Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive movie from the amazing series known as Black Mirror. It’s like those choose your own adventure books you remember from childhood, you get presented with choices as to what you want the main character to do. Different choices lead to different outcomes and you feel like you’re controlling the action.
The basic premise is about a video game programmer named Stefan (played by Fionn Whitehead) making a video game adaptation of a book called Bandersnatch. Situations come up and you the viewer choose what Stefan will do. Will he eat Frosties or Sugar Puffs for breakfast? You decide. Of course, this being Black Mirror the choices get more varied and bizarre. It becomes very meta and self aware. Stefan comes to realize that he is not in control. I can’t go into any more detail without giving anything away, so I’ll stop my synopsis on that note.
There are multiple endings so repeat viewings are necessary. This is more than an episode of Black Mirror. It is an event. It sticks with you when it’s over. It makes you question if free will is real or not. It makes you want to talk about it with others and compare your experiences and endings. There are a lot of references to other Black Mirror episodes but I think you can enjoy Bandersnatch even if you haven’t seen the show before. Black Mirror is one of the best shows on Netflix and Bandersnatch proves why. Check it out. You’ll thank me later.
Everything Sucks! is the latest Netflix show that I binge watched. It’s a coming of age dramady set in 1996, so expect plenty of tubular references to ’90s pop culture. The show follows Luke O’Neil (played by Jahi Di’Allo Winston) as he begins his freshman year at Boring High School in Boring, Oregon. That’s a real town but a fictional school if you were wondering. Luke meets Kate Messner (played by Peyton Kennedy), the angsty daughter of the principal and develops a crush on her. Throw in supporting characters from the A/V Club and the Drama Club and you have the premise for a solid show.
Everything Sucks! starts out seeming like your stereotypical teenage soap opera but they take a few chances that I wasn’t expecting. This isn’t about boy meets girl, boy gets girl. There’s more to it than that. Shit doesn’t go to plan, and the main characters have to deal with things they weren’t expecting. All of this set to a sweet soundtrack of nostalgic nineties hits. It’s not as universal as The Wonder Years nor as honest as Freaks and Geeks, but it’s worth watching if you experienced the nineties and want to reminisce a bit. It’s not in my top twenty-five shows of all time, but it’s good enough to recommend.
Drug Lords is a four part Netflix documentary about drug lords. It’s a very deceptive title. Each episode runs about forty-five minutes long. The first episode is about Pablo Escobar, who is always a fascinating topic. The second episode is about the Cali Cartel. The third episode is about Frank Lucas, the heroin king of New York. The last episode is about Australia’s Pettingill Clan. I didn’t know anything about the Pettingill Clan before I saw Drug Lords, and now I do, so Drug Lords is educational.
The first two episodes go hand in hand with Netflix’s Narcos. Denzel Washington played Frank Lucas in American Gangster so I was a little familiar with his story. The episode about the Pettingill Clan is the least interesting. They aren’t nearly as dangerous or infamous as Pablo Escobar, the Cali Cartel, or Frank Lucas. They should have done El Chapo or Freeway Rick Ross instead of limping out with the Pettingill Clan. Oh well. Drug Lords is a cool series. I wish it had a few more episodes, but it’s worth checking out if you have some time to kill.
The End of the F***ing World is a British dark comedy and the next thing you should watch on Netflix. Alex Lawther stars as James, a self proclaimed psychopath, who begins a relationship with a rebellious girl from school named Alyssa (played by Jessica Barden). Alyssa is intrigued by James because he is not normal and normal bores her. He doesn’t really like her but he wants to kill her and that’s reason enough to start dating her. They decide to run away together and there you have the premise for the show.
The End of the F***ing World is based on a graphic novel that I never read or heard about, but the show is pretty awesome. It’s funny, dark, and easy to binge on. The season only has eight episodes, each one running about twenty minutes. I finished it in two nights. The whole cast does a solid job. There are quite a few memorable characters and moments that will leave you reeling. The writing is witty and clever. The pacing is quick but never feels rushed.
This is one of those shows that you fly through and then you tell all your friends to watch it to so you have someone to talk about it with. This isn’t a review as much as it is a recommendation to add this to your Netflix queue. Check out The End of the F***ing World. You’ll thank me later.
