Farzi (Fakes)

Amazon Prime: https://amzn.to/3JzxhOt

Trailer: https://bit.ly/3LKLQl0

The highlight of my day is watching streaming television.

Whether it be after six or after ten, when I’m done with my work, we hit the Roku and jump into another series. As I’ve stated previously, for some reason I can’t watch these shows sans Felice. Sure, there are a couple of exceptions, but if I’m viewing alone I get distracted, wondering what is happening on my phone, thinking about the rest of my life. But when Felice is in front of the set too…

I pick the shows. But that doesn’t mean we watch them, beyond an episode or two. Felice has veto power. And there are shows she won’t watch, because they’re too bloody, but I did convince her to watch “Gomorrah,” she tolerated the blood because she was hooked on the story, which I analogized to “The Godfather” to get her to dive in. Occasionally Felice suggests a show, and I’ll watch it, but only after checking the RottenTomatoes scores, only after doing research. My threshold is 80%, below that no go, because my time is just that valuable.

As is yours. I’m surprised how many people only watch HBO and what the Netflix algorithm suggests. It’s kind of like the people who e-mail me factual questions, have they never heard of Google?  There’s a vast cornucopia of streaming series out there, and if you pick the right one your life will be enhanced.

Prior to the internet era, prior to the blockbusterization of films, that began with “Jaws” and took over the business completely sometime in the nineties, I used to go to the movies all the time, sometimes every night. To tell you the truth, I could watch almost anything, I loved the experience, of a darkened room where you were not interrupted. And although I might go opening weekend, back when films played for months, most of my viewing was in the afternoon, or weeknights, when the theatre is relatively empty and there are no distractions. Sure, a horror movie is great with a full audience, but most films…I can do without the hoi polloi.

But that experience…

It’s the same one I have watching the flat screen.

As I’ve stated previously, about two and a half years ago we got a top of the line LG OLED TV, and it makes all the difference. The images are sharp. And when it’s in 4k…

As for interruptions… Not when I’m watching. I never pick up the phone, I leave it at a distance, sometimes in the other room, I don’t want to be distracted, I want to be immersed.

But not everything floats my boat. As a matter of fact, people recommend the mainstream tripe…and that’s what it is, tripe. Like that show about the making of “The Godfather”…some of the worst reviews ever. Although it’s got a 95% audience score, it only has a 57% critics’ score, and when it comes to movies and television, the wisdom of the crowd is occasionally right, but so is a stopped clock, the critics are a much better metric.

Then again, what do you expect from your television? If you’re looking for entertainment… That’s far down my list. I don’t want to smoke a doobie, check out and see hellzapoppin’…no, I’m looking for something deeper, something more meaningful, something that reflects life. Not that all the shows I like are heavy, some are family dramas, like “Bonus Family” and “The A Word,” but they’re all real, about people. As for those who say they watched a show and there was no one to root for… Welcome to real life, I don’t care if every character is a knucklehead, rooting for someone is an archaic construct that is perpetuated by Hollywood, to its detriment.

That’s right, almost all of the television I watch is foreign. Not that there aren’t some good American shows, but they’re rare. They focus on production, not essence. Not that all of the foreign productions are highbrow, “Farzi” certainly is not.

So “Farzi” is comprised of eight episodes, almost all an hour, so it took us a few days to watch it. You see Felice only watches TV from 6-11 PM. So we’re limited. I could breeze through a whole day straight. I’ve seen three movies in a day many times, once or twice four. I’d drive around with the L.A. “Times” Calendar section in the back, with the listings. This was before even Moviefone. Both have been wiped out by the internet.

So last night we watched the final two episodes of “Farzi,” and when the show was over, I spontaneously exclaimed, THAT WAS FANTASTIC!

Now not as good as “The Bureau.” Not as good as “Prisoners of War,” but really fulfilling. And it’s hard to find those shows now, because during lockdown we watched so many of the greats.

So, as you know, there’s a rigid class system in India. And upward mobility is extremely limited. But that does not mean you don’t dream…

Certain partners are off limits. Irrelevant of your personality, they don’t want to live broke, or close to it.

Opportunities are closed.

But that does not mean you’re not smart, and willful.

So Sunny has a grandfather fighting from the bottom, with a newspaper that tries to equalize everybody, but is failing. In more ways than one. Not only is circulation down, but the grandfather is about to lose the printing press and the building and…

Sunny comes up with a plan.

Oh, it’s a bit of a buddy show. Sunny and Firoz bonded at a young age, and they never go against each other. Firoz is the salesman and Sunny is the brains.

And they want more.

But more means getting involved with shady characters. And the bad guy, Monsoor, is a classic, you believe he’d be the same guy if you met him on the street.

And there’s the police team trying to bring Monsoor down. Led by Michael. Who has to convince the minister to give him assets, and can only do so by lying and pointing to political dividends. So Michael has a team, and cat chases mouse.

But along the way…

Michael has marital problems. There’s a scene between him and his wife that is so realistic that I was riveted. This is how it really is.

And then there’s Megha. Who is still idealistic, all in on her job, but her mother wants her to get married.

As for what happens… The bad guys keep winning, but then just when you’re starting to wince, they don’t, the plot turns.

And “Farzi’ is one of the rare shows that gets better as it plays out. This is oftentimes not the case with streaming series. They set it up and then they play it out and the denouement is palpable. But “Farzi” is visceral and comic and riveting. You’re drawn in. Sure, there’s an element of fantasy involved, almost all crime shows have this  (would these people really do this, and would they succeed if they did), but you’re drawn right in.

I’m not saying you’ll have the exact same experience, because I’ve come to find people are looking for different things, not the same thing I’m looking for. They’re addicted to the brand, HBO or Apple TV+, like their smartphone manufacturer. They only watch light stuff, comedy, they say real life is daunting enough, they don’t want to be brought down by a show. They’re entitled, but that’s not me. Man, real life is exactly what I’m looking for on the flat screen. I don’t watch fantasy, I don’t watch science fiction, if it’s not plausible, if it’s not real, I’m out. Sure, there are exceptions, but they’re very rare.

Want to watch an amazing series? Watch “Ethos,” a Turkish series on Netflix. That’s the kind of show I like, having to do with emotions and choices and… “Farzi” is much lighter than “Ethos.” “Farzi” can be dark, but it’s really like a great movie you’d see in the theatre, but stretched out to eight hours. It’s not just a caper, the characters are fully-developed, there’s action, but not all the time, and there’s love and…

Try it. Even if nothing I’ve said above resonates. Because that’s what life is all about, new experiences, stretching your world, because unless you do this you’ll end up living on repeats, waiting to die.

In truth, everything runs on word of mouth these days. Sure, big projects are hyped to high heaven, but that does not mean they succeed. Furthermore, you can ignore them and not feel left out, it’s not the twentieth century anymore.

Gonna start something new tonight!

Comments are closed