I am a cautiously optimistic kind of guy. That’s as good as I can do really.
But every once in a while my optimism rolls heavily over my caution. Occasionally this works out great and other times – well - not so much.
Over the weekend, for example, I went to a seafood restaurant that has always disappointed me. Literally every single time. But I was optimistic that I would finally get a great meal and threw caution to the wind. Albert Einstein once said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” (Insert heavy sigh here.) I’m not even sure why I have an affinity to the restaurant. I think I must have seen an enticing commercial when I was a kid or something. But I ordered a lobster bake to take away, donned a surgical mask, and fetched my dinner. And to my surprise… I mean disappointment, my (almost) highly anticipated dinner turned out to be a bit like a salt lick, overcome by butter - albeit with copious amounts of shellfish - on a bed of pasta. So, still batting zero.
Okay, by now you’re probably wondering what I’m on about. We're almost there.
Over the weeks of sequestration, I have cavalierly allowed my optimism to select television and cinematic programming, and some turned out to be salt licks on a stick of butter, and others turned out to be pretty amazing. And to the point of this article, I am going to share a few of the shows I enjoyed for your consideration. I will not talk about the several shows I didn’t like – Diablo Guardian – because we’ve got other stuff to discuss lah.
One housekeeping item before we dig into what will need to be a multipart post – I currently only have Amazon Prime. I don’t have cable and my other streaming entertainment subscriptions need to be renewed. But between Amazon’s impressive selection and the sheer quantum of Bloody Marys in my refrigerator, I haven’t been bothered enough to do it yet.
Let’s spend time talking about television series – I will try not to spoil too much for you. In no particular order here is my binge list:
Tales from the Loop. This series makes me smile because it reminds me that there are some really talented writers, directors, and actors plying their trade. The show has a real Twilight Zone vibe to it, but the stories are interconnected, rather than being shorts. I was sad that it was over in just eight, fascinating episodes so I eagerly wait for more.
Carnival Row. I wasn’t sure about this one. It’s described as a murder mystery in a poor, neglected, immigrant neighborhood, but the context wasn’t apparent until I watched the first episode. At first, what constituted the “immigrant” element (I’m trying very hard not to spoil this one) was off-putting - just not my gig. But the writing, acting, set design, and overall delivery were more than enough to keep me intrigued. In the end, it reminded me of Richard Adams’ book, Watership Down – which was pure genius told in an unexpected way. Season one of Carnival Row has eight episodes, and I am looking forward to another season.
The Family Man. I read an article in one of the international news outlets singing the praises of this Indian series made for Amazon. So, I wanted to see for myself what the adulation was about, expecting an interesting story told in a typical Bollywood format. It wasn’t that at all. It took getting through the “get to know me” first episode or so, but very soon after that I was totally wiled. For Americans, there are familiar elements to the program, and some unfamiliar Indian elements also. Frankly, ten episodes weren’t enough – if you’re from Amazon and you’re reading this, “I need more.”
Tokyo Vampire Hotel. Uhh…where to begin. This series involves, well, Vampires, sword fighting, unusual sexual tension, lots of blood (like the entire Kill Bill series, lots of blood), and a few other things I didn’t really know how to interpret. In the end, and this may say something about me or of my Covid-19 isolation, I watched all ten episodes. But I wasn’t entirely sure what I had watched.
There are, of course, several other amazing series that I can wholeheartedly recommend, even if I didn’t watch them entirely during my corona-virus exile. Here are a few: Jack Ryan, Hanna, The Expanse, The Grand Tour, Counterpart, and The Boys. This year I also binge-watched the five seasons of Eureka and six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun. (Insert Smile here.)
Clearly my television bender is no substitute for travel. But we’re all in the same boat so, there you have it. Sometime in the next couple of articles, we will chat about some movies worth watching and perhaps avoiding.
Ultimately, I would recommend all these shows (except for the one). Yes, even, or perhaps especially, Tokyo Vampire Hotel. And if you watch any of these and have comments, a different perspective, or enjoyed something in particular, let me know.
Ciao babies. Be kind and stay safe.
(The photo, such as it is, was taken by me. All copyrights reserved.)