Ask LH: What Should I Be Watching On Netflix?

Dear Lifehacker, Last week, I finally bit the bullet and signed up to Netflix which is my first streaming service. (Finally no more ads or scheduled programming!) However, as a Netflix newbie, I'm feeling a bit lost -- there's too much stuff and I find it difficult to navigate the menus. Is there any way to simplify the interface? If not, what titles do you personally recommend I search for? Thanks, Boob Tube Confused

Dear BTC,

First off, welcome to the streaming fold! Moving from free-to-air television to a streaming service like Netflix is incredibly liberating: we wish we could get that feeling again. (Maybe when virtual reality TV kicks off, eh?)

Streaming services tend to throw as much content into the viewer's face as possible -- these companies are judged by the size of their libraries, so they can't afford to look scant in this department. Unfortunately, this has resulted in extremely busy interfaces that can be confounding to first-time users.

Thankfully, there are numerous hacks you can employ to make Netflix navigation a little easier. For instance, you can instantly see all of Netflix's original content by typing "Netflix" into the search bar. You can also get a comprehensive list of genres using the same trick (searching for "horror" will bring up all horror movies and TV shows, for example.) This is a much more effective method than fruitlessly scrolling through the home page for something to grab your eye.

If your Netflix screen is connected to a keyboard, you can streamline navigation further with a variety of keyboard shortcuts. Useful functions include instant muting (via the "m" key), toggling full screen playback ("F" key) adjusting volume (up and down arrows) and rewinding/fast-forwarding (Shift+Left arrow and Shift+Right arrow, respectively.)

You can find a few extra navigation tips over at our Netflix tricks and shortcuts guide. Additional advice can also be found here.

As to personal Netflix recommendations, my tastes are a bit weird -- some recent titles I've enjoyed include the documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau, animated Survivor spoof Total Drama Island and TV music drama Nashville (for Hayden Panetteri, natch.) But I probably wouldn't suggest these to anyone I know.

If you're stumped on what to watch, your best bet is to peruse Gizmodo's popular Movie Night posts. This is a weekly series that picks an entertainment category and lists all the best titles from Australia's top three streaming services. The suggestions include TV shows in addition to movies, complete with synopses and trailers. Just hit the tag, look for a genre or topic that interests you and get stuck in!

We're also going to throw this one over to Netflix-using readers -- what TV shows or movies have you been enjoying? Let BTC know in the comments!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    I use FlixSearch.
    Also a quick browser search for best netflix shows or something that maybe suits your fav genre will certainly bring up many, many websites that will help you out.

    Watch all the shit everyone in the office or your circles of friends has probably already watched. You know... House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Daredevil, etc, etc.
    Anything you've ever heard anyone bang on about in the 5-10yrs, there's decent odds it's on Netflix. (The US one, not the Australian one. Just switch your DNS in your device's settings to one that you get from an unblocking site, like or something.)

    I'm going through an Idris Elba phase - Luther is very good. You can even search by Cast names and they'll return movies / shows that star them.
    Narcos was good too. Get into some international stuff like Vikings or all the kung fu movies. And finally lots of good Docos and Stand up material too.

    You can put in your favourite movies/shows, and it gives you results of other options that might appeal.

    The title image is from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which I found just a great laugh out loud series which doesn't take itself seriously.

    Netflix Originals (series developed by Netflix) such as Orange is the New Black and Daredevil are great reasons to subscribe. Worth checking them out.

    Orange is the new black was great. Suits is also good. That's all I've been bogged down with.

    We are enjoying Suits too. Great characters and story lines.

    I'm on a Suits binge as well at the moment.

    OITNB is over-rated in my humble opinion.

    Don't let the author put you off Nashville - it's perfect guilty pleasure stuff. Friday Night Lights is even better, it's really warm and will make you want to get off your lounge and go and achieve something. It's now one of my favourite shows and Coach Taylor one of the best tv characters ever created.

    My favourite Netflix original is definitely Bloodline - it starts slow but you will lose your weekend to it. Great stuff.

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