It’s true! This autumn, Netflix is finally coming to Spain! I miss receiving those DVDs in the mail, although I know they’re not longer really known for that service. I found some incredible Spanish films which helped me in my quest to become bilingual before moving to the Greatest Peninsula in the World. I fondly remember watching El espinazo del diablo, Jamón Jamón, La niña de tus ojos and KM.0 during those years of post university unemployed and return to university.
Now Netflix is known for binge watching television. I’ve wanted an excuse to make a list of twenty shows I think everyone should watch for quite some time now. These are only my random tastes. I know I will leave off some faves, and I know my list will not please everyone. Whenever I see people getting mad at someone internet list, I just say “shrug it off and write your own”. Life would be boring if we all agreed.
I tried to go with shows that stayed amazing (or close to it) during their entire run, which excludes some shows like Dexter, Weeds, and Gossip Girl. I also tried to spread the love between creators/producers, but Alan Ball, Aaron Sorkin, Bryan Fuller and Greg Berlanti are awesome. And while Breaking Bad was addictive television, the show didn’t stay with me much after the finale two years ago. I also didn’t include any current shows, so no Veep, American Horror Story or Fargo. (I know three on this list are coming back in 2016 or 2017 or whenever Netflix gets the cast together.)
Maybe a better name would be my favourite 20 shows. All trailers are fan made or from the producers of the show that I found on YouTube. I don’t know how many will be featured on Netflix in Spain.
- Scrubs (2001-2009): Scrubs had eight fantastic seasons and an ill-conceived spin-off marketed as a ninth season. It tells the story of a group of medical interns learning how to become doctors as they learned about themselves and valuable life lessons. Dr. Cox was the reluctant mentor who taught us all it as okay to hate the world and breaking the rules was okay sometimes if it was for a good cause. The show blended humour and drama effortlessly, especially in episodes like “My Old Lady“, “My Screwup”, “My Lunch” and “My Finale.” They even had a musical episode, “My Musical“.
- Six Feet Under (2001-2005): Alan Ball’s tale of a dysfunctional family who ran a funeral home. David Fisher (played effortlessly by Michael C. Hall) showed us it was okay to be gay and be in an interracial relationship. The Chenowith family showed us it was okay to be 100% screwed up. And the show taught us that we are all going to die, so live life to the fullest. I found a fake trailer someone put together for it. If you haven’t heard about the amazing finale…I’m not spoiling it.
- Twin Peaks (1990-1991, 201?): “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic.” “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You know, this is, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee.” Special Agent Dale Cooper arrives in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington, to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer, a teenage girl. He instead finds a town full of quirky residents and even stranger happenings. With one of the producers being David Lynch, you know you’re in for a weird, eccentric delight. A trailer can be found here.
- Community (2009-2015). A motley group of community college students bond in a Spanish study group and then are forced to save their college from closure. You never know what might happen in the darkest timeline (six seasons NO movie?). The show brilliantly parodies almost every genre at some point. Be on the look out for paintball episodes, Troy and Abed in the morning and the darkest timeline. It will always have 5 million meow meow beenz from me. The Community Season 1 trailer.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). Don’t dismiss this as another teen show, or another vampire show, or another superhero. Buffy warns us about the perils of real life while slaying vampires and other demons. Sure, some weird stuff happens, but the show is a metaphor for battling our own personal demons. Buffy is also a heroine who can kick ass and doesn’t need a man (human or vampire) to save her unlike other vampire show heroines. Sarah Michelle Gellar is superb as the title character. A trailer can be seen here.
- Arrested Development (2003-2005, 2013, 201?): The Bluths are a wealthy family in Orange County that may or not be a satire of the Bush family. Michael has to keep his family from falling apart and from going to prison, but most of the time he doesn’t really understand why. There’s money in the banana stand, Ann her? Mrs. Featherbottom, Mr. F, the inside jokes are plenty on one of the best sitcoms ever made. We should be getting Season 5, but until it’s confirmed we have four seasons of comic gold. Here are the top 10 running gags.
- Friends (1994-2004): The One That Is A Classic Show. The tale of six friends in New York and their misadventures in love and life. Best episode: The One With the embryos. It really is kick-you-in-the-crotch-spit-on-your-neck fantastic. For those who have escaped the phenomenon that is Friends, here is a trailer for the first four seasons.
- True Blood (2008-2014): So it has one of the most annoying protagonists ever in Sookie Stackhouse, but the gothic drama, often times a metaphor for gay and human rights vis-a-vis vampire rights, is an adventerous romp from the guy who brought us American Beauty and Six Feet Under. Who cares if Sookie ends up with Bill, Eric or Alycide the Werewolf? The secondary characters like Pam Swynford de Beaufort, Lafayette, Jason, Rev. Steve Newlin and his wife Sarah, Russell Edgenton, Arlene, Tara, Queen Sophie Anne, Antonia Gavilán de Logroño and others were what brought this show to life. Season 1 trailer. And as it’s for the first season, here is the special video for Sh** Pam Says.
