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Snarf's Superior Syllabus for Binge Viewing: New Lockdown Edition (Part 1)

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Delta delta delta, can Snarf help ya help ya help ya?

That's right, as we round the bend toward Labor Day in the United States, Labour Day in Upper United States (sometimes referred to as, uh, Canadia?) and September in the remainder of the god-forsaken parts of the world that believe "football" is played with your feet, it is increasingly apparent that such activities as "Being Around Other People" might be bad.

HA HA! I've always been ahead of the curve on that one. To quote my grand-pappy, Aveeare Zagyg, as he always used to say to me when I was a wee little Snarfling, "People are like oysters. I hate 'em. Now, get me a gallon of whisky and some laudanum, boy, or I'll give you something to cry about at kindergarten."

In order to while away what is sure to be a lonely fall, I will be providing a brief list of recommendations for Bingeable Shows for the Upcoming Lockdowns. Sure, this coming month might see you try to zoom with other people, or have to interact with those weirdos that live in your house (you know- family!) but you’ll probably need to have a little company for your inner introvert. And what's better company than some quality television watching? So, without further elaboration, some shows for every mood, most of which are deeper cuts. I am not including obvious choices like Breaking Bad or Stranger Things or any of the other shows you have definitely already seen by now:

You’re just too happy during the pandemic, and you need something to bring you down.
Watch the Leftovers. (HBOMax)
Imagine a world where 2% of the world's population died, or disappeared. Woah. Unimaginable, right?
....oh, yeah. Anyway ....
The first season can be kind of an unhappy slog at times. And the show doesn’t get any happier. But it does get weird. Really, really weird. And then it also gets good. Really, really good. One of the best shows that no one watched, and, perhaps, the best-ever series finale. This is a show that will stick with you for a long, long time. Come for the lingering depression, stay for the Woah ... mind blown.

You are no longer on speaking terms with your family/roommates, and need to hide out for a week or two.
Watch the Shield. (Hulu)
This show ran for incredible seven seasons and 89 episodes. Watching this show isn’t a little binge; this is a daunting commitment. But it is well worth it. Yeah, some of the early episodes are already a bit dated. Sure, the plot meanders a bit in the middle seasons. But from the opening, shocking episode, to the final haunting images, this was consistently one of the best shows that The Commish was ever in. Come for the Thing, stay for Walton Goggins’ breakout performance.

Crazy Uncle Bob is over, and you need to hide out for the day since he's trying to sell you on his crazy.
Watch Alias Grace. (Netflix)
Don’t let the name fool you; this is engrossing viewing that speaks to the time we are going through right now. Saying that it’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but less science fiction-y, does it a disservice; this is a powerful meditation on truth and gender dynamics served up in six episodes.

Plot isn’t as important to you as gorgeous cinematography, exotic locations, and polyamorous hot lovin’.
Watch Sense8. (Netflix)
A show that provokes many thoughts, the primary one being, “How in the heck did this get greenlit in the first place?” Try not to think too deeply about some of the glaring plot holes and leaps of logic, but instead concentrate on the sumptuous visuals and the general “everyone love each other” message which is imparted with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. A polyamorous sledgehammer dancing to a techno beat. During dark times, this is a show that, for the most part, should make you feel good.

You finished the Leftovers, and felt that you were still way too happy and optimistic.
Watch Rectify. (AMC+, fubo)
The best show that no one has watched, this is an amazingly acted slow burn on the difficulties of trying to integrate yourself back into society after spending most of your life in prison. Watching this show will fill your head with questions, questions that you will never be able to discuss with anyone else because, again, no one has ever watched this show.

You just want to watch something on Amazon Prime, because you're holed up in your basement and only get supplies through Amazon.
Choices! Here, you can see what would happen if House, M.D. had to diagnose Loki with lupus-
The Night Manager
But if you’re looking for a truly off-beat show that managed to go under the radar, hear me now and believe me later, watch-
The Patriot
In all seriousness, watch the first episode; by the end of that episode, you will either have fully committed to the show, or you’ll understand that it’s not for you. Well, there's a third option. If you find yourself wondering why I recommended some movie with Mel Gibson killing people, then you've accidentally picked the wrong Patriot.

You just need to see some more Goggins, because in this time of need, we all need more Goggins.
Justified. (Hulu)
Vice Principals. (HBOMax)

At some point in the future, I will return with a Part 2. Maybe.
 
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FitzTheRuke

Legend
Awrite. I'm inclined to give your recommendations a go because your sense of humour hits me in the funny-bone and gives me the tingles.

But I need to know more! The few of these shows that I've tried, I've never gotten very far (except the Shield, which I liked for awhile but never finished. Goggins is good, though, you're right about that).

