And Yet More Bingeworthy Shows

Here's a second installment of bingeworthy worthies from the Agents of Doux, in their own words.

Ariel Williams recommends... Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman released its sixth and final season just in time for our mass quarantine!

As I described the show in my abnormal psychology paper (as I attempted to both get an A on the paper and use subliminal messaging to compel my professor into watching the show): "Showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s idea for Bojack Horseman came from a desire to show a man who has everything, but is still devastated by depression and loneliness. It centers around Bojack Horseman, a combination of a man and a horse who once starred on a famous television show in the nineties called Horsin’ Around (largely based on Full House) and struggled to find work for decades since. The series follows him in Hollywoo (used to be "Hollywood" until Bojack drunkenly stole the "D" from the Hollywood sign) as slowly he gains success and acclaim, but still remains miserable. Bojack Horseman is like a more depressing version of Mad Men, but with animal puns." If anyone's wondering, I diagnosed Bojack with persistent depressive disorder, opioid use disorder, alcohol use disorder, and binge-eating disorder. But I promise it's funny, guys!

I could write a whole essay on why everyone should binge-watch Bojack Horseman, with its true portrayal of mental illness, complex and compelling main characters, and amazing musical numbers, but I'm not sure anyone wants that. Each season is filled with both heart-wrenching stories and wacky schemes. It uses its medium effectively, pulling off amazing gimmick episodes like one with almost no dialogue and another with almost all monologue. Bojack has so much to say about the implications our society has on us as individuals. It also takes itself seriously, spending its final two seasons considering the potential consequences of the way it's portrayed its antihero, and finding a way to conclude the show in a life-affirming way that bends towards personal growth. There's six seasons and it's all amazing and you should watch every one. (Also, keep in mind that you don't really know what the show is until you finish the first season.)



Victoria Grossack recommends... Battlestar Galactica

A series worth bingeing on in these troubled times is Battlestar Galactica – the reimagined version, from 2004. I have not watched the original, from 1978, but the 2004 version pays homage to the original by using Richard Hatch, one of the original series' stars.

Battlestar Galactica may be almost too close to what we're going through during this time of pandemic. The twelve colonies – different planets in a star system – are all nuked by the Cylons, robots who want to destroy all humans. The humans quickly realize they have lost, and set out to save the remnant, by fleeing to the thirteenth colony, a fabled, distant planet, called Earth.

The surviving humans are forced, all of a sudden, to spend their lives in the spaceships where they happened to be – sound familiar? – when the attacks happened. Most are living in cramped conditions; many must risk their lives, day after day, to keep the remnant safe; others are compelled to work at menial tasks, with no respite in sight. Supplies – air, water, food, energy – must be conserved. The leaders have their own problems. The commander of the fleet was on the verge of retirement; the president – who claims the position after she realizes everyone above her is dead – has breast cancer that is expected to kill her within a few months.

I'm sure one reason I like this series is because Ronald D. Moore, a writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, was a big force in it. So, if you're feeling cramped in your shelter-in-place quarters, or if you're on the front lines during this pandemic – either working in a hospital or stocking shelves in a grocery store, in which case we salute you – by watching this series you will see that it is possible, theoretically, for things to be worse for the human race (although maybe not worse for you personally). Battlestar Galactica is violent and sexy; the story arcs are compelling and dark; the music is terrific. It's well worth your time.



Mikey Heinrich recommends... Doom Patrol

The Doom Patrol bills themselves as the world’s strangest superheroes. This may or may not be true, but Doom Patrol is certainly the strangest of the Berlanti superhero shows. Airing on the DC Universe streaming service, Doom Patrol features an all-star cast, and serves up all the fun on Legends of Tomorrow, plus the kind of plot mechanics that might have Salvadore Dali wondering if he maybe shouldn’t have a little lie down until the world makes more sense. Throw in a lot of gratuitous swearing and Alan Tudyk giving the best performance of his career as the season's antagonist, Mr. Nobody, this show is an absolute can't miss.

Doom Patrol has been renewed for a second season, so there's a reasonable chance that it will live longer than the DC Universe subscription service. The smart money appears to think it will transfer over to HBO Max just as soon as that’s a thing that exists.

Wherever you find it, watch it immediately. At one point they save the world with a pug.



Sunbunny recommends... Line of Duty

Line of Duty, seasons one through five, is available on Acorn. You'll find seasons three and four on Hulu, but it's really a show that needs to be watched from the beginning. Trust me on this.

Line of Duty follows the work of Anti-Corruption Unit 12 (AC-12), the British version of Internal Affairs. They’re all about nicking bent coppers. It’s what the boss guy says all the time. Nicking bent coppers. Nick being British slang for arrest, bent being British slang for corrupt, copper being British slang for... you get it. There's a few downsides to this series I should warn you about, the first being that it's British so expect like six episodes every two years. The second being that its mythology is incredibly dense and you really need to pay attention to know what the hell is going on. This isn't, as Josie once called it, laundry folding television. I mean if you took notes I wouldn't judge you.

