It took me until almost midnight, but last night I finished watching a Netflix television series that managed to keep me thoroughly engaged throughout its four-season run. I am talking about “Ozark.”
Jason Bateman stars in the show about a man who becomes entrenched with a Mexican drug cartel and must re-locate to the Ozarks to launder money on its behalf. Bateman’s character, Marty Byrde, moves his wife and two kids with him and it isn’t long before the whole family is invested in the operation as well.
The entire series was bonkers. Drugs, murder, and conflict filled pretty much every episode. But it wasn’t mindless violence in the respect that there was nothing of substantial value. Quite the contrary. I found “Ozark” to be a very intelligent and thought-provoking program. It had political, business, spiritual, and relational themes throughout the entire four seasons that resonated with me even when the operations of a ruthless drug cartel didn’t.
“Ozark” was a clinic on problem solving. It seemed like every moment that Marty and his wife, Wendy, experienced a small victory, a larger issue would then present itself, forcing the Byrds to put another plan in motion. They got into some deep sh!t and it was a constant struggle to shovel out. To watch this constant cycle was incredibly entertaining.
Perhaps nothing defined “Ozark” more than the superb character development. The series is full of colorful characters from the Byrd family to the local folk to the attorneys to the FBI agents to the cartel members. Savage, sophisticated, seedy, and sardonic are just a few s-word adjectives that describe the people you meet over the four seasons. Although the series focuses on the Byrdes, they are definitely not the “good guys”—in fact, “Ozark” is pretty much a free for all between brutal, desperate, selfish people. With all that said, I loved Marty Byrde’s character along with drug lord Omar Navarro, cartel lawyer Helen, and local drug dealer Jacob.
The show made for relatively easy watching and was binge-worthy, something that I usually don’t credit even the best programs with. The way it was shot really brought out the seediness of the Ozarks and made it authentic. Little things like the foreshadowing of the episode with four objects in the opening credits and some great music make “Ozark” fun and engaging.
If you haven’t watched “Ozark” but would like to begin a clever and creative show, give it a shot. After the first few episodes you will be hooked and very entertained. Don’t Blink.