was interesting, S2 was a whole lot of WTF. Probably taking direction from the financiers.

nthing Justified and The Wire, which always starts slow but ends extraordinarily strong although the last season need not have been made. Life on Mars (UK), definitely. I accidentally watched the US version first (working through the UK version now). The US version is strong in its own right and I love the ending, although I'm under the assumption that it was a "cancellation ending." The UK version has incredible music.

Supernatural is fun, but it has its annoying moments and takes slogging through the 1st season and parts of the 2nd before it gets "good enough to hook." Seasons 3, 4, 5, and parts of 6 are brilliant and fun. Lots of meta-humour; at one point iirc they discuss whether anyone has seen ID from the particular department that they're pretending to be from and whether their routinely crafted fake ID would work or if something drawn in crayon on a business card would be just as effective. At another point, they inhabit the bodies of the people who play their characters and wonder at how awesome everyone is treating them. Really fun series.
posted by porpoise at 6:34 PM on May 20, 2012

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