As I’ve noted before in this-here space, I’ve become aware that my tastes have changed.
Indeed, I’ve realized in the past few years that, for the most part, I have trouble getting into a new TV series unless it features stories or characters with whom I’m already familiar. The Crown sheds a light on the British Royal Family, whom I’ve followed since the Diana years. The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi continue the Star Wars saga, which I’ve followed for decades.
Occasionally I find myself enjoying a new show (see last week’s review of Abbott Elementary). Other recent exceptions are Hacks and Only Murders in the Building. But those last two feature actors I grew accustomed to dozens of years ago. Hacks revolves around Jean Smart, aka Designing Women’s Charlene Frazier Stillfield, whilst veteran actors Steven Martin and Martin Short lead the cast of Only Murders.
Anyway, I’ve also noticed that I avoid shows and movies with dark or disturbing themes. I’m not talking about the horror genre. I’ve never been a fan of that.
Here’s an example of a recent show I vetoed watching. Steve Carell, aka The Office’s Michael Scott, can currently be seen in Hulu’s The Patient. When a friend asked if I planned to watch the psychological thriller, in which a therapist is held captive by a patient who wants him to help cure his homicidal urges, I said no.
I’ve seen the ads for the show and it looks amazing. But I can’t watch things like that anymore.
I considered watching Yellowstone, but when I remembered that someone told me there were a lot of killings on the show, I decided to turn to my comfort zone — sports — instead.
Knowing that I watch Dateline and 48 Hours, folks recommend true life documentaries. I also pass on those because there’s only so much murder I can take.
But here’s what stumped me: I can still read books with dark or disturbing themes.
I recently shared the discovery of my aversion to watching shows and movies with dark or disturbing themes with a friend. When I told her that I can still read those kinds of books, she said, “Hmm.” Then, she studied on it and said it probably has something to do with seeing the action presented visually.
I studied on that and came up with a perfect case in point. I previously recommended to you, dear readers, Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty. The book delves into the damage wrought by OxyContin. It’s a great book. But you already know that if you followed my recommendation and read the book.
There’s a series on Hulu called Dopesick. Based on another book about the opioid industry, Dopesick fictionalizes the damage wrought by OxyContin. Michael Keaton, aka a Batman and the Beetlejuice, stars in the ensemble cast.
I will not even try to watch the show because I know my limitations.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.