I Am Enjoying Netflix’s New Found Commitment To Anime!

In the early years of Netflix, their anime library was a bit of a wasteland.  There was nothing to see except a couple series that just about every other service had too.  Netflix’s only upside was that they didn’t have commercials.  I complained about this a couple of times on this very blog.  However, it seems like they have learned the error of their ways.

They have announced several new shows and movies that will be distributed by them exclusively in the USA, and that they are going to start working with Anime development companies to create new shows just for Netflix.  Apparently, according to The Verge, a large portion of their $8 Billion programming budget will go towards getting more Anime on their service.

While there still isn’t a ton of Anime on Netflix, it has picked up.  Whenever I am in the mood to watch some Anime I am able to find something interesting.  In fact I just finished the Netflix Original: Kuromukuro, and while it wasn’t earthshattering, it was pretty entertaining.  This is just after watching Little Witch Academia which was excellent, so the quality is improving as well.  Not to mention their American animation arm which is pumping out great things like Voltron (season 4 just hit!).

I am not the only one that is happy, Netflix is adding millions of subscribers, and they attribute a lot of that success to Anime fans.  Yeah us!  So apparently big companies do listen to their customers, and I look forward to all the new Anime I am going to get to watch.

Shmee Listens To The Handmaid’s Tale!

The Handmaid’s Tale is a terrifying show produced by Hulu, but it is not terrifying because of a ghost or a psychotic madman but because it shows a future to the United States that for some seems unfortunately possible.  While it would take a lot for that future to take place, you don’t have to look too hard through history to find examples free nations taken by tyranny: Iran, Venezuela or everyone’s favorite villains Nazi Germany, just to name a few.  It turns out that desperate people make bad decisions.

In the not to distant future most women in the world have become unable to have children, and this sends the world in to a downward spiral.  A Pseudo-Christian group has used the unrest in America to take over, and the women that are able to have kids are forced to breed with the leaders of this group to give those men and their wives children.  These unfortunate women are called Handmaids.  The show follows a Handmaid by the name of Offred (Elisabeth Moss).

The Handmaid’s Tale never backs away from anything.  It shows this bleak future in unflinching detail.  While I know some Christians are upset at the show because they are worried people might get the wrong idea about Christianity, you don’t have to know much about Christian theology to know that rulers of ‘Gilead’ (The Former USA) have warped the Bible for their own evil purposes.  Which is probably why most people in Gilead aren’t allowed to read the Bible.

A show about institutionalized rape would be hard to believe or get in to without good performances, and thankfully The Handmaid’s Tale has a lot of talent on screen.  There aren’t many weak performances, and Elisabeth Moss is able to work her way through the wide array of Offred’s emotions almost perfectly.  Considering about half of the show is just Elisabeth Moss close ups, she does an amazing job getting the audience to feel what Offred is going though.

The Handmaid’s Tale is not for the weak of heart, and it shows the fall of the USA, which some people may take issue with, but sadly The Handmaid’s Tale uses the past for its version of the future, so we would be wise to listen to what it has to say.  Even if we reject its conclusion.  The Handmaid’s Tale is worth watching if you have access to Hulu, or maybe just paying for Hulu for a month to watch it.  Who knows, you may even get through the show during your seven day free trial.

Life With Hulu With Live TV!

Since Comcast has continued to raise rates and give me nothing extra for my money, the wife and I have decided to give Hulu with Live TV a try, and it has been working pretty well, with some caveats.

First off what the service gets right.  You get a good selection live channels as well as Hulu’s already excellent selection of on demand shows.  You also get a feature called ‘Cloud DVR’ which allows you to record shows, but obviously as its name suggests it stores them on the internet.  Then the big seller for us, Hulu with Live TV has most of the local Seattle stations included as well.  Most of the other streaming cable services do not.  We have to be able to watch those Seahawks!  Then you get to take this all with you.  Visiting a friends house for the weekend and your show is on, but they don’t have cable TV?  Just take your Roku Stick with you, and you and your friends can watch it (provided your friend has internet), or you can find a corner and watch it on your phone.

All this is not without its flaws.  The new Hulu interface is not intuitive.  Little icons on the top row indicate were you are, and then massive pictures and bold print tell you the names of shows it wants you to watch, but it is hard to find something other than what they are promoting.  You get used to it, but there is a steep learning curve.  Also, it seems that right now the service is having a slight issue keeping up with demand.  While for the most part everything looks great, it isn’t uncommon for the picture to get a little blurry while the stream catches up.  This doesn’t appear to be due to my internet, since Netflix and Amazon don’t also have this issue.  Lastly, and maybe most importantly for a lot of people, Hulu with Live TV isn’t that much cheaper than cable.  Though you do save some extra green because there are no random fees or cable boxes.

If you are like me, and you just got sick of all the standard cable options and want to give something else a try, Hulu with Live TV is a good choice.  They need to work on their interface, and maybe add a few more live channels to the mix to justify their price, but I gain the flexibility of taking my TV anywhere I want, and more importantly, on whatever internet provider I want.  With the added bonus of sticking it to Comcast.  So far it has been worth it.  Who knows, I may go back to Comcast, but at least then I will be a ‘new’ subscriber again and get all the good rates.

James Corden Puts It in IT!

James Corden always has some funny bits, but this poor guy calling for It instead of IT is pretty great.  Please watch won’t you?  I mean I guess you don’t have to, and I can’t force you to entertain yourself, but I think you should.  Because honestly what else do you have going on right now?

Someone At Marvel TV Needs To Watch DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow!

For the most part Marvel’s Netflix shows have been pretty great.  Yes there have been some downer moments, but most of the time Netflix/Marvel has delivered a quality product.  However, the fight scenes on the shows have started go down hill, and nowhere was this more apparent than The Defenders.  This should have been the show where they pulled out all the stops, but instead it was generally just four people fighting in the dark next to each other.  There were a few decent one on one fights, but the group together was pretty meh, and getting the gang together was the whole point of this show.

Now on the other hand DC’s Legends of Tomorrow can sometimes have some pretty meh storylines, but holy heck, a few times a season the fight scenes are just crazy awesome.  Granted on Legends of Tomorrow there are a lot of heroes with different fighting styles and powers, while The Defenders mostly just kick stuff, but still, they could have found a way to feature them all in a better light (or just in the light).

Look, I believe in the writing team behind the Marvel Netflix shows, but they need to find a new fight coordinator, or at least one that watches some of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.  I just want the action in the shows to be as good as the story telling.