Netflix Follies: TV edition

August 9, 2013


 complete viewing  ♠ partial viewing   television series 

≈ Fantasy Island: Shocked that Mandi had never watched Fantasy Island, I made her watch an episode. And wouldn’t you know? It was the one with the escape artist escaping from Devil’s Island (succinctly titled “Escape”). I must have seen this episode a bunch of times as a kid because when I think of Fantasy Island, I think of this episode. It seriously made me terrified of going to prison. I think it must have been the first time, at five or six, I really got the concept. Anyway, I didn’t remember the other story (“Cinderella Girls”) at all which co-starred John Saxon (who I wrongly insisted was Terry O’Quinn, from Lost). Tattoo was less offensive than I remembered and Mr. Rourke was more chillingly sinister. Is he supposed to actually be the Devil or some kind of benevolent wizard? Anyway, it’s worth watching just for the Rourke bits. Ricardo Montalban puts the gravy in gravitas.

≈ The A-Team: To balance off what I assumed was going to be a terrible experience for Mandi watching Fantasy Island, I agreed to watch The A-Team. When she liked Fantasy Island I bellowed “D’oh!” and shook my fist at the sky. Well, The A-Team wasn’t as bad as I remembered. That is to say the action was still just as hokey but the dialogue and character interactions were a lot more entertaining than I expected. I guess that’s why it was a hit. Anyway, John Saxon was the baddie! What’re the chances? (Pretty good since he was on an episode a week of something pretty much for a whole decade).

≈ Hemlock Grove: A Netflix original version of Twi-Blood-Diaries. We watched a whole four episodes before giving up. It wasn’t bad exactly but they were really dragging out the story at about a 2:1 episode to plot point ratio. Actually by episode three it felt like they’d told about one episode’s worth of story. One thing Mandi appreciated was finally there was some vampire enjoying menstrual cunnilingus action—a “sexy vampire” genre pet peeve of her’s is that they never indulge in this obvious opportunity. Anyway, sometimes I think about watching another episode and then… don’t bother.

≈ Orange Is The New Black: A Netflix original series about a middle class woman’s experience in prison. Mandi’s watched a bunch of these but I only watched the first episode and, maybe, part of another. Perhaps it gets better but I couldn’t shake the feeling the balance between comedy and drama felt really, really off. Or neither were done particularly well. I think the fact I was a little (completely) put off by the lead character didn’t help. I kept thinking, “Well this couldn’t have happened to a shallower, more annoying person.” Which I’m sure was intentional. She’ll grow as a result of her experiences. Which was a little too obvious, too pat. Anyway, I felt like they were trying go for a kind of Breaking Bad feel but didn’t get that same dark, dark humour working. Also, Kate Mulgrew’s Russian accent is atrocious. I was baffled about why they went with that and then found out the show is based on a book. Well, that explains why the character is Russian, but not why they didn’t get someone who could do a Russian accent to play her. It’s not like Mulgrew is any kind of draw. Anyway, when she’s not talking, Mulgrew is the most engaging, least cliched, character on screen. So there’s that.

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