Over the past few years, box sets have really become THE thing to wa
tch to pack out your week nights. However, I have to confess that I was pretty late to the party as I hated committing to watching a series, missing one and then having zero idea what the chuff was going on. That was before it was possible to re-watch or save an episode in order to catch up. Now there are so many platforms that make what we all like to refer to as the ‘bingeing culture’ super easy and accessible. I’ll have to admit that on a personal level, Netflix is my BFF and I’m pretty loyal as since we were first introduced, things haven’t quite been the same. Netflix – I love you.
Since meeting Christian, together we have partaken in the odd box set from time to time and filled many a cold, dark and wintery night. I won’t embarrass myself by listing them all for you as I’m wondering if this page will even be long enough to write them all down. It’s fairly easy for us to conclude on our mutual favourites and count on our hands the most dedicated box set binges we have surrendered ourselves to (Stranger Things, you know I’m talking to you). On the other hand though, it doesn’t take long for us to have a bit of a tussle over some of the shows that we can’t quite agree on and, those are what we’ll be talking about today.
Release Date: January 2016
Currently: Season 3 has just kicked off
So, as it turns out hedge funds have nothing to do with plants… I was misinformed from the start. Just kidding, I totally knew they had nothing to do with plants. Although, if they had I think I might have been able to get a little more into this particular series. I know of lots of people who absolutely rave about Billions and I can’t help but feel that most of the men I have spoken to appear to possess some kind of man crush on the leading man Damian Lewis. Does this have any bearing at all? Maybe, just maybe.
In essence it’s a predator versus prey game whose key players are a hedge fund billionaire and a state attorney, a game of cat and mouse trying to trip the other up. It is clever and it does give an interesting snapshot into a different kind of world that we’re introduced into via the entrance of an array of complex and interesting characters. However, it just really is not for me. Christian on the other hand is all in and fully invested, I predict he would score it very highly on his ‘bingeometer’.
I do feel that I deserve some brownie points for making it through the whole first season and a small part of season 2, right?
Release Date: March 2015
Currently: Season 3 (and filming season 4)
First and foremost I’d just like to make this abundantly clear that despite what you may think this one has nothing whatsoever to do with Aidan Turner, ok?! I just so happen to really enjoy period dramas that focus around the metal mining industry in the 18th century. It’s thrilling.
Christian isn’t much of a fan of period dramas as a whole and so I don’t think it’s anything personal against Ross Poldark specifically. In addition to the thrilling mining element there are also so love triangles, infidelity, crime, war and then some more love triangles. Passionate kisses and heaving bosoms (and lots of mining) can be expected in the presence of Poldark and so for this very reason I have no choice but to let Christian off the hook with this one. I however will be waiting with great anticipation for season 4…
Release Date: July 2017
Currently: Only one season (so far)
This was a Netflix original that made it’s first appearance last summer and was pegged to be one of the best shows of 2017. I’m sure lots of people would have agreed with that statement, perhaps Christian included. However, before the storyline even truly kicked off I really struggled to digest Jason Bateman as a serious character. Don’t worry though, it didn’t take long to realise that he wouldn’t be cracking any jokes during this series.
The basic premise of the story is a money-laundering scheme gone pear shaped and the implications it has on a fairly average, every day kind of family. There’s a drug lord, some people die, money disappears and I think someone fell off of a building. So it has a few captivating segments but overall I just didn’t feel excited or encapsulated at any point. It’s pretty dire and dark in places and I suppose it was all a little bit slow and sluggy for me. On reflection, perhaps hedge funds and money laundering just really aren’t my thing. I clearly can’t vouch for Christian though…
Release Date: December 2016
Currently: Only one season
My goodness what a gloriously bizarre box set this was. Another ground breaking Netflix original, so far a one off series but there have been rumours of a second, though I’m not sure it needs one. It is strange from head to toe, beginning to end, until you finish the very final episode, and even then things only really start to make sense. Summarising this is tricky as I can’t even decide if it’s sci-fi or drama, or maybe a genre of something entirely different. The core theme is that an unusual young woman goes missing for a number of years and upon her return she attempts to piece together what happened to her, how she got home and who she actually is. The fantastic Brit Marling wrote, produced and starred in this masterpiece and the incredible Jason Isaacs was the cherry on top, so not overly swamped with big names but definitely a few recognisable faces.
I distinctly remember the night we started to watch The OA and after finishing episode two, Christian was not sold (and may have even nodded off a little). Neither was I either at that point but I was just so curious as to what the heck was going on and where the story could possibly be going, I insisted we continue. So, after making him a cup of tea and grabbing the biscuit tin I affectionally persuaded him to give it one last try. Thank heavens we did, because it turned out to be a box set like no other we’ve ever seen. The third episode was kind of the turning point and we were hooked from then on out. So, do give this one a try and it might surprise you… and confuse you… but I guarantee you’ll be talking about it for a long time. For anyone that has seen this one, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Release Date: July 2017
Current: Only one season (and season 2 in production)
Full disclosure (which I feel may have impacted my initial interest), I really don’t enjoy films or tv shows based around the apocalypse. As you may have noticed from the cover art from Salvation, this series is strongly centred around the impending end of the world caused by an enormous asteroid that is six months away from destroying Earth and all of mankind. Personally I find this theme of subject matter a little dismal, but Christian absolutely loves anything apocalyptic/end-of-the-World related and so here we are. This is called compromise people, the foundation of how a marriage survives through the process of box set selection. It’s the 21st century version of the domestic ‘remote control’ war. Willingly I agreed to watch Salvation and in return, I received a glorious homemade gluten free pork ramen that took 4 hours to prepare followed by a tray of brownies. I was happy, very full and ready to take on the apocalypse. In short, there is an asteroid headed for Earth and the fate of humanity rests on a combination of governmental power, technological influences, geeky scientists, sketchy international politics and a really huge rocket. Oh! Don’t worry, despite the imminent ending of the World there is of course still some room for some blossoming and diminishing romances in equal measure.
Of the overall 12 episodes I have to say that it really did actually start to pick up and peak my interest around the ninth. Perhaps it just had a slow start and not in a mean way but I wasn’t very invested in the characters. You know how you usually have someone that you’re kind of rooting for or a favourite? Yeah I didn’t really feel that. However, credit where credit is due Salvation did get more interesting as it progressed and actually the overall idea is pretty clever. Season 2 is currently in production so I’m currently thinking of what “compromise” I will be requiring in preparation for the next round, something simple and straight forward… perhaps a gluten free, dairy free and vegan beef wellington? Or a meat free steak?
If you have seen any of the abovementioned box sets I would love to hear your thoughts about them. Equally, if you have had a similar experience at home I’d love to know which you and your partner were unable to agree on.
I look forward to seeing you back on the blog soon