Dear White People is a 2017 Netflix dramedy about racism in a fictional Ivy League school. It’s based on the 2014 film of the same name and it brings back some of the actors as well as the writer/director, Justin Simien. I never saw the movie so I can’t talk about any comparisons between the two, but holy shit, the show is great. Racism is a sensitive subject and Dear White People tackles it head on.
The show follows a core group of black students at a predominately white university. They each deal with being black in different ways. They all have their own ideas on how to combat the racism that they deal with everyday. Some try to stand up to the man, some try to assimilate into the campus culture to fit in, some try to remain neutral. But you can’t stop racism, you can only expose it.
I don’t want to talk about the plot. I don’t want to spoil anything. You should just watch it. I really like how they tell the story. Each episode focuses on a different character and the timeline jumps back and forth. You see the same events but from different perspectives.
It’s a dramedy so you’ll experience a lot of different emotions. Sometimes you’re angry, sometimes you’re laughing, sometimes you’re crying. It takes place at a fictional college but it feels all too real. There are only ten episodes, each one is thirty minutes or less which is perfect because it makes binge watching easy. I flew through the last six episodes in one sitting.
Not only is this an entertaining show, it’s an important one that can lead to real life changes. Dear White People makes racism a talking point in the same way that Thirteen Reasons Why makes suicide a talking point. These are taboo subjects that need to be dealed with. Racism is real. It’s too bad that the people that the show is trying to educate will hide behind their bigotry and never watch it. I can honestly say that I’m a better person after watching it. You will be too.
Iron Fist is a 2017 Netflix show based on the Marvel character of the same name. It’s about a rich dude who uses his iron fist and martial arts skills to fight crime. It’s part of Netflix’s mini Marvel universe that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Each show introduced their titular character and soon they are all going to team up in The Defenders. It’s a good time to have a Netflix subscription.
I watched Daredevil and I loved it. It had some of the best action scenes I’ve ever seen. Go on YouTube right now and search for “Daredevil hallway fight scene” and prepare to have your mind blown. Jessica Jones wasn’t as good, but it was very compelling and has a great villain to keep you interested. Luke Cage was really good and gets you hankering for the next entry in Netflix’s mini Marvel universe.
That’s where Iron Fist comes in. It’s not good. I’m watching it right now. I’m in the middle of the sixth episode and I’m not impressed. It’s sluggish. The action scenes are meh. Finn Jones can’t handle the fight choreography and that’s bad when you’re the star of a show about a good fighter. The plot lines are murky and forced. It’s boring quite frankly. I’m only watching it because I watched all the other shows leading up to The Defenders so I feel like I have to watch it. Watching Netflix shouldn’t be a chore, it should be entertaining. Iron Fist isn’t entertaining. Oh well. Even Pixar fucks up every once in a while. I’m still can’t wait for The Defenders.
It was a gloomy, rainy afternoon today and I spent it watching Netflix. I was watching Hell on Wheels, a show about building the railroad in the Old West and suddenly there was a gratuitous sex scene. That part was pretty awesome. What wasn’t awesome was that my roommates were both home and sound carries down the hall. My TV was loud and they for sure heard the moans and grunts and cheesy music blasting from the speakers. My door was closed but that made it look even worse. To top it off I had to blow my nose earlier so there’s a couple wads of crumpled tissues clearly visible in my garbage can. It’s like the universe is trying to frame me. I’m not watching porn, I swear. I’m just trying to catch up on my shows. Don’t do me like that.
Finding something to watch on Netflix can be a bit of a challenge, so let me make a suggestion for you. Check out Black Mirror. I warn you now that it’s so good you’ll binge watch it. You might have to clear your calendar. It’s a spooky anthology show about the dangers of technology. Think Twilight Zone updated for the modern world. Each episode is self contained. It has its own story, characters, cast, and universe so each new episode is completely separate and you can watch them out of order without any real consequences.
