Tell me what to watch.
December 28, 2013 10:35 AM   Subscribe

I've got the landlord coming on Monday to do something mysterious to my appliances and my apartment is a slight disaster area. The only way I can stomach cleaning for extended periods is to watch a show or movie in an alternating schedule--20 minutes of cleaning, 20 minutes of watching, rinse and repeat. I need more stuff to watch.

The problem is this: I've watched a lot of tv. I mean, a lot. I've seen The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, all the Whedon shows, pretty much any sci-fi or action adventure show ever, all the big HBO/Showtime stuff, dozens of Brit minis and series from Spooks to Being Human, and loads of popcorn stuff like Leverage, Revenge, The Good Wife, etc. Not even Pretty Little Liars or The Vampire Diaries has escaped my attention. Out of pure desperation I was interrupting my cleaning binges last night with the excellent but extremely demotivating and depressing Blackfish, which I swore to myself I would never subject myself to. I followed that up with Apollo 18 and Europa Report. It's that bad.

I've just finished The Bletchley Circle and I'm about to hit the last episode of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. I like space, science, sci-fi and fantasy, drama, crime, historical shit, documentaries--I'm open to just about anything that isn't a sitcom. (I've tried and disliked Arrested Development, Community, The Office, Friends, etc.) Despite my extremely huge viewing history, I do have some standards--shows I've abandoned include Sons of Anarchy, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Lost. So, what are your favorite hidden gems, preferably available on Netflix streaming?
posted by xyzzy to Media & Arts (42 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you tried White Collar? There are five or so seasons on Netflix, and if you liked the heist aspect of Leverage, I bet you'd like it.
posted by itsamermaid at 10:42 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wire in the Blood
Blake's 7
Have you tried listening to story podcasts while cleaning?
posted by Sophont at 10:47 AM on December 28, 2013


Breaking Bad.
posted by gursky at 10:48 AM on December 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I recently discovered "Peter Gunn" (a '60s b/w detective/noir series with fantastic Jazz) via an AV Club article, which lists 32 other shows you might not have seen.
posted by KMB at 10:48 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some ideas:

Luther
Shadow Line
The Fall
Top of the Lake
Utopia
Orange Is the New Black
The Returned
In The Flesh
posted by bluecore at 10:51 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Luther (tv series)

Top of The Lake (tv series)

Movies:

Nobody Else Like You

Downfall

After the Wedding

Documentaries:

Art of the Steal

Last Train Home
posted by Fairchild at 10:56 AM on December 28, 2013


Top of the Lake, Foyle's War, Doctor Who, Twin Peaks
posted by bcwinters at 10:57 AM on December 28, 2013


Damages
Scandal
posted by Snazzy67 at 10:58 AM on December 28, 2013


Lost Girl
Inspector Lyndly Mysteries
Inspector George Gently (this is a period drama set in the 60's)
Land Girls


These are all on Netflix streaming.
posted by syncope at 11:00 AM on December 28, 2013


This is what cartoons are for. I suggest all of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Did you watch it back when it was airing? Don't worry, it's still good with a rewatch. Also great: Young Justice, Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Samurai Jack. Batman the Animated Series if you can get your hands on it, but it's $$$.
posted by Mizu at 11:00 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eureka? Warehouse 13?

We're currently binging on Project Runway Australia, which is on YouTube, if that kind of show is your thing.
posted by rtha at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mad Men and the BBC version of Sherlock are on Netflix streaming, although it seems like you may have already seen them.

So are Out Late and The Queen of Versailles - both good documentaries.

Also for documentaries - you can stream most of the frontline ones from the pbs website.

And The Staircase is a really good crime (but not too sensationalized, also just a really interesting look at the lawyers, etc. involved) miniseries documentary - on youtube or on Documentary Heaven.
posted by treese at 11:04 AM on December 28, 2013


Yeah, I've been watching Eureka and enjoying it way more than expected -- it's delightful! You could also consider Ugly Better which I liked more than I thought I would.

