O’ Great Master of Streaming, For I am Not Worthy Part II

16 Sep

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I decided to make this lead up blog to the Emmys weekend a two-parter. Since a great portion of this year’s nominees originated on stream services such as Crackle, Hulu, Netflix, & Amazon Prime, I thought I’d share with you all my modern viewing habits via these streaming services. This easily takes up a lot of time just researching the shows in general and trying to come up with some clever quip or two. Like I stated in part one, this subject was running too long, so it had to clip it in half so I could make my personal goal to post at least two blogs a month. In the first part, I examined and pretty much laid out the reasons why I’m not a Netflix & Chill binge serial rapist and how I rather savor certain series, either available via streaming or dvd sets instead of consuming all any given season episodes of Game of Thrones in one painful bedsore sitting. I also gave examples of how binge watching can lead to serious health risks if not taken in moderation.

With Emmy voting season, comes the onslaught of obtaining as many screeners as possible – an example of what I’m talking about in demonstrated in the pic I took above.

The only shows that I’m willing to double down – EVEN as much as triple down or quadruple down on a one episode on any given weekend are though of the Marvel Comics and ABC Networks persuasion. These shows include Daredevil & Jessica Jones soon to be joined by Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders.

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The reason why these are the exception to the rule is because Marvel has all of a sudden become the topic of water cooler trailer talk. People in surrounding offices and cubicles of where I work now KNOW better to talk in whispers when I’m around when it comes to the Marvel/Netflix series, so I try to consume at least a quarter of the episodes on any weekend spread across a month because they should be treated as SPECIAL EVENTS. The faster I get through them, the sooner my co-workers can talk about them within earshot

But all other Netflix,Amazon Prime, or Hulu  offerings, I only regulate myself to one episode per week. They make up for the gap of not having premium channels in the house as my departed best friend, Harry Perizigian once had in his house- WHICH were all of them (and that bill of his was usually $250 per month) including the Encore channels. Plus more people are ‘cutting the cord’ and defecting their loyalty from their cable companies, because cable companies can’t seem to get it in their noggin, that people want their subscription service: A LA CARTE rather than paying for bundle packages. Heck, here in Los AngelesLA Dodgers fans got their catcher mitts up their ass so bothered that the only way you could watch their games on TV was to be a Time Warner subscriber and they were going to stage a revolution because next year’s season is supposed to be long time announcer Vin Scully’s last season before retiring- but finally a local station KTLA has stepped in to broadcast Vin Scully’s last year behind the mic. HOWEVER, if those games interfere with my CW programming of Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow, I’m going to be mightily pissed off. So fuck you Dodger fans.

Shows that I can only handle of one per week as of this August in the year 2016:

Every Friday night I do a three hour block:

The Last Panthers (hulu) – one thing I’ll say about hulu before being forced to pay for it, is that they have a very impressive library of foreign crime dramas – especially shows such as Spiral and Braquo that are imported from France. I would consider this a third one with the exception that it’s also Serbian. One trepidation about approaching this diamond heist thriller that takes place in Belgium and the south of France that the events that transpire in the opening episode almost echoes the same real life horror terrorist attack that occurred a few months back along the beaches of Nice. It originally aired earlier this year on the Sundance channel and it stars John Hurt and Samantha Morton. The title song from newly dearly departed David Bowie’s final album “Blackstar” serves as the opening theme.

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Stranger Things (Netflix) is from the horror meristems The Duffer Brothers. The show has become such a critical darling that it’s quickly been renewed for a second season, which is tremendous news for Wynona Rider that she can finally afford to buy new clothes again, instead walking out of Sak’s 5th Avenue with the tags still on them. The series is a wonderful homage to the late seventies and early eighties cheesy low budget sci-fi and horror flicks that you used to double or triple down with on your VCR’s and just happens to take itself seriously with all the background character drama that comes attached to it. Think of it as Dark Shadows for the millennials.

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Orange is the New Black (Netflix). I’m now wrapping up the fourth season and it’s been the most riveting one yet. I was nearly to tears on the next to last episode in which features the shocking demise of an endearing character in the most unexpected of ways.

This is a show that definitely delivers more bang for your buck if you’re a subscriber. Each character that comes and exits the show usually leaves a lasting impression and are so deliciously multi-layered and dimensional such as Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba) Red, (Kate Mulgrew), and Tiffany Doggitt (Taryn Manning).  Even supporting cast members have intriguing character studies, specially that of Lori Petty, of whose fate remain unknown since I’ve watch the finale yet.

