It's just a hair past the middle of January.
We've gotten out of a recent cold snap, but spring is still a way's away yet.
So what's a guy to do to kill the time when he's not needed elsewhere?
Yep, you guessed it - TV and movies.
Movies have seemingly caught up since the heyday of the COVID outbreak, but in that time, television just went ahead and outright exploded in front of our very eyes. These days, the shows that we stream online on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ have come to rival those of the standard, tried-and-true weeknight lineups offered by television networks.
This means that there are essentially two different ways that you can experience the shows you like to watch. Behind door number one is the 'old school' method of watching one episode per week until that show's season finale. Behind door number two is binge-watching a particular show's entire season if you so choose. In my book, both have positives and negatives.
The positives being that on one hand, you have a new episode to look forward to each week throughout the season. In the other hand, you have a whole season of content to watch at your disposal, and if you're a big fan, odds are you're mowing through that season at an alarming rate.
The negatives being that on one hand, you only have ONE new episode to watch per week, so sometimes those seven-day waits can feel longer. On the other hand, while you do have a whole season of content to watch at your disposal, you may feel like mowing through the season in one fell swoop. I don't know about your viewing habits, but sometimes I feel that whenever I do that, the impact of certain storylines or character arcs have lost meaning. 'Oh, right, that happened. Which episode was that, about four or five of them ago?' See what I mean?
It's all about balance. I see no problem with binge-watching, particularly when you're watching a show that already left the airwaves a few years back. I did this recently with the shows My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope on Disney+. But I also have my shows that air on standard TV that I like to watch, like The Rookie on Sundays and Blue Bloods on Fridays. I like knowing that those shows come around once a week to say hi and drop new stories on me.
Television and movies, well, Hollywood in general just has a way of pulling you in to the gripping stories they're telling and the characters they're using to tell them. Let me give you a few examples of my favorite shows and movies, and I'll tell you why I love them and why I relate to them so much.
Spider-Man: No Way Home - Now, this one just hit theaters about a month or so ago, so I'm not saying it's already on my list of favorite movies of all time. But it is a great example of a film that really connected with me because throughout its storytelling, it gives me these reminders of movies I loved when I was a teenager, and somehow, it all kind of melds together into this new-age hero story. I know I could be more descriptive, but those who have seen the movie know what I mean when I talk about movies I loved as a teenager. Trust me, you'll see what I mean when this movie comes to Outlook's theater!
Parks and Recreation - This NBC sitcom aired from 2009 to 2015 over seven seasons, and told the story of a group of government office workers from Pawnee, Indiana. I thought it was hilarious, heart-felt, and very inventive as a TV show. The wide mix of characters all seemed to blend together right, and it made for some great television. This show also stands out for probably the most creative series finale of all time, in which the futures of all its main characters are seen right up into old age. Sometimes we all want a little more explanation into what happens next for our favorite characters, and Parks and Rec more than delivered on that.
Yellowstone - Cable TV's current champion as far as viewership goes, this show is riding high on a wave of popularity right now that doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. It tells the tale of a high-end ranch family from Montana and all the drama that seems to come with them. Everything from land issues to dealing with the state government comes to pass through its storytelling, which is about as wide and expansive as the incredible land of which the stories take place. I instantly took a shine to this show right away because I love what the creator of it, Taylor Sheridan, writes about when it comes to characters, environment and storylines.
King of the Hill - When it comes to animated TV shows, most of the go-to choices that people point to are shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy or South Park. Fair enough, but for me, one show kind of flew under the radar and didn't quite have the major success that it should've, even though it aired for quite some time between 1997 and 2010. That show was King of the Hill, an animated series looking at the lives of propane salesman Hank Hill, his wife Peggy, son Bobby, and his neighbors Dale, Bill, and Boomhauer (pronounced as 'Boom-Hower'). For a cartoon, this show dealt with some pretty standard issues that are common to most people and stayed away from the outlandish antics that can typically come from doing animation, and it also managed to cut deep when it could, like when Hank's dad Cotton passes away. For my money, it was without a doubt one of the best television series ever written, and it's my number one 'go to' show whenever I'm feeling a bit down or just feel like a pick-me-up.
However you watch your favorite shows and movies, the truth is there's no wrong way or right way. It's whatever suits your situation best. Just sit down, have something good to drink, kick your feet up, and enjoy.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.