What’s good on Netflix Canada…

To my surprise, Netflix Canada has been serving up enough interesting stuff to keep us on the hook for the $8.00 a month subscription. Indeed if they continue to expand their selection and add more contemporary programming, the prospect of canceling the Eastlink cable and using Netflix as our television provider is within the realm of possibility.

It’s weird watching movies and TV shows on Netflix: we have our Nintendo Wii hooking up to our regular old 1990s-era Sony television, so watching something on Netflix is just like watching something “on television.” Except that there are no commercials on Netflix. And no censorship (I watched episodes of MI-5 on PBS and Netflix on the same day, and the only difference is that PBS bleeps out “offensive” language).

In this light, Netflix certainly makes “broadcast regulation” appear absurd: why “broadcast” television and “Internet television” are subject to different regulations perplexes me, especially when they ride into our television on exactly the same wire.

Here’s what’s kept me hooked on Netflix’s Canadian streaming of late:

  • Survivors (Netflix has series one and series two, 6 episodes each) is a science fiction series from the BBC. Set in the U.K. after a flu virus has killed most of the people on earth. A good cast and an interesting conceit.
  • Billy Connolly: Journey to the Edge of the World is a travel series hosted by the Scottish comedian that takes him from Halifax to Vancouver Island by way of Newfoundland, Baffin Island and the Northwest Passage. It’s a little goofy, and Connolly seems to have only one emotion, “giddy delight,” but it’s interesting to see my own country through other eyes, and the scenery in the north is beautiful.
  • The Black Donnellys is a 13-episode Paul Haggis television series that ran on NBC in 2007 but was canceled. It’s set in New York City, and is a pretty straightforward “Irish mob drama” but with a compelling cast of characters and some good writing.
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno, a Kevin Smith film. I found it endearing; everyone else in the room hated it. You have been warned.
  • Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is another film that only I liked. I read it as “biting commentary on contemporary social mores” whereas my TV-mates saw it as “vulgar teenaged pot movie with lots of fart jokes.”
  • I Like Killing Flies, a documentary about the New York restaurant Shopsins and the family that runs it, is the best thing I’ve watched on Netflix so far.
  • Runaway Train is a 1985 Jon Voight and Eric Roberts movie. When I mentioned Unstoppable on Twitter, people told me to watch this instead. Very 1985 and a lot of grunting, but if you like train movies it will hold your attention.


Jane Boyd's picture
Jane Boyd on January 14, 2011 - 23:04 Permalink

We love Netflix! Have not had cable for more than 10 years — so Netflix seems like excellent value to us. We got Apple TV and it works really well. Love no commercials, it is always available + we can get even more recent movies through Apple TV. DVD rentals are no longer in our house + I never see that we will ever get cable again.

Michael Easter's picture
Michael Easter on January 14, 2011 - 23:22 Permalink

Good to know: thanks for the post. I hope that Netflix Canada shares the best part of Netflix in the US: the recommendation engine. It is outstanding and arguably the crown jewel of the company (they spend a ton of R&D $ on it, even offering prizes for solutions to various problems).

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 15, 2011 - 03:06 Permalink

I wish Netflix still had their community feature, so you and I could share our ratings and watching history. I’ll consult mine and get back to you, but for now I can tell you I’m definitely with you on “Swatting Flies” and heartily recommend among the newly streamable “The Damned United”and “Cold Souls.”

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 15, 2011 - 03:20 Permalink

Oh, also I got very into Survivors, although I thought a lot better of it during season 1 than after going onto season 2. How about Spooks/MI5 ? Can’t remember if it’s streamable.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 15, 2011 - 03:23 Permalink

In Plain Sight” is several seasons worth of good stuff

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 15, 2011 - 03:25 Permalink

Who’s Harry Nilsson?” got 5 stars from me.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 15, 2011 - 03:32 Permalink

Kidnapped” was a fantastic miniseries. Also “Skins” (volume 1), and “Damages.” Three great movies: “Lymelife” “Stoploss” “We live in public” “Art & Copy”

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 15, 2011 - 20:54 Permalink

Oddly, I haven’t found the Netflix recommendation engine (at least as it’s implemented on the Wii) to be very useful for me. The recommendations I get never seem to be things I actually am interesting in watching, and I wonder if that’s simply because it breaks for someone with scattered tastes.

I mean I can probably figure out all on my own that if I liked “Michael Palin Crosses the Sahara” I will also like “Michael Palin Visits Kurdistan.” And I’m not particularly interested in having Netflix suggest other shows like those, because the reason I like Michael Palin is not for “quirky British travel show” reasons.

