Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Answer to the Latest Criticwire Survey Question: Binge Watching

This week’s critic wire question asks what people should binge watch this labor day weekend, since nothing much will be hitting theaters this week – well, unless you’re eagerly anticipating Getaway I guess.

Binge watching usually refers to TV, and I’ve admitted, I’m not as up on TV as I should be. I may well use this weekend to binge watch a few shows I have wanted to see, but haven’t yet – House of Cards, Top of the Lake or Orange is the New Black. I cannot recommend any, because I haven’t seen them, but that is something I may do.
For a couple of suggestions as what you should binge watch – I always recommend Louie – as Louis C.K.’s “sitcom” is perhaps the best show on TV, and if you haven’t seen it, prepare yourself as it really is as great as they say. But I’ll also suggest another one that most people have seen – The Walking Dead.

I know a few people gave up on The Walking Dead after Season 1, and more at some point during Season 2. Yes, it has become a ratings bonanza in the latter half of Season 2 and throughout Season 3 – but if you gave up on the show before then, I say give it a go. Binge watching actually works in The Walking Dead’s favor – because many of the complaints people have about the show aren’t as bad when you sit down and watch a bunch of episodes in a row. The Walking Dead, like all shows of its sort, has its share of “placeholder” episodes – episodes where nothing much happens, but is needed to introduce a few plot points, or character points, and to fill out a season. When you’re watching The Walking Dead one episode a week, these can be infuriating. Nothing is worse than waiting a week to find out how Rick will respond to the Governor’s demand to turn over Michonne, only to have the entire next episode have Andrea try, and fail, to escape from Woodbury, and the entire storyline you wanted to see pushed back a week. But when binge watching, you can appreciate an episode like on its own terms – it is quite well made, and quietly intense, and then go on to find out what happened right after. You don’t have to wait another fucking week, but only an hour.
Most likely, I’ll do what another answer to the question suggested – and spend the weekend catching up on a director’s work that I have missed, but will have a film on the Fall Festival circuit. Today, I selected 10 films from TIFF that I will be seeing - but I need to add 5-7 more to fill out my schedule this weekend - so I don't quite know what it will be yet. I'll do a mini TIFF preview next week.

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