HOME ARCHIVE 2018

Watching these shows can be risky because they’re addictive

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

There are a lot of ways to waste time, but one of the best ways is to binge-watch a show on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

It is like a drug. When I start viewing a series show, the next thing I know I am watching three or four shows and have to drag myself away from it.

They transport you to a different world, not for just two hours like in the movies, but for hours or days at a time if you let them.

One of my first experiences watching one of these was “Friday Night Lights.” It has a Texas theme and a football main plot with lots of twists and turns for interesting subplots.

Of course, Dillon High School wins the state championship, but the shows are really about the characters. There is an on-and-off relationship between the shy Matt Saracen, the backup quarterback who is dropped into the QB 1 role, and Julie Taylor, Head Coach Eric Taylor’s daughter, which is interesting and takes many turns.

One underlying theme is teenage drinking. Those high school TV football players can drink like a fish - like many fish. The booze never stops, even though in the show they are all still underaged.

They may have been just copying their parents, like the characters in “Mad Men,” which lasted for seven seasons, all of them available on Netflix. It is set in the early 1960s and revolves around the advertising world.

The show is like a soap opera and will grab you, especially since Netflix does not make it easy to stop.
It starts the next segment in just a few seconds. Weren’t you curious anyway of what will happen next? What’s the harm in watching just a few minutes of the next show, or a few more shows after that?

The main characters – actually most actors in the show – drink all day long. If a client cancels a contract, the ad men reach for the booze, right there in the office. If they land a big account, they reach for it again. Meeting with the company owner? Let’s have a drink first. Landed a big account? Celebrating with a drink or two, or three.

And they smoke – a lot. Everybody smokes. I grew up in the 1960s, and a lot of people did smoke around me. I tried smoking once and started coughing and choking while the smokers around me laughed. I never tried it again.

Those characters in “Mad Men” must have checked out in their early 60s with all that self-inflicted liver and lung damage. But back in those days, they were king and powerful.

In the mood for something more substantial? “Stranger Things” on Netflix glued me to the screen even though I tried to pull away. Must have been a strange force from the upside-down world. It’s a science fiction horror series that revolves around kids and another dimension. Before you watch it, clear your schedule for the day.

Then there is “Man in the High Castle” on Amazon Prime, in which we lost WWII and the Germans and Japanese occupy the United States. It is one weird series, but very magnetic. And there is “Travelers” on Netflix, in which people from the future travel back in time to try to save the world by occupying current Earth inhabitants’ bodies, but they just mess up the world more.

There are many more. They all end with a cliffhanger so that you’re enticed to watch just one more show, or two – or three.