But maybe what I’m not seeing is all the crap that Netflix isn’t showing me because it’s smartly filtering it out.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on January 15, 2011 - 22:16 Permalink

Sometimes Netflix recommends together five or six videos right after I finish watching or rating something, and it’s obvious what they have in common and/or how they’re like what I’ve just watched/rated. The smartest looking recommendations seem to be by genre ala Yahoo or like a subject catalogue of a library, and at least the labeling of the genres have involved human intervention, if not 100% of the actual sorting of movies into different genres. But most recommendations seem to be by simple keyword association—the recommended movies involve an actor/director/writer who was figured prominently in what I just watched/rated—and without reference to or vetting according to taste. So nothing ambitious seems to be going on by algorithm or artificial intelligence.

bob's picture
bob on January 19, 2011 - 03:28 Permalink

My wife and I really enjoyed the following:

-The Garden
-Undercover Boss
-Drop Dead Diva Season 1

Steven's picture
Steven on January 22, 2011 - 22:42 Permalink

Good info. Too bad BBC cancelled Survivors though.



Cris's picture
Cris on February 24, 2011 - 05:00 Permalink

Here are some of my favorites so far:

The Devil and Daniel Johnston- You might have to do a search for it. Good music doc.
Thumb’s Up- If you like the Vice guide to travel you will like this series but it is certainly not for everyone. Watched an episode with my father-in-law and he hated it.
Running Wilde (tv series)- Arrested Development is my all time favorite. Will Arnet is in this and while it’s no AD it is entertaining.

Daniel's picture
Daniel on March 5, 2011 - 23:18 Permalink

I have really enjoyed:

- The big C (Katherine Keener copes with Cancer) .. comedy/drama . very good

- Avatar the last airbender (animated 3 seasons) .. good for everyone from 6 — 60. Excellent storyline, very epic adventure complete with rich characters and great blend of magic, romance, comedy and adventure… nothing like the M Night Shamalan feature film which apprantely was a huge letdown after the TV series

- Dead like me (2 seasons) An 18 year old girl dies and becomes a grim reaper.. all filmed in Vancouver :)

Adolfo's picture
Adolfo on April 6, 2011 - 03:50 Permalink

A few gems I’ve found so far:
Heroes, all seasons, Dollhouse seasons 1/2
Japanese movies, especially Mapping the sounds of Tokyo and big man japan
lost in translation, primer, dark city

Glonus's picture
Glonus on April 12, 2011 - 21:10 Permalink

I have five recommendations for those of you who like british comedy.
The Black Adder — it has every season of this show starring Rowan Atkinson; on DVD it’s rare and expensive.
A Bit of Fry and Laurie: Stephen Frye and Hugh Laurie’s fairly short-lived sketch comedy, every season as well.
Fawlty Towers — It has the complete series, a short lived comedy starring John Cleese.
That Mitchell and Webb look — Quite a few seasons of this fairly contemporary sketch comedy (it’s still on) that was overshadowed by Little Britain but quite possibly a better show.
Little Britain — A british sketch comedy that became quite popular in North America as well. Not sure how much of it is there.
There are also many, many more british comedies and other shows/movies. It gives me cause to wonder if the Americans get all of this relatively obscure stuff? I wasn’t sure if they have everything we have and we have a wee bit of theirs, but I doubt it. I think we may have a separate loadout altogether.
As for movies, I recommend the foreign horror movie Shadow, Robert Rodriguez’s 7k action movie El Mariachi and.. I forget what else.
They also have a very large archive of Mystery Science theater episodes/movies which, in case anybody doesn’t know, is a show where these people watch bad movies and make jokes throughout.

jen g's picture
jen g on June 3, 2011 - 01:10 Permalink

We’ve had netflix for a few months now…shows we really like, The Big C, Prison Break (all 4 seasons available), Being Erica (surprisingly awesome), and Damages.

The kids programming is also really good, love being able to queue up my son’s favourites with no commercials!

Tim's picture
Tim on June 19, 2011 - 03:35 Permalink

Amazing, Glenn Close is an incredible actor

Sandra L.'s picture
Sandra L. on July 14, 2011 - 04:21 Permalink

We’ve enjoyed watching many good British comedies such as:
Fawlty Towers
Keeping Up Appearances
The Catherine Tate Show
That Mitchell and Webb Look
… and also some American shows, such as re-watching Arrested Development; Running Wilde, Better Off Ted, and Community.
Love that there are NO COMMERCIALS!
Have seen a couple of good Woody Allen movies, although Netflix doesn’t offer the whole collection. We’re very happy with Netflix so far — not too shabby for $8 per month!

Sandra L.'s picture
Sandra L. on July 14, 2011 - 04:22 Permalink

(from That Mitchell and Webb Look)
“That’s Numberwang!”)

