Let's face it: Netflix has become a way to excuse yourself for watching 13 hours of television in a row. There's a thrill to the uninterrupted nature of it. Frankly, who cares about having friends? They're not as funny or sexy as TV characters. Think about that.
And then, please think about these five underrated seasons of TV all streaming right now on Netflix.
“Damages” season three
The season-to-season reinvention of FX's “Damages” was sometimes only half-successful (particularly in the transition from three to four, when it went to DirecTV's Audience network), but I really think we've under-heralded the fabulous moments from the third season. By that year we'd already had the triumphant, basically flawless first season and an ultimately too-confusing second season (with some great work from Marcia Gay Harden), but the third season gave us a trio of wonderful additions: Martin Short as the chilling Leonard Winstone, Lily Tomlin as a beleaguered family matriarch who had a very bad Thanksgiving, and Campbell Scott as the cunning Joe Tobin. Glenn Close, please just come back to TV. We need you so much.
“30 Rock” season seven
I've heard way too many losers complain that “30 Rock” got worse as its seasons progressed. Maybe I could concede that season five had some iffy episodes (namely that “Reaganing” one), but for the most part the show really wound up on high notes, giving us one of Jenna's most famous catchphrases (“My whole life is thunder!”) and the sweet, hilarious relationship between Liz Lemon and Chris Chros. As our own Alan Sepinwall said, “'30 Rock' isn”t limping to the finish line like so many great sitcoms before it. It”s been sprinting through this victory lap season, giving all of its characters happy endings […] revisiting past gags, and making the series” end much harder to accept than if it had stayed a shadow of itself.” Try not to cackle thinking of Kim Jong Il (Margaret Cho) asking us, “What will happen to the gang next year?”
“It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” season 4
Honestly, it's fair to call any season of “It's Always Sunny” underrated. For reasons unknowable to humankind, it's been shut out of the Emmy race and hasn't scored a single Best Actress in a Comedy nomination for Kaitlin Olson, who is constantly bringing it. She's certainly proven she's the best dry-heaver in television comedy. I chose season four because that's the one that begins with Charlie and Dee believing they're cannibals. A perfect introductory episode for any “IASIP” novice.
“Children's Hospital” season 2
“Children's Hospital” is a show I forget about from time to time, but it's always worth revisiting. Season two was the first year we got Sy Mittleman (Henry Winkler), whose sexual obsession with butterflies is just an inspiration.
“Grey's Anatomy” season 2
“Grey's Anatomy” may be the unkillable “Gunsmoke” of current TV dramas, but it's never going to be remembered as a highpoint in TV quality. Let's remember that when this show was at its most lovable — definitely season two — it was morphine-level addictive. That's when you get Izzie pulling the plug on her lover patient. That's when you get Burke operating on his musical hero. And that's also before Meredith's self-satisfied narrations become unbearable. Congratulations, 2006, this is the one thing I loved about you.