Two streaming series: one, Deep South slavery drama The Underground Railroad, is arguably important, a major television event. Aesthetically, it’s not only a televisual equivalent of art cinema, but a series that taps directly into current debates about US racism and Confederacy-era statues.
The other, Netflix crime drama Clickbait, is pure genre television and therefore supposedly un-important, an unashamed thriller bending over backwards to ensnare the audience and keep us returning. Its choice of name alone proclaims its commercial instincts from the rooftops. But it’s not dumb. It has its own social observations to make about the dangers of old mass media and social media being locked together in a dance of disgrace, each reinforcing the worst aspects of the other.
Important and unimportant – very loaded words. Each series has its rewards, it’s just that they’re different. Very different.
The Underground Railroad was the name given to a real-life network of contacts that helped escaped slaves, but in this story adapted from Colson Whitehead’s...