I consider Netflix streaming to be one of the best bargains out there in entertainment. For $9 a month (assuming you have a home internet connection), you gain access to an enormous libraries of commercial-free films and television series. You can choose what you want and, if your internet connection is fast, you’ll be watching it within a minute or so.
One problem-within-a-blessing with Netflix streaming, though, is that there is a mountain of content on there – and a fair amount of it is awful. You have to dig around to find good stuff on there, but if you can dig a bit, there’s a lot of good stuff.
Which brings us to a reader email. Tom writes in:
You’ve mentioned great finds on Netflix streaming several times on Money360. Why don’t you collect all of them into one place, so we can book mark it?
Your wish is my command.
Below are 75 things I’ve found on Netflix streaming that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, from television series to documentaries, from comedies to dramas. I’m positive that somewhere on this list, there are a few things that you haven’t seen that you’ll love. Some of these you’ve seen me mention before. Others are new.
I’ve broken the list down into some arbitrary categories. Also, all television series are linked to the first season of the series – many series have multiple seasons on Netflix streaming. I’m also going to challenge myself to describe each entry in the length of a tweet – 140 characters or less. (You can, of course, click through to read more information.)
It’s also worth noting that this list is current as of early April 2011. Netflix constantly makes small adjustments to the programs they offer on streaming, so inevitably a few of these will disappear over time, while other interesting stuff is added.
Films – Animation
: A wonderful coming-of-age story that my two older children absolutely love.
: This is my all-around favorite animated movie of all time.
: If the first five minutes of this Pixar movie doesn’t tear you up, you haven’t experienced deep love yet.
Films – Comedy
: Bill Hicks is my favorite stand-up comedian of all. This provides four vintage stand-up sets from him.
: A comedy-musical-drama that won the Best Picture Oscar several years ago.
: This is, in my opinion, the vintage black and white comedy.
: Extremely dark humor all throughout this film.
: One classic debate I’ve had with my wife is figuring out how many years pass during this film.
: If you’ve ever enjoyed Shakespeare, this is absolutely hilarious. It turns Hamlet on its ear.
Films – Documentary
: An utterly gripping picture of a family in crisis.
: A wonderful summary of bluegrass and Americana music. I’ll turn it on and just listen to the music.
: An amazing (and often hilarious) documentary on the commercialization of art.
: A great perspective on the challenges and exploitation in youth sports.
: A deep look at the challenge of personal debt in America.
: Incredibly insightful and polarizing look at the practices at a church camp.
: Beautiful coverage of the discoveries that Lewis and Clark made on their journey.
: A look at how a high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 was pulled off.
: Much like “In Debt We Trust” (above), a great look at personal debt in America.
: A musically and artistically rich look at the impact of Bob Dylan on American music and art.
: A documentary about life on the ground for a platoon in Afghanistan.
: An insightful and very entertaining look at the impact of fast food on health.
: What does the increasing gap between the rich and poor in America really look like?
: A look at how Wal-Mart keeps their prices low and profit high through pushing the costs off onto other aspects of business.
Films – Drama
: A very entertaining look at the sometimes seedy life of Mozart.
: A very dark look at the life of a writer with an extreme case of writer’s block.
: A spectacular classic film about the escapades of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker.
: One of the best thrillers of all time. The less I tell you, the better.
: A quirky look at someone coming to terms with their ethnic heritage.
: Christopher Nolan’s (Inception) first movie, a dark look at the challenges of writer’s block.
: A powerful movie about the early days of gangsterism in America.
: Jack Nicholson’s performance as a psychiatric ward patient is one of the best things ever put to film.
: A heartbreaking story about personal redemption.
: Billy Bob Thornton is amazing as a developmentally-challenged man in a small town.
: One of the small handful of movies I’d call essential viewing.
Films – Foreign
: A quirky French romantic comedy. If I weren’t married, I’d fall in love with the main character.
: A bleak but powerful Chinese film about life in the Chinese coal mines.
: An amazing South Korean action film that is best if unspoiled at all.
: A classic Japanese Kurosawa film upon which the American film “The Magnificent Seven” was based.
: A French film with a very memorable main character about the challenges that juvenile offenders face in their lives.
: A classic Japanese samurai film about a lone warrior caught between two gang bosses.
Films – Sci-Fi/Fantasy
: A powerful film about loss of identity through the eyes of humans and alien refugees.
: One of my favorite films as a teenager, this is a classic sci-fi action film.
: A gorgeous epic film about the harrowing journey of an individual with a great burden to bear and those who help him.
Series – Comedy
: A quirky comedy about the production of a television show.
: An animated humorous take on James Bond style spy movies.
: A wonderfully self-referential comedy about a clueless rich family.
: A comedy about the challenges of working for a soulless corporation.
: A short musical series about the emotional conflicts of a supervillain.
: What will the year 3,000 look like?
: A great series about hospital workers… for the first five or six seasons or so.
: A warped look at the lives of obsessive players of online RPGs (a thinly-disguised World of Warcraft).
: A darkly comical look at how IT workers deal with life.
: An amusing but sometimes serious look at the members of a fantasy football league.
: A great series about professional life at a “typical” office environment.
: The superior (in my opinion) British predecessor of the above series.
Series – Documentary
: The best documentary I’ve ever seen. Carl Sagan looks at the universe.
: Not a single series, but a large collection of short documentaries on various subjects.
: A great look at the ties between religion and the history of America.
: Moving coverage of America’s Civil War, and surprisingly effective at humanizing it.
: An emotionally (and factually) powerful look at the second world war.
: A deep look at the history of baseball and how it’s intrinsically tied to American history.
: A look at the history of jazz music and the deep ties it holds to the twentieth century in America.
Series – Drama
: A great series about forensic anthropology and human relationships.
: The single best legal drama I’ve ever seen.
: If you think this show is about football, you haven’t watched it.
: A harrowing look at an anarchist motorcycle gang and the conflicts they create.
Series – Sci-Fi
: The single best sci-fi television series I’ve ever seen. If you’ve ever even considered watching one, watch this one.
: A quirky British series about a time traveller who pops up at different points and locations.
: The second best sci-fi series I’ve ever seen, and a bit more tongue-in-cheek than the first.
: A great series about the consequences of being able to see six months into the future.
: A wonderful (and deep) series about isolation, life, death, and hope.
: A very fun and light series about humans who visit other planets and cultures.
: You couldn’t pay me enough to miss this series throughout the 1990s. This is the grandaddy of modern sci-fi on TV.
: A great series about a team that investigates abnormal events.
: A very quirky series about a strange small town and a murder investigation.
Grab some friends (or your honey), pop some popcorn, and settle in for some low-cost entertainment!