Best of Netflix and Amazon Originals
March 23, 2015 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Amazon and Netflix are now producing boatloads of original content. w00t! Cord cutters rejoice! I love that they are making all this content that cord cutters don't have to get locked out of. I really want to watch and support a lot of these shows. The only thing is, I get the feeling they are producing quantity a bit more than quality. Help me unearth the gems of Netflix and Amazon originals.

Maybe I haven't given the shows enough of a chance or stumbled on to the right thing, but I feel like their is a lot of meh and very little HBO type awesomeness. Also it seems like their isn't really a great way to sort out and evaluate all this new online content. I watch primarily on my Roku so I am open original content from other online companies. I did like House of Cards in the beginning, but I feel like it jumped the shark fairly quickly. Some of my personal favorites shows of any type are Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Game of Thrones and The Wire. That being said, I am open to all kinds of online content the hive mind recommends. I really want to get more behind online produced content, for economical entertainment and to support this model of the consumer having more control.
posted by fx3000 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (42 answers total) 85 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't seen much that meets my standards either. I did enjoy the animated comedy "Bojack Horseman" on Netflix. At first it comes off a little Seth McFarlane-ish, but it transcends that by the end of the season.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:24 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

I haven't actually seen Amazon's "Transparent" yet, but by all reports it's excellent. "Orange is the New Black" is fun, as long as you don't go in expecting a realistic show about the prison experience.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:26 PM on March 23, 2015 [8 favorites]

We are loving Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-comedy in the vein of arrested development, a bit.
posted by purenitrous at 6:33 PM on March 23, 2015 [18 favorites]

Transparent, OITNB, and Kimmy Schmidt are all great. And I agree about HOC's shark-jumping.
posted by trixie119 at 6:37 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Fall (Netflix) is really, really good. I think you would like it. Southcliffe (also Netflix) was dark & disturbing. The Killing was on regular TV for 3 seasons, but the last season was exclusively made for Netflix.
posted by desjardins at 6:38 PM on March 23, 2015 [11 favorites]

Alpha House is more than watchable. It's not at the West Wing level of political storytelling, but it's light and easy. Mozart in the Jungle was interesting enough to hold my attention and I'll likely come back for the second season. I found Kimmy Schmidt a bit on the sunshine and lollipops side of the spectrum, but I still watched it all. In contrast, I couldn't get past the first 10 or 15 minutes of Bosch, but I think that was because there were so many little elements that felt wrong when compared to how I interpreted the character in the books.
posted by sardonyx at 6:40 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I noticed that your favorite shows are all hour-long dramas. It seems like most of the best original Netflix/Amazon/etc. shows are half-hour comedies, probably because those are cheaper to produce. OITNB, Kimmy Schmidt, Transparent, the new seasons of Arrested Development and Community: all are really good, but they're all half-hour comedies (though Transparent is a bit more dramatic).
posted by lunasol at 6:41 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you liked 30 Rock, you'll probably love Kimmy Schmidt.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:43 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding Alpha House. It's really good.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:44 PM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Agreeing with The Fall, and I also love Lilyhammer.
posted by lakeroon at 6:45 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

Alpha House is super under-appreciated. I've enjoyed it greatly. (It's written by Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury, so that may give you an idea of the political leanings. I find it much funnier than Doonesbury, though.)
posted by thebrokedown at 6:49 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I really love House of Cards and Lillyhammer , both on Netflix and both with 3 seasons each.
posted by Rapunzel1111 at 6:52 PM on March 23, 2015

Response by poster: Good point lunasol. I am more the hour-long epic type person and less the half-hour comedy person, but I do have to have me some funnies sometimes so I will try some of those recs.
posted by fx3000 at 6:55 PM on March 23, 2015

Here's a list of Netflix's original content, including upcoming shows. Most recently I've been enjoying the show Bloodlines that started last Friday. I'm excited about the upcoming show Sense8 from The Matrix trilogy creators Andy and Lana Wachowski and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, but it won't be available until June 5.

Just as a side note, The Fall, while an interesting show, is produced by BBC Northern Ireland and is only licensed to be shown on Netflix, just like they licensed the streaming rights for CBS's The Blacklist but opted out of the Seinfeld bidding war.
posted by bluecore at 6:55 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, and don't bother with Powers. I gave it two episodes, just in case the first one wasn't indicative of the overall quality. Sadly, it was.
posted by sardonyx at 6:56 PM on March 23, 2015

Orange is the New Black has hour-long episodes. I just pulled up Netflix to double-check.
posted by rewil at 6:58 PM on March 23, 2015

You might like Magic City.
posted by vignettist at 7:00 PM on March 23, 2015

For hour long dramas Bloodline and Happy Valley are worth watching.

I stopped liking House of Cards halfway through season 2.

Really enjoyed Unbreakable Kimmy and Orange is the New Black.

Maybe they are going for quantity over quality but I choose to believe that not every tv show will be to my liking.

Somebody has to like all those horrible shows that keep getting picked up season after season.
posted by MadMadam at 7:09 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Bosch on amazon. Kimmy schmidt on netflix was surprisingly good.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:24 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

On Netflix:

Peaky Blinders. It's sort of a Birmingham, England version of Boardwalk Empire, with modern music. Idk, I think it's really well done. Though you might have to watch a few episodes before you get into the rhythm of it. I know I had to (but now really enjoy it. Cillian Murphy is what convinced me to keep watching).

Hemlock Grove is a ridiculous "popcorn" horror kind of show. I really enjoy it, even though/because it's completely stupid.
posted by rue72 at 7:32 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

I enjoyed House of Cards through all three seasons on Netflix.

