Streaming Guide May 26 – June 1

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All I know about Bloodline is that Kyle Chandler is in it. Also Mendo.

via What’s New In Streaming For The Next Seven Days — DeciderTV

This was a bit of a weird one. I just remembered that I forgot to include The Bachelorette. I also had a great line about how Netflix rules our lives by putting House of Cards out on a Tuesday, which I’ve been using for a month and then forgot to put in the guide. Someone on the A.V. Club said that they need to fit it in before the Emmy cut-off date, which is May 31, but they still could have given it a Friday release. It’s one of their biggest shows, and even though I don’t watch it (long live the British House of Cards trilogy), I can see them wanting to use their Fridays for smaller shows.  Bloodline is in its final season though, which would seem to be a better reason to put it on a Tuesday. I don’t understand Netflix.

The other thing is that War Machine starring Brad Pitt has dropped on Netflix, and while screeners were sent out to critics, they’re still dropping it in a week with two Emmy winning series. I didn’t have time to watch it because my Twin Peaks watch has been slower than anticipated. I also wasn’t going to be able to fit it in highlights, because I balance out releases. There’s subscription fee for streaming services, and only highlighting things on Netflix is detrimental to viewers who only have Stan, or are using exclusively FTA streaming.

David Ehrlich also wrote this highly divisive (which is unsurprising) piece about whether or not movies are still movies if they debut on Netflix. He wrote this before Okja was booed at Cannes last week. I’m somewhere in the middle on this. I can think of three cinemas in Melbourne that would have screened Snowpiercer. I know it was definitely on at the Nova and has been at The Astor (which is a monoplex, so their schedule is carefully planned), and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was also on at ACMI. Australia also only tends to get day and date releases for blockbusters, and it’s not even every blockbuster. Thanksgiving releases in the US are usually held until Boxing Day in Australia, so a worldwide release on Netflix is beneficial for viewers outside the United States.

As far as my own viewing is going: I still haven’t finished Master of None or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the Twin Peaks rewatch is coming along at a reasonable pace. I watched the first part of the new season after finishing season one, and then decided that I needed to finish the rewatch. I should be up to date in a week or so, then I can catch up with Better Call Saul (and American Gods). It’s a good thing that the US network television season is coming to a close. There’s so much to watch! The shows aren’t stopping, either. I’ve prepared my June spreadsheet, and it’s going to be pretty busy.

Emmy nominations 2016: Dramas

The 2016 Emmy nominations were announced at 1:30am local time yesterday, and I decided that I’d sleep through it. I’m perfectly happy with that decision. I don’t really have much to say about the Emmy nominations that haven’t already been said, but as usual there are some things that are great, and some not so great. You can find the full list of nominations here (okay, it’s not the full list, it excludes the Creative Arts categories, which I’ll peruse later).

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Set your faces to Stan! ‘Star Trek’ and more hits streaming this March – CNET

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Best Picture winner in our hearts. Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

Source: Set your faces to Stan! ‘Star Trek’ and more hits streaming this March – CNET

CNet is one of my favourite sites purely because they provide us with the information on what’s happening with Australian streaming services. So they’re great, but March’s streaming highlight isn’t every episode of Star Trek, but the ability to watch Mad Max: Fury Road as of March 2nd, also on Stan. It probably won’t win Best Picture at the Oscars tomorrow, but its nomination is a credit to just how great it is. And I’m not even a fan of action movies. I’ll go through highlights of all the services below.

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Creative Arts Emmys results!

There has been a leadership challenge in the Australian government this afternoon, but I make a point to not talk about politics on this blog unless it’s part of what I’m reviewing. I’ve been quite busy today, so I haven’t had much time to watch anything, so that gives me a chance to have a look at the winners for the Creative Arts Emmys, which were held last weekend. The Creative Arts awards are for the people who are in the crew of a television show: editing, design, cinematography and sound mixing – basically all the people who get played off at the Oscars because they’re not famous enough to be allowed to make a big speech even though they’re the leaders in their fields. I know that Bradley Whitford beat John Hamm, but that’s about it, so I’m going to pull up a winners list and then we’ll get started. This isn’t going to be a comprehensive analysis, I’m just going to comment on the things that are important to me.

