Monday, May 27, 2013

Arrested Who?

I'm the type of person who doesn't want to watch something if it's a critical success, because it's potentially overrated, and I don't want to be disappointed. But then I get totally addicted to the same show, or book series, or movie through on-demand entertainment, and then consume and consume and consume it to its completion, never wanting it to end. I'm in this situation with two shows now: Doctor Who, and Arrested Development.

When I was in school, I had a bunch of friends who were Whovians, who would make inside jokes about the TARDIS and Daleks and what different Doctors' signature clothing pieces were, and internally, I would scoff and roll my eyes. I officially apologize to all those friends now: You were right - it's awesome, and I'm hooked.

But I'm completely OCD about it. I'm not content to start in the middle; I have to back to the very beginning to get the origin stories. It wouldn't sit well with me to skip around. And as any good Doctor devotee will tell you, that means going back to 1963, and watching William Hartnell, the original Doctor, go gallavanting through time and space in black and white. 

There's one problem, though - I didn't realize that the BBC erased a whole bunch of the early years' episodes, and the only way they exist is through videos painstakingly reconstructing each week's offering through the use of a complete audio file and production stills, occasionally punctuated by a censor's clip, or a human reenactment. It's mind-numbing to watch, but I'm obsessed - I have to see the whole thing. I'm up to 1967 now; poor Patrick Troughton (the second Doctor) - so many of his episodes are lost - I'm afraid I'm surfing Facebook through most of his story lines. They're so godawful boring to watch, but I have fun listening. I don't want to miss anything, after all. (Did I mention I'm obsessed?)

Which brings me to tonight's offering - Game of Thrones wasn't on, because apparently, they got crappy ratings last year on Memorial Day weekend, and decided to put it off this year. Good thing they did, too - Arrested Development on Netflix would have blown them out of the water.

AD is another show I came to long after its original airing; again, I (mistakenly) thought that anything with that much critical acclaim couldn't be that good, right? Well, I'm an idiot. Arrested Development is everything a show should be: funny, cheeky, irreverent, smart, and so full of hidden-in-plain-sight goodies that you want to re-start each episode as it's finished so you can catch what you've missed.

We didn't start watching until 9 o'clock tonight, because a) we thought Game of Thrones would be on, and we never miss it, and b) the Munchkin was still awake, and we try not to let him watch TV. But this... this was a special occasion. Munchkin was nursing to sleep when we started (kinda), but our guffaws kept disturbing his attempts to hit the hay. He finally drifted off in the middle of the second half-hour episode. We watched seven episodes in all tonight, and we only stopped because we were utterly exhausted. 

Right now, I'm wiped out. Were we childless, we definitely would have pushed on to the final episode of the season. I'm surprised that Netflix didn't crash as soon as the episodes were available, what with the huge following that AD now boasts. Friends of mine were having a viewing party tonight, complete with food and drink inspired by the show. Oh, to be 25 again, and stay up all night to see the end...

But the Arrested finale will just have to tantalize me a little longer. To those of you who have seen it to the end, no spoilers, please - we'll catch up by tomorrow. Consume, consume, consume, and see where this goes. I wonder if Munchkin will inherit this obsessive trait from me, too. I'll counsel him that if a show is a critical success, to do himself a favor and just go ahead and watch it in its original offering. You end up saving yourself so much time (and sleep) in the end.

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