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The Netflix Diaries

When I got home for the summer, I realized that I had quite a bit of free time on my hands.  I didn’t start work until late June, and even though I was back with all my friends and my bed, they could only occupy so much of time out a 24 hour day. With Arrested Development, one of my favorite shows of all time, returning to the screen via Netflix, I decided it was finally time to get it. As much as I love television and movies, there was one thing that always stopped from getting Netflix: I’m cheap. But, for the sake of AD, I got the free one-month trial of Netflix. However, by the time that month ended, I wasn’t anywhere near done navigating through the endless trenches of television shows just waiting for me to binge on. So, I made that pivotal choice to continue paying the 8 bucks a month, and it was well worth it.

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Chapter 1: House of Cards

The first thing I watched was, appropriately, the first original series from Netflix. A friend recommended it to me, and when I learned that Kevin Spacey, maybe my favorite actor, was involved along with David Fincher, the director of The Social Network, I knew I would love it. A brilliant political drama, adapted from a British book series, the quality of this show blew my expectations out of the water. Everything about it is great, and lead character Frank Underwood (Spacey) is the best kind of character: a villain you want to win. Shows this good are the ones that truly deserve to be on a big name channel with tens of millions of viewers a week, but as long as I can watch it on Netflix, I’m thrilled.

Chapter 2: Arrested Development

I’ll admit it: I stayed up until 3 A.M. Eastern time on a Sunday night so that I could watch the new season air after a very brief 7 year hiatus. Like many huge fans of the show, I was a little disappointed in this season, if only because I felt like it was geared for people who had never seen it before. The fast pace and quick wit I was used to had been slowed, almost like they were trying to hold the hands of new viewers. Plus, it didn’t have a clean balance of all of its wonderful characters (not enough Buster!). But, even though I had some personal issues with season 4, it was still quality television not found on a television.

Chapter 3: Frasier

For my next show to binge watch, I asked my mother what I might like. She suggested Frasier, a spin-off of Cheers that ran for 11 years, from 1993 until 2004. And I must admit, she was right. I knew the show was supposed to be good (it won the Emmy Award for Best Comedy five years in a row) but I didn’t expect it to be this good! The theatrical nature of the show, along with humor that ranged from dry wit to slapstick physical comedy, quickly made this one of my favorite  shows. While it was a big undertaking to watch all 230 or so episodes, I managed to do it. And boy, was it worth it. While almost an oddball choice, for anybody who wants to watch a truly great sitcom they might not have seen, I’d highly recommend this.

Chapter 4: Mad Men, Phase I

One of the most highly acclaimed shows of the past couple years, I had seen a few episodes here and there, but never really sat down and watched it. The first two seasons I watched in Part I pretty clearly explained to me why everyone loved it: the acting is great, and the writing is top-notch. It makes you want to wear suits everywhere and work in advertising. However, for a couple different reasons, this is not the type of show that demands a true binge-watch session, which is way I took a break for…

Chapter 5: Orange is the New Black

I knew nothing about this show beforehand, except that Netflix produced it, and I thought I had read somewhere that Jason Biggs (of American Pie fame) would be in it. This show is both awesome and addictive. Even though it’s advertised as a comedy-drama, many episodes often tend to be a little unbalanced (i.e. 15 minutes of hysterical laughter followed by 35 minutes of pensive silence). Either way, the story drew me in, and every one of the prisoners is acted perfectly, and the creative team managed to create sympathetic characters out of even the most hardened criminals.

Chapter 6: Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad. The best show on television right now. I’ve seen all of BB before, but the final batch of episodes is airing now, so I just watched the first half of this season as a refresher. Also, for anyone who hasn’t watched it: watch it. For anyone who has: watch it again. Because it’s the best show you can watch. For a lot of different reasons. I’d describe it in detail, but I don’t want to ramble. But it’s the best thing ever. And that brings me up to date. With me having finished Chapter 6, I will soon be moving to Chapter 7: Mad Men, Phase II. But after that? Well let’s just say that the world is my oyster. And by “the world,” I mean Netflix. And by “my oyster,” I mean my free time.

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