Navigating the Stream

With Netflix announcing its plans to slowly inch away from mailing DVDs and concentrate on streaming titles to tablet, TV and computer screens within the next 10 years, now is as great a time as ever to become familiar with Instant Play.

For $7.99 a month, Netflix Instant Play provides a growingly massive selection of movies and TV shows to stream directly to your computer screen.

Here’s a guide to some of the standout titles currently available through Instant Play.

Discover What You May Have Missed in Theaters:

The following movies weren’t exactly summer blockbusters, but chances are you’ve probably heard a great deal about them from massive word-of-mouth buzz.

“An Education”

This outstanding coming-of-age story is set in England during the swinging ’60s. Carey Mulligan received an Oscar nod for her portrayal of a sharp schoolgirl who gets involved in a questionable relationship with an older man.


This sci-fi stunner about a man living alone on a lunar mining base in the not-too-distant future showcases a remarkable and largely solitary performance by Sam Rockwell and a mind-bending Twilight Zone-worthy plot.

“Let the Right One In”

This Swedish export has garnered a cult following since its release. The film centers on a bullied middle school kid and his friendship with a childlike vampire. Don’t worry, there’s no Twilight sappiness here. The film expertly balances an honest portrayal of looming adolescence with a healthy dose of sleek horror.

Catch up on Some TV Shows:

A huge selection of new and old TV shows await on Instant Play, without the pesky commercials on similar video streaming site Hulu.


The time traveling may have gotten a little hard to follow around the fourth season, especially if you missed a couple of episodes, but you can still try and make sense of it all. All six seasons of the sometimes-puzzling megahit are available on Instant Play, allowing you to get caught up and maybe discover what really went down in the infamous series finale.

“Arrested Development”

The unjustly canceled but now massively popular sitcom is available in its entirety on Instant Play. You’ll be laughing incessantly while becoming sad and angry that the series had to end so soon.

“Battlestar Galactica”

Don’t let the ridiculous sounding title and presence of killer robots and spaceships fool you. This is a gripping show that will have you camping out on your couch for hours. The suspense-driven plot is deep and multilayered, offering surprising social commentary on life back on Earth. You almost always forget that you’re watching science fiction with this show, and it may be one of Instant Play’s best finds.

Broaden Your Horizons:

College is supposed to be a time of testing your limits and broadening your palette. Instant Play has a terrific selection of foreign and independent films that may fall out of your comfort zone. If anything, taking a chance with these may open up a whole new cinematic world that you didn’t know existed.

“Enter the Void”

Take a trip down the rabbit hole with this dark and uncompromising head-trip. A young drug dealer is shot by police and finds himself floating around like a ghost, looking after his wayward sister and ruminating on his life. The overwhelmingly beautiful psychedelic imagery and the film’s ink-dark tone may be a turnoff for those looking for lighter fare, but the film gives more intellectually inclined viewers plenty to chew on.


A family attempts to completely shield its grown children from the influence of the outside world with unsettling results. You don’t quite know what you’re watching or whether you should be laughing or shielding your eyes. This shocking and provocative film will remain in your mind for weeks.