During this time of self-isolation, many have turned to the calming streams of Netflix. While there are many films to check out, from the old to the new, and some even produced by Netflix (I plan to check out “Code 8” this weekend), there are also a plethora of TV shows. While I could discuss my binge/rewatch of The Office, there’s a much more important show to discuss that many have been asleep on:
In March, Netflix released Ozark’s third season. Starring Jason Bateman (probably best known as Arrested Development’s Michael Bluth) as Marty Byrde and Laura Linney as his wife Wendy, it’s about a suburban family that becomes entangled with the cartel, and has to start over in the Ozarks to launder money. Sorry, can’t say much more than that, as to not give away the intricacies of the story for those that have not seen it.
Though the lead in has been strong with seasons one and two (including a helluva pilot), season three has been by far their best to date. Tom Pelphrey was brought in to play Linney’s bipolar brother (Ben Davis), and gives one hell of a performance. The acting across the board is tight and believable. I’d be shocked if Pelphrey doesn’t at least walk away with a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
Bateman, though known more for comedy, excels in the medium of drama, bringing his signature offbeat charm, coupled with compelling, engaging performances. Even better? He’s also delved into the art of directing. As a student of cinema, I can say with certainty one can tell when it’s a Bateman directed episode.
Note: Also check out both his acting and directing on HBO’s The Outsider, a compelling sci-fi drama based on a Stephen King Novel.
Linney also really brings it this season. This is important to note as her character, Wendy Byrde, isn’t terribly likable all of the time. But what’s great about this show is, for all of the characters that are problematic or even downright dislikable, there is still something about the performance that can draw one in. This season, one particularly distasteful character, Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) even becomes endearing in her own, weird way. She slips into a protective mother mode, and ends up bonding with another heavyweight character of the show, Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner).
This series is grade A, and definitely elevates the oeuvre of the Netflix library. When the next award season rolls around, I anticipate many nominations and wins to go around for both acting and writing.
In short, if you need something that is binge-worthy and feel Netflixed out, chances are you’ve missed this gem of a show. When you have a moment, I highly recommend that you remedy this immediately.