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Now Streaming: Life

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Now Streaming is where we share the shows and movies that are capturing our attention via Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and online.

The point of life is connection. That’s the point of Life.

Life was a 2007 television series on NBC that tells the story of Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis), a cop falsely convicted of murder. He served twelve years of a life sentence before the conviction was overturned and in exchange for his pain and suffering he receives a promotion to Detective and somewhere around fifty million dollars. It’s a police procedural with a colorful cast of characters played by skilled and recognizable actors. Each week there is a crime to solve as well as the main puzzle that takes the entire series to fully address. Like all of television the cast is pretty, the crime, the criminals, and the conspiracies are larger than life, and every answer results in three more questions at least. But none of that is why I am now in the middle of my third watch since it was added to Netflix in 2013.

In order to solve a crime, detectives look for connections.

Every single character in Life is searching for connection. Charlie is the most obvious example as he spent the last twelve and some years disconnected from all of society. Now back, he has a mansion but no furniture, hook-ups but no romances, and continues studying and practicing the Zen-inspired ways of life that got him through prison. He has to relearn the art of social interaction and the concepts of boundaries and ettiquette. Charlie is the main character and he embodies the concept of connection.

But the others are on the same journey. Charlie’s partner, Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi), is a second generation detective and a recovering addict. She struggles with family, she struggles with romance, she struggles with Charlie. They go through two immediate superiors, one who deals in secrets and lies, and one who over-shares. Charlie’s ex-wife struggles with her guilt over not believing in his innocence while trying to hold on to the new life she’s created for herself. His lawyer struggles with moving past their case when she’d been his sole support for years.

Finally there are two characters who represent pieces of Charlie’s past, Bobby Stark (Brent Sexton) his ex-partner when he was a beat cop,and Ted Earley (Adam Arkin), a white collar criminal he met in prison and who now manages Charlie’s settlement money, and lives above the garage. Both seem to understand — to connect — more easily to Charlie than the rest. But both are also a little bit lost and lonely, looking for connections of their own.

Life: Collage

Other cast members include: Jessy Schram, Jennifer Siebel, Christina Hendricks, Jessica Pare, Brooke Langton, Donal Logue, and (unpictured) Robin Weigert, Gabrielle Union, Helen McCrory

Life is about all these different people looking for the same thing. As Charlie’s Zen teachings say, “We are none of us alone. It’s all connected.” That’s why I watch.

Anika Dane works at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She is a writer of words. A dancer of dreams. A pop culture blogger. A feminist and a fashionista. A Social Justice Klingon Warrior Princess who fell in love with the Skywalker family when she was seven years old. Mother of girls. Secretly a dragon.

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