Getting to grips with a Netflix addiction

Lindsay Woods gets to grips with her Netflix addiction. The reason she can’t put the remote down? It’s nostalgia – mixed with the promise of something new

Netflix. It is to present-day parents what Glenroe on a Sunday evening was to ours. It has replaced that illicit thrill of hotfooting it on a Friday evening to the local rental store to grab the latest release and some heavily salted popcorn.

And, hot damn, Netflix has got game over the last twelve months. Particularly in their securing of original content. It is that curious time of year, the waiting period or limbo for the second series (The OA and the eagerly-anticipated Stranger Things to name two) and the release of the laden Autumn/Winter schedules.

So, we were looking for a void to fill. We put the clocks forward to convince our kids that they had indeed been allowed to stay up until 11pm (when in fact it was just shy of 8pm when they trundled upstairs) and we poured ourselves a suitable beverage and took up residence on the sofa.

Netflix has gone heavy on the nostalgia in recent months. As if they too are aware of the waiting period between shows. Current offerings which I have been favouring include, Party of Five (who didn’t want to be able to carry off an oversized leather jacket like Neve Campbell?) and Highway to Heaven.

Nothing soothes the soul more after a trying day than an hour in the company of Michael Landon. My husband would rather chew glass than watch The Landon plant chrysanthemums outside an old folk’s home (Season 1, Ep 1 in case you are of the same persuasion as I, and not a glass chewer).

Therefore, we approached the red and white button on the remote with trepidation: not entirely sure if we would agree on a selection or spend a fruitless 30 minutes scrolling, giving up and heading the same direction as the kids. Until my husband piped up, in a tone which betrayed the fact that he was all too aware of this development… “Well, that new show has started this evening. What’s it called again? The Defenders, I think…?”

For those of you not in the know — and I fall very much into this category — this is the latest offering from the stable of Marvel and follows four main characters from the much-touted previous individual series of Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Still with me? It’s a veritable amalgamation of superheroes each on their own individual pursuits with one underlying common goal: to save New York City.

“Ok. Can you ask all your questions now before it starts because I am not pausing it to answer anything. And because I don’t want you ruining it with stupid comments. I want to watch it straight through without any interruptions. I can’t wait to text Ian after to find out what he thought of it.”

“Riiiiight… just give me the bare bones. I want to go into this like a wide-eyed lamb, unencumbered by lengthy character back story and Super-Fan opinions.”

A brief five-minute roundup and we were off. In truth, I had seen several episodes of each character’s individual series.

Iron Fist had more ‘boing’ factor than an entire ball of rubber elastic bands. Daredevil looked like he would relish being in bed with a cup of cocoa more than hoofing on some skin-tight catsuit to aid humanity. And as for Jessica Jones?

Let’s put it this way, if Jessica was one of your girlfriends on a night on the tiles, she would already be intoxicated before you got to the bar, pick a fight with anyone who dared glance in her direction, demand a hefty burger before you had to bundle her into a taxi where she sloppily kept apologising for her behaviour in the hope that you would forgive her. Once again. As an on-screen female character, you can neither love to hate her, nor find any common ground with her. Frankly, she’s just annoying. Therefore, all my hopes were pinned on one man, Luke Cage.

Luke Cage has one star in his constellation — the soundtrack that accompanies him. It flits from hip-hop to jazz to good ol’ fashioned soul, all of which endears him to the viewer before he ever opens his mouth.

Luke Cage

“Are you ready?” said he, his finger hovering tentatively above the ‘play’ button. “Let’s do this…!”

In the interest of not letting slip any spoilers, such is the fervour of the superhero super-fans, I will say this, I was suitably impressed.

The slew of characters that you are treated to in the initial first half of Episode 1, more than absolves the less redeeming qualities of the more trying ones (Iron Fist still has a tendency towards the rubber factor, and Jessica Jones strops her way through most of her scenes with poor dialogue).

I was therefore, naturally, longing for a significant female lead. Having shied away from the internet and thus any spoilers, you can imagine my utter delight when Sigourney Weaver glided onto the screen.

Throw in the character of Misty Knight, the effortlessly cool detective, whose belted leather jacket I now crave with the same mania I once attributed to Neve’s Party of Five offering, and Claire Temple, played by the luminous Rosario Dawson, and I was pretty much set.

“Well...?” said he, as the closing credits rolled onto the screen, “Will I put Highway to Heaven on for you?”

“Nope, I can catch up on the chrysanthemum planting later…

“Wanna watch another episode of this?”


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