One of the great things about subscribing to Netflix is being able to queue up a season’s worth of a television show and watch every episode without commercials. This was a great way for me to watch Band of Brothers, and now my family and I are hooked on the first season of Lost.
We’re not big television watchers for the most part. I mainly watch sports or ESPN with some news channels thrown in, while my girls are into Spongebob Squarepants and Kim Possible. My wife never turns the set on. We haven’t made it a point to watch a particular show every week since Star Trek: The Next Generation and Mystery Science Theater 3000 went into syndication. It’s not that we’re anti-tv (well, maybe my wife is), but we usually have so many things going on that making it a priority to be in front of the set at a particular time each week isn’t practical. I know, some of you are saying “Tivo”, but I learned a long, long time ago that if I don’t have time to watch something in the first place I’m probably not going to have time to watch it later either. How long ago did I learn this? Well, I paid six hundred dollars for a VCR to tape all those shows I was missing, so that should tell you something. (I thought that maybe with all the time I saved by microwaving my food I could watch all the tapes that were piling up. Didn’t happen. I think I may still have some Miami Vice episodes in the back of the entertainment center that I haven’t seen.)
Anyway, the commercials for Lost looked interesting so I put the DVDs of the first seven episodes in my Netflix queue a couple of months ago. They arrived last week and since then the family has been completely absorbed – even my wife! The ever-sophisticated Mall Diva really likes the show and Tiger Lilly is engrossed, except when she’s hiding her face behind me during the really intense scenes.
What I like about it is the strong ensemble cast without any superstars, which makes it easier to identify with the characters. The plotting and pace are brisk, and while the writing uses a few tried and true conventions there is enough mystery and novelty to keep you off balance and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. Probably the most brilliant decision the producer and writers made was to tell stories within the story about the different characters through flashbacks. This serves the purpose of adding depth and backstory to the characters while keeping the story from being “trapped” on the island with the same scenery over and over. It also allows for special guests to appear in the show, which adds further variety and even some nice surprises (Hey – it’s Veronica Hamel! I haven’t seen her in ages! I think there might even be some Hill Street Blues tapes in the entertainment center as well!)
Of course, being able to watch each episode without commercials is extra sweet. We got through the first two DVDs in the series in just a couple of days, sent them back and we’ve started on the third. We should be done with the first season in a couple of weeks. This is definitely the best way for us to watch the rare show that’s worth following. We won’t be able to watch season two as it unfolds on Wednesday nights this year, but I’ll be sure to have it in my Netflix queue well in advance of its release date next summer!