Some of the stories could happen today. In “The National Anthem” a beloved duchess is kidnapped and will only be released if the British Prime Minister has to fuck a pig on live television. In “Be Right Back” a young woman uses a computer program that imitates her deceased boyfriend to cope with her grieving. In “The Waldo Moment” a cartoon character enters a real life election and becomes the most popular candidate. This episode first aired in February of 2013, three and a half years before the USA actually elected a cartoon character as president.
Other stories are a bit more far fetched (but still possible). I don’t even want to go into anymore detail. I just want you to watch Black Mirror. I’ve made it my mission to get as many people to watch it as possible. I tell everyone I come across to watch it. I don’t let it come up casually in conversation. I walk right up to someone and say they should watch Black Mirror, give a brief synopsis, then walk away. Then I ask if they’ve watched it yet a few days later. So watch it. Please. I need this.
I recently started watching Love on Netflix. It’s a new show and I can’t get enough of it. There are only ten episodes in the first season. I’ve gone through eight already. Finding a new TV show is like discovering a new drug. You do as much as you can while you can and then you start fiending for more. You start binging. And you want everyone to know how great it is. You want everyone to feel how great you are feeling. You want to talk about it but you can only talk to people who are down with it too. You have to be somewhat discreet. So you find people that you know have the same vices as you and you tell them to check this shit out. It’s great, you’ll say. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you feel everything in between. Get through the first one and it’s like crack.You won’t be able to stop. Ok, but seriously, check out Love on Netflix. It’s a Judd Apatow production. That should be enough endorsement.
I’m a little late to the game, but I finally finished the first season of Jessica Jones on Netflix. Jessica Jones is one of the minor superheroes in the Marvel Universe. She’s appeared in a bunch of comics but she’s never been as mainstream as Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, etc. But now she has her own show, so Girl Power! and all that. Krysten Ritter stars as the titular character. She’s a washed-up superhero that currently works as a private detective. She ends up taking a case that becomes personal and her traumatic past comes back to haunt her. That sounds like a stereotypical film noir plot, but remember this is the Marvel Universe and crazy shit happens.
If you liked Daredevil, you should watch Jessica Jones. They take place in the same timeline, alongside the future Netflix shows Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Eventually all four heroes will team up in The Defenders, the Netflix equivalent of The Avengers. It’s going to be epic. Luke Cage is a character in Jessica Jones and he’s a badass. I can’t wait to see what his own show will be like.
Jessica Jones is slower paced than Daredevil. It kind of creeps along and I had to force myself to get past the first three episodes. There’s a lot of character development and not as much action as hoped. Then the plot kicks in and you start to see what they are trying to do. I think it’s more aimed towards women. I’m not trying to give much away, but the main villain stalks, torments, manipulates, and controls Jessica Jones. She has to fight for her right to be her own person. It’s about abusive relationships as much as it’s about fighting evil with superpowers.
The supporting cast is pretty solid, but David Tennant deserves the most praise for his portrayal of Kilgrave, the main antagonist. I really don’t want to spoil anything here, but I am so don’t read what I’m about to say if you plan on watching the show. Ok, ready? Here it is! SPOILER: he can control minds. He can make people do whatever he wants so he can do a lot of damage. David Tennant can make you sympathize with him, and make you believe that he’s not really evil. It seems like an oxymoron, but he’s a good villain, and you can’t have a good superhero without a good villain.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones isn’t my favorite show. But I would recommend it. That’s what I’m doing now. You would probably like it if you like superhero detective stories and strong female characters. It’s dark and gritty and realistic despite characters with superpowers. It’s worth binge watching.
Yo, Netflix! Where the music at? You have a bunch of movies, documentaries, television shows, and original content. You even have your own version of the Yule Log and New Year’s Eve Countdowns. I think that it’s time you step your game up and start streaming music videos or concert footage. You guys changed the way the world watches TV. It wouldn’t be much too hard for you to change the way we experience music. You could have your own concert series. Hell, you could have your own record label if you wanted to. I think you should. I think it’s a great idea. I’m happy to take credit for it. Just make a check out to me when you guys get on board. Oh, and you’re welcome.
