At first you think you will never reach Netflix saturation point. The bounty! The volume! The unexpected quantity of Jennifer Aniston films you’ve never seen! And yet, after a few months of blissful cohabitation there will eventually come a point where you find yourself having your first fight with the search box.
‘What do you MEAN you don’t have Coupling? That is EXACTLY the sort of show you ought to have!’ you will bellow at the screen. ‘You don’t even KNOW what’s GOOD FOR YOU.’
Later you will apologise, make up and settle for some Father Ted instead, but deep down you know it will let you down again.
In order to proactively deal with my disappointment (and partially, I’ll admit, because I hope some big bosses at Netflix will see it and grant all my wishes), here are some of the most crucial omissions from the Netflix back catalogue… in my opinion.
The Secret World of Alex Mack
Of all the Nickelodeon shows stealing our hearts of a mid-90s Sunday morning, Alex Mack was one of the classiest options. With her backward caps and radioactive superpowers, she made the Sweet Valley High twins look like a pair of whiny blonde proto-Kardashians (ok, perhaps they were a pair of whiny blonde proto-Kardashians).
‘I think [the powers] were, for me, more of a metaphor for all the weird changes you go through in that time in your life,’ says the show’s star Larissa Oleynik, who has retained a sort of cult status thanks to us all re-watching 10 Things I Hate About You at least five times a year. But we say adolescent or not, there’s still a lot we could learn from the show’s puddle-melting heroine… except how to melt into a puddle. I’ve finally accepted that.
‘I want to be a lawyer!’ a whole generation of us announced to the school career advisors. ‘Because you have a keen sense of justice and like working punishing hours in restrictive grey trouser suits?’ they asked, hopeful. ‘No! For the unisex toilets and all the kooky hallucinations!’ we replied.
If, like me, you have recently devoured all four seasons of The Good Wife, you basically owe it to pay tribute to the lawyerly dramz that paved the way before – namely, Ally McBeal. It’s available on US Netflix but not the UK version, which seems terribly unfair and means all we have to fill the void is Vonda Shepard albums and fond memories of temporarily fancying Jon Bon Jovi.
Hey Netflix! Some of us don’t have Comedy Central. Some of us have spent the last five years trying to force ourselves to love How I Met Your Mother as a cold, ungiving surrogate. Some of us might want nothing more than to come home and kick back with The One Where You’ve Seen it So Many Times You Don’t Need to Actually Pay Attention. After all of the 20-year anniversary nostalgia knocking around this year, it seems especially cruel that we can’t watch Gunther et al on our devices to mark the occasion.
I understand that this wold be a pricey acquisition, so how about only the first five seasons? Just up to Ross saying the wrong name? Or failing that, one episode from each season. We can pretty much just fill in the gaps.
The Good Life
There’s a certain breed of 70s sitcom that makes especially good comfort watching when you’re a) ill or b) drunk. Fawlty Towers is one, but there are only 12 episodes on Netflix (or in existence) and I’m, er, ill more often than that. So to accompany it, I politely request another stalwart of the retro British comedy archives, The Good Life. Tom and Barbara were doing homespun rustic loveliness decades before The Great British Bake Off was a twinkle in the BBC’s eye, and there’s plenty of Richard Briers in chunky jumpers… if one likes that sort of thing.
America’s Next Top Model
Before anyone starts throwing shade, I’m not saying that the glory days of ANTM could ever overshadow my more recent love for RuPaul’s Drag Race. But both could co-exist so happily, like mother and besequinned, lipsynching daughter, that it seems borderline ridiculous Tyra Banks and her baby models aren’t anywhere to be seen on Netflix. Oh, how I’d love to spend a solid month re-living every shoot, every challenge, every easy, breezy, beautiful tear squeezed from within a perfect smize.
My So-Called Life
If Dawson’s Creek gets a spot in Netflix’s hallowed halls, then surely My So-Called Life can’t be far behind. Being only seven at the time, I don’t remember much of this one beyond the fact I loved Clare Danes’ hair, and wasn’t allowed to watch it because my parents thought it would be inappropriate. But of course, that’s the joy of Netflix (and being a grown-up) – making up for lost time. Can’t stop me now, Mum! But Netflix can, the big meanies.
3rd Rock from the Sun
For three reasons: 1) adorable child Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 2) almost everyone who was anyone in 90s TV, including that guy from Seinfeld, the other guy from that other thing, the lady from that Drew Barrymore film, and John Lithgow, 3) all we had by way of a UK comparison was My Parents Are Aliens, which has been ruined forever by starring the creepy professor from Fresh Meat. Why would you withhold all this goodness from us Netflix? WHY? Is it a government conspiracy?
Ok so this is the longest of long shots, but it needs a mention as part of my one-woman campaign to make sure the memory of The Biz lives on, rather than slipping off forever into the mists of time. If I mention the CBBC stage school drama (absolutely the best thing on TV between 1994 and 1996) on the internet at least once a year, it can completely never die.
Get The Biz, Netflix! I’ll watch it! You can probably buy it for 99p plus a self-addressed envelope from Otis the Aardvark.
Want to read more? Here’s our coverage of the recent Apple announcements, includingeverything you need to know about Apple’s ‘phablet’, the iPhone 6 Plus, andsmartwatches buying guide, or if you’re sick of Apple completely, here’s our rundown of our 14 favourite dating apps, from Tinder to eHarmony.