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Entries in netflix (3)

Monday
Feb112013

House of Cards Reviewed

Netflix has an end game of beating HBO... They want to develop their own original content that is high quality and has immediate streaming of the entire season (no more waiting a week for a fresh episode).  House of Cards is Netflix's second original series (Lilyhammer was their first), and I just finished watching all 13 episodes.  Check out the trailer and I'll get into the review.

After finishing the first episode I wasn't quite sure what to make of the show... A political thriller, and Kevin Spacey with a Southern accent trying to etch out a master plan.  I watched the second episode and I was hooked; Netflix has finally created a quality product.  What makes HOC of so damn good is Kevin Spacey pulling a lot of strings controlling a larger puppet show.  The writing is extremely well done, and I'd say HOC is on the level of an AMC or HBO quality.

The cast of HOC is also pretty damned good.  Robin Wright plays a great power hungry wife, and Kate Mara (you probably remember her from Shooter) plays a fantastically manipulative reporter.  There are quite a few other familiar faces, and just about all of them are top notch.  Netflix has really brought their "A Game" to the original series world.

I highly recommend you watch House of Cards.  Right now you can only find HOC on Netflix, but  you can watch the first episode for free.  Netflix is $7.99 per month for streaming, but Netflix also offers a free month trail.

 

Wednesday
Dec052012

Roku Reviewed

Last summer I picked up a Roku with a left over Best Buy gift card.  After having thoroughly used it for close to six months, I'm not entirely sure how I lived without it.

Mrs. Foxtrot cancelled our cable subscription years ago.  It was too much damned money for a bunch of channels that were useless.  Netfilx streamed through our Wii allowed us to consume most of the media we wanted and we would occasionally go over to a friend or family member's house to catch up on a few shows here and there.  The Roku not only gave us Netfilx and Hulu it also got us HBOGO and Amazon streaming.

So who is the Roku for?  Well for anyone who doesn't have cable, an XBOX 360, or a PS3.  It is a tiny hockey puck sized box that plugs into your TV and gives you high def access to the previously mentioned streaming services.  Netflix works great, and if you are an Amazon Prime member (which you should be!) you get access to a ton of streaming content.  Most of it is similar to Netflix, but you also have the ability to rent recent movies, and the high def on Amazon looks great!  If you have a modern video game system you can pretty stream all the same stuff, but if you don't this might be the best $49 you've ever spent.

A quick note about HBOGO... You might be wondering how I got HBOGO with a cable plan; HBOGO can't be purchased as an ala carte item, it is only available as part of your cable package.  My cousins (thanks S & A I owe you guys!) graciously provided us with their username and password and we had access to all of HBO's original programming as well as a ton of new movies.  So if you have a friend or family member who has HBOGO you may want to inquire about them sharing :)

There was one slight problem with this as my cousin's DirecTV doesn't have an HBOGO licensing agreement with the Roku.  I searched the interwebs and finally came up with a solution to stream HBOGO via DirecTV to the Roku.  The app is called PlayOn and it basically uses a Silverlight hack via your computer to stream HBOGO to your Roku.  It works well about 75% of the time, although the menu is a little wonky.  PlayOn will also let you stream vids from your computer via VLC (so you can watch all those "back up" copies of your DVDs).  PlayOn offers both these services in with the free version of the app, and a bunch of crappy channels that require you to pay.  For free, I won't complain too much and it gets the job done.

There are several models of the Roku, but honestly the cheap will do everything you'll it for.  Hit up Amazon for the $49 Roku.  So should you get a Roku?  Like I said before, if you want to stream Amazon video, Netflix, HBOGO, HULU, etc. and don't have any other means to do so, then definitely get a Roku.  There is mention of lots of original channels on Roku, but the vast majority are crappy things you've never heard of; think of the TV equivalent of what Blockbuster video had left over on a Saturday night.

Wednesday
Mar072012

Netflix Original Lilyhammer Reviewed

I've been a Netflix customer for several years.  I consider it poor man's cable, and stream it through my Wii.  Most of the streaming offerings are weak, but there are a few diamonds in the rough.  Netflix has created their first original show called Lilyhammer, with 8 episodes.

Lilyhammer stars Steve Van Zandt from Sopranos (and E street band), as a mobster who joins the witness protection plan and moves to Lilyhammer, Norway.  The majority of the actors and locations are in Norway, which makes for a lot of "fish out of water" type scenarios.  Check out the trailer:

I have mixed feelings about Lilyhammer.  On the one hand, I'm stoaked Netflix has made some professional quality, original content with at least one big name.  On the flip side it feels like the production meeting went something like this: "We have a BIG name from Sopranos, and we have a location that offers great tax credits!"  The people of Norway speak English in addition to their native tongue, but much of this series is Van Zandt speaking English and everyone else speaking Norwegian with English subtitles underneath.  This gets annoying at times, but it is forgivable.  The Norse people are decent actors, and it actually looks like a very pretty cool place to visit.

The show is fun, and a little quirky.  Van Zandt opens a bar and runs some back room mobster style deals.  The story is decent, but a little predictable at times.  I enjoyed watching this series because it was new and original which seem to be lacking from the majority of Netflix's streaming library.  Lilyhammer is by no means the same quality as an HBO, FX, or AMC style show, but is definitely better than anything new to network TV.  If you've exhausted the few other gems that Netflix has to offer, I'd give Lilyhammer a watch.

Watch Lilyhammer on Netflix here.