If you’re currently undergoing “Twin Peaks: The Return” or “Game of Thrones” withdrawal, and you’re in need of a smart, well-acted new binge-watch, “Ozark” is waiting. The 10-episode Netflix series starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney is an ultra-dark treat. A second season is on its way, so now is a good time to dive into this twist-y, “Breaking Bad”-esque drama.
Year it began: 2017
Where it can be seen: Netflix
Typical episode length: 52-80 minutes
Number of episodes: 10
Who’s in it: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Esai Morales, and Peter Mullan
Brief plot description: A Chicago financial planner and his family suddenly relocates to a summer resort community in the Missouri Ozarks after a money laundering scheme goes wrong.
Why it’s worth watching: While it perhaps unfairly makes Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks look a bit, well, menacing, “Ozark” is likely to entertain even offended Missourians. Witty, stylish, and genuinely thrilling, it takes the “Breaking Bad” formula -- an everyman becomes entangled in the drug trade, big-time -- and, thanks to its location and casting, makes it all seem fresh. The show’s smartest moves was casting Bateman and Linney. For Bateman, the star of the great “Arrested Development,” “Ozark” is certainly a departure. This is a dark, dark role for the gifted comic actor, and the series makes fine use of his innate smugness. Linney is typically strong, and she and Bateman convincingly pull off a couple keeping countless secrets from each other. The first episode might be the series’ best, a tense, fast-moving stage-setter that sees Bateman’s conniving financial advisor come under the gone after years of money laundering. He pleads with a Mexican drug lord (a fearsome Esai Morales) to spare his family, offering a plan to take the drug trade to a place full of tourists “loaded with cash” -- the Ozarks. Episode one is not even set at the Lake of the Ozarks; the family does not arrive the very end of that first hour. The main story picks up in episode two and races along until a fine season finale. If season one is any indication, season two of "Ozark" should be a doozy.