I've tried Sense8 (as a comic book guy, I've many mixed feelings when it comes to JMS, who wrote and showran it, IIRC). I can't remember much, but I remember hating the fist episode, which is all I watched. Was it just someone on drugs being depressing? That rings a bell.

I've also tried the Leftovers, which did nothing for me. Again, I didn't give it much of a chance, and I barely remember what I did watch. Some kind of rapture thing? How do you force your way to where it gets good (assuming I trust that it does).

The rest? No idea. Haven't even heard of some of them. Tell me more.
 

aco175

Legend
I started The Highlander series from the 90s, mostly since it shows up on the Firestick on AMC (maybe). It has some commercials, but still ok. I chuckled one episode when they were talking about not being able to hide being an immortal as much because of computers and the level of technology in the 90s.

I also see that another season of Walking Dead has hit Netflix. Forget where I left off, somewhere around whisperers wearing dead faces,
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Tell me more.

So, I wanted to post a few recommendations that push past the usual Disney+/Star Trek that we often discuss here. So think of these as more "thinking" TV shows. Mostly.

In order:
The Leftovers: Showrunner is Damon Lindelof (Lost, Watchmen). This show is really hard- because the first season takes a little perseverance. It's good, but it can be difficult. Definitely try to make to the third episode! But here's the thing- the final two seasons of this show are, hands-down, some of the most meaningful and impactful things I have every watched. There are times I still think about it. I can't say much more without giving it away.

The Shield: I can't believe you stopped before the ending! Hear me now and believe me when you finally watch it- very little is as powerful as the way that this show ended its run.

Sense8: Wachowskis+JMS = good TV. Much like the similarly shortened, The OA, it's just some good, and uplifting, TV that's worth watching.

Alias Grace: This is a miniseries based off of the novel by Margaret Atwood (based on a true story). It's kind of true crime, but much much deeper.

Rectify: Pure unadultered great drama; the story of what happens when a person is released from prison after 20 years on death row for a wrongful conviction. Maybe wrongful. And he returns back to the same town.

Now, if you're just looking for fun, then:
1. The Patriot. Watch the first episode. You will either immediately want to watch the rest, or it's not for you. I can't give anything away other than that.
2. Vice Principals: Walton Goggins + Kenny Powers = pure comedy genius. A show that never quite reaches the pure heights of Eastbound & Down, but is somehow more ... relevant? While also being insanely funny.
3. The Night Manager. Critically acclaimed miniseries with Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston based on a le Carre novel. Great acting and even better locations.
4. Justified.
 

payn

Legend
Spot on for The Leftovers and Rectify Snarf, good work. Also, everyone needs more Goggins, well maybe not The Unicorn, but it just got cancelled so no worries there.

@FitzTheRuke If The leftovers didn't do it from the start, I don't believe any amount of pushing thru is going to help. If you are looking for something that is beautiful, well executed, but also melancholy, then try Tales from the Loop on Amazon instead.

I'll toss in my own recommendation(s);
You just want to see violence and nudity in gloriously copious gratuity.
You can now enjoy any number of Skinemax series on HBO Max. That includes, Warrior, Banshee, and Strike Back. These series will warm the part of your heart that lives back in the 80's when action movies didnt need plots or reasons for people to be nekkid.

You need something weird, but easy to digest.

Try Brand New Cherry Flavor on Netflix. This limited series is only 8 episodes, but its a fun ride. Imagine the weirdness of Lynch, but also the suspense of Hitchcock. It's also about making movies so enjoy the meta.

You wish made for television Stephen King wasnt so crappy.
Try Mr. Mercedes on Peacock. Who knew after decades of awful King made for TV movies that all you needed was a foul mouthed Brendon Gleason?
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Spot on for The Leftovers and Rectify Snarf, good work. Also, everyone needs more Goggins, well maybe not The Unicorn, but it just got cancelled so no worries there.

@FitzTheRuke If The leftovers didn't do it from the start, I don't believe any amount of pushing thru is going to help. If you are looking for something that is beautiful, well executed, but also melancholy, then try Tales from the Loop on Amazon instead.

I'll toss in my own recommendation(s);
You just want to see violence and nudity in gloriously copious gratuity.
You can now enjoy any number of Skinemax series on HBO Max. That includes, Warrior, Banshee, and Strike Back. These series will warm the part of your heart that lives back in the 80's when action movies didnt need plots or reasons for people to be nekkid.

You need something weird, but easy to digest.

Try Brand New Cherry Flavor on Netflix. This limited series is only 8 episodes, but its a fun ride. Imagine the weirdness of Lynch, but also the suspense of Hitchcock. It's also about making movies so enjoy the meta.

You wish made for television Stephen King wasnt so crappy.
Try Mr. Mercedes on Peacock. Who knew after decades of awful King made for TV movies that all you needed was a foul mouthed Brendon Gleason?

