My husband and I resolved to reduce our home entertainment budget for 2019. To that end, immediately after Thanksgiving and upon a couple of recommendations gleaned from various tech podcasts I subscribe to, I ordered a Roku Premiere+ and installed it the first week of December. Within a couple of days of installation, I signed us up for Hulu (with live TV and cloud DVR) and Philo, maintaining our existing Dish, Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions in place so we could do a one-to-one comparison for the entire month of December. By the middle of the month, we were no longer using Dish at all. The day after Christmas, I cancelled our Dish and officially cut the cord, saving over half the cost and ending up with more entertainment options. Netflix may be next on the chopping block but that will have to wait until we finish out January now since I neglected to cancel that streaming service before the autopay went through. The real challenge will be next year’s F1 season for Terry.
This past week I took a break from watching movies I’d requested through my local library (see my previous post about dumping my Netflix DVD subscription) and switched to streaming two new (to us) science fiction series via Amazon Prime.
My favorite thing about streaming a series is not having to wait a week between episodes, especially when you are coming late to the party. I do occasionally binge watch, but usually no more than four (4) episodes at once. I have limited myself to two (2) episodes a night of The Man in the High Castle with a solo sandwiched between allowing me to complete five (5) episodes this week. And I must say I am hooked.
It’s been years since I read PKD’s novel but even with my vague recollections I’m riveted by this production. I’ve pulled out my ebook edition to reread, but that won’t prevent me from continuing on with the rest of season one. There’s a reason PKD has so many adaptations. If you haven’t read anything by him, I highly recommend him.
The second series we started watching this week was Humans (stylized with an upside down A). I decided to watch this series based on an article I read months ago that stated if you really want to experience a robot rebellion, try Humans instead of or in addition to Westworld. I very much enjoyed Westworld, especially the cinematography, production quality, story and acting, which sets a very high bar for Humans to meet.
Similar to my previous post, I’ll be updating this one as I get a chance to watch the finalist in both of these categories. Long Form is going to be my most difficult ranking of any of the Hugo finalists. I currently have a three-way tie in my mind between Arrival, Rogue One and Stranger Things. And I have yet to actually watch Hidden Figures!
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
1733 ballots cast for 206 nominees.
Votes for finalists ranged from 240 to 1030.
- Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films) – Watched opening weekend and purchased the movie; loved it
- Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment) – Watched via Dish Network free weekend for one of the premium movie channels; liked it
- Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company) – Watched via Starz streaming app through my subscription; liked it
- Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment) – Watched 5/17/2017; loved it
- Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures) – Watched opening weekend and again after I purchased the movie; loved it
- Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre) – Watched via Netflix streaming; loved it
I’m ever so close to cutting that cord to my satellite provider. I watched only two shows this fall via my DVR rather than through an app or service.
- Arrow (first season via Netflix) — 3.5 stars
- The Crown (first season via Netflix) — 4.5 stars
- The Fall (first season via Netflix) — 4 stars
- Limitless (first and only season via Netflix) — 3.5-4 stars
- Missing (first and only season via Netflix DVD) — 4 stars
- Star Wars Rebels (via Disney channel) — popcorn for my mind
- Timeless (first half of first season via NBC) — 3.5-4 stars
- WestWorld (first season via HBO) — 4.5 stars
Continuing to watch:
- Arrow (second season via Netflix)
- Flash (first season via Netflix)
- The Fall (second season via Netflix)
- Mars (Nat Geo channel)
- Timeless (via NBC)
- Black Sails (final season via Starz streaming app)
In my search for different and interesting ‘small screen’ series to sample, I stumbled upon a couple of good ones recently: Human Target (from 2010 but cancelled after second season) and The Fall (from 2013 with three seasons to date). I’m still watching Limitless, pausing briefly after watching the pilot to watch the movie that spawned the series, but otherwise continuing with 2-3 episodes per week.
