Currently Watching : SHADOW South African TV series – One of the Best Shows on Netflix

SHADOW (2019) – Six episodes in and I am still loving this 2019 Johannesburg centered series, starring Pallance Dladla as the titular Shadow, Khathu Ramabulana as the dependable best friend Max, and Amanda DuPont as the absolutely ravishing and riveting Ashley.  Equal parts ‘ROSEWOOD Medical Examiner Police Procedural’ and ‘EQUALIZER Action series’, this is just a fun, well acted, and intelligently written action series.

Toss in beautiful photography, surprisingly cutting edge and compelling and heartwarming stories (loved episode 6), and likeable, enjoyable characters and you have an early contender for one of my favorite shows of 2020. The Brainchild of Phillip and Fred Wolmarans and Nick Keulemans and Gareth Crocker, and executive produced by Chris and Colleen Lawrence, here is hoping Netflix gives this one a 2nd season. Grade: B+

 

Shadow | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix - YouTube

 

If you enjoyed this post, then I would really appreciate if you subscribe, like, and use the links below to support this channel. Thanks!

 

Today’s Blu-Ray Player of the Day!

Today’s Blu-ray Selection of the Day!

The Return of SPENSER FOR HIRE??? – Netflix Movie trailer+Poster

Spenser Confidential (2020)

 

There are a few shows I hold in very high reverence, as television at its finest. Stuff that stands and will stand the test of time. The 1980s SPENSER FOR HIRE is one of those shows.

Starring the great Robert Urich and Avery Brooks (as two very different, but equally imposing 6’1 guys, running around Boston putting people thru windows 🙂 ) and based on a long running series of novels by the prolific Robert B. Parker. The highest acclaim you can give the TV show, is the author himself acclaimed Avery Brooks Hawk as superior to the character in the novels. So I loved that 3 season Boston based series.

Now, it is clear this Mark Wahlberg Netflix movie will have virtually nothing in common with that great 80s series; however it puts that series back in the limelight, and I call that a good thing. And even though the new Netflix movie seems… not very ‘Spenser’ like; despite that… the trailer looked fun and enjoyable. I’m a huge fan of Winston Duke from his work in PERSON OF INTEREST and BLACK PANTHER, so looking forward to checking out this new take on Spenser and Hawk.

It of course will not be the slightly elegiac brilliance of the 1980s series, but it doesn’t have to be. That series thankfully is now available on Dvd. If you have never seen it, it comes with the highest recommendation. It is an unjustly overlooked, often bittersweet and equally haunted and hopeful series, that stands as television at its finest.

Get Season 1 here!

Get all 3 Seasons here!

Streaming TV Series of the 1st Week of 2020 : Amazon Prime’s THE EXPANSE 4th Season

THE EXPANSE – So the 4th season of THE EXPANSE has dropped on Amazon Prime, and I said in a recent post having tried the first episode of the new season, I wasn’t loving it. This coming from someone who raved about the first 3 seasons of THE EXPANSE.

However, getting into episode 2 and later episodes of season 4, and the breakneck pace, and engrossing storyline, I’ve come to love kicks in, and it becomes the addictive show I’ve grown to acclaim. It also reminds me that THE EXPANSE has always been a slow burn of a show. The 1st season took a long time to get good, not really hitting its stride till the 2nd and 3rd seasons. And the 4th season is that in a nutshell, slow start, strong finish.

It is dangerous, this continued weak start of THE EXPANSE. These days with so many demands for a viewers time, the first episode really needs to stick the landing, as the saying goes you seldom get a 2nd chance, to make a first impression.

Not everyone made it through the weak first season, to see the amazing show it became. And likewise I’m sure they lost people with that weak first episode of the 4th season. But I can tell you, if you power thru you will be rewarded with an addictive, compelling season. Though not the biggest fan of ending on a cliffhanger, particularly when another season is not definite.

Final verdict: Slow start and some annoying characters aside, it remains the best SciFi show since FARSCAPE. Not as emotionally riveting and likable as FARSCAPE, but far more imaginative and complex and sophisticated in its world building. A very good show. Grade: B+.

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

https://occ-0-465-472.1.nflxso.net/dnm/api/v6/6AYY37jfdO6hpXcMjf9Yu5cnmO0/AAAABZBxBccr341eawj1UA0hf34zikLVwUqCiYVDJ5JNY5nU_E3gOjpHytmLrJOIHolYFumHmyBwrgP2ZvHGsduQVULc4Bi2.jpg?r=058

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+.

2019 Favorite YouTube Channels and Channels that did and did not make it to 2020! Edition A-B!

Favorite Youtube Channels of 2019:

 

 

The above were some of my favorite channels, and with a few exceptions, are all still on my subscription list here in 2020.

