Netflix has boasted one of the best selections of movies and television, both domestic and foreign, for a while now, and their constant stream of new additions generally squashes any possible competition there could be between them and other streaming sites like Amazon Instant Video or Hulu. But, Netflix's newest television show pick-up this time? It doesn't just squash chance of competition — it obliterates it. According to The Verge, Netflix has just made the very genius decision of making UK sci-fi series Black Mirror available to stream for US users, with new episodes available on the site now.
If you've never heard of Black Mirror before, take my word for it: This show, which is a Twilight Zone -esque take on the impacts of invasive social media and technology on the modern world, is worth a night spent binge-watching episode after episode. It's edgy, it's smart, and it's dark as hell — once you finish the first episode, it's pretty much impossible not to just let Netflix auto-play the second one and take you into a binge-watching bliss. (And, if that's not enough to convince you, perhaps this will: It's so good, that Robert Downey Jr. is even going to turn one episode into a full-length film.)
The thing about British shows, sadly, is that they are generally very painfully short. Seasons don't operate like they do in the US with a standard 22 episode run, so UK series seasons can often times only consist of 8, 6, or even as little as 4 episodes. Black Mirror, for instance, only has 3 episodes per season, and 2 seasons are available right now (with season 3 on the way, as creator Charlie Brooker stated, "someday"), so that binge-watching session is gonna be shorter than you're used to. Luckily, once you're in the world of Netflix, there's always an option to help you get over the end of a beloved show — and, since you're starting out with Black Mirror, what better show to follow-up with than another British masterpiece? Netflix has a fair share of them, and, trust me, they're all must-sees.
Boasting a cast with stars like Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson, Luther is one of the best crime shows out there — so good, even, that it's receiving a US remake on Fox. However, before that airs, do yourself a favor and watch the original: From the very first episode, the mysteries will have you guessing until the last second, and Elba's portrayal of tortured, complicated, unhinged Detective Chief Inspector John Luther is nothing short of Emmy-worthy. (Law and Order: SVU fans should look out for a fun little crossover in one Luther episode, too!)
Coupling, which was created by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat back in 2000, is often referred to as the British version of Friends, and with good reason — considering it follows the lives of six 20 to 30-something friends living, working, and dating in the big city (London!), it really, really is. However, despite the comparisons, Coupling is one of the funniest Brit comedies around — and it features a baby-faced, pre-Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Davenport. What more could you ask for?
The IT Crowd
Often times, with comedies, you have some episodes that just don't work — they're not as funny compared to others, maybe, or they're just missing something. The IT Crowd, however, has none of those. Every single episode this show put out during its run is flawless comedy, and I guarantee you'll be shocked at how much it's possible to laugh during a single 30 minute timespan. The show stars pre-stardom Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, and Katherine Parkinson in top form as three IT employees at a London firm who pretty much get themselves into the most insane situations on a weekly basis. There are a ton of computer jokes thrown in for the more tech-savvy viewers amongst us (including many jabs at Windows Vista — the clip above is priceless) and even the most ridiculous plots the show throws out there never seem over-the-top.
You may have seen Syfy's American version of Being Human before, but, like most remakes, the original is definitely the most superior. Following three roommates of supernatural origins — a werewolf (Looking's Russell Tovey), a vampire (Aidan Turner) and a ghost (Lenora Crichlow) — who are attempting to live together amongst humans and integrate themselves into the human world, the series is an occasionally funny, occasionally heartbreaking drama that will definitely fill the void left by any recently ended supernatural shows like True Blood.
The critique that I often have for teen shows is that they're just not realistic enough. I loved Gossip Girl, The O.C., and One Tree Hill as much as the next person, but come on — none of us lived our high school years going out as much as those kids or, you know, looking like 20-somethings who are closer to graduating college than prepping for the SATs. So, that's where The Inbetweeners comes in: It's a show about four high school age boys who are completely disgusting, unabashedly obsessed with sex and girls, and totally pathetic in their quest to be seen as cool by their peers. For instance, there's an episode where the boys borrow a car and drive into London to go to a "cool" club to impress girls, only to have everything go miserably wrong for them due to their own idiocy — when The O.C. did an episode like that, on the other hand, the kids went to L.A. and they hung out with a character played by Paris Hilton. If you're looking for real teenage experience, The Inbetweeners is the show for you.
Speaking of teen shows: Whereas The Inbetweeners offered a hilarious take on the uncool kids, Skins offers a more dramatic take on a diverse group of kids where the common stereotypes generally set by teen shows — the "popular kids," the "geeks," the "partiers," etc. — are blurred substantially. It's not always the most realistic, but many episodes about the trials and tribulations of growing up, falling in love, and losing loved ones do hit home and are easy to identify with. Plus, the show definitely doesn't hold back when it comes to teens engaging in unlawful behavior like drug-use. Gossip Girl often got a reputation for being the most scandalous show on television, but put it next to some of the stuff Skins aired in the past, and it'll look downright modest.