Part III: Focus, US-based Dramas
Binging the amount of tv I have this summer is probably not so great for the eyeballs. I do these crazy watches for the people though, and today’s focus is on US-based dramas. As foreign dramas had a distinctly different feel and tone, U.S.-based dramas tend to follow the same script and vibe. That’s not to say there is no variety or interest-on the contrary, these shows exhibited a fine attention to detail, differentiated characters and solid plot points. In no particular order, here are the dramas of my summer binge:
“The Man in the High Castle” Imagine the Allies LOST WWII to the Axis powers and you’ve got TMitHC. The global landscape is dominated by Nazi Germany and Japan; there is no United States, no Great Britain, no anything else. It is a stark, dystopian view-in some parts, wealth and prosperity, in the majority, squalor and desolation. An interesting almost “choose your destiny” view of the world.
“Stranger Things” Our TGON contributor Alex covers this ode to the ‘80s, so this is just a brief description. Imagine “The Goonies,” “Stand by Me” and “Gremlins” and you’ve got the hit of the summer. “Stranger Things” manages to pay homage without being a reboot or retread of in fresh ideas. The fact that the cast of kids is amazing doesn’t hurt.
“The Path” Showcasing a family and their cult, this drama began with a whimper (4.5 very slow episodes) and finished with a whizbang (the last 5.5 episodes are spectacular television). The cult (which calls itself a “movement”) suffers from the same effects most cults do: demagoguery and insufferability. The biggest question it asks of the viewer is: can a non-believer exist within a false belief’s realm? Good stuff.
“The Get Down” Netflix’s most expensive show ever conceptualized, Baz Luhrmann’s opus to ‘70s The Bronx is fantastic. Showcasing a Latinx, Afrolatinx and Black majority cast, TGD builds on the blocks of the burgeoning hip-hip movement in NY. It’s Blaxplotation, kung fu and a musical all rolled into one. It is grand and it is so very dope in the earnestness of what these talented teens can do.
And that’s it folks. I’ve watched ALL the tv so you don’t have to. If and when you get a chance, give some of these stories a try-you may just find your next favorite thing.