Culture Magazine

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories [Media Notes 31]

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
I’m now well into the second season of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories. It’s one of my favorite series (on Netflix), but I don’t binge it. Rather, I watch an episode every day or three or four. Why is that?
It’s a modest half-hour “slice of life” show. It’s not a really a drama, or a comedy. It is what it is.
As the name indicates, it centers on a diner in Tokyo; it opens at midnight and closes early in the morning (7AM). The chef is known simply as The Master, but the show isn’t really about him, though he features in each episode. There’s also a handful of regular customers who show up from episode to episode. The show isn’t about them either; rather, they function as a Greek chorus, commenting on the action, which mostly takes place some place outside the diner.
Rather, each episode is focused on a character or two or three who show up at the diner. Sometimes they reveal a difficult or sad situation in their life while chatting at the diner. Sometime they’ll meet someone. Whatever it is that happens to them in the course of an episode, it is generally of some consequence in their lives, for example, an old relationship (with a parent, child, friend) is resolved. Off hand I can’t recall any of the episodes in any detail, though each has given me pleasure.
It’s that kind of show. Modest an unassuming.
It is thus quite different from the science fiction epics which I also watch – at the moment, for example I’m into the second season of The Expanse, a post Blade Runner show in which Mars and Earth are on the brink of war. What a world that has a need and a place for such different shows, Midnight Diner, The Expanse, and many others.

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