Monday, September 10, 2018

MEDIA: NETFLIX's throwing away money model

NETFLIX, is anyone steering the streaming service?  They pay out a lot of money to worthless people like Susan Rice.  Susan Rice is an expert on entertainment how?  Because she repeated false talking points about Benghazi on four different networks all on the same morning?  Seriously, you’re just throwing money away when you hire someone like that.


Throwing money away appears to be the NETFLIX method of non-operation.  We say that because NETFLIX offered so damn little over the summer (as we noted in “TV: Those summer offerings”).  And then, boom, we get the second season of  OZARK and the second season of ATYPICAL and the second season of IRON FIST in a 14 day period.  Any of these shows would have been welcome in the long summer drought NETFLIX went through.
Let’s start with IRON FIST.  If you missed it, the critical consensus is that this season is worth watching.
Thank you, Water Cooler Set.
But, thing is, the show was worth watching in season one.
And it was watched.  The first season of IRON FIST is NETFLIX’s most streamed MARVEL program.
So maybe the Water Cooler Set is correcting course due to the intense popularity of the show?
We’d like to think so but reading about how much Finn Jones has “matured” and how he is “darker” and all the other junk we’re back to our original hunch: Homophobia.  Fear of softness.  Equating softness with gay.  There’s a lot of ‘macho’ in The Water Cooler Set – including among the women. 
Season one saw Finn with longer (and blonder) hair.  And he was barefoot.  And he was naïve.  And it seems that was off putting.  Did we mention young Iron Fist?  Because as a child, his hair was very long.  Not too long for real life but much longer than TV and movies give us – even when boys are growing up on an island or with Peter Pan. 
The softness is gone and that appears to be the main reason that suddenly the critics who trashed season one are embracing season two.  The Water Cooler Set runs as a pack and their ‘critiques’ has been so harmful.  We think FAMILY GUY nailed it  in last season’s debut episode “Emmy Winning Episode” – and we’d say that even if we hadn’t made many of the same critiques over the last years.  The main point is that entertaining is not a needed ingredient for The Water Cooler Set.  They applaud garbage.  They attack reflexively.  They confuse having their egos stroked and their minds soothed with entertainment.  THE GOOD FIGHT is a poor attempt at a Socratic dialogue – it’s even worse as entertainment.
ATYPICAL.  A lot of critics failed it.  Guess what?  That includes us.
As Jim noted in his "A note to our readers" of August 13, 2017:

Ava and C.I. thought they were writing a review of Jennifer Jason Leigh's new NETFLIX series.  But they had a sidebar in it.  They ditched everything else but kept the sidebar and developed it into a completely different media commentary.

And we never got back to it.
Now the show has its second season on NETFLIX so let’s make time for it.
Why would Jennifer Jason Leigh, one of the greatest actresses of her generation, want to play a mom in a TV drama?
Maybe because it’s a complex role that needs an actress with real depth to make it work?  Jennifer can be anything but, as BACKDRAFT demonstrated, bland.  If there’s nothing to play, there’s nothing to play.  She needs meaty roles that she can dig into and explore.  Elsa Gardner is the perfect role for her and she plays it to perfection.  It’s a highly skilled and evolving performance and it’s the equivalent of an ivy plant constantly sprouting and growing.  In a fair world, she’d be Emmy nominated.  But in a fair world, so many – including us – would not have let her down when season one aired.  In season two, she’s even greater.
And the whole cast is doing a strong job.  Michael Rapaport can be funny, no argument.  But who would have thought he could pull off wounded (Leigh’s cheated on him with a bartender).  A strong addition this season is Casey Wilson as the high school guidance counselor.  It could be a rote role but she brings so much to the role – our favorite moment is when she meets with Leigh and Rapaport to discuss their autistic son (Keir Gilchrist) and gets the information dumped on her that Leigh has had an affair and she attempts to refocus before finally saying “There’s the bell.”  And the awkwardness as they wait a second or two before the bell actually goes off.

ATYPICAL is a real drama, a quality program.  Had NETFLIX released it in June or July, it probably would be getting a lot more attention.  Instead, it has to compete with IRON FIST and OZARK and may, yet again, get lost in the shuffle.  You can make sure that doesn’t happen if you stream the program because one episode will pull you in and one episode will have you telling everyone you know to catch it, AYTYPICAL is just that good.
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