I was given a permanent Netflix subscription as a Christmas gift a few years ago. And it is definitely the gift that keeps on giving. I can always find something to watch, no matter what mood I am in. I can rewatch old favourites and try new ones. I love original Netflix series (especially Orange is the New Black) – particularly because entire seasons are available all at once so you can binge-watch. If you like something you can watch it again. If you start watching something and don’t enjoy it you can just stop watching and try something else. Netflix have something for everyone and have made a concerted effort to attract every age group.
So, when The Ranch popped up on my feed on 1 April and I saw that it had Sam Elliot in it (that voice! that moustache!) I started watching immediately, despite the presence of Ashton Kutcher (an actor I find extremely annoying).
As I started watching, my first thought was that this was an April Fool’s joke. I thought it was the most stupid thing I had ever seen. And the weirdest. And when I say weird, I mean weird. Then, despite myself, I got hooked. Totally addicted. And I binge watched the entire thing.
It is like nothing I have ever watched before. The last time I had this feeling was when I saw Moulin Rouge. It is like a totally new genre. Having watched the entire thing, I am still not sure what it is.
When the opening credits roll and you see the sweeping vistas you think it will be a Western drama. Your heart clenches at the scenery and the music is lovely. You look forward to seeing Sam Elliot as another cowboy but wonder how Ashton Kutcher fits in.
Then it opens as a cheesy 70’s style multi-camera sitcom with very fake and shabby looking sets and a bad laugh track (when last did you hear one of those?). You realise these are non-PC rednecks. The adolescent sexist humour and bad Obama jokes! And then you see that two members of That 70s Show are there. Ashton Kutcher with his Uggs, hairdryer and almond milk seems incongruous in a Western setting.
Suddenly they start swearing. Bad swears! It is rather unsettling to have the cheesy 70s laugh track start up every time someone drops an F bomb and shows their butt.
Then it turns into a dark drama when you deal with the angst of the doomed love between a fantastic Sam Elliot and the amazing Debra Winger, who you realise you have not seen in decades. They are so compelling you cannot wait for the next time they are both onscreen. Strange that biggest sexual chemistry in a series is from people in their seventh and eight decades. And their voices….
By episode two I was hooked. I watched until I had finished all ten episodes. And I loved it. It reminded me of some kind of twisted carnival attraction. Or two totally different shows running parallel in one series. Bring on Series 2! Until then I am off to watch it again!