Written by 00:22 World

Blank Screen

Blame it on the better weather and its privileging of being out over staying in, but I’ve been having a hard time getting into any streaming entertainment these days. I’ve started dozens of shows and abandoned them after an episode or two, never to return. Are recent shows just poor matches for my taste? Has TV become boringly mid, as my colleague James Poniewozik described? Or perhaps it’s more serious: Have I finally and irretrievably reached the outer limits of my own attention span?

It’s no great tragedy, not having something to watch — go for a hike! watch a sunset, why don’t you! — but being deeply engaged with a show is one of the chief comforts of the enthusiastic cultural consumer. When the algorithm fails and the queue dries up, the world becomes a cold and unwelcoming place. When my eyes snapped open at 3 a.m. recently, I reached, as always, for the iPad, for something to watch, something amply distracting to induce a sleep that would stick. For an hour, I stared at the grid of shows on the Netflix app, and the grid stared back, each option equally unappealing.

So I was relieved to find that our critic Mike Hale this week issued his list of 30 shows to watch this summer. I won’t lie and say I’m certain that something on the list will reconnect me to the streaming tides, but I’m hopeful. There are a bunch of suspenseful shows in particular that seem designed to grab my anemic attention and hold on tight.

On Wednesday, David E. Kelley’s new adaptation of Scott Turow’s legal thriller “Presumed Innocent” arrives. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a prosecutor suspected of murdering his lover, played by Renate Reinsve from the film “The Worst Person in the World.” I’m willing to forget that I know how the story ends (you’ll recall the 1990 movie version, starring Harrison Ford) if the show proves entertaining enough. Kelley’s recent addictive shows include “Big Little Lies” and “The Undoing,” so I feel like this one has promise.

In July, Natalie Portman stars in a screen adaptation of Laura Lippman’s novel “Lady in the Lake” as a newspaper reporter in the 1960s investigating two mysterious deaths. The show also stars Moses Ingram (“The Queen’s Gambit”), Y’lan Noel (“Insecure”) and Mikey Madison (“Better Things”) and it’s written and directed by Alma Har’el, who directed “Honey Boy,” that very good Shia LaBeouf movie from 2019, images from which still pop up in my mind with a curious frequency.

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Last modified: 9 June 2024
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