So, it’s the middle of the month and you’re starting to notice your bank balance is looking a little damaged. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could do something fun that didn’t involve spending dollar? Netflix has you covered.May 2016 brings a bunch of new releases and old favorites on Netflix, so I thought it would be cool to present some of the best TV series you can binge your way through while counting coin over the weekend. From superhero favorites to cult comedies, there’s something for pretty much every taste on Netflix right now — check out some of the best TV shows below, and check back next month for more. Oh, and I’d love to hear a few suggestions in the comments.ArcherThe thrill of watching a suave man in a tuxedo dodge bullets, fall out of moving trains/planes/helicopters, and save the world without breaking a sweat, making it home just in time for a sex date with a woman he’ll never call again, is somehow still going strong fifty years after James Bond sauntered onto the scene.
Archer, the titular (sort of) hero of this superior FX animated comedy, is less The Spy Who Loved Me, more the spy who made an offensive joke about my tits and then got a strangely Freudian verbal spanking from his mother. Functioning both as subversion, satire and love letter to the spy genre, its strong cast of characters make Archer such a winner, none especially likable, but each oozing charisma, and all united in their mutual contempt for Sterling Archer.ArrowIf superheroes are your thing, you’ve probably already spent some time in Star City with Oliver Queen and the gang — but even if not, Arrow packs enough intrigue to make it worth investigating.
Stephen Amell is great as the titular hero, a playboy presumed dead who returns to find his city in decay and in need of saving. With a bow and arrow and a green suit, he becomes the vigilante MVP of Star City. As the camp and villainous Malcolm Merlyn, John Barrowman frequently steals the scene, and Season 1 is packed with epic cliffhangers and outrageous plot twists.BloodlineA wealthy family falls apart when a long-buried secret comes back to haunt them. As premises go, it’s not the most original, but Bloodline runs with the idea and turns it into something far more complex and emotionally satisfying. The way that tension is built, beginning with a slow-burn before erupting in the final third of the season, makes Bloodline perfect for a weekend binge. Ben Mendelsohn, next seen in Star Wars: Rogue One, is perfect as the bad boy black sheep of the Rayburn family.
Buffy the Vampire SlayerThis one needs no introduction — unless you’re young enough that you weren’t alive in the ’90s, which is just depressing. Sarah Michelle Gellar earns her cult stripes as the titular vampire slayer, a student at Sunnydale High who assembles a team including geekish friend Xander, sweet-hearted Willow, hilariously British librarian Giles and queen bitch Cordelia to ward off various evil spirits. TV doesn’t really get much more iconic than Buffy, even if some of its ’90s-isms feel like a lifetime ago now.
CuckooYou may not have heard of this low-key British comedy currently airing on BBC3, but everyone should be watching Cuckoo. Season 1 stars Andy Samberg as a borderline-insane adventurer named Cuckoo, while Seasons 2 and 3 feature Taylor Lautner as Cuckoo’s son.
Lautner has a surprising gift for comedy and slots easily into the eccentric, offbeat Thompson family, who welcome him into their home after a lifetime spent living in a bizarre cult. Think of it as kind of a more grounded Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.DamagesWhen legal grad Ellen Parsons is offered her dream job with renowned prosecution lawyer Patty Hewes, it seems like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Appearances, though, can be deceptive, and soon Ellen finds herself at the center of a spider’s web of lies, manipulation and murder.
Rose Byrne is excellent as Ellen while Glenn Close absolutely kills it as corporate predator Hewes, who will do quite literally anything to win a case, including tearing her young protege’s life to shreds. Seriously intense and packing five seasons of material, Damages is one super-satisfying binge.DaredevilI’ve always been most drawn to superheroes with less superpowers — seeing them kick ass without the ability to fly or shoot laser beams from their eyes is a lot more satisfying. Matt Murdock, the lawyer who dons a red suit by night to fight crime in sleazy Hell’s Kitchen, definitely doesn’t have laser eyes.