My roommate got his own Netflix account a month or two ago. He asked me to recommend a few shows for him to binge-watch. I gave him a few suggestions, Arrow was one of them, and he started to watch it. He was starting with the pilot episode, while I was already ten episodes into the third season. Each season has twenty-three episodes so I had a bit of head start on him to say the least. I would follow his progress, asking him where he was in the show and what he thought was going to happen next. He was flying through it. I was only watching an episode every couple of days. Pretty soon he was done with the first season. Before I knew it he was done with the second season. Suddenly he was on the third season and steadily catching up to me. Now it’s a race, a Netflix race. I have three episodes to go in the third season and he’s fifteen episodes in. I think I’ll beat him this time thanks to my massive head start but I’m never challenging him to a Netflix race again. He’s too damn good at Netflix and chilling.
Narcos is a Netflix original television series about Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents trying to catch him. It’s based on real people and actual events, and everything that happens in the show has some basis in reality. The series uses a lot of archival footage which further reminds the viewer that all this shit actually happened, it wasn’t just conceived by a roomful of writers, and that’s frightening. Pablo Escobar was a real criminal who became larger than life. This series tells his story. It doesn’t sympathize him, it humanizes him. It doesn’t hide the fact that he’s a bad person, it shows that he’s still a person.
If you don’t know about Pablo Escobar, allow me to give you a crash course. He grew up poor in Colombia, started his life of crime as a teenager selling contraband cigarettes and fake lotto tickets, before moving into kidnapping and smuggling. Eventually he found his niche as a cocaine smuggler and became the most powerful and wealthy criminal on the planet. He portrayed himself as a Robin Hood figure, giving money to the poor, building hospitals, schools, housing projects, churches, and soccer stadiums. He also bombed buildings and airplanes and put up a bounty for killing police officers. He had mansions, private islands, a fleet of planes, his own army, a zoo, held political office, and was worth over fifty billion dollars. All told, he was a pretty interesting guy.
Narcos brings you inside his world over the course of ten episodes. The storyline is split between Pablo Escobar and Steve Murphy, the DEA agent trying to catch him. Escobar’s parts are spoken in Spanish and are subtitled into English, so yes, there is some reading required if don’t hablo the español. Murphy’s parts are in English, and over the course of the season you can see him learning and speaking more Spanish as time goes on.
The cast is relatively unknown. Wagner Moura plays Pablo Escobar, Boyd Holbrook plays Steve Murphy, and I never heard of either of them until Narcos. The most recognizable actor is probably Luis Guzmán. The lack of famous faces makes it easier to focus on the characters and story. And it’s a damn good story. Go watch it now.
There was a time when I was addicted to cable television and all it had to offer. My roommates and I had every single HD channel you could think of, including all the premium movie channels, along with Video on Demand, and few DVRs, the works. I could watch anything at anytime and I did. It I spent hours flipping through my favorite channels and searching for shows and movies to record. It was an addiction and I was hooked. Or I thought I was. Until my roommates and I decided that cable wasn’t worth it anymore and we discontinued our service.
You know what? It wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t that hard of a transition either, as long as you have a solid internet connection. It helps having a Netflix or Hulu subscription too. I don’t have Hulu, but I have Netflix and Netflix is pretty great. They have tons of movie and series and great original programming. You could survive on Netflix. But honestly, I rely on YouTube more than anything else for entertainment. I subscribe to a lot of channels like WatchMojo, Vice, Vsauce, and too many more to name. You can get stuck in a music video playlist. All the late night talk shows upload their best content. There’s tons of sports highlights too, its like having ESPN at your fingertips. YouTube is better than basic cable and it’s free.
The biggest thing that I miss is watching sports, particularly baseball. The first thing I did after I got rid of cable was go out and buy an old radio from Goodwill. Listening to Jon Miller and Dave Flemming on KNBR 680 with MLB Gameday open on my laptop is almost as good as watching the San Francisco Giants on TV. Almost. I will go to a friend’s house or to a bar for really important games. It’s more fun to watch with more people anyway so it wasn’t much of a change. Other than live sports, there is plenty of life after cable. I got rid of cable. I regret nothing.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is a 2015 Netflix original series and a prequel to the 2001 cult classic film Wet Hot American Summer. Don’t watch the show unless you’ve seen the movie. The movie is required viewing. You won’t pick up on half the jokes and you won’t appreciate it as much if you haven’t seen the movie already. The movie is an absurd comedy about the last day at a summer camp. The humor is not for everybody but you will love it if you can open your mind a little.
