I’ve just realised that it’s two years since I started using Netflix or to put it another way, binging on Netflix. Is that healthy? I don’t know, but I’m not complaining since I must have totally ignored TV for the best part of ten years when I thought I had better things to do, which in fact I did due to an adverse reaction to badly dubbed films showing on cable TV here in Argentina, not to mention a 1Mb net connection which put us in the Stone Age for downloading anything for that day or indeed that week.
What are your Netflix favourites?
I had to remind myself when and what we started to watch by going into My Account/My Profile/Viewing Activity on the Netflix homepage, which is a little scary reminding yourself just how much you’ve consumed over the years. We started off with Prison Break, moved on to House of Cards (US version), 24, Homeland; the list goes on and on and, of course, you don’t need to wait till next week for the next episode, which can be either a boon or a curse. Many a morning the alarm has gone off and I feel like my eyes are propped open with matchsticks such is the sacrifice I made the night before. But heck, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Even now people ask ‘Have you seen Game of Thrones yet?‘ or ‘You mean, you’ve never seen Breaking Bad? Where have you been?‘ Well, I have seen Breaking Bad; in fact I couldn’t tear myself away from it and I place the blame fairly and squarely at the feet of Mr Heisenberg for luring us in so cunningly. Actually, Breaking Bad turned out to be one of the best series I’ve ever seen; it never seemed to slack and thankfully didn’t end up all soapy like Jericho and The 100, which I felt obliged to finish, only because it seemed a shame not to, or something like that.
You know what it’s like when you and your wife are going out, she complains that she’s got nothing to wear and you take a peek in the wardrobe only to find it bulging with dresses and tops. Kind of reminds me of Netflix; there’s always something there following that empty moment when you just watched the last episode ever, ever, of Mad Men which, let’s face it, was pretty damned good and always reminds me of the kind of excesses we shipping men used to get up to in the old days in London, but that’s another story.
Netflix pretty much hooked me into the Zombie cult. That first pilot episode of The Walking Dead was a clincher for me and I ended up watching the entire series up to season five, end-to-end, twice over. But that wasn’t enough; I needed more undead and found Z Nation which was a total surprise in every way. It would be cruel to call Z Nation a spoof, but I suppose that’s what it is really, or possibly The Walking Dead on steroids or some other wacky substance, such is the off-the-wall style.
The Americans has an interesting premise and is all the more realistic following the events of 9/11, not to mention the rise of ISIS and putting one’s own feelings of xenophobia aside, it’s not difficult to imagine a similar scenario emerging today, although many of the characters just weren’t likeable, which for me is a real turn off.
Narcos on the other hand, is believable in every way and sheds light on Pablo Escobar’s life and modus operandi in a way that even transcends fiction. We were totally gripped and even found ourselves shouting at the TV at times. I’m pretty sure old Pablo was probably even more brutal in real life, much like Shorty Guzman is. When that season of Narcos came to an end, I struggled with Jericho and The 100, both of which were excellent ideas, but badly executed. They could have been so much better and just seemed to fizzle out like spent matches in the end, as if the writers had run out of puff.
So, during the recent elections and other news here in Argentina, we seemed to be gripped by wall-to-wall live news coverage which brought us back into the real world with a bump, until that soon got a tad dull, especially after the three escaped convicts were eventually caught, so we gave Downton Abbey a go and are completely hooked. I suppose being British myself, I can relate to the outrageous snobbery, class system and punishing servitude downstairs and can also quite see why this series has gripped viewers in the USA so much. It must be fairly alien to most people and for my part, having languished in many a British institution in a similar tradition, I have no doubt that much of what is portrayed in Downton isn’t very far from the truth.
Streaming is the future
There’s no doubt that Netflix has revolutionised our viewing habits, probably for ever. I’ve written about this in other articles and for the princely sum of US$8.99 per month, I consider it to be an absolute bargain considering what you get for those bucks. I often wonder which other outlets would be showing all those long forgotten films, documentaries and TV series, if it weren’t for the Internet. I mean, who hires DVD’s anymore? I’m not ignoring the other big movers in media streaming of course; it’s just that I have no experience with Amazon Prime, Hulu and the hundreds of others as Netflix pretty much has everything we need for the moment. Until the next big thing comes along, that is.