Must-see Netflix internet productions

The Netflix series 'Luke Cage' is compelling, pro-black material

Opinion

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

For years I lived without the internet at home. When times are rough, home telephone service followed by home internet are some of the first things to go. Redbox provided me with movies along with buying some I wanted to see.

Then for Christmas in 2014, my daughter bought me a smartphone and I was online again. But when she added Netflix to my phone, it was really began a game-changer.

In its heyday of sending DVDs out via the mail, I never used that service. I don't like going to the movies because I have trained my body that if I'm relaxing, I should sleep. So my initial exploration of Netflix was to watch movies knowing that if I fell asleep, I could resume the movie at the point where I last recalled seeing it. I also love to watch small independent films and movies featuring black people. Beast of No Nation was one of the first I watched, and it set the standard for the kind of movies I could find on Netflix.

Just recently I got into watching series on Netflix. Several weeks ago, I applauded the series La Esclava Blanca for its 360-degree portrayal of slavery in Colombia. It did in 62 episodes a better treatment of the subject than any two-hour movie ever could. I followed that series with another one in Narcos. If the series has more than one season of production, I figured it must be good. And it was! The name Pablo Escobar was familiar to me as a drug kingpin, but not his story or the history of his trafficking in cocaine. It was mind-blowing to watch and see all that he was willing to do in order to maintain his empire. I was now hooked. I had previously tried watching Marco Polo but don't know why I stopped watching it. So seeing that it, too, had two seasons of shows, I gave it another shot. Again a very excellent production.

I had been hearing and seeing rumblings about a new series, Luke Cage. I hadn't paid much attention to anything beyond the headlines as I just wasn't interested. But a series featuring a predominately black cast and having a black action hero was compelling. So rather than base my opinion on what others were saying, I decided to watch it for myself. Growing up, I read all the comic books my brother brought home. But I don't recall ever seeing any black heroes in them in the 1960s. So the notion of a black superhero who had bullets bounce off his skin peaked my curiosity. And for me, the show didn't disappoint.

What I enjoyed most is how pro-black the series is. The characters talk about black people and history with reverence. Yes, it has profanity and the word "nigga" is bandied about as freely as some folks use it. But I can overlook it simply because the context balances off with black people who are at every level of society. What I also enjoyed was getting to see black actors whose faces are new to me. It is nice to see black actors and actresses getting a chance to perform their craft.

If you have access to the internet, either via smartphone or home connections, I highly recommend subscribing to Netflix (if only for a month) to support this series

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