If you are like me, after a long day of slaving over textbooks, memorizing algebraic theorems and trying to remember what words like rhodopsin and sternocleidomastoid mean, you like having something good to watch in the evening. And if you are really like me, you can spend easily half an hour on Netflix just flipping through titles, trying to find something that looks half-way decent to watch. Well friends, I am here to help! Here is a list of 9 movies and TV shows on Netflix that are actually worth watching:
1. Ever After
Ever After is a superb portrayal of the classic Cinderella, set in France during the Renaissance. It is about a young woman named Danielle who is a servant for her stepmother, and restless Prince Henry who is not overly thrilled about his parents setting up an arranged marriage for him. They meet under unusual circumstances, and the prince becomes quite taken with the girl and her wild spirit. The thing he doesn’t know is that Danielle is just a servant in a nice dress. Or is she?
Note: The original version of this movie was rated PG13 for some foul language. However, there is a PG version that has the language edited out. I believe that the one on Netflix is the edited cut.
2. Ella Enchanted
This is a fun family-friendly comedy, which is loosely based on the book Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It is about a girl who is given the “gift” of obedience, and must do absolutely everything she is ordered to do. This is not especially handy when you have two bossy new step-sisters. When one day Ella is pushed to her limits, she deciders to run away and find the fairy who gave her the “gift” and beg her to take it back. A modern/medieval twist on the story Cinderella, this movie is sure to delight those of all ages.
3. While You Were Sleeping
While You Were Sleeping is a story about lonely transit worker, Lucy, who falls in love with a man named Peter who passes her by at work everyday. He is handsome, and charming, and well, perfect. The only thing is- they have never actually spoken with each other. But she knows he’s the one. Then everything is turned upside down when Prince Charming gets mugged and almost hit by a train, when Lucy saves him. He is rushed off to the hospital where they discover that he is in a coma. Oh, and there is one other thing. Peter’s family kind of thinks that Lucy is his fiancé…
This movie is a great feel-good, romantic comedy. While You Were Sleeping is rated PG, but I personally don’t recommend it to anyone younger than 13.
4. The Man From Snowy River
This is a movie that I have seen many times since I was very little, and I love it a little more every time I watch it. It is about an Australian mountain man named Jim Craig, who has to make a living for himself when his father dies. He gets hired by a wealthy cattle ranch owner named Harrison. Working at the Harrison’s is quite interesting. Mr. Harrison is a rough man, and the “supervisor” Curly is a jerk. Harrison’s daughter, Jessica, is high-spirited and not about to be shipped off to a woman’s college and told to act like a lady. And then there is the mysterious stallion who roams the mountains with it’s herd of wild horses. Jim is determined to fetch back his mare, Bess, who ran off with those horses the day his father died. As the story unfolds, the threads of an old secret become unraveled, and through it all Jim becomes the man that his father raised him to be. Rated PG.
5. The Rocketeer
A fun, exciting movie about a pilot named Cliff Secord, who finds a jetpack. He sees finding the rocket as a great opportunity, seeing how he doesn’t have a plane since the last one he flew crashed. So he decides to borrow the contraption for a while. But, “when you borrow something and don’t tell anyone, they call that stealing.” He soon becomes known as “The Rocketeer”, a mysterious hero who flies through the sky on a rocket. Meanwhile, Cliff’s girlfriend, actress Jenny Blake, is becoming frustrated with Cliff’s thoughtlessness. She catches the eye of the famous actor, Neville Sinclair, and accepts his invitation to dinner. As the plot thickens, Cliff comes to realize that someone is after the rocket and will stop at nothing to get it. This movie is rated PG, but it may not be appropriate for younger children due to frightening images and other aspects.
6. BBC’s Merlin
This is probably one of my favorite BBC television series. Why people think that shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who are better than this is beyond me. I know, how dare I say that! Merlin is about a young man (named Merlin) who has very powerful magical capabilities. He is sent by his mother to live with the court physician, Gaius, who is one of the few who knows about Merlin’s powers. In Camelot magic is outlawed by order of King Uther Pendragon, and is punishable by death. Ironically, he finds himself working in the palace as Prince Arthur’s servant. Arthur treats Merlin as a clumsy simpleton, oblivious to the fact that Merlin is an extremely powerful wizard who is constantly saving his life. This show is a clever twist on the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy.
7. BBC’s Robin Hood
Robin Hood is a TV series about Robin of Locksley, who has returned from war in the Holy Land and has returned to his manor. The Sheriff of Nottingham and his henchman Guy of Gisborne aren’t too happy about Robin’s return, or his justice towards the people of Locksley. Robin is quickly stripped of his title as lord of the manor and declared an outlaw. And well, you know the story. I thought this was a reasonable good show that was exciting and entertaining.
8. North and South
Margaret Hale and her father and mother move from the beautiful land in the south up to a northern town called Milton. Margaret quickly discovers how harsh the north can be. There are many cotton mills where workers slave long days on low wages, day after day breathing in the air that is snowing with cotton. One day, Margaret goes to one of the cotton factories to speak to a Mr. Thornton. When she gets there, she finds Mr. Thornton beating a man who he caught smoking in the factory. Margaret is shocked at the treatment of this man, and immediately begins to dislike Mr. Thornton. Her contempt for him only grows, and she discovers that he has become friends with her father, who is a clergyman. But Mr. Thornton becomes fonder and fonder of Margaret, much to the dismay of his mother. Life in Milton only gets harder when the workers at the mill organize a strike, and Margaret begins to see both sides of the controversy. Is Mr. Thornton really the cold-hearted man she once thought him to be?
9. Leave it to Beaver
Leave it to Beaver is a delightful show from the ’50s and ’60s. It is about the Cleaver family: Ward and June who are the mother and father, and their sons, Wally and the Beaver (whose real name is Theodore). The two boys get into all sorts of scrapes and funny situations, and learn some valuable lessons. I really enjoy this show, probably because I appreciate the humor of living in a house full of boys. I heartily recommend it to an audience of all ages.
That’s all folks!