It’s summer, so you’re wondering what to watch on Netflix, right?
We weren’t all made to withstand high heat and humidity, so if your idea of a Not-Bummer-Summer is spending it indoors, here are nine TV shows (six of which are returning soon!) and 19 movies you should add to your Netflix List this summer.
Hannibal – 26 episodes, approx. 44 min. each (full series so far)
Another Hannibal adaptation? Yeah. Another one, and quite possibly the best one ever. The NBC series is two seasons in, and gets more creepy and spooky every week. Bryan Fuller’s reboot is totally enthralling and engaging, with unforgettable performances by Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, who portray the eponymous character and Will Graham, respectively. Laurence Fishburne also does his best work in years. The show’s also shined a light on two incredible Canadian actresses, Montrealer Caroline Dhavernas, as Dr. Alana Bloom, and Brampton’s Lara Jean Chorostecki, as the ruthless and conniving blogger Freddie Lounds. Hannibal returns to NBC/CityTV for Season Three in 2015. (Related: Hannibal, one of the best shows of 2013, is “sinister yet cheeky.”)
The Good Wife – 90 episodes, approx. 44 min. each (four seasons; Season 5 ended on CBS in May 2014)
“That show’s for suburban white ladies.” – Me, before devouring the first season of CBS’s The Good Wife. Julianna Margulies’ performance anchors and elevates the show to much more than courtroom/law-firm drama. Though it goes the Boston Legal route around Seasons Three and Four (outrageous, ripped-from-the-headlines cases), the drama never falters. The rest of the cast is superb too, especially Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi (it also attracts some top-notch guest stars, like Michael J. Fox, Martha Plimpton, Nathan Lane, Carrie Preston, Dylan Baker, Anika Noni Rose, Anna Camp, Denis O’Hare and Scandal‘s Joe Morton, to name a few). I started watching The Good Wife shortly before Twitter erupted in shock over the surprising and shocking death of a main character. I quickly watched four-and-a-half seasons of TGW and finally got to the episode in question and my worst fears were quashed. This was not a show grasping for relevance or desperate to jolt its narrative; The Good Wife is a confident series, and an addictive one.
The Good Wife returns to CBS/Global for Season Six in September 2014.
Orange is the New Black – 26 episodes, approx. 60 min. each (full series so far)
Orange is the New Black is Netflix’s surprise hit series – surprising only because on paper, its D.C.-set political drama House of Cards, starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, sounds like it would be the more appealing, but no. It’s the dramedy about a women’s prison in Upstate New York that will have you testing the limits of your Internet’s bandwidth. The show stars many newcomers or lesser-known faces, including Taylor Schilling (Mercy, The Lucky One), Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager), Natasha Lyonne (But I’m a Cheerleader), Yael Stone, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Samira Wiley and Laverne Cox. While Season Two has its faults (too much Larry, not enough Sophia; the many flashbacks sometimes got distracting and tiresome), the series so far is groundbreaking in its portrayal of incarcerated women.
Orange is the New Black‘s third season will be on Netflix in 2015.
Sherlock – 9 episodes, approx. 90 min. each (full series so far)
Despite my best intention, I was sold on BBC’s Sherlock series midway through its first episode. I say this because the series so obviously and desperately wants to be cool and current and edgy and funny. It’s fun, I’ll give it that, and it’s sometimes more clever than it needs to be, but with a great cast (Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous sleuth and Martin Freeman as his sidekick, John Watson) and its production value what it is, it’s hard not to follow along obsessively. Season 4 of Sherlock returns to BBC some time in 2015, with a special slated for earlier that year.
The Mindy Project – 46 episodes, approx. 22 min. each (full series so far)
Oh, Mindy. Too often dismissed for its bumpy first few episodes, The Mindy Project has matured into one of the funniest half-hour comedies since the end of 30 Rock. Mindy Kaling, who created the show and penned 13 episodes during its two-season run so far, stars as Mindy Lahiri, a New York-based OB/GYN who at first glance seems too selfish to care for other people. But she wants what everyone wants: good and loyal friends, professional fulfillment and rom-com-worthy romantic life. The Mindy Project also stars Chris Messina, Ike Barinholtz, Ed Weeks, Adam Pally and scene-stealer Xosha Roquemore. Seriously: More Tamra in Season Three, please! And kudos on Mindy and co. nabbing major guest stars: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Seth Meyers, BJ Novak, Anna Camp, Anna Gunn, Bill Hader, Timothy Olyphant, Max Greenfield, Ben Feldman and Drea De Matteo, among others. The Mindy Project returns to FOX/CityTV for Season Three in September 2014.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – 22 episodes, approx. 22 min. each (full series so far)
While its Golden Globe win for best comedy series was a real head-scratcher, the FOX series certainly grew on me as its freshman season progressed, anchored by a superb comedic cast that includes Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Andre Braugher, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz and scene-stealer Chelsea Peretti.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns to FOX/CityTV for Season Two in September 2014.
