Watch list for November

I watch a lot of TV shows and a whole lot of films. If I had a child, I wouldn’t want them spending that much time in front of a screen, no matter what the size. But in my defense, it comes with the territory. Not only am I a screenwriter for a media house, I’ve recently started teaching Media Studies at a school, and all of a sudden, I’m watching more, noticing more.

But why am I boring you with the backstory? How about we jump straight into the past, present and future of my watch list!

Done and dusted: Stranger Things (2016–)

You were expecting this to be a part of this blog somehow, weren’t you? I’m going to assume you’re familiar with it and not give you a one-liner.

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When this show came out, EVERYONE EVERYWHERE was yapping about it. My ‘too mainstream’ alarm system went up and I vowed to maintain distance with this show. Also… don’t hate me, but I find it very difficult to watch something with children as the lead protagonists or center of attention. I mean I still haven’t seen Taray Zameen Par because there are too many bachay in it.

Like I mentioned I have started teaching and I wanted to screen content in class that a teenager would be totally okay watching with his or her parents. And with that altruistic mindset, I streamed Stranger Things S01E01.

I really enjoyed it. 

Funnily enough, I unknowingly embarked on this adventure the day season 2 came out. One episode led to another and the transition to the second season was seamless.

So here’s my unpopular opinion: I enjoy the show, the first season more than the second. I like how the girls are badass and the boys are nerdy heroes. I think it’s very well-crafted for a period, monster-in-a-small-town show. But I do believe it’s overrated.

pcmag
picture from pcmag.com

While watching the first episode, I kept waiting for that moment that would blow my mind and rearrange my understanding of the universe. It never happened. Have you guys seen True Detective season 1?* That’s a show with a familiar storyline and a familiar format that knocked my socks off! Stranger Things for me was just a regular show.

I am not downplaying the effort invested in the show by every individual involved in it. For me, it just didn’t live up to the hype around it. For comparison, Lost did! Sure the later seasons were all over the place (even the creators admit to that crime), but looking at the earlier seasons I can understand the craze it had conjoured.

For someone who isn’t into children-centered stories, I love all of them. Specially Dustin. Because of their brilliant character development and flawless acting skills, I am never bothered by them. Heck, I don’t even register them as kids! They are tiny detectives cycling down the yellow brick road.

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I love the heart of the show. The monster almost takes a backseat; the show is centered around parents and the relationship with their kids. Pick any adult in the show; I love how they contribute to the story as actual parents or surrogates. Even the science teacher! And that big guy with a heart of gold, who made a burger for El.

I think this show pulls off humour brilliantly. It’s never in your face. It’s tucked away in little actions, dialogue and sometimes in the way the show has been edited. Also, it’s a weird thing to like but I love the title card as well. Ties in to the show and time period really well!

Apparently Stranger Things has a four-season arc and I appreciate the creators for keeping the story focused. The decline of Lost has been a lesson to all.

To conclude: I enjoyed the show but…. overrated.

* True Detective second season doesn’t exist for me.

 

Currently watching: The Wire (2002-07)

The Wire is the child of HBO nobody ever talks about!

Each of the five seasons of The Wire tells the story of institutional dysfunction upon which the city of Baltimore stands. A different institution is tackled in every season but the show is not an anthology like American Horror Story. The stories of the five pillars of Baltimore – drug trade, shadiness at the seaport, city government and electoral drama, the horror of school system and the print media – cumulate with passing installments.

basement office
Hated by their bosses, they are shunned to the basement to set up their detail. Dou nafl shukranay for my little office space.

We were told to watch The Wire season 1 as part of homework back in university and back then, it felt like trudging up a steep hill during Ramzan. All those years ago, Shoaib had asked me for a new TV show recommendation and I had thrown The Wire his way.

Guess what happened? He ended up watching all the five seasons in a surprisingly little amount of time and loved it. I on the other hand kept avoiding it because it is a difficult show to watch.

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Central Perk in the ‘hood

The Wire is intentionally written and made to defy narrative conventions. I now find CSI a child’s game but back in university CSI was the king of crime shows for me. I was bloody offended when my teacher took a jab CSI in class while explaining how other shows spoon-feed information to their viewers while The Wire just keeps on strolling by and expects you to catch up with the story.

the wire
Idris Elba (<3) plays right hand to drug kingpin who studies Economics at a local university for the betterment of his drug trade. A part of me admires that ethic.

Khair. I’ve just finished season 1 and cannot wait to watch the rest of the seasons. I feel like I’m almost declaring watching it here so I can’t go back on my word and abandon the show. But seriously, once you fall in step with the story, the accents, the style of the show, you want to see it to the end.

That’s a lot of jibber-jabber from me for a show I’ve only seen 20 percent of. Let me wrap this up so I can go binge watch the second season.

 

Already cued: Mindhunter (2017)

I know nothing about it except for the fact that David Fincher is a producer of this show. I can google, but sometimes I want to go in blind. No trailers, no reviews or rating to cloud the mind. It’s a good exercise that has worked out for me.

Two of my friends, knowing I have a penchant for crime shows, have strongly recommended this. And if Fincher is involved, sign me up!

mindhunter23
The only thing I’ve googled about this show.

That’s about it. Let me know your thoughts on these shows! I would love to hear a different angle, maybe something I never thought of.

Ok, bye. Time to resume The Wire.

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