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!

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