Hopefully by now you’ve managed whittle your DVR season passes down to a manageable level, excising a lot of the fat from the new fall season (and staring side-eyed at the Agents of SHIELD season pass). You might even find that you have a few extra hours in the week to devote to catching up on television or, if you’re one of the increasing numbers of people without cable, you may be in search of a new series to get hooked on. Netflix, which is increasingly lousy with its recent movie releases, continues to expand its television catalogue. Over the last few weeks, they’ve added several new seasons and entire new series. Here’s six recommendations from among the new titles/seasons.
Damages (Season 5 just added) — The first season of Damages, which comes from a former Sopranos writer, Todd Kressler (in fact, the evil, conniving and controlling Glen Close character at the center of the show is apparently based in part Kressler’s experiences with David Chase) and is one of the most under-appreciated but brilliant seasons of television over the last decade. The subsequent seasons are good to great, but it never approaches the fantastically intense, shocking, and mind-blowing first season again. However, the entire series is supremely acted, has a lot of amazing guest stars with extended arcs (Timothy Olyphant, Chris Messina, John Goodman, among others) and is very intense, at times, for a legal show that rarely visits inside a courtroom. It is a very good series to watch on Neflix, though, mostly because you can skip the third season and maybe even the fourth season if you’re strapped for time (the fifth season is pretty great, though).
Arrow (Seaosn One just added) — A surprisingly strong first season that got seriously better as it progressed, I>Arrow is the only must-see show on The CW network. It’s well worth catching up on so you can enjoy the second season of the comic-book based series live. Once it gets going, it’s addictive as hell, so you may be able to clear the entire first season over a long weekend.
Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 (Entire Series) — The hilarious, cancelled too soon series featuring James Van Der Beek as himself, and Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker trading places throughout the series as the character you most want to gawk at for 22 minutes. We can’t say enough great things about Don’t Trust the B— and the best news is, the episodes that weren’t aired on ABC after the show was cancelled are available on Netflix now, so much of season two will be new to you, even if you’d been otherwise following the series. This is pure sitcom candy, and you ought to be able to binge through it in a few days.
Chuck (Entire Series) — I have such mixed emotions about Chuck. It was a fun, quirky spy comedy for three seasons, sort of of like a rich man’s USA Network series. But show’s penchant for rebooting itself every half season is a little annoying, although it was necessary because the writers basically had to write every half season finale as though the show — perpetually on the cancellation bubble — was going to end. The final two seasons drag, and often make you wish that the “Save Chuck” campaign had not worked with NBC, but the first three seasons are definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a entertaining, breezy show to wind down with after work (Yvonne Strahovski’s presence is always a delight, too).
Dexter (The First Four Seasons) — For now, anyway, Netflix makes available the series as it should be viewed: Up and until the Trinity Killer in the fourth season. Pretend as though the last episode available — the fourth season finale — is the series finale, and you’ll always think fondly of Dexter. The final four seasons are set to arrive on Netflix over the Christmas break. IGNORE THEM. PRETEND THEY NEVER EXISTED.
Sons of Anarchy (Fifth season just added) — The first two seasons were outstanding. The third season wasn’t good until the end, while the fourth season was great until the end. The fifth season is uneven, but definitely worth watching. This is a good show to jump on now, ahead of next year’s final seasons, since it could become one of the most talked about series in 2014, with all the Hamlet-inspired deaths coming to fruition.