28 TV shows and movies to watch on Netflix Canada this summer

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)

Hannibal

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)

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“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.

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Best of 2013: Top TV shows

I like year-end lists. I like reading them to discover movies, music, books and TV shows I missed. I like reading them to validate my own taste. I like reading them to disagree with them. And I like making them to reflect on the year that was. But they’re particularly challenging to do for TV, I think.

Do you evaluate a show against all other shows on television? What about a show that had a particularly great, improved or poor season compared to other seasons in its series? And what about new shows that have only been on the air for a handful of episodes? Shows with seasons that span two calendar years? Shows with part of two seasons in one calendar year?

Here’s a list of TV shows, in no particular order, that had at least one episode air between Jan. 1, 2013 and today, that made me neglect my health and social life.

Orphan Black

Orphan Black

Orphan Black is one of the most exciting new sci-fi show in years. Compelling and highly addictive, it tells the story of Sarah Manning, a down-on-her-luck woman with a loser boyfriend and a daughter she wants to protect. Her life gets irreversibly more complicated after she witnesses another woman’s suicide – a woman who looks exactly like her. She runs off with the dead woman’s purse and learns they are just two of a set of women cloned. How many of them are there? Who did this? The show’s greatest asset is Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany who plays all of the clones, from the stay-at-home mom to the Ukrainian religious fanatic. Orphan Black is produced, set and filmed in Toronto. It airs on BBC America in the U.S. and Space in Canada.

Hannibal

Hannibal

One of the best photographed shows on television, that NBC’s Hannibal is on this list surprises me, too. Developed for television by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me), Hannibal pushes the boundaries of network television while also exercising surprising restraint.  You don’t see Hannibal … do what he’s known to do until four or five episodes into the series, which makes the first time all the more special. The show stars Laurence Fishburne, Montreal actress Caroline Dhavernas, Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen as the cannibalistic Hannibal Lecter. I thought the poor cinematic follow-ups to Silence of the Lambs – Red DragonHannibalHannibal Rising – had left too bad a taste in my mouth, but NBC’s Hannibal is more than satiating. It’s chilling yet titillating; sinister yet cheeky. The episode names are food-themed, like the pilot’s “Apéritif” and later episodes’ “Amuse-Bouche” and “Buffet Froid.”

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad

The show that continually topped itself week after week, season after season. After five seasons and 62 episodes, we bid adieu to Walter White, the meth-cooking former chemistry teacher who made an icon out of actor Bryan CranstonBreaking Bad is one show that’s tough to say goodbye to because it did so many things right – cinematography, score, script, supporting cast – and elevated the playing field for the medium. It was a satisfying finale that tied up everything for the characters and gave them and the audience what they deserved.

Scandal

Scandal

Appointment viewing. No show has as many twists-per-episode as Scandal does; no show is ever as close to the edge of the cliff as Scandal is; no show has ever been this serious in its craziness, and this crazy in its seriousness. At the end of the last episode alone (“YOLO”, Dec. 5), the vice-president (of the United States!) kills her husband after the president’s chief of staff sends her photos of her husband in a compromising position with another man – the chief of staff’s own husband, a journalist who the chief of staff arranged to interview the VP’s husband in hopes of outing him. Meanwhile, fixer Olivia Pope (the great Kerry Washington) is trying to get her mother – who she thought has been dead for 20 years after her plane was shot down by the now-president (yes, of the United States!) – out of the country before her father, who runs a super-secret off-the-books black-ops program, finds her. She calls in a favour to the man with whom she’s having an affair – the President of the United States of America. It’s a wonder it doesn’t self-destruct in its own ridiculousness, but it’s no wonder Scandal keeps me coming back week after week.

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