Also, don't dis Pretty Little Liars -- that show is AMAZING.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have disagreements with Once Upon A Time's ham-handling of morality and motherhood but keep watching it anyway to see some quality deconstruction of Disney-ification with a bunch of women front and center.
posted by foxfirefey at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree with all of "The Fall", "Eureka", "Warehouse 13", and "Once Upon a Time", and I'll throw a recommendation for "X-files" if you haven't seen it or haven't watched it in over a decade.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2013


Adventure Time! No, really. I swear. It's amazing. Plus, it comes prepackaged into 20ish minute chunks, perfect for your current needs.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:07 AM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The BBC miniseries Jekyll is amazing, if I could only recommend one thing it would be that.

Other shows I've been watching lately on streaming that I don't think have been mentioned (in descending order of recommendation...)

Continuum
House of Cards
American Horror Story
Blackadder
The Vicar of Dibley
Farscape
Alias
Chuck
The Walking Dead
Arrow
Robin Hood
posted by cali59 at 11:09 AM on December 28, 2013


The Sopranos. Bonus points if you've watched the Godfather and read The Prince.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:15 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seconding House of Cards. Also Grimm is my go-to cleaning TV watching.

HBO: entourage is entertaining and mindless enough for cleaning.

The west wing.

bbc:
Doc Martin.
Dr. who
Coupling.

USA network:
Suits.
White collar.
Covert affairs.
Necessary Roughness.

Finally: I know podcasts aren't in the scope of the question but Welcome to Nightvale helps me as a cleaning distraction and may fit your sci fi tastes.
posted by slateyness at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


USA makes *great* "pocorn" shows. I am currently obsessed with White Collar - I watch it while doing my physical therapy exercises!

FWIW, I also hate housework, and what gets me through it is listening to podcasts.
posted by radioamy at 11:23 AM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not at all in your wheelhouse for what you're asking in terms of the space, science, sci-fi, fantasy, etc. stuff you are mentioning here, but I'll offer it just in case it's helpful: I get ridiculously motivated to clean (and very entertained) by watching "How Clean Is Your House?" episodes, so you might want to try some of those. I mention it because my house was never so clean as when this was airing on my local TV weekdays, and I managed to watch 3 or 4 episodes a week. I'd clean during every commercial, and at least a half-hour after every show, and keep up the cleaning stuff during odd 10 to 15 minute intervals just generally daily during the week; it was a great motivation to do the constant maintenance stuff I hate.

If I had a marathon cleaning to do, this would definitely be in the mix. Strong. I don't know about general availability, but there are a lot of episodes on Youtube and now that I'm reminded, I think I need to start scheduling myself to watch them, and get the house more better cleaner again.

Good luck with your landlord!
posted by taz at 12:09 PM on December 28, 2013


Along the lines of taz's suggestion, my go-to cleaning show is Hoarders. It's morally questionable and in terrible taste, but boy howdy does it encourage me to get my shit taken care of.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:13 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been enjoying Almost Human. Sure it's a bit cheesy but is much better than Agents of SHIELD (which I also abandoned after a few episodes).
posted by shelleycat at 12:24 PM on December 28, 2013


Broadchurch is my next bingewatch.
posted by 26.2 at 12:36 PM on December 28, 2013


A sitcom minus ads is 22-25 minutes. How about Scrubs? It's better than most sitcoms.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:46 PM on December 28, 2013


You could also try listening to a podcast show like Welcome to Night Vale while you're cleaning.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:46 PM on December 28, 2013


I really enjoyed the series Hit & Miss. It's only one six episode season (maybe that makes it a miniseries). Lots of violence, sex, and nudity, in case any of those things are pluses or minuses for you.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:52 PM on December 28, 2013


Oh!! Definitely Warehouse 13!
posted by jadegenie at 12:57 PM on December 28, 2013


Have you tried the UK version of The Office? It's a very different beast than the US version.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:05 PM on December 28, 2013


White Collar
Burn Notice
West Wing
Orange is the New Black
posted by vignettist at 1:07 PM on December 28, 2013


OP, taz & restless_nomad!

Check out Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners!
It's on youtube. Enjoy your clean houses everyone!
posted by travelwithcats at 1:37 PM on December 28, 2013


I have never watched How Clean is Your House, but when I had cable I used to get very motivated by HGTV and TLC shows about decorating and organizing.
posted by radioamy at 1:50 PM on December 28, 2013


Seconding Wire in the Blood, it's very good and engrossing and at least recently all seasons were on youtube.
Inspector Lynley
Columbo
X-Files
Prime Suspect is excellent (the English one).

