The importance of streaming film and television services has grown over the last few years, as has the quality of the content being offered. It’s no longer a case that online services are limited to just playing “catch-up” for what you may have missed during the week and now we’re seeing not only a plethora of blockbuster movies and classic and recent television shows but a host of new shows being commissioned exclusively by both Netflix and Amazon.
In our household we’re in the unusual position of having no access to normal television services. We live in a remote area of South Wales and the regular Freeview services are very limited. When we moved here we found that the reception was so restricted that we would be left with around 20 channels – a fraction of what we used to have, and with the high cost of having an aerial installed along with signal boosters to each room, we opted not to have it. Then we tried satellite television. Even worse luck this time with the satellite signals being blocked by the mountains to the front and rear of our house! Our next and final option was cable… only to find that there was none in our street. The upside to all of this was that we found out that we were exempt from paying for a Television License so the savings we made went straight onto subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon to give us our television fix that way…
And to be honest we haven’t looked back. We haven’t actually missed normal television in any way and we know that shows we used to watch eventually turn up on one of the two services. If they don’t then we always have DVD or Blu Ray. Netflix seems to be our service of choice though and we’re always watching one programme or another on there.
Which brings me to this series. Each week I’ll be taking a look back at what I’ve been watching on Netflix both on my own and with my wife Trish, and talking about my pick of the week. I’d also love to hear your feedback to on what you’re watching if you have it. For reference, I’m using the UK version of the service and not everything is available in all territories…
TV – Once Upon A Time
We were gripped on this show right since it first aired in the UK on Channel Five several years ago and were gutted when it disappeared from the airwaves. You can imaging how overjoyed we were when this fantasy show turned up on Netflix not only complete from the beginning, but also adding new episodes weekly as the series continues to progress.
This time we were continuing where we left off with Season Six and watched episodes 13 and 14, just past the half way mark and despite all of the twists and turns that each episode seems to throw up, all of the extra depth that keeps being added to each character we can’t stop ourselves watching it!
TV – Danger Mouse
I grew up with Danger Mouse in the 1980s and everything about the show appealed to me as a child. It was absurd on every level, didn’t take itself seriously but more than anything it was fun and with a sterling cast and rock solid writing it was the perfect show to come home from school to. More importantly, it’s stood the test of time remarkably well. Netflix has all ten seasons of the show online but I’m trying to resist temptation to binge watch so I just settled for a couple of episodes carrying on at the early part of season two this week. Still puts a smile on my face now though, over 30 years after it was made.
TV – The Real Ghostbusters
Still from the 80s and this is a new addition to Netflix, is the 1986 animated version of Ghostbusters. The title may seem odd to some, but this came about because of licensing issues between Columbia and Filmation (we’ll no doubt go into this in more detail at some other time) and why there was also a Ghostbusters animated series released the same year by Filmation.
Anyway, this is another on from my childhood although I was actually 15 at the time and not really the target audience for the show, but I did love the movie. While none of the original movie cast returned, the new cast did wonders with the parts while not attempting to impersonate the original actors (a sensible move in this instance). Freed from the constraints of a movie budget, the show was free to do almost anything on screen and the first few episodes I watched this week did just that. Fantastic stuff, great fun and another show I’ll be dipping in an out of…
TV – Marvel’s Iron Fist
This is one of those shows that we love and hate. Every time an original series arrives on Netflix or a complete season of a show we’re following turns up we binge watch. We’d been watching this latest 13-part series from Marvel for the last two weeks, usually a couple of episodes a night when we have had the time to sit down and watch them and at the beginning of the week we didn’t have many left. We loved Daredevil, Jessica Jones was hit and miss, we both though Luke Cage was great but how good was the final solo series for The Defenders before we get to see their team show?
As a character, I had no prior knowledge about Iron Fist. Hadn’t read any of the comics, didn’t really follow anything about him and even avoided pre-release spoilers for the show and I think that helped a great deal. I didn’t go into it with any preconceptions about what it should or shouldn’t be, how the character should look or act, what his motivations are or anything else – this is an all new interpretation of him and I think that’s why it helped for both of us while watching it. Pacing throughout was fairly slow although this did pick up during the closing part of the season but a lot of it did feel as if it were setting things up for something bigger rather than trying to tell its own story.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the show and the closing episodes watched this week as did Trish, but maybe keeping the story more focused on Iron Fist and less reference to the other shows would have been better?
Movie – Recoil
Starring former WWE wrestler Steve Austin, this action film follows an ex-cop turned vigilante who is tracing a series of what appears to be random villains across the country, fueled by rage after the murder of his family. He ends up finding his latest target in a small town but gets embroiled in a battle against an entire gang that has taken control of the town.
Trish and I had completely opposing views on this one. She loved the film although I suspect that was more down to the lead actor rather than the plot or anything else. For me, it was clichéd, predictable and fluctuated continually between a slow, plodding pace and poorly choreographed fight scenes.
Movie – Your Highness
I have to admit that I’d wanted to see this film for a long time. Not because it looked fun from the trailers or for any other reason, but because one of the cast, Rasmus Hardiker has been a friend for well over a decade. Yes, it’s a poor reason for wanting to see a film, but nevertheless, that’s why I chose to see it.
A kingdom has been attacked and the future royal bride has been kidnapped an evil wizard. Her only hope of being rescued is for her husband-to-be, the royal family’s bravest and strongest price, to set off on a bold quest. But this time he’s not sent alone. His father, the king, sends along with him his brother – a lazy, self-centred prince who is more interested in drink and having fun that doing anything noble or trying to protect his kingdom. Given no choice, the brothers set off and face trials, adventure and a few mishaps on the way!
I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this in advance. A comedy starring Danny McBride, James Franco, and Natalie Portman. Now what could go wrong with that? Nothing actually. I actually loved the film from start to finish and while I wouldn’t put it on the same level as the Pirates Of The Caribbean series for action / comedy movies, it’s still great entertainment (granted, it’s notably more crude than PotC as well!). Good film though and now I really wonder why I didn’t see it sooner.
Pick Of The Week: Your Highness
Turkey Of The Week: Recoil
So what have you been watching on Netflix this week?