Worth Watching?

I’ve been recording my favorite television shows to watch on my schedule for a long time. The ability to fastforward through commercials and boring parts of reality shows made DVR a much better option than OnDemand.

Then I got Netflix. No commercials or waiting a week to find out what happens next. I still DVR a few favorites (mostly reality shows), but increasingly, my favorites are on Netflix.

Because of all the options, finding things to watch on Netflix can be a challenge. I watch whatever catches my eye on the “home” screen and shows I’ve heard about elsehwere. I’m especially keen on documentaries, biographies, and historical fiction. Here’s a sampling of my favorites.

Grace and Frankie. Lifelong frenemies and polar opposites Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) become roommates after their husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson) come out about their years-long love affair. Four adult kids — two from each marriage — struggle to support their fathers without further angering their pissed off mothers. This show alone is worth the monthly Netflix charge. The fifth season of this hilarious original series from Netflix came out last month. To prolong my enjoyment of this outstanding show, I rationed myself to two episodes per sitting.

Insatiable. Patty has long struggled with weight issues ustil she has to have her jaw wired shut after an altercation with a homeless man. Bob, her defense attorney and an aspring beauty pageant coach, is married to former beauty queen Coralee (Alyssa Milano) who he coached before they were married. He thinks Patty might be “the one” to win the national crown, takes her under his wing, and enters her in the Miss Bareback Buckaroo and Miss Magic Jesus competitions. Hilarious, with moments of darkness. The first season ended violently, leaving many (inlcuding moi) to wonder where this show is going.

The Last Kingdom. Vikings, Saxons, and Gauls. Oh my! Uhtred is a Saxon raised by Danes — warring tribes in uber-violent 9th Century Western Europe. He’s a great warrior who is caugth in the middle and mistrusted by both sides. Virtue is his tragic flaw, leading to all kinds of trouble. Season 4 is in production. Based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell.

The Tudors. Henry VIII is perhaps the most well-known monarch in history. This four-season series fleshes out his story — how he came to have six wives, his feelings for each, and the internecine rivalries around him. Henry (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a surprisingly sympathetic character.

That’s a short list of my recommendations. What about yours?