JULY: What to Binge Watch