Sunday, February 5, 2012

Breaking Good

On Elizabeth's recommendation, I watched all four seasons of Breaking Bad in the last few weeks, and now I am in withdrawal, sorely in need of another Netflix series to cosy up to on my sweet little Kindle Fire. Any suggestions? I loved the arc and the layered characterizations on Breaking Bad, and the way everything (with maybe one tiny exception) was completely believable in how it evolved, or at least, allowed me to suspend belief and not get mired in skepticism or glaring plot holes. The series absorbed me in a different way than the Showtime series Homeland did, but the engagement was as complete.

Here's what I've found: This kind of engagement with a compelling series watched curled up in a chair with my little Fire is a good a Prozac, y'all. It completely drowns out the brain noise, drawing me into a whole world outside my incessant rumination and worry. I get so caught up in the story unfolding on the small screen (a beautiful richly colored, nicely detailed little screen by the way, the perfect size, and nobody's paying me to say that!) that I can allow the stories playing out in my real life to unfold without my anxious interference. I can dip in as needed and be mentally occupied otherwise. No wide open brain space to cook up dire scenarios!

So help out my family, people. What series would you suggest I try next? As context, in addition to Breaking Bad and Homeland, I have loved or am loving The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie, The Big C, Rome, and Six Feet Under, to name a few of the shows I have found particularly absorbing. I'd welcome movie suggestions too.

Thank you in advance for any ideas you may have, or for just being here and reading this. I'm off the root for the Giants in the Super Bowl now, along with my husband, daughter and niece, who came to town this weekend with her squash team. She decided to stay overnight and travel back to school tomorrow. The table is full of fixings, spinach dip and cut veggies, chips and salsa, cheeses, crackers, and the best barbeque wings ever, all courtesy of my husband. The beer is cold and the vocal chords are tuned up and my son is texting in regularly. We're having a party over here! Let's play ball.




19 comments:

  1. Treme of course (and not just because your pictures of New Orleans lured me into your world). The United States of Tara.

    I have the same brain noise as you today. Maybe I'll spend the rest of waking hours in some shows. Not a bad idea at all. Thanks!

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  2. i tend to like darker material. The Wire is the best tv i've ever seen. i recently enjoyed a canadian FBIish series, with a terriic woman protagonist, called Intelligence. i love the British MI 5 series. loved Six Feet Under. i agree, btw, def like total marathon immersion in Netflix. Treme is great. and i think i may have mentioned here or elsewhere that we like Sons of Anarchy. but that may be an acquired taste!

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    1. susan, you're the second person to suggest sons of anarchy to me. and treme again! yes.

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  3. You have described so perfectly how watching a really good tv series enables one to escape into a world not one's own. I'm interested to see what suggestions they all come up with. Everyone keeps suggesting The Wire, but I just can't get into it --

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    1. elizabeth, i tried the wire too and couldnt get into it, but i was trying to pick it up mid series, in season 3 or 4 i believe. i wonder what it would be like to start at the beginning. i think i will give it a try, since so many have recommended it here and in my non virtual world.

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  4. Treme definitely. And Rescue Me. Also Dexter which is gruesome but fun. I like Weeds too.

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    1. Ha! i just started Rescue Me.

      I think I'm scared of Dexter, but Weeds and Treme definitely!

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  5. We have similar tastes in entertainment! You might enjoy Deadwood, Friday Night Lights or the Walking Dead... I've never seen the Wire either. My husband loves Lie to Me, and I've seen a few episodes, it looks compelling. Happy therapy!

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    1. hey there! My niece suggested Lie to Me. I am fascinated that people seem to be moved by many of the same shows.

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  6. I think Six Feet Under might be my favorite show, ever. I could cry right now just thinking about the wonderful finale. You might also want to try Alan Bell's other series, True Blood. It's different from 6FU, but it's a hoot, and there are sexy people in it, and that's always fun to watch.

    It's darker, but I think The Shield is my second favorite show ever. Brilliant characterization and incredibly compelling plotlines, it's got a lot of crime and violence and I loved it despite that. It feels true.

    If you've never seen My So-Called Life, the one season of that doomed show would be a very sweet treat for you.