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Netflix has launched!

Australians have been waiting a long time for Netflix, such that some people have Netflix US accounts. As Netflix launches in Australia and New Zealand today, I suspect there will be some disappointment. Global Netflix subscribers are used to having a vast library at their fingertips, and that just isn’t available yet in Australia. This morning on my way to work (I catch the train) I downloaded the Netflix app onto my phone and added things to my queue. I have a Netflix queue now, it’s great. Still, the library isn’t what it could be.

I’m happy to see that Netflix haven’t pulled their original series from the lineup, I’m excited to see both Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Bloodline. I also added Vikings, Lost and Shameless to my queue. With the addition of Orange Is the New Black (for when the new season is released), that’s a grand total of six television shows. A lot of the things I would watch are things I already own. Also, there’s some crossover with Stan with Doctor Who, Spartacus, Freaks and Geeks and Luther, as well as a number of Australian programmes. Things that I know are available on Netflix US but aren’t currently available for streaming in Australia include:

  • Buffy and Angel
  • The X-Files
  • Shaun Ryan’s little known one-season-wonder, Terriers
  • Parks and Recreation
  • 30 Rock

This is an observation, not a complaint. I have no idea how streaming licensing works (Presto and Stan both have streaming rights to The Good Wife, so there’s crossover there as well), but I can understand it as a strategy. Why launch everything when you can parse it out? It also makes sense to give as much exposure as possible to their original series – even though Netflix don’t release their subscriber numbers, they want to brag about how many people are watching House of Cards as opposed to The Big Bang Theory. It’s a little frustrating, but I’m currently on a 30 day free trial, so it’s all good.

One thing that Netflix does have over Stan is its media player. I’ve had issues with Stan stopping to buffer in the middle of a programme, sometimes as frequently as every 30 seconds. I have issues with the wifi at my house (it doesn’t get along very well with my laptop), so I just reset the connection and hope I can get through the rest of my show. And sometimes I can, but other times I end up having to restart the computer. So I tested out the Netflix player (I watched the first episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I loved it!), and it let me know how the buffering was going – it was always ahead of where I was watching, and I never had to pause it to keep up with the buffering or reset my connection. So if there’s something that’s on both Netflix and Stan, I’m going to watch it on Netflix, no hesitation there.

I’m sure the library will keep building, so I’m not too worried. One thing I was really happy to see was the ‘Independent’ heading for films, so I’m finally going to get to see The Spectacular Now.

As Netflix prepares to launch in Australia, Stan steps up its game

Netflix is launching in Australia and New Zealand on March 24 – that’s less than two days away. Over the past few weeks, Netflix has released the third season of House of Cards, as well as its new original series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Bloodlines. All I know about these shows is what I have heard on podcasts that previewed them, but I’m excited about checking them out. Television critics in the United States have questioned why Netflix is launching these series one weekend after another for the general public’s viewing pleasure. Back when House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black were Netflix’s only noteworthy original series, they launched one in February and the other in June. Now it they’re using their two established shows to anchor their new original series, even though it may be more beneficial to spread it out.

Given the imminent launch of Netflix AU and NZ however, it makes more sense. Australians have been waiting for Netflix for years. So long, in fact, that several people access their Netflix US accounts through proxy servers. Australians love to pirate House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, and really just about anything, so there’s a chance that anyone who was going to watch House of Cards’ third season has already seen it. So why not make sure there are two new original series available on streaming as well? One is written by Tina Fey and the other stars everyone’s favourite high school football coach, Kyle Chandler. Having new original series for the launch is smart marketing. They also need these shows because they’re two months behind their Australian competitors, Stan and Presto.

