I’ve got two words for you: I’m Back. And I brought this week’s edition of THE ART OF BINGE WATCHING with me.
As usual, I’m here to give the people—my people—the best possible options for the occasional free evening spent lounging in front of the television. I hope you enjoyed last week’s selections, the highlights of which were both live events: The Thunder Over Louisville fireworks show and Bowling Green Hot Rods’ baseball.
This week we’re heavy on the streaming and sports programing as cable offerings will not live up to the gems of last weekend. The streaming choices this week are as strong as any in TAOBW’s brief but storied history. Enjoy!
Ozark (Netflix): Over the last 5 years, Ozark might be the best show to grace our streaming devices. On Friday, Netflix released the final episodes. As of press time, I’ve not watched all of them, but I’ve heard positive reports from the interns—they’ve been walking around like zombies today after staying up all night listening to the Tribe 44 podcast with some guy named “The Kid” and then binging episode after episode of Ozark.
Back to the show: Something bad is getting ready to happen to the Byrde family. Jason Bateman is one of my favorite actors and tends to make me genuinely like whatever character he plays, so of course I’m on Team Marty until the end. If you liked Inventing Anna, you’ll be familiar with Julia Garner, who plays Ruth Langmore on Ozark, a role that has launched her career into the stratosphere. All four seasons are currently available on Netflix.
Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story (Hulu): Hulu’s documentary about Steven Stayner and his family recounts a 1972 child abduction that caught the nation’s attention. Anyone old enough to remember probably does. Seven-year-old Steven Stayner was coaxed into a stranger’s car in Merced, California, beginning a 20-year saga that saw Steven returning to his family, only for more twists and turns to follow. This story has been told many times, including on a Dateline special, but this three-part Hulu shock-doc is perhaps the most comprehensive and compelling of them all.
Under the Banner of Heaven (Hulu): I’ve caught the first two episodes (both currently available, with more soon to follow) and this is a fantastic show. Former webslinger and verifiable movie star Andrew Garfield makes a rare TV turn in this intense crime mystery. If you liked True Detective (HBO) you’ll love Under the Banner of Heaven.
Garfield plays Jeb Pyre, a detective trying to solve a murder in 1984 in American Fork, Utah—just south of Salt Lake City. The show’s creator, Dustin Lance Black, left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 30 years ago, and he shines some light on the practices and history of his former church. This series is based on a true story. This show is probably going to win some awards and seems like a much bigger deal with someone like Garfield in the cast.
Love, Tom (Paramount+): Paramount+ has released their most recent documentary about one of the biggest names in music you probably don’t know, Tom Douglas. For the music lovers out there reading, this one is for you.
Tom Douglas has written Top 10 hits for the likes of Tim McGraw, John Michael Montgomery, Martina McBride, Collin Raye, and Miranda Lambert. The film is based on the 12-minute speech Douglas gave at the 2014 Nashville Song Writers Hall of Fame ceremony. Tom describes his film way better than I can: “Yes, it’s a film about songwriting and the creative process, but really, it’s a film for anxiety addicts, underdogs, underachievers, true believers, never say die-ers, keep on try-ers, the brokenhearted, can’t get started, optimistic pessimists.”
Nashville fans will also enjoy this one as it provides an intimate look at the role the city plays in the songwriting scene.
UFC/Boxing (Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN): If you wake up and choose violence on Saturday, ESPN will have some options for you.
The UFC rolls out a solid card with a main event worthy of a PPV buy. Rob Font and Marlon Viera headline UFC Vegas 53 in a bantamweight main event with title implications in play for both fighters. Former UFC champion Andre Arlovski is also on the card and will likely earn an impressive win in the heavyweight division.
As soon as the UFC finishes its main event, boxing will take over your television. Shakur Stevenson, the oldest of nine children who was named after rap legend Tupac Shakur, takes his 17-0 record into the ring against fellow undefeated pugilist Oscar Valdez (30-0). Many believe Valdez has been ducking this fight for a couple of years, but at this point, he just needs to worry about ducking Saturday night because my prediction is Stevenson pus on a boxing clinic and cruises to the win.
NASCAR Cup Series: DuraMAX Drydene 400 (Sunday, 2 p.m., FS1:) Last week at Talladega, drivers zoomed 500 miles around the biggest and fastest track in all of racing. What waits around the corner for them this week? A creature known as Dover, a mile-long, high-banked concrete monstrosity that chews up car and driver alike. TAOBW is going with Alex Bowman this weekend due to his past successes at Dover Motor Speedway, a track where NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson earned the checkered flag 12 times.
MLB Baseball: Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels (Saturday, 3 p.m., FS1) I know, I know… you’re probably thinking baseball isn’t fun anymore, but these two teams are. During this sandwich game of a weekend series, neither team will have their best pitcher on the mound. Cue the fireworks here as the Angels and White Sox possess some of the most exciting players in the game.
The Angels have started hot (13-7) with a double duty superstar, Shohei Ohtani. Instead of pitching in this game (as he does every 5 days) he will play the outfield and likely knock a couple moonshots into the 23rdrow. Mike Trout is no Tony Danza, but he’s still THE Angel in the outfield and as dangerous as anyone when he steps into the batter’s box.
The White Sox (7-11) have started off slow and been decimated by injuries early on this season, but many still believe this team is one of the best in baseball. The ChiSox’ youth movement has reached the next level and expectations are still high on the southside of Chicago. If anyone is still reading this baseball preview at this point, write down my prediction that the Chicago offense will be led by a former high school basketball star from Alabama, Tim Anderson, who I believe is one of the most talented hitters in all of baseball.
Cable (Classic Movie of the Week)
Pure Country/Walk the Line (Saturday, 5:15 p.m., CMT): George Strait, Johnny Cash and June Carter just want to dance and sing with you on this country-fried, music-themed Saturday night.
1992’s Pure Country stars George Strait playing himself as he defends the galaxy against an alien attack. That’s all a lie, I mean seriously, what else would George Strait be doing? He’s Dusty Wyatt and he’s singing, she’s leaving him with a smile, and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a George Strait movie from 1992. I cross my heart and promise to you, this one is entertaining.
I’m sure most of you have watched Walk the Line several times, but it’s probably time to do it again. Reese Witherspoon plays June Carter and Joaquin Phoenix plays the Man in Black in this 2005 film about the life of Johnny Cash and his family. If someone asked me to check yes or no on these two movies, it’s a big yes.
Readers are encouraged to send suggestions for “The art of binge watching” and/or tell Jordan how you really feel about his what-to-watch picks via email at Jordanwillis5393@gmail.com