It happens every year, but that still doesn’t make it any easier to bear. I’m referring to the cursed “Summer doldrums.” More specifically, it’s that time of year for movie lovers when our weekly choice of big screen offerings reads more like a menu for the cinematic brain dead than a list of genuine films. Let’s take a look at this week’s crop.
First off, there are seven—count ´em—SEVEN sequels listed among the eleven films currently being offered for our viewing pleasure: Jurassic World #34 (or maybe it just seems like it); Incredibles 2 (only 2?); Ocean’s 8 (are they counting backwards now?); Deadpool 2 (again, only 2?); Solo: A Star Wars Story (how original); Superfly (okay, a remake); and last, and probably least—Avengers: Infinity War (I rest my case).
The other four on the list are Tag (guy humor at its worst); Hereditary (I surely hope not); Adrift (could just as easily have been tagged Mini Titanic); and Book Club (nothing bookish about it!). If you can sit through more than one of these for more than twenty-eight minutes without playing with your cell phone, you’re a better man than I, Charlie Brown (coming next Christmas, no doubt, in 3D, of course).
So, what to do? The answer is streaming. Not familiar with the term? Well, it’s the process of watching shows from the Internet that are “streamed” via various methods to your TV. You can use a “smart TV,” which is the easiest way to do it, or a device such as Roku™, Google Chromecast™, or Apple TV™ (there are many others, but you can research them for yourself) which turn ordinary TVs into smart ones.
So, if your life is as vacuous as mine, you choose the small screen for your esteval viewing pleasure. Watching a fifty-five-inch TV with surround sound (from a distance of exactly ten feet) is the equivalent of having your own private movie theatre—only it’s better! First off, there’s the pause button, which allows you to take unlimited bathroom (or popcorn) breaks, without missing a second of your chosen show. Second, there is the unlimited choice provided by the various purveyors such as Netflix™, Amazon Prime Video™, YouTube™, etc.
There are original movies, to be sure, and some are pretty good. But there are also—and this is the kicker—original series (I keep wanting to write series-es . . . LOL), and most of them are terrific! Last night, for instance, we watched four episodes of The Five, a Harlan Koban creation from Netflix that defies easy description—but certainly delivers top notch entertainment. Then, there are network TV series that are now available for streaming. Previously, we had been addicted (voluntarily) to watching six seasons’ worth of another Netflix offering, Longmire. (I will grant you that it did get a little desperate toward the end of the sixth season, but was surely worth watching for the first five.)
Two other original series worth mentioning are Sneaky Pete and Goliath, both of which are from Amazon Prime. The former stars Giovanni Ribisi, while the latter features no less than Billy Bob Thornton. Both series are definitely habit forming and suited for “bingeing” (that’s what you call it when you watch three or more consecutive episodes at a time).
Okay, I’ve done my part to help you mitigate the “Summer doldrums.” Now it’s up to you to do the rest. So, turn on your computer and start searching . . . I guarantee you’ll find something that’s far better than what’s playing at your local “tenplex.” Oh, I almost forgot to mention one of my favorites: Schitt’s Creek, starring Eugene Levy—that’s if your “up to it” LOL. It’s hilarious! It’s produced by a Canadian network, and is available from at least a half dozen streaming providers. And no commercials!
So what’s your favorite original series? How about sharing it with us?
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