Diving into The Ozarks

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“Ozark” is just one of the dozens of Netflix originals to show up on my dashboard. It’s one that I personally ignored for a while, not sure if I could handle hour-long displays of the melodramatic tone exemplified by the cover photo. However, after watching the first two episodes, I quickly became hooked. It’s not a funny show, or a feel-good sitcom. At first, you might not even like most of the characters in this family-driven crime drama, but you quickly learn to understand and love their quirks.

The show has an undeniable “Breaking Bad” -esque plot line. You’re immediately placed into the very blue and grey (I think they might have actually used the Hudson Instagram filter and turned down the warmth setting on the camera for the entire show) world of Marty Byrde — a hum-drum financial advisor who has managed to get involved with the wrong people. He’s mixed up with a drug cartel to which he and his business partner owe millions of dollars. In order to save himself and his family, Marty has to make back the money he owes the cartel, but the question is how?

“The show does a stellar job of taking you into the head of Marty.”

So, Marty moves his entire family unexpectedly to the … wait for it … Ozarks! The Ozarks, for those at home wondering, is a lake resort in Missouri which Marty believes to be a gold mine for his drug cartel buddies. As you might guess, most of this is backstory to the real goings-on. Where the story really begins is in the Ozarks, where we begin to get a feel for who Marty and his family really are. And in episode two, we see all of the nitty-gritty details you hope for in a family-involved crime drama. Characters round out, and a glimmer of hope can be seen on the horizon — and aren’t those two of the main things that keep us glued to the screen for any show?

“Ozark” takes place in that odd place no one ever really talks about — a summer resort during the off-season. It’s a weird kind of limbo. The show does a stellar job of taking you into the head of Marty, desperate and striving for anything that might get him out of the mess he’s in. And Jason Bateman has a fantastic cool-under-pressure persuasive act that comes into play quite often in this drama piece. More than anything, though, what I like about the show so far is the way that it immediately makes a character out of the town itself — the Ozarks is a living, breathing place and the people residing there are more than they seem.

I’m not going to tell you that the show is definitely worth watching all the way through to its finale, because I haven’t reached it yet. However, I do know that it’s worth a shot, especially if you’re looking for a new show in the wake of the “Game of Thrones” finale.

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