Monday, February 28, 2022

The Great Binge

Late November of 2021, I started a great binge of television. I only read one book in December because I was too busy watching TV. And I liked it!

I started with Homeland, the acclaimed Showtime series about CIA officer Carrie Mathison (actress Claire Danes) and her hunt for terrorists. I was instantly hooked. At the height of my TV watching, I would get through three or even four episodes in a single weekend day. On a weeknight, if I started early enough, I could power through three episodes. Many nights I wanted to gobble up the episodes as the show was so good. I won't spoil it (even though it was released in 2011) but suffice to say I gobbled the first four seasons and was craving more.

In an attempt to hold off consuming the remaining four seasons of Homeland, I switched to House of Cards, the political thriller/drama featuring Frank Underwood (actor Kevin Spacey) on Netflix. Though I didn't watch it at the same feverish pace as Homeland, I certainly devoured it, getting through three seasons by mid-January. I would leaven the darkness of House of Cards by mixing in episodes from the first season of The Mandalorian (Disney+). I would sometimes watch The Madalorian first to warm-up for my evening TV or I would watch it second to cleanse my mind from the lurid action from Cards.

Unable to stop my rampage of television, I moved over to Ozark (Netflix), the crime drama featuring money launderer Marty Byrde (actor Jason Bateman). I had watched the first season back in 2017, the year it debuted. This time around I had to watch some recaps to reacquaint myself with all the characters, but it was not difficult to get back into the flow of the series. I really liked the overall arc and direction of Season 2 and I came close to answering "Yes" when Netflix asked if I wanted to watch the next season but I didn't.

Instead, I started Homeland Season 5. This kept me occupied until late January. A Reddit post has commenters giving this season low marks in terms of quality but I enjoyed all the plot twists. By this point I realized that I was watching way too much TV so I searched for a spy novel to ease me out of TV mode and into reading mode. (This search lead me to "The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden" by Mark Bowden and "Damascus Station" by David McCloskey.)

The last series I binged was Season 3 of "The Wire" from HBO. It's a testament to the density of this show that it's very difficult to watch multiple episodes in one evening. I had to read the HBO synopses and during my watching I would often rewind to remind myself who was who, and to read what was said by turning on the captions. The climax of Season 3 devastated me, but like all great endings, there was an inevitability to it that made perfect sense.

It was fun experiencing the modern way people consume television, but I'm done for now. People reading this: recommend me a TV series to watch. I may add it to my future binge list!

TV Time

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