For those who have Netflix — or at least have the password to a friend’s account — it’s a great way to instantly access a wide variety of movies and shows.
But, it can be tough to wade through all the Lifetime movies and ABC Family shows to find something that’s actually worth watching. If you find yourself lost and confused, here are some suggestions.
Sherlock: With great characters, upcoming actors like Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek), and mind-blowing plot twists at the end of almost every episode, Sherlock is a show anyone can enjoy. Each episode is set in modern day London and based on a different Sherlock Holmes novel. With three 90 minute episodes per season, this British TV show feels more like a series of movies than a regular show.
The Walking Dead: As long as you can handle obscene amounts of gore, you will love this show, which tells the story of a small group of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Along with epic zombie battling scenes, this show has surprisingly heartfelt moments, believable characters, and interesting plotlines. Useful tip: don’t watch while eating.
How I Met Your Mother: When I started watching this show, I realized that many of the funny lines I’ve heard around the halls are actually just people quoting this show. Although my opinion of Whitman’s comedic abilities took a blow, it was completely worth it. The show is relatable, charming and laugh-out-loud funny.
Vampire Diaries: If you don’t mind your friends periodically making fun of you, and if can get over the fact that you are watching a show about vampires, you will not regret watching this show. It has arguably one of the most attractive casts on television, and its enthralling albeit somewhat ridiculous plotlines will have you hooked.
Other great shows:
Friday Night Lights: A small town Texas football team is faced with challenges when their leading player is injured.
Downton Abby: An upper-class British family deals with scandal, war, and social changes in the events surrounding WWI.
Workaholics: Full of raw, authentic bro humor, this show is about three slacker best friends who “work” as telemarketers.
Breaking Bad: An overqualified high school chemistry teacher starts making crystal meth for extra cash after finding out he has terminal cancer.
Keith: When I first heard of this movie I was skeptical: I’m usually of the firm belief that any movie starring a washed-out pop star cannot possibly be good. But after seeing Jesse McCartney star in Keith, an offbeat indie romance about a guy with deep issues, I immediately wanted to see it again. Both funny and tragic, this movie is one of the best on Netflix.
Mean Girls: No explanation required. If you haven’t seen this movie, you can’t sit with us.
Cinema Paradiso: In Italian with English subtitles, Cinema Paradiso is one of many great foreign films available on Netflix. It follows the life of a boy growing up in a small town in Italy, who develops an enduring love for movies and the fatherly projectionist at the local theater. This story of young love and lasting friendship will leave you with a tear in your eye.
Shakespeare in Love: Although this movie tells the fictionalized story of how one of the greatest tragedies in the English language was inspired, it’s surprisingly comedic. Shakespeare in Love is about young William Shakespeare as he writes Romeo and Juliet. Complete with romance, disguises, cross-dressing, comedy and tragedy, this movie incorporates many traditional Shakespearic themes in a story that can appeal to viewers even if they aren’t Shakespeare fans.
Other notable movies:
Sin Nombre (Spanish): A Honduran teenage girl hoping to find a new life the in the United States struggles to cross the border with the aid of a troubled young man who is fleeing his gang.
Where the Heart Is: A pregnant teen starts living in a Wal-Mart after her boyfriend abandons her on the side of the road.
The Game: In this psychological thriller, a wealthy financer is gifted a unique type of game from his younger brother, which ends up consuming his life; and not in a good way.