What should I watch on Netflix or OnDemand?
September 22, 2012 2:54 PM   Subscribe

What is the best recent thing that isn't gratuitously violent or a documentary, that you've watched on Netflix or Comcast OnDemand this month?

I recently saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) on Comcast's OnDemand service and loved it, and I recently watched all of Game of Thrones (2011). Both do have violence, but there at least seems to be a storyline and they are both well done in that they are very well shot and visually appealing.

I have Netflix and have watched things on there that I enjoy like Memento and Sherlock (2010) that are also visually appealing and well done. I have watched Arrested Development (2003), All Good Things (2010), Battlestar Galactica, Portlandia, and things like Firefly, Buffy, Angel and Supernatural.

I think the thing that links most of these is that they draw you in and are really well done. I'm not really looking for extended dialogue scenes where there is no purpose or humor, or shows that will make you sad, but the basic criteria is "I watched this just the other day and it was great!"

I know about instantwatcher. If there are threads you have seen elsewhere that you used to find good movies to watch, those links are appreciated as well. I seem to see lots of movie previews for films I'd like to see, but I don't go see them in the theaters and yet they never seem to materialize on these services. But the search features on both Netflix and OnDemand are poor, so I'm looking for your help to find some good things to watch tonight. Thank you for any help.
posted by cashman to Media & Arts (45 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
I recently watched the first season of Alphas on Netflix and really enjoyed it. Think a less comic-book-esque version of X-Men or a non-sucky version of Heroes.

You know those places in both series where someone comes up with an idea, and it's a manifestly terrible idea, with immediately obvious negative consequences, and no one says anything until said consequences occur? In Alphas, people frequently say "Wait, no, that's a terrible idea. Let's not do that."
posted by valkyryn at 2:57 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

On Netflix:

City Hunter - South Korean television drama series.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:59 PM on September 22, 2012

I just watched Super 8 on Netflix. I thought it was pretty great . Total homage to late 70s, early 80s Speilberg.
posted by kimdog at 3:13 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

On Netflix: The Trip, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, The Game, My Architect
posted by sallybrown at 3:14 PM on September 22, 2012

We just watched Clue for the billionth time. Great cast, silly as hell but a tightly-constructed farce, some violence but not gratuitous.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:14 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

All the Parks & Recreation ever, until this past Thursday's episode. Season 4 is particularly great, though you should watch at least seasons 2 and 3 to understand the greatness. Season 1 is also really good, but they don't develop a lot of the characters who become important later and it's a little more stand-alone and less serialized. You could easily start with Season 2 and immediately glean what everyone's deal is.

But really you should watch the whole thing. And then this past week's episode on Hulu, and all episodes henceforth.
posted by Sara C. at 3:20 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

fyi, there's new (at least to me) episodes of BBC's Sherlock just arrived on Netflix. And if you liked that, you should check out Luther.

As far as scifi/fantasy type things, I enjoyed Immortals and Captain America more than I thought I would.

I Am Love was pretty good. Foreign, subtitles, but beautifully shot. The only thing I've given 5 stars to lately was 13 Assassins, but, yeah, really really violent.
posted by Bron at 3:20 PM on September 22, 2012

I'm on Canadian netflix, so we have a different (and smaller) selection, but my SO and I have been addicted to Community.

Also, if you like Firefly and Buffy, you might enjoy Farscape - it's a very original, imaginative, sometimes cheesy but worth it SF series. Also, apparently one of Abed's favorite shows. It's also on the Canadian Netflix, but I haven't watched it there because I've already seen it all three times. I just really like talking about Farscape.

on preview: Sherlock is brilliant - excellent film-making.
posted by jb at 3:26 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nthing Sherlock

I always recommend Jekyll to people because I think James Nesbitt is amazing in it, though it does have its violent moments.

I really enjoyed this movie Cashback. It may not look like it, but it's actually rather sweet and romantic.
posted by cali59 at 3:38 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm generally not a big sci-fi fan, but I've really enjoyed Dr. Who, particularly the first season featuring Chistopher Eccleston and Billie Piper (although I've enjoyed David Tennant and his variousn companions as well). I realize that I am very late to this particular bandwagon, but if you haven't seen it, seasons 1-7 are available on Netflix Instant.
posted by kaybdc at 3:38 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I recently saw Drive and thought it was pretty well done.

I'm also going through the TV show The Chicago Code
posted by mulligan at 3:57 PM on September 22, 2012

On Netflix you can view all seven (2 or 3 part) episodes of Prime Suspect, a gritty, UK crime drama with Helen Mirren. What's especially interesting is that the episodes span the years 1991 to 2006. It's like watching a really long movie where you actually get a sense of the effects of a life of policing on the characters as they age.