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I encountered actress Lori Petty from this show at last Sunday’s Los Angeles Comic Book & Science Fiction Convention where she was set up at a table, filling in for Arrow actress, Katie Cassidy who unfortunately called in sick. I happened to ask about her character Lolly Whitehall, whose back story is unusual as a disproven humbled journalist who is forced out in the streets due to circumstances beyond her control and loses all sense of her mental faculties and pushes a shopping cart each morning to serve up her special brew of coffee to other homeless people such as herself until harassed and beaten up by the local police. The flashback ordeal of her story reminded me of a mentally ill woman by the name of Mary Mitchell who pushed a shopping cart near the Miracle Mile district who was doing nothing of minding her own business until she was encountered by police officers and was killed by them when she allegedly charged at them brandishing a rusty screwdriver. Witness said different and that sparked outrage from the citizens, but then these days, it doesn’t take much for the LAPD to enrage the community these days. Ms. Petty didn’t really get what I was referring to and wanted to know if I had twenty bucks for an autograph.

That’s ok – because I doubt Katie Cassidy could answer it either.

Approximately at the end of May when Emmy screener fervor is full swing, some streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime opted NOT to send screeners in roping award love – instead they sent out codes to academy voters to enjoy a three month trial of their service featuring shows that they felt were Emmy worthy. I until the end of this month, so I started watching an episode per week of three of their dramas, Hand of God, Bosch, and Man in the High Castle which is based on the Phillip K. Dick novel that ponders the possibility of what would’ve happened if the United States had not won World War II and if Harry Turtledove would’ve been forced to roam the earth without being properly potty trained.

I got through Man in the High Castle ok, since I had watched the first two episodes last Thanksgiving when Amazon Prime offered them up as a free preview. But the other two, NOT so lucky. Since Bosch & Hand of God (starring Ron Perlman in a not so good role as a demented judge haunted by visions of angels & demons) did not pass the Emmy nomination smell test- they got clipped off the private screener site with only 3 episodes left of each show for me to watch. I really fucking loved Bosch and wanted to recommend Lance Riddick as a contender for a supporting actor role.

So, in this instance, my laid back easy, quick not to binge method – failed me and now I suppose I will be forced to pay $ 13.99 per month like any other schmoe (I’m going to have to since they will be premiering The Tick sometime soon.)

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On Saturdays, I make no omission that I’m rabid animation cartoon watcher. I’m in my fifties now, and I can’t get up at the crack of dawn to watch them early with a bowl of Quisp cereal like I used to – SO now I save them for nighttime!!

Have my cartoon watching now takes place streaming. Fox Sundays such as the Simpsons, Family Guy, & the ever chaotic fun of Bob’s Burgers with the soon to be joined Son of Zorn, along with South Park make good use of hulu subscription. In the past, I’ve also successfully streamed all episodes of Rocky & Bullwinkle for good three years back when I didn’t have to pay for it.

A few animated shows now make the price of Netflix worthwhile and I can think of two examples off the top of my head.

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Voltron Defender of the Universe (DreamWorks/Netflix)  Recently I went eyeball to eyeball with a King Kong animated series which probably I’m the only fan of. When I logged on to my account, I happened to catch the ad for this in my recommendation cue. It’s produced by some of the writers and directors behind The Last Airbender and its’ follow-up The Legend of Korra, (Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery, & Tim Hedrick)   and since I’ve loved their work so much that I followed them to this glorious remake – even though I wasn’t exactly a big fan of the original. It’s a little choppy in some places and maybe as less fluid as Korra, but entertaining nonetheless. I’m sure the characters will grow in time for me, even though I can’t tell the difference between three muscle heads that comprise three/fifths of the Lion’s team.  Word has recently come out supposedly at the last TCA outing that the show has been renewed for a second season to begin streaming at the end of this year.

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Bojack Horseman (Netflix) is probably the best animated series that no one is really watching other than a handful of entertainment industry elitists other than myself. That’s usually love to cajole on the message boards of entertainment industry news websites such as Deadline: Hollywood. or Variety. It’s a series about a once popular sitcom horse actor (Will Arnett) down on his horseshoe luck and his determination to get back on the saddle with the sometime unintentional inebriated help of his no rent paying housemate Todd (voiced by the Path & Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul), his cat agent Princess Carolyn (Stranger With Candy’s Amy Sedaris) & journalist and author of his biography Diane (Alison Brie). The series is engaging filled at both the same time with rapier wit, unique awkward situations and heart laced dialogue (a lot of heart) , that in all intents and purposes serves as the best ever renaissance treatment of anthropomorphism I’ve ever witnessed since I read all those Omaha: The Cat Dancer graphic novels a couple of decades ago . I dare anyone to sample the fourth episode of the current third season and not be affected by its’ sheer masterful brilliance.

