By Jessica Wheeler, Alive Tampa Bay Columnist
We all have at least one—the show that you just didn’t seem to catch while it was on the air. Whether you missed the first episodes and couldn’t follow the story after that, or you just didn’t hear about the show until it was too late to watch, Netflix gives all of us a second chance to catch up with the shows that got away. But with so many to choose from, where should you begin? Here are 10 great shows to get you started.
Sitcom: Parks and Recreation
With one of the best casts in recent memory, Amy Poehler’s warm-hearted show was never a hit in the ratings, but won a loyal following of fans. The show featured Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Retta, Billy Eichner…do you really need any more convincing? This show starts off slow, so you can begin with season 2 if you like (and I can almost guarantee that you will like).
Vintage Sitcom: Cheers
The template for every modern sitcom, Cheers has aged extremely well. A top-notch cast and excellent writing made it a hit while it was on the air, so you’ve probably seen at least a few episodes, but it’s still fun to go back and watch from the beginning as Sam and Diane match wits in the company of the bar regulars. A classic in every sense of the word.
Brit Pick: IT Crowd
Netflix hosts a cache of wonderful British comedies, but none reach the heights of the IT Crowd. While set in the most mundane of environments (an IT department run by “a dynamic go-getter, a genius, and a man from Ireland”), the show plays on the absurd, resulting in side-splitting laughs and a million quotable lines. This is another one that picks up in the second season, so feel free to start there.
Drama: Mad Men
If you missed Mad Men while it was on the air, now is the time to correct that mistake. Watch Don Draper navigate the turbulent 1960s, along with his equally turbulent personal life. The acting is impeccable, and the series is dotted with occasional humorous moments that manage to be funnier than most sitcoms.
Political Drama: West Wing
Aaron Sorkin’s top-notch drama influenced everything from Scandal to House of Cards, and now you can start from the beginning to catch every nuance of its complicated politics. The show won 26 Emmy Awards, including four straight wins for best drama.
Classic Drama: Twilight Zone
Rod Serling’s elegant anthology series reflected America during the Cold War, but manages to be just as relevant today. Often chilling, always memorable. each episode features a new storyline with a different cast, so there’s no time to get bored here.
Miniseries: Top of the Lake
Elisabeth Moss stars in this mystery series set in New Zealand. The eerie visuals and compelling storyline, revolving around the disappearance of a young girl, will draw you in and hold you close until the explosive finale. It’s like a less pretentious True Detective.
For the Kids: Powerpuff Girls
If your kids have watched every Disney movie a million times and are getting tired of Scooby Doo, sit them down in front of the Powerpuff Girls. Cartoon Network’s beloved girl-power animated series features Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, three little girls with very big super powers.
High School Dramedy: Freaks and Geeks
The jumping-off point for actors Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, and Martin Starr, Freaks and Geeks mixes painfully awkward moments with lots of laughs to create a highly accurate look at high school life. Created by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow, this show about the losers is a real winner.
Sci-Fi Adventure: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
“This show isn’t for me,” you might think. “I don’t watch stuff that originated on the WB. I don’t like vampires, or care about people fighting vampires. The whole premise just sounds stupid.” That’s what I thought, too. Then I watched it. Give it a try.