    Not sure if it's available on DVD yet, but the first season of Game of Thrones was beautiful and epic, and the second season is starting soon.

    There is something truly wonderfully immersive about watching episodes back-to-back, though, instead of having to wait for new ones.

    I second Dexter, but the past two seasons I feel like it's really declined.

    As far as movies, we watched 50/50 this weekend, and I just loved it SO much. I am a big weeper, and I cried through about three-quarters of the movie. If you are a weeper too and you have any uncried tears, I recommend it highly. Or if you just like to look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt... which I do... What a cutie.

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    1. ellen, i so agree with you about six feet under! and you, dear friend, are the one who turned me on to nurse jackie, which led me to the big C, which led me to....homeland! you would love homeland! all the episodes are still on showtime on demand.

      i did see game of thrones, another marathon as i waited till the season was done and watched it all within a week. can't wait for the second season!

      and my daughter and i watched 50/50 just this week, crying the whole time too, even as we laughed. she particularly likes looking at joseph gordon levitt so you definitely have some company there!

      i think i will have to look into the shield!

      hugs.

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    2. I DO love Homeland! Oh, how I wish there were a dozen seasons of Homeland, all waiting for us to watch episodes back-to-back. *sigh*

      Angella, The Shield is amazing, but I have to say again that it's very violent. It was on FX, but it was still extremely... upsetting in spots. But it was brilliant, and created by Shawn Ryan, who stuck with it from the first episode to the last. So many great tv shows are ruined when the person/people who create them leave a few seasons in.

      I have to give another vote (how many do I get?) to Dexter, though. It's thought-provoking, and not as gory as you might imagine. It IS gory, but I found it easy to shut my eyes for a minute and ignore it. I think you would like it. You know it's based on novels? Kinda.

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  7. Angela, thank you so much for not going into detail about Breaking Bad. We just finished watching until the end of Season 3 and the fourth season isn't free on Netflix yet. Yes, we're cheap. But, we love that show.
    Before that, we watched Damages with Glen Close. Seriously, I promise you, you'll be hooked with the first episode.
    We are watching Kidnapped now which totally blows. But, the last episode is on tonight and then we'll switch to Weeds or Sons of Anarchy. Although I'm bit afraid of the 2nd one. m.

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    1. mark, i couldn't wait for season 4 of breaking bad! i purchased it from amazon streaming video for $20. whooo boy!

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  8. me again: (i dont feel like working today....)
    The Shield was a guilty amoral pleasure...altho the season forrest whitaker was on was just pure unadulterated pleasure. and Mark--Damages was flat-out addiction. As for the final episode of six feet under...i thought i was going to cry and cry forever. blew me away. for david simon fans, the short series called Generation Kill about the Iraq war is like no other war drama you have ever seen. totally tells the cynical, straight-up truth about war.

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  9. I'M SO GLAD YOU LOVE BREAKING BAD BECAUSE I GOT SUCKED INTO IT, AND I AM HOOKED!!! lol, okay enough with the caps, but i just got really excited when i read this post. Also, stoked that you mentioned six feet under, which i think is one of the best shows, ever. I also love southland and 24.

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  10. Hi, I just caught up with this post, and I'm gonna stick my own two cents in. You ready? Have you seen Midnight in Paris? I found it very soothing. The same with Downton Abbey as far as episodic storytelling goes. I've enjoyed the heck out of Sherlock: it's fascinating to see how the production was able to update the characters into the present. Treme? Meh ... Don't care for it (go figure). If you like dealing with the circles of hell in your entertainment, there's always Oz. A fun party game is identifying the actors and their corresponding roles on any of the Law and Order franchises ;-)

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  11. To go along with GENERATION KILL, a mini-series, BAND OF BROTHERS, World War II in Europe. Huge fans of THE WIRE, and many of the others mentioned, but we like sci-fi, too...the one-season wonder FIREFLY, a theatrical follow-up SERENITY, the earlier X-FILES and now FRINGE. Sort of a more humorous companion to MY SO-CALLED LIFE (which I've watched many, many times) another one-season show, FREAKS AND GEEKS, not high drama but early Seth Rogan and James Franco. For its writing, acting and liberal politics, the earlier seasons of THE WEST WING. We're just a couple of fanatics here. xo

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