Tag: Netflix

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #053: Oh Schitt!

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #053: Oh Schitt!

I had consumed nearly every show I was told I’d love on Netflix as I’d contemplated transitioning to Amazon Prime — Orange is the New Black, GLOW, Living With Yourself, Big Mouth, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, The Kominsky Method, Bojack Horseman, F is for Family, Maniac, and Master of None to name a few. And in the case of all of the above (with about 8 or 9 more I decided not to list)… I did in fact love them. Some more than others, but all appropriately dynamic and enjoyable.

With everything seemingly checked off my bucket list for the time being, I was about to sign off, and one last series peaked its head around the corner. I’d been recommended to look into it several times, but something about it seemed bland. Every still shot of the show was set in some rural-ish small town, with an obvious fish-out-of-water placement of Eugene Levy or Catherine O’Hara looking befuddled. I’d told myself it wasn’t worth my time. I hovered over the preview and watched. All the tropes were there: a wealthy family no longer wealthy, Eugene Levy being… Eugene Levy, Chris Elliott being… Chris Elliott, small town vs. big city. Whatever. But, an inadvertent click popped the preview into a pilot, and I took my seat. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #053: Oh Schitt!”

Brainiac On Banjo #040: Stream On, Big Media, Stream On…

Brainiac On Banjo #040: Stream On, Big Media, Stream On…

Frequent readers of Brainiac On Banjo (seriously; there must be something better for you to do) have been absorbing my incessant prattle about streaming media for a while now. Yeah, I think it’s important. Streaming is bringing about the biggest sea-change to the entertainment world since we dropped the atom bomb.

“Really?” you might ask. “Bigger than television? Bigger than VCRs/DVRs? Even bigger than microwave popcorn? Why?” Well, that’s a fair question, and thank you for asking.

It took television a while to become big. In constant dollars, tiny TV sets cost a lot of money, the image was low-resolution and often full of “ghost” images, and the youngest person in the room had to stand by the set holding the antenna in the proper position in order to watch anything. The sundry video recorders, mechanical and virtual, freed the viewer from a strict allegiance to the clock, and microwave popcorn saved Indiana from certain economic doom.

Steaming has taken time-control one step further: content creators no longer have to fight for a Donald Trump-sized handful of open slots on the broadcast networks. Cable television no longer is a monopoly unless it is your only source of wi-fi. It’s launched an employment boon for actors, producers, writers and other such entertainment reprobates. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #040: Stream On, Big Media, Stream On…”

Brainiac On Banjo #033: Stream On, It’s A Crazy Feeling!

Brainiac On Banjo #033: Stream On, It’s A Crazy Feeling!

Most likely you have noticed the shift from static broadcast and cable television and movies to streaming services such as Netflix and DC Universe… to name but two. This stuff is growing like amoebas on steroids. In the relatively few years since this all began, it has knocked the poo out of the free media industries.

Unlike their cohorts in cable and terrestrial broadcasting, theater owners saw this coming and, in order to protect their investments, started offering new experiences such as larger, more comfortable and more adjustable seating, a wider range of unhealthy overpriced foods and snacks, new screens that can be viewed from the International Space Station, and sound systems that will deafen you. Great fun!

For the moment, at least.

The American comic book industry jumped on this concept out of the same cultural-shift that affected these other entertainment industries. Peculiarly, American comic book publishers have not shown much in the way of innovation over the past 86 years; the last huge improvement came when Major Wheeler-Nicholson decided to commission new work instead of relying upon newspaper strip reprints. That happened a mere 84 years ago.

When comixology came along offering comics new and old to their subscribers to be read (but not stored) on computers and tablets, as well as on cellphones for those who enjoy squinting, most publishers were quick to embrace this new means of distribution. Since then, the quantity of such material has skyrocketed and now DC’s stream-liner, DC Universe, is claiming they will be offering damn near every DC-owned comic online as part of that service. It’s also available on your television set, assuming you enjoy squinting but doing so on your smartphone requires too much effort.

