Welcome one and all to the second 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.
Yeah, well about that. After two really heavy weeks of new additions (which I covered last week), Netflix seems to be experiencing a drought of new TV shows. In fact, the only really notable one is:
Archer: Season 2 - FX's hip & clever animated secret agent comedy's most recently aired season is now available to watch whenever you might feel like getting a good laugh. This series has rapidly acquired a devoted cult fanbase and has managed to do pretty well critically to boot. For those who would like to start from the beginning, the first season is also streamable.
When I decided to begin this feature, I certainly never expected that my second outing would leave so little recent adds to discuss, but fear not dear reader for I have a contingency plan. In light of the slow week, I shall now present five of my top picks (in no particular order) for series currently available on Instant that you should be watching:
1. The X-Files: All of the twists, turns, and WTF? moments of the sci-fi procedural that made government conspiracies cool again are ready and waiting to be discovered by new viewers and re-experienced by die-hard X-Philes. The complete nine-season run is available, from the machinations of the syndicate, to the super solider saga, to the many dastardly deeds of Alex Krycek, it's all here. On a personal note, I'd like to ask people to please watch season 8. It gets a really undeserved bad wrap, mostly due to it being the first season without David Duchovny as a regular.
2 & 3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel: As a newcomer to the "Whedon-verse", I'm just now partaking in shows for the first time myself. I really like what I've seen so far, and I'm told it gets much better from here. Likeable characters, creative plots, and memorable monsters are the order of the day when visiting Sunnydale High or the offices of Wolfram & Hart.
4. Monk: Adrian Monk is a man obsessed with order and organization and would thus be very pleased that Netflix has chosen to neatly lay out all 125 of the cases solved by everyone's favorite "defective detective" for easy access by subscribers. This has got to be one of the most consistent shows in history. While some adventures are certainly better than others, I can turn on most any episode from any of the eight seasons and be entertained.
5. Breaking Bad: If you haven't yet beheld the majesty of what I consider to be the best show currently airing on television, I have two questions for you? First, why the hell not? Second, did you not know it was available to stream instantly? Because it is. The first three seasons (minus the recently aired fourth go-around) are not only available but are available in gorgeous HD. If you love maddeningly intense dramas that keep you thrilled and on the edge of your seat, or even just quality TV in general, you officially have no excuse not to catch up before the the final season begins this summer.
The rather large list of notable shows expiring soon includes:
2/28/12 - Thirtysomething
2/29/12 - Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures, Cagney & Lacey's TV Movies, Cheyenne, Flipper, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, Kevin Sorbo's Hercules TV Movies, Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Standup, Party Down, A Ton Of Perry Mason TV Movies, Rawhide
3/1/12 - Hunter, Rugrats Go Wild, Sesame Street, Silk Stalkings, Soap
There's lots of great stuff expiring soon (leap day especially seeing a lot of departures), so try to watch as much of it as you can before it's gone.
And this edition's classic pick (a great show that has long been available to stream) is one of the most well regarded of the many television adaptations of horror master Stephen King:
The Stand - This 1994 made for ABC mini-series saw director Mick Garris tackle the gargantuan task of adapting Stephen King's longest and most epic novel into a six hour telefilm. The fact that it was made for TV truly ended up being a double edged sword as the filmmakers were given much more than the usual two hour length of a theatrical feature to tell their story, the project was also subject to all the language and content limitations imposed on a network TV program airing in prime time in the mid-90's. The biggest plus of the series is the absolutely spectacular cast Garris assembled. Just a small fraction of the performers involved include Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe, Adam Storke, Ray Walston, Jamie Sheridan, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Laura San Giacomo, Bill Fagerbakke, Miguel Ferrer, and (uncredited but powerful) cameos by Ed Harris and Kathy Bates. While the mini-series certainly has it's flaws, I consider it to be one of the most successful King adaptations to date. We'll all find out in the next few years if the Ben Affleck theatrical version lives up to the same standards.
And that's it for this second edition of Instant Gratification. I hope you found it informative and at least fairly entertaining. See you next time.