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Now that we have Apple TV, we can watch Netflix on our TV, which is great, as we don't have cable. We've watched a few series and tried others, and we're getting pretty good at the quick reject. Below are three we rejected, plus two we're currently watching.

Travelers--quick reject No, change of plans! We're going to give it a chance.

This came highly recommended, and since I've liked other things the recommending friend has suggested, I'm willing to bet that the storyline is good, but it had the violence turned up to high within the first ten minutes. When we watched Continuum, each show had to have its five minutes or so of kicking and punching, and we put up with it, like we put up with the gross-out body horror stuff in Fringe, but when you *open* with vicious violence, that probably means it's going to be embroidered throughout the entire show, rather than making an obligatory appearance once or twice per show. You're signaling to viewers what your show will have. Therefore, not for us.

ETA: All that was true, but when Little Springtime joined littlemoremasks in inhaling it, we decided to give it another try, and at the end of the first episode, we're feeling much better about it.

The OA--quick reject

Started out okay--a blind woman who disappeared from her home as an adolescent is rediscovered--with her sight restored--after she apparently tries to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. AND WHAT ARE THOSE SCARS ON HER SHOULDERS COULD SHE MAYBE BE AN ANGEL??? That seemed to be the working premise for the first half of the first episode: she looks Deep Into The Soul of the drug-selling golden-haired bully boy who lives near her and later pop-psychology-heals his burned-out teacher. She needs five agile, strong, able-bodied folks to help her perform a ceremony that will let her return to ... something. The bully and three of his pals show up--and then the teacher (who doesn't seem at all agile, but details, details), so the ceremony can begin. BUT FIRST LET ME TELL YOU MY STORY the woman says, and suddenly we're embarked on a long, involved backstory involving a Russian kleptocrat father (turns out our heroine is adopted) and visions and a neglectful auntie and .... too much. My engagement plummeted as the baroqueness of the main character's backstory skyrocketed. For his part, wakanomori was put off by the bully character. So, not quite as quick a reject as Travelers (we watched the whole episode), but still: a no-go.

Sense8--quick reject

I liked the pun in the title and the title graphics--how are those for criteria for trying something? But the opening scene was shot with a purple/blue filter and was sexy-vampire-types making out--just not a scenario that interests either me or wakanomori. (This was the quickest reject of the three, as we didn't even watch to the end of the first scene.)

3%--Hey Mikey! We like it!

This is a Netflix original series made in Brazil, with a Brazilian cast. It has a Hunger Games premise: most of the world (? Or Brazil?) in the future live in squalor, but if you've been registered at birth, then when you turn 20 you can undergo "the process"--a series of tests. Three percent will succeed and be allowed to go to the blissful, almost mythical "offshore." The rest return to squalor.

First, it's just such a pleasure to see a cast of non-Hollywood faces, many of them people of color. It's a treat for the eyes. They're all beautiful (young people are pretty much always beautiful), but refreshingly unretouched. And the storytelling is good. We've watched three episodes. Each one has focused on one of a cohort of young people who are going through the process together. All of them have secrets, have done things they regret. Several have cheated or betrayed someone to stay in the process--but those same have also helped out others. There's a guy in a wheelchair who's more than an object of pity or inspiration. After so many shows where you can predict who's going to say what, with what outcome, it's refreshing to watch one where the details are unusual and (some of the) twists are unpredictable. The overseer has secrets of his own, and an auditor has been brought in to see how he's running things. It's gripping! This review has it right: "3%'s ability to captivate relies on both acting and storytelling, and succeeds on both counts."

But set your watching preferences for subtitles, because the dubbing is *very* stilted. (It's a tribute to how good the show is that we were putting up with the dubbing. Now that we've figured out how to get subtitles, we're going to enjoy hearing the actors' own voices.)

