We are in the Television dead zone people… There is nothing on TV in the states except for on Sunday (god bless you Sunday) So now is the time to get Netflix and check out those great original series that everyone’s been talking about.
I review three of them here. I skipped the teen monster show Hemlock Grove and the kids animated shows because I could and I’m an adult. And instead I concentrate on the adult offerings.
To the reviews…
House of Cards
Created by Beau Willimon
House of Cards is the story of a morally bankrupt North Carolina congressman who is passed up for Secretary of State and the intricate political maneuvering and cut throat back office dealings that are his revenge.
For nine episodes House of Cards is the best show of the past year. It is obscenely good. I made the mistake of only allotting myself 2 hours to watch the first couple of episodes but ended up watching the first four. I just couldn’t stop. And after every episode I would proclaim aloud to no one in particular that “This is the best show on TV!” And for nine episodes it was.
But there are thirteen episodes for House of Cards, a show whose quality falls off a cliff so sharply it left me dumbfounded. Did you run out of money? Did you run out of ideas?
Kevin Spacey is superb as is Robin Wright and Kate Mara. The whole cast is sensational. The writing is top-notch and the list of directors that lend their talents to this show boggles the mind. Joel Schumacher, James Foley, David Fincher. Amazing. It just felt like they only wanted to make ten episodes and added three more for some strange reason.
It was so good for a while. So very good. And It will receive a bunch of Emmys and Golden Globes. Kevin Spacey is a no brainer for best actor. And it will garner a few more for writing. And I recommend House of Cards. I recommend it highly. It just sort of disappointed me toward the end. Though the last few episodes are extreme to say the least. (and I did just say the least I could say without giving it away)
I don’t much understand British Politics (with the MP’s and the PM and the Lords “M’lord”) but it doesn’t matter because it’s just so fucking funny. But if you like House of Cards but are looking for something a little lighter, The Thick of It is really good for two seasons. And then season three happened and the drop off in quality was stark. Writing and directing. The great Armando Iannucci moved on to other projects and while it still had similar elements and the same characters the difference is more than just noticeable; It’s annoying. And that’s how I felt about season one of House of Cards.
So Netflix, whatever happened, Whoever left or got fired, Whoever stopped drinking or smoking and just wasn’t the same without their crutch, Whatever new producer started speaking up in meetings or executive started micromanaging the production for the last few episodes, pay them whatever they want. Give them whatever they want. Tell whoever to shut the hell up. PUT IT BACK THE WAY IT WAS.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Orange is the New Black
Created by Jenji Kohan
On the other hand, Orange is The New Black, created by Jenji Kohan (Weeds) gets better with each episode. It’s even better than Weeds. And I loved Weeds.
Orange tells the story of a young drug smuggling wife to be and her year in the slammer. It is funny. It is sexy. It is tragic. It is well-written, well-acted, well-directed. My favorite episode of the first season was directed by Jodie Foster (How do you get these amazing directors Netflix?). It is so fucking good.
My only problem with it being the theme song. I couldn’t stand the theme song after listening to it twice, I had to put it on mute every subsequent episode. Just awful. And I normally like Regina Spekter. But the song, You’ve Got Time, annoyed me. Perhaps for season two they will change performers and music styles like they did with Weeds. (Or like was done so expertly on The Wire).
Orange is The New Black primarily takes place in a women’s minimum security prison with each episode telling us the back story of a different inmate. The cast is an extraordinary motley crew of varying ages and races and sanities for the prisoners. Then of course there are the guards that range from corrupt to naive and the inmates’ families and friends.
But the wonderful Laverne Cox is my favorite. Orange is the New Black is great TV.
I can’t even wait for season two.
Arrested Development (The New Season)
Created by Mitchell Hurwitz
The new season of Arrested Development is really not very good. There are moments that reminded me of funny bits from the earlier seasons and those are enjoyable in a remember this? this was funny sort of way. But the lack of story is what frustrated me about it. And why I didn’t like it.
The season is the same basic story told over and over in each episode from a different character’s perspective. Which is interesting for a while but gets old quick. Maybe I expected too much from it because we had waited so long for new material and the original Arrested Development was just that – so original. The cast was outstanding and the writing was amazing.
In this new season, after about episode five, we get the joke. And every episode after that writes itself. It was no longer funny. It was boring and predictable and disappointing. Very disappointing. I think I laughed out loud (aka lol’d) five or six times during the entire season.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed seeing these characters again. I missed these characters. I missed a few of these actors. But I wanted more. I wanted a lot more.
So there you have it. There are good things happening over on Netflix. Please check them out and subscribe so we can get more. They also have some fantastic British TV Shows: Luther, Sherlock and Doctor Who. As well as all the Marvel Avengers Movies (If you don’t already own them) Tons of Comedy shows, Anime and Ted Talks and Foreign Films.
So go and subscribe. I’ll wait…