Happy Hiatus!

’Tis the season when all our fictional friends go on hiatus, leaving us with a slight sense of abandonment and two to three empty hours a night. Never fear, TV lovers, because thanks to the wonder that is Netflix Instant, there are always new friends waiting just a click away. What better way to get through those cold winter nights than a free monthly trial of Netflix Instant? Their catalogue is so thorough that I sometimes feel as if I’m stealing. I sat down and tried to come up with a comprehensive list of all the awesome shows that are available to stream and went into a tailspin. So here are just a few, broken down into three levels of commitment.

It’s Just A Fling

These are shows that only aired one or two seasons and were quickly cancelled. If you’re not looking for a long-term commitment these are the shows for you.

Terriers (1 hour drama, 13 Episodes)

Just as I was beginning to fall head over heels for Michael Raymond-James’ Britt, FX pulled the plug on this one. It’s got comedy, drama, cute private investigators… if only FX could have figured out how to market it.

Party Down (30 minute comedy, 20 Episodes)

This show had one of the strongest comedic casts on TV: Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, Ken Marino, Ryan Hansen, Martin Starr, Jane Lynch and Megan Mullally. There are also quite a few Veronica Mars reunions to get excited about if that’s what you’re into (I am).

My So-Called Life (1 hour drama, 19 Episodes)

If you’re one of those people who keeps reading Jordan Catalano references and has no idea who people are talking about, here’s your chance. Have a time!

Dead Like Me (1 hour drama, 29 Episodes)

This is a slightly lengthier commitment but if you think you have the time, I say go for it. I hadn’t heard of this show until recently but I immediately fell in love with the characters. They’re all just so interestingly screwed up and wonderful. They’re also Grim Reapers.

Going Steady

If you’ve been meaning to catch up on a show that’s currently airing here’s your chance! Here are a few shows currently airing their second or third seasons that are available on Netflix Instant.

The Vampire Diaries (1 hour drama, 44 Episodes)

The first two seasons of this show are currently streaming. The third is airing, but with some dedication you can totally catch up by January 5th. I know, I know, it seems like another sappy Twilight rip-off. I thought so too, until I blew through the first two seasons this summer. This show is addicting, fun and full of crazy twists. Also… cute vampires, if that’s your thing.

Switched At Birth (1 hour drama, 10 Episodes)

I expected to watch this show and mock it for its cheese factor, but I found myself actually really loving it and can’t wait for it to return January 3rd. A large part of being a teenager is struggling with identity. The switched at birth plotline allows them to really delve into identity issues in a smart and honest way. Also, I’ve always really wanted to learn sign language.

Sister Wives (30 minute reality, 18 Episodes)

If you’ve ever watched a TLC reality show and showed the slightest bit of intrigue, this is the show for you. These people fascinate me. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that all of their children appear to be happy, healthy and fairly well adjusted. Again, fascinating. People need to watch this so we can discuss it. Okay? Thanks.

Long-Term Commitment

These shows should come with a warning label: “Severely addictive. Side effects may include decrease in social life and severe sleep deprivation. Proceed with caution.”

Friday Night Lights (1 hour drama, 76 Episodes)

Guys, this show is fan-freakin’-tastic. I don’t know anyone who has given this show a genuine chance and hasn’t enjoyed it. Though it was largely marketed as a show about high school football, at its core it is a wonderfully written family drama. There are storylines in the second season that threw some people off, but if you stick with it, you won’t be disappointed. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1 hour drama, 144 Episodes) & Angel (1 hour drama, 110 Episodes)

Okay, this isn’t so much a hiatus project as it is a multi-month commitment. Yes, some of the effects are cheesy and yes, the fashion is comical, but holy crap – they do some creatively brilliant things in these episodes. I suggest watching the two series paired as they originally aired. I watched all of Buffy and then all of Angel and wish I had done them both together since they do crossover episodes.

The Wonder Years (30 minute comedy, 114 Episodes)

I vaguely remembered episodes of this show from my childhood and have been romanticizing it in my mind for years, praying for it to come out on DVD. It’s full of period music, which makes DVD release really difficult. When I saw it on Netflix I was immediately excited, but hesitant. I was afraid that I had built it up too much and would be let down. I wasn’t. I still love Kevin Arnold as much as I did when I was little. Probably more now that I better comprehend Adult Kevin’s narrative wisdom.

I am leaving out so many wonderful shows I love. However, I can’t in good conscience write a “shows to stream” article without at least mentioning Community (30 minute comedy, 59 Episodes) which is now available on Hulu Plus. I love this show so much, but it’s cool if you don’t. I understand. It’s not you, it’s them.

What are some shows you recommend streaming this hiatus? I was thinking Breaking Bad, but am certainly open to suggestion!

