Category Archives: Netflix

The Sure Sign of Fall

After a boring day at the office, I come home to find a much less boring day in someone else’s office.

No, I’m not talking about The Office. It’s way better than that. I’m talking about Parks and Recreation: Season 4, now available on Netflix. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try this show on for size, might I suggest…now? The first three seasons are solid mockumentary-style comedy, and I am willing bet that Season 4 is probably just as good. Maybe a little weaker, since that’s just how shows go as time passes, but I’m still looking forward to watching it.

Now just waiting for the newest season of 30 Rock to pop up and I will have the makings of a perfect Labor Day hangover salve.

Ron Swanson: Enough said.

Netflix: Now With Autoplay

My life just got about 65% better.

As someone who watches a lot of television shows more so than movies, I have been waiting for Netflix to add an autoplay feature for months, maybe longer. I knew we were getting close when they added the Hulu-esque “Play Next Episode” screen when the current episode ended. But today…finally today…my wish has been fulfilling. Netflix has added autoplay, on a 20-second delay to give you a chance to switch episodes. I may never leave my living room again.

The little things mean a lot 🙂

Also, if you are like me and let autoplay run continuously in the background while you are off doing something else, Netflix has installed a little check-in feature to regulate your viewing experience. After X number of autoplayed episodes (I think it’s somewhere around 3 or 4), it will display a little question asking you if you’re still watching the show (in my case, it was Bob’s Burgers, as you can see above–I’m sort of obsessed with it). From there you can either say yes or return to the main menu. I assume this is a safety function for Netflix, based on the assumption that they pays royalties per view to the copyright holder, and they don’t want people autoplaying their content if they’re not watching it. Smart move, Netflix.

I guess one could argue that I’m costing Netflix a lot of unnecessary money by letting these shows drone on in autoplay for hours while I’m actually doing something else. But I don’t think so. I work from home, and I am alone from basically 8am-5pm, sometimes later. Having the TV on is a cheap and easy way to feel less lonely. Maybe that’s a little…pathetic, but it works for me.

Ah, I’m so excited! I was getting tired of clicking Play Next Episode every 21-42 minutes, because I have to stop what I’m doing and change my focus, which messed up my my whole workflow. So thanks, Netflix, for helping me become more productive. I’m sure that’s exactly why you did it.

The Madison of the Northwest

Whatever you are watching, stop it immediately and watch Portlandia.

Unless you’re watching it already, in which case…as you were.

Portlandia
Format: 30 minute television show
Category: Sketch Comedy
Starring: Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein
Premise: The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland…along with a lot of really weird citizens.
Original Broadcast Channel: IFC
Off the Wire Location: Netflix (season 1)

At first, I was really lukewarm about watching this show. I didn’t really care for Fred Armisen, I had never heard of Carrie Brownstein, and I have a strange competitive feeling about Portland (I’m from Madison, and I want us to be the weirdest city ever dammit!)

However, from the first sketch, I was completely drawn in by the quirky strangeness of it, and I watched it straight through to the end. It took me a little bit to like Fred and Carrie (a lot of the characters are very abrasive, as is the case in most sketch comedy shows), but it did happen in the end. They kind of grow on you.

Still not convinced? Fine–here’s five succinct reasons to watch this show now:

1) Great music. Fred Armisen was a musician for many years before he got into comedy, and it really shows in the soundtrack.
2) The Portland travelogue. At the beginning of every sketch, they label their location with a street address. It’s a genius way of promoting Portland, and it makes you feel like you’ve been on a mini-vacation even though you haven’t left your couch.
3) Kyle MacLachlan. Yep, that’s right–Agent Dale Cooper plays The Mayor of Oregon and appears in the majority of the episodes. It’s a really funny character and he plays it perfectly.
4) I’m a sucker for a great title sequence, and I love this one. Very Kids in the Hall; it brings me back to my youth.
5) It’s only six episodes (for now). You can watch the whole series in an evening, so you’ve got nothing to lose (except for that one evening–but come on, were you really going to do anything that important anyway?)

There you go. Now you have no excuse–you’re welcome.

Viewer’s Choice: Hugh Hefner

So I’ve been watching a lot of porn lately.