Other channels in letters ‘A to B’ that I am subscribed to in 2020 are:

AARON PYNN (we do not have the same taste in films, but I like being introduced to films I would otherwise not be aware of or give a try. And being a physical media guy he has been helpful in 2019 in keeping me abreast of Dvd/Bluray sales), ADAM CELADIN (knife thrower), ALTER (some of the best short horror films), ALTERNA COMICS (really a fan of the sub $2 model this comic book company is providing, and they and Image comics $1 reprint books, I think are a big reason the big two offered $1 reprint books of their own), AMATEUR FILIES (one of the best Dvd/BluRay coverage channels), ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, AVANTGARDEVEGAN, AXANAR,  BADDAD320, BARBARIAN_KUNGFU, BARGAINHUNTERSTHRIFT, BATINTHESUN, BELLA’S TOY CHEST, BERNIE’S BOOTLEGS, BLADE HQ (helped get me into knife collecting in 2019), BLU RAY COLLECTOR, BLU-RAY BENN, BLURAY DAN, BRAVE WILDERNESS (one of our top 10 favorite channels), BUDGETBUGOUT.

 

Channels that have gone dark in 2020:

ANDY BORDERS

BATAVENGER

This Week’s 3 Best and Three Worst Free Streaming VOD TV Services and Why!

Best and Worst Free Streaming Services for Week 48 of 2019!

 

Best

 

  1. YOUTUBE – For another Week Youtube is the number one free streaming channel. Content Provider’s such as THE JOHN CAMPEA SHOW , TOP 5 SCARY VIDEOS, WEALLJUGGLEKNIVES, NEAR MINT CONDITION, METAL COMPLEX, THE DELUXE EDITION, FILMSELECT TRAILER, RICH REBUILDS, NICK SHABAZZ, SCOTTY KILMER, CORD CUTTERS NEWS, ALTER, GQ, SILVER_AGED DAVE, SOCAL ATTRACTIONS 360, CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT, AMATEUR FILMIES, HAWAII KNIFE AND GEAR, REGIE COLLECTS, SINISTER CINEMA REVIEWS, WRANGLESTAR, THE COMIC COLLECTOR, CANADIAN PREPPER, TARAS KUL, FIRST WE FEAST, GOHAN THE HUSKY, CASI DAVIS, CEDRIC & ADA GEAR AND OUTDOORS,  SILVER HAIRED BRONZE AGE BABE COMICS, BAT IN THE SUN, BLURAY DAN, IAN CORZINE, OFF THE SHELF MOVIE NIGHT, MMA ON POINT, OMNIDOG’S VAULT, CINEMANIACSEVENTY7 and WILSONIAN MOVIE MUSEUM releasing between them just some very enjoyable and informative content in the last seven days. (p.s. It is a lot of channels and content, so look for an upcoming post that higlights the best, must see You Tube videos from each channel)

  2. ROKU CHANNEL– Youtube was pretty enjoyable last week, so I didn’t really have the time or inclination to watch much of anything else on the free channels. Exception being the ROKU CHANNEL. It offers the first episode of some cable shows I have not yet checked out. So was able to watch the first episodes of WATCHMEN (loved it), GAME OF THRONES (yes, I have not watched a single episode of Game of Thrones, until this free episode on the Roku Channel. It was good. However, no real desire to catch up with it, but if other episodes turn up for free i’ll check them out) and the first episodes of DAVINCI’S DEMONS and AMERICAN GODS (didn’t like either one). So, for giving me the chance to check out these shows, with a minimum of commercial interruptions (CRACKLE take notes) ROKU makes it on this list. And finally…
  3. TUBI TV- These guys must pay attention to my viewing preferences, because they have a huge assortment of BIG FOOT movies. I’ve seen most of them, but I appreciate these films being available, and did catch up with a couple I have not seen before; 2017’s THE HUNTING (an interesting but flawed “monster in the woods” movie with a twist) and the un-watchably annoying and badly acted BIGFOOT COUNTRY and the simply awful THE MOTH. But I liked being able to at least check these movies out. And what I love about TUBI is they do not drown you in ads, you get to watch a good chunk of the movie before they interrupt it with 2 or 3 ads (not 6 ads, every few minutes, or every-time you try to rewind or fast forward… CRACKLE looking at you!!!)

 

WORST

That brings us to our WORST free streaning channel of the 48th week of 2019. It is hands down as if you could not guess…

  1. CRACKLE

  2. CRACKLE

  3. CRACKLE – the shame of it is… they actually have content worth watching, that is not available on other channels.  But their egregious overuse of advertising makes the channel unwatchable. I fool you not, it is like 6 ads, before they start the program, then 6 ads seemingly every 10 minutes or less. And you get ads immediately if you need to fast-forward or rewind. It adds up to more ads than actual runningtime of the movie, almost. I could not make it through 15 minutes of  being on CRACKLE. Just not worth my time… at all.  Hands down the worst streaming channel of week 48.

 

 

If you liked this post, use the links below and support our Amazon deals of the day:

Under $100 great office party and family/friend gift ideas!

