Jordan and I made the decision when we got married to opt out of having cable. We have Netflix, Hulu, and HBO, and we feel like we have access to everything we need to watch. Here in the age of instant streaming, it's easy for me to sit down in front of the computer and mindlessly watch something for hours. But I'm resolved not to do that this year, and I've been slowly paring down my television choices so that they're more intentional.
Don't worry - I'm still watching The Bachelor. God help us.
So, beginning with the shows I stopped watching:
I don't have a grand explanation for this choice besides that season two of Narcos just didn't grab me in the same way that the first season did. S1 of this Netflix original was so compelling and watchable, albeit violent and sometimes a little upsetting. The acting was fantastic and, as someone who is only peripherally familiar with the story of Pablo Escobar, it was compelling and kept me on the edge of my seat. But S2E1 just didn't deliver. We watched an episode when the new season dropped and then genuinely forgot about it. Maybe we'll return sometime in 2017, but I doubt it.
This was another great, promising Netflix original whose second season just missed the mark. Bloodline, though, was different - I actively disliked this second season, rather than being just ambivalent about it, as with Narcos. SPOILERS AHEAD - At the end of S1, Danny Rayburn, arguably the most interesting character, is murdered by his siblings. S2 was so overwrought and dark as the remaining Rayburn children try to cover their crime - it was all drama furrowed brows and no substance. Pass.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians
Well, I finally did it. As a latecomer to KUWTK (I started watching 2 years ago), this was easy to give up. I made a decision last year that I wasn't going to support anything to do with the Kardashian/West clan, including clicking on random Buzzfeed articles written about them or reading their tweets. I unfollowed them on Instagram, and this was the last piece of the puzzle. Because I can only vote with my choices, right? Either way, as the drama has gotten even more ridiculous than usual, I have never been happier to NOT be Keeping Up.
This was the most disappointing for me. unREAL was a brilliantly conceived show, designed as a mock-The Bachelor and created by a former assistant director of ABC's juggernaut reality series. While the first season was twisted, edgy, and definitely pushed the boundaries, the second season did all that and more, except with the first Black "suitor" (AKA bachelor) at the helm. SPOILERS AHEAD: the season ended with a police shootout between the Black contestant and his manager, who is also Black. unREAL may be a dark satire, but this was all too real and made viewers across the nation say, "Too soon." I appreciate what they were trying to do in the way of relevant and timely social commentary, but they had plenty of juicy subject matter (feminism, how women are treated in positions of power, what The Bachelor says about its viewers, what people are willing to do for fame) without dipping their toes into this particular pool. I'm not arguing those issues shouldn't be brought to light; I am arguing that dropping them in as a sensationalist plot point on a show about reality television is in poor taste. So sad to bid adieu to this show whose first season I was wild about.
Moving on to shows I've picked up this year:
Black Mirror and I have a complicated relationship. Unlike many Netflix shows, it's not binge-able. I watch one episode every two weeks or so. After turning the S1E1 off mid-episode because I was so horrified, I was reticent to give it another shot; I'm so glad I did. Since then, I've only watched two episodes - S3E1 starring Bryce Dallas Howard and S3E4, titled San Junipero. This cutting edge imagination of a not-too-distant future will pull you in, make you think, and challenge the way you see the world. Because it's a mini-series, you can watch each episode without having seen any before or after. It really is a beautifully shot, well-acted, INCREDIBLY written show. Give it a shot.
And I've only seen one season. Jordan and I watched Billy Bob Thornton's season of this show on Hulu and were basically riveted to the television. An adaptation of the Coen brothers' movie of the same name, this show is show in film quality and you'll forget you're watching TV. I don't want to say too much in the way of describing it to save the fabulous plot for you, but trust me - this one's a must.
Okay okay, so I haven't technically started this one yet. But all my smartest friends are in love with it, and Jordan and I plan to start next week. So it kind of counts, right?
If you know anything about me, you know that SJP is my icon in all things. This new HBO show starring SJP and Thomas Hayden Church (who I remember best from George of the Jungle as Lyle - where are my 90's kids at?) explores the story of a couple navigating a divorce in all its stages; politeness, acceptance, revelation, honesty, catharsis, rage, ambivalence. I'm not totally sold on it, but I'm going to keep watching it because #SJP. I'll at least give it another season.
This Is Us
DAMN YOU, THIS IS US. I had a friend text me a few months back and insist that I start watching this show. I told her that I was giving up crappy TV for the most part, and she told me that was an unacceptable answer and I had to at least give it one episode. So did, and now I'm 100% in. This Is Us feels like one of those shows that is too good to be true and will lose its magic after the first season, but I'm going to be there to see it because I am TOTALLY HOOKED. I don't want to say too much, but watch the first episode all the way through and if you're not intrigued, I'll pay you $10. Plus we get to watch hottie HOT Milo Ventimiglia (Jess from Gilmore Girls) and the brilliant Sterling K. Brown (who wowed me in American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson).
SO.What about you? What TV have you bailed on, what are you still watching, and what are you looking to start?