Streaming TV Series of the 1st Week of 2020 and Quite Possibly the Year : NetFlix’s DRACULA

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Netflix’s DRACULA – I have been looking forward to this series ever since i saw the first teaser trailer a month or so ago. The series has finally dropped on Netflix, and I have to say… the first episode exceeds my expectations.

Smart. Lavish, Biting, Charming and Ironic and irreverant when it needs to be, and above all dripping with gothic athmosphere and horror, this adaptation of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA is off to a phenomenal start.

I’ve been underwhelmed by most of the new shows recently, 2nd season of JACK RYAN, WITCHER, even the 4th season of THE EXPANSE… not really wowing me yet, but DRACULA… yeah, I’m on board. Looking forward to upcoming episodes, and to see if the 3 episode mini-series sticks the landing.

Grade: A/A+.

Movie / TV Trailer of the Day or First Netflix Show I have been excited for in a Long Time!

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The poster above is by Jonathan Burton, commissioned by Universal Studios to honor the original 1931 Dracula film, but in spirit it seems perfect to capture this new Netflix distributed DRACULA that is on the horizon. The new trailer looks… AWESOME!!! View it at the link below.

Lets make no mistake Francis Ford Coppola, his questionable stance on current films aside, in his heyday made some phenomenal films. APOCALYPSE NOW, and GODFATHER on anybody’s shortlist of 100 best films.

However, some of his less celebrated movies, are the ones I love the most. TUCKER starring Jeff Bridges, is a masterful film. And his BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, is the last word in the vampire film. I love my Universal Films, I love my Hammer films, PENNY DREADFUL had its moments (a poor third season ruined it for me), but Coppola’s DRACULA has been the undisputed best take on the Dracula myth.

Based on the trailer alone, this new DRACULA, may be a worthy new take on Stoker’s most celebrated tale.

The trailer has me looking forward to it, and excited for it, which is something I have not been for a Netflix property in sometime. So yeah, this one goes on my must watch list. 🙂

 

 

DEALS OF THE DAY

TV Show of the Week! Amazon’s THE GRAND TOUR! Great Car/Humor Show!

 

 

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Last year I became a huge fan of the BBC car show TOP GEAR. Thanks to catching episodes of past seasons on Netflix.  It took a couple episodes for me to warm up to the show, but quite quickly the natural camaraderie of the hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May  made a believer out of me.

The shows were just plain fun. So when news came that one  of the trinity was no longer going to be on the show, due to punching out one of the producers, and the other 2/3rds quitting to join him, I was dismayed. No more of the show that I had in quick order made a binge watch favorite.

And yes there was the American TOP GEAR, but the hosts there came off as annoying frat boys, making the show quite unwatchable. Nope it was clear that what made BBC’s TOP GEAR a long running hit, was the fun dynamic of the three hosts they had stupidly lost.

So when it was announced that AMAZON was giving the three ex-hosts a new car show, I couldn’t wait. Well tonight the waiting ended as the first episode of THE GRAND TOUR  dropped. And it’s great. Different but great. There are minor quibbles, the biggest being the absolutely awful ‘THE AMERICAN’ driver.

Their take on the very popular “STIG’ driver of TOP GEAR, but a very poor take it is. Being something of a very unfunny send-up of Ugly American cliches.  The ‘AMERICAN’ is very annoying, very unfunny, and is a bit that hopefully they will pull the plug on in short order.

That aside, the rest of the show and the skits and the cars and the banter of the hosts is great! And the opening sequence is quite frankly awesome. A welcome premiere and looking forward to the upcoming Friday release  of new shows!

 

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The Grand Tour

 

 

Roku TV Watching Guide : 15 Favorite TV Shows on Netflix April/May 2016!!