No, not for that. Jeez. No, I’m doing research for a new web series I’m writing (it’s going to be super awesome and I’m sure I’ll tell you all about it as it comes along. DISCLAIMER: it’s not going to be actual pornography, so you can all relax). Anyways, as an additional, more academic approach to the topic, I’ve also been watching a lot of documentaries about the porn industry, and Hefner’s biography happened to be one of them.

NOTE: This review was requested by my friend Tim. So we all have him to blame.

Er, I mean…thank.

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel (2009)

Biographical Documentary
Running Time: 2 hrs 4 mins
Plot: From his humble beginnings as a cartoonist to one of the most iconic celebrities in America, Hugh Hefner’s life has been one of controversy, conflict and, though it may come as a surprise to some, high ideals and commitment to excellence.
Available on: Netflix

Before watching this documentary, I didn’t really have an opinion on Hugh Hefner. I didn’t like him and I didn’t dislike him. I’ve never been a big fan of Playboy, but it didn’t offend me either. To me, naked women are boring. However, after watching this film, I have to say I have a great respect for Hefner.

Yep, you heard me right. Respect. Now before you get all hot and bothered about how I could possibly respect a man who distributes pornography for a living, read on. Here’s a list of awesome things I didn’t know about Hugh Hefner before I watched this documentary:

  • He’s a proponent of free speech. Seems obvious that he would be, but it never really struck me just how involved he was until now.
  • He is a ridiculous perfectionist. He reviews every issue, every picture, in painstaking detail to make sure it’s fit for publication. Yes, okay, it’s pictures of naked people. But so what? Commitment to perfection is still commendable in any artistic pursuit, even porn.
  • He was a huge civil rights activist. His television show, Playboy’s Penthouse (1959-1960), actually featured a lot of African-American musicians and racially mixed ensembles that couldn’t book a show at most other venues.
  • He was an outspoken anti-war figure during Vietnam, and his public appearances reflected that opinion. One event the documentary notes in particular is the appearance of the rock group Country Joe and the Fish on Hefner’s second short-lived television show, Playboy After Dark  (1969-1970), where they performed their extremely controversial anti-war song “I Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die Rag” .

He’s also responsible for giving me my new favorite quote to live by: “If I was going to be damned, I wanted to be damned for what I really believed, not what they pretended I believed.” It sounds a little trite, and maybe it is, but as I find myself applying it to situations in my life, it has given me a startling amount of clarity. People are judgmental no matter what. You can’t get around it. So you might as well be judged for what you actually are rather than what people think you are. Be yourself, and everyone else will just have to find a way to deal with it.

Now, I am just as liberated and modern and blah blah blah as the next woman, and as such I don’t presume to tell other women what to do with their lives. Maybe I don’t want to put on rabbit ears and tail (I think I’d look better in bat wings, or maybe as some kind of jungle cat), but far be it for me to tell other women what they can and can’t do with their lives. Maybe Playboy objectifies women as sex objects, but if the women in the photo is fine with it, then that’s fine with me. I know some people will say that this objectification causes men to see all women as sex objects, but to me it’s all about context. Sometimes women are sexual, and sometimes they aren’t, and men are not so stupid that they can’t tell the difference.

Okay, maybe some are. But those men are going act like jerks anyway, naked pictures or no.

You Tell Me

Instead of trying to guess what you people are interested in, watch that stuff and then write about it (which is SO much work), I’m flipping the tables. Here’s a list of what I’ve been watching recently enough to have in my Netflix Recently Watched list. If there’s anything you see that you want to know more about, leave a comment and I’ll write you a post.

Warning: I’m still on a big Investigation Discovery kick, but I removed all the titles I’ve already mentioned in previous posts.

What? It’s good to have on in the background while I’m working/writing/cleaning…shut up it’s my life!

Anyways….commence listing!

  • Ally McBeal
  • Auction Kings
  • Best Evidence
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Cold Blood
  • Family Guy
  • Gangland
  • Groundhog Day
  • Hardcover Mysteries
  • How It’s Made
  • Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel
  • I (Almost) Got Away With It
  • Inside Deep Throat
  • Monk
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Porn: The Business of Pleasure
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Star Trek
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Star Trek: Voyager
  • Star Trek: Enterprise

So now you know…I’m a huge geek who loves sci-fi, cartoons, and crime shows. Shock, I’m sure.

Pick your favorite and I’ll write a lil’ something special, just for you!