Terry and I have finished two of three DVDs for the first season of Human Target. I was hooked after the first episode, and not just because Christopher Chance’s pet was a Rottweiler named Carmine. This show packs a lot of punches into a scant hour of programming and each episode is something completely different. It’s fun to watch and even has me looking for the original graphic novels to read, but libraries are totally not up to speed in that area. Continue reading “Best Home Alarm System: Man’s Best Friend”
About a month ago, I realized my Netflix queue was thinning out. And at about the same time, I finished watching the second season of Manhattan, which I knew had been cancelled but still felt compelled to completely watch what was available. I went looking for interesting television shows to watch. During the summer and early fall, we enjoy TNT’s The Last Ship and Syfy’s Dark Matter, but those series have very short seasons (at most ten or twelve episodes). I tried and loved Stranger Things and hope that Netflix backs the second season. I also finished watching the second season of Marco Polo, but again, both of those Netflix series are good, but very short (eight or ten episodes each).
I added Arrow, Jessica Jones and Limitless to my streaming queue. I’ve watched several episodes of Arrow and found it okay. I’ve watched one episode of Jessica Jones and found it disturbing but since it won the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form I will stick to it and see if it gets more palatable (I doubt it but as I learned in a lecture this past week, conflict feels like imminent danger, but we don’t need to act upon it or react so negatively towards it … so stepping out of my comfort zone is a good thing sometimes). I have not yet watched any episodes of Limitless.
Continuing in the vein of my previous post, I haven’t completely neglected my DVR this January, although it is my last resort for entertainment (see my reference to inferior HD quality provided by satellite subscription).
This week brought back the formidable Agent Carter who is apparently carrying the investigative torch of the mysterious and ancient society obsessed with the portal stone most recently perplexing the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This is another series Terry rolls his eyes at. I accused him of not caring for it because it has such a strong female lead. He protested that was not the case. I just love period dramas – the costumes, cars, sets, locations, etc. Besides, we final met Jarvis’ wife (rumor was last season that she was a figment of Jarvis’ imagination).
I’ve dragged Terry along watching the new Syfy original series The Expanse, based on the SF book series of the same name by James S.A. Corey. Except for one small quibble, I really enjoyed the first book of that series, Leviathan Wakes, and I do plan to eventually continuing reading the books. I’m enjoying watching the series because good SF television series are few and far between.
But enough science fiction. How about some epic fantasy? Enjoyed Terry Brook’s Shannara books, including the original 1977 Sword of Shannara? Then tune in to MTV (yes I really did just type those three letters) to feast your eyes upon The Shannara Chronicles, which debuted this month. I’m three episodes in and pretty much hooked.
That’s it for now. Can’t remember if anything else is forthcoming that I’m interested in. If you have a suggestion for a show I should try, please leave a comment.
Oh, and Phase I of my weekend work project completed successfully. Now we wait … so time to watch another episode of Manhattan.
Meh. I don’t need another police procedural in a fish bowl. Ugh.
I began to suspect something was extremely fishy within the first couple of minutes.
If it was really early 1960s, then the examining doctor would not be wearing blue latex gloves.
Once we the audience ‘knew’ Ascension was a spaceship, my first thought was the microgravity problem. No spinning section yet people are walking around and using elevators like it’s a skyscraper.
And when a prisoner is locked in a cell it included a very modern shiny stainless steel sink and toilet combo.
The ‘Big Reveal’ arrived in the last minute, and sealed my dislike for this show.
Where are the explorers and scientists?
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Update Mid-Afternoon: And this show gets negative marks for the role of women in this ‘society.’ I find it extremely hard to believe that a society would be so locked in time (early to mid 60s) and not change little if any in fifty years. For better or worse, some change would occur. And there would be considerable wear and tear on the physical media: books, magnetic tape, film, vinyl, etc. Most spaceship environments are also quite damp, which would have caused mold and mildew issues. I wonder home many cathode ray tubes had to be provisioned as well as vacuum tubes.
Well, duh. It’s about time Syfy got back in the game.
The only show I watched last year was Helix and it was just okay. Looking forward to some better SF coming down the pipe
Posted from WordPress for Android via my Samsung smartphone. Please excuse any misspellings. Ciao, Jon
Kirk, in particular, comes in for a lot of bad press, as a captain whose life gets horizontal in ways that have nothing to do with gravitational anomalies.
Chortling aside, the article above had some interesting observations. Enjoy!