That’s cool. Technology marches on, and the side benefit is that we’re saving a lot of trees, creating more oxygen and using fewer fossil fuels to distribute pretty colors printed on the corpses of saplings. Some people, not all of whom are nostalgia-soaked geriatrics, don’t like this and that is completely understandable. Just wait until they must move their comic book collection to a new abode. With two-terabyte thumb-drives available and heading towards affordability, you can put a copy of every comic book ever published in America on maybe four such drives and drop them in your purse or pocket.

So, last week Apple announced their new Apple News+ program which will stream more than 240 newspapers and magazines into the ethersphere for $10 a month. Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue… lots of stuff, with the promise of more to come. Well, that sounds convenient, particularly to those of us with tablets, and even more so to my fellow geriatrics with growing vision issues. That 13” iPad is looking better to me all the time, and I haven’t subscribed to this new service – at least not yet. Several more daily newspapers of note would be nice.

Immediately and quite predictably, the naysayers started screaming nay. “This will kill magazines and newspapers,” they say. Oh, yeah? If you live within a convenient walk of a retailer who offers more than 240 magazines and newspapers, consider yourself very lucky. Most people do not. If you want to choose from a variety of publications, you better be ready to drive out to one of the rapidly-dwindling big box stores such as Barnes and Noble and then pray for the best. This distribution method, pioneered by Apple with iTunes, saved the music industry. Is FYI still around? How about Borders? Ya wanna get this stuff somewhere.

If there’s but one rule that pervades Earth history, it’s that change is constant. Maintaining access to editorial content must adapt. If you lust for the smell of old paper – and I kinda do myself – pull apart one of those CGC clamshells and take a good snort.

(A tip of the hoodie to Buddy Holly for our headline this week)

Beat JENeration #026: Dating Around is Schadenfreude-tastic

Beat JENeration #026: Dating Around is Schadenfreude-tastic

Well, of course I spent Valentines Weekend watching Dating Around on Netflix.  Duh.

I have loved hate-watch competitive dating since the dark days when it was relegated strictly to game shows. Knowing reruns of The Dating Game or Love Connection were waiting for me after school, I didn’t dilly-dally on the walk home. And one day, maybe, I will tell you about my borderline obsession with MTV’s Singled Out. Curiously, however, this did not translate into much enthusiasm for The Bachelor. I like to think I only made it through one season because I evolved into a better person, but between you and me, there just wasn’t enough of a romance to cringe ratio.

Those wanna-be-bridezillas lining up to fight over some rando dude bro they just met is all cringe. Plus I could never suspend belief enough to buy into an attractive and normal-ish enough guy resorting to on-camera courtship in order to snag a spouse. Premise, is everything. Which is why something like Joe Millionaire actually worked for me. It’s completely plausible that 20 gold-diggers would scratch, claw, and scheme over a wealthy hottie and that a construction worker/underwear model would sign up for the paycheck and an IMDb credit. 

Which takes me to the premise of Netflix’s Dating Around.

Six singles in New York City are followed on a series of blind dates. There’s no prize at the end, just a final shot of that show’s star single and the person they have selected to go out with a second time. As a game show, it sucks, but in my opinion, it is the new pinnacle in competition dating reality.

Continue reading “Beat JENeration #026: Dating Around is Schadenfreude-tastic”

Beat JENeration #024: Netflix Gives and Takes This Feb

Beat JENeration #024: Netflix Gives and Takes This Feb

I spend an inordinate amount of time out in the world calculating when I can go home, get in my pajamas, and sit in bed watching Netflix.

I am not proud of this, but I’m also not un-proud of it either. Take me as I am – a gal who envies anyone who can decadently put on a sweatshirt and decade-old soft yoga pants, then hop under the covers with a book or an iPad, especially during the weekday daylight hours. Living THE DREAM!

