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Stream Cuisine: The Best Stuff on Netflix Instant

Mitchell & Webb

Netflix, I’m convinced, is the greatest invention of all time. It took a tedious, nigh-impossible chore — going to a video store, picking out a movie, coming home, watching it, and then going back to the store to return it — and made it as easy as ticking a box on the internet and opening and closing an envelope.

Naturally, opening and closing that envelope become too much goddamn work, so Netflix quickly reinvented the greatest invention of all time, and came up with Netflix Instant, which lets you strean movies and TV shows on your PC and TV just moments after you decide you want to watch them.

The catalog of streaming entertainment isn’t entirely fantastic, but it’s constantly growing and changing, so from time to time I’ll post about the better stuff I’m watching, so you can watch it (in the U.S., at least) if you haven’t already.

That Mitchell & Web Look (Seasons 1, 2 and 3)

Sketch comedy by Robert Mitchell and David Webb. Clever, rude, insightful, silly, almost always funny if a little over-reliant on recurring characters. Like all sketch comedy, it’s hit-or-miss, but they’re fully aware of it, even featuring a sketch where they discuss how to order the sequence of hits and misses in the show. I think this is the best sketch comedy since Mr. Show. That’s Numberwang!

Exit Through The Gift Shop

I admit I never got the big deal about Banksy, but I sort of do after streaming this documentary, which I never would have rented because I never got the big deal about Banksy. Meet an unusual fellow who videotapes everything in his life, watch him infiltrate the underground street art community, and see him somehow become the toast of Los Angeles as a street artist himself. If you only watch one documentary from 2010 (like I did) watch this one.

Futurama, Volume 5

Volumes 1-4 have been streaming for ages, and while I own them on DVD, this means I don’t have to fuck around opening the boxes and looking for the discs I want and losing precious seconds inserting them into the DVD player like some kind of caveman from two years ago. Volume 5, which aired recently on Comedy Central, is already online and streaming. Not a lot of instant classics, but a few strong episodes, like “The Late Philip J. Fry” and “The Prisoner of Benda” are worth a second, third, and fourth viewing.


I recently sold my box-set of the single season of Firefly, and then immediately pined for them. Luckily, Netflix saved me from having to slink back to Dimple Records to re-purchase them by having them available to stream. Shiny!

Serenity, the film made specifically so Firefly fans would shut the hell up about the show being canceled, isn’t great, but at least you can see the useless characters from the show die. (I am fully prepared to argue about why these characters are useless and deserved to die.)

The Larry Sanders Show (all seasons)

I didn’t watch much of this when it was on, and after streaming about eight episodes recently, I’ve decided I don’t entirely love it. Still, it’s evident how influential it was, considering how many of the best TV comedies these days are single-camera, no-laugh-track affairs.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

I never, ever, ever would have rented this, but I streamed it one day because otherwise I might have had to do something productive. It’s great, fun, and charming, and since it’s not a Pixar film it won’t make a shameless and transparent attempt to cause you to weep uncontrollably (though it does have its sentimental moments).

If you’re watching anything good on Netflix Instant, let me know in the comments.


  1. I rented The American the other day…Reminded me of an Andrei Tarkovsky film…Really slow, but powerful acting with beautiful cinematography….And ya know, George Clooney helped.

    As far as streaming goes, I’ve started back up watching the second (and depressingly final) season of Dollhouse. Very good show, though it’s a bit darker than Whedon’s other stuff.

    I’m also about to rewatch the film Chocolate. Notice the ‘e’. It’s about an autistic girl who learns kungfu through watching kungfu movies. And then goes and beats up some gangsters. Seriously, go watch the trailer. Pure win.

    Also…It’s good to have you back writing again! Looking forward to reading more!

  2. That Mitchell and Webb Look is fantastic. In fact, there is a whole lot of (mostly older) British TV that I’ve been enjoying. A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Top Gear, Red Dwarf… all good stuff.

  3. I use Netflix daily at work so I’ve gone through a lot of TV and movies. Here was my work watched list this week:

    The League
    Eli Stone
    The Riches

    Eddie Izzard
    Mike Birbiglia

  4. I’ll bite.

    Why did those characters deserve to die?

    Interested to hear the reasoning.

    • Christopher says:

      Okay. First, Wash. He’s got two purposes on the show. First, he’s the comic relief, and second, he’s the pilot.

      He’s not needed for comic relief because Mal, Jayne, and Hailey are much funnier than he is. He’s not needed as a pilot because — and this is where I feel the most strongly — Mal should be flying his own damn ship. He’s the Captain! It’s his boat, as he’s so fond of pointing out. Han Solo didn’t sit around letting Chewie do all the flying. Mal shouldn’t be letting some dork fly his ship, either.

      As far as Book, I can’t think of anything useful he did at any point on the show. He’d sometimes say something sort of wise or sort of wry or whatever, but mainly, he was just ballast.

      • How does your body keep living when your heart clearly died long ago?

      • You heartless bastard! I can’t remember crying more in a movie than when Wash died. And while Mal can certainly fly his own boat in a pinch, he isn’t able to pull off the moves that Wash could. Being smugglers and outlaws and such you need a real crackerjack pilot…


        Watching on Netflix Streaming (which, imho, is the bees knees and I can’t imagine my life without it.)
        Lie to Me
        Re-watching Buffy
        I also enjoyed The Pixar Story – behind the scenes at Pixar

  5. If you like That Mitchell & Webb Look also look into Peep Show (if you haven’t already), it’s by the same guys, not sketch comedy though.

  6. Eddie Izzard’s stand up is up there as previously mentioned.

    Every Goddamn episode of Married with Children (!!) is up there.

    If you haven’t seen Spartacus yet, you owe it to yourself to see it. Season 1 is just fucking epic, and even Season 2 managed to be great with what it had to work with. The show’s got a great cast including Andy Whitfield, John Hannah and Lucy Lawless (who I remember best as Xena: Warrior Princess) If you don’t know what the show is about, here’s the synopsis: gladiators, blood, and tits.

    I also saw an English movie on there recently called Exam which I liked quite a bit. It’s a sort of psychological suspense film that keeps you guessing throughout.

  7. Farscape
    (PS: watch Farscape)

  8. Addendum: Invader Zim is now on Netflix. Ho-lee shit.

  9. I’ll one up that recommendation for Peep Show, which preceded that Mitchell and Web Look with the show that preceded them all: The Mitchell and Webb Situation. No laugh track, all funny (far superior to The Look). Also, they did a movie called Magicians, which was pretty bad, but by the time you’ve seen Situation, you’ll want to see it all.

    I haven’t given the newer Futurama episodes a chance after I didn’t really enjoy the first…two I think? I will have to try again some day. One time I sold a shit ton of stuff to Dimple for which they paid me a pittance. Immediately regretting the decision, I asked for a do-over within a minute of the transaction and they rejected me. It’s probably because of that asshole I saw in the back whose eyes lighted up when he saw I was selling them the Criterion Edition of Rushmore. Fuck that guy and fuck Wes Anderson!

    • I wish I could edit my comments to correct particularly egregious grammar errors : (