Feeling adventurous? Netflix seems to hope so.
While the streaming giant first drew crowds with big, fancy, sit-down meals and generous portions (like “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black”), it seems to have shifted into something more like the host of a wild party, sending out an endless procession of hors d’oeuvres — snack-size samples of anything and everything, served to make almost everyone feel almost satisfied. Binge-watching has stretched into something like ceaseless grazing.
I burned through episodes of “Russian Doll” like Nadia would a pack of Marlboros. After that, I downed an entire order of “Special” in the course of one evening. Now there’s a stack of “BONDiNG” episodes waiting for me like a box of bon-bons. (I should specify I’m not complaining.)
“BONDiNG” arrives as the recent winner of “Best Episodic Series” honors at last summer’s Outfest, and the latest on Netflix’s growing specialty menu of dark comedies (see also the twisted sitcom “No Good Nick” and the forthcoming grief-giggler “Dead to Me”). Like “Special,” it’s also one of the network’s shortest series, with its seven episodes each falling around 15 minutes.
The directing debut from writer-actor Rightor Doyle — whom you might recognize from recurring roles on HBO’s “Barry” and FXX’s “You’re the Worst” (or from the background of red carpet shots for the past decade) — “BONDiNG” follows reunited high-school BFFs Pete (Brendan Scannell) and Tiff (Zoe Levin), who discover they have a lot of catching up to do.
Once-awkward Pete is now a currently-awkward stand-up comedian and (surprise Tiff!) a gay man; while Tiff is a grad student and (surprise Pete!) one of the city’s foremost dominatrices. Of course, she needs an assistant; and thus, we have a show! (And if Doyle’s chops as an actor translate to his sensibilities as a director, a promising one.)
If it sounds a little too spicy, you can just move on to whatever’s next — there’s no end in sight to the network’s movable feast. The good thing about Netflix’s new non-committal, all-you-can-eat approach to programming is that, much like a platter of bacon-wrapped shrimp, you know rather quickly if you’ve picked the wrong one.