The other day I was having to reinstall the operating system on my laptop, which is a tedious process that involves lots of waiting for things to be done. While this was going on, I poked around on Netflix, trying to find a new TV show to watch.
I actually watched a bunch of things that day, one of which was the first episode of Peaky Blinders. I like Cillian Murphy as an actor, and I’m a sucker for well-detailed historical periods, and the show is solidly written . . .
. . . and I just didn’t care.
Because I’m starting to feel like I’ve had enough. There’s a genre of TV right now that somebody on the internet once dubbed “blood, tits, and scowling,” and while there is a wide range of splendid material belonging to that type — for starters, look at just about everything HBO has done in the last decade — I think I’m hitting my saturation point. There’s a cynicism about human nature that tends to be endemic to the genre, and the representation of women is often problematic — though, in fairness’ sake, I should note that Peaky Blinders made a couple of moves with its female characters that I quite appreciated.
At dinner the other night, a friend of mine said he wanted to find a TV show where nobody died, nobody was murdered, nobody did awful criminal things, etc. Ironically, we wound up chatting about two shows that feature people getting murdered as a central plot point — but in both cases, the entire tone is different. One was Pushing Daisies, which is candy-colored and good-hearted even though the main character brings people back from the dead to solve crimes, and the other was Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, following an outrageous lady detective in early 20th century Australia. They are both very, very far from blood, tits, and scowling.
I’m starting to crave the change of pace. My taste leans toward drama, so people getting killed is going to be a regular feature of many of the things I watch (and read) — but I can do without the cynicism, the muted color palette, the parade of morally dubious people doing morally dubious things. Right now I’m enjoying the heck out of Agent Carter, with its cheerful pulp heroics. I need to get hold of The Librarians; the made-for-TV movies it’s based on are the best Indiana Jones films apart from Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade. I want some light, some humour that isn’t grim, some fun.
It isn’t that the other stuff is bad. I’ve just had enough of it for now.