UPDATE: Feeling the stay-inside vibe this weekend? This is all you need to pass the weekend by in a glorious TV trance. This story was originally published on January 12, 2013 (but we've added some new must-watch entries!).
We've been there. You've exhausted your Netflix queue, flipped through your entire spectrum of TV channels (twice), and seen every season of 30 Rock. It's tough, but don't despair. There's still uncharted territory out there! In fact, there's oodles of fun to be had from the comfort of your laptop this weekend. You just have to know what to look for.
These are our favorite finds on Netflix Instant Watch. Never heard of 'em? Good! Heard the word, but haven't gotten around to it yet? Now's the time.
Love The Killing?
You've undoubtedly heard of Top of the Lake — everyone, or at least everyone in this office, is talking about it. Like Twin Peaks and The Killing, it centers around a mysterious, troubled young girl and a small town with a lot of secrets to hide. Recipe for a good time, right?
Photo: Courtesy of Sundance.
Love Upstairs Downstairs?
This list is obviously a bit heavy on British goodness, but that's because we just can't get enough. Call the Midwife has all the joys of a period drama, but with a slightly more contemporary setting in the '50s, and a much more realistic view of the difficulties of urban life.
Photo: Courtesy of BBC One.
If you're a fan of dark cartoons, this one is a must-watch. In the same way that Archer plays with the spy genre, The Venture Bros — which actually pre-dates Archer, but never seems to get as much recognition — is a vintage-inspired take on superheroes and stock characters.
Photo: Courtesy of Comedy Central.
Love Downton Abbey?
Try The Forsyte Saga. Featuring Homeland's own Sgt. Nicholas Brody (a.k.a. British actor Damian Lewis), this show about a stuffy English family through the generations has all the period-piece drama of Downton, presented in a far more engrossing, realistic manner. Don't be thrown off by the massive time jumps in the first few episodes — once this show falls into place, it's unbelievably hard to turn off.
Photo: Courtesy of WGBH.
Love Law & Order?
You'll go crazy for Swedish crime show Wallander. Though it doesn't cover sex-based offenses in particular, this thriller reminds us of SVU (our favorite iteration, obviously) because of its focus on the cops' and detectives' personal lives. There's also a Masterpiece Mystery version, but we recommend starting out with the original Henning Mankell.
Photo: Courtesy of Canal+
Well, this is basically the exact same concept, but British. And that's usually a good thing. Doc Martin follows the antics of a curmudgeonly MD after he moves to a provincial town, abandoning his prestigious London surgical post for unknown reasons. Weird diseases, even weirder people.
Photo: Courtesy of Homerun Productions.
Love Curb Your Enthusiasm?
Check out The Larry Sanders Show. This early-90s HBO comedy featuring a different guy named Larry also reminds us a bit of 30 Rock, with its focus on on-screen/off-screen drama in the television business.
Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures Television.
Love Parks & Recreation?
If you're a fan of all things dysfunctional, British sitcom Black Books is perfect for you. Focused on a perpetually down-and-out bookstore owner who regularly puts a mid-afternoon drink over customer service, this show should be heartbreaking — but instead, it's hilarious. Plus, if you're missing the glory days of TV, you'll dig the distinct early-2000s vibe.
Photo: Courtesy of Assembly Film & Television.
British series House of Cards is chock-full of political drama and underhanded scheming, guaranteed to get your blood pumping. It's also great if totally inappropriate and unethical sexual relationships are your thing. This is a great pick if you've already binged through the American version, but are still hungry for more!
Photo: Courtesy of BBC.