Crix Picks 2013: Shows You May Have Missed

By December 27, 2013
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This year, a couple of new phenomenons emerged in the galaxy …and they were good.

Netflix not only released their own original shows, but they ALSO released entire full seasons at the same time, allowing viewers to inhale as many episode as they wanted at their own pace – a practice known as “binge watching.”

Outside of network shows like “Breaking Bad,” I also binge watched a few of the original series Netflix had to offer, and here are my favorites of 2013!

“Derek”

Ricky-Gervais-Derek

In the most interesting of offerings, “Derek” is another mockumentary-style show set in a nursing home and centered on the title character, a very kind, gentle, and often-mistaken-for-mentally-disabled caregiver as he does his day-to-day job that he doesn’t even consider a job – he genuinely cares for these people. Created by and starring Ricky Gervais (“The Office U.K.”, “Extras”), the cast also includes one Karl Pilkington – who fans will recognize from “The Ricky Gervais Show” and “An Idiot Abroad” – as Dougie, the home’s custodian/bus driver and the guy Derek considers his very best friend.

If you’re expecting “The Office-like” antics here, expect more. “Derek” IS a funny show but it’s a different kind of “funny”: it’s extremely touching. The way each episode seamlessly goes back and forth from laughter to tears back to laughter leaves you with a pretty good feeling.

“Orange Is The New Black”

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Based on a true story by Piper Kerman and created for Netflix by “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan, “Orange Is The New Black” tells the tale of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a woman living about to be married to a wonderful guy (Jason Biggs) and living the dream amongst the upper middle class society of New York…until she’s sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison for transporting drug money for her then-girlfriend Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), an international drug smuggler. And even though said offense happened ten years prior, Chapman learns there’s no such thing as a statute of limitations when it comes to these things.

There are loads of familiar and talented faces among the cast, including Taryn Manning (Hustle and Flow, “Sons Of Anarchy”), Natasha Lyonne (American Pie series), comedian Lea DeLaria (“The Oblongs”), and Captain Janeway herself, Kate Mulgrew (“Star Trek: Voyager”).

If you’re not into a gritty look at women’s prison life, this may not be the show for you…there’s loads of sex, violence, and dirty words.  Think HBO’s “Oz” but with women AND it the fact that it really happened…yeah, it’s pretty friggin’ intense.

Lilyhammer

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Hands down, THIS is my fave of all the Netflix original offerings. It’s like “The Sopranos Go to Norway” but with WAY less violence and LOADS more laughs.

“Lilyhammer” stars Steven Van Zandt (“The Sopranos”) as mafia underboss Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano, a guy who’s passed over as the new boss upon the present one’s death AND a botched hit job on Tagliano BY the new boss that results in his beloved dog, Lily, being killed in the process. As revenge, he decides to turn state’s evidence and testify against the whole lot. As he makes the deal to be put into the Witness Protection Program, Tagliano says he wants to go to Lillehammer because a) he loved the town after seeing it during the 94 Winter Olympics, and b) NO one would ever think to look for him there.

Now living in Lillehammer as Giovanni Henriksen, Tagliano learns that the way things are done in The Big Apple don’t necessarily work here…so as any good mob guy does, he adapts.

Although this trailer is for season two (which premiered earlier this month), it gives NOTHING away about the previous season!

(NSFW for language)

(If you’re looking at Paul Kaye and thinking “I’ve seen that foulmouthed Englishman before,” you probably have…he plays Thoros of Myr on “Game Of Thrones.”)

Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show

Not only does Van Zandt sit as star, he also serves as writer and composes the show’s score…all while still fulfilling his long, LONGtime day job as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s lead guitarist for the 2013 Wrecking Ball Tour.

Why is it “Lilyhammer” and not “Lillehammer”? The title derives from Tagliano’s murdered dog (Lily) and the way most people mispronounce the city’s name.

I can’t say enough about this show, darlings. You NEED to watch this one!

Now that I’ve given you MY picks, I know EXACTLY what you’re gonna ask: “What about ‘Arrested D’ and ‘House of Cards’?”

Here’s the thing: anything I could say about the Netflix season of “Arrested Development” (which I LOVED) has been said a million times over and as far as “House of Cards” goes, I’m still trying to make an effort with that show. Now that the original U.K. version is also available on the instant queue, I may peruse that one first before making my way over to the U.S. version that stars Kevin Spacey (who I adore).

I hope I’ve helped you decide to check out a couple shows that may have missed your radar. I know I can be a bit of a boxset bully at times but luckily for you, you won’t be hauling home 80 pounds worth of DVDs this time around.

Until next year, darlings!

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Cricket Lee
Star Wars fangirl. Named Best Kisser by Time Magazine. CEO/Host: Girl Gamer; host of Gecken: GeekNation; writer: Dread Central. You'll have a crush on me soon. Vote Quimby. Twitter: @crixlee http://www.imdb.me/crixlee