Also, Bosch is an Amazon original. I really enjoyed it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:33 PM on March 23, 2015

I too liked Hemlock Grove even though it was... I can't figure out how to describe it. It was so bad, but it stuck with me. Over a year later and I still remember it vividly. Anyway I also enjoyed Orange Is The New Black, but hated House Of Cards, and Alpha House.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 7:37 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you like dark historical costume dramas, you might like Marco Polo on Netflix. It's beautifully produced. It hasn't grabbed me quite as much as GoT - some of the plotlines are just not as attention grabbing - but it's worth watching if you like that sort of thing.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:42 PM on March 23, 2015

Thirding Bloodline on Netflix. We're about 6 episodes in and really enjoying it. Not quite on the level of something like Breaking Bad, but it's got good writing, good acting, good cinematography.
posted by sonmi at 7:46 PM on March 23, 2015

Yep, came in here to say Bloodline. Great acting and it's really visually interesting.
posted by Fister Roboto at 7:58 PM on March 23, 2015

Transparent & Orange is the New Black
posted by Jacqueline at 8:01 PM on March 23, 2015

The "exclusive" shows suggested here are a mix of original programming and exclusive shows originally made for other networks (often the BBC). The labeling on Netflix especially seems designed to fudge the difference, which is mildly irritating.

I agree about House of Cards jumping the shark; I made it to the end of the third season but it was getting pretty silly. The first season is great, though.

Top of the Lake is fantastic and well worth watching.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:09 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Another big +1 for Bojack Horseman. The first four episodes or so are Not Good, but it seriously picks up after that.

Also Rev, on Hulu, is not online only (it's a British import), but it's Hulu exclusive in the US. It's a comedy about an inner-city reverend in London, and it's excellent.
posted by Itaxpica at 8:21 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I loved Transparent (Amazon) and Lillyhammer (Netflix). Both are highly original with a great, dark humor. Mr. Atrahasis loved and binge-watched Peaky Blinders (I thought the British underclass looked far too healthy and well-nourished, with excellent dentition, which spoiled the effect for me. YMMV.)
posted by Atrahasis at 8:33 PM on March 23, 2015

Oh I forgot... I also enjoyed Enlightened and Transparent on Amazon.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:44 PM on March 23, 2015

Seconding Peaky Blinders.
posted by Lucinda at 8:48 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

There's only the pilot for now, but Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" is worth checking out. Hopefully the first season will be out this fall.
posted by sevenless at 10:02 PM on March 23, 2015

While not originally produced for the internet, Hulu has a lot of amazing stuff they call "Hulu Originals" that were produced for foreign TV networks. The original British Shameless (in my opinion a lot better than the later US version) is a great show about a large crazy family in estate housing; the first two seasons of BBC Misfits are fantastic (it's a show about a bunch of teens doing mandated community service who get hit by lightning and develop absurd superpowers); Endgame was a SUPER AWESOME Canadian procedural about an agoraphobic Russian chess master who solves crimes from inside his hotel room; and if you ever liked Homeland, Hulu has the Israeli series it was based on, Prisoners of War (a totally different take on a not totally dissimilar subject). Also Luther (a philosophical, perturbed British detective), Life on Mars (the show that the US show was based on; a twenty-first century cop gets a head injury and finds himself inexplicably trapped in a 1970s police station), the original House of Cards, Doctor Who, Queer as Folk, Derren Brown Inside Your Mind (think David Blaine as a hypnotist), and a bunch of David Attenborough wildlife specials are all some of the goodies you'll find under the "British" tag on Hulu. Good stuff.
posted by feets at 11:49 PM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

+1 for "Top of the Lake." It's remarkable.
posted by jbickers at 6:00 AM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

On Netflix, "Borgia: Power and Passion" might satisfy your GoT tastes: it's an historically faithful scenery-chewing frontal nudityfest featuring the baddest of all bad Popes and an extended family that can't even concur on which kind of accented English they shall inflict on their enemies. I loved it. Avoid the "tasteful" Showtime series. Get with the high priced Eurocable trash.
posted by Kinbote at 8:09 AM on March 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Try the British "House of Cards"
"Foyle's War" and "Wire in the Blood" are oldies but goodies.
Also, for a total change of pace try "Derek." It has very short episodes but is touching and funny.
posted by leafwoman at 9:14 AM on March 24, 2015

I'd like to point out some of these suggestions depend on your own personal values.
I loved the beginning of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but after an extremely questionable Asian character was introduced I just couldn't watch any more.
I did hear that Transparent was great but one of the writers of the show posted a very transphobic tweet about Bruce Jenner's transition. I just don't want to watch a show about trans issues written but a transphobe.
The first couple episodes of Top of the Lake were great but I found the last 5 and the ending absolutely ludicrous. The cinematography is beautiful though.
I loved Orange is the New Black, both seasons.
I'm very excited to watch Bloodlines despite the negative reviews in the NYTimes.
I'm about to star House of Cards which I'm really looking forward to as it has great reactions across the board.
posted by shesbenevolent at 9:52 AM on March 24, 2015

Best answer: Thirding Peaky Blinders. If you liked Deadwood for the grime, power shifts, and civilization struggling to emerge from the muck, it might be up your alley. (There's only one Ian McShane in the world, but still.)
posted by chimpsonfilm at 11:56 AM on March 24, 2015

If you're a Breaking Bad fan then definitely Better Call Saul
posted by KateViolet at 3:18 AM on March 25, 2015

Seconding "The Man In the High Castle". It's truly amazing.
posted by corb at 9:51 AM on March 25, 2015

I'm very excited to watch Bloodlines despite the negative reviews in the NYTimes.

I just finished watching this, and I liked it very much.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:50 PM on March 29, 2015

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