The above four are all on Netflix Streaming.

Cracker is not, but is worth getting.
posted by Blitz at 2:47 PM on December 28, 2013


I suggest (as others have) Foyle's War and House of Cards (the British original), both available on Netflix Streaming. My wife thinks you might enjoy Spaced, also British, also British, also on Netflix Streaming.
posted by duffell at 3:40 PM on December 28, 2013


Fringe. It's fantastic.
posted by Mavri at 4:25 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Louie - maybe the best half hour on TV (so 22 min episodes) now streaming on Netflix - IT IS NOT A SITCOM ! -I hate sitcoms too, but love this show.
posted by tomjoadsghost at 5:00 PM on December 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've seen The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, all the Whedon shows, pretty much any sci-fi or action adventure show ever, all the big HBO/Showtime stuff, dozens of Brit minis and series from Spooks to Being Human, and loads of popcorn stuff like Leverage, Revenge, The Good Wife, etc. Not even Pretty Little Liars or The Vampire Diaries has escaped my attention.

Sci Fi you may have missed:
- Orphan Black (Netflix)
- Real Humans (Swedish, but can be found with subtitles)
- Day Break (Hulu/Netflix))
- Flash Forward (Hulu/Netflix)
- Life on Mars (British)

Danish originals:
- Borgen
- The Bridge
- The Killing
posted by xammerboy at 6:05 PM on December 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


'allo 'allo - it's British, half-hour long segments - and it's hysterical. Watch a segment, laugh a lot, clean for a half hour, and watch another segment.

It's hard to imagine laughing while cleaning house, but it can happen ...
posted by aryma at 6:22 PM on December 28, 2013


I used these to get me through cleaning and packing for a move:

Bleak House - the 2005 BBC version
The Tudors
Mushi-Shi
posted by balacat at 8:52 PM on December 28, 2013


Lost Girl is exactly the kind of fun, trashy popcorn I can, say, clean the house to.
I used to do EXACTLY the same thing as you, but instead, put my laptop in view while I washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. At the moment I'm just drinking sherry and watching this show with a friend, but I *could* clean to it. I think being a bit drunk helped me get into how ridiculous it is, and now I love it.

It's bad, but it's bad like Buffy was bad.
Silly puns, terrible special effects and often ham acting, but essentially fun, and the characters aren't morbidly depressed (or dicks!), and it's like the bad effects and acting gives me lowered expectations, so I'm gloriously happy every time I realise the writing actually makes sense (shows with good actors, and bad writing, just leave me screaming at the screen - wtf just happened?!?).
It has HBO levels of sexy, but it's ah, very equal opportunity, and seriously, the gender dynamics don't leave me angry, which is honestly, very nice. I think being made in Canada really helps there (sorry USA? It's a generalisation). Anyway, yeah.
Cheesy Monster/Investigation of the week, with plot arc of course, and currently 4 seasons, so plenty of cleaning fuel.

I've bailed out of mostly the same shows as you. Did watch Arrested Development with friends, which did get better with the layers of in jokes, but honestly, was never into it as much as friends were, or enough to watch it on my own. Same for Community, although again, I tuned in with friends for a few episodes in season 2 I think? And it was much better than the first half season had been. But still haven't watched it by myself.

P.S. Fae are essentially vampires/predate on humans in *some* way. So just readjust your expectations at the beginning to jokes about eating people.


===

For 20 minute comedy, 'Better Off Ted' was actually fun. The name was terrible.
Again, I never watched the Office, but it's kind of like the Office set in Weyland Yutani Corporation, or Umbrella Corp. It's silly, but Portia DeRossi was an awesome cyborg of a boss. Fun popcorn.
posted by Elysum at 3:07 AM on December 29, 2013


Justified
posted by avidreader at 10:08 AM on December 29, 2013


Thanks, everyone. Loads of really good suggestions that got me through the weekend. Mysterious appliance fiddling can now commence with a minimum of embarrassment.
posted by xyzzy at 6:05 AM on December 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


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