Friday, May 6, 2016

Television Review: The Ranch Season One (Netflix)

There are very few series which are original to Netflix that I don't watch.   After watching "Love" though, I felt like this was one of the only- if not the only- half hour comedies exclusive to Netflix that I hadn't tried yet.   I went in with the expectation that I would watch this show through the first episode and then stop.   I made it through all of the episodes over time, but that doesn't mean it was great.

For me, the cast is what makes this show in a lot of ways and in that sense it kind of breaks the show as well.   I've watched "That 70's Show" and I even really love the movie "Dude, Where's My Car?", but I am simply not a fan of Ashton Kutcher.    But pretty much everyone else in this cast is right on and I especially enjoy Sam Elliott so even if you happen to dislike Kutcher I wouldn't let that hold you back from watching this.

"The Ranch" focuses on a thirtysomething year old guy who went away from the small town to try and play professional football, didn't make it and is now moving back.   It's pretty much everything you would think it was based upon that description.    It doesn't really put a lot out there in terms of content or plot, as it is rather straight forward and some of the problems you'd expect are the basis of an entire episode.  (I moved away and now that I'm back my old girlfriend has a new boyfriend, waaaaaahhhh)

Within this plot (or lack thereof) comes a sense of humor that is interesting to say the least.   Since this is exclusive to Netflix they can drop as many f-bombs as they want and, well, they do.    By no means is it profanity-laced like an Andrew Dice Clay gig but they do like to remind me every so often that they are no longer on Fox.    It does add a sense of realism to the show, but I could just as easily do without it.   Luckily, they haven't really pushed the Netflix button to include a lot of nudity yet and I appreciate that.

The good things about this show are that it has this sort of exclusive setting to it which will make you think of the show and so while you're watching it you're sort of taken to this place- this setting, the ranch- and that is unique from most other shows out there today.   There are bits of humor in this- I'm not going to lie- as I did laugh out loud a few times, but it's not really as funny a comedy as I'd like for it to be.

One thing that really does kind of kill this show for me though- and at this point I'm sure no one involved is actually reading this but whatever- is simply the laugh track.   If I had to rate this show on a scale of 1 to 10 I'd put it somewhere between a 5 and a 6, simply because it's not bad but it's not great.   However, if they got rid of that laugh track for the second season, we could be talking upwards of the 7 to 8 range for sure.   It's 2016: I don't need to be told when to laugh.

Overall, the best way to think of this show is that it is not bad, but it is not great.   Of the Netflix Originals I've watched recently, it would be my least favorite as the three would go: 1) Flaked, 2) Love, 3) The Ranch.     But that doesn't make it a bad show.   It could grow and get better.   I had already read on Facebook that "The Ranch" would be given a second season before I watched this first one and so, yes, when that season premieres I will be watching it as well.  

So, I mean, getting me to watch your full first season when I was hoping to write you off after one episode and then also watch the promise of a second season is an accomplishment in itself.   The fact that I can't really gush about this show though just kind of demonstrates what I would call room for improvement.

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