The Watch List: Bojack Horseman

Netflix is there for you when you’re in bed ill, it’s there when you’ve had a bad day at work, and it’s there when it’s just a normal Tuesday evening and you have nothing better to do. When we think of Netflix it will mostly be for the sheer amount of movies and TV shows it has available (especially if you live in the US, land of the free…), but increasingly Netflix is the place for really good original content; and Bojack Horseman is another fine arrow in an impressive quiver.

At first Netflix branching out with original content was deemed an experiment, but one that it managed to succeed straight away with House of Cards; the show that got me to subscribe to Netflix in the first place. It hasn’t always worked, anyone remember Marco Polo? But the underrated Knights of Sidonia and the phenomenal Daredevil reboot has shown the quality and diversity that Netflix is able to support.

Bojack Horseman actually started last year on the service, and seemed to receive mixed reviews from critics, but Netflix deemed the show successful enough amongst its audience to commission a second season pretty quickly. Season two has just come out as I found out from an email from Netflix that I didn’t pay much attention to it, at first. Then a few days later I started seeing a few people that I follow on Twitter, and whom I respect their opinions, tweeting about not just how great the show is in general, but how brilliant the second season was turning out.

Intrigued I decided to give the show a try, because that is the beauty of Netflix, all it costs you to try out a show is your time because everything is included (except for everything US Netflix has that everyone else doesn’t). After a deliberate sitcom parody the true nature of Bojack is unleashed and pretty quickly you will know whether or not Bojack Horseman is the show for you. The show has an 18 rating, which is kind of understandable given some of its content, but the show feels more adult in the sense of how the world is viewed rather than being offensive just for the sake of it; this is not Family Guy.

What also helps the show is that there is some continuity overall as some events either directly carry onto the next episode or will pop up later. But each episode works perfectly well on its own. It is also helped by the supporting characters, Bojack is a great character, one you’ll enjoy watching, and possibly share his world view (I found myself agreeing with him multiple times), but he is not a likeable character. He is lazy, arrogant, and self centred. He also treats his “friends” with little regard, but then again they aren’t exactly perfect people, but this is LA, where everything is superficial.

Praise does need to be given to Will Arnett, as despite almost seeming a little too much like Will Arnett or his take on Batman in The Lego Movie, his tone and delivery are perfect. The cynicism is so precise and damning that, to quote another writer on their Twitter, makes you ask ‘why will I never get to write anything this funny and important and good’.

Am I saying that Bojack Horseman is the best show ever? No, that would be stupid, these days with so many options and increased diversity of content, that becomes a pointless exercise. There is greater choice than ever before, and therefore more to take up our fleeting lives whilst we try to make something constructive out of them. In between trying to achieve something, anything, meanwhile, we can feel a little bit better about ourselves, a little bit worse about the world around us, and watch Bojack Horseman.

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