Two of Netflix’s shows, Godless and Lost in Space, demonstrate classic themes in their respective genres. Godless, falls into the Western genre by showing typical iconography of a Western show such as horses, guns, cowboys, and Native Americans. In the show, as in many Western themed shows, there is an outlaw villain with a posse of followers who help the villain and make him look more powerful and intimidating. In Godless, this is Frank Griffin, who at the beginning of the show loses his arm after being shot. I like this detail in the show because even though Frank Griffin has lost a limb, he is still incredibly intimidating and just goes to show how tough he is. Another interesting aspect of the show is Netflix’s choice in who played Frank Griffin– Jeff Daniels. In the movies I’ve seen with Jeff Daniels, he typically plays characters who are kind, fatherly, nurturing, and in all respects the furthest thing from being threatening. Yet, in Godless, Daniels is still all of those things, but he is actually evil. With this choice in actor, I want to like him and have a comfortable feeling when he come on scene, but I can’t because he is obviously a terrible person. I think this makes the show quite interesting.
Conversely, the hero of the Western is Roy Goode, played by Jack O’Connell, who seems to have all the necessary skills to survive in the world of the Wild West (good with horses, good with guns, and good with the pretty girl’s kid) and will likely get significantly rewarded for being the hero, but only after he struggles a lot. In the show, Roy Goode also gets shot, like the villain Frank Griffin, and has to recover all the while demonstrating how tough he is so the other characters and audience earn his respect.
In Sophie Gilbert’s article, What Godless Says about America, it is mentioned that the show was meant to be a “feminist western,” which I would have never guessed from watching the first episode. The show still seems to be pretty male dominated, which is what I would expect from a Western show. Perhaps this is the case in Godless so that the show doesn’t come across as cheesy or suffer too many criticisms.
Another show Netflix has that demonstrates the Science-Fiction genre is Lost in Space. The show has a clear victim from the beginning, Will Robinson, the youngest child of the Robinson family, who is quite possibly less nerdy than the rest of the family, but still provides solutions to problems, like when his sister, Judy, gets frozen in the water, so he is a bit of a hero as well. The show is also set on another planet and integrates use of advanced technology, like the spaceship and the walkie-talkie-like things everyone wears, which is typical of sci-fi films and shows. The first episode also does a good job of showing another common aspect of the genre: threats to the natural order. This is seen in the flashbacks of the family members on Earth where there is pollution so bad that they have to wear gas masks, or when Maureen explains to her kids that they are on this mission because of Earth’s deterioration.
I like both of these genres because of the action and problem solving involved with them. I like how there is usually a fight between good and evil and when the good guys win it makes me feel nice and satisfied when the bad guy gets locked or take out. I prefer these kinds of shows over ones like The Santa Clarita Diet. Even though the horror-comedy is entertaining in its own respect, I didn’t feel that there was much of a plot as compared to Godless or Lost in Space.