Squeeze my mind grapes with new TV shows!
March 3, 2012 11:28 PM   Subscribe

What TV series should I watch next on Netflix streaming?

I just finished 30 Rock and need a new show. I tried to give The IT Crowd a chance but it seemed a little pedestrian and I found the laugh track jarring.

In general I like stuff that's a little more offbeat and sophisticated. Think 30 Rock, Simpsons through season 8, Monty Python, that kind of thing. Single-camera is best but I'll take a laugh track if it's really good otherwise. Mainly looking for comedy but will take drama if it's well-done. If it's on HBO I probably already saw it. If it's on any other network I probably didn't. (except I have seen most of The Office, both versions)

posted by drjimmy11 to Media & Arts (61 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
posted by vignettist at 11:32 PM on March 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Better Off Ted.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:34 PM on March 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


posted by hamandcheese at 11:37 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

I really enjoyed Green Wing, but, it might remind you a bit of IT Crowd so maybe try one episode and see what you think. Same with Peep Show. Perhaps with Channel 4 comedies you either love them or hate them!
posted by lizabeth at 11:38 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

2nding Better Off Ted.
posted by cgg at 11:39 PM on March 3, 2012

Arrested Development is the gold standard.

Hamandcheese, Community isn't on Netflix streaming.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 11:39 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

Parks and Recreation
posted by ellenaim at 11:40 PM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: I do have a disc subscription too. Although it's less convenient I might as well use it at some point.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:41 PM on March 3, 2012

Archer for a kookier office environment
posted by honey-barbara at 11:41 PM on March 3, 2012 [15 favorites]

Oh, and Parks and Rec but start on the second season.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 11:41 PM on March 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

Peek Show is British and hilarious and so awkward and witty and great. Also seconding Archer.
posted by longtime_lurker at 11:42 PM on March 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

*Peep. Durr.
posted by longtime_lurker at 11:43 PM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the ideas!

I have seen "Arrested Development." I really enjoyed season 3 and the "For British Eyes Only!" arc. The first few seasons I found a little... I call it "we're too good for actual jokes" syndrome. Like they would give something a funny name and then just move on without actually doing anything story-wise with it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:43 PM on March 3, 2012

Seconding Parks and Rec (just genuinely funny and occasionally heartwarming), Better Off Ted (honestly the funniest thing on TV in a long while, so many great laughs), and Peep Show (horrible people being horrible to each other and getting what they deserve, but with a neat narrative structure/gimmick).

Throwing in for consideration Spaced (very affectionate, pop culture reference heavy, slightly surreal comedy with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), Party Down (similar to arrested development, on and off netflix every month for no apparent reason), and Pulling (like Peep Show, bad people living hilarious lives, lots of awkward-funny and horrified-funny moments).
posted by Garm at 11:58 PM on March 3, 2012

Doc Martin.
posted by slateyness at 12:00 AM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Ack! They took Pulling off streaming, sorry.
posted by Garm at 12:01 AM on March 4, 2012

I'm watching Lilyhammer right now because I dearly want to erase the memory of Silvio from the final ep of The Sopranos in a coma.

It's not great, but I'm digging it in a nostalgia-type way despite myself. The copious subtitles are annoying.

The widow into life in Norway? EXCELLENT! Unlike anything else on TV!
posted by jbenben at 12:02 AM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Psst, if you want to use that disc subscription you mentioned ...

Pushing Daisies --- QUIRK!galore in style/content (blinding colors, heavy voiceover, mile-a-minute dialogue, every last character is So Cute, etc etc) so YMMV, but really, it's all so well-executed that I found the show pee-inducingly funny and utterly charming.

Slings and Arrows --- If memory serves, most of the show's first season skews more towards comedy while the second and third seasons are heavier on the drama (esp the third). They're all excellent.
posted by phonebia at 12:20 AM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding Peep Show! It takes "single camera" to the extreme: everything is shot from the protagonists' perspective.
posted by zsazsa at 12:24 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

The IT Crowd is filmed in front of a live studio audience. It is NOT a laugh track
posted by w0mbat at 12:33 AM on March 4, 2012

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
posted by rhizome at 12:41 AM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Sounds like you want The Larry Sanders Show
posted by Mchelly at 12:49 AM on March 4, 2012 [6 favorites]

I can't believe no one's brought up Louie yet. It's some of the most brilliant and exciting comedy being made right now.