One Punch Man (hulu) is another anime show introduced to me through the auspices of Free Comic Book Day which was the same manner in which I found Attack on Titan to pique my curiosity. Although lighter in tone than the gobbling flesh eating giants of AoT, it still carries some of stigmata of grotesqueness, when the underestimated low powered super hero, Saitama manages to practically kill or maim his enemies or invading monsters by the sheer force of….one punch. I watched the original versions with subtitles and kitty cats. A dubbed version has recently been airing on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. Perhaps mass appeal can help Viz Media to renew it for a second season.

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Thunderbirds Go! (amazon prime) – is an updated version of the classic Gerry Anderson animated series produced by ITV entertainment with CGI effects provided by Weta Workshop. The series has been recently been renewed for another 26 episodes to also premiere by the end of this year. I heard of a DVD set being released of the first season, so I may hold off my idea of subscribing to Amazon Prime until I learn more about it.

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Kulipari: An Army of Frogs is literally a brand new show that just debuted over Labor Day Weekend featuring the voices of Cree Summer, Jess Harnell, Keith David, Lorraine Newman and Mark Hamill and is based on a young adult novel series co-created by ex-NFL Baltimore Ravens defense end Trevor Pryce.

And here I thought athletes had too much cauliflower between their ears, because I thought the premiere episode was pretty good. My attention was first drawn to it at the Red 5 Comics booth (the first publishers of Atomic Robo before defecting to IDW Publishing) down at San Diego Comic Con International  when they were showing a trailer for it. It was impressive enough for me to recall the booth attendant selling point to circle the date on my event calendar and I never seemed to have forgotten it. Sadly, so far, there isn’t much fanfare being rolled out for it.

Also debuting shortly is a new eight episode series of Tarzan & Jane in their tantalizing pubescent teen age adventures provided by 41 Entertainment.

Sunday is a combination of DVD sets, screeners, and streaming. Trying to cram in as much as I can before the Emmys so I can root for them with the knowledge that I’ve seen as much as I can to make a qualified and informative vote.

Chronicles of Shannara (MTV) based on the series of novels by Terry Brooks is not going to win anything. Neither is it nominated for anything of particular. But it should be noted that it’s a low rent version of Lord of the Rings even down to the remote filming location shots of New Zealand created specifically for the zesty teen angst appeal of most MTV video watching zombie. Some of the creature effects are good and appears that the only adults in the room are those played by Manu Bennett (perhaps the only New Zealand native in the cast), James Remar, and John RhysDavies. I do recall preferring to read of a book of the series called the Sword of Shannara when a copy of Lord of The Rings was offered to me by a military couple who used to pay me for a babysitting gig I held in Laguna Beach back in 1978.While watching some scenes in the series does succeed in giving me some familiar de ja vu’ type of vibe.

Outsiders (Sony/WGN) should be successful to filling that Sons of Anarchy sized hole left in your heart after that show died its’ own natural death since it has alum actor Ryan Hurst has a giant meaty sized role in it and motorcycles have now been replaced with Mountain Bikes. The series is beautifully shot in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, and it usually helps a great deal in not having it shot on a soundstage in Los Angeles since the lead star of the show, David Morse hardly likes to leave his residence out Pennsylvania.

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People vs. O.J. Simpson (FX) keeps its’ authenticity by actually filming the mini-series on location in Brentwood. One of the memorable things about once being Harry Perzigian’s roommate was the little tour he gave me of Brentwood that tied in to this grisly murder scene of twenty years back. The Italian restaurant, Mezzaluna where Ron Goldman once worked as a waiter is now a Peet’s Coffee Shop (located across the street from Soup Plantation – a great pricey soup & salad bar franchise located only in the ritzy parts of Los Angeles of which I recognized in the first episode). I’ve walked past Nicole Simpson’s condo plenty of times as it was on its’ way to a Ralph’s located on Wilshire Blvd, and the street that I’ve lived on: Barrington Avenue was where the White Bronco chase began.

The show is a trip to watch having lived close by to this part of Los Angeles history and the actors chosen for their respective parts are absolutely riveting in their roles, especially John Travolta as Robert Shapiro in where he finally gets to reveal his bald spot. Reflecting on David Schwimmer’s role as Robert Kardashian, it kind of makes me wonder: this is how the Kardashians got famous- because they were pals of OJ Simpson, therefore they were allowed to get a table at Chin Chin without making a reservation?

As of this writing, I’m only half through the series.