Blinded in his youth in a freak accident, Murdock’s other four senses are enhanced enough that his combat and martial arts skills are not only badass, but kind of believable. Charlie Cox is great as the Daredevil, but it’s Vincent D’Onofrio as the mild-mannered, chillingly calm, troubled crime kingpin Wilson Fisk who makes the longest-lasting impression. Fisk absolutely owns this series.Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23I still shed the occasional tear when reflecting on how this cult sitcom was cruelly cancelled way before its time. Krysten Ritter, now a household name thanks to Jessica Jones, camps it up in epic style as Chloe, a nightmare roommate who more than lives up to her billing as the eponymous bitch. Dreama Walker is June, a sweet Indiana girl freshly arrived in the big city.
Together they make a beautiful odd couple as June learns to live with Chloe’s considerable eccentricities. Throw in Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek playing a hilarious version of himself, and you have the recipe for a smart, meta, extremely charming half-hour of comedy.The FallThis is in effect the show that earned not-unattractive Irishman Jamie Dornan his breakout Hollywood role in Fifty Shades of Grey. Here, Dornan plays an outwardly-normal social worker who also happens to be a creepy, perverted serial killer. The cat-and-mouse interplay between Dornan’s killer and Gillian Anderson’s police detective, who begins ten steps behind but is skilled enough to get into the twisted psyche of a murderer, makes The Fall a seriously intense thriller.
Happy ValleySpeaking of intense, Happy Valley is just about as far removed from its name as any show with themes of rape, kidnap, suicide and police murder could possibly be. The amazing thing about this show is that, despite all of the above trauma, the characters still have moments in which they’re allowed to breathe outside of the plot. These people feel real, none more so than Sarah Lancashire’s amazing heroine Catherine Cawood, a police sergeant looking to avenge her daughter’s death. Truly the best of British television.
The IT CrowdMost stereotypes are rooted in some kind of truth. The IT department of Reynholm Industries in The IT Crowd being forced to work in a disgusting basement may be an exaggeration, but the sheer social awkwardness of Roy, Moss and Jen, and their inability to interact with their more popular, better-paid colleagues above ground, is hilariously on-point. Unlike some cult British comedies of the time, The IT Crowd will still make you cry tears of joy every time you go back.
Jessica JonesLike Daredevil before it, Jessica Jones takes our expectations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turns them squarely on their heads. Jones may have a dry wit, but there aren’t many jokes here — this series breaks new ground by exploring some dark themes like psychological and sexual abuse without ever feeling preachy or grim.
Krysten Ritter is an absolute revelation as Jessica, the hard-drinking detective with powers she’d rather not use and a past she’s been desperately trying to escape, while Rachael Taylor is also excellent as Jessica’s sidekick Trish. As far as superhero shows go, Jessica Jones is the one to beat.LutherI didn’t realize how many British series were on this list as I compiled it, but it goes to show that the US doesn’t always have bragging right when it comes to great TV. Luther is another masterpiece from across the pond, starring Idris Elba, the internet’s boyfriend/husband/best bro, as John Luther, a detective with a considerable temper and an excellent coat.
Over four “seasons” — the last is only two episodes, which feels more like an act of trolling — Luther takes various twists and turns, but it’s never better than when John is dealing with Alice Morgan, the femme fatale he just can’t seem to shake.Top Of The LakeA little like Bloodline, Top of the Lake is a murder mystery set in a beautiful, remote, seedy town a long way from anywhere — but in this one, Robin Griffin (Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss) is alone, lonely and dealing with some trauma of her own as she investigates the mysterious disappearance of a pregnant, underage young girl.
Local gangster Matt Mitcham does everything possible to make himself the main target of suspicion, but not everything is as it seems in this desolate corner of New Zealand. You may not even have heard of Top of the Lake — it airs on Sundance Channel — but it’s probably time you changed that. Just don’t expect many laughs.Which Netflix TV series have you been binging — Jessica Jones, Arrow, Buffy, or something else entirely?