Over the last few days I started watching a couple different genres of Netflix’s original shows. I started off by watching a science-fiction show called Lost in Space, then made my way to a western called Godless, and finished up with a horror-comedy called Santa Clarita Diet. When subscribes go on Netflix, Netflix provides 19 different categories to choose from. The 19 categories are then split up into 400 sub-categories such as horror-comedy.
Looking at different types of genres in television you have comedy, drama, horror, westerns, sci-fi and several others. When a person clicks to watch one of these genres, the viewer has a certain expectation of what they genre is and have a certain expectation of what they are going to see in the show. In the Godless for example, the audience wants to what they are already used to, but what to see it in a new light. Westerns are made along binaristic lines and these lines are thematic of the frontier: The Wilderness vs. civilization; Law vs. lawlessness and so on. As for the show Godless, are lines are; Law vs. lawlessness or your typical good vs. bad. In a western audiences want to see horses, guns, cowboy hats, shootouts, and endless landscape. This genre in its “classical” form you have a hero, which is our main character Roy, who is moral and decent. Roy shows his skills of using guns and control of horses. Audiences want to see how it truly was to live back in the western area and the show Godless delivers. In an article from Rolling Stone called ‘Godless’: Why Netflix’s Brutal, Timely Western Is a Must-See, written by Scott Tobias, explains “But from the pre-credits sequence in the very first episode, which ends with the harrowing image of a small boy hanging by the neck over the train tracks, it’s clear that while this man may be evil, he’s not exactly wrong. And to hear the show’s creator talk about Godless‘s view of our frontier nation, with its unforgiving landscape and predatory claims, you’d think there’s little separation between his view and that of his villain.”
As for looking at science-fiction television, views have a set of expectations they are anticipating. In the show Lost in Space, we have a family who lives on earth but are move to space when earth isn’t safe anymore. Once in space the family has to evacuate the space shuttle in which their smaller space shuttled crashes on a foreign planet. Lost in Space provides what they viewers are used to seeing while producing content in a new form. Viewers want to see outer space, spacecraft, space suits, use of technology and some kind of alien or technological advancement creature. The show focuses on family in the modern day, but when the family loses most of their technology they are stuck trying to use what technology they have in order to survive. In a article written by Jeff Spry called Why The Creators Of Netflix’s Lost In Space Changed The Iconic Robot so Drastically, has screenwriter Buch Sharpless quote; “We didn’t want to give them futuristic tools to get them out of predicaments. So the idea of being in a survival situation and only having a Swiss army knife and some rope and trying to get yourself out of trouble was something we wanted to try and achieve.” In sc-fi you usually have a character who is a victimized by technological accident, which includes when their ship crashes down. The antagonist might be a scientist, which the mother of the family is. The scale of the antagonist is so big that the character is often reminded how small they are, which little son in the family failed his test to travel to space, but after his mother traded a file illegally for him to pass, he often thinks he wasn’t prepared for space travel.
Between watching all three television shows, Santa Clarita Diet was my favorite. I’m not huge into westerns or sci-fi, but I will say I did enjoy watching the other two shows, because both Godless and Lost in Space provide me with a fulfillment of getting to see what I expected to see in the genre, while keeping me at the edge of my couch with suspense. The horror-comedy, Santa Clarita Diet is my new guilty pleasure. Drew Barrymore is know for her roles as a sweet young girl or loving mother… in this new show she is still a loving mother but with a twist. What I enjoy so much about this show is even though the show has a dark concept of a person being a dead zombie; the tone of the show is bright, light and funny. Most zombie movies only work around nighttime, but in this show our main character loves being outside in the bright sun. The best part of the show is how the use of comedy is thrown in at the darkest parts. For example at the end of the first pilot, we see Barrymore eating her co-worker to pieces when her husband walks out on her in which she responds; “I really want to make this work.” The show takes everything you thought you new about horror and spins it around with comedy.
Scott Tobias, “Godless: Why Netflix’s Brutal, Timely Western Is a Must-See,” Rolling Stone (November 22, 2017): https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/features/godless-why-netflixs-brutal-timely-western-is-a- must-see-w512344
Jeff Spry, “Why the Creators of Netflix’s Lost in Space Changed the Iconic Robot So Drastically,” SyFy Wire (April 17, 2018): http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/why-the-creators-of-netflixs-lost-in-space- changed-the-iconic-robot-so-drastically