I follow a bunch of critics on twitter and one day scrolling through I saw a bunch of them praising Fargo (you know how critics are the biggest members of groupthink). I’d already complained to a friend how I wasn’t digging this third installment of Fargo. As I read the praise and thought back on the episodes, on paper, I should be into it but for some reason, it just isn’t doing it for me. This made me think about how I feel this way about a couple of shows. Like technically, everything is on point. Acting is good. Storyline good but it just feels like a chore to watch for me.
I know I am very big on enjoyability-factor. I can recognize a show is full of flaws but because I enjoy it so much, I’d rank it high. So I think that is probably what it is for me. The biggest show culprit of this for me is The Americans. This is a show when people ask me “is it good?” I really don’t know how to answer. Because again, technically everything about it is actually good but when I see it on my DVR or I am about to watch I have to do psyche my TV muscles to get myself through it. I think the best answer is “Yea, it’s a good show but I am not sure I would recommend it” But then, if you wouldn’t recommend a show to someone, is it a good show?
Better Call Saul is another show I feel falls in this category. I am constantly blown away by the acting by Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn and Jonathan Banks on this show and I have hooped and hollered at a scene or two but ask me if it’s good and I will stutter. To be fair, I truly felt this way about it’s parent show, Breaking Bad till season 3 and deep down in the recesses of my mind I wonder if the show would hold up if I rewatched it. Some other shows I think are examples are Fargo (seasons 2 and 3 as season 1 is one of the best things ever), Preacher and Billions (I was going to say Westworld but I don’t even think it’s a good show so…)
Not to be hypocritical, I feel a lot of people would put Leftovers in this category but I think Leftovers probably falls in the new wave of shows where we don’t know wtf is going on and are too intelligent for their own good. I will completely agree to feeling like season 1 Leftovers falls with this group but even though I still don’t know what is going on, I actually look forward to watching it and I don’t have to take a deep breath before pressing play. Now would I recommend this show to someone? It’ll probably come with a caveat.
One last point to take into consideration, is wondering if I would feel the same way about these shows if I was a binger vs. watching week to week? I know a friend who binged The Americans and just couldn’t stop gushing about it. To me, I felt so weak thinking about if I had to binge that show. I’d like to know what you think? What shows do you consider a technically good show but when it’s time to watch you don’t feel so gingered and save it for last on your DVR?