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Esco: TV Series Killer

Esco

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Last week, I had to block a pal on mine on iMessage last week. His crime was grievous: Dude dared to reveal what happened to the Joker in the most recent season of Gotham, the TV show. I am a huge fan of the series and anything connected to Batman. Friends like that should come with “Spoiler Alert” tattooed on their foreheads. Thank goodness for the wonders of modern technology.

When it is not spying on you, it is a useful tool for social disassociation.  From now on dude, anything you want to ask me, fax me.

When it comes to entertainment, the arts, popular culture and style, I am a student of history. For movies, I love the 80s (the exception being Grease which was released in 1978 and is the greatest movie of all time).

When it comes to style, I fancy the suave, clean-lined garments from the 60s.  For music, as a hiphop, R”n”B and grunge music head, I hype the 90s as the golden era. Finally for television series (just like technology), I like the right now.

Don’t get me wrong. TV shows from way back when like Miami Vice, A-Team and The Cosby Show are classic material, but a few of them were cheap with their special effects and studio props, when compared to the movies of their time. For me, it is easy to tell if the living room decor in the background is a mock-up. I like make-believe, but not when it is obviously fake and all in my face – except maybe for silicon titties. Please don’t kill my high.

There is something fantastic about watching a television character develop over the course of a season, in a slow but well-cooked manner that a summarized movie cannot project adequately. It is like drinking your pap with condensed milk. Peak Milk in a condensed tin rises to the top of the ogi, and by the time you are finished with the milky layer, you have had your fill, and get disinterested with the rest of the concoction.  Contrast with when you garnish said akamu with Dano Powdered milk. Very often a creamy cake of powdered milk will congregate at the bottom of the pap, giving you a delightful and utterly satisfying last couple of morsels.

Movies generally seem to follow a tried and trusted, but tired and busted theme – depending on their origins.

In Hollywood, good looking actor defeats all odds and the bad guys, with ripping muscles and big guns blazing. He scoops up the pretty girl in the daisy duke shorts at the bar. In the end, everybody smiles, as the “actor” and his chick drive into the sunset, with beer cans tied to their back bumper. The credits roll. Actor no dey die.

For Bollywood, the nerdy guy chats up the girl by dancing circles around her, and singing her into submission. Somehow they never kiss;  a cock-blocker – someone or something usually interrupts.

For Chinese martial arts movies, the sequence of events is simple. ‘A’ opens a kung fu school. ‘B’ comes along and beats ‘A’ to stupor.  After ‘A’ dies, his ward ‘C’ seeks revenge and kills ‘B’. Note how there are no girls involved at the beginning. Later C marries A’s daughter Chun Li. They share a rice noodle. Credits roll.

For old-school Nollywood, the typical script is more complicated. ‘A’ is born in abject poverty in the village. He does either jazz or ‘419’ to make money and moves to Lagos where he lives it up extravagantly chasing promiscuous university ‘runs’ girls. Later on in the film, Jim Iyke slaps a girl. The end.

New school Nollywood is different. Beverley Naya always looks cute though.

Other than romantic comedies, which have a better end-product if they are half short, and twice strong, television is a better story portraying medium, as it is more layered. I, for one, loved seeing how Frank Underwood, Kevin Spacey’s Machiavellian character in House of Cards, developed from an ambitious randy senator with low moral fiber, to a power hungry tyrant who was ready to throw anyone under the train to remain presido. Some politicians just want to see the world burn. Until whistleblowers blow peem! Peem!

All for what? Perhaps, television is fast becoming a reflection of society past and present. Like a famous lyricist once said: “We are in a state of emergency; the death side – a mirrored image of where we are today; the life side – a vision of where we need to go”.

The economic inequalities, hardships and the corruption scandals, which are now the norm in Nigeria, are a microcosm of the world at large. The TV show the Walking Dead (TWD) best symbolizes it all.

The zombies represent a dead-beat populace going through the motions of work, struggle, family, deaths and sadness. They believe everything they read in the newsprint or hear on TV. Other times it’s  about the morally inept, who live in a social media bubble of taking selfies, living to party on the weekend and front on the ‘gram.

The survivors in that show depict the knowledgeable and “woke” 10% who realize that there is more to living than a lifeless ordinariness. The guns, arrows and swords of the TWD represent the shields of knowledge, creed, defiance and a deep rootedness in values of humility, charity and chivalry. This keeps the truth-seekers afloat in this new selfish and terrible world. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

However, serialized TV has its worries. There is the threat of spoilers like my friend above, who discuss episodes you have not yet watched, revealing the intricate plots of endings and ruining your experience –  just because they have cable. You, on the other hand, have to rely on your trusty pirated DVD sales-man or dodgy illegal streams in order to keep up with the series you crave.

There is also the danger of drawn out storylines and repetitive themes which run their course over the life of the series. They start to bore you after a couple of episodes or seasons  I got a bit tired of Luke Cage after the first few episodes.

There is also the overt sensualization and over-sexualization of characters by TV producers to create shock value and to boost ratings. That is the rabbit hole Empire has gone into, to join Scandal and the likes.

