Who loves TV binge viewing? I had the flu or whatever lurgy it was for about a week recently and indeed France appears to be in the midst of a wave of sickness, with this weekend’s headline in Le Figaro – “Grippe : La France en état d’urgence”. Annoyingly my sense of smell pretty much vanished which was a disaster! My eyes were achingly sore as well with the frequent headaches so it was quite difficult to read. What I could do was watch Netflix, my new friend. So my binge viewing was slightly out of control. It’s no longer appropriate to watch shows on TV waiting for the next hit seven days away, especially if you have limited impulse control. It’s altogether more seemly to be able to watch episode after episode in quick succession.
If you have a bit of time up your sleeve then these are must views. I often do what everyone advises against, which is to take the iPad to bed and watch an episode or two before I go to sleep. All of these I’ve watched in France either on Netflix, DVD or via kind friends and their memory sticks. I really must get out more.
5 Must See Binge Viewing Series
I decided that it was high time I watched this epic from start to finish. I’d watched it sporadically when it came out 14 years ago and had lost track along the way. So I bought the DVDs in France and became completely engrossed in the lives (and more frequently deaths) of the Italian New Jersey families involved in ‘waste disposal’. This is the series that I’m sure made larger men sexy. Occasionally I had to close my eyes at the graphic violence but the plot and the characters kept me captivated. The brilliance of the storyline – a mob boss who visits a psychiatrist because he’s depressed is just pure genius. I loved Carmella’s character and how she dealt with being a mob wife. Eddie Falco is fabulous here. The Adriana and Christopher story line was engrossing, which needless to say didn’t end well. Above all James Gandolfini is key to the brilliance of this series and his portrayal of Tony Soprano, the vicious mob boss who loves his kids. Nothing is black and white.
10 out of 10
The Wire :
This was one of the most talked about and hyped series – a must see, said everyone I knew. I had just never bothered with it and a police drama didn’t really inspire confidence. Well after two episodes (when I made headway with the lingo) I was completely smitten. Plus this was a series with scope and had the brilliant vision of showing Baltimore through various workers in the city – the police, the port, politicians, journalists, gangs, children. This was a big eye opener as far as children in gangs were concerned. Harsh, harsh, harsh with not a lot of hope. This series really affected me emotionally. Plus I fell in total lust with Idris Elba – Stringer Bell. The last series was not my favourite of the bunch, the storyline went slightly cuckoo but taken as a whole it’s a must see.
10 out of 10
Game of Thrones :
I was hooked from the opening wide screen shot of The Wall – the snow, the expanse, the menace. If you like Lord of the Rings but want something with non virginal female characters, a lot of sex and no hobbits this will be for you. Of course I can’t wait for Season 5, which I’ve already written about here. I had quite a fascination with Khal Drogo in the first series, the man of few words with his horse as prized possession. Of course I googled him and found out he was married to Lisa Bonet who seems to have excellent choice in men, having previously been married to Lenny Kravitz. Anyhow I digress. There are a lot of great characters on this show, often short lived. I love The Lannisters and the interplay of the family members. Shakesperean with often comically humorous scenes, sometimes intentional, sometimes not. Oft repeated lines such as Winter is Coming and You know nothing John Snow will be remembered in years to come.
9 out of 10
Claire Danes is undoubtedly a great actress. Her intelligence always shines through. She’s good in this, playing an annoyingly complicated character, CIA agent Carrie Mattheson, who never does things by the book but achieves results. I have only seen up to Season 3 and am dying to see the current series which apparently is brilliant. I like the treatment of the US / Arab world here, it’s not a one sided view, it’s reasonably nuanced for a mainstream show. This makes it compelling and must see viewing. It’s a fast paced eye opening view into a spy’s life and I’m interested to see the line they take after Brody’s exit from Season 3.
9 out of 10
The Good Wife
One night I had insomnia (not an unusual occurrence) and I saw an episode on the tele late at night – around 3am. I liked it. So I decided to get the DVDs. Hooked. Quickly. I’m up to Season 4 but unfortunately I already know from a few peeks on google that Josh dies in Season 5. Not happy about that and it has made me hold back to watch the rest. Fantastic characters on this show. I love Eli Gold played by Alan Cumming and Archie Panjabi as Calinda holds the screen as the investigator. Chris Noth is also highly watchable as Alicia’s errant husband, although he will forever be etched into my mind as John from Sex and the City, the fantasy guy. It is a straight lawyer / courtroom drama but it does have an edge that other series in a similar vein haven’t managed to capture with its top notch ensemble cast.
9 out of 10
Plus of course there’s Breaking Bad but I’ve already written about that seminal series here.
Happy Binge Viewing!
Notes : Images : The Sopranos Main Photo : Vanity Fair : The Sopranos : empireonline.com : The Wire : frariesguard.com : gameofthrones.wikia.com : Homeland : deadline.com : The Good Wife : huffpost.com