Joanna's story is featured in the third episode

Atelier--Hey Mikey! We like it

This is a Japanese show (this one automatically had subtitles rather than dubbing--yay! This allows us to keep up with our Japanese) about a recent college graduate, Mayu, who goes to work for a designer-manufacturer of custom-made lingerie. I feared there was going to be lots of sexist how-important-beauty-is-for-a-woman talk--there was some of that in the first episode--and lots of male-gaze-y stuff, but on the contrary, discussions about beauty and style end up a lot more nuanced. The main character is more than just a pretty face--she works very hard, apologizes a whole lot, but also stands her ground and asks questions. You get discussion of business principles and markets, and about, well, underwear. The side characters are all interesting and likable. We've watched three episodes of this, too, and really enjoy it.

Have you seen any of these shows? Maybe you had a different experience with one of the quick-reject ones? Any of you seen the other two? What things are you enjoying (if anything) on the small screen these days?


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2017 05:55 pm (UTC)
I watched some of Sense8, but I opted out about six eps in. Way, way too much violence for me, and too much fake sex on screen, which I find a total turnoff. The acting was brilliant, though.

yeah, that purple crap was hard to deal with--badly done signal that in extremis the woman is reaching out psychically to eight people.

I still find myself rewatching Nirvana in Fire, and uncovering layers of complexity, when I have (rare) tv time.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I just really never need to see sex. I realize lots of people find it a plus, though, so [insert that emoticon of the shrugging guy here].

You've read so much dystopian YA, you might be too tired of the premise to deal with 3%, but you'd love the faces.

Nirvana in Fire sounds so awesome, and I loved the one episode we watched with you. I wish it were easier for us to access.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:05 pm (UTC)
you can't bring up wiki.com on apple Tv? it's not internet connected? (I know zip about tv stuff.)

Yeah, I looked at the #5 and was drawn to the faces, but the story was a total turnoff.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:09 pm (UTC)
viki.com, right? I'm not sure--we could give it a try. Our wifi is poor, so it'll only work if we *can* go directly there. (If we have to have a computer or laptop as an intermediary, it's going to stall out.)
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:12 pm (UTC)
some tvs go sdirectly to internet but I don't know if yours does. I am clueless!
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:29 pm (UTC)
Me too! But we'll experiment.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 06:39 pm (UTC)
I've heard good things about Atelier! Sometime I should watch it; it looks gorgeous.

I just finished watching the 1981 Brideshead Revisited miniseries, which is also gorgeous, but so sad (which I knew going in; I've seen a different adaptation of Brideshead Revisited). But so beautifully done! And I'm such a sucker for stories set in Britain in the interwar years.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 09:23 pm (UTC)
I remember all my friends **loved** the 1981 Brideshead revisited. I somehow never saw it! Maybe now's my chance...

I think you might love Atelier--just have patience past how Nanjo-shacho behaves in the first episode.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 07:26 pm (UTC)
*takes intrigued notes*

I have seen bits of Sens8, like the scene where they were all singing the same song at the same time, but haven't been drawn to try to watch the whole thing. And I *like* watching sex. *laugh at myself*
Jan. 22nd, 2017 09:35 pm (UTC)
Have you seen the bits on Tumblr? I like the idea of people all over the place sing the same song at the same time! This has even been done, deliberately, and has struck me as so cool.

That's great that you like watching the sex! I wish I did like it more. Every now and then I do, but rarely ... I like your sexy drawings, though, all the time :-)
Jan. 23rd, 2017 12:00 am (UTC)
*smiles at you both* :)
Jan. 23rd, 2017 02:24 am (UTC)
*blushes delightedly*
Jan. 22nd, 2017 08:05 pm (UTC)
Ruth really loves Sense8, but mostly because of the sex, which is way more diverse and interesting than TV sex usually gets, apparently. I had exactly the same reaction to the first scene that you did, and haven't tried again.

On my list to attempt on Netflix is Galavant, which is an epic-fantasy musical sitcom that is taking down all the tropes of epic. The gifs I've seen have been amazing, but I just haven't had the time yet.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 09:37 pm (UTC)
Diverse and interesting meaning not just cishet sex, or meaning more practices than just fervent kissing and then f*cking (which seems to be all I ever see by way of sex)?

