The Art of Binge Watching
The art of binge watching is new to me. I had never done it until the weekend of February 3, 2017. From 2/3 - 2/7 I watched three of the best TV shows I've ever seen, and now I'm scared I'll never find anything worth binging on again.
I drowned myself in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortuante Events, Stranger Things, and The People v. OJ Simpson. All three completely different. All three very much a reflection of my adolescence and early adulthood.
Lemon Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events
I loved the books. I worked at Border's Bookstore from 2002-2003, when the books were at the height of their popularity. I'll never forget how engaged I was in the witty writing and pessimistic storytelling. I felt for the kids, but I loved the adventures. I was 21 and 22. I was a literature major at CSUN. I was taking a children's literature class at the time. It was destiny.
The TV show captures the misery. Though, I thought the film was more whimsical, the show plays up the tragedy better. You really hate the adults. And that's the point. I didn't really understand the narrow mindness of adults at 22. At 35 I fully understand it. The lack of paying attention or the inability to listen. That's what the books were about. That's what the show does so well. It's as close to literature as you'll see on Netflix!
Stranger Things is Steven Spielberg meets Aliens. It's both whimsical and John Hughes like, while also being a great horror show. It's 1983 setting is so spot on, I almost wondered if the show was made 30 years ago. The special effects are too good for that.
Winona Rider has earned a lot of acclaim for her role as a mother who lost her child, and she deserves it. Rider was once one of our best film actresses, but a jewelry theft gone wrong sent her to actor purgatory. Now she's one of best reasons to subscribe to Netflix.
What this show reminds us is that imagination without cynicism can be refreshing and inspirational. Filled with clichés, the show plays them as strengths. The nerd/jock/pretty girl subplot, the fat nerd, the drunken sheriff, the evil government agency, etc. All are iconic 80's motifs, but here are given fresh eyes.
This isn't an 80's hack job. This is what Tarantino did with. black spoiltation films and spaghetti westerns. He gave them facelifts. Stranger Things does the same.
The People v. OJ Simpson
This is the best piece of TV I've seen since Seinfeld. I was mesmerized from frame one to the last second. I lived through the 1994-1995 trial. I was in 8th grade and remember my grandma making me listen to a John & Ken to know he was guilty.
What the show does in 10 segments is not prove or disprove his innocence, but instead makes us look back at an era where there was no 24 hour news outside of CNN. When Americans were clueless about DNA evidence. When we just a few years out from the LA riots from Rodney King. The show is a pure reflection of a different era.
The acting is top notch. The writing Pulitzer level. The direction crisp. It's a brilliant piece of art.
The film leans toward a guilty action by OJ, but a not guilty criminal trial. You can see how Cochran got him off. Had we been on that jury during that time, we might have voted not guilty too. Either way...what a trip down memory lane.
Binge watching is a pure joy. It's pure escapism. And I look forward to the next journey.
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Paul Douglas Moomjean Blog's About What's on His Mind
Blogging allows for me to rant when there is no stage in the moment to talk about what's important and/or funny to me.