Editor’s Note: Continuing on with our guest columns, up to the plate is Jay Greenspan. The Entities have never made Wicked Chops just about poker, and we talk a lot of TV and pop culture. Jay (along with us) will be providing recommendations for entertainment away from the felt.
For this, my first TV recommendation, I should offer some lesser-known high-quality show. But quality can be exhausting.
That’s because you can’t do something important in half-measure. You can’t half-engage with genius like Godfather II, Lebron in Game 7, or the best crotch shots from Jackass. This stuff demands your attention. And we crave it. We seek it from bit.lys from Twitter, aggregates on Yelp, and upvotes on Quora. I think the goal of about 70 percent of recent technology is to expose quality. Or porn.
But right now I’m looking quality in the face and saying, “enough.” I’ve had it; I’m worn out. I’m watching or just finished watching two serials right now: Broadchurch on BBCA and the end of Breaking Bad. The former is an emotionally taxing police procedural – the best I’ve seen in years. The latter is the most depleting drama that’s ever existed.
And I have to endure all this great stuff after pounding through a day’s work and reading about Syria. So some days I’m not in the mood for more quality and the focus it requires. Middling is about my speed right now. I could go for something “decent” or at most “good.” I want something that draws my eyes to a screen but allows my brain to go about 85 percent dormant. For someone like Chops, this comes in the form of American Idol or Temptation Island season 2. My tastes are just a little nerdier.
If you’re feeling similarly to me and reality TV isn’t your mental check-out, I can recommend Continuum, a Canadian TV series that’s available through Netflix streaming. It’s from the Terminator plot family. In this iteration, hot mom cop from dystopian future Seattle is transported to present day along with a group of terrorists who escaped their executions via the same a 60-year jump.
In two 10-season episodes, the characters grapple with their displacement, the impacts their actions will have on the future, and each other.
It’s sci-fi light. The explanations of time travel and future technologies that have subdued public resentment of the ruling corporate-ocracy aren’t dwelt upon. The vagaries of time-travel paradoxes are similarly noted, discussed, and dismissed.
What’s left is a not-so-futuristic cop show with a pretty lead, supped up weapons, reasonable effects, and stories that mix in enough thought, action, and violence to hold the attention. The gaps in plot and leaps in logic are large – quite large, but are shy of ludicrous or insulting or laughable.
Continuum is fine. It’s entertainment without obligation. Go into it with minimal expectations, when you want to pleasantly kill a bit of time and you’ll enjoy. When that 85 percent of your brain needs a little rest, Continuum is a good soporific.
Next time, I imagine I’ll try to apply a more traditional quality filter, and offer you something really good along with an explanation of its excellence. Or maybe not. After the series finale of Breaking Bad, I may feel compelled to recommend a truly shitty antidote. Or a rerun of the Mind of Mencia. Just kidding, that’ll never happen. We’ll see.