Also, seconding Archer and Parks & Recreation, and adding Home Movies, Blackadder, and Kids in the Hall. Oh, and on the drama front, Friday Night Lights is excellent and often overlooked.
posted by chairmanroflmao at 1:19 AM on March 4, 2012 [9 favorites]

The Guild and LXD are both pretty amazing.
posted by spunweb at 1:21 AM on March 4, 2012

Workaholics is hilarious, and I didn't think it was going to be. Sort of like Office Space but darker and crazier.
posted by emkelley at 4:16 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Friday Night Lights has exemplary writing. It is a drama.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:18 AM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Some recent-ish British comedy series you may not have seen are Extras (with Rick Gervais), The Thick of It (Armando Iannucci) and The Trip (Steve Coogan). I have no idea which are available via Netflix.
posted by faustdick at 4:27 AM on March 4, 2012

An oldie but goodie, Sports Night is funny and offbeat, though it does have an occasionally distracting laugh track. It's by Aaron Sorkin, so it has that same rapid-fire dialog as The West Wing, but it's definitely lighter.
posted by maxim0512 at 5:37 AM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

The original, British version of Coupling. (And no, sorry, I don't know if it's available on Netflix.)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:26 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sherlock is one of the best things I've seen recently. So far Netflix just has the first season (three 1.5 hour episodes). It's funny and thrilling.
posted by coppermoss at 6:48 AM on March 4, 2012 [11 favorites]

I love Weeds. People love to gripe about how the first couple of seasons were great and then everything spun out of control and the show started to suck. These people are wrong. I think the writing and character development actually IMPROVED after things went haywire, because they were no longer bound by the constraints of their initial environment.
posted by hermitosis at 6:54 AM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Luther and Jeckyl.
posted by Apoch at 7:44 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Trailer Park Boys. I wouldn't say it's... "sophisticated", but it's hilarious.
posted by mikeand1 at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2012

I started on How I Met Your Mother using Netflix streaming in December and was all caught up to the current season within a month, if that tells you how addicting I found it. It has a laugh track (and I was worried I would find it distracting since the vast majority of comedies I watch don't), but I found it to be barely noticeable.
posted by The Gooch at 8:13 AM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Larry Sanders Show is great, very funny!
posted by 6:1 at 8:15 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Black Books is a great British comedy
posted by 2manyusernames at 8:28 AM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Came to recommend the same thing as longtime_lurker, but it's PEEP Show, not Peek Show. It's also literally the most awkwardly hilarious thing I've ever seen. It's a show about two Odd Couple-style roommates told mostly through their POV camera shots and inner dialogue.
posted by Brittanie at 8:39 AM on March 4, 2012

Ten Items or Less
posted by hot_monster at 8:46 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed My Name is Earl
posted by Salamandrous at 9:05 AM on March 4, 2012

Slings & Arrows. Here is the theme from the first season:
Cheer up, Hamlet
Chin up, Hamlet
Buck up, you melancholy Dane
So your uncle is at cad
Who murdered Dad and married Mum
That’s really no excuse to be as glum as you’ve become

So wise up, Hamlet
Rise up, Hamlet
Buck up and sing the new refrain
Your incessant monologizing fills the castle with ennui
Your antic disposition is embarrassing to see
And by the way, you sulky brat, the answer is “TO BE”!
You’re driving poor Ophelia insane

So shut up, you rogue and peasant
Grow up, it’s most unpleasant
Cheer up, you melancholy Dane
Yeah, it's life-changing.
posted by jwhite1979 at 9:06 AM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Modern Family
posted by pick_the_flowers at 10:12 AM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Episodes (starring Matt LeBlanc!) is one of the wittiest, most enjoyable series I've ever gotten into. The first season (on Showtime) is short but totally worth getting into.
posted by kettleoffish at 10:24 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely Jeckyll and Sherlock (both BBC series). They're created by the same person -- Jeckyll was first, and it's not quite as good as Sherlock, in my opinion, but they're both GREAT. Very witty, dark humor throughout, but loads of suspense as well.
posted by nosila at 11:08 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Give The IT Crowd another chance. Also, a number of the same people did a short but insanely good series just before that called The Snuff Box.
posted by MattD at 11:11 AM on March 4, 2012

We just had a laugh re-watching NewsRadio. Good times...
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:23 PM on March 4, 2012

Response by poster: I grew up in Baltimore and have seen every episode of The Wire.

I love Weeds. People love to gripe about how the first couple of seasons were great and then everything spun out of control and the show started to suck.

I regret to say I agree with this. It's one thing for a show to take place in a fantasy world but they started off presenting it as something that could actually happen. Then they got dumb and it became a silly impossible-to-believe semi-comedy that wasn't that funny.

In general thanks for all the great ideas!
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:53 PM on March 4, 2012

Response by poster: Some recent-ish British comedy series you may not have seen are Extras (with Rick Gervais),

Extras was broadcast in the US on HBO so I have seen them all. About the funniest damn show ever made for my money.