Finally there is also the danger that charismatic and well-loved characters either pass in real life (the death of Andy Whitfield the first lead character in Spartacus: Blood and Sand), or in the series itself (like the death by accident of Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey). Sometimes, they are phased out for some weird production reason (Pornstache in Orange Is the New Black).

Anyway, these are my recommendations right now:

  • Strange Things
  • Marco Polo (season 2 is off the chain)
  • Love
  • War and Peace
  • The Ranch
  • Iron Fist
  • The Get Down
  • The Frontier
  • Voltron Legendary Defender
  • Gotham
  • Narcos
  • Greenleaf

My missus swears by “This is Us”, but I have seen just about 3 episodes, so I cannot speak on it yet.

Series that I just could not get into despite the “good” reviews include: Luke Cage, The Queen, Versailles, Jessica Jones, The Badlands. Oh, and I still think Game of Thrones is like Mist Alba – meh!

Last night I watched TV but it watched me/

Know what that means, a brother fell asleep/

Mobb Deep, All A Dream (2014)

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Ocusfocus

Fellow Nigerians, it is with the utmost pride and sincerity that I present these memoranda as a living testament and recollection of history in the making during our generation. Preamble: Esco is a lampoonist, content provider for hire, and convener of the blog Literati: Satires On Nigerian Life www.woahnigeria.wordpress.com, which is a symposium to project the conditions of every Nigerian and inspire young people all over the world. He is currently working on his memoirs “The Great, Wonderful Adventures of Esco”, which will be available in 2016. Esco can be reached for scripting writing, ghost writing and editing work by email at [email protected] Oh, and he occasionally tweets at @Escowoah.

20 Comments

  1. OB

    April 21, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    THIS IS US AND INTO THE BADLANDS ARE SO INTERESTING.

  2. An equally addicted series lover

    April 21, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    for starters, everything you said was interesting until you recommended the whack series that is Iron Fist.
    EVERYTHING about that series was a a fluke. The danny figure was a joke looking like a frat boy and completely unable to fully depict the inwardly tortured boy that he was to portray.
    2. the fights were so weak and so brief, I almost went in to fight for him. The ONLY fight that made sense was when he saved joy outside his door and the fight scene in episode 8 with Zhen chou. For Pete’s sake, If you read the comics, You would know he is supposed to be the best martial artist of all time! chai!!!
    one critic even tagged the show as being “sparkless, snapless, and unoriginal”
    The rigmarolling was too much i mourned my data and just skipped to the end from episode 9.

    On the other hand, This is us was one series i was sure to hate from the synopsis. There was going to be no “kpoosha kpoosha” and it was about family but I was so surprised, I never missed any single episode. The acting is so good not to talk about the originality of the story. Its little wonder the series was picked up for seasons 2 and 3 before season 1 ended.
    LISTEN TO YOUR MISSUS AND CHECK IT OUT!

    I wont bother convincing you about GOT. People like you are obviously put of by the fact that so many people go gaga for it. Its allowed. Watch at your own convenience. We the lovers of GOT forgive you for likening it to the horrendous mist alba. (YES! I take that shitty drug too)
    The only sad part is that you’ll watch it when there will be no one to share the “real-time” excitement with you.

    Into the badlands however, is one you should not miss. what they lack in storyline (and they dont lack so much), they make up for it in martial arts. The lead character, Sonny, should be a sensei to that yeye danny rand.

    2 of your recommendations though are so on point and that is strange things and Marcopolo.
    I lost interest in Gotham just because i just couldnt see that james cordon guy (Ben mckenzie) in that light. I binge watched The O.C so forgive me.
    while youre at it please watch the more recent series, I’m surprised you didnt mention like Designated survivor and 24 Legacy if you aren’t doing so already.
    Thank me later.
    .

  3. Amiee

    April 21, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Esco I love You! I really do but how dare You? How dare you say GOT is meh???. I have seen Greenleaf. It’s really good. Dunno why I couldn’t get past Season 2 of Gotham. Everyone swears by it. I really should start watching it again.. and TWD too. Stopped at Season 4.

    If you loved The Good Wife, then you should see The Good Fight, it’s spin off. It has all the delicious characters of TGW including Diane, Luca, David Lee, Colin Sweeny, etc. I’m yet to see Alicia in it though. I hope she is in there somewhere.
    .

  4. Tru

    April 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I am notorious spoiler ??? Sorry folks. Esco welcome back from your hiatus ?

  5. Cocolette

    April 21, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Escooooo!!!! Where have you been??? ? *goes back to read article*

  6. olorificent

    April 21, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I recently just started watching “Legend of the seeker” series, am in love all over again. i love the fact that its just two season.

  7. bitumen

    April 21, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    We taste differently but I think game of thrones is excellent. Will check out some of the series you have mentioned up there. I also like Sherlock series by BBC especially the first two seasons. Atlanta is also a good one same as Homeland. Gomorrah is an excellent Italian series. As far as Nigeria is concerned the Johnson’s series omnibus shown on weekends is a must watch on Africa magic.