Feature Image by techjournalsouth

  • http://www.facebook.com/YOpinksushi Yoko Moonstar

    It’s not on Netflix Instant but you can still watch all 7 episodes on Once Upon A Time at: http://abc.go.com/watch/once-upon-a-time/SH55126545/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1027576865 Frollein Schultheis

    i’m watching Community right now. never seen it before!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1155210008 Danielle Walker


    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1027576865 Frollein Schultheis

      haha yeah, that’s true! and i can’t stop. it’s so funny!

      i have to say, american TV is the best.. in german television all you can see is crap and even bigger crap.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=576370385 Hillary Crusan

    Ugly Betty should definitely be on this list! I know I got on that train a little late, most of you probably watched it on tv, but they have all of the episodes and seasons. Definitely worth a watch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/victoria.raigo Victoria Raigorodsky

    Of the short-lived but very entertaining variety, The Class was a huge favourite of mine (with Lizzie Kaplan!). Also Gilmore Girls if you have A LOT of time in your hands.
    My favourite series right now is the BBC’s Sherlock (a modernized version of the Conan Doyle stories), that has three hour-and-a-half episodes and in January airs its second season. Highly entertaining!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002422942546 Christopher Fischer


    you mentioned Dead like me. It really is a wonderful show. :-)

    If you like “out-of-the-box-writing” there are 2 shows I can wholeheartedly recommend you.
    Pushing Daisies (2 Seasons, 22 Episodes)
    Wonderfalls (1 Season, 13 Episodes)

    Both from Creator Bryan Fuller. He really is a genius in inventing one-of-a-kind shows like Dead Like Me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisrmiller Elisabeth Miller

      Yes to Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1278630040 Alison Manthei

      Pushing Daisies – AMEN!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenn.cote Jenn Coté

    Pushing Daises was already mentioned.. but I wanna give it an extra plug! Love, love love that show! :)
    And I am jumping on this bandwagon late- but How I Met Your Mother seasons 1-6 are streaming on Netflix. That show makes me laugh pretty much every episode! Love it! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kinseystout Kinsey Stout

    I just started re-living one of my favorite childhood memories – Fraggle Rock. All seasons of the original puppet show available on Netflix streaming. There’s also an animated series, but you have to start with the puppets. Or muppets rather.
    I’m also watching the entire Friday Night Lights series (currently mid-season 4) for the THIRD time. I actually asked for this one for Christmas so I can watch it over and over again forever. Texas Forever. SO good.
    I’d also recommend Arrested Development. With their new series/movie deal starting soon, everyone will need to be prepared. Jason Bateman is awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisrmiller Elisabeth Miller

    Yes to almost all the shows on this list! I started watching FNL this summer and haven’t quite finished the first season but LOVE IT. That will be a show to catch up on. And, Buffy is a must see. The fashions are even fun to watch because they’re so dated!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1057800053 Melissa Ohmy

    I love getting addicted to a new series via Netflix! Makes working at home a little hard though, lol!

    Happy Holidays

  • http://www.facebook.com/carly.vink Carly Vinkavich

    30 Rock for hiatus and Ally McBeal for anytime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liddleredhen Jenny Lynn

    My friends got me hooked on Fraiser again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ColdFallingRain Karla Marie Piñeiro

    Glad you mentioned Buffy & Angel! Funny how no one in my house is allowed to watch them when I have things to do because I end up sitting infront of the TV for hours. I have absolutely no will power when it comes to those shows.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=531107925 Bianca Koolmees

    West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, the UK version of Skins, How I Met Your Mother (yes there still exist people who have never seen this show). My current fave is Sons of Anarchy- so good! Oh, and just saw someone suggest Shelock- I second this, plus add the new seasons of Dr Who if one is liking the British feel, and for anyone living under a rock- Downton Abbey.
    I watch all these shows on what seems like an endless repeat :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/beautyofthelake Linda DuLac

      UK Skins rocks my socks! Effy is my fav!!! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=40105037 Randi Carlson

    Jordan Catalno. Enough said. :)

    And BTW – under just a fling, you should add Melrose Place… the new one… even if it is just so I am not the only person who has seen it 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1023930146 Mary Kordsmeier

    This may be an obvious long-term commitment (120 hour-long episodes), but Lost will CHANGE YOUR LIFE…for like, 2-3 months. Then you’ll go back to normal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.hollaway Lauren Hollaway

    I don’t know if its Netflix streaming. But “Primeval” is totally worth seeing, especially if you like dinosaurs and Andrew Lee Potts. And if you don’t know who he is, he’ll be the guy you adore after a few episodes in… There is 36, 1 hour episodes. And they are all awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000053762624 Cara Evans

    Oh, Breaking Bad is a must. Pretty different and really makes you think. I’d also recommend Grey’s Anatomy as a “Long Term Commitment.” It’s really beautiful. I’m completely in love with it right now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1264609232 Samantha Ritchie

    I dont have netfilx, but those of yall with ondemand, and want to get hooked on something creepy but oh-so-good, check out Dexter. They have all seasons right now on shotime ondemand. and i cant stop watching. if blood and gore is not your thing, i do not recommend this show. but it is fantastically written, like SO GOOD and i cant stop…i never thought i would be rooting for a serial killer…but I am. but warning. its addicting and the episodes are hour-long…regulation is key.

  • http://www.facebook.com/katieannemaciver Katie Anne Maciver

    Freaks and Geeks! So many amazing actors in one programme! So many amazing scenes! One of the best shows ever cancelled 😀

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1186646510 Sam Dwyer

    Party Down is hysterical! Everyone add it to your queue. You’ll laugh hard. guaranteed.

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