"And then I ride off... on the grass."
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:55 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Parks and Rec (definitely skip right to season 2; new season is on Hulu)

and in the drama category - Breaking Bad
posted by melissasaurus at 2:05 PM on March 4, 2012

Just started watching Peep show and I literally watched 4 in a row last night. (Yes, I said literally).

The thing with Arrested Development is that you have to watch it from the very beginning. When it was first on I thought 'oh this is too camp' but when I watched the WHOLE thing in a row this summer, I couldn't get over how funny it was. Layers of funny.

Extras IS awesome.
posted by bquarters at 2:11 PM on March 4, 2012

I was shocked how quickly I got sucked into Downton Abbey.

I thought I would have ZERO interest in that show, but I liked for one of the same reasons I liked The Wire -- in that there is a huge cast where people you think might just be extras are all relevant at some point. Almost everyone is good. Except Daisy.

If you do watch it, though, you can't make up your mind until the end of the second episode, because that is where things get rolling.

And if you would like an equally sophisticated British show on Netflix (mostly set in Leeds), then you should definitely check out "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret." Like Downton, you have to give it until the second or third time Todd Margaret wets his pants for it to really get moving.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 2:43 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I came in here to say Louie, Sherlock and Friday Night Lights (it really is amazing, you just need to give it a few episodes). There are also some amazing Masterpiece Theatre/Masterpiece Classic/Masterpiece Contemporary series like Collision and The Enemy Within.
posted by biscotti at 4:47 PM on March 4, 2012

Oh! Hey! Don't forget The League.
posted by Mender at 9:22 PM on March 4, 2012

Disclaimer -- I hate watching series all at once, as the episodes blend together and the tropes, regardless of quality, get on my nerves. So I rotate 3-4 series at a time, generally watching a movie, a sitcom, and a drama daily. I'm currently watching:
Star Trek (TOS)
Breaking Bad*
Downton Abbey**
* out of circulation until another series has a season break
** waiting for new episodes

and in sitcoms:
30 Rock
The Office (US)
Sports Night
Parks & Recreation**

Queued up for future watching:

I will say that my mom accidentally brought home Reggie Perrin from the library thinking it was a mystery, but instead it's a hilarious workplace satire, something like a UK Office Space if that helps.

The thing I'll say about Sports Night is that I don't think I've ever known a show that could make me cry as often. And yes, it's a sitcom, although with dramedy-like tendencies.

Oh, too bad, but Fawlty Towers just disappeared from streaming. I've seen all of them frequently, but liked being able to dip in and watch one from time to time.

Lilyhammer is an interesting case. I thought it was a very odd premise at first, but by the second show I found out it was not actually commissioned by Netflix, but a Norwegian production that Netflix purchased. The tired fish-out-of-water premise, near-cliché mob tropes, and weird language usage makes more sense if you view it all as a social comedy about Norwegianness, I think, with Little Steven's mobster as a counterpoint, but maybe you have to be Scandinavian yourself (I'm 50% Swedish-American) to see it that way.

I'll also put in another chit for giving The IT Crowd another chance. I started watching for the geek jokes, but by the second series I was totally there for the utter absurd conceptual farce humor style. It looks like both Chris O'Dowd and Richard Ayoade (but not, to date, Katherine Parkinson) are getting launched into significant careers as a result.
posted by dhartung at 10:58 PM on March 4, 2012

Seconding (thirding?) Breaking Bad... that show is freaking awesome, and addictive.
posted by vignettist at 11:53 PM on March 4, 2012

Nthing these:
Party Down
Better Off Ted
Breaking Bad

There has been a lot of damn good tv in recent years.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:19 AM on March 5, 2012

Curb Your Enthusiasm
posted by banshee at 10:25 AM on March 5, 2012

No one has mentioned Bob's Burgers - that show is awesome.

Also The Inbetweeners - beware of LBL* when viewing. Well nice British juvenile teen humour but bearable even for this serious feminist.

*light bladder leakage
posted by honey-barbara at 3:24 PM on March 5, 2012

Look at stuff done by David Mitchell and Robert Webb like Peep Show and That Mitchell and Webb Look. Sir Digby Chicken Ceasar provides the occasional soundtrack/voiceover to my life and my experiences are much richer for it...

I also enjoy most Steve Coogan stuff...Saxondale is sort of a older male version of 30 Rock. The Alan Partridge stuff is like the office except instead of selling paper it is about the BBC.

Everybody tells me to watch Blackadder starting with season 2 but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
posted by srboisvert at 8:19 AM on March 7, 2012

I will n'th Modern Family and the oldie-but-goodie Sports Night. And, I'll up you another oldie-but-goodie, the cult classic, one-season run of Freaks and Geeks.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:15 AM on March 8, 2012

I'm adding this late but Intelligence. Great Canadian cops/bad guy show.
posted by beccaj at 9:23 AM on March 12, 2012

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