  8. Amazon

    April 21, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    My scandal can do no wrong in my eyes, love me some Olivia Pope… Suits is another beautiful series

  9. californiabawlar

    April 21, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I blocked someone on Facebook a few weeks ago for spoiling Being MaryJane. I know it’s not the most critically acclaimed show but it’s my guilty pleasure. I assessed our ‘friendship’ both in real life and on Facebook, came to the conclusion that she wasn’t worth the pain, so I let it go. I can’t take the risk of her coming to spoil Game of Thrones…you know what the scripture says about being faithful with the little things. lol.
    And yeah, every Game of Thrones season, I have friends that I just unfollow because of their basket mouth!
    PSA: Please if you know you get that much excited about a show, just schedule to watch it with a friend or call to exclaim all your excitment…don’t come and yell it facebook. So rude!

    Esco, welcome back boss! I think that first show is called Stranger Things. I haven’t seen it yet but everyone is going on about it so wanted to watch it o, but I found Green Leaf instead. Let’s just say I chose melanin…hehehe.

    • whocares

      April 21, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      LMAOO. I am soooo excited for game of thrones too. Its probably the only tv show that has tempted me in a while. I love Atlanta as well. There was so much buzz about it i decided to ty it and its awesome. Finished season 1 in a day.
      ooh is anyone watched the young pope (with jude law, i thought that was pretty good the first few episodes i saw) and Westworld? Westworld is quite philosophical and interesting. It will definitely inspire random philosophical musings or confuse you enough to reach for the bottle in other to enjoy it.. it might cause some strange revelation re your sex life if you find yourself aroused whilst watching it also. All in all, fun times!looool

  10. @thetvseriesgeek

    April 21, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Lolz…..none of the Tvseries you mentioned is on my List. I tried watching Greenleaf but got bored, I guess I will try it out again.
    My Recommendation for now;
    • This Is Us.
    • Izombie.
    • If Loving You is Wrong.
    • 13 Reason why.
    • Star.
    •Big Little Lies.

    Series that I could not get into despite the good reviews;
    •Games of Throne.
    • Being Mary Jane.
    • Scandal.
    •TVD

    • An equally addicted series lover

      April 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      13 reasons why is the best series i’ve seen this year

  11. Papacy

    April 21, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    I will forgive the GOT shade because Narcos is on your list.

  12. MarieScarlett

    April 21, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Esco!!!! You should write a book.. I swear by narcos, kept me glued to my laptop plus I learnt a ton of Spanish curse words ???puta!!!! “You are the worst “is also really funny ..

  13. Ibi

    April 21, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Luke cage is bad but not as bad as Jessica Jones that movie is awful mehn. Favorite shows the blacklist (reddington is amazing ) scandal ,being Mary Jane, house, supernatural (the writers are creative) everybody hates Chris ,Grey’s anatomy ( before everyone died or left ) and any good intelligence agency and comedy series I can lay my hands on which is a lot it’s hard to keep up . Recently watched star and it’s everything empire is supposed to be . Am I the only one that thinks how to get away with murder is a silly show I feel it lacks direction and is missing something.

  14. whocares

    April 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    my cousin swears narcos is the shit! he tried to get me to watch it sooo bad, he not only got me the dvds from nigeria (I can watch them online for free) but regularly sent me messages to ask if i had seen it. lmaooo. The thing is i hate serialized tv shows. I hate being addicted and waiting for the new episode drives me mad- so to preserve my sanity, i rarely watch serialized tv shows. Game of thrones I love, and any new fan will draw, quarter and hang me for what im about to reveal. I have read every plot line, watched almost every clip on youtube and can carry on a good conversation about the series based on this cos i understand it so well, so im eagerly waiting for season 7 also cos that looks like it will be the bomb!!!
    i dont mind spoilers, I am that friend that inadvertently gives spoilers cos its nothing to me. I apologise. lool. read my novels from the end (truly the last page, then the last chapter, then the middle, then i start from the beginning) and just as i am about to watch a movie at the cinema, i quickly google the plot; I dont want any surprises. LMAOO. That is another reason i hate tv shows, you just never know what to expect next and all that anxiety, who needs that? ooh Hanibal the tv show was goood. Is that still on? Criminal minds too

  15. Scorpio

    April 21, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Welcome back esco. Im here just to beg you not to quit on badlands. That show is the truth. i could not stand it at first, but one night of boredom and i cant wait for season 2

    • An equally addicted series lover

      April 24, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      youre so far behind if thats the case cos im on episode 6

  16. Jezebel

    April 22, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    ✌??? @ “The survivors in that show depict the knowledgeable and “woke” 10% who realize that there is more to living than a lifeless ordinariness. The guns, arrows and swords of the TWD represent the shields of knowledge, creed, defiance and a deep rootedness in values of humility, charity and chivalry. This keeps the truth-seekers afloat in this new selfish and terrible world. The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

  17. Kol

    April 22, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Spartacus I mean

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