DAVID BIANCULLI

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ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

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MIKE HUGHES

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TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Quick Binges: But What Else Do You Have to Do??
March 19, 2020  | By Eric Gould
 


As a mirror, TV shows us all that is possible within us – the good, the bad, the cruel, the loving, and, perhaps worst, the indifferent.

And now, we have plenty of time to reflect on it all, although with the EU pleading with Netflix to limit HD streaming so as not to clog the Internet during worldwide social distancing, we might have to watch it in low res.

I don’t know about you, but a pandemic has some polar effects. On the one, there is the anxiety-fueled desire to hoard dried beans and puzzles; on the other, there is a certain sense of calm and slower pace that is restful, weirdly normal, and probably something you should strive for in non-end times when judging work-life balance.

Focusing here on the upside of Armageddon, you now have the time to do two main things: go for walks down streets you haven’t for a while (and stop trying to pet other people’s dogs; it’s a rude way to maybe pass on something you shouldn’t be), and dive into shows you’ve wanted to, but haven’t had time.

One option for TV binging is perhaps just diving into Netflix and see where you end up, since they generally haven’t met a show yet they haven’t wanted to make, and the pickings are endless.

Aside from that method, in no particular order, here are some recent options that come to mind:

Fleabag: Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s (top, far left) adaptation for Amazon Prime Video of her 2013 one-woman show was the darling of the critics in 2019, and with good reason: rich with Brit dry-wit, it navigates her nameless character’s anger, grief, spite, and hope with brilliant comic timing. Basically two features cut up into two six-episode seasons, you will breeze through this and never be bored.

Watchmen: If you loved Damon Lindelof’s (LostThe Leftovers, you will love this HBO series even more. Whatever you felt about Lost, you cannot deny Lindelof’s uncanny ability to stich together the most audacious collisions and innovative twists. The TV adaptation of the comic book maxiseries and what ensues in modern times after the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 is really the closest TV comes to a work of art. And with Lindelof now inexplicably out after one season, you can do this in a couple of days and think of it as a finite limited series (Regina King, second from left, as Angela Abar/Sister Night). As with The Leftovers, Lindelof sticks the landing here.

The OA: Speaking of audacious. Yes, I know. If The OA was so good, why does it have the dubious distinction of being one of the few shows Netflix has ever cancelled?? Well, they were wrong. As outrageous (and lovingly preposterous) as Brit Marling’s (center, as Prairie Johnson) supernatural mystery mash-up was, I really looked forward to a third season after being steamrolled by the Season 2 finale. Whatever you may think, Marling tried to bring television to places it had never been before. (I think I mentioned one plot thread in Season 1 as an intergalactic yoga class.)

Dead to Me: Yes, this is another Netflix option, so please choose SD, if possible. Created by Liz Feldman (Second City, The Groundlings), this suburban black comedy about a bitter widow with anger issues and her earthy-crunchy new friend (Christina Applegate, second from right, and Linda Cardellini) is always surprising and perhaps one of the smartest, most engaging storylines over the past few years. Cannot wait to see what Season 2 holds.

Years and Years: This BBC/HBO limited series that follows an extended family into a dystopian near-future is compelling for it’s timely dive into rapid societal change and it’s fascinating background of changing techno gadgetry. Once again, one season here, so you won’t be making a huge time commitment (Anne Reid as Muriel Deacon, far right).

But what else do you have to do??

 
 
 
 
 
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