Notes from the Kraken: November

In All, Notes by David

Welcome again to We Have Always Live the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this month’s posting schedule, but first here are some thoughts.

One has to wonder if it is time for Netflix to tweak its release model.

The recent release of Stranger Things 2 has me wondering if we are due for another wrinkle in how we consume media. Binge watching has obviously become the norm for many, and Netflix has certainly gone all in and encouraged this phenomenon, but we have now hit the point where it must be asked if maybe Netflix needs to slightly re-evaluate their strategy, just as other networks have slowly adapted to combat Netflix’s influence. The one major flaw with the binge watching model is that it makes all shows feel the same in a lot of ways. There is a lot of buildup and hype before the release, and then the show arrives and is consumed in one weekend. After that, it maybe gets a week, if it is lucky, or even just a weekend of cultural influence before disappearing into the ether to not be discussed again until a new season is once more imminent. Now look, not all shows can be Game of Thrones (and let’s be honest–no other show can actually be Game of Thrones) and occupy a high place in pop culture importance for months at a time as every nook and cranny is looked over with a fine-toothed comb. But it feels like certain shows should have a larger cultural imprint than just one weekend.

Stranger Things is certainly one of the shows, and as I watched this season it just felt like Netflix might have benefited from a modified version of Hulu’s model for The Handmaid’s Tale, which released a couple of episodes right away before moving to a week-to-week schedule release. With nine episodes this season, Stranger Things seemed uniquely set up for a model that spread the episodes over three weekends. These three episode pods would have spread the show across October, and allowed it to really dominate the pop culture space in the lead up to Halloween. People could have discussed and analyzed it, building excitement and deepening the conversation. More importantly, the show would still all be out relatively quickly, so dedicated binge watchers would only have to wait a couple of weeks before watching everything. Is this model appropriate for all Netflix shows? Of course not. But Netflix’s commitment to pure, straight up binge watching also seems shortsighted. Another prime example of this is American Vandal, which could have used a multi-week release to allow the actual internet fervor to mirror the internet fervor the show portrays in its universe. Netflix has pioneered a real shift in the way we consume media; it’s time for them to tweak their model if they want to stay ahead of the curve.

From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this month.

David plans to finally unleash some more editions of The Anticipated, because there is so much to catch up on.

Catch of the Week:

Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week Month.

If any of this month’s recommendations interest you, feel free to click on our Amazon affiliate links below. We get a small kickback on anything you buy at no extra cost to you, and that money goes toward sustaining and improving the site. Thanks!

Kyu: Thanksgiving is about family. Why not celebrate with one of the most uncomfortable movies about family in years? Greek writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos (DogtoothThe Lobster) is back with another story about fucked-up relationships, painful desires, and how repressive social structures will inevitably be disrupted by individual violence. Despite its Kubrickian touches (discomforting atonal music, centered compositions, long hallways, mannered performances), The Killing of a Sacred Deer is Lanthimos’ most mainstream film to date–which is not saying much, after films featuring (respectively) an abusive family whose children are taught to fear the outside world and a dystopia built around compulsory dating. There are certainly some unique touches here (the parents’ sexual proclivities, for instance, or the most disturbing use of a plate of spaghetti since Se7en), not to mention the central conceit, but plot-wise this is a reasonably standard psychological revenge thriller reminiscent of Cape Fear (both of them, but particularly the remake). The film’s main weakness is that it really has nowhere to go once the concept is revealed, except to build up or distract from overwhelming dread. But Deer remains a very effective, artful mood piece about a supposedly perfect family breaking along fault lines of class, gender, guilt, and anger while a surreally horrible situation grinds down their control. The performances are fantastic (especially Barry Keoghan), the direction is excellent, and Lanthimos is consistently a creator worth experiencing. I wouldn’t want to live there, but his worldview is a fine and freaky place to visit.

David: Though Halloween has come and gone, I have a vestige of the holiday to recommend with Hulu’s Freakish. I have a lot of issues with the zombie genre, as it can lead to some truly unimaginative storytelling, but Freakish adds some spark to the genre by focusing on teenagers and by figuring out how to tell a dystopian story without fully embracing the nihilism of The Walking Dead franchise. I am not going to sit here and say this show is a masterpiece, but it is a nice change of pace, and a relatively quick watch. Give this a watch if you need something scratch that zombie itch or if you just want to watch something that is entertaining without making you overanalyze everything.

Umm, there is nothing to really accompany this in terms of purchasing so umm this manga is good read it:

That’s it for this month. We have to get the offerings ready for the cornucopia of madness in the upcoming feast of souls so if you feel a tinge of sorrow this month, just remember how thankful you should be that the Kraken has not consumed all of us yet.