 

External Blu ray DVD CD Drive Burner,USB 3.0 Portable 3D 4K Blu-Ray DVD Player Writer Reader Disk for Laptop Notebook PC Desktops Support Windows/Vista/7/8/10, Mac OSX and Linux OS

 

USB 3.0 Ultra Slim 3D 4K External Blu Ray Player Writer Portable BD/CD/DVD Burner Drive

 

I would LOVE to get either of these as a gift (especially at their sub $100 price). And I reckon so will that friend or family member you know, who still embraces CDs and DVDs and Blurays! Or just wants the ability to still burn read and burn disks. 🙂

Thanks for looking and please subscribe, like, and use those links 🙂 All three are greatly appreciated!

Today’s STREAMING VOD TV Guide Roku Recommendations: Netflix Edition!

BLACK MIRROR like most anthologies is decidedly hit and miss for me.

More miss than hit for me, to be accurate.

Director David Slade and Writer Charlie Brooker’s METAL HEAD falls decidedly in the Hit camp. Skewing, to its benefit, more toward the horror genre.

It is a well made little tale of machines killing men, and sadly is a little too close to where we are in reality to be enjoyable. With a significant amount of tax dollars going into creating just such killing machines, this cautionary tale is uncomfortably too close to science fact to be entirely enjoyable science fiction.

But definitely worth a look, and one of the better BLACK MIRROR episodes.

 

Black Mirror (2011)

 

Today’s STREAMING VOD TV Guide Roku Recommendations: Youtube Edition!

Today’s STREAMING VOD TV Guide RECOMMENDATIONS – Youtube EDITION!

 

YOUTUBE:

 

The Most Influential TV show of all Time? Breaking Bad? THE WIRE? No… It is…

I am re-watching Michael Straczynski’s seminal BABYLON 5, after a lapse of probably 2 decades, and by the time you hit Season 3 Episode 10 Severed Dreams, and have sat thru the awkward first season, and rough effects (at the time innovative, but now quaintly dated, yet oddly still beautiful) it is clear… this show is what Straczynski intended. The first Novel for Television.

Whereas THE HONEYMOONERS forged the concept of the Sitcom for television, And DRAGNET (following in its Radio Roots) would define the form of episodic tv for decades to come, BABYLON 5 is very much the jumping off point for long form storytelling in television.

Prior to Babylon 5, in television largely the characters, kept showing up week after week and telling the story for that week, with no real vast growth or change for that character from first episode to last. 

Whether BONANZA or THE FUGITIVE or “insert series here”, it may have 2 or 3 part episode, but largely there was no overarching theme or arc for the season or the series.

It was episodic television, monster or crime or issue of the week.

And then enter Michael Straczynski and his idea, of going one step further than STAR TREK’s aborted idea of a 5 Year mission, and try a multiyear story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Where there were stakes, And characters would have arcs, and change. 

Enter BABYLON 5.

An experiment in television, in an age of ‘done and one’ TV.

It holds up.

Despite the meddling of the Networks, the lowball budgets, the always under threat of cancellation seasons, Michael Straczynski’s BABYLON 5 was then, and remains now, one of the best written shows. A grand saga, writ large. With tragedies and triumphs and growth and betrayal and change… and hope. 

And that BABYLON 5 is as good and as coherent as it is, despite the constant meddling and threat of cancellation it endured every year of its existence (which forced writer, cast and crew to always have to gear every season like it was their last, the last couple of seasons clearly suffering because of the the blade that was always over the show’s neck); you have to put it down to Michael Straczynski’s passion and his writing and his fighting for it.

And a team of people around him, from actors to directors to makeup artists to set and wardrobe designers to consultants (the late great Harlan Ellison) all championing this unheard of dream, of a novel for television.

So no, not LOST, not SOPRANOS, not THE WIRE, not GAME OF THRONES, not BREAKING BAD, not BATTLESTAR GALACTICA… though all those shows with their continuing story structure owe a debt of gratitude to BABYLON 5 (which paved the way for TV, to break out of its episode of the week, short form storytelling mode) … none of those shows are TV at its most influential.

TV at its most innovate and influential (post Star Trek the Original Series)… Well that mantle remains 30 years later, still… BABYLON 5; which dragging and screaming, changed the face and scope of what television could be.

You don’t get any of those shows, without Straczynski, actually showing that long form narrative could be done on television.

So if you have never watched BABYLON 5, or have not watched it in a long time, all 5 seasons are available courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Give it a look, the first season is admittedly rough, stick with it. It takes off by the 2nd season and never looks back. And by the 3rd season, it is a hands down masterpiece.

 

Highest  Recommendation.

 

And honestly, it is the type of series that deserves to be owned in physical media, that you do not want to trust to the vagaries of Streaming licenses. It is a series, like HOMICIDE, like GRIMM, like MUSKETEERS, that deserves to always be at your fingertips and available for viewing.

It unfortunately does not yet have a Bluray option, but you can get the complete series on DVD at the link below:

BABYLON 5: THE COMPLETE SERIES WITH MOVIES