I'm going to post a Part 2 (at some point, maybe?) but I will add that Banshee is great mindless genre fun that is very well done.

I haven't seen Brand New Cherry Flavor yet, but it's on my list. Did you ever see Maniac (Emma Stone, Jonah Hill)?

I just finished White Lotus (fun!) and working my way through Mare of Eastown (MURDUR DURDUR!).
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I also see that another season of Walking Dead has hit Netflix. Forget where I left off, somewhere around whisperers wearing dead faces,
As much as I appreciate Walking Dead for making me an absolute load of money over the years (I own a comic and game store), I just can't stand how TWD makes people fight among themselves and ignore the zombies. I lost interest after the first couple of seasons. (Same with the comic).

I'll toss in my own recommendation(s);
You just want to see violence and nudity in gloriously copious gratuity.
You can now enjoy any number of Skinemax series on HBO Max. That includes, Warrior, Banshee, and Strike Back. These series will warm the part of your heart that lives back in the 80's when action movies didnt need plots or reasons for people to be nekkid.
I freaking LOVE Banshee, and I like Warrior, but I couldn't get into Strike Back. To Rah Rah for me, if that makes any sense. Just a bit too masculine, I'm not afraid to admit.

You need something weird, but easy to digest.
Try Brand New Cherry Flavor on Netflix. This limited series is only 8 episodes, but its a fun ride. Imagine the weirdness of Lynch, but also the suspense of Hitchcock. It's also about making movies so enjoy the meta.
Hmm. I'll take a look at it.

You wish made for television Stephen King wasnt so crappy.
Try Mr. Mercedes on Peacock. Who knew after decades of awful King made for TV movies that all you needed was a foul mouthed Brendon Gleason?
Can't get enough Brendon Gleason (or his sons for that matter). Don't think I can get Peacock, though?

Mare of Eastown (MURDUR DURDUR!).
Mare was well done, if depressing. I've always had a thing for Kate.

I recommend Nine Perfect Strangers if you want to watch Michael Shannon be as weird and wonderful as he always is. The rest of the cast are great too (Shannon is not necessarily a standout, really). I'm not sure where it's going, but it's very watchable.

I'll think of my own list and give it a post sometime.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Mare was well done, if depressing. I've always had a thing for Kate.

I recommend Nine Perfect Strangers if you want to watch Michael Shannon be as weird and wonderful as he always is. The rest of the cast are great too (Shannon is not necessarily a standout, really). I'm not sure where it's going, but it's very watchable.

I'll think of my own list and give it a post sometime.

I fell in love with Michael Shannon when he played the agent in Boardwalk Empire. That's when I first noticed him. After that, I'd be watching something and be all like, "Wait, is that him? I didn't know he was in Jesus' Son!"

I'm four episodes in on Mare. It's good. The acting is amazing and the mise en scène is ... it absolutely captures that small-town, hardscrabble, "Pennsyltucky" feel. I know that place- they nailed it.

But it is a lot to take in. That's not a show you binge in a day.
 


embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
I've tried several times to watch The Leftovers. I didn't make it through the first episode before wanting to kill myself because of the bleakness.

Right now, I'm going through The Last Kingdom on Netflix. It's not great but it's not terrible. Slightly worse than Vikings, which I very much enjoyed.
 


FitzTheRuke

Legend
Peacock is free (with commercial interruption) at least in the U.S.
Yeah, I'm not in the US, y'see... I have no idea where its stuff is played in Western Canada. When I ask Google it says...

"To add to that, in June 2020, NBCUniversal signed an exclusive agreement with Corus that would allow Corus to broadcast all Peacock Originals content to Canadian. With this agreement in place, it does not look like Peacock is in the position to offer it's services in the Canadian market"

... Trouble is, I have no idea what a "Corus" is. A LOT of the time when people say "Canada" they mean "Ontario" and the rest of us just remain forgotten.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yeah, I'm not in the US, y'see... I have no idea where its stuff is played in Western Canada. When I ask Google it says...

"To add to that, in June 2020, NBCUniversal signed an exclusive agreement with Corus that would allow Corus to broadcast all Peacock Originals content to Canadian. With this agreement in place, it does not look like Peacock is in the position to offer it's services in the Canadian market"

... Trouble is, I have no idea what a "Corus" is. A LOT of the time when people say "Canada" they mean "Ontario" and the rest of us just remain forgotten.
I mean it could be worse. Canada is worse to be in for US TV than the US (obvs), but it is the second best country in the world out of about 200 for US TV.

Still, in the UK you get British TV. Which I'd choose over US TV any time.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I mean it could be worse. Canada is worse to be in for US TV than the US (obvs), but it is the second best country in the world out of about 200 for US TV.

Still, in the UK you get British TV. Which I'd choose over US TV any time.
That's probably true. (The first bit, I'd almost entirely agree about the second bit).
 



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