Netflix – What I’ve been watching…

What I have been watching on Netflix during lockdown:

Tiger King

I finally got around to watching it last week. I’m not normally a documentary fan, but this was a good watch. Joe Exotic’s story seems very unbelievable, it almost comes across as a new TV drama…but all of these events happened in real life! Watching how these events come across was fascinating and how Joe ended up in jail has left viewers with mixed feelings. I believe Joe should be punished for animal cruelty, but I think that the other people involved in planning Carole’s murder should also face punishment too. I find it strange that they played a big part but got off scot-free!

Dead To Me

I am currently watching Dead To Me S2. I enjoyed watching the first series and the twist and turns that happened. I like how it can be dark but so funny at the same time, it is very well written and well performed by the cast. Series 2 follows on from Steve’s murder and how Judy and Jen try to cover up his death and move on. Unfortunately, life doesn’t make it so easy – police attention on Judy, FBI attention to Steve’s criminal activities and the arrival of Steve’s twin brother, Ben, seek to disrupt things. I can’t really guess how this series will end at the moment!

Middleditch and Schwartz

Each episode starts off with a brief conversation with a member of the audience, from which Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) and Ben Schwartz (“Parks and Recreation) perform a improvised piece. The two are very naturally funny and some parts are laugh out loud. The improvisation makes up the majority of the episode and the two sometimes switch the characters that they portray, which can make things confusing. I do sometimes forget some of the plot threads that they introduce during the story (but the two also forget themselves sometimes!) – perhaps cutting the improvisation time in half might help with that. I think this type of show would work better in a live theatre (the atmosphere of being in the crowd would help with the enjoyment) rather on TV, but if you have the time, I would recommended watching it!

Brews Brothers

From the same writer as “The League” but not in the same league as that show (haha). Whilst I enjoyed watching “The League” for the most part, “Brews Brothers” is very unfunny, very lewd and just simply not good. The jokes and plot lines feel very forced, and I would be very surprised if the show was renewed.

After Life

S2 was recently released and whilst I like the relationship Tony has with the characters and the progression of the other characters, at times, I feel like Tony’s story hasn’t advanced. There is an episode when he tries to help his colleagues with their problems but ends up crying and bringing it back to his problems. S1 dealt with Tony’s grief and trying to move on, and showed signs of this, but it feels like S2 he didn’t really move on and hasn’t shown any character development. The final episode’s ending is quite dark and I am unsure how S3 will shape out. Hopefully it will show Tony moving on.

Kim’s Convenience

S4 came to Netflix very quickly! Again I love this show, especially Umma and Appa’s relationship (the last episode has me worried 😦 ). I found it strange how they paired Janet with Gerald at the end. During the entire show, I have never noticed any romantic chemistry between them at all. It seems like it was just thrown in into the last episode. That is my own quibble with the show.

White Gold

S2 came to Netflix and continues the story of window salesman Vincent, this time facing competition from his ex-boss who has started up a rival firm with the help of star saleswoman Jo. Ed Westwick is very good as Vincent, a charming, selfish salesman motivated by greed.

72 Cutest Animals

Because why not? Everyone likes cute animals! I don’t agree entirely with the ranking but no.1 is a good choice 🙂

What/If – Netflix

Lisa and Shaun, a happily married couple, are faced with a big dilemma. Lisa’s dream is to go forward with her science research company Emygen with its life-saving technology. However, she faces trouble finding the finance to do so, until she meets mysterious venture capitalist, Anne Montgomery. Anne can help her with everything that she needs –  all that she asks in return is for a night with Shaun and a signed confidentiality agreement about what happens on that night. Reluctantly, Lisa agrees, not knowing what problems and secrets lie ahead…

What/If is a camp ludicrous piece of entertainment. Renee Zellweger shines as Anne Montgomery, the cold and clever investor who seems to have a peculiar large interest in Lisa and Shaun’s relationship. The plot twists and turns come thick and fast, with some unbelievable events happening. The drama also devotes time to other friends and family of Lisa. Whilst it is nice that the drama seeks to flesh out more of Lisa and her background, I found the other plot lines distracting from the main story. The story of Angela and her affair with Ian and the tragic secret that Lisa’s brother has been keeping from childhood don’t seem to bring that much to the show. The characters aren’t particularly likeable either – it is hard to sympathise with the main lead Lisa – I am not sure if it is because how she is written or if Jane Levy isn’t suited to the role.

Daft as it is, if you have a few hours it is worth binge-watching to see how the story reaches its conclusion. It does leave potential for a second season although I am not sure if it really needs one.

Disenchantment – Netflix

Netflix’s new addition is Disenchantment from Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama. It follows the story of Princess Bean, not your typical princess, as she tries to find true meaning in her life.

Whereas I loved Futurama and The Simpsons (earlier seasons), it was quite hard for me to take. A lot of the humour feels forced, and the characters feel like stock characters – you don’t connect with anyone at all. Many of the storylines feel predictable, as does the shock twist in the latter part of the season. Whether the characters can achieve any growth or likability remains to be seen. I didn’t feel the plot was that engaging, I guess it only feels a little interesting in the last two episodes of the season.

It is a little disappointing, given that I liked Groening’s past efforts. Whether any improvement can be made in its next season remains to be seen. Perhaps after setting the scene and the characters, Disenchantment can move forward and achieve its success like The Simpsons and Futurama.

Champions – Netflix

Season One of Champions is now available to watch on Netflix. Co-written by Mindy Kaling, from The Office and The Mindy Project, it follows the story of Vince (played by Anders Holm, best known for Workaholics) , who once had hopes of a long and successful baseball career but now runs his dad’s old gym with his brother. Vince’s life is far from aspirational and soon, his long lost son Michael appears to shake things up a bit.

Whilst the cast perform well, I felt the story was predictable and was lacking something. I liked The Mindy Project because you warm to the main character, but here the leads are unlikeable and almost like stereotypes. It seems like Kaling can’t write for a male-led comedy? Some lines did make me laugh, and I like the pop culture references (similar to The Mindy Project). On the whole, I didn’t think it was anything special, despite the cast’s best efforts, and I would be interested to see if would garner enough interest to get a second season.

The Good Place – Netflix

 

Whilst scrolling through Netflix, I saw The Good Place, starring Kristin Bell and Ted Danson. I’ve been a big Kristin Bell fan since Veronica Mars, and the premise for this sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a go.

Eleanor Shellstrop has died and gone to the Good Place, a perfect place for good people. Everything you could possibly want is there, and the perfect soulmate is waiting to spend the rest of eternity with you. Except there is one thing wrong, Eleanor doesn’t belong there.

The show sees Eleanor try to avoid the truth coming out and being sent to the bad place, full of torture and misery. The show itself is well written and the leads are likeable. I was surprised to see Jameela Jamil in the show, I never thought she was an actress, and she is a little weak compared to the rest of the cast. I really like Jianyu/Jason – his comedic timing is spot on and he has some great lines!

I thought the “trying to hide the truth from everyone” would be stretched out over the course of the season, but things come to a head in the second half of the season. At that point, it was quite hard to predict where the show was going to go. I constantly binged on the show over the next few days, and I certainly didn’t see the twist ending!

I have started the second season now, and it is just as good as the first. I would definitely recommend the show. It’s a nice surprise and the story is a little different to the comedies out there.