But, why Netflix and not another video streaming platform? Because its queue is the easiest. The watchlist on Prime has to be shared amongst the whole family, going to individual network sites is bothersome, and Hulu’s commercial model is ridiculous (don’t even get me started on their new ad concept when you press pause), so Netflix wins my loyalty by default. Not exactly the highest praise, but they locked me in enough to consider their monthly content changes some of the most important news/click-bait in my social media feed.

Here are February’s in-coming titles (and my reaction).  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #024: Netflix Gives and Takes This Feb”

Working Title #015: And the award goes to. . .

Working Title #015: And the award goes to. . .

So, the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards have been announced and there were a few surprises. A super-hero film, Black Panther, became the first of its kind to be nominated and Netflix landed its first nomination for Best Picture as well and Meryl Streep got nominated as Best Actress. No, wait – Streep wasn’t nominated. That was the surprise. I thought there was some sort of rule she had to be nominated.

I have different levels of interest in the Academy Awards depending on the category but a particular favorite of mine is soundtrack, a.k.a. Original Score. And the nominees this year are:

Black Panther — Ludwig Goransson

BlacKkKlansman — Terence Blanchard

If Beale Street Could Talk — Nicholas Britell

Isle of Dogs — Alexandre Desplat

Mary Poppins Returns — Marc Shaiman

I haven’t seen as many movies this past year as I usually do and only saw one film that was nominated for best score (Black Panther, natch) but I was very impressed at the time with the music. I don’t know Goransson’s work very well, aside from Creed (which was also first rate) but his score for Black Panther both stood out and, at the same time, fully supported the film.  Continue reading “Working Title #015: And the award goes to. . .”

Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute

Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute

I am not a joiner and as such generally am too detached (lazy) to suffer FOMO. This is why you will not find me participating in the latest shit collectively stirred up on the internet. Birdbox…yeah, even as a devoted Sandra Bullock fan, I’m sitting this one out. Gillette Toxic Masculinity ad…haven’t seen it.

I am also not what you’d call a tidy person. I don’t love my clutter, but I learned to live within it. Though, occasionally, I have been known to make a half-hearted stab at improving my surroundings. There were a couple years were I went full-on Fly Lady for up to at least a month at a time. But generally, as long as I move house every decade and quarterly need to ransack my desk or nightstand for an important document, gift card, passport, or some other misplaced suddenly important item, I will keep myself out of contention for hoarders.

You know where I’m going with this, right? Tidying up with Marie Kondo Continue reading “Beat JENeration #022: Tidying up was never so goddamn cute”

Beat JENeration #016: An Honest Christmas Letter

Beat JENeration #016: An Honest Christmas Letter

Dear People,

As you know, Facebook has made the traditional Christmas letter a relic. What I craft on there is really the best version of me I could come up with —- sans totally lying. Also, really, if we aren’t connected on social media in one way or another we’ve lost touch years ago anyway. So, I’m going a different way with this. Straight up truth.

This year, I left (not of my choice) corporate America (by which I mean working for a European-based company from the comfort of my own home — mostly on my laptop in my bed, in my PJs) and returned to my roots in the arts (where I have to dress cute in a full face of makeup every day and work in an shared windowless office with two Millennials who misinterpret my age all the time by assuming I like Norah Jones and don’t really know what a meme is). While this was a brave and impressive move for my soul, it did not bode well for my finances. Hence there are no exciting vacations or purchases to brag about. We’re not starving (yet), but we’ve had to cut ties with STARZ and Hulu.

Thus I’ve been spending a good deal of time this year with Martin Sheen in both a rewatching of The West Wing and in discovering Grace & Frankie. If I watch both at night, I sometimes dream that President Bartlett is married to Jack McCoy from Law & Order. As you know Lily Tomlin is in both shows as well, which probably gives me even greater joy. She is freaking gorgeous not for 79 years old but for any years old. Move over Ruby Rose, she’s this year’s girl crush.

