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Ozark review

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10 episodes.    Tv-ma
As you may know I’m a little bit disappointed with the people at Netflix for a few reasons but particularly for allowing an excellent series in BLOODLINE to come crashing to an inglorious end because of corporate stinginess. For the record one blow to the streaming TV empire just recently is not really their fault and that is the decision by Disney to yank their content. I guess Disney realizes that streaming is not rocket science and they’ve decided to set up their own system and eliminate the middleman. At any rate if you’ve been watching you are probably aware  that they’ve been advertising the hell out of their new series OZARK. I’ve just finished that first season up and I have to say it’s top-notch. So far that is and if you are a fan of heavy suspenseful crime dramas like BLOODLINE or even BREAKING BAD.
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star as Marty and Wendy Byrde, and upper-middle-class couple from Illinois. Marty is some kind of financial guy and making a good living working with a firm who has unsavory ties to a Mexican drug cartel and that firms basic responsibility is laundering cash. It doesn’t seem as though Marty is in on the ground floor of this skullduggery but no one would suspect he were 100% innocent. Of course that’s not the point when everything starts to go on the toilet and the cartel gets the idea that the firm has been skimming. Luckily for Marty there is enough doubt as to whether he’s one of the movers and shakers the bad guys decide to cut him a deal and allow him to earn back the money they feel has been skimmed.
Don’t worry gang, I’m not really spilling the beans as almost all of this plot setup is revealed early in the series. So where do the Ozarks come in you may ask? Well before the drug dealers start to suspect anyone Marty’s boss tells him of a proposal to earn some big money down in the lake regions of the Ozark Mountains. It seems there are well-to-do tourist communities down there that are filled with opportunities from the folks that summer down there. Not only that, he explains to the bad guys, but should they be willing to give him a break he sure he can make them a tidy profit as well as use that situation to continue laundering the drug money. And that endeavor is the basis of the series.
Along with his pain in the ass wife and his pain in the ass kids the family relocates to the area strangely reminiscent of the backwoods in DELIVERANCE. Yes there are various businesses and opportunities from which there will be varying degrees of success and danger. It seems as if the hillbillies have their own group of bad guys that need to be dealt with as well.
Like the series I mentioned before OZARK has no lack of twists turns and surprises, not to mention an impressive slate of interesting characters. As for the cast I thought Linney seemed a little bit old as Marty’s wife but she’s certainly an established actress. Bateman is just boyish enough to pull off the almost innocent protagonist. It is violent enough to be slightly disturbing but not nearly enough to scare off the faint-hearted. There aren’t any dead spots or noticeable slowdowns within the first 10 episodes and the finale is a pretty good cliffhanger.
Season number one seems to be a big success and unless the chiselers in the counting-house at Netflix decide otherwise I’ll be looking forward to the next few seasons.

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