Helena Hamilton | Contributing Writer | 1,026 day ago

The Netflix Shows That Pretty Much Ruled Our Lives In 2014

The Debrief: From House of Cards to Blue Planet, here's what we watched this year

In the spirit of being grateful for all that’s got us through 2014, we’d like to take a moment to thank our good pal Netflix.

Always there when we need it (as long as we’ve paid the WIFI bill) it’s provided us with some really great entertainment this year – whether we were organising a housemate film night, missing an end of month birthday dinner to save money before payday or simply needed something short and sweet to watch when we got in from a lonely hour on the night bus, Netflix was there with the (sometimes questionable) documentary recommendations and addictive original series.

Here are the times Netflix helped us out the most in 2014…

When we just wanted to get the fuck through Valentines Day
Valentines day is, of course, a load of bullshit, but it was still pretty annoying when instead of a card the only thing sitting on our desk the morning of the 14th this year was yesterdays lasagne stained lunchbox. We needed an evening with someone who understood the same bitter mindset the day had produced, and that evil politician Francis Underwood delivered. What better way to spend the evening than in bed with pizza, wine and House of Cards? It’s one of the most popular, multi award-winning drama series of the last couple years, and great news - Season 3 is back in February. See ya then, Kevin.

When we were home alone
It became clear pretty quickly when all our housemates went on holiday at the same time this summer that being home alone is terrifying. After the novelty of stealing everyone’s Ribena and not having to queue for the shower wore off night time arrived, and he brought his mates doom and paranoia with him. Obviously, the only safe place was in bed with Netflix and all the episodes of Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends. Louis and his smart, deadpan, no-filter interview style had us engaged enough to block out all the creeky noises in the attic. Whatababe.

When we needed a conversation starter
We’re pretty sure everyone with a Netflix account/someone else’s login details stayed up all night back in June to watch the entire second series of Orange Is The New Black the day it dropped. The next day, post binge, new work friendships were birthed and first dates immediately put at ease at the recognition of knowing smiles with the mention of chocolate and vanilla swirls (swirrrl, swirrrl) and we all realised that as long as we have Orange in common, we’re all friends here.  We’ve been using it as the best stranger bonding mechanism ever since.

When we had a big day ahead of us
New job, important exam, first 24 hours on tinder; all respectable reasons for pre-match nerves. Nothing cures anxiety than a really good laugh, so Chelsea Handler’s Uganda Be Kidding Me live stand-up was the best medicine to banish all the nerves we felt the night before a scary day in October. Full of embarrassing anecdotes from her travels, Chelsea’s show made us all feel like we had our shit together even when we watched it in spag bol stained PJ’s. That hadn’t been washed in 19 days. You don’t really remember where they came from.

When we needed to feel productive
If you’ve done sweet FA all weekend it can feel a bit depressing to spend your Sunday evening lounging around even more, your separated dirty washing piles a reminder of the promise you once showed. Those were the times we put on Black Mirror. It’s a proper thinking TV show and we’d skip off to bed on those nights feeling proud of engaging our brains for at least 45 minutes. It’s smart, it’s gripping and if you’ve ever watched it stoned you deserve a fucking medal. The only downside is watching X Factor this year just wasn’t the same.

When we were stoned
When we wanted to board a hash cloud all the way to napland this year we called upon a Monsters Inc DVD and belly full of carbs, but if it’s a laugh you’re after Bojack Horseman and a family pack of Haribo is the way to go. In case you’re the kind of person who isn’t interested in sweary adult cartoons (who do you think you are, the Queen?) it’s about an alcoholic, has-been celebrity horse who has a lot of sexual partners, one of whom is a pink cat named Princess Carolyn. Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad voices one of Bojack’s mates, if you need anther reason to give it a go.

When we were ill in bed
When we had our wisdom teeth taken out earlier this year the idea of having to take a week off work sounded like bliss. In reality? Really bloody boring. After getting bored of daytime TV we admitted we needed to find ourselves a new series addiction, and Nurse Jackie was the perfect choice. Not only is the show absolutely hilarious, it’s also full of drama and twists. Do we trust Jackie? Is she actually a saint? Who knows, but the amazing cast (including Emmy Award winning Meritt Wever) and dark but touching storylines kept us laughing through the toothache. 

When we couldn’t sleep
As a kid you’ve got your parents and The Hungry Caterpillar. As an adult, its David Attenborough’s narration in Blue Planet we could rely on to bid us  goodnight. We lost count of the times David helped us nod off this year, and in that sense he’s kind of like a dream angel. Who really, really likes the sea. He made sharks cool and taught us that blue whale’s blood vessels are so wide you can swim in them. Thanks for the gift of David on demand, Netflix.

When we were just done with shit TV
When we were bored of uninspiring reality shows in May, Brave Miss World reinstalled our belief in real-life documentary making. The story of how Miss Israel Linor Abargil was abducted before competing in and winning the 1998 Miss World pageant, and what she’s gone on to achieve thereafter, is both inspiring and heartbreaking.  We’re wholeheartedly recommending it to anyone who hasn’t yet had a watch – it’s one of the most important documentaries we saw all year.

When our new boyfriend/girlfriend came home for the first time
The Office has been our Netflix go-to almost every time we’ve had company, but it’s an especially good shout if you’re entertaining a new love. For one thing, it’s a cult classic, so a reliable choice. It also kind of acts as a test, because if it turns out your guest doesn’t like the show then it’s clear you’re dealing with wrongun. If it’s a little awkward at first and you need an ice-breaker, go for the Christmas special. Never has there EVER been a more gorgeous and sincere ending to a love story than that of Dawn and Tim’s. 

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Tags: TV We\'re Unashamedly Watching, Film, TV That Matters