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Catch-22 is the new binge watch show that'll make you laugh when you shouldn't.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Stan

Once upon a time, a young schoolboy named George Clooney was tasked, along with the rest of his classmates, with reading the novel Catch-22.

It would turn out to be a story that would stay with him for decades, right up until the moment the Academy Award-winning actor, celebrated director and executive producer would take the source material and use it to create his prestigious series on Stan.

The six-part series, which marks the return of George Clooney to TV decades after his breakthrough role on ER, will tell the compelling story of World War II US Air Force bombardier John Yossarian (Christopher Abbott) who, from the opening scenes of the series, has quite a few problems on his plate to sort out.

Firstly, there’s the pesky little problem that hoards of people he has never met are trying to kill him and then there’s the fact that his own army and workplace superiors keep increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Effectively giving them a chance to inch closer to death.

If Yossarian makes any sort of attempt to avoid or postpone his assigned his military assignments, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22.

Catch-22 is quite a cruel and twisted bureaucratic rule; in the US, men who are deemed insane are no longer eligible for military service. If a man is willing and happy to fly in dangerous combat missions, should he not have his sanity questioned and be relieved from duty? However, this also highlights the concern for one’s own safety in the face of true danger proves that the person is in possession of a rational and sound mind.

That’s what we call a ‘Catch-22’.

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about this new addition to the Stan lineup (and not just the fact that it dropped all in one day, making it the ultimate binge-watch) and one of them has to do with the all-star cast.

Take a look at the trailer for Catch 22, post continues after video.

Along with former Girls star Christopher Abbott, Catch-22 also stars Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) as Colonel Cathcart and Hugh Laurie (House) as Major — de Coverley, along with Clooney himself, who plays Lieutenant Scheisskopf.

However, in order to truly understand the importance of what you’re watching on screen, you must first understand the backstory of how Catch-22 not only became a best-selling novel, but also an enduring work of cultural significance.

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Catch-22 was written by Joseph Heller and published in 1961. The satirical novel has long been cited as one of the most significant novels of the 20th century, thanks not only to its compelling story and multifaceted characters but also due to its distinctive non-chronological third-person narration, a storytelling trick of Heller’s where he describes events from the points of view of different characters in different ways throughout the novel.

It’s a writing technique that has not been pulled off with such success before or ever since.

For his part, Heller had dreamed of being a writer from the time he was a child, and to add an extra layer of emotion to the text, some aspects of Catch-22 are actually pulled from his lived experience. Parts of the book are based on his time fighting in World War II, and the feelings that Yossarian and the other bomber pilots express during the events of the novel were in fact taken directly from problems he suffered while on duty in the airforce.

However, according to the book The True Story of Catch-22: The Real Men and Missions of Joseph Heller’s 340th Bomb Group in World War II which was published in 2012, it was not just Heller’s experience that inspired the story, alleging that characters in the book are based directly on the men he fought alongside.

“After the publication of his bestselling novel Catch-22, Joseph Heller usually chose to deny that any of his richly drawn characters were based on his actual war mates,” it reads in The True Story of Catch-22. “However, to those who served with Heller in the 340th Bomb Group the novel’s characters were indeed recognisable―the hard-drinking, vengeful, and disillusioned Chief White Half Oat, young, sliced-in-half Kid Sampson, shrieking, frenzied Hungry Joe, Colonel Cathcart, General Dreedle, Yossarian and that capitalist supreme, Milo Minderbinder.”

Catch-22 is a book made famous thanks to its use of absurdist humour in an American post-war novel, and while it can be a challenging book to read from the outset (after all, it does feature more than 50 characters you need to keep up with and a story that flips between timelines using logic that becomes increasingly difficult to understand) devouring it is a rich literary experience like no other.

The beauty of the new Stan series, that was adapted for TV by the screenwriters behind Aussie films Lion and Animal Kingdom, is that it takes the memorable stories and characters from the movie and moulds them into a highly entertaining TV offering that keeps the absurdity but makes the whole caper a lot easier to follow.

It’s a nice twist that the book everyone was forced to read in high school, and either struggled with or loved, is now the must-watch TV show you’re going to want to clear your Saturday to binge watch.

Catch-22 will premiere exclusively on Stan in Australia with all six episodes available to watch from  Saturday, May 18.

Stan

The brand new thought-provoking series Catch 22 is now streaming – only on Stan. Start your 30-day free trial now. Watch the trailer now.

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