What I’m Watching - October 2016 Edition
I don’t watch a lot of television. It wasn’t on purpose initially. I started getting involved in a lot of different activities that kept me away from the television. Watching TV became an effort for me, and that meant that unless I put forth effort, I wasn’t going to watch anything.
The good thing about it is that I only watch things that hit my radar and resonate with me in some way. The bad thing is that I barely know what people are talking about anymore.
My S.O. cut the cable a couple of years ago, thinking Roku or Chromecast would be our savior. Turns out it’s a bunch of subscription services that, while less expensive than cable, start to add up once you decide to carry all the ones you need to watch the content you want. Right now we have Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and Netflix. I’ve been toying with getting a Crunchyroll account, as I’ve started digging some anime and the commercials on Hulu Plus are frustrating, but I still haven’t bitten the bullet on that one.
All of this is to say that because I have to make time to watch TV, I’ve become pretty selective about what I choose and will continue to watch.
I currently watch Elementary, even though I’m seasons behind. I like the show. I like that Sherlock is unlikable and flawed. His addiction story reeks of privilege but is really well done and relatable. I like Lucy Liu’s portrayal as Watson, despite Liu’s recent problematic, fake ass “we’re all human” statements. But I get it. In a lot of ways, we don’t choose our identity but we at least have to acknowledge that our perceived identity affects us. Off topic but relevant. Especially as I’ve been an off and on watcher of The Mindy Project. She’s problematic, too but I’m glad she’s hitting her stride. That show is pretty rough, though. Very hit or miss…mostly miss. But I occasionally still check in when I want to half watch something while I sew or paint.
The show I consistently watch is Agents of Shield, mainly because I dig the Marvel universe. The show isn’t hitting all my buttons, so I’m not rushing to watch it the week it originally airs, but I do tend to circle around to it every couple of weeks. It is actually the only show that is consistently on my random as fuck, ever shrinking “shit I like” list. As it stands, I’m in the market for new TV so I’m trying out some new shows because fuck it, why not. Here’s the short list of what I watched and what I thought.
Lucifer on Fox
I’ve always kind of been into the whole idea of the fall of angels. I’m not religious, but it’s always kind of felt right for the devil to be charismatic. Sin, or at least all the bullshit some religions call sin, has always been on the fun side. If it wasn’t fun, you wouldn’t have to dissuade folks too much. To be honest, I’ve kind of figured that I’d want to run with Lucifer. Not for the torture but for the falling. Yet, despite all that goodwill I feel towards the devil, in the show he’s an annoying asshole.
It takes some serious talent to make the devil boring. Not the good kind of talent.
I made it through most of episode three before I completely ejected and my reason wasn’t even that Lucifer bored me. I mean, he did. He bored and irritated me. My eject button was pressed when the bad people needing punishing in episodes two and three were Black men. Amoral, greedy, murdering Black men. I don’t know if that changes later in the series but for two out of the first three episodes to have the bad guys be Black? I’m done. Especially as the writers work to make the evilest creature alive “redeemable” and relatable. Yeah, no. Fuck that noise. Not watching.
Westworld on HBO
I applied to be on a panel about HBO’s new sci-fi show, Westworld, and surprise, surprise, I was accepted. The show is about an amusement park modeled after the American wild west. It’s staffed by robots that look, feel, and act so life-like that you cannot tell who’s real and who isn’t. I’m not really digging it because so much of it is set in the park, where lazy stereotypes take center stage as they try to create the ultimate homage to toxic masculinity. Life in the park is violent and sexist as shit…but outside the park is where my interest lies. I’m probably going to give the show another couple of episodes, mainly because I’m intrigued about the park’s creators and I want to see where the go with this man playing god trope. I hope it goes into a different direction than usual but we’ll see.
I don’t really think I’m the intended audience for this show, but really, I’m the only one who can truly determine that.
Insecure on HBO
I caught Insecure earlier this week – they released the first episode free online. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been watching Issa Rae for the past couple of years. Her work is impressive and she is making moves. I’m in awe of her talent and drive. That said, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl were painful to watch sometimes, because embarrassment hurts. With “Insecure,” Issa found the balance between awkwardness and making it work. It was still painfully awkward, but a lot less cringey than her YouTube show. It was fun and relatable. I’m mad cuz now I’m thinking about getting HBO Go so that I can continue watching. Yet another subscription service. Kinda worth it as this show spoke to me and I really like Issa’s trajectory.
Luke Cage on Netflix
I’ve been watching Luke Cage and haven’t finished it yet. I have two episodes to go. A part of me is really excited that the series was made and another part of me was so disappointed that it was about cleaning up the neighborhood. Like, I get it. I really do. But I wasn’t ready to see my Black superhero fight other Black people, especially in today’s social climate. I’m tired of Black people constantly being the enemy, even when we’re also the hero. I know that’s his origin story, but still. I wanted a Black hero without a Black villain, but I guess we’re not ready for that narrative.
The performances, for the most part, were amazing. I really enjoyed Mahershala Ali and Alfre Woodard’s performances, as well as Simone Cook’s Misty Knight. Mike Colter, beautiful as he is, was just ok. I didn’t really feel anything for him, which was weird, considering he is the main character. So, I’ll finish it, but yeah. That Black on Black thing left me feeling some kinda way. Plus, the colorism issues… *sigh* People stay struggling with Black women in media and that irritates the shit out of me.
At the same time, I love that the cast was mostly Black and that the story and references were very much about Black culture. And the music…I know everyone’s been talking about the music. “Long Live the Chief” by Jidenna hit my playlist instantly. There is a lot to recommend the show.
That’s all I got for now. Like I said in the beginning, I’ve become deliberate about how and what I watch on TV. Even though I’ve received some recommendations for shows like Atlanta, Power, Queen Sugar, and Mr. Robot, it’ll take me a minute to try them out and I will be pretty critical of what I’m watching. That’s just how I like to roll. Plus, I’ve tried turning that part of me off. It doesn’t work.