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Archive for the ‘television’ Category

Netflix Review

I have never really used LoveFilm, though a friend of mine does get sent the DVDs. I have never used their streaming service, however, so I will not be comparing the two.

I stream a lot of TV and films over the internet already, although I watch these either alone or with the boyfriend. DVD watching has always been a much more sociable activity as lots of people can crowd around a television and enjoy the film.

I decided to sign up for the Netflix free trial to watch Breaking Bad, since I knew the show had good reviews and all of my favourite shows were currently off the air.

I don’t think I would ever have become a regular Netflix user, and I possibly still won’t be with the £5.99 a month price tag attached. However, I got a Nintendo Wii at Christmas and it turns out that I can use Netflix on it. And suddenly, streaming films and TV shows has become a sociable activity, since I can use the Wii to display films on the TV.

There is still, I feel, a limited collection on Netflix. It has not got the full four seasons of Breaking Bad, though it does have the complete season of Prison Break. It has a few BBC and ITV programmes I perhaps would watch, and a few documentaries I’d never have heard of and would find interesting.

Its film collection is sadly very limited. It has a couple of films I really like (Philadelphia, Kill Bill, Stigmata), a few I’d never heard of but think could be interesting (Once, Black Book) and a few I know I definitely do not want to see (Top Gun, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Popular mainstream films are in limited supply on Netflix. Currently, anyway. There’s no Star Wars, no Lord of the Rings, no Matrix. There are a few interesting independent films, a lot of children films (though no Disney or Pixar) and quite a lot of Quentin Tarantino.

I wouldn’t pay for the service now. I think its collection of TV shows are too limited. I’m currently making my way through The West Wing, which aired in 1999, and that isn’t present on the Netflix service. Potentially though, if they are able to add new shows as they are released it could be a much more desirable service. Boardwalk Empire, for example, was recently released on DVD and would be very welcome on Netflix.

Potentially, Netflix will be an excellent service in the UK. I don’t know how many more films it has in the USA, where it is already very popular, but I presume its library is much more substantial. I would wait a little bit longer to sign up for a paid subscription, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

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For some reason, the BBC haven’t put their video of the One Show from last night on BBC iPlayer yet. But I must ask – how many people who are complaining about Jeremy Clarkson’s comments today actually watched the One Show yesterday?

I ask, because anyone who did would realise Clarkson did not just say he wanted to shoot all of the strikers.

Only five seconds earlier, he spoke in support of their actions.

Then, Matt Baker or Alex Jones said something along the lines of it being quite mild-mannered or generous for Clarkson.

And then, only then, did Clarkson say the comments that are appearing all over the press today.

Jeremy Clarkson gave two separate, differing opinions on the strikers, and it is unclear which of these opinions is the genuine one. When the show comes onto BBC iPlayer I will transcribe the whole thing, so people can see what was actually said. It’s not as one-sided as the media the the unions are making out.

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I was watching a House Season 8 first look video today.

Beneath it were the comments such as “so weird to hear him talking in his normal voice.” By ‘him’, of course, they meant the very, very English Hugh Laurie, whose American accent was so convincing when he auditioned for House, even the casting people didn’t realise he wasn’t from those parts.

Even for me, someone who has watched Blackadder and some scenes from Fry and Laurie, it is odd listening to Hugh’s normal voice.

But reading those comments, I felt a little bit of pride. It was an odd sense of something like patriotism, but not quite. I felt almost like I, and other British people, were lending Hugh to the Americans. We were letting them have a taste of true British style, humour and talent, and soon, we would pull it out from under their feet, just to remind them that they’re our talented actors, not theirs.

It is perhaps unthinkable that anyone could play the dry, witty, sarcastic House as well as a British actor. After all, are we not famed for that? Indeed, it has been said that people don’t always understand our sense of humour. A simple: “oh great, rain,” could be taken as though the person was genuinely happy for it to be raining. (Unlikely. We in Britain complain when it rains, and we complain when it’s 28 degrees Celsius, as it has been the last few days).

British talent is beginning to seep into the very corners of American television. Whether they’re happy about it or not remains to be seen, but a number of British actors are acting in some very high-profile roles. Hugh was one of the first of this new boom, but there was Anthony Stewart-Head before him in Buffy, and currently there is Scottish-born Kelly Macdonald in Boardwalk Empire, Jaime Murray, previously of Dexter and now in Ringer, starring alongside Welshman Ioan Gruffudd. The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln of Love Actually fame, Stephen Fry has popped onto Bones for some guest appearances and Game of Thrones starred Sean Bean. Even some of America’s most loved reality shows are merely the children of British ideas: both American Idol (now the X Factor) and Dancing with the Stars are Britsh imports. And Downton Abbey came away with 4 wins at the recent Emmy Awards (beaten only by Modern Family with 5 wins). And I haven’t even started on two people who are bizarrely popular in America and presumably despised by equal amounts: Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan.

The truth is, the Brits are taking over, and are being very successful too.

There is a lot of talent sitting here on our shores. Matt Smith has walked in the shoes of some incredible Doctors in Doctor Who and the BBC have started a new iPad app in Australia, similar to BBC iPlayer so those Down Under can enjoy our programmes. Our shows are being broadcast worldwide, and the BBC is one of the most respected broadcasters.

But, just as with Hugh Laurie, our great actors are only out on loan. Because although I still feel a tiny bit proud that our British stars are being so successful over the pond, I want them back in our great award-winning shows too, eventually.

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