Shows You Can Watch Without the Political Headaches: Part One

Paul Sakuma

I love watching tv.

I love sitcoms and dramas and especially mysteries. I love spin-offs, I hate prequels (I already know the ultimate ending and if it was an interesting story, why didn’t they just make that one first?). I love this era of binge-watching, although there’s something to be said for how it has affected the skill of delayed gratification.

I’ve loved tv since I was a little girl, sitting in front of our 13-inch black and white tv with the tinfoil on the antenna, watching reruns of “Star Trek” on Saturday afternoons, and “The Wonderful World of Disney” on Sunday evenings. When I was growing up, tv shows really did feel like an escape into a different life. I got to live in the projects with the crew of “Good Times.” I had a wealthy, loving adopted father who taught me valuable lessons in his swanky New York City penthouse apartment in “Diff’rent Strokes.”

I traveled the universe with my “Star Trek” family and solved crimes with Jessica Fletcher in “Murder She Wrote.” I fought our lizard alien invaders in “V” – even though I was pretty traumatized when they would eat rats and rip their human masks off to reveal their slimy, gooey lizard forms.

Somewhere along the way television lost its magic. Our shows became so saturated with messaging and politics, the wonder of leaping into someone else’s fantastical life for an hour at a time was robbed. Instead of an escape from real life, Hollywood producers decided to assault me with real life…to teach me a lesson about myself, or my neighbor, or my country. Nowadays it is nearly impossible to find a well-done, watchable tv show that doesn’t shove modern politics or morality down your throat.

I would just like to watch an engaging show that doesn’t try to “trick” me into believing everyone on earth except me is bisexual, or that there is no such thing as platonic, same-sex friendship anymore. I just want a show that tells a story, and doesn’t sacrifice plot and production just to tick off the diversity boxes and display the entire “spectrum” of sexuality.

I’m always on the hunt for some good television that is non-offensive, has no agenda, and doesn’t hate me as a viewer. Those shows are few and far between these days, but they’re out there.

I was just thinking about all this recently. I’m out of decent shows to watch and I’m on the hunt again. But I’ve found some real gems over the years, and I thought maybe some of you are like me. Maybe some of you want to find something decent to watch, but don’t know where to look. So I’m starting a series here, just for our VIP subscribers. I haven’t decided how many parts it will have, but I’ll start here and I promise to update weekly until I run out of ideas.

A Reboot Worth Its Salt

I want to start with the type of show I usually run from…the dreaded REBOOT.

We’re all sick of reboots and sequels to prequels and live-action remakes of animated films. It’s all warmed over and bastardized, a naked attempt to squeeze a few more drops from carcass of nostalgia. It is a rare occasion that a reboot can do its original justice and break new ground of its own, but that’s exactly what the Netflix version of “Lost In Space” does.

The 2018 reboot of the classic 1950s show carries over the sense of adventure and drama from its predecessor, but still manages to make something unique and fresh. We follow the Robinson family as they wander through space after getting knocked off course on their way with a larger group to colonize a far-off Earth-like planet.

There are a few small casting tweaks that end up working beautifully to help set it apart. By far the best casting tweak is actress Parker Posey as diabolical frenemy Dr.Smith. It isn’t a “girl-power” gender swap. Posey is stellar in the role and adds some interesting, mesmerizing layers to her character. There are a few other interesting choices but I’ll let you uncover those for yourself. All of them add up to an incredibly engaging and fresh take on a classic. You won’t be disappointed, and it won’t slap you in the face with anything.

And that’s the thing. As you start the show, you’ll find yourself waiting for THE THING to happen…that big hand reaching through your screen and smashing you over the head with THE MESSAGE. You’ll be waiting for the joke about Christians or some thinly-veiled dig at conservatives or Republicans. You’ll be waiting for the PERFECT DIVERSE GAY COUPLE™ to show up and embarrass everyone else with how perfect and put-together their family is while everyone else is falling apart on this adventure.

There’s none of that. It never comes. The Robinsons are an imperfect but fiercely loyal family who learn episode-to-episode how to trust and rely on one another when things get rough. John and Maureen are loving, encouraging parents who teach their children about hard work and self-reliance. Even reboot Robot has his own arc that extols the virtues of freedom, self-governance and loyalty. Every episode is action-packed and beautifully paced. It is a show you can and should watch with your whole family, and I mean that. There are no sex scenes, I don’t recall any swearing, and there are no surprise political jabs.

I binged this with my then 13-year-old daughter and we both loved it. I cried at the finale.

“Lost in Space” ended its run after three seasons on Netflix, but it does wrap up the story so you won’t be left hanging. It’s a really beautiful wrap-up too.

If you haven’t seen this show and you’re looking for something you won’t hate, this is a must watch. It is the perfect model of what can be done when you focus on plot and production instead of incessant messaging and political bloviating.

Seen it? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Gonna watch now? Come back and let me know what you thought!

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