20 January 2017

watching watching watching.

A little over a month ago I was working on the little family update that I send out with our Christmas cards every year.  It is just a summary of some of the things that have happened to us in the last year, but we also like to share what of the year we enjoyed.  Media, places we ate, places we visited, recipes we tried.  When it came time to remember all of the movies or television shows that we'd seen in the year and pick a handful to share, it quickly became a tall order.

In the words of the most hopeless dean in community college history: "TV's gotten crazy good, you know."  And it's true!  There were so many things I discovered last year and because of paper space and our trying to keep our recommendations family friendly, there were many we did not list.  So here are the ones that were cut, though that should not be any indication of a negative opinion, because I truly loved them.

1. Mr. Robot: Many months ago Jon mentioned to me that he'd seen the pilot episode for this show and gave me a play-by-play (Jon's superpower, truly.  He gives incredible and complete play-by-plays of things he has watched and saves me the trouble of watching it for myself many many times).  He didn't continue on, but we happened to be watching part of the Emmys last year and saw Rami Malek win for best actor and then my interest was piqued.  Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, and I found myself watching nearly the entire first season on my flight from Seattle to Reykyavik.  And I was hooked!  On my return trip I was stuck in Boston for 24 hours and nearly finished off the second season as well.

(Which begs the question: does it count as binge-watching when you're in the sky or in an airport and have nothing else you must do?  Is there shame attached to binge-watching, that you should be doing something else/more productive/feeding your child instead of watching tv for hours?  And then, if there is no shame in hours of watching because there is little else to do, is it still binge-watching?)

I love the focus on a main character with crippling social anxieties and the need to trust and root for him (even though it is dangerous to trust a character who is highly unreliable).  I try mostly to focus on Elliot and his progress throughout the show and not the creeping paranoia that sets in from a show about hackers.  I changed quite a few passwords after fully catching up on the show.

2. Atlanta: Raw and clever and funny.  For me it is a glimpse into a very real world that has never been my own, and for others, I understand, a very accurate depiction of their lives or what their lives once were.  It seems I keep saying it over and over, but Donald Glover seemed to have an amazing 2016 career-wise and he is going places.

3. 3%: This one is entirely in Portuguese and it's another dystopian thriller, but this one is worth taking a look at.  Not just for the fact that everyone is beautiful and attractive, but because of its grounding in reality.  Any dystopian story generally has that underlying warning of "don't let it come to this point," but in parts of Brazil they are already living beyond that point.  I'd love to hear from a few Brazilian perspectives on this series.

Side note: can people stop calling it "Brazil's Hunger Games" or any other iteration of that?  This show is nothing like The Hunger Games.  In fact, can we all stop holding up The Hunger Games as THE marker of the dystopian genre??  No more of that!

4. Taboo: This show just started last week and I think I'm already into it, in spite of its slow, SLOOOOOOOW burn nature thus far.  It is mysterious and intriguing and it honestly could go in any direction in the future (that's how slow this burn is) but I mean to see it out.  Tom Hardy is an enigma all on his own and I find it hard to focus on anything but him.  The costume designer for the show really knows how to dress him up in the most perfect way and I think I already want Jon to be James Keziah Delaney for Halloween this year.

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