Category Archives: Entertainment

Netflix, but TV style

I’ve decided to stop binge watching series on Netflix. Instead I’m watching a few episodes of multiple series every day. Right now, my playlist includes NCIS (season 2), Person of Interest (season 2), Bodyguard (BBC drama), Dark Matter (Canadian scifi), and Black Butler (japanese anime).

I’m enjoying all of them. It’s totally surreal watching season 2 of NCIS and keeping current with season 16 as well. Mark Harmon is really white haired and ancient looking these days. The jokes in the earlier seasons are much funnier than the later seasons.

new Netflix shows to pay attention to

I have stumbled onto a couple of really engaging Netflix titles. “Turn Up Charlie” stars Idris Elba as a washed up DJ dealing with life. It’s funny, and powerful. “Bodyguard” is a BBC action cop show that I’m fascinated by.

Give them both a watch, see if they click with you.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000

I have been watching some mysterious “collections” of MST3K on Netflix, and after suffering through collections 1 and 2, and starting #3, I have come to the conclusion that the Joel year (or 2) were superior to any of the later years. At first, they were really edgy, and unique. After that, they just got cheesy. It was like going from a real comedian to someone who just tells dad jokes.

CBS’s NCIS on Netflix

I’ve started re-watching NCIS Season One on Netflix, and I have to admit, the characters in Season One are so much more appealing than they turned out to become in later seasons. Gibbs has a wry whit that just isn’t present in later seasons, and Tony and Kate are much more combative, and competitive. I’m not sure exactly when the tone of the show changed, but I suspect they became much more conservative around season three, when they became more protective of their characters, to ensure a longer term tv show renewal.

Abby is so edgy in S1, she’s the entire comic relief of the show, basically. McGee was only a minor player in S1, but he’s also a lot more mysterious, and much less fleshed out.

I think I much prefer my TV characters more mysterious, and less tightly defined. American TV shows that get picked up for more than 2-3 seasons, always seem to fall into the trap of trying to explore the depths of each of their characters. This only serves to remove the mystery, and make the characters much less interesting. Either they’re proved to be honest and boring, or corrupt and untrustworthy. I think I prefer my interesting characters to hold more than a few character traits back, and leave more to the imagination of the viewer. Think about Cheers. Sam was a playboy in the first season, and just became a sad loser in later ones.

The first few seasons of NCIS held Gibbs in the highest regard, as a sort of super hero that his younger team could barely understand. Later seasons only pigeon holed him into a “complicated character”, with more than a few flaws. Earlier seasons developed Gibbs’ rules, while later ones treated them as a standard training manual. I find well defined characters much less interesting overall. I prefer shows that ask me to use my imagination when trying to understand their characters.

Sirius The Jaeger – Netflix Original Series

I’m quite enjoying the Anime series “Sirius The Jaeger”, which deals with vampires as villains. My absolute favorite part of the show, the part that makes me LAUGH OUT LOUD every single time, is the opening credits. Right at the start, the credits show the English title “Netflix Original Series”. At the very same time, they show an English subtitle, saying the very same thing.

Usually, Anime only show subtitles when a road sign or the text on the screen is presented in the original Japanese, but for some reason, the opening title, and the episode name, which is weirdly presented at the very end, are both shown in English on the screen, and in a subtitle, at the same time. Smacks of some kind of weird automation, maybe a poorly designed AI subtitle bot that Netflix created.

Other than that, Sirius The Jaeger is a quite interesting story. It’s a fairly standard battle anime, with unclear good vs bad guys, and a seemingly original story to base it all on. I’m really enjoying it.

Love, Death + Robots

That’s the title of a new animated Netflix Original, and I can not recommend it enough. It’s mostly modern animation, but as it’s an anthology, every episode is a unique, compelling story. Mostly sci-fi themed stories, but completely original, and very entertaining.

