In the last few weeks, we’ve seen (and been emailed) the response of every company in existence about their response to the unfolding pandemic situation. Of course, some of these responses have been extremely short-sighted (or dare I say, a complete mess), but that is to be expected in such uncharted waters. I mean, how should you respond in the face of worldwide uncertainty?
Rather than belabor the mistakes of those who are getting it wrong, I would like to focus today on an industry that is getting it right. The streaming entertainment industry. They were, quite literally, built for this. Their entire audience has just become very captive, and those who formerly avoided them now tremble in the shadow of it’s gleaming maw. Okay--that turned a bit dark. But seriously, I know we’ve all been united as a human race as we collectively sit on our couches and prepare to be entertained. Here’s the list of what I’m watching, what I’m looking forward to watching, and what I won’t be watching anymore.
I actually put this on because I’ve had it on my Netflix list for years, and had nothing else to watch during Christmas break. I finished the first five seasons on Netflix in a couple of days and was SO EXCITED to find out that the final season was set to air in January. Now it is officially the only show I have scheduled on my DVR that I have to watch weekly during my Wednesday workout. It is my current favorite. I am so not mentally prepared for this show to be over in two weeks.
I saw everyone on my timeline watching it, but to be perfectly honest, the images and teasers left me quite uninterested. Enter my husband with a remote--he watched the automatic trailer that came on when you hover over the show image and the rest was history. It is so satisfying--Netflix has found a real gem in this one. I mean, every minute is crazier than the next. I’d be done with it already except my husband keeps falling asleep and I have to pause it. Which alone is actually a testament to its quality--very rarely do we have a show that is so good we have to enter a blood-sworn pact to not watch it without each other. This show is that good.
The Good Place
I have to say, at first I was hesitant about this one. I don’t usually mess with entertainment that gets too biblical for fear of accidental blasphemy so I watched the first few episodes with my finger on the remote in case I had to kill it. But it was just so darn good. It was bubbly, colorful, engaging and smart. Be warned, Hulu only has the first three seasons available to view. I finished quickly, and though season 4 recently wrapped on cable, I cut the cord on that years ago. I think Prime has season 4 to rent, but no entertainment is good enough for me to pay additional for it, so I will have to wait until Netflix releases the final season.
Back in 2015 or so, I wrote a book. Like, an all out fantasy book with hundreds of pages and a sequel. A professional in the publishing industry once read it to give me feedback and compared it to The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Intrigued, I read the first six books and I’ve been hooked ever since. Thankfully, my recent Disney+ subscription came with Hulu, and I finally got a chance to binge watch the show that’s based on the book series from the beginning. This is an engaging show with angels and vampires, etc. etc. But I was so angry when I got to the end of the series. It strayed completely from the books and I wanted it to go on forever. So, there’s that.
Young and Hungry
I make myself laugh with this one. I watched the entire series from start to finish in a matter of days, but I never quite got on board with whether I liked it or not. The main character was sooooo annoying--always getting into the stupidest hijinks that would totally be avoided with just a single ounce of common sense. Yet, she was somehow likable and the show was entertaining enough. Then, at some point it got cancelled and had this rushed, cliffhanger ending that they planned on resolving in a two-hour special that also got cancelled, so very unsatisfying ending. I don’t know. I can’t really say I recommend it, but it passed the time quickly.
Love is Blind / The Circle
These two Netflix reality shows are the stuff reality shows are made for. Your face gets a workout from the constant cringing, but you really can’t look away. My husband missed the Love is Blind boat because I watched it so quickly, but he was all in for The Circle and it also did not disappoint. It was one of those cultural phenomenon things though--I could totally see myself over it by season two. But really horrible fun for if you want to stay up late drinking wine while your kids are in bed.
Always a Witch (Season 2)
When season one hit, I was bombarded by all of the reviews of how racist this show was based on premise alone. Why, reviewers wondered, would a 17th century slave who was burned at the stake for falling in love with her master’s son, and then magically transported to current day Columbia, spend her entire new life trying to get back to her enslaved one? It’s a good question--unless you actually watch even the first episode in which that is plainly answered. I was warned away from it until the lady braiding my hair suggested we watch it to pass the hours, and I tell you--I was instantly hooked. It was funny, action-packed, and I didn’t even really notice that it is dubbed in English. I’ve been saving season two for a special time, much like the last piece of birthday cake because once you eat it, it is gone forever.
Locke & Key
I learned two things from the trailer of this series. 1. That it is completely down my alley. 2. That my kids were too scared to watch it with me. Once a show that has been cleared for binging fails to pass my kid-friendly viewing inspection, it puts it off for a considerable time. Because then it must pass the most difficult of hurdles--if while being viewed and my husband enters the room, will he not instantly turn it to a sports channel. With the current furlough on worldwide sports, it has a glimmer of hope. But then again, I saw him watching a 1990s food-eating competition, followed by The History of Curling, so this could go either way...
Did Not Finish
You know, I tried. I thought I would be the perfect target audience for this one, being that I am a working mom, duh. And there were times where it was blandly entertaining enough that I got through entire episodes and let the next one come on because, meh...why not? But eventually, it got too gross. I hate to stand here on a moral soap box, especially because you’ve just muddled through the questionable list above, but this one was too much of a stretch for me. One woman going through an identity crisis and acting completely lewdly at work to seek out an affair with her boss. Another woman so hung up on climbing the corporate ladder that she takes a remote job at the expressed disagreement from her husband with an infant at home. It’s like they are trying to thumb their noses at traditional marriage roles, which I guess is fine, but it made the motivations for the characters unclear and inauthentic. But the straw that broke the camel's back--the perfectly regular upper middle-class couple with a nanny who got through a considerable amount of their pregnancy to decide to have an abortion, and then celebrate what an awesome choice this was for their family. Yuck. I feel like vomiting just to type it here. Not for me.
So now you know the good, the bad and the ugly of my quarantine television viewing experience thus far. And the hits just keep on coming. Now that theaters are closed and new movies are being rushed to the small screen, I am no longer ashamed that I cut cable only to purchase subscriptions on like 10 different platforms. Disney+ was worth every penny. My new Korean channel had a movie that was complete FIRE. And Netflix is slowly emerging as the leader we need in the world today. So grab the remote, pop some popcorn, sit on your couch and be the hero your country needs.