We went in hoping for an action packed TV show with loads of fun intrigue and fight sequences. We were disappointed. It was an avant garde take on a spy thriller. In between hours of just talking and talking and talking, the protagonists did some action and shot up a house. That’s it. It felt like Amazon Studios told them that they don’t have budget for stunt doubles, so they skimped on proper action.
Started watching 1899 on Netflix recently. It’s by the creators of Dark, a show we thoroughly loved.
1899 is no Dark, but it’s close. I just hope it keeps getting renewed, as there’s no way one or two seasons can do the story justice. That said, we’re not binging through it. We’re watching one episode a day. Partly to conserve our own energy, partly to savor the offering. This goes against Netflix’s algorithm of “how many people finished it over one weekend”. But we don’t care. If Netflix wants to self-sabotage, so be it. People will watch stuff slowly and relish it. Don’t expect otherwise.
I’d say a majority of people do not watch the same thing over and over. But then, we’ve watched Inception twice and Tenet almost thrice. Oh, and Friends, thrice over, but that was when we were much younger. There’s no way I’m watching entire seasons of even comedies again now. Clips and compilations on YouTube? Maybe. So maybe Netflix needs to start making those offerings too – let popular YouTube channels make compilations of Netflix shows for Netflix and pay them out of the ad-supported model. They live for those ad dollars!
We recently finished four seasons of Yellowstone. It’s an OK show. Some good ups and some lame downs. Season five is gearing up to be a filler season before something big happens. The main and proper ending of the show is when the patriarch dies. Looking forward to that. The character is rather toxic.
I finished listening to “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” recently. A solid four and a half stars, that book. Loved how caustic the character is. Comparing Yellowstone and My Year, you can see that both the main characters are toxic and rude, but while the man is self-aggrandizing, the woman is self-effacing and that leads one to hate the man and love the woman. Not love in the “I like this person” way, but more like how we’ve all loved to hate on Draco Malfoy and Joffrey Baratheon. They’re bad and vile, and you just can’t get enough of them.
Warning: Spoilers ahead, specially if you haven’t seen the latest season
I like the Amazon Prime show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s a story of upliftment, of empowerment, and of good comedy.
But there are times when the story shows a well crafted naivete and white privilege. These have really stung, because it becomes very apparent that while the good-natured comedienne grows as a person over time, she also ends up doing very real damage.
The first instance is in the first season, when Mrs Maisel spills the beans on the private life of a fellow female comic. She does it out of angst, and it’s truly misplaced. It’s not her place to tell the story. It’s not her right to divulge details revealed to her in confidence. The affected woman has created her own cocoon in a man’s world, a space where she’s comfortable being who she is, while her outside persona is completely defined by what she is told by her agents, audience, and powers-that-be. To dish out that bit of privacy is plain wrong. Further, the show and Mrs. Maisel herself, are appalled that the comedienne responds with an attack on the budding artist, as if this response is unfair and disproportionate.
As the first season unfolded, I did not give much credence to this event, thinking it’s just an obstacle in the hero’s journey telling of this tale. But looking back, this was a spiteful attack by one woman on another, who used her privilege to divulge details she was privy to, simply because she did not like the demeanor of someone who was forging her own path.
The second instance is in the latest season, where Mrs Maisel talks on stage about a person who is gay and not out of the closet, particularly because this person is black and revealing this detail about him would completely and viscerally destroy him. Mrs. Maisel is put on the spot and without thinking, again, about what is private and what is public, talks about the person’s affectations in a very blasé manner. While watching the episode, I was filled with dread. At any moment, the shoe would drop and her words would cause a maelstrom which she would calmly sit out of, while others’ lives are ripped apart. Luckily, the moment does not come. The public and those in power do not realize or do not take any action on her revelations, but what does happen, in the climax (spoiler), is that the person who has her confidence till now, simply drops her, showing her that her actions have consequences.
This second act showed me that while the character has some growth, she has not truly understood what her words mean, and that comedy, while often borderlining on the private lives of people, should not ever hurt. It should not transform from good-natured leg-pulling and cynical critique to a destruction of lives. Maisel often tells those around her that she talks about them on stage, and very clearly tells jokes that are too revealing. But to talk about things that she has no right to talk about, and doing it often, tells me that there’s a vein of this show which is highly unpalatable. This 1950s housewife who is thrust into the world because of events beyond her control does not have, as would be expected from a 1950s housewife, any semblance of her privilege, and its destructive powers.
The show is still good, and a few painful moments, which are followed by immediate punishment for her, do not take everything away from the series, but they do take away any respect in our eyes for such people.
Image Courtesy: IMDB
I and the missus recently finished the final season of Modern Family, and it’s left a void in our casual TV watching experience. We tried to fill it with a series of shows but nothing has come close to the wonderful nature of Modern Family – funny, yet familial.
We tried watching The Office and Parks and Rec, but we’re both not really fans of this style of comedy. MF was an interesting exception, because it focused more on the story than on the explanation. We’ve tried to watch Community separately before, and didn’t ever feel like we want to watch it.
We binged on Mirzapur (on Prime Video) and it is a horrible show. I can’t believe that the entire premise is just shock and gore. There even is an instance in the show where a character waits for a second, before shooting someone in the head and then commenting, partly to the audience as much as to the other characters in the scene, “that he was waiting to give everyone false hope”. Just a crass show overall. The ending was a nod to The Godfather, but while the story is good, the direction falls much, much short of what you’d expect from this sort of a tale.
We watched a show called Hunters, and it’s good, with quirky asides (a la The Good Fight), and casual references to comic books, but it’s a sad show overall. Clearly, our hope of replacing Modern Family with another feel-good show is failing miserably.
We watched the latest season of West World, but anything from HBO has become nothing more than a ritual. After what they did with Game of Thrones, any time they produce a good show, there’s that underlying wonder of how they’ll tank this one.
We tried to watch the latest season of Dead To Me (Netflix), but it’s just a sad show – a shell of what the first season was. Also, we’ve had enough of irritating characters from another show we’re watching – Station 19. It’s good for the most part, but their lead character is just horrible, selfish, and best kept off-screen for the most part. We’re both in agreement on that. Hence, when such a character surfaced in Dead To Me, we stopped watching the show.
We also watched the latest season of Four More Shots Please, but again, it’s more ritual than active watching, because while the story is feel-good in moments, those moments are fleeting.
Finally, we’ve landed on two shows which will give us a short-lived happy-time – Kim’s Convenience, and Derry Girls, both are on Netflix, and both are funny, quirky, and wholesome.
Anybody have any good recommendations, please?