The Netflix Stream: Week of December 25th, 2011

Each new month brings a huge shift in Netflix content, and a new year means even bigger changes. This week, we get a look at everything that’s being taken away. Not until next week will we see the big list of what’s new. Fortunately, there are a few new additions that will make some folks very happy.

Leaving the Stream
  1. ‘Best in Show’ (1/1): I’m so in love with the improvisational comedies directed by Christopher Guest, and ‘Best in Show‘ is right at the top. It’s a movie that manages to make every actor look good, but ‘Best in Show’ will always stand out to me as the first movie where I realized the comedic genius of Fred Willard.
  2. ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ (1/1): I was going to write up a really snarky summary about how Jack Nicholson went downhill after this flick, but the real focus should be on just how crazy good this movie is. Milos Forman knocked it out of the park with ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest‘. It’s a truly iconic film.
  3. ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ (1/1): At the end of the month, I’ll be auditioning for a part in a local production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors‘. I planned to watch the movie a few times while preparing, but it looks like that won’t be an option. If you haven’t seen this movie, you really should. It’s a wonderfully campy tribute to bad sci-fi and trite love stories that still manages to make you really care about the characters.
Entering the Stream
  1. ‘True Grit’: As great as the Coen Brothers version of the movie was, there’s still space for the original ‘True Grit‘ too. If nothing else, a cast consisting of John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper is a blast to watch. It may seem a little off if you watched the new one first, but it’s well worth checking out.
  2. ‘Fawlty Towers’: After ‘Monty Python’, John Cleese went on to make a brilliant if less well-known show called ‘Fawlty Towers‘. If you want to give it a try without investing a huge amount of time, start with the sixth episode, entitled ‘The Germans’. The entire series is a showcase for Cleese, but that episode stands out above the rest.


  1. Alex

    Fawlty Towers is, in my mind, the absolute paragon of sitcoms. So far ahead of its time (though still gleefully politically incorrect), it’s really a shame that there’s only 12 episodes in existence.

    Incidentally, I had read somewhere that the reason that there were so few episodes of the UK version of The Office was because Ricky Gervais didn’t think that he could make more episodes than Fawlty Towers had and still maintain their quality. Maybe I’m spreading false rumors around, but Fawlty Towers really is that brilliant!

    • It seems odd that some of the greatest UK comedies are so short, or that they will go off the air for years, then suddenly come back. Red Dwarf 8 I believe had only six episodes, and showed several years after the first few seasons, And Red Dwarf 9 I believe is the mini-series “Back to Earth”, which was only three episodes, and was aired like 10 years after Red Dwarf 8. Then Red Dwarf 10 is in production now, but I believe there is only 6 episodes of that. Remember, this show started in the 80s!

      (You know, I got the internet right in front of me, but am just too lazy to go and look stuff up right now).

      Then there was the UK version of The Office, which, unless I am mistaken, there was only 12 episodes of.

      Black Adder at least got multiple seasons, and Are You Being Served ran for like 13 years (yet they only produced something like 70 episodes in that time).

      It seems like the new Doctor Who and Torchwood are really the first UK series that seem to take on an American-style of episodes a year. Both seem to have roughly 20 episodes a year

      • The original Prime Suspect ran for 7 seasons, spread out over 15 years, and only produced 12 episodes in all that time! is a good source of information like this.

      • EM

        Inured though I now am to acquiring my favorite American TV series in season sets, I sometimes pine for the early days of DVD, when series such as The Twilight Zone and Star Trek were released in single-disc bursts of just a few episodes at a time. The fact is that a typical season-based collection of umpteen, twenty-some, even thirty-some episodes has only a handful that I strongly like to revisit again and again—diamonds in a rough of duds and also-rans.

        Arguably the British approach of fewer episodes per “season” permits a higher concentration of quality. But I suppose there are tradeoffs. A greater number of episodes permits some of the costs to spread out—I can well imagine that the Starship Enterprise might have been impossible on a six-episode budget—and it also permits a little more experimentation.

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