by Sophia Madana
2013 started off fresh: New year, new goals, new friends and a Netflix subscription.
Everyone gushed about all the marvelous benefits of Netflix for so long; all the options, full seasons of series I’d been meaning to watch for years. I finally bit the bullet and decided to try it.
I’m sure you can foresee where this story is going. I became a junkie real quick. I rushed home from work to watch what crazy antic Don Draper was going to pull at Sterling Cooper and what Betty was going to do when she found out what was in his private, locked drawer. (Seriously… can you believe he let the teacher hide in the car the entire time?! She wasn’t even mad at him the next day!)
I looked like a zombie straight out of The Walking Dead at work because I was up all night watching … The Walking Dead. (You are what you watch!) Pretty soon I pushed aside new goals and new friends to make more room for new TV shows.
I know I’m not alone in this which is why—I’m assuming—Netflix decided to make a move into original series exclusive to the service to such success that Amazon modeled the idea and is branching out to create an original series of its own.
As a rookie Netflix fiend, I jumped into a few of these series and exclusives, and there was no looking back. Here are a few highlights from my favorite shows. I should alert you they are filled with spoilers.
House of Cards
Kevin Spacey is completely forgettable in this show … only because the character of Georgia senator Frank Underwood takes over him, but who would expect anything less from Kevin Spacey?
The unveiling of the relationship between power couple Frank and his wife Claire, who runs a well-financed non-profit, kept me intrigued throughout the season. I think everyone is a little freaked out by what seems to be a strictly business-based marriage, but you come to find out that in their own convoluted way, they care for each other, and at the end of the day they are equal partners.
Zoe Barnes. Though the entire show is about getting ahead, I’m particularly annoyed with how ungrateful she is about the opportunities she’s been handed as a journalist. Not to mention she’s annoying as all hell. Your nail biting is not cute, Zoe. Not cute at all.
Some of the plot lines were a little predictable and a bit ridiculous. Was it as obvious to everyone as it was to me that Doug was the one who threw the brick in the window? And the Peachoid scandal was over the top. Though, it seems that the writers almost mock politics in Washington by using examples like the Peachoid scandal to point out how dismal Washington can be.
Season Two will be released Valentine’s Day, 2014 with so many questions to be answered: Has the Slug Line team pieced the puzzle together? Will Frank’s plan unravel at the seams? Is Claire’s nonprofit headed in the shitter? Will Peter Russo’s death be vindicated? Ahhh…. I can’t wait to cozy up to my laptop for a romantic evening indulging in the entire season as fast as humanly possible!
Orange is the New Black
This story premise of a 30-something year old woman of the WASP variety heading off to prison and forced to mix with underprivileged “low-lifes” is simply mesmerizing to me. I thoroughly enjoy when a TV show gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a world you would have never traveled otherwise. The story uses the main character of Piper Chapman as a vehicle to show the audience the under-belly of the prison world. It brings to light a certain reality of the struggles women endure in prison, and how broken the system can be; not just by reading NPR headlines, but experiencing it through a narrative. This show educates people.
Each character’s back-story is fascinating, and a smart way to reel an audience in. Most people know that some are more prone to life in prison than others, but not many people understand how things get so bad to the point where they’re destined for it. From the religious right-wing Tiffany Doggett to Taystee who returns to prison after being out, falling right back into place, this is a case of characters over plot that keep the story moving. There are few things that delight me more about a series than falling in love with the characters.
Jason Biggs as Larry, the boyfriend. I just can’t deal with him! He throws everything off. It’s based on a true story, but the way it’s laid out to us, I cannot accept that Piper Chapman would fall for someone like Larry. I especially do not appreciate how he plays the victim toward the end of the season after using Piper’s story to catapult his writing career. What an insufferable ass.
Nevertheless, the first season had me on the edge of my seat after binge watching for a few days straight. Still waiting on the release date for 2014, I’ll be looking forward to the remainder of character stories yet to be told as well as how Piper is going to survive her sentence with nearly everyone turning their back on her.
Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive
This comedy special pretty much says everything I’ve always wanted to say about people on the fast track in life. Aziz touches on how everyone around you is excited about having a kid, yet you can’t wrap your head around it; how the idea of marriage when spelled out is actually incredibly terrifying; how online dating makes you realize how much “riff raff” is out there.
Aziz compares his love for tacos to his love for the opposite sex. I’m sold.
It’s less than 90 minutes long! More Aziz pleeaaaseee.
What Netflix specials did you explore this year? Which ones are you most looking forward to in 2014?