Netflix is brilliant, or evil or both. Their habit of releasing entire seasons of programs at once just begs me to call in sick with a man cold and melt into my couch all day. I signed up for a support group to help me with this, but nobody showed up for the first meeting. Hmmm… maybe it’s a bigger problem than I thought. At least it’s nice to know I’m not alone.
The first two seasons of The 100 are now available on Netflix, and I managed to watch them before the explosive first episode of the third season aired on the CW network. It’s set on a post-apocalyptic Earth for some and on an aging space station for others, both impressively shot. Being a CW show, I was initially hesitant about watching it. Most of their programming isn’t for me, though I have enjoyed watching Arrow (also available on Netflix). I find the characters in The 100 are admirably developed, with dynamic personalities that are very much influenced by each other and their surroundings. I’ve often felt that a story’s villains are its chief measures of quality, especially if they are portrayed honestly. The 100’s antagonists nearly always beg the audience to reconsider their motives from the villains’ point of view, something that makes it difficult sometimes to decide who the true villains are. This artful writing won me over, even when some of the protagonists’ teen angst threatened to aggravate me. Without spoiling any of it for those who’ve missed out, there is action, intrigue and suspense aplenty. I highly recommend it.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stayed in my viewing queue for a long time before I checked it out, and I immediately regretted waiting so long to watch it. The episodes are less than half an hour long, but when adding pauses to recover from my breathless laughter, each ended up being close to 30 minutes in duration. The cast of characters, including some unexpected cameos in hilarious minor roles, is brilliant. Quirky doesn’t begin to describe most of them, and they’re a mishmash of parodies and twists on typical sitcom archtypes that only seem to add to the laughs when united in a scene. Interweaving the exploits of the naive protagonist with plenty of social commentary is a mix of genius. It was difficult to watch a single episode at a time, but I managed to ration them. The show was sold to Netflix, and only the first season is currently available, but two additional seasons will be produced. The second season should air in April of this year. Definitely worth your time, even if just for the theme song. Dang, now it’s stuck in my head!
Marvel’s Jessica Jones is another dark, gritty take on one of the lesser known heroes of New York City, like I enjoyed with the Daredevil series last year. It makes Daredevil look positively jovial by comparison, mostly due to the protagonist’s horrific treatment at the hands of a sinister villain, Kilgrave. Jessica is portrayed by Krysten Ritter, an actress with an impressive resume, including Breaking Bad. After seeing her in the role, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the damaged and stubbornly loyal character. David Tennant’s portrayal of Kilgrave is amazing and couldn’t be further from his role as Dr. Who on BBC. It’s great to see him at work in a role that’s so completely opposite the Time Lord. I haven’t read any of the comics featuring Jessica Jones or Luck Cage, so I’m not sure where they fall in comparison with the Netflix series. Regardless, this show is excellent, and I will likely watch it again before season 2 airs. Apparently Marvel has other contractually obligated shows that must be produced first, so it could be a while.
With those three finished, I still have plenty of other Netflix offerings to check out. Too many, in fact. If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve been watching.