Sandra L.'s picture
Sandra L. on July 14, 2011 - 04:28 Permalink

Another GREAT show: PULLING (set in the U.K., featuring a small group of 20-something friends)

Frank P.'s picture
Frank P. on July 15, 2011 - 05:30 Permalink

We have been watching Netflix for several months now. As a matter of fact we watch it a lot more than cable tv. I have cut back to basic cable for now but if we can get a few local news podcasts on Apple tv then its goodbye cable. I can’t wait to see season two of justified. Damages and Prison Break are highly recommended. Wish they would add the cop series Southland. Its a great service for 7.99 mth …..

Boob's picture
Boob on September 17, 2011 - 05:24 Permalink

Netflix is all well and good but the fact that they removed so many titles on the 15th and more are apparently being removed is annoying.

I also dislike the fact that they add like 1-3 seasons and then just stop adding more.

The day netflix released rescue me season 1-4 i watched and loved it… Still waiting for season 5 and its been a year.

Not to mention other shows that are ignored like Trailer park boys, the riches, weeds, and lots more.

Also why is it that Netflix says that they cannot add many things due to the fact its American owned and they will not allow netflix to play it in Canada when you have a show like Trailer park boys which is 100% Canadian yet only a few seasons are even shown! Go to the USA and you can watch every episode and every movie of the Trailer Park Boys…. But not in Canada… Pffph. Im not impressed at all.

But i suppose for 8 bucks its not to bad… I often just put on bad movies to help me fall asleep. I rarely watch something for the sake of enjoying it because Netflix Canada has very limited selection.

Oh and one last thing… 90% of the movies are ancient. I dont mind a good old movie but most ‘decent’ movies that were made in the 60’s-80’s I have already seen or own.

And enough of Steven flying rat seagul or whatever his name is… God damn B movie crap!

Steve's picture
Steve on September 18, 2011 - 22:01 Permalink

Kitchen Nightmares UK, Prison Break, some great movies, some old classics. Netflix Canada is getting better. I’ve been a subscriber since if was available and honestly the selection is getting better everyday.

I still subscribe to my satellite provider however I have downgraded my programming to basically locals and sports nets.

$8 a month is a small price to pay for entertainment. Hell going to the video store to rent a dvd these days costs anywhere from $4-$10 and you have to have it back usually by 3pm the next day. Who the hell cares if the content is a little dated. The movies that are produced today are complete crap and remakes of old movies anyway.

My thumbs are up for Netflix Canada and it will be a part of my entertainment for years to come unless they decide to cancel the service up here.

Aidan's picture
Aidan on December 21, 2011 - 19:57 Permalink

I came across this post from google. I have enjoyed reading what you suggested, as well as what the other commenters suggested. Here is a few that I pick.

1. Beverly Hill’s 90210 (the whole series!)
I grew up watching 90210 and I am really enjoying being able to watch it again.

2. X-Files (whole series!)
I use to love this show growing up, so it is nice to be able to watch again.

I am currently on maternity leave, and I cancelled cable due to the added finances, netflix stays as I am sure I can easily find something to entertain myself during all those late night feedings.

Dawn's picture
Dawn on February 7, 2012 - 02:35 Permalink

I signed up for Netflix with my boyfriend not quite a month ago. I was pretty pleased with the selection, granted it was a lot of older stuff that I have already seen or own, but I didn’t mind. I enjoyed it more because there were TV series on there that I could watch, or had been wanting to watch, but hadn’t gotten the time to do so. I started watching ‘The Tudors’ and got through 9 episodes, really enjoying it and looking forward to getting through the whole series with enough time. I turned on Netflix tonight to watch an episode and found the whole series was removed. :( I went online to try and find out why with no explanation; just a bunch of other people who were equally annoyed and surprised that the series just disappeared. I told my boyfriend I’m only keeping it to watch what he wants to watch with him, and once we get done with that stuff I’ll probably cancel the subscription.

Another problem I have is I can’t even write to Netflix to ask why the series was removed… if you want to know you have to call their 1-888 number, and I only own a cell phone with limited time and charges that may apply for me to call that, so…

If anyone knows why they seem to pull shows, I’d like to know.

Michael's picture
Michael on February 18, 2012 - 09:16 Permalink

At first I thought Netflix was a rip-off because after I used my free trial I scrolled through the list of movies and shows and saw very little of what I wanted to watch. As I watch more I am finding more and more that I want to watch and I am realizing that the movies and shows on that front page aren’t all the movies and shows in the whole selection. I’ve only had it for a week and I am already making up a long list of stuff I want to watch some of which are long shows which will take me a while to finish. Breaking Bad is one of my favourite shows now thanks to Netflix.