We're at the last of the series and I feel like I'm about to lose something special...
posted by qwip at 3:58 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sordid Lives (on Netflix streaming)

Head on down to the trashy side of Texas with this wildly funny TV series (a prequel to the 2000 feature film of the same name), which follows the warped antics of Peggy Ingram (Rue McClanahan) and her various real and honorary offspring, including ex-con lounge singer Bitsy Mae Harling (Olivia Newton-John). Cross-dressing, illicit affairs, meddlesome churches, troublesome goats and more -- nothing's too outlandish for the Ingram clan.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 3:59 PM on September 22, 2012

In the ambrosia household, we have been working our way through all 22 episodes of Foyle's War. This was after working our way through Prime Suspect and Inspector Morse. We have two episodes left and are a little bummed about the end being near.
posted by ambrosia at 4:01 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think you might be interested in Avatar: The Last Airbender. It's on Netflix. It's geared toward young audiences, but it's not dumbed down in any way and it definitely fits the "draw you in" criterion.
posted by capricorn at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2012

Jeckyll is very, very good. I also quite liked Blue Murder.
posted by smirkette at 4:08 PM on September 22, 2012

Fairly random, but mrs. selfnoise and I just started watching Doc Martin on Netflix and I think it's hilarious.
posted by selfnoise at 4:11 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding Alphas on Netflix, thirding or fourthing Sherlock. Once Upon a Time is also clever, just become available, and I think you might well like it.
posted by vers at 4:12 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Community, if and when it comes to Netflix Instant. Its on July plus now.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:17 PM on September 22, 2012

I'm a big fan of Foyle's War, a British series available on Netflix about a police detective in Hastings during WWII.
posted by brianogilvie at 4:24 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Luther. Luther can be violent so maybe not for you but it's a great series.

Any Human Heart Not violent. It stays with you. It's so well done and entertaining.
posted by Fairchild at 4:31 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

On Netflix you can view all seven (2 or 3 part) episodes of Prime Suspect, a gritty, UK crime drama with Helen Mirren.


Two weeks ago they only had a couple of the different seasons/episode arcs/whatever you want to call them. Did they add more? There's one I haven't seen, and I was disappointed not to see it when I looked before.

Also yes original British Prime Suspect is amazing. Best police drama ever made, anywhere, in all of time.

Apparently you shouldn't bother with its American counterpart, which was very quickly cancelled.

Also available in the ZOMG Amazing British Police Drama category is Cracker, which was recently added to Netflix as well.
posted by Sara C. at 4:33 PM on September 22, 2012

+1 for Doc Martin, but also Ballykissangel, Monarch of the Glen and Hamish Macbeth, but I can't say I've honestly watched them TOO recently. I did watch them all through Netflix, but on DVD, so I'm not sure if they're available for streaming.

And I could kick myself for having only recently caught on to Eureka. It draws you in a bit more gently, but it's charming, quirky and funny.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 4:42 PM on September 22, 2012

If you are a Twitter person, you should follow Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago). Every evening he posts a Netflix streamer of the day with a link to his review of the movie. Sometimes they are fairly current movies, sometimes older classics. I've gotten a lot of good titles this way I would never have thought of searching Netflix for. (I think he also posts it on his Facebook page, but I'm not a Facebook person, so I can't say for sure).
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 4:51 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is England is both an amazing movie and an amazing miniseries, (movie on Netflix, miniseries on youtube). The miniseries follows the original cast of the movie, so watch the movie first and see if you're into it. It tracks a group of skinheads in England in the 80s, focusing on the moment where the skinhead movement went from mostly kids hanging out and listening to reggae to becoming a National Front led racist movement. It is violent at points, but it's well earned. Best movie/series I've seen in years. The end of the movie, and the miniseries, left my boyfriend and I in tears, but in a really good way.

