I've been working 'round the clock, but I still sneak in a lot of television when I am stuck with rote tasks. Here's my take on what's on the screen.
First up, I had a classics binge-watching competition. Here are the results:
Now that I have the gift of time, I decided to watch classic series that I never got around to before. Netflix suggested Community, and I said, “Eh...why not?” The first season or two (honestly, it all runs together after awhile) were AMAZING. Funny, witty, faced-paced--I thoroughly enjoyed them. But as characters started dropping like flies, so did my enjoyment of the show. By the end, I was watching only out of an obligation to finish because of the time I’d already invested.
Parks & Rec
Whilst complaining about the slow death of Community, my sister recommended Parks and Rec--yet another iconic show I’d somehow never seen. I started watching and I have to say, that was an excellent show from top to bottom! It didn’t deliver the laughs that I got from the good episodes of Community, but it was all-around solid, fun, and enjoyable. When it was over, I felt content (sometimes I grieve the end of a binge-watched show for weeks, but this wasn’t the case), so I guess it ended well enough for me.
I know many people compare Parks and Rec to The Office, and in one such conversation I realized it wasn’t fair to compare them because I never binged The Office, I watched it unfold over years, which is a totally different viewing experience. I was certain The Office was the better show, so I decided to watch it again. After days of flying through these episodes, I realized, Parks and Rec might have been better. I mean, watching it all at once, the last seasons of The Office were quite a mess (not Community-level mess, but a mess all the same). While my humor is more Office-leaning, I might have to say P&R was a stronger show. No, that feels wrong, I take it back.
Jane the Virgin
Next up, Netflix suggested I watch Jane the Virgin. It seriously pulled it up and started it on its own. Knowing that Netflix wants better for me than I want for myself, I went along with it. It was a great ride. The show was so quick--I couldn’t even begin to describe the CRAZY things that happened along the way. It was very fun, though I didn’t really fall in love with the “Jane” character--which works out fine, since like everyone on the show did. It was another one with a pretty good ending--I didn’t mourn afterward, and moved on pretty quickly. But now my YouTube suggestions are all interviews with the Jane stars, which is annoying…
The Good Place
I was SO excited that the last season was finally available on Netflix. I really loved this show and wanted to know how it ended. Or so I thought. I loved it up until the ending, watched the final episode with a horrible lump in my throat near tears the entire time. Then it ended and I was gutted by the way it went out. I’m still recovering. All in all, I did love it and I would recommend you watch it, but I’m not sure if you are ready. I'd say more, but I'm getting choked up...
Ronny Chieng Netflix Special
This comedian makes some sharp observations about American culture. I used to teach my students that culture is invisible to the inhabitants, and we often don’t realize elements of our culture until identified by an outside observer. That sums up what made his special so hilarious. It was fun to hear what he found interesting about Americans from topics spanning consumption, freedoms, politics and race. He did it in a way where I could totally laugh at myself, though it would be interesting to hear his take on how each of these topics has completely devolved into dumpster-fire levels in 2020. Warning--if you are too sensitive to hear bad language, blindly ethnocentric, or extremely colorblind, this might not be the pick for you. But if you are open-minded and don’t take yourself too seriously, your stomach will hurt from laughing.
The Great British Baking Show
This one is back with new episodes on Netflix and it is a go-to for me if I put the television on while working. It is quiet and calming, and doesn’t distract when I’m doing light tasks. The funny thing, I don’t always relate to the British flavors, nor does the food always look super appetizing, and there is none of the fast-paced frenzy found on American cooking competitions. But for some reason, the show is satisfying. Check out a few episodes to see if you like it.
The Secret Society of Second-Born Royals
This is a Disney+ movie that has great promise--second-born royals are born with superpowers that manifest around 15 years old, and they band together to save their kingdoms totally in secret. The premise is great--but I feel like the movie fell a little flat. It has a great, big, diverse cast--that is completely underutilized. I think the idea was probably better suited for a series where all of the side characters, relationships, and cool powers could have been more thoroughly explored. It was an interesting way to pass time, and a good watch for the kids.
What should I watch next? I’m a few episodes into Cobra Kai (love so far), and I’m totally excited for Wandavision after seeing the trailer. But, right now, my binge watching hobby is suffering from a real lack of episodes. What are you watching, old or new, that I should check out? Let me know!