The home screen for the Netflix Inc. original movie. (Bloomberg/Gabby Jones)
Like everyone else during the global pandemic, I suddenly have lots of free time.
Before the pandemic, I could hardly find the time to watch movies in theaters or sit in front of the television to catch up on popular shows. My days were filled with work, raising my two daughters and meeting up with friends and family at various events in our busy metropolis.
In March 2020, when my husband decided to sign up for a Netflix subscription, I did not realize just how much it would be a life-saver for my family. In the coming months, when nights and weekends stretched on, we would turn on our smart television sets and stream endless shows to entertain ourselves.
Consequently, I was able to catch up on shows that I had missed for the past two decades. I became a binger, gobbling up Suits’ 9 seasons in mere weeks. “So…that’s the Meghan Markle show before she married Prince Harry…,” I thought.
I also discovered what the big deal was with Mad Men and the 1950s fashion lauded by glossy magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. I was shocked at the amount of smoking in Manhattan’s top advertising agencies (indoors, mind you!) but sighed in relief when the internet tells me that the actors were smoking herbal cigarettes. When I googled Jon Hamm (who plays Don Draper) and January Jones (who plays his wife), I realized that this is how watching popular television functions now.
When I was growing up in the 1980’s, television programming was limited to several hours in the day. I remember waking up early on Saturday mornings to catch cartoons and staying up late during the holidays to watch one hour of Remington Steele.
When I was in the United States for my tertiary education, I was introduced to 24-hour cable television and referred to the printed TV Guide for the day’s offerings.
The small but thick guide offered a dazzling array of television programs spread out over hundreds of channels. Of course, I could never watch everything, preferring to tune into an hour of Friends and Seinfeld every week rather than ESPN or Home Shopping Network.
Although television continued to offer a tantalizing offering of shows, I was never truly ensnared by its lure until today.
Other than the small screen offerings I mentioned earlier, I had access to films that I missed watching in theaters, such as Little Women and Marriage Story, the poignant drama starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, which was released by Netflix. The excellent drama would probably never make it to theaters in Indonesia, and I was glad that I could savor it in the comfort of my home.
When the movies and television programs ended, particularly those that I truly enjoyed, I could not help but search the internet to learn more about the actors and actresses and look up reviews. The reviews helped to point me in the right direction when searching for similar shows instead of scrolling aimlessly through the thousands of options available on Netflix.
I also find my family and friends’ suggestions to be immensely helpful when navigating through the world of Korean dramas, which all seem too similar and formulaic on the surface. Thanks to their suggestions and “Top 10” lists, however, I was able to find some delightful comedies and escapist romance fantasies in Start-Up, Weightlifting Fairy and Lovestruck in the City. These series are extremely addictive, however, and most viewers would not be able to stop watching until the finale. Thankfully, most Korean dramas only last for 16 episodes!
I envision my love affair with Netflix to continue for the next few months, until the pandemic shows signs of wavering. Before I can dine at trendy restaurants, stroll at glittering shopping malls and travel the world again, I shall vicariously reminisce about our world via the streaming service and look forward to a normal way of life. (ste)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.