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March 31, 2013

The Walking Dead

Filed under: Commentary,Television — Bob @ 8:18 pm

We’ve been fans of The Walking Dead since episode 1 and have really enjoyed it. Tonight was the finale of season 3 and it was excellent. Much appreciate the great “no sappy happy ending” writing.

I am really glad to see “season 1 Rick” again – the optimistic yet realistic hero is what we need to see as a sharp contrast to both the general background as well as Carl (the homicidal maniac).

Yeah I’m not a believer in Carl’s speech about “kill or be killed” but introducing that conflict with his father is really great for the story arch. Should be interesting to see what happens in season 4.

And we are big fans of Talking Dead. Who would have imagined that you could make an hour long show about an hour long show? Its really entertaining and very well done. Tip of the hat to Chris Hardwick for putting together a really enjoyable program.

January 18, 2011

Netflix – maybe something to it after all

Filed under: Commentary,Movies,Television — Bob @ 9:53 pm

Despite my initial disappointment with Netflix in Canada, it is more appealing than I originally thought. I’m still frustrated by the lack of “big name” movies – even those that are quite a bit older e.g. 2001 or Close Encounters of the Third Kind. On the positive side, I have found a few good films that I’ve really enjoyed.

The trick seems to be to “sneak up on them”. In other words, I never find movies by searching for movies I think I want to see – those are never available. Instead, I explore what movies are available, as linked to other movie suggestions. I haven’t found very many of the initial suggestions to be good enough to watch, but I believe that is a feature that gets better with time, so I’m willing to keep trying.

I think we’ve decided to keep our subscription going. At $8 per month, the cost of getting this decision wrong for a few months is not very high. Maybe that is why it works – it only takes one or two movies a month to make it feasible. We’ve run out of episodes of Top Gear to watch though, so now we need to find that next unexpected gem to watch. More than ever before, I’m confident we’ll find it.

December 29, 2010

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is not available, but you might enjoy these titles…

Filed under: Commentary,Movies,Television — Bob @ 7:33 pm

Uh what? Netflix, please explain to me why Resident Evil and a later movie in the franchise is available, but not this one (second in the series)?

Background: so we purchased one of the new Apple TV boxes for ourselves for Christmas. The new Apple TV is excellent, and I find it even better than the original (which I also own). It is streaming only, which is unlike the original, but it works flawlessly. We’ve purchased about five different movies from the iTunes store and each has played without fault.

Then we signed up for a Netflix account. They have a free month trial program, and at $8 each month it seemed like a good deal. So far, I’m not very impressed. The selection is less than stellar, there are some surprising gaps and the Apple TV interface really stinks for finding titles. We’ve ended up using their website to find titles then “Search” for them. Sigh. I’ve watched about a dozen episodes of Top Gear without trouble, but the first (The Great Train Robbery) of the two movies I’ve watched had severe download issues – every few minutes the stream would stop and the film would pause for a minute or two. The second movie (Resident Evil) worked without issues, so I was ready to accept the problems might have been temporary.

Then we decided to watch the sequel, Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Finding it via the Netflix interface didn’t work so I went to the website. Imagine my surprise that this film, made in 2004, is not available. What? It makes no sense to me, although I’m pretty sure Netflix isn’t choosing to do this. So it probably means that one of the many production or distribution companies involved doesn’t like Netflix.

I had higher expectations for the Netflix catalog, especially when compared to the availability in the US market. Sort of sucks actually. I don’t mind paying for the latest movie releases (that is why I’m using the iTunes store with the Apple TV) but when it comes to a deep back catalog, that is something I expected Netflix should be able to provide at a flat rate per month. Apparently I was mistaken, at least for today. I’ll give Netflix more time to see what changes, especially since it it still part of my free month, but I can’t see paying $8/month until the current situation improves.

April 5, 2008

Battlestar Galatica

Filed under: Television — Bob @ 11:01 pm

The fourth season has started and it is shaping up to be awesome! Is Starbuck the last unidentified humanoid Cylon model? Certainly there are many signs of this: survival of the explosion that destroyed her ship at the end of season three; a perfect recreation of her Viper ship for her return flight; her lack of observation of passing time (perceived six hours vs. two months). But that seems too obvious.

So how do you explain her return, if it wasn’t because of Cylon technology? Maybe it was divine intervention but I’ll be disappointed if that is how it plays out. My own theory is that Starbuck really did encounter Earth but their civilization is far more advanced than the Colonial fleet as well as the Cylons. Too fantastic though, even for BSG.

I’m waiting to see how the storyline plays out with Anders. Clearly he was “programmed” by the Cylon raider ship during the battle, we (as viewers) have knowledge of that event therefore the writers will make us wait and wait to see what happens. Will Colonel Tigh try to kill himself? Or the Admiral then himself? Gosh that is evil but very enjoyable all at the same time. I can hardly wait for the next episode!

I understand there will be a new spin-off series Caprica to replace BSG next year. I’m a bit skeptical about this one – it can’t really be set before the most recent Cylon war, and it can’t really be set in the present timeline on the occupied planet Caprica, so I don’t quite know what to think about it. However if the writing is as good as BSG then I’m definitely on board.

March 26, 2007

Desperately Seeking Season Four!

Filed under: Television — Bob @ 8:17 pm

bsg.jpgJust finished watching the finale to Battlestar Galactica season three and once again the writers have outdone themselves. I actually find this cliff-hanger even better than the one from last year.

I thought the introduction of the next four Cylon models was very well done; the whole episode had a tense, unsettling, gritty feeling and yet the last few minutes got the adrenaline pumping to new levels.

So there is still one more Cylon model yet to be revealed and the speculation has started: is it the president? or Starbuck? My money is on Baltar’s defense attorney, he was too good of a character to let slip by without a deeper back story and future appearances.

Of course nothing prevents the introduction of a new Cylon model or two, one that even the regular Cylons don’t know about yet, so maybe we are in for more than one!

More excellent news from Wikipedia: the series has been picked up for another season for 22 new episodes, including a two-hour direct-to-video movie.

What are your thoughts about season three? Any hopes for season four?

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