I’m going to put my thoughts about Squid Game below my list of other things you should check out, but first… if you liked it, here are some shows I think you’ll like!
- Alice in Borderland (Netflix) – The acting and backstories in Squid Game are better, but I liked the premise and WTF factor of this more.
- Doom Patrol (HBO Max) – It does for superheroes what Squid Game does for survival horror. It’s superheroes taken to their ridiculous end state, and I love it.
- Sweet Home (Netflix) – Fits the “what am I watching” vibe, and the backstory mechanics are similar. Also REALLY loved the characters in this show. Lots of monsters and gore.
- 3% (Netflix) – Same kind of dystopian capitalist end game feel.
- Midnight Mass (Netflix) – Not at all the same genre but the tension and unease felt very similar.
- Sky Rojo (Netflix) – Again, not at all the same genre, but the over the top violence and sometimes uncomfortable absurdity is similar.
- 30 Coins (HBO Max) – It’s just weird. Very weird.Enjoy!
Now, if you haven’t watched the show yet, stop here, because I won’t be able to contain myself and will spoil a lot of things.
This is your final warning…
Ok, this is your final warning.
On with the spoilers…
I couldn’t stop watching it, and once it was over, I kind of hated myself for sitting through the ending. All the death, all that he went through, all the character development, his chance to finally make things right for his family and his Ronald McDonald ass turns around at the last minute to what, do it all over again?!
The end felt like a cheat to leave the door open for season two, when, now that they have the mechanic of the game, they could start over every season with new down on their luck characters and go to town killing them with ridiculous playground game set pieces.
I try not to invest too much in shows or get disappointed when they don’t go the way I want them to, and I think that’s a little bit of what’s happening here. I wanted a resolution for Gi-hun, for what felt like actual growth as a person throughout the game to pay off and make him better… and it didn’t.
I guess I’ll console myself with Doom Patrol.
I’ve been a fan of Jason Kottke’s Media Diet posts forever and decided it’s time to start my own, because I consume so much, I forget what I’ve seen, what I like and what to recommend to folks. So, consider this the first in what will hopefully be a series of “stuff Kevin’s watched so you can watch it to” posts.
- Crawl (might still be in theaters?): I saw this on vacation with my kids, my brother, his wife and daughter. It’s a great summer scare, and lots and lots of alligators. Rating: B
- Black Spot (Netflix): If you like Twin Peaks, but wanted more procedural elements and 99% more French, and a little less David Lynch, this is the show for you. Set in an isolated small French town in the mountains next to a huge forest, there’s spooky creatures in the woods, personal drama, weird murders and compelling characters. Rating: B (I think the show needs to pick whether it’s supernatural or a police procedural… it’s not enough of either to be an A)
- American Gods Season 2 (Starz): I caught up on this one with a free preview week on Prime (it’s great – if there’s only one show you want on a network, get the 7 day free trial of the channel on Prime Video and binge it, then cancel). This is one of the most beautifully produced things I’ve ever seen on television and watching Ian McShane and Orlando Jones chew through that beauty, stealing every scene they’re in, is a joy. Rating: B+ (it’s a little uneven)
- The Deadwood Movie (HBO): You should read this profile of David Milch before you watch the movie. This is a loving (well, what Deadwood thinks of as loving) farewell to one of my all-time favorite shows. The characters are all older, a little worn down, calcified or fading, and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful send off. It’s gorgeous, and the last 2-3 scenes are beautiful. Rating: A
- The Boys (Prime): The antidote to OD’ing on Marvel and DC. More Watchmen than Spiderman. Rating: A+
- Undercover (Netflix): It’s a Flemish cop show based on a true story about an undercover operation against one of the largest MDMA producers in Europe. Lots of fun. Rating: B+
- The Mechanism Season 2 (Netflix): Brazilian show, also based on a true story, about fighting large scale government corruption. The second season moves a little slower than the first, but the last three episodes are worth the wait. Rating: B+
- Big Mouth (Netflix): Gross, juvenile (it is about puberty) but ultimately sex-positive and kind of joyful. One of the funniest things I’ve watched in a long time. Rating: A+
- Blown Away (Netflix): It’s The Great British Bake Off, but glass blowing. It’s way better than I thought it would be, and the contestants are all great characters. Rating: B
- Taco Chronicles (Netflix): Short light series about tacos! Each episode concentrates on a different variation and you’ll definitely learn something. Rating: B+
- Street Food (Netflix): It’s Chef’s Table for street food and just as good. Just turn on subtitles and the original language, or it’s hella confusing. Rating: A
- Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh (OMG, it’s a book!): I know, I’m as shocked as you are. This is a short book, but beautifully written and compelling. It’s got old myths, old gods, young men, old women and one of the most satisfying relationships I can remember in a book. Rating: A+
There you go, my first media diet! I’ll try to do these more regularly so they’re not this long. Happy viewing (and reading)!
I’ve been a Netflix customer for only a few months, but I’m already in love with all the foreign films and documentaries I can get. The best part, though, has to be all the British TV shows! Because someone asked on Twitter last night, here’s a list of my favorite British stuff on Netflix right now:
- Luther – One of the best psychological thrillers and cop shows I’ve seen in a long time. Idris Elba is fantastic as John Luther, and the rest of the cast is superb. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Fantastic show.
- Doctor Who – If you’ve missed the Doctor Who revival of the last six years, what’s wrong with you?! This show is aces. It walks a fine line between serious sci-fi, camp, satire and horror. The great thing about Doctor Who is that it can do pretty much every genre and still be OK for kids (I tell mine that the Doctor always wins and that seems to get them through all the scary stuff).
- Top Gear – Again, how have you missed this? Don’t be afraid that it’s a car show – it’s basically the Three Stooges with insanely expensive toys. It’s one of the funniest shows ever produced, and there’s a reason it’s one of the most popular shows in the world.
- The IT Crowd – One of the funniest sitcoms ever, and one of the geekiest. Really, just watch it.
- Downton Abbey – Kind of an Upstairs Downstairs thing, and a little soapy in spots, but the acting and writing are spectacular, especially the servants.
- That Mitchell and Webb Look – Seriously funny sketch show – smart too.
I’ve got to get to work now, but that should keep you busy. I know I’ve missed a bunch, and some of my favorite UK shows aren’t on yet (Misfits is one of my favorites – think Skins with super powers), but keep an eye out.
I’d love to hear about new stuff if there are things I’m missing!