Welcome one and all to the fourteenth edition of Instant Gratification. The focus of this feature is to provide TV Ragers with all the latest updates on the newest TV shows added to the Netflix Instant Streaming service, the ones about to expire for good, and the occasional reminder about just how much great stuff is already there for you guys and gals to peruse.
Now let's get started with all the notable additions since the last issue went to press.
*Descriptions in quotes courtesy of the Netflix website.
Agatha Christie's Marple Seasons 1-4 - "From Agatha Christie, the best selling mystery writer of all time, comes the adventures of Miss Marple, an elderly amateur sleuth whose curiosity and sharp intellect foil even the most ruthless of English criminals. Never failing in her observance of the proper niceties, Miss Marple nonetheless stares down high-society murderers, low-class burglars and avaricious blackmailers, all while kindly educating her friends about manners and high ideals."
Beast Wars: Transformers Seasons 1&2 - "Two factions of Transformer progeny crash land on prehistoric Earth and adapt to their new environment by assuming animal characteristics. Now, as the valiant Maximals and malevolent Predacons, they turn our proto-planet into a battleground."
The Book Group Seasons 1&2 - "Eager to make friends in her new hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, transplanted American Clare Pettengill organizes a book club. Unfortunately, the eccentric group she attracts isn't exactly the literary round table she envisioned."
Bridezillas Season 8 - "The brides you love to hate are back for another season of pre-wedding pandemonium as the women throw tantrums, dress down their bridesmaids, read their families the riot act and otherwise bluster their way through the planning of their nuptials."
Criminal Justice Season 1 - "Each season of this award-winning BBC series follows a single homicide defendant through Britain's criminal justice system. First up is a teen accused of murdering a girl in a post-rave blackout; the second is an abused wife pleading self-defense."
Drop Dead Diva Season 3 - "This season finds the spirit of svelte, empty-headed model Deb Dobkins -- who's been reincarnated into the body of plus-sized lawyer Jane Bingum -- taking on more cases that help her discover what being beautiful really means."
The Exes Season 1 - "Three divorced men -- newly single Stuart, player Phil and sarcastic couch potato Haskell -- share an apartment across the hall from their divorce lawyer, Holly. When the trio has trouble getting along, Holly's always there to help."
Five Days Season 2 - "Each season of this innovative crime thriller focuses on the most significant five days in a particular police investigation. The series delves into variety of cases, including missing persons, infant abandonment and suicide."
Foyle's War Seasons 1-6 - "Crooks don't stop for anything -- not even war -- as veteran and now detective chief superintendent of the Hastings police force Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) discovers in this crime drama set in England during World War II. Stymied in his attempts to get closer to the action, Foyle soon learns there's plenty for him to do at home as he attempts to quell the criminal chaos that ensues as the war rages on."
Green Wing Seasons 1&2 - "Medical emergencies abound in this award-winning and sharp-witted medical comedy that centers on the romantic indecisions of Dr. Caroline Todd. But the personal dramas of the staff at East Hampton Hospital often overshadow those of the patients."
Lip Service Seasons 1&2 - "Lip Service is an irreverent and poignant drama series that focuses on the romantic lives of young gay women in contemporary Glasgow. Frankie, Cat and Tess were at university together, and in the subsequent years, were all swept into relationships."
Ny-Lon Season 1 - "Michael and Edie are worlds apart: He's a Londoner, a city high-flier; she's a New Yorker, immersed in the indie music scene. One chance look, one coincidence in a million, and both their worlds are changed forever."
Party Animals Season 1 - "British politics never seemed so dramatic as on this BBC series that's set in the halls of Parliament, where lobbyists, government leaders and their eager aides keep things humming along behind the scenes."
Slings & Arrows Seasons 1-3 - "Washed-up actor Geoffrey Tennant's failing attempts to run the Shakespearean New Burbage Festival are rescued by his brilliant mentor, who happens to be a ghost. While staging the Bard's plays, Tennant wrangles fussy actors and demanding sponsors."
South Park Season 15 - "Join Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as they confront modern, mad scientists, evil email-hacking rodents and face their greatest challenge yet - Growing a year older. For them, it's all part of growing up in South Park"
The Super Hero Squad Show Seasons 1&2 - "It's no small job protecting Super Hero City from the wild (and often wacky) villainy of VillainVille's infamous baddies, but the Super Hero Squad -- Iron Man, Wolverine, the Hulk, Silver Surfer, Thor and the Falcon -- are always up to the challenge."
Top Boy Season 1 - "In this gritty, stylish drama series, two London drug dealers ply their lucrative trade at a public housing estate in North London. When a rival gang boldly snatches their investment cash, the guys fix their sights on revenge."
Vera Season 1 - "Based on Ann Cleeves's Vera Stanhope novels, this detective series focuses on the tireless Detective Chief Inspector Stanhope -- played by Brenda Blethyn -- as she solves a series of baffling homicides in scenic Northumberland County."
The list of notable shows expiring soon includes:
6/7 - George Gently, Midsomer Murders
This Week's Classic Pick:
Day Break - I'm betting that many of you haven't even heard of this show. It came and went very quickly on ABC, leaving multiple episodes unaired. Serialized sci-fi and fantasy series are famous for having a rough go of it on network TV. Sure, Lost is a notable exception to the rule, but shows like Day Break that tell an ongoing story from week to week and require the audience to actually pay attention are largely ignored by the viewing public. See NBC's Awake for a more recent example of this.
Anyway, Day Break starred Taye Diggs as Det. Brett Hopper, a man who wakes up on a seemingly normal day to find himself framed for murder and his girlfriend kidnapped. The day ends badly, but Hopper wakes up to find himself trapped in a Groundhog Day type loop. Each successive day brings him closer to the truth, and what a long winding road it ends up being. I knew nothing about the show going in, but I gave it a watch based on a friend's recommendation. To my surprise, I quickly found myself invested in the story and its characters, including a standout supporting performance from Firefly's Adam Baldwin. If you enjoy sci-fi or fantasy, and love detailed storytelling, you owe it to yourself to give this show a stream. You'll be glad you did.
And that's it for this fourteenth edition of Instant Gratification. I hope you found it informative and at least fairly entertaining. See you next time.