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I’m Voting for Netflix

September 20, 2013

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This Sunday, the Emmys will be epic.  Mostly because I’m expecting Netflix to walk away with a lot of awards.  Which is kind of crazy.  Cuz they’re not a network.  They’re not even on TV.

But they have some of the best shows on TV right now.  Let’s discuss.

First, they brought back Arrested Development.  You can read my thoughts on that here.

Then came House of Cards.  I could not stop watching this show.  It’s like watching Othello, but you’re rooting for Iago.  Kevin Spacey plays Francis Underwood, a Congressman from South Carolina who throws his weight behind a man who gets elected President.  But instead of getting appointed as Secretary of State as he was promised, he gets passed over.  From there, he sets out on a mission to take down everyone in his way, blackmailing, using influence, bartering, bargaining, and scheming until he can get to his ultimate goal: the Vice Presidency.  We end the season not knowing if he got it or not, but my guess is he will. 

A lot of the political jargon went over my head, but the style and wit of the show kept me going.  That and the stellar performance by Spacey and Robin Wright, who plays his wife Claire.  She the Lady M to his Macbeth (yes, I know I’m mixing my Shakespearean metaphors), as equally conniving and willing to do anything to see her husband succeed, sometimes at the expense of her own goals – a sacrifice she struggles with over the course of the season.  If these two weren’t the main characters, they’d steal every scene they were in.

Watching Spacey and Wright manipulate the people around them is fascinating, especially since Spacey often turns and speaks directly into the camera, a Shakespearean device to let the audience in on his thoughts, plans, plots and schemes.  The show is nothing short of brilliant.

Sadly the same cannot be said of Hemlock Grove.  I had to force myself to sit through an entire episode before giving up.  I had such high hopes for this show, as I’m a huge fan of fantasy and horror and I’ve always loved Famke Janssen and Lily Taylor.

But for once, they disappoint.  I’m sure some of it is the writing and direction, but the show is incredibly campy, and not in an intentional way like Buffy the Vampire Slayer was.  Everything is incredibly over dramatic and over the top, especially at the top of the show when a girl gets attacked and mauled by an unseen creature.  Her reaction is so unnecessarily overdone that it set the tone for the rest of the show.  I was especially disappointed by Famke Janssen’s British accent, which might be one of the worst I’ve ever heard.

Arrested Development is nominated for 3 Emmys: Music Composition, Single Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy, and Jason Bateman for Lead Actor in a Comedy,

House of Cards is nominated for 9 Emmys, including Kevin Spacey for Lead Actor in a Drama, Robin Wright for Lead Actress in a Drama, David Fincher for Directing, and Drama Series. (All of which I hope win!)

Hemlock Grove is nominated for 2 Emmys: Main Title Theme Music and Visual Effects.

There is one show, however that was not “on the air” in time to be nominated, but you can bet your ass it will be for next year’s awards.  I’m speaking, of course, about Orange is the New Black.  I knew from seeing all the tweets and Facebook posts about it that I’d like it.  I did not realize that it would only take me two days to watch it all.  This show is amazing.

Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman, a woman who made some mistakes in her past and now has to leave her preppy lifestyle to live in prison for 15 months.  No big deal, right?  No. Big Deal.  Big Fucking Deal.  Throughout the episodes, we get glimpses into many of the inmates pasts, including Chapman’s as we watch her devolve into a hardcore prison bitch.

Chapman’s journey is interesting, but her past is less so.  Most of the times that we see her pathway to prison I was bored.  Not so for the other inmates: The Russian smuggler cook, the transsexual who committed credit card theft, the hick who’s a fanatical Jesus freak, the Hispanic mother and daughter who both got involved with the wrong drug dealer, and many more.  My personal favorite? Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba).  This woman is quite literally out of her goddamn mind.  I hope season two brings us more of her story.  There’s plenty of time to tell it, cause after the season finale, it’s unlikely Chapman will be getting out anytime soon.

Finally, Netflix has just produced a short season of a Ricky Gervais show, Derek.  Unlike his other shows, I couldn’t even make it through an entire episode.  Derek is, I think, mentally challenged and helps out at an elderly folks’ home.  The style is very much like The Office, but the character isn’t particularly likeable.

So, ultimately, Netflix is just like any other network.  There are good ones and bad ones. But the good ones are so damn good, so completely brilliant, that I can forgive the bad ones.  Keep it up Netflix.  

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