Binge-Worthy Entertainment That Won't Bury You in Wokeness

(Image: @rickygervais Screenshot)
If You Build It, We Will Watch

Conservative Americans are all too painfully aware of the fact that it is nigh on impossible to enjoy movies or television anymore because we’re assaulted with Democratic talking points and woke story lines that are shoehorned into every script.

It’s not a new problem in American entertainment — Democrats hijacked that years ago.

However, where we were once merely forced to endure a few irritating lines here and there, we’re now subjected to not only “rah-rah Dems!” stuff but character assaults on us for not agreeing.

The complete infusion of politics into almost all entertainment is, of course, ruining television and movies. The latest political joy suck was announced this week by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which after 2024 will require movies to meet a host of diversity requirements to be eligible for an Oscar. Rick wrote about it here, and the whole thing is such a rabbit hole of diversity checklist insanity that one has to keep checking that the source material really is The Los Angeles Times and not The Onion.

One habit I picked up after taking over the Morning Briefing here last year is binge-watching a lot of television when I’m working every night. The woke fare was so bad that I ponied up for a subscription to BritBox just so I could flee to the refuge of Midsomer Murders, which is blessedly devoid of politics.

I do wander back into the streaming wild several times a week looking for fun, enjoyable stuff, though.

I’ve got three recommendations that are all over the board but won’t whack you upside the head with woke politics. All are streaming on Netflix.

1: Away 

As this trailer featuring a scene from the beginning of this series indicates, this one had all of the potential to go off the political rails and I ended up enjoying it because it didn’t. I stuck with it because I’m a sucker for space stuff and I’m glad I did.

Sure, there are a few things along the way about the destruction of Earth, but they aren’t the focus. This is more about interpersonal relationships (the crew and their families and the crew with each other) than the space journey. The space stuff is very good though. Netflix spent some serious money on this one.

The most refreshing — for me, anyway — thing in Away is how the writers handled the deep faith of one of the crew members. People of faith are almost always written in a cartoonish, usually derisive fashion. I cringe as soon as I happen upon a character who is devout, because it’s bound to be awful from there. Not in Away. That alone almost made it worth watching.

2: Norsemen

Netflix had been suggesting this one for me for a long time. I avoided it because I thought it was just a Vikings ripoff. A few weeks ago a friend of mine tweeted that it was a great comedy.

Who knew?

I immediately gave it a chance and was kicking myself for waiting so long to watch it.

Set in the early 790s, it features vikings doing viking things. The dialogue, however, is pulled from 21st-century self-help, motivational, and corporate lingo. It’s also insanely irreverent. The number of times they casually talk about “raping and pillaging” made me very surprised that the occasionally woke Netflix went for it.

Norsemen isn’t for the easily offended. There’s a LOT of sex talk.

It’s an all-Norwegian cast. Each episode was shot twice — once in Norwegian and once in English. That’s a lot of work, so the seasons are pretty short.

I’ve been recommending this to everyone I talk to lately because it’s far and away one of the funniest, most original shows I’ve seen in a while. Here’s the season 1 trailer. Make sure you stick around for the “fashion” speech at the end.

3: After Life

Ricky Gervais created, stars in, and writes this occasionally maudlin and often hilarious show about a thoroughly broken man trying to deal with the death of his wife. Since it’s all Gervais, it’s constantly pushing boundaries and buttons.

His character, Tony, has countless hours of video of his wife on his computer. Some of it’s from happier, healthier times, and a lot of it was from when she was dying of cancer. He spends a lot of time watching all of it, and much of the story is told through that.

It’s also brilliant. Gervais’s skill as a dramatic actor is not to be missed.

Again, this one is not for those who have language sensitivities.

Here is a scene between Tony and a widow he’s befriended because her husband’s grave is near his wife’s.

Gervais is the rare star who never hesitates to mock the Hollywood establishment. After Life should have received a slew of Emmy nominations but was snubbed because the Hollywood establishment can’t take a joke. Gervais responded to the snub in his own inimitable way:

(Image: @rickygervais Screenshot)



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PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author ofDon’t Let the Hippies ShowerandStraight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear twice a week.


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