I had resisted signing up for Netflix for the longest time. My main reason? Because I had a hunch that once I did, I would fall into a binge-watching black hole that I would never emerge from. Also, I didn't need yet another monthly bill.
Miraculous Ladybug, a series that both my daughter and I enjoy, would premiere exclusively on Netflix for American audiences in December 2017. So, right before winter break (when I figured we'd have some time to watch the show), I took the plunge.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that season 2 WAS NOT YET AVAILABLE. Apparently, the premiere date had been pushed out to the infuriatingly imprecise time frame of "Spring 2018." After growling at my computer while making repeated - and futile - attempts to search for season 2 ("They're kidding, right? It's gotta be on here!"), I finally accepted my fate. I briefly considered cancelling my account, but, with a heavy sigh, I decided to sample some of the other programming I'd been hearing about from my friends for years.
Well, no, actually, that's not quite true. In reality, I began with a show that no one had told me anything about: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I had seen super-tiny clips of this show on those T-Mobile/Netflix commercials, and something about the title character's smiley perkiness (perky smiliness?) seemed amusing to me, so I looked up its description online. When I read the tagline "determined to be seen as something other than a victim and armed only with a positive attitude, Kimmy decides to restart her life by moving to New York City," I was further intrigued, as I'm a big fan of positive attitudes. The show proved to be light, fun, and oh-so-slightly subversive - basically exactly what I expected.
While that was in progress (I decided to take a break from Kimmy partway through season 2), I polished off season one of Atypical. I had heard mixed things about this one, but in general, I enjoyed it well enough. Was Sam's character an accurate and respectful portrayal of someone on the autism spectrum? In my opinion, partially. But as I said in this article, any representation is a good start and this show certainly pushes the trend in the right direction. Really, you should check it out for yourself - if you haven't already - and come to your own conclusions.
From there I moved on to Black Mirror, a series that seems to be all the rage at the moment (the drummer for Second Player Score heartily endorsed it). I've watched two episodes so far and okay, yeah, I get the hype. "Fifteen Million Merits" was pretty good, but "Be Right Back" (featuring Bill Weasley/General Hux and Peggy Carter!) was amazing. Quiet yet creepy, the show - so far, to me anyway - seems to be the kind of subtly disturbing psychological horror that I enjoy.
I also decided to sample Death Note, another show I had heard a lot about. I haven't finished all 37 episodes yet (EDIT: yes I have), but so far all I can say is: wow. I actually had been thinking recently about how cool it would be to have a story where - mild spoiler alert - the protagonist firmly believes he's the good guy but in reality he's the big bad, and this pretty much fits the bill.
So that's where I currently stand in the Netflix binge-watching black hole. I know, I know, I can hear you all screaming from here: "What about Stranger Things? Or BoJack Horseman? Or any of the Marvel shows?" I'm sure I'll get around to those eventually. I actually sampled Stranger Things at my bass player's house a while ago, but for some reason I just couldn't get into it. Gasp, right? I'll probably give it another shot later on. After all, there's still some time before "Spring 2018" arrives...