Happy Endings – 57 episodes, approx. 22 min. each (full series)
Happy Endings, sadly, is done! But many of its stars can be seen on TV next fall. Damon Wayans Jr. was bumped to series regular on New Girl, Eliza Coupe will star in a half-hour comedy on USA called Benched, Casey Wilson will star in Happy Endings creator David Caspe’s new NBC sitcom Marry Me, which premières in October, and Adam Pally was introduced as a supporting character on the second season of The Mindy Project. It’s a hang-out show for 20-somethings living in 2014.
+ TV shows I’ll be watching (if you want to watch along!): Twin Peaks (full series, two seasons), Luther (full series, three seasons).
Planet of the Apes (1968)
After the unfortunate misstep that was Tim Burton’s Apes film, one of the greatest sci-fi franchises ever got its due reboot in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Andy Serkis’s motion-capture work made the Rupert Wyatt film – starring James Franco and Freida Pinto – one of the greatest and most cerebral action movies of the new decade. My anticipation for the sequel has been high since the credits rolled on my first viewing of the 2011 film. The 1968 version of the film stars Charlton Heston and makes a neat case study on how far the film industry has come, special-effects-wise.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, directed by Matt Reeves and starring Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and Jason Clarke, hits theatres on July 11. (Related: My most anticipated films of 2014)
Jack Black leads a cast that includes Matthew McConaughey and Shirley Maclaine and some non-professional actors in Richard Linklater’s Bernie, the stranger-than-fiction biopic of a docile-seeming Southern man who shockingly kills a woman and stuffs her body in a freezer for months before anyone catches wise. Richard Linklater, one of the most versatile American directors working today, also helmed the Before Sunrise series, as well as Black vehicle School of Rock.
Linklater’s Boyhood, filmed over 12 years, opens in Montreal July 25.
Okay, so Tammy kinda bombed and was almost universally panned, but there is no denying that when Melissa McCarthy is on her A-game, there is no stopping her. In Bridesmaids, she plays a rough-around-the-edges bridesmaid, a role that brought her warranted attention and an Oscar nomination – and, I would argue, brought so much attention to her CBS sitcom Mike & Molly that she took home an Emmy for her work there after this film came out. Bridesmaids was one of my favourite movies of 2011: it was funny and edgy, and important. Co-written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo (their screenplay was up for an Oscar), the film got lots of attention for its stars, including McCarthy and Wiig, who left Saturday Night Live in 2012 and has had mixed success on the big screen (the upcoming Skeleton Twins, with fellow SNL alum Bill Hader, looks phenomenal). Mumolo has also been tapped to pen the upcoming David O. Russell film Joy, which will star Jennifer Lawrence, due out in 2015.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Cate Blanchett swept awards season last winter, taking home major hardware for her work in one of Woody Allen’s best films ever, Blue Jasmine. She played Jasmine, a newly poor New York socialite who moves to San Francisco to live with her sister, the only person who’ll have her and, we find out, the only person she really even knows. The film also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Alec Baldwin, Louis C.K., Bobby Cannavale, Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay. Woody Allen will release Magic in the Moonlight this summer. The last year without the release of an Allen flick was 1981, between the Stardust Memories and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy. Magic in the Moonlight will star Emma Stone, who will also star in his yet-untitled 2015 film with Joaquin Phoenix.
Magic in the Moonlight opens in Montreal on Aug. 8.
Jack Goes Boating (2010)
Philip Seymour Hoffman directed just one movie before his untimely death earlier this year. The sweet Jack Goes Boating is on Netflix Canada, and stars PSH, the lovely Amy Ryan, and John Ortiz. At 89 minutes, the film flies by. Hoffman is an unlucky-in-love New Yorker who gets set up on a date by his friends, themselves having trouble at home. Hoffman’s love of theatre shines here, as much of Jack feels like it could and maybe should have been on a stage.
Hoffman will appear in Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, due in Montreal on July 25.
+ Misc.: Oscar winner for best documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour, District 9, Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said, Ryan Coogler’s outstanding debut feature Fruitvale Station (Related: My favourite movies of 2013), Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy, Stranger by the Lake, the sweet The Way Way Back, Jason Reitman’s Young Adult, and the riotous The Trip, which is getting a sequel, The Trip to Italy, on Aug. 15.
++ Movies I’ll be watching (if you want to watch along!): Jim Jarmusch‘s Broken Flowers, Oscar winner The Lady in Number 6, Oscar nominee from Denmark for best foreign-language film The Hunt, and Drinking Buddies by Joe Swanberg, whose Happy Christmas will be out this summer in select theatres and on-demand.