The Latest in Instant Streaming

Instant streaming is awesome, and it’s the devil. I understand Netflix is chomping at the bit to get rid of the whole “mailing DVDs to people through the mail” business, and as the service improves, I can’t see why they shouldn’t do just that. Get on board now, people — as Ike Willis once said, it’s the “wave of the fyoo-chum!” (Ten points for the reference.) Here’s my latest TV binge-viewing, courtesy of instant streaming:

MI-5, Season 9: All nine seasons (80 episodes!) of MI-5 are currently available for streaming, and I recently blasted through season nine. Like seasons seven and eight, the ninth is a pretty average affair, with a couple of strong episodes late in the year (6 & 7, I think) redeeming it. At this stage, though, the show’s really started to repeat itself, and its habit of constantly turning over its cast may have backfired. New arrivals Sophia Myles and Max Brown are fine, but the radically diminished continuity from the early days is starting to make me nostalgic. Plus, the scripts lapse into painful obviousness and contrived melodrama more often than usual. It’s a hazard of this kind of deadly serious thriller series, but one that MI-5 generally does a decent job of sidestepping. All in all, season nine is another one for the completists, I think. Still one of the best spy shows ever, but running on its last legs.

Lost, Season 5:┬áSpeaking of completism, that’s pretty much the only thing that got Jenn and I through season five of Lost. We staggered through the first half, then — with concerted effort — zipped through the home stretch in a mini-marathon. About the only thing I consistently loved about season five was Miles (Ken Leung), easily my favorite character, and Hurley (Jorge Garcia) is always fun. (Any scene with Miles and Hurley together is pretty much golden, especially if they’re discussing time travel.) But overall season five is a wicked awful mess, redeemed chiefly by the cast, which has made me care about all these characters even when the scripts serve them horribly. The early stages of season six are markedly better, however, so we’re finally catching up with the rest of the universe on this series. Love it or hate it, at its best and even at its worst, I think Lost is kind of a remarkable show, and certainly one that generates a lot to talk about. I’m anticipating writing a ridiculously verbose write-up of the series when we finish, just to wrap my mind around it. Stay tuned! (Or don’t…)

Mission: Impossible: Why would I stream a series I already own on DVD and have seen ten times over? Well — I’m not, actually. But now you can! All seven seasons of the original Mission are up on Netflix instant now, and as a long-time junkie and fervent, some might say deranged advocate, I have to say this: go watch the third episode of season one, “Operation Rogosh.” It may be my single favorite hour of television of all time. And if you like that one, come back and ask me for more recs. I know this series backwards and forwards, and I still think it’s one of the most influential shows in TV history.

Happy streaming!

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