The other main person in my life this year seems to be Dichen Lachman as Supergirl, Being Human, Agents of Shield, and Shameless are also currently living together in my Netflix Continue Watching queue. This was not planned, but I am happy that she is getting regular work. Her best work, however, might be Aquamarine, which as a mother of girls, I have watched over 20 times (not always with them though). Every time I see someone wearing starfish earrings, I know they are magical talking ones.

Speaking of magic, this year I learned that I can literally keep watching Thor: Ragnarok daily (in 10 minutes at a time chunks) over and over again and not get sick of it. The news of a Tom Hiddleston-led Loki series on the new Disney streaming channel (take my money now, mouse bitches) was perhaps the highlight of my year. That is not exaggeration. Thanks to MoviePass (wasn’t that a fun time while it lasted?), I saw Infinity War five times in the theatre and cried every time Loki died in that bullshit way. In spite of daily articles being sent to me (yeah, like you don’t have a THiddy Google Alert too) with theories as to how Loki faked his death at the hands of (worst, cartoonish, not even vaguely scary villain ever) Thanos, I am not delusional to jump on that bandwagon. I’ve made my peace with it.

I also saw Ant Man 2, Black Panther, Ocean’s 8, and Crazy Rich Asians multiple times this year. Awkwafina is my favorite superhero.

The Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding was a ginormous let down. I don’t know what bothered me more, recasting Amber’s dad or that King Richard (not a Prince — a King, loud sigh, Netflix) doesn’t know what a limerick is. But this hasn’t left me jaded. I intend to spend the remaining weeks of 2018 watching whatever holiday crap video streaming throws at me. Life Size 2 is high on my list.

Speaking of high, my fellow Californians have been easier to deal with this year. Aside from the fires and mudslides, I feel a little safer here from the rest of the country’s bullshit. And if you insist, I will happily take partial credit for the Blue Wave that washed all up on Orange County’s shores last month. I moved back home behind the Orange Curtain and pushed the liberal agenda over the edge. I also produced two members of Gen Z who rightfully are kicking all of our asses into gear. They personally spurred me on to two different marches this year where we had signs and everything. A lot of other stuff happened, but I can’t remember what exactly, but I feel like there’s hope back in the game.

And that is the most upbeat you’ll find me this holiday season, so I’m signing off now before I fall into an ugly cry hate spiral over all the reasons I’ve had to watch so much TV every night so that I can sleep.

Joy to the world, motherfuckers!

‘Daredevil’ Canceled By Netflix After 3 Seasons [Deadline]

‘Daredevil’ Canceled By Netflix After 3 Seasons [Deadline]

EXCLUSIVE: The ax continues to fall on Marvel’s series at Netflix. Daredevil, which launched the Marvel universe on the streaming platform, has been canceled after three seasons.

Source: ‘Daredevil’ Canceled By Netflix After 3 Seasons | Deadline

 

Deadline has posted the news that we probably all saw coming: Daredevil is dead at Netflix. With the Disney streaming service looming large and an almost always hungry for new original content audience, it’s not hard to jump to the conclusion we’ll see Daredevil, Luke Cage and the rest of the Netflix Marvel gang again soon. Particularly given that Disney/Marvel has done the exact opposite of WB/DC and has given viewers one contiguous cinematic universe.

 

Brainiac on Banjo #003: Luke Cage – Patience and Super Virtues

Brainiac on Banjo #003: Luke Cage – Patience and Super Virtues

Now that we’ve got so many of them, I think it is time we expanded our definition of the super-hero television show. It ain’t all Biff Pow Bam and Kellogg’s Pep any longer.

We also need to expand our definition of the dramatic television show. With seasons now structured around story arcs and streaming and binging, storytellers have an entirely different landscape than they had even a decade ago. We have opportunities to see character development on a much deeper level. We have stories with real beginnings, middles and ends that are told over the course of about 13 hours, give or take. Storytellers are relieved of the burden of reminding viewers of everything they need to know about the characters and the storyline each and every episode. All this, in turn, creates an ensemble-view of the cast and characters.

Continue reading “Brainiac on Banjo #003: Luke Cage – Patience and Super Virtues”