Every Wednesday this month, my wife Kim and I are doing a series on our favorite Netflix and Amazon Prime TV shows. Last week I picked with my favorite Netflix shows; now this week, Kim, her favorite Netflix shows; next week, our favorite Netflix shows, the ones we watch together. Then on the last two Wednesdays of the month, we’ll finish with our favorite Amazon Prime shows: mine, then hers.
Kim’s Pick Six
At this point, most people are fans or not. If you haven’t checked it out yet…do. This show is a complex, delicious feast for the senses. it is not one to give half your attention to while thumbing through Instagram. The mythology is complex — much like The Matrix, without the ‘Morpheus Explains it All to You’ moment — the visuals fantastic and rich. The series, which Caroline Siede of The A.V. Club calls “An abstract commentary on human experience,” is shot on location all over the world, crossing realms of class, culture, gender and orientation for eight people who share an uncommon connection. Editor’s Note: Don’t read the article until you’ve watched Season 2, Episode 4. Will it continue to make sense within its own rules? I don’t know. Is it compelling enough to ride it out and see? Most definitely.
This scene from Season 1 shows a moment where all the sensates connect and it was for me the moment when I knew that no matter what, I was hooked.
Set in a lavish department store in 1950s post-Franco Spain, the basic story sounds eerily similar to the BBC’s The Paradise, with all the delicious melodrama of a nighttime soap. Alberto is the heir to the store, Ana, a dressmaker and niece to the head of personnel. Theirs is a love that begins in childhood, with the usual roadblocks of class and expectation. The set design is a feast for the eyes, the characters adorable, and bonus, Miguel Angel Silvestre is in this show too but gets more screen time than Sense8′s Lito so if you enjoy him, there you go. The music gets a little annoying, but the characters are fun, it is surprisingly moving, your Spanish will improve, and did I mention that Miguel Angel Silvestre is in this one too?
The clip isn’t subtitled but just..enjoy.
The Time In Between
One thing is certain: Spain’s Antena 3 will spend the money for gorgeous production. This series, a historical fiction based on a novel by Maria Duenas, concerns the time period before the one depicted in Velvet. Adriana Ugarte is Sira, a woman who finds herself in Tangiers in very different circumstances from what she anticipated, having fled Franco’s Spain and, owing a debt, uses her talents as a seamstress to earn money and establish a life for herself there. I watched this to ease my Velvet withdrawal and ended up liking it a tiny bit more. Miguel is not in this one, but if you watch Velvet first, you will spy some familiar faces.
I started watching this show for one reason: Wagner Moura. This excellent Brazilian actor, perhaps better know for his Elite Squad films, was playing Pablo Escobar. I was just too young to care about Escobar and drug cartels when it was all happening so I thought it might be interesting to see how the history was treated in this series. Told via Goodfellas-style narration by DEA agent Steve Murphy (played by Boyd Holbrook, though it will annoy you how much he looks like Ryan Gosling, try to ignore it), the series follows the rise and fall of Escobar and beyond, since a third series is in production.
I’m not obsessed or anything, but…MIGUEL ANGEL SILVESTRE is in Season 3! Editor’s/Husband’s Note: She sure sounds obsessed to me *rolling eyes*. My favorite character is Agent Murphy’s Partner Javier Pena, played by Pedro Pascal who will forever and ever amen be referred to in my head as Chilean Burt Reynolds.
I can’t get Bryan to like this show. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that he, like me, can’t decide whether he likes Ricky Gervais or not. Editor’s/Husband’s note: Meh. Even as a semi-fan I sometimes find his comedy of awkwardness too painful to watch. Check the original UK version of The Office if you don’t know what I mean. Editor’s/Husband’s Note: I did like that show. He’s also convinced that the show is making fun of someone who is mentally challenged.
It is not.
Given the chance, the show, set in a senior care home, is raw, honest, hilarious and heartbreaking. Derek sees the good in everyone, absolutely everyone, no matter how rough and dismissible they are — even Kevin, a hard-drinking, misogynistic, occasionally incontinent hanger-on who by all rights should be barred from the premises. Just when you think there’s not a shred of self-reflection in Kev, you see that he’s been paying attention all along.
Grace and Frankie
I wasn’t sure, at the outset. The premise seemed shaky, mostly because I wasn’t buying Sam Waterston’s Saul and Martin Sheen’s Robert as a couple. Sometimes it is hard to let go of people you think of so strongly identified in former roles and see them as something else. Like President Bartlett and Jack McCoy. But Lily Tomlin, who I have dearly loved since I was five and she was Edith Ann in a giant rocking chair, kept me in. And before long I loved them all. Just…watch this show, laugh, and marvel at the fact that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin will be 80 and 78 respectively this year. And then plot how you will be that cool at their age. I know I have.
So have you seen any of these? What did you think? If not, tell us some of your favorite TV shows wherever you watch them. Already via last week’s comments, a few favorites include The Handmaid’s Tale, Homeland, and The Night Manager. What are some of your favorites?