So Much TV, So Little Time
Blaze has gotten a little paranoid. Yesterday he reckoned that Netflix were making shows that were basically about events in his life. Now Netflix have really started to commission as well as televise some excellent shows so lets face it, why would you watch the old network TV channels?
With all the repeats, rubbish ads, too much sport, incredibly stupid reality TV and vacuous talking heads like Karl Steffanovic, who needs 7, 9 and 10 and their offshoots?
But would Netflix use a person’s private experiences in a secret way to make quality television? And if they would why on earth would they source these experiences from Blaze’s tawdry existence?
If you having nothing better to do than sit down and watch Blaze’s own interactive presentation on how the similarities are a little too close for comfort you might find your derisive laughter and disbelief stopped in their tracks. Unfortunately being holidays and as the The Princess and The Artist had commandeered all the other televisual assets in the house I was forced to do just that. And I was stunned!
I think he is right.
Let me give you some examples. Netflix are running a series called You. It’s a creepy thriller and you are inside the mind of a stalker who is obsessed about making this girl his and his alone and he will do anything to achieve his goal. Now if that isn’t just how Blaze got his third wife I don’t know what is.
Same techniques, same creepy narrative voice over although in Blaze’s case it was more just Blaze talking to himself. The show is not bad although I do question the political correctness. At least in Blaze’s case his third wife was on to him from the get go and she was using him to get rid of her then current partner. So Blaze thought that he was getting just what he wanted when she actually wanted it too. Some people just love it more, the weirder it gets.
The most talked about show on Netflix at the moment is the so so supernatural thriller Birdbox starring Sandra Bullock. Birdbox has been getting lots of publicity mainly because stupid people are copying [spoiler alert] a key plot device of the movie which is the survivors having to do everything, including driving a car, blind folded. I had quite a few problems with the movie but the biggest one is that Blaze thought of this idea years ago one day when he was skateboarding out the back of the Gold Coast. I know it for fact because I was there.
As a movie the supernatural thriller despite a good cast is occasionally satisfying but mostly blah. In this genre the genius lies in suspending the disbelief and the secret to that is remaining true to the rules established both in the genre and any particular ones set in the movie itself. The Walking Dead started its long and slow demise from its early greatness when it begun breaking its own rules. Particularly when they lost their initial willingness to kill off ANY favourite character.
The trouble with Birdbox is the dodgy plot with holes big enough to drive a semi trailer through even if you are blind, blind folded and blind drunk. Also the rather cool concept that the insane are affected differently by the phenomenon is largely under utilised. That and the need for Sandra Bullock to stay looking a hottie despite all the bad shit that has gone down. The ending is of course all happy and as predictable as night following day. Yes it is that clichéd.
Blaze’s story although less complex was also predictable. He still bears the scars today and somewhere out back of Palm Beach there is a steep hill that still has layers of Blaze’s skin embedded in the bitumen.
Much better is The Kominsky Method, an eight part series set in LA and starring two old farts in their 70s basically just hanging shit on, and supporting each other through old age. Michael Douglas basically plays himself, as the aging was famous actor and Alan Arkin his cranky, sarcastic agent. There is a great script, good actors and it’s sharp and funny and warm hearted. It covers essential topics from my and your future like wayward children, retirement, death, funerals, divorce, nursing homes, cancer and getting it up. Twenty year olds probably need not go near it.
Now again Blaze is concerned because he feels Netflix have taken our conversations from when he and I are going to and from surfs and just changed the names and some of he complaints. At first I did think he was right but I think our sledges and payouts are better.
The other big show at the moment is the movie Bandersnatch from the Black Mirror franchise. Black Mirror episodes are set in a near future and investigate the insidious effect that technology is having on the human race. There are freaky concepts, black humour and lots of things to think about. The Bandersnatch concept is a movie length story with an interactive twist. At different times through the story you, the viewer are asked to decide through your remote control the next part of the story. Obviously your decisions help create different endings, none of them particularly good. By the way Bandersnatch is a computer game, which the film’s lead character develops from a murderous writer’s book. Let’s just there are more layers than the coats of paint on a student house wall.
Again I didn’t hate it but I rejected the option of investigating all the different options that the interactivity allows. I found it a bit like degustation menus in a restaurant. Very nice and clever but can I just have three courses of good food.
When I asked Blaze whether he thought that Bandersnatch was in any way based on events in his life he put his finger to his lips, an indication to say nothing more. He then gestured I should follow him. We went to his office, which is really just a homemade bench above his Victa mower in the garage. On the bench, underneath a box of tools and some rather poorly whittled wooden figures was a journal that he pulled out.
After turning the radio on and cranking the volume up loud he opened the journal and said, “ Got to be careful, Netflix have got drones everywhere. I saw one yesterday swooping and diving with 2 or 3 bin chickens, riding the thermals right above the house.”
The book was filled with diagrams that looked like flow charts showing optional paths. They went on for quite a few pages.
I said, “So what is this?”
“This," he said,” was Saturday.”
I said, “What do you mean?”
“I did a flow chart of every decision I made during the day from when I got up till I went to bed. Then I left it outside on the table on the deck where the drone could photograph it. I even turned the pages over, pretending I was reading it.
If it ever pops up in a future episode in Black Mirror I am going to sue their fuckin arses.”
I was going to point out what we were talking about right now was far more scary and Black Mirror like than worrying about the possible surveillance but hell I had to admire his eye for detail. I was also going to point out that Blaze deciding whether to ring his brother Gatesy at 10.55 or 11.05 am would not be fascinating television.
“Good job, mate,” I said and quickly left instead.
I am definitely looking forward to Blaze and I supporting each other with genuine friendship through our twilight years.
Thanks to some crazy gamer for the flow chart illustration
7 Great Old Fart Songs
Just about anything by Frank Sinatra
At Last - Etta James
Volare - Dean Martin
Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters
Secret Love - Doris Day
My Baby Just cares For Me - Nina Simone