On a lighter note, you might try Archer, an animated series that's a mixture of James Bond and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, voiced by almost the entire cast of Arrested Development.
posted by dysh at 5:06 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

In August, I watched seasons 1 through 7 of The Office on Netflix.
The only problem is that they don't have Season 8 yet and Season 9 is starting.
posted by NoraCharles at 5:20 PM on September 22, 2012

Obligatory mention of "Breaking Bad". The first four seasons are up on Netflix.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:39 PM on September 22, 2012

I like most of the things you mentioned. Here's a variety of things that fit your criteria (recent, well shot, interesting storyline and characters, watched them and thought they were great, and are on Netflix streaming):

Winter's Bone (for when you want a bleak, harrowing, but not entirely hopeless film that takes place in the Ozarks)
The Trip (for when you want a slow-burning British comedy - lovely shots of England)

TV Show:
Breaking Bad
posted by wondermouse at 7:02 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just watched Casanova starring Peter O'Toole, David Tennant, and Rose Byrne. I really enjoyed it. Peter O'Toole plays the elderly Casanova, recounting the story of his life to a house maid, and David Tennant plays the younger Casanova, bringing his storytelling to life. I found the whole thing quite charming.
posted by Brody's chum at 7:18 PM on September 22, 2012


posted by halcyon_daze at 7:18 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Fall has spectacular visuals and brilliant acting.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:41 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

twin peaks, the x files, agatha christie's poirot.
posted by katieanne at 8:52 PM on September 22, 2012

Definitely watch Parks and Recreation. Also, the first few seasons of 30 Rock. I just finished watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix and I was really surprised by how good it was.
posted by lunasol at 9:34 PM on September 22, 2012

Netflix has the IT Crowd, British sitcom with three seasons. Also MI5 aka Spooks in the UK, about 9 seasons that my wife and I are working our way through.
posted by arcticseal at 10:24 PM on September 22, 2012

Well, of the things you mentioned I have also liked many. The best thing hands down not yet mentioned is Sports Night, the two-season series started by Aaron Sorkin before The West Wing. S2, with less Sorkin involvement, isn't quite as good, but you may come to love these characters as much as I do.
posted by dhartung at 12:15 AM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Netflix is my main source of entertainment, so I have a lot of stuff I've enjoyed on there recently.

I watched a kid's movie on Netflix called "The Secret of Moonacre" and I absolutely loved it. It gave me Harry Potter vibes and it was visually a treat.

Also on Netflix, Warehouse 13, which you might like since you seem to like sci fi. Very Entertaining. I also recently watched Teen Wolf with my 17 year old brother. And...it was kind of great. That sounds ridiculous and I'm kind of embarassed, but you might give it a try. The first couple of eps are shaky, but the rest of the first season is great. Season Two is even better, but it's not on Netflix yet. Teen Wolf does have some violence of course, but I definitely wouldn't put it in the gratuitous category. It's far less violent than Supernatural (a favorite of mine as well), for instance.

I've also really enjoyed watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, both the cartoon and the live action movie. The movie got a bad rap when it came out but I really liked it. And again, it was fun to look at.
posted by katyggls at 1:50 AM on September 23, 2012

For folks who enjoyed Inspector Morse and Prime Suspect, I heartily endorse Vera, which is vastly better than it sounds and stars the amazing Brenda Blethyn. I actually think it's better than a lot of the other British police procedurals named as MeFi favourites.

(We have it on our Netflix but I can't tell if you have it on yours.)
posted by DarlingBri at 3:28 AM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm just now watching Lilyhammer on Netflix, more for the Norwegians than the main character, but he's growing on me.
posted by lakeroon at 6:15 AM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also recommend Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon. It was phenomenal.

I really liked Saving Grace. The whole series is available to stream.

Dead Like Me is really entertaining. And it has Mandy Patinkin!

Have you seen Downton Abbey? So, so good. And lovely visuals everywhere.
posted by jillithd at 11:02 AM on September 23, 2012

Seconding The Fall, it's on Netflix instant play last time I checked. And it's wonderfully magical.
posted by Grandysaur at 12:36 PM on September 23, 2012

Lillyhammer is great. Also, Wilfred is dark and funny (it is the US version and not the Australian, which is even better).
posted by Area Man at 5:16 PM on September 23, 2012

Thirding The Fall; in addition to the stunning visuals and great acting, it also has many moments of creative humour, such as in the score, when the little girl's protective chant ("Googly Googly") ends up sung very seriously by an adult chorus.
posted by parrot_person at 3:51 AM on September 24, 2012

TV Show: Damages

Sucked in from the get go. Have subsequently gotten others addicted as well. Two words: Glenn Close.
posted by jasbet07 at 4:28 PM on September 24, 2012

Seconding Jiro Dreams of Sushi! What a beautiful thing.

If you have the tolerance for animation aimed at kids, try Shaun the Sheep. It's pure slapstick goodness.
posted by kostia at 1:48 PM on September 25, 2012

Another I don't see mentioned is Revenge -- complicated, dark, very well done and highly entertaining.
posted by vers at 7:09 AM on September 30, 2012

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