- Sports Night (1998-2000)/The Newsroom (2012-2014) I put these two together because they are both brilliant, both from Aaron Sorkin and deal with a similar theme: The behind-the-scenes of putting together a sports/news show (You can probably guess which is which). Sports Night put together my fave actress Felicity Huffman with the awesome Peter Krause and added in a dash of Josh Charles, Joshua Malina, Robert Guillaume and Sabrina Lloyd. I don’t care about sports, but I cared about this show. The Newsroom took recent real life events and showed how a fictitious major cable news channel covered them. The news has never been so interesting. Trailer for Sports Night and for The Newsroom.
- Jack & Bobby (2004-2005) Only one season of the show about two brothers, one who would become president of the United States. No, not that Jack & Bobby. Their mom is a major professor with a pot addiction sleeping with her TA Bradley Cooper, and the brothers are maneuvering high school, all while some future documentary on the President gives hints about what will come. The WB was stupid and cancelled it after one season. The promo for the series premiere can be seen here.
- Jericho (2006-2008) The unthinkable happens. The United States is destroyed by a series of nuclear bombs. A small town in Kansas, cut off from the world, tries to rebuild and figure out what happens. A bit Lost, a bit X-Files, a ton of nailbiting suspense awaits in these two seasons. Skeet Ulrich from Scream plays the main character. The trailer can be found here.
- The O.C. (2003-2007) Oh Julie Cooper, thank you for making “cougar” a thing. Sandy Cohen didn’t know what he was getting into when he takes in a kid from CHINO. Ryan Atwood’s arrival to the upper class of Orange County makes waves and changes the lives of the Cohens and Coopers forever. And then there is the romance of Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts. The O.C. made teenage dramas cool. Here is the Season 1 Trailer.
- Undeclared (2001-2002) Another bungled Fox cancellation. Most people prefer Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks, but as I was a sophomore in uni when this aired, Undeclared always spoke more to me. It’s the story of some misfit freshmen trying to survive their first year of college. Series trailer here.
- Wonderfalls (2004): Yep, Fox cancelled a wonderful show after only four episodes. The Bryan Fuller production told the tale of Jane Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas), resident of Niagra Falls, Canada, begins to receive advice from inanimate objects that allows her to find solutions to the lives of friends and passerbys but unable to help her with her unrequited love for the recently married (and who already has problems in the marriage) Eric. It also stars Lee Pace and Traci Thoms. Here is a link to a fan-made trailer.
- Daria (1997-2002). Daria is the animated story of a highly intelligent and sarcastic high schooler girl with a popular sister. For me, it’s the most accurate portrayal of high school life despite being a cartoon. It was how my friends and I communicated, at least. Everyone knew each other, but that didn’t mean we all had to like each other. As Daria says, “she doesn’t have low self-esteem. She just has low esteem for everyone else.” A 2010 DVD trailer doesn’t show much, but this clip captures the essence of the show.
- The X-Files (1993-2002, 2016): The show that showed us it was okay to have multi-season story arcs and that the government conspiracies were all around (it aired before the Bush Jr. administration!) Mulder and Scully (played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) were everywhere in the 90s. We all knew that the truth was out there, to trust no one and to believe the lie because all lies lead to the truth. The show will return in 2016. Let’s try to forget the bad and remember the good, as this ad for 201 days of The X-Files does.
- Everwood (2002-2006): Similar to Northern Exposure in theme, the ongoing serial nature of another Greg Berlanti series improved on it. After the death of his wife, successful New York neurosurgeon Dr. Andy Brown (Treat Williams) moves his family to the town of Everwood, Colorado, as the last request of his wife. It has some fish-out-of-water moments, but the heart of the show are the relationships, familial, platonic and romantic, the show’s characters find themselves in. It was marketed wrongly as a teenage soap. The Story of Everwood tells it better than I do.
- Pushing Daisies (2007-2009): Another Bryan Fuller creation. Ned (Lee Pace) has the ability to bring anyone back from the dead with just a touch. However, if they continue to live more than a minute, someone else has to die. Ned uses this to solve crimes…until he brings back his childhood sweetheart Chuck (Anna Friel) back from the dead. Yet everyone wanted Ned to touch Chuck and hook up with Olive (Kristen Chenoweth). A fan made trailer can be seen here.
- Happy Endings (2011-2013): The best post-Friends pack of friends comedy. The jokes come a mile a minute, and the romantic complications make Ross and Rachel seem to have no obstacles whatsoever. The series preview is here.
- Desperate Housewives (2004-2012): The tale of not-so-quiet desperation of four women and their neighbours of Wisteria Lane blended humour, mystery and soap opera dram. (Wisteria Lane would’ve been a much better name as it was about so much more than the housewives). Every season had a season-long mystery, where as week-to-week built upon the adventures and misadventures of life in suburban anytown USA. (Seriously, would Bree ever be friends with Gabrielle or Lynette in real life?) The British trailer captures the essence of the series, as does the American trailer.