Jan. 22nd, 2017 10:39 pm (UTC)
Both, apparently? The people who are psychically connected at one point have a multi-continent orgy. This is very conceptually nifty to me, so I may wind up trying the show again, but wow, did the first scene hit me the wrong way.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 10:52 pm (UTC)
I like the conception of the link very much, but yeah, that first scene reminded me of the role-plays my kids got up to in middle school.
Jan. 22nd, 2017 10:04 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen a single one of those. :) I also find violence a turn-off (unrelated to my having seen them; I don't think they've been made available to me) and I also think pouring too much violence into our minds and eyes is bad for us.

I've seen five episodes of Nirvana in Fire, which does have violence, but it's pretty clearly fake blood, and I think wouldn't rank high on today's television violence scales. It's rather fun, with such an irreproachable, impeturbable, deeply insightful hero, and lots of very recognisable Asian cinema/TV characters and tropes: the amiable but slightly goony companions! the wicked counsellor! the fiercely loyal bodyguard! filial piety! poison and court intrigue! the restrained, courteous lovers! and much more. :)

Plus for me, there's the fun of recognising from my minuscule "vocabulary" of twenty-one characters words I know in the subtitles (the version I'm seeing is subtitled in Chinese characters as well as English) - so it goes like this: "Oh, look! He said great mountain!" "Oh, that bit's in the past tense! And it said two days" :D
This is all interspersed, of course, with bucketloads of words/characters I don't know! But still, fun!

Edited at 2017-01-23 01:05 am (UTC)
Jan. 22nd, 2017 10:51 pm (UTC)
That's wonderful, that feeling of a language becoming more and more intelligible, like chunks falling out of a wall until you can see more and more of what's on the other side, or like a thick velvet curtain gradually becoming thinner and thinner, till it's like gauze and eventually disappears entirely.

This evening we watched episode four of 3%, the Brazilian one, and I was surprised at how many one-off words I understood either from my slowly progressing Spanish, or from Tetun! I knew Tetun borrowed a lot from Portuguese, but I hadn't realized exactly what words. (All the same, the help from Spanish and Tetun is still not amounting to very much understanding--just random words.)
Jan. 22nd, 2017 11:53 pm (UTC)
Sheeyun likes Travelers, and I haven't seen it. We both watched all of The OA, which seems to me flawed, and I can't see how they'll do a second season- I gather they're going to- and I think it reaches way too hard for Profundity.

/i agree about The 3%, though we've only seen one episode so far! And why, I ask myself now, aren't we watching more?

I have not seen Atelier.

We're enjoying A Series of Unfortunate Events a lot.
Jan. 23rd, 2017 12:15 am (UTC)
A Series of Unfortunate Events--I could get into that! Don't know if wakanomori would be game, though. We read a few with the kids--or maybe it was that the kids were reading them and read sections out to us; yes, that's more likely. Anyway, in small doses they seemed fun.

The main character in the OA looks a lot like a woman in my book group. I was thinking this silently to myself, and finally said it out loud to Wakanomori, who said "Yes! Yes she really does! I was thinking that too!" which was very gratifying, but I probably still won't mention it to my friend, as I know from being in the reverse position that sometimes it's very hard to see what others see.
Jan. 23rd, 2017 12:40 am (UTC)
As for the books, as I audioread the first fewI didn't reckon much on them. But starting with the fourth there was forward progress which accelerated as the series went on.

When I first got to the last one I thought, wow, maybe it was built up to profundity all along! But, well, on reread, not so profound or cleverly laid. But I still like the series.

And this video series is cleverly different and clue-laying from the get-go.
Jan. 23rd, 2017 02:45 am (UTC)
But the opening scene was shot with a purple/blue filter and was sexy-vampire-types making out--just not a scenario that interests either me or wakanomori.

My father loves Sense8 and has a low tolerance for unnecessarily explicit sex in fiction, which suggests to me that the show gets better if you can get through the opening. I can't promise that the reasons he loves it are ones that will work for you, though.
Jan. 23rd, 2017 10:59 am (UTC)
Of the shows we quick-rejected, Sense8 seems to be the show that most people commenting here have positive experiences of. The first scene was a big turnoff (not just the sex; there was something really adolescent about it), but I like the premise, and I like the notion of people on separate continents singing the same song at the same time, so I might try it again at some point, and if I can get into it, maybe I'll cajole Wakanomori into giving it a second try.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )



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