Nathan Thornton's picture
Nathan Thornton on March 8, 2012 - 07:42 Permalink

I just had to comment. Netflix is the best entertainment value in media history. I love it, and would never want to get rid of it.

1) Mad Men   2) Rescue Me   3) Arrested Development   4) Dexter   5) Family Guy 

These five tv shows alone, with their multiple seasons, will keep you busy for months, and are my favorite shows on, and off netflix. The thing is, it is pretty much free when you consider you have thousands of episodes to choose from for $8.00 a month. I have watched hundreds of documentarys, once you watch a few, the page always keeps on updating with new stuff to watch. it seems endless.I have never come to the point where I have watched everything in the slected category that I am watching. It’s just amazing. Like they say at the top of this page, “I like killing flies” is a great documentary to watch. I have got at least 5 people to get Netflix, and I’ll continue to spread the word. You would have to be the cheapest person to not have this. It is a necessity, nobody should do without it. I am amazed to read that somebody has said it is a rip off! next time you buy a pack of smoke, think, you could have had Netflix for that much. Cheap bastards, $8.00 a month, and you get more than 2 movies, like blockbuster charged, instead it thousands.

jonhyboy's picture
jonhyboy on April 17, 2012 - 10:25 Permalink

good movies on netflix canada.

1.) The Boy in the striped pajamas — dont let the name fool you.
2.) The Great Escape — a good look into the past (true).
3.) The pursuit of happiness — very good staring will smith.
4.) Shutter island — Big twist at the end (it is not a horror).
5.) The butterfly effect — would you like to alter the past?

good t.v. shows on netflix canada.

1.) Breaking Bad — a must watch (involves murders,dea,crystal meth).
2.) weeds — involves a pot dealing mom.

The things i have listed above are all on netflix canada and i have watched them, and would suggest them to others. they are in order on how i would rate them. they are all fantastic movies to watch, hope you enjoy.

Larry's picture
Larry on April 22, 2012 - 21:38 Permalink

My family has been enjoying Netflix since it came to Canada. We would like to know when Netflix will be adding Seasons 2 — 3 for Justified, and the remainder of the seasons for Big C and Drop Dead Diva.

Must say that Damages was one of the very best shows ever made. Loved the series Life, but that was lost due to the writers strike a couple years back, such a shame, great show/actors.

Karin Taylor's picture
Karin Taylor on April 23, 2012 - 05:04 Permalink

Can someone out there if Netflix is showinh The Tudors and Lost complete series?

Or how can one get a listing of TV shows before one signs up for the service?


Lynn's picture
Lynn on April 23, 2012 - 14:01 Permalink

Netflix does not have The Tudors, but Lost is available

Valerie's picture
Valerie on April 24, 2012 - 12:15 Permalink

Try The Hour—-a six episode show about an innovative news program in London in 1956.

Fatty's picture
Fatty on May 9, 2012 - 01:39 Permalink

I was an avid streamer of movies, with a little guilt attached. I think Netflix will potentially divert people from from freeload streaming. I don’t miss the work and now I enjoy the organization of Netflix and a lot of great movies, shows. This is the way forward, for the industry, as many like me would much rather support content in an inexpensive way.
Futurama MadMax
Casino. Breaking Bad
Crouching tiger. Slap Shot

Memphisslim's picture
Memphisslim on July 28, 2012 - 03:00 Permalink

Breaking Bad is amazing. Possibly the best series ever.
Justified is also very good. First season is just good, but by Season 2 it gets awesome.
In Bruges is a great British hitman flick.
Returner is a surprisingly good subtitled Asian sci-fi actioner. Rips off nearly every major Hollywood scifi film, including ET, The Matrix, Terminator, Transformers, and yet it is still a satisfying little film.
Moon is very good; a more cerebral sci-fi.
One Week was pretty good. Guy finds out he has a terminal illness, buys an old Norton on a whim and drives across the country. Not depressing.
Control was very good. Biopic about Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.
I loved It Might Get Loud. Documentary in which Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White celebrate the electric guitar.

Lisa's picture
Lisa on August 30, 2012 - 05:06 Permalink

Breaking Bad!! Amazing show — am addicted. In Bruges — a great foreign film. Arrested Development — watching it all over again with my kids! Mr. D season 1 — a little Canadian gem (so funny). The Fantastic Mr. Fox — not a kid’s movie — thought it was great. The Visitor — what a great movie/ incredible story and acting.
I love my Netflix, and am disappointed I resigned for 2 years cable with Bell — we’re just not watching it anymore (between internet and netflix). I just hope they keep getting new stuff — looking at these recommendations is great for finding new treasures.

Harleydog's picture
Harleydog on June 19, 2013 - 13:48 Permalink

Watched The Queen of Verssailles yesterday and highly recommend it.