The upsides are brilliant acting performances, the show's trademark lengthy and tense interrogation scenes, and dramatic revelations. I'm not going to spell out anything on the plot here, just trust me, you’re in for a ride. There’s a reason Mark Greig's put LoD in his end of the year favorites almost every time. It's a beautifully crafted police drama that for whatever reason never caught on here the way The Fall or Broadchurch did.

(If you haven't watched the other two shows I just mentioned, you should probably do that too. Just don't watch The Fall at night if you live alone. The Fall is on Amazon Prime, Broadchurch is on Netflix. Happy Valley's another good one, but they took it off American Netflix for reasons I don't understand. It's on Amazon but you'll have to pay per episode.)



Lamounier recommends... Elite

Elite is a very entertaining and highly addictive high school drama. The first season centers on the murder of one of the principal characters. Think of Veronica Mars, but instead of watching Veronica try to find out who killed her best friend, we follow Lilly on the weeks leading up to her death. The story is told in media res and slowly you get a handle on what happened. I clocked the killer early on, but I was still very surprised by how things went down and how the writers used the complicated relationships they built throughout season to back some of the twists.

It's not sophisticated television or anything, but there is surprising depth and good character development. Season one is very good soapy drama, season two is not as strong, but all in all, it holds its own just fine. I'm currently watching season three and it's as good as ever. If you are looking for a diversion during quarantine, turn your eyes to Elite. It's a guilty pleasure you will feel no guilt at all for watching.

11 comments:

Lamounier said...

Oh, man, Battlestar Galactica. I really need to go back to watching that show. Loved the parallels you draw between BSG and what the world is going through right now, Victoria. Well done.

Baby M said...

...the kind of plot mechanics that might have Salvadore Dali wondering if he maybe shouldn’t have a little lie down until the world makes more sense.

That's the best turn of phrase I've seen in a long time. Well played.

Mikey Heinrich said...

Thanks :)

Diogo said...

Doom Patrol is not part of the Berlanti verse. It is not a CW show and it has not been integrated into the main universe after the Crisis. The cameo at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths was just that, a cameo, it doesn't make Doom Patrol part of the Berlanti verse anymore than Ezra Miller's cameo makes Batman v Superman part of the Berlanti verse.

I do agree that it is a binge worthy show though. It's DC's most interesting live-action show in my opinion, its Marvel counterpart would probably be Legion.

Mikey Heinrich said...

I didn't mean to imply that it was, just that it was one of the superhero shows that Berlanti is a producer on. Sorry for not being clearer on that

Michal Dvorak said...

I absolutely second the Bojack Horseman recommendation. I ignored the show for years - after trying and hating Rick and Morty this seemed like another weird cartoon with off-putting drawing style. I finally decided to give it a go around the time season 5 was released, and... man, have I been missing out!

It's good that season 1 is mostly light-hearted, giving you a chance to get acquainted with the characters before the heavy stuff starts. But the latter seasons - I'm still not sure I understand how they managed to keep the show being so much fun while also not pulling any punches exploring how deeply broken Bojack really is. (And other characters as well, to various extent.)

I'm going to really miss this show. But I have to respect that the creators didn't try to draw it out indefinitely. They said what they wanted to say and then ended it. (And they ended it well, which is another thing you don't see all that often.)

Nate said...

Has nobody at Doux Reviews watched "Killing Eve" yet? Someone MUST. You will love it.

Patrick said...

For anyone here who has AppleTV+, I cannot recommend "Home Before Dark" highly enough. I'm on episode 6 of the 10-episode first season and it's been fantastic from the first minute.

Mikey Heinrich said...

I got caught up in Dead to Me on Netflix the other day. One season so far, ten episodes, Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini.

Really good with lots and lots of twists and rug pulls

Anonymous said...

BSG (2004) was a marvellous sci fi epic - the Gaius Baltar character and his Number Six ghost were the best part of course (and I actually liked that there never was a clear straight answer as to whether their interplay was entirely the delusions of Baltar, or something logical)

The best shows weave a tapestry of mythology that they can just keep dipping into.

Sure, there were some bad episodes here and there, but overall it rocked.

Plus the speeding up drum tempo for the opening titles was perfect for setting up the episodes.

So say we all!

Billie Doux said...

Sunbunny and Mark, the first four seasons of Line of Duty are streaming on Amazon Prime and I tried it. And wow. I'm not into police dramas, but this one is amazing.

One thing LoD keeps doing is shocking the hell out of me. We have those long, tense interrogation scenes and then there is a splash of truly startling violence. And you're right, Sunbunny, it's absolutely necessary to pay attention from the beginning. I'm glad I tried this show -- thanks.