15 Best TV/Cable Shows on Netflix

 

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RIPPER STREET Seasons 1 to 3 – Hands down the best BBC show, and one of the best TV shows period. Ranks up there with GRIMM and THE GOOD WIFE as television’s greatest

DAREDEVIL Seasons1 to 2 – Season 1 is a game changing masterpiece, season 2 stumbles a bit, but still very good

ARROW Seasons  1 to 3

HOUSE OF CARDS Seasons 1 to  4

BURN NOTICE Seasons 1 to 7

BLACKLIST Seasons 1 to 2

AGENTS OF SHIELD Seasons 1 to 2

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PERSON OF INTEREST Seasons 1 to 4 (Season 3 Ep 11 is television at its best, but you can’t just watch it without watching the previous episodes. You have to build naturally to that episode, but it is well worth the journey)

ALPHAS Seasons 1 to 2

WALLANDER (Swedish) Seasons 1 to 2

AKA JESSICA JONES Season 1

LONGMEYER Seasons 1 to 4

CLONE WARS Seasons  1 to 6

SPARTACUS Seasons 1 to 4

HELL ON WHEELS Seasons 1 to 4 – (9TH episode of season 1, is among one of the finest hours of television. Series jumped the shark with Season 4, but those first three seasons are television at its finest.)

 

Four honorable mentions:

MARON Seasons 1 to 3

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SUPERNATURAL Seasons 1 to 10 – Jumps the shark after season 5, but those first 5 sessions are a lot of fun

ZOO Season 1

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MESSENGERS Season 1

 

Black Faces, White Messages : Doctor Who

With Season 9 of BBC slated to start in a month, season 8 of DOCTOR WHO finally makes its way onto Netflix. I’ve watched more DOCTOR WHO than the vast majority of you reading this. My compulsive personality at work, I’ve seen all of the current reboot, and all of the classic existing series.

And I’ve seen the series go from great to mediocre and back again. One thing the series has suffered from, at times, in both its classic and modern incarnations is its depictions of people not WASPish.

Russell T. Davies was the visionary largely responsible for the rebirth of Dr. Who after an absence of over a decade; bringing a 20th century creation successfully into the 21st century. In terms of effects, and scope of story-lines Davies reboot was a massive win both artistically and commercially. That said one of the few failings of Russell T. Davies tenure, especially early on, was his use of characters of Color.

His Mickey character, played by the Shakespearean trained Noel Clarke (And I hold both creator and actor complicit for such a portrayal) from the first was a neutered, constantly emasculated character of color much in the vein of Step and Fetchit Hollywood, not just an offensive character, but worse a detriment to otherwise watchable story-lines, of which the Russell T. Davies run, had many.

I would rather creators avoid using characters of color, than use them offensively or ignorantly, as nothing more than tokens or stereotypes or outlets for their biases, which I think unfortunately is how Russell t. Davies approached such characters, particularly early in his run.

However by the Tenant years, Davies had a far better grasp on utilizing characters of color, as his Martha Jones character, brilliantly played by Freema Agyeman and her extended family were from the most part brilliantly written.

The post Tenant years, starring the youngest Doctor Matt Smith, and helmed by new Show Runner Steven Moffatt, I felt were pretty uneven, as the character was saddled with companions for most of his run that I found almost as annoying as the Mickey character.

That brings us finally to the new incarnation of the Doctor played by Peter Capaldi in Season 8, which definitely had me intrigued.

However, initially, the introduction of a Black character (love interest for the companion Clara), named Mr. Pink had me groaning audibly. I saw another Mickey in the making. A Black character called Mr, Pink? Really? Why not just call him snowball. But thankfully, the series, six episodes in is smarter, better written, and the character of Mr. Pink, stronger and more compelling and likably written and performed, than initial episodes and the unfortunate name… would imply. As well as other characters of color in far more humanistic and enjoyable and non-stereotypical roles than most stateside shows.

Add to that Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara are fantastic. Capaldi brings a less manic, measured performance and is a welcome touchstone to the Doctor as teacher and mentor and father. And Jenna Coleman’s Clara an excellent companion.

Episode 6 CARETAKER is my favorite of the season so far and season 8 as a whole my favorite season since the Tenant/Agyeman series. Let’s hope the writing continues to transcend the easy crutches of stereotype that sometime marred earlier seasons, and continues to broaden and enrich the history and mythology of Dr. Who.

Final Word:

On the accusation of Black Faces/White Message we find Season 8 of Doctor Who… NOT GUILTY. It is TV done right, as Showrunner, Stars, and stories combine to make addictive, fun, ethnically diverse, and smart television.

Currently Watching : AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT on Netflix VOD


Having exhausted all the episodes of many BBC shows, including both the seminal Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes and the inventive Benedict Cumberbatch series, I find myself using Netflix to find overlooked shows from yesteryear to give a try.

