the telethon runner

I watch TV and write about it. Sometimes I watch movies too.



Netflix + Marvel = Binge-worthy gold.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m not exactly big on whatever we like to classify as nerd pop culture. I’ve never played a videogame (unless you count Tetris on my ancient Gameboy) and the last time I read a comic book was before the cold war ended – and even then my reading material mainly consisted of Mickey Mouse (or Archie at best). The only superhero movies I’ve actually watched are Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and I guess that says it all when it comes to my utter ignorance of the genre and the Marvel/DC extended cinematic universe.

Unless you count Jessica Jones, that is – which I honestly don’t. Superpowers aside, I enjoyed the Netflix show mostly because of the tone and actual storyline, and especially because a noir show about an alcoholic reluctant heroine and a villain who’s not twodimensional isn’t something you come by every day. The superpowers, in this case, were merely a plot device, almost an afterthought, certainly no more than a means to an end. And that’s as much as my tolerance level would allow.

Enter the most recent Netflix addition to its collection of Marvel shows: the Punisher.

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The Trouble with Binge-Watching

When Game of Thrones first came out back in 2010, it took all my willpower to refrain from watching each new episode. I’d learned my lesson over the years: the long wait, week after week, would be excruciating. Instead, I patiently waited for the season finale and then spent a long weekend devouring the entire first season.

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Binge-watching: Jessica Jones

If, like me, you’re no fan of the superhero genre, then this is definitely the show for you.

To clarify: I don’t read comic books, I’m not a sci-fi enthusiast and I haven’t watched any of the Avengers movies or the Daredevil series. I would categorize Nolan’s phenomenal Batman adaptations (the only Batman movies I have actually watched) as action-adventure-thrillers; the only reason I watched the first instalment of Iron Man was Robert Downey Jr, and when my godson wanted a birthday cake featuring the Incredible Hulk I had to look up a picture for reference. I’m so uninitiated in the superhero genre that David Carradine’s monologue on Kill Bill: Vol. 2 incredibly insightful.

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Binge watching: Graceland

After devouring all six seasons of White Collar, the next logical step would be for me to start binge-watching yet another Jeff Eastin show. According to the IMDb trivia for Graceland, he actually wrote it before White Collar, but decided not to pitch it to the network right away and wait until he felt they were ready for something ‘darker’.

If there’s one thing both shows have in common it’s that the viewer is constantly caught off guard: we hardly ever expect the frequent plot twists. Although admittedly much darker (and violent) than White Collar, both shows move in a similarly fast pace; there’s depth to the characters, each of them balancing between loyalty, work ethic, personal agendas and a multitude of secrets slowly revealed throughout the seasons.

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What makes a good finale?

As far as I’m concerned, there are 3 major categories of TV show finales:

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Binge Watching: White Collar

I have to admit that when I first read the IMDb review for White Collar, I was a little sceptical. White Collar crime brings to mind Bernie Madoff, obnoxious financier types in expensive suits and ponzi schemes, none of which I find particularly interesting.

Well, I was right about the nice suits.

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When The Blacklist premiered, I thought it had a pretty original premise. Had I known about White Collar before then, I’d be fairly certain it’s a bad copycat.

The idea behind both shows is the same: a criminal helps the FBI catch other criminals. It was done masterfully in movies before, but as a show dealing with a different case each week, it’s quite original.

There are plenty of parallels between the two: one protagonist is a shady criminal, the other strictly a white collar one. Both are helping FBI agents. Both agents are married, and their spouses aren’t just decorative on the shows. Both criminals’ personal lives become plot points.

I wish I’d discovered White Collar sooner, because so far I’m finding it quite enjoyable. Just a few days into my binge-watching of Season 1, it’s gripped my interest, I like the leads, and the cases they tackle are easy enough to follow without being too simplistic.

All in all, a pretty decent show. I’ll definitely keep watching =)


Binge-watching: The Newsroom

It never ceases to amaze me, the fact that TV shows I absolutely enjoy get cancelled after two or three seasons, while others that leave me cold stay on the air for years. Two and A Half Men is a good example of the latter.

Veronica Mars and Arrested Development a perfect example of the former. Sure, they found a cult following which didn’t do much in terms of boosting ratings when needed. A kickstarter movie project and a new season on Netflix, respectively, came as the result of their late-found success, a few years too late to resurrect the shows on TV.

In these cases, the critics were largely on the viewers’ side. The shows were well received, they just didn’t fare too well with ratings, so they got the ax.

In the case of one of my favorite shows of all time, neither the ratings nor the critics were too favorable, and I still find it baffling (and sad; looks like no one will be campaigning for a reboot of this one).

I’m talking about Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom.

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Binge-watching: Dexter

I never really got into Dexter while the show was actually on. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good serial-killer show, because I do. I just never found the premise all that interesting. A high-functioning sociopathic serial killer who works for the crime lab in Miami PD uses his knowledge and instincts to catch the bad guy and (most often) dispense his own brand of justice on those who escaped arrest or jailtime. Sounds like a second-rate procedural, right?

Well, that’s where I was wrong, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Our serial killer protagonist is a likable guy, for one. That’s an incredible twist and it is capitivating.

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