It’s not as if I have all the time in the world to sit back and watch Netflix, but I sure spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to watch when the opportunity presents itself. Like most college aged people, I’ve run the gamut of Netflix’s most popular streaming options. “Orange is the New Black”? Check. “House of Cards”? Check. “Sherlock”? Check. Every season of “The Office”? Check. My taste isn’t extraordinary—in fact it’s pretty basic—and I’d hazard a guess that 95 percent of the people reading this (so probably like five people) have watched the exact same things on Netflix as I have. But every so often I feel this little rebellious twitch and decide to dig a little deeper into the Netflix world and deviate from the norm. Here are five of the best TV shows, movies and documentaries I’ve discovered on Netflix.
5. “Like Crazy”
A whimsical, but heartbreaking indie film starring Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin, “Like Crazy” was available on Netflix for years, but was recently taken down. The film which focuses more on aesthetics and emotion than dialogue and character touched a heartstring with its depiction of Jacob and Anna’s star crossed love story. The two meet while studying in LA, the only catch? Anna’s British and her visa will expire a few weeks after school ends. After overstaying her visa and returning to Britain, Anna and Jacob face a myriad of challenges in their long distance relationship, all of which play out on top of a soundtrack composed by Dustin O’Halloran and featuring tracks from M83 and Stars. It’s a beautiful film and one that will leave you inexplicably sad.
4. “Diners, Drive ins and Dives”
25 episodes of Guy Fieri sampling delicious food across the country might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for any foodie it’s a treat. Fieri is an exuberant host who picks the slimiest looking joints for a bite and manages to find delectable grub anywhere. “Triple D”–as fans call it–never fails to entertain and it’s truly a delight for it to be on Netflix—because you never know when the Food Network will run it (and it likely won’t be at 2 a.m.). The one downside to watching this on Netflix is that you might consider ordering take out from Ted’s or even jump in the car and head south for some BBQ.
3. “The Blue Planet”
I’m not the world’s most scientifically oriented person, but “The Blue Planet” is one of my favorite documentary series and it has—thankfully—been on Netflix for some time. Featuring all eight episodes of the BBC and David Attenborough series, each episode focuses on a different group of aquatic life. “The Deep” sheds light on the eerie underpinnings of the ocean (think angle fish and weird tube shaped things), while “Open Ocean” caters to animals like dolphins, whales and sharks. “Frozen Seas” is my favorite episode as it highlights Arctic sea life like fur seals, beluga whales and penguins. Each episode is about 50 minutes long and you’ll fall in love with Attenborough’s dreamy narration right off the bat.
If you’ve never heard of “Columbo,” I wouldn’t be surprised. But ask your parents—they’ll remember the 70 minute miniseries starring Peter Falk as the bumbling, unassuming but incredibly sharp LA detective. If you like BBC’s “Sherlock,” you’ll love “Columbo” as it features the same basic premise. At just over an hour, the episodes take on one crime each, but unlike Sherlock Holmes, Columbo is a more likable character—he isn’t arrogant or a genius, just a good old fashioned detective. “Columbo” also gets bonus points for its groovy 70’s fashion and soundtrack.
1. “Star Trek”
Contrary to popular belief “Star Trek” is not just for geeks. While the special effects are dated, the plot lines are still epic and William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy’s acting is classic. Don’t let the glamorous silver screen reboot fool you—the magic of “Star Trek” isn’t in flashy CGI or Chris Pines cheekbones, but in the old school show that won over hundreds of thousands of fans by boldly going where no show had before.