In today’s TV watching landscape, there’s the very recent problem of having too many damn good choices. In one way, it’s kind of a great problem to have, as who doesn’t want to watch higher-quality shows? But on the other hand, you really have to invest wisely, not just your time, but also how much cash you’re going to drop on streaming services.
“What I forgot my world needed, until I saw Ozark’s second episode, is someone to root for in the seedy, underworld of a Mexican drug cartel, that special someone to fill the cavernous void left by Walter White on Breaking Bad. Ozark’s story is somewhat similar, in that it involves a seemingly good family guy, paying the consequences of a very bad partnership, and having his family dangerously tied up in his questionable actions.”
At this point, if I suddenly had to cut some expenditures down, and had to start axing viewing options, the last to go would be Netflix (well, as soon as HBO’s Game of Thrones goes away again for Gods know how long), because man, they are making some great shit, and they don’t mind dropping $20 billion or so to get it right.
One of the most recent examples of Netflix getting it right, Ozark, comes from creator Bill Dubuque (The Accountant, The Judge) and exec producer and star, Jason Bateman, breaking out of the long shadow cast by his seminal role of Derek Taylor in Silver Spoons. The hour-long drama, of which all ten episodes are currently available for bingeing, is produced by Media Rights Capital, who among many other fine products, are responsible for the series that really set Netflix on the right trajectory: House of Cards.
If you’re looking for further reason to invest your time, the show also stars three-time Oscar nominee, Laura Linney; Rip Torn, who hasn’t made a wrong move since well before The Beastmaster; and Esai Morales, best remembered as the drunk older brother in La Bamba, or at least he is in my world.
What I forgot my world needed, until I saw Ozark’s second episode, is someone to root for in the seedy, underworld of a Mexican drug cartel, that special someone to fill the cavernous void left by Walter White on Breaking Bad. Ozark’s story is somewhat similar, in that it involves a seemingly good family guy, paying the consequences of a very bad partnership, and having his family dangerously tied up in his questionable actions. In this case, it’s Bateman’s Marty Byrde, a frugal Chicago suburbs financial planner, who’s been illegally cleaning money for the cartel, finds himself with a huge debt to pay to the wrong people, and in order to keep his family alive, ends up — somehow convincingly — getting one last opportunity to move the fam to the Lake of the Ozarks and launder money for those he owes. It’s definitely a mo-money-mo-problems situation.
Having seen the first two episodes, I’m sure I’m up for more. The story works, and is getting all the more interesting as Marty must pivot from the safe life in the ‘burbs with a wife he thought he loved and two perfect kids; to a very dangerous, reckless, path, that may very well end up getting them all killed. While there’s a lot that works, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all shakes out, what really roped me in we’re two great moments, one important, the other not so much. One: a throw away line, that really doesn’t spoil anything, when a small-town records keeper tells Bateman to “walk a mile in my Crocs.” That craned my neck, for sure.
The other is a bit of spoiler… when Linney socks Bateman, her husband who has just explained how little sympathy he has for her and her dead lover that just got thrown off a balcony by the cartel that Marty owes money to. Yeah, family life gets really complicated when the cartel’s involved!