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Ray Donovan (Showtime) is a great premise four seasons strong about a former Boston mob punk (Liv Schreiber) making a new life for him and his family in Calabasas, California as a Hollywood fixer who covers up celebrity infidelities before they can become gigantic scandals or fodder for trash television until his father, con man Jon Voight (who is a real hoot to watch)  as his father complicates things for him upon his release from prison. Great cast and great easily recognizable Los Angeles locations make this a guilty pleasure. I have a special place in my usual cold black heart when a show that is based in Los Angeles ACTUALLY keeps its’ production in Los Angeles and doesn’t turn out to be a RUNAWAY PRODUCTION because of belt tightening tax breaks, unlike a show that pretends to be a poseur Los Angeles show such as FEAR THE WALKING DEAD   Hopefully by the time I run out of 3rd Season episodes to watch, the 4th will be released on dvd.

Marco Polo (Netflix) – is a stunning piece of foreign television making. It’s distributed by the Harvey Weinstein Company and is filmed mostly in Malaysia based on the classic piece of literature and its’a who’s who  all star cast of the finest actors of Asian and Latin descent including Michelle Yeoh, Rick Yune, Zhu Zhu, Joan Chen, Pierfrancesco Favino, with Benedict Wong (formerly in the movie The Martian and soon to be seen in the Dr. Strange movie as the ever faithful servant Wong)  as the grumpy but always loveable Kublai Khan, with Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy in the title role. No word as of if the show has been renewed for a third season.

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The Leftovers (HBO) lives up to the hype of what some critics claim to be a ‘masterclass’. This has to be one of the most thought provoking series I ever watched in my life. It’s a series that after careful viewing makes you want to be on guard for ones’ mortality.

The premise of which I will cheat with a Wikipedia definition (I’m running short on time here) goes a little like this:

In a global cataclysm, “The Sudden Departure,” 140 million people disappeared without a trace. Three years later, residents of Mapleton, N.Y., try to maintain equilibrium when the notion of “normal” no longer applies. Intense grief has divided families and turned faith to cynicism, paranoia and madness, leading some of the traumatized to join the Guilty Remnant, a cultlike group. Kevin Garvey, a beleaguered police chief, must keep peace between townspeople and the cult, a task made tougher with concern about his kids. His daughter alternates between apathy and rebellion, and his wayward son befriends a charismatic prophet. “The Leftovers” is based on the best-seller by Tom Perrotta, who is one of the series’ executive producers.
I’ve lent the two seasons to my sister in Las Vegas because the other show runner happens to be Damon Lindelof and this is his new baby since the conclusion of Lost. What’s spectacularly amazing about this show is how it revamp itself from season to season from its’ overall setting. The first season took place entirely in a small New England town bereft of tremendous loss to the second season that takes place in a small militia controlled Texas community that has never experience tremendous, so I’m pondering on what the third and final season will look like and how it will conclude, given that executive producer Perrotta is expanding upon the premise of his original novel beyond the book’s ending.

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American Horror Story (FX)’s cast of ensemble crazies are now led by Lady Gaga, particularly in the fifth season themed ‘Hotel’. Since it’s produced by the same group of guys behind Scream Queens & American Crime Story (and before that: Glee) which also features Emmy winning actress Sarah Paulson who flexed her caricature muscles as Marsha Clark, is a vampire in this incarnation. From what I’ve been hearing about the current season, American Horror Story: Roanoke, it’s a real confusing mish mash of the same actors doing body swaps and parodies nearly every eighties horror film you think of, but somehow I think the Duffer Brothers already tapped that well with Stranger Things.

Personally I don’t see what the big deal is with Lady Gaga. To this day, I have never heard a single song of hers, why she thinks she’s a cross pollination of David Bowie & Madonna, and she has a real unsettling looking face. Grant she can rock the body, but for the most part leaving this screener of halfway done and FOR last on my Sunday night gives me disturbing dreams that has stumbling in on to work looking very well UNRESTED the following morning

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I’m going to leave it here. The Emmys are coming this Sunday and I have log off to handicap my picks for all my social media darlings. Otherwise I would’ve droned on and on about Narcos, The Americans, Walking Dead, The Strain, Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, Frankie & Gracie, or Master of None.

Perhaps sometime during the November Sweeps.

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Bus promo for the upcoming third and final season of The Strain. Could also double as a very effective tool to ward off Trump supporters. I use it all the time in winning arguments on facebook.

 

 

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One Response to “O’ Great Master of Streaming, For I am Not Worthy Part II”

  1. susan gallagher December 9, 2016 at 4:04 am #

    That 3rd picture from the bottom got to be inspired by Giger’s cover for Debbie Harry’s “Koo Koo” album……..

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