I don’t write much about Presto because I don’t have a subscription. Yes, you can watch HBO shows, but I have Foxtel and therefore I don’t really need it. On the other hand, Stan has made some clever marketing decisions itself. Australians are getting new episodes of Better Call Saul and Community hours after they’re available in the United States, and it’s all legal (the only real problem I have with Stan is my internet connection, so I’ll probably have the same problem with Netflix). Stan didn’t start with a fantastic library, but it’s been building, and there are some great films and television shows that are going to be available for streaming this coming week, including HBO’s Oz and one season wonder Freaks and Geeks. On the animated front, there’s Dexter’s Laboratory, which joins other Cartoon Network hits Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls. I’m still waiting on the second and third books of Avatar: The Last Airbender though, so get on that Stan. At times I’ve questioned whether or not to cancel my subscription because all I was really watching on Stan for a few weeks was Better Call Saul. However, now that Stan’s library is expanding and I have new episodes of Community every week, that’s not really an issue. And if the competition remains high between Netflix and Stan, that’s only going to be a good thing for Australians, because we might start to get more of our shows fast tracked.

If you don’t like a show, stop watching it.

One of the most valuable things I learned last year was that if I’m not enjoying a television show, I just need to stop watching it. This seems like a lesson I should have learned a couple of years ago, but I had more time to watch television in 2014 than I’ve had for a very long time. Also, sometimes really good shows have rough patches and then get better – though this hasn’t happened very often. So I have some examples!

  • Friday Night Lights: The first season of this show about a Texas high school football team (if you know me at all, you’d be surprised that I even recommend a show that has sports in it, but it’s just that good that it doesn’t matter) was critically beloved. Then the writers took it to a place in the second season that was pretty awful, and not just for the thing that happened at the end of the season premiere. The season was cut short due to the writers strike, which ended up being beneficial for everyone involved, because the third season of FNL is one of the best seasons of television I’ve ever seen.
  • The Good Wife: Most fans of this show (my favourite show currently airing right now) try to forget the first half of season 4. It’s not funny bad, like season 2 of FNL, it’s just bad, despite one interesting storyline. Then the writers came up with the fabulous “Red Team, Blue Team” in the second half of the season, which set up all the narrative changes that have occurred in the fourth and fifth season. The writers started taking risks with characters and storylines and its paid off.
  • Big Love: Opinions are divided on whether this show got better after its awful fourth season in which there was bird smuggling in Mexico, Bill’s son to his first wife kissed his third wife, Bill ran for office and then outed his family’s polygamy during his victory speech and also Sissy Spacek. Big Love was always a prime time soap, but it was good enough in its first three seasons that it wasn’t particularly obvious. During the fourth season however, it seemed to get soapier and there was less focus on the relationships between the characters. The fifth and final season recaptured what made the first three special, but it never managed to return to the quality of those early seasons.

Now that that’s out of the way, there are four shows that I gave up on in 2014, and I wrote about three of them at various points through last year: those shows are House of CardsSecrets and Lies, and Doctor Who (click on the tags to find the posts, I’m currently having internet issues that’s preventing me from linking to them). I gave up on both House of Cards and Secrets and Lies after two episodes. I watched all of the first season of House of Cards, but that was slightly easier because showcase was airing two episodes a week. When the decision was made to broadcast the show just one episode a week, it seemed like too much of a time commitment. Secrets and Lies just was so bad that I couldn’t watch past episode 2 of a 6 episode miniseries (watch Broadchurch, it’s better). I wrote about why I gave up on Doctor Who, but I might start watching it again if Steven Moffat retires as showrunner. I also gave up on The Newsroom after the first two episodes of its final season, partly because I found a job and I had to cut some television from my schedule, but also because Jane the Virgin was on at the same time.

I highly recommend giving up television shows if you don’t like them, it makes you a much happier person. Also you can spend that time watching better shows, or maybe reading a book or going outside. It’s up to you.