I’m about 10 episodes in, and I am trying hard to only watch 1 or 2 episodes a day, because I don’t want it to end too quickly. Even though this is the “binge-watching age”, I find myself enjoying the programming on Netflix better if I watch only 1 or 2 episodes of any series, then switch to another series.

Right now, I’m enjoying episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, Criminal Minds, Love, Death, + Robots, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Luther (BBC crime drama, also VERY good), American Horror Story (I’m up to Season 5 here), and Sirius The Jaeger (Japanese Anime). I’m also keeping up with the Hasan Minaj show, The Patriot Act, which releases new episodes on Sundays.

Right now, I feel like consuming a few episodes a day, from the six series I’m currently following is keeping my attention, and keeping me well entertained. Some new stuff, some great old stuff. I’m always perusing the “Trending Now” and “New on Netflix” listings, looking for anything interesting, because sooner or later, I’m going to reach the end of one of the six regulars. The Netflix Original series only release a dozen or so episodes a year, and older stuff like Criminal Minds, I’ve seen many multiple times. I only watch them still because I enjoy the script formula, and the characters. I think this is only the second time through Star Trek: Voyager, so it’s great fun rediscovering why I liked the series in the first place. Strong characters, interesting problems, hilarious techno-babble to solve every problem.

Who Exactly is Todd Barry, and is he funny?

I just watched the least interesting episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix series, “Comedians in Cars getting Coffee”. WHO is TODD BARRY? WHO CARES?!? He’s not funny. He appears more like some random neighbor Jerry tried to use as a guest, just to meet some contract deadline.

I’ve never heard of him, never saw the two shows he was in. He was very dull, very boring and very uninteresting. I’m really not inspired to learn out any more about him. WHY exactly did Jerry Seinfeld even air that awful episode at all? We may never know.

Okay, now I see the ad for the next episode, featuring someone else I never heard of – Barry Marder. I may watch that, just to make a final decision if this show has officially jumped the shark. At this point, I think Jerry probably ran out of friends who will agree to appear on his show. He’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

The old cars aren’t really interesting enough to keep me tuning in. The stock photos of coffee being made isn’t interesting in the least. It’s a formulaic show, that is only interesting for the perspective of the famous people that have been guest starring. Up until now, that is.

Last chance, Jerry. Barry Marder better be funny. Netflix has thousands of other shows I can waste my time watching, I don’t watch this show only because of YOUR humor.

Fox Rocked by $179M ‘Bones’ Ruling | Hollywood Reporter

I was all prepared to cut and paste the most interesting paragraph from the story, and here it is, right below, already quoted:

In coming to a decision, (DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge) Lichtman describes how some of Fox’s top executives, including 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice and Fox TV CEO Dana Walden (soon to be top executives at Disney) plus Fox TV chairman Gary Newman (leaving Fox) “appear to have given false testimony in an attempt to conceal their wrongful acts.” According to the ruling, Fox has taken a “cavalier attitude toward its wrongdoing” and exhibits a “company-wide culture and an accepted climate that enveloped an aversion for the truth.”

Source: Fox Rocked by $179M ‘Bones’ Ruling: Lying, Cheating and “Reprehensible” Studio Fraud | Hollywood Reporter

Netflix Anime: Gun Gale Online

Netflix is actually buying honest to god Japanese Anime, like Sword Art Online: Gun Gale Online. It’s a war game show, all based in virtual reality. Total good vs evil type stuff. I’m getting into the characters. I’m currently consuming episode 10 of 12.

My friend Chris asked me once, when I recommended a Netflix Anime series. He said “But is it American made? Is it “real anime”?”. I told him “Yes, it’s real japanese anime. They usually offer the original Japanese soundtrack, and english subtitles. I like to rewatch a series I particularly enjoy that way, so I get a better sense of the original voices, and sometimes the subtitles are more literal translations. I have found the American dub of most Anime tends to vary a great deal from the original words the characters spoke.