The movie has a large ensemble cast featuring Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, David Hyde Pierce, Bradley Cooper, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, A.D. Miles, Zak Orth, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Marguerite Moreau, H. Jon Benjamin, and Judah Friedlander and they all came back for the prequel series. The film is about the last day of camp and the show is about the first day of camp. All the actors are playing three-month younger versions of their characters despite everyone being fifteen years older in real life. If you thought it was funny watching twenty-year olds pretending to be teenagers, wait until you see forty-year olds pretending to be teenagers.
There are eight episodes, each about a half hour long, and each one is about a certain time of day: Campers Arrive, Lunch, Activities, Auditions, Dinner, Electro/City, Staff Party, and Day Is Done. All the episodes were directed by David Wain, who also directed the movie and co-wrote both projects with Michael Showalter. The end result is a TV show that feels like a really long movie. It’s very easy to binge watch and you probably will end up binge watching it. It’s hilarious, filled with jokes and gags from beginning to end. The style of humor is very diverse. It’s slapstick, it’s witty, it’s brash, and it’s subtle. It warrants repeat viewings. I just finished the series and can’t wait to watch it again.
Daredevil (or Marvel’s Daredevil) is an original Netflix series about the Marvel Comics superhero. If you don’t know who Daredevil is, I’ll give you a brief little introduction. Daredevil is the alias of Matt Murdock, lawyer by day and vigilante at night. He’s also blind because every superhero needs a schtick. I know the concept of a blind guy fighting crime in a costume sounds stupid, but he’s one of the coolest Marvel characters when he’s done right. This Netflix show gets it right.
Daredevil was first created by Stan Lee, Bill Everett, and Jack Kirby in 1964, but it was really Frank Miller’s work on the series that changed the tone. It became darker and more complex. It was no longer aimed at kids. The stories were filled with violence, sex, drugs, and crime. This show takes inspiration from the Frank Miller era, and that was a good choice.
The first season introduces us to Daredevil (Charlie Cox): who he is, what he does, and why he does what he does. We meet Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), his best friend/law partner. We meet Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), a young lady with a thirst for justice who ends up working at the law firm. We also meet Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), because no superhero is complete without a supervillain. Fisk is one of the better villains of the Marvel Universe. He’s a ruthless criminal mastermind who runs his empire like a business.
Solid writing and established characters are the foundation to any good show, but you can’t skimp out on the action and fight scenes if you’re doing a project about a superhero. This show has some of the best fight choreography I’ve ever seen. The fights are realistic. The punches have impact. The characters get hurt. They get tired. They get winded. They slow down. And you actually see what is going on. They frame everything correctly. There’s no shaky camera work or rapid cuts to distract you. Check out this fight scene and tell me you’re not exhausted after watching it.
Watch Daredevil. It’s worth it. And it’s the first of four intertwined Marvel shows on Netflix. Soon Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage will have series of their own, culminating in a supershow based upon the Defenders which will unite all the characters. It’s like the Netflix version of The Avengers, only with TV shows instead of movies. You don’t want to be left behind. Get on it now if you haven’t already.
There used to be a time when people would relax at home by watching TV. That time has passed. Now we relax at home by watching Netflix. It’s so much better than TV. It streams instantly, there are no commercials, and you can binge-watch an entire season at once. Netflix has tons of shows, movies, documentaries, and original content. Most people would say goodbye to cable forever if Netflix had a sports package. I’m already ahead of the trend. I stopped paying for cable a few years ago. It wasn’t that much of a change. It sucks not being up to date on current shows like The Walking Dead, but I know that it will come out on Netflix eventually. I miss watching sports, but I’m primarily a baseball fan so I’ll throw on the radio and watch the MLB Gamecast, or I’ll catch it at the bar, or I’ll mosey on down to the ballpark and see it in person. I don’t miss cable. Netflix is easier, cheaper, and more convenient. I can watch it on my phone, iPad, or laptop any time and any place. Netflix is taking over the world for a reason, and it’s DiGiornofied the way we talk. It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno. I’m not watching TV, I’m watching Netflix.