Introducing: Deep Dive Netflix.
First up, discovering "Alice In Borderland" and "Norsemen."
Long in the works — if that means a thing I have thought about often but never done — please welcome “Deep Dive” into existence and into your consciousness and onto your screens (or into your email, even).
Basically since the first year of Netflix, growing more mystifying ever since until it became one of the great Unsolved Mysteries Of Our Time, I’ve wondered exactly what all these shows I was never going to watch were doing littering up my Netflix ocean. They were everywhere. And they were growing. As Netflix grew, they grew. But also — important point here — as Netflix touted its magically instinctive algorithm, something happened: Most of those shows fell off my home page, back down into the depths of the ocean. Only when I would make the mistake of searching for a series would I discover the vast, unknowable, ever-increasing, super-unfamiliar, often-foreign and never promoted glut of television series on Netflix.
A weigh station for WTF shows.
One day, I said, I’m going to check some of those out. Spoiler: I didn’t.
One year I remember Canadian critic and friend John Doyle talking to me — or me asking him — about a show that was on his best of year-end list. “The River.” Never heard of it (then). But I slowly found people raving about it, randomly. Like it was spoken into existence. OK, I said, I’ll watch. Spoiler: I didn’t.
There is a pattern here. And yet, I know I’m in the majority, not the outlier. I know most people have no idea what all those shows are that happen to (over)populate Netflix; shows that people didn’t know existed, remained disinterested once told and well, lived perfectly content lives trying and failing to keep up with the TV shows they HAD heard about.
But there was also an emerging pattern just to either side of my Netflix tunnel vision. Some people were, of course, watching these shows and every now and then — especially among the ranks of my Substack subscribers — people would rise up to tout one or two obscure little gems and sometimes (OK, sure, rarely) I would follow up and see for myself.
But my first thought was always, “Oh, dear TV Gods no, there are a shit ton of these.”
It would take forever. Literally. Well, fine, seemingly literally.
Only recently did I think, “Actually, this isn’t a chore. This isn’t an exercise to think about and then put aside. This could be an ongoing series.”
So, here it is. “Deep Dive.” First two series: Japan’s “Alice In Borderland” and Norway’s “Norsemen.”
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