This weekend Agatha Christie’s POIROT finally made my radar. Initially viewed as a Belgium and more sedate and less exciting Sherlock Holmes, it grows on you none-the-less, six episodes in and I’m liking if not loving what I see, a passable, light-hearted comedy of manners, in a mystery setting.

The ratings so far with most of the first season done is:

1 1-01 101 08/Jan/89 The Adventure of the Clapham Cook ENJOYABLE INTRODUCTION
2 1-02 102 15/Jan/89 Murder in the Mews COMPELLING Locked Room crime
3 1-03 103 22/Jan/89 The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly INTRIGUING tale of a foretold kidnapping
4 1-04 104 29/Jan/89 Four and Twenty Blackbirds FORGETTABLE
5 1-05 105 05/Feb/89 The Third Floor Flat ENJOYABLE
6 1-06 106 12/Feb/89 Triangle at Rhodes PLODDING

Come by next time for more.

What I’m Watching : TORCHWOOD MIRACLE DAY

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Russell T. Davies the man who nearly single-handedly spearheaded the resurrection of the DOCTOR WHO franchise after its decades long demise, created the boundary pushing spin-off series TORCHWOOD. Revolving around the popular Doctor Who character Capt. Jack Harness, Torchwood allowed Davies to create a show for adults. While American audiences are relatively comfortable with violence, Davies wanted to create a more mature show, laced with sex and sexuality and relationships in this fragile 21st century.

From a rough and awkward first season, every subsequent season of TORCHWOOD became better both in terms of budget, story and scope, until the third season, CHILDREN OF EARTH, which is largely and I think rightly considered some of the best and most ambitious and heartfelt television the BBC has produced.

So it’s in the shadow of that huge popularity and success of season 3, that season 4 of TORCHWOOD, MIRACLE DAY was born. A ten episode series, it met with less than stellar reviews upon its release. Season 4 set in the US, and financed by a US company, possibly fell afoul of an American audience expecting the standard Sci-Fi tropes, an audience possibly unprepared for the depth and level of sophistication and level of sex and sensuality, sometimes transgressively so, showcased in the season.

For the mythological middle America demographic that ratings are supposedly based on, MIRACLE DAY had a lot in it to buck the expected trends, Black guy on White woman, guy on guy, multiple characters of color, characters of color as heroic and smart, non-stereotypical writing. Davies (whose take on characters of color in his early work on Doctor Who bordered on the minstrel and offensive) in all categories is pushing the boundaries of his latest adult scifi epic, and especially in exploring the sexuality of its protagonist.

So MIRACLE DAY took its share of hits from those threatened by all the above, as well as the British audience feeling the show had gone American, and to be fair there is a bit in here to make even me uncomfortable. But if Davies comes down a bit heavy on the skin and sexuality, to push his own inclinations, it is his right, and thankfully the excesses never come at the expense of the story, and for the most part are always done artistically; and scifi has always been the perfect place for pushing boundaries and being a little bit dangerous.

And here watching MIRACLE DAY for the first time, courtesy of Amazon Prime and Roku, I have to say ignore the naysayers, Season 4 of TORCHWOOD stands the test of time as some of the best and most epic writing Russell T. Davies has produced, which means this ten part epic is among the best and most satisfying TV produced… period.

It’s not perfect, the first couple of episodes are a slow build, the character of Rex perhaps more annoying than he needs to be, or perhaps it’s the actor Mekhi Phifer who tends to grate and be a little too belligerent and obnoxious for me in all his performances [I think the series would have been better with another actor cast, say Michael Ealy (ALMOST HUMAN) or Taye Diggs (DAY BREAK], and while a strong Season, CHILDREN OF EARTH still edges it out as the high-water mark for Russell T. Davies and Torchwood and arguably BBC. But those stumbles along the way just make MIRACLE DAY sticking its landing all the better, and stick its landing it does, a great end to a great season.

And an especially valid watch (episode 10 in particular) on Father’s Day! Grade: Highly Recommended.

Watch it for free courtesy of streaming [Get a free 30 day Trial of Amazon Prime (One Year Membership) here!] and then if you are as impressed with it as I was, buy it and the other seasons of TORCHWOOD, here:

Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series [Blu-ray]

Torchwood [Blu-ray]

Torchwood: Miracle Day [Blu-ray]