There was once some hope of turning off the set and reading a book

A generous friend has given me a Netflix subscription and hence, probably, destroyed the rest of my life. When my fallback viewing consisted mainly of seeing whether Die Hard With A Fixed Pout was on again for the 10th time, there was some hope of turning off the set and reading a book. But now I have to cope with the adhesive properties of The Crown, and then cope again with the horrible information that they havent even finished making it.

Also on Netflix, the series Shooter, with Ryan Phillippe, is mainly aremake of the already ageing movie of that title. I find Phillippe amore engaging male star than Mark Wahlberg in the same role, but the movie had Kate Mara and the series hasnt, so I can almost leave it alone.

But only almost. Even the most trite Netflix drama is too slickly done to be easily switched off. Starring in Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland, you would think, has already done too much time in 24 to be an interesting draftee president after all the other politicians get wiped out, but in fact he is quite good, nobly reining in his usual imitation of an angry horse gritting its teeth.

In the show he is married to Natasha McElhone, who proves that she can be almost as interesting in a pack of cliches as she was in Californication. Designated Survivor is a gathering point for all the weary shows about Washington power politics coming home to roost at once. But who says that isnt reality?

Meanwhile, only a click away in the Netflix bundle of thrillers, none other than Emily Blunt, in Sicario, isfighting the drugs war against theLatino heavies. Apart from thepresence of her magic talent, it doesnt sound too promising, but neither did Traffic on paper. Yet in Traffic even the grinding teeth of Michael Douglas as the principal goodie could not offset the amoral glamour of Catherine Zeta-Jones as the principal baddie, and Blunt brings much of the same oomph to the sweaty war against the drug lords.

Much of the sweat, we are led to believe, has accumulated in Blunts restricted range of military vests. Her personal fragrance might have suffered from her fierce dedication to the task. Its like being told that ahoneybee has spent too much time assaulting the blossoms. There she is, looking fraught but drawing her gun for battle.

And there, right along with her, bathing in her gaze, is Benicio del Toro, growing old in the role of themoral man compromised in thetoils of the drugs war. At that rate, everybody might as well be compromised. Pass me the cocaine. Better, though, surely, to be hooked on Netflix.

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Clive James: Even the most trite Netflix drama is too slick to be ignored