Could there be better news? As of today, Netflix‘s mobile apps will let you download content for offline viewing. That’s awesome news for anyone who wants to stock up on videos for the gym, the airplane, the car (passengers only, please) or anywhere else that’s Wi-Fi-challenged.
First things first: Make room for all those downloads. Find out how to free up extra space on your Android phone or tablet. iOS users, check out these 5 tricks to free up space — and this weird trick that might net you extra gigabytes.
With that out of the way, let’s turn our attention to TV. Not everything in the Netflix library is available for download (no “Bob’s Burgers” or “Sherlock”?!), but there’s plenty of good material you can get right now. Here are nine shows you’ll want to download for your on-the-go binges.
I can’t recall another comedy from the past decade that made me laugh out loud as hard or as often as “30 Rock.” Tina Fey’s brilliant single-camera series about a late-night sketch-comedy show debuted alongside Aaron Sorkin’s similarly themed dramedy “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which was expected to crush its cast-of-unknowns competitor. But “30 Rock” ran for seven glorious seasons, while Sorkin’s show lasted just one.
‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’
You don’t have to be a fan of the source material — I should know, because I wasn’t — to enjoy these two action-packed comic-book series. “Arrow,” a modern take on the “Green Arrow” comics, started out a little slow, but really hit its stride in season 2. “The Flash,” meanwhile, hit the ground (sorry) running, with a superb first season buoyed by a great cast.
It’s hard to describe this as anything but a “‘Twilight Zone’ for the 21st century,” because “Black Mirror” is a collection of trippy, standalone stories that leave you chilled. Each expertly crafted episode — just three each in the first two seasons, and a blessed six in the recent made-for-Netflix third — explores some uneasy aspect of the modern world and how technology can lead us down dark roads.
‘Freaks and Geeks’
I recently rewatched this entire 1999 series — just 18 episodes, sigh — with my kids, and I’m happy to report it holds up really well. It’s just as funny, awkward, touching and occasionally painful as ever, with a cast of extremely familiar faces — many of whom went on to varying levels of stardom. (James Franco and Seth Rogen, anyone?) Even if you didn’t grow up in the early ’80s (I did) and didn’t identify as either a freak or geek (I did), you can’t help but love every single character in this show.
Normally I wouldn’t bother watching a show with such a vague (and ultimately misleading) title, but because I so liked Gillian Jacobs in “Community,” I decided to give this Judd Apatow-produced series a chance. I’m glad I did, because although it features two frequently unlikable leads, it delivers what feels like a very realistic look at modern single life. In fact, it’s arguably the perfect West Coast companion to my next pick…
‘Master of None’
If you know Aziz Ansari only as his somewhat annoying one-note character on “Parks and Recreation,” you owe it to yourself to check out his Netflix original series, “Master of None.” It’s a smart, funny, honest and insightful look at life in your late ’20s (or maybe early ’30s), with episodes that focus on everything from dating to parents (having them and becoming them) to old people. It’s the New York answer to “Love,” but with more amusing and touching moments than cringe-worthy ones.
‘Orange is the New Black’
What started out as a novelty show — entitled white girl goes to prison — has evolved into one of the most rich and diverse series I’ve ever seen. Indeed, right around the middle of Season 2, the show stops focusing primarily on Piper and grows into a superb ensemble, branching out its back-stories to include seemingly minor characters — who often turn out to be even more interesting than the main ones. Just take note that this is a TV-MA show, definitely one for adults only.
The TV equivalent of a book you cannot put down, Netflix-original “Stranger Things” spans eight amazing episodes of ’80s-themed mystery, horror, sci-fi and friendship. Indeed, if you liked “The Goonies,” “E.T.” and/or “Stand By Me,” you’ll love this. Even the casting harks back to the ’80s: Hello, Matthew Modine and Winona Ryder!
OK, those are my picks — now let’s hear yours! And check back soon for my list of must-download movies.