Towards the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, I have been watching a few shows on Netflix. I love the Netflix original shows that pop up from time to time. Some are crap but often they are brilliant shows produced either exclusively for Netflix or else in conjunction with a traditional TV channel such is Orphan Black with Space or Frequency with The CW. Often, it will only be a Netflix Original in certain regions but we are only concerned with Ireland for the sake of this article.
I’m going to start giving things a personal rating out of 10 on these Netflix articles. Just my personal opinion. If it’s 5 or more, it’s worth watching if bored. 8 is highly recommended and 9 or 10 is just a can’t miss.
Shooter is based on the 2007 Mark Wahlberg movie of the same name. A sniper has been framed for attempting to kill the president so he sets out to prove his innocence. It’s pretty gripping and binge free as new episodes are released weekly. 8/10
Frequency is loosely based on the 2000 Dennis Quaid movie. In this case, Frank Sullivan is a cop and is able to speak to his daughter in the future who is also a cop. The main premise in season one is catching a serial killer who kills his wife/her mother. There’s a vague attempt at using a HAM radio correctly in the first episode like pressing the button, saying your piece and then waiting for a response. This gets forgotten about and the radio then functions in real time with no annoying button presses or pauses between response. It makes the conversations flow more smoothly if a little less realistic. Who cares? We are talking about time travelling radio waves here. 7/10
Medici: Masters of Florence is an interesting one. Its beautifully shot with an all star cast. In fact, I’m in love with the opening sequence which features a hauntingly beautiful song called Renaissance composed by Paolo Buonvino and performed by Skin. The show follows Cosimo de’ Medici played by Richard Madden (Robb Stark from Game of Thrones). There’s a scene which I can only assume was contrived through some sort of black humour because Cosimo marries Contessina de’ Bardi, an arranged marriage between fathers. Her father is played by none other than David Bradley who played Walder Frey in Game of Thrones. One of the most memorable scenes not only in that show but any show is The Red Wedding. In it, Walder Frey had arranged to marry Robb Stark to one of his daughters. Robb ended up falling in love with someone else and getting married so to appease Walder, Robb arranged Edmure Tully to marry one of the daughters instead. Needless to say, it doesn’t end well. In this case, it was like Walder Frey finally married one of his daughters to Robb Stark. 8/10
Glitch is an odd one that I’m working through at the moment. It’s a light hearted Australian show about a bunch of people coming back to life in some backwater Aussie town. One of the deceased is the Sherriff’s wife who died 2 years ago. Another is an Irish guy who apparently founded the town about 200 years ago and was considered mayor. He even has his own statue. A lot of this seems to be news to him because he’s more of a Ned Kelly sort. The only thing we know so far is that the formerly deceased can’t travel more than a few km from the town or else their eyes start bleeding and they go poof and turn into a pile of ash. Let’s see where this is going. 5/10
The Expanse is pretty epic. I watched it via an alternative method before it appeared in Netflix. The premise is that 200 years in the future, we have colonised the solar system. There are no warp drives or anything, the technology is quite feasible compared to what we have today. Earth and Mars are practically at war and the main plot of the show revolves around a mining colony on the dwarf planet, Ceres. They even manage to get artificial gravity right. It’s not perfect and is based on motion. You can’t pour a drink straight like you can on earth, it has to be poured at an angle. Well worth a watch, one of the best proper Sci-Fi space shows in a long time. 9/10
Ascension is an odd one. It’s a single season mini-series that I suspect wanted a second season. The premise is that in the 1960s, a massive ship was launched with 600 people on board for a 100 year mission to colonise Proxima Centauri, a planet that was only discovered recently. The crew are 50 years in to their mission at the moment. I don’t think I’m giving too much away here but it quickly emerges that actually, the ship never left earth at all. For 50 years, 600 people have been kept underground in a simulation environment and they believe they are are flying through space. It’s an experiment to see how they might survive the journey. Those “on-board” were born on the ship and have never known earth. It’s worth sticking on if you are bored but the characters never develop beyond card board and all that saves it is a cast of beautiful women led by Tricia Helfer. 6/10
Travelers is an interesting one. It’s a bit like 12 Monkeys in some ways and then unique in another. No one physically travels back in time here but the premise is as you might expect. The future is fucked so what happens is that the consciousness of people in the future are sent back in time to inhabit the bodies of people who were just about to die in the past. They then take up their hosts former lives as best they can and perform missions designed to save the future of mankind. It stars Eric McCormack from Will & Grace and more recently Perception. The characters are likeable but there are one or two detestable sub-characters from their hosts previous lives that you just wish would go away. 7/10
Van Helsing takes a different take on the infamous vampire hunter. This show revolves around his ancestor, Vanessa. During the vampire apocalypse, she is bitten and killed by a vampire. However, she doesn’t die and instead lies in a coma for years. She is protected by a military grunt in a hospital. Eventually she awakens when they are attacked. She is bitten and the vampire dies. It turns out that she can either kill vampires or turn them back to human depending on how close to human the vampire was. Ferals die but those capable of conversation turn back to human. It’s an entertaining show and Kelly Overton does a convincing job in the role. You clearly don’t want to mess with her as she looks like she will fuck you up. 7/10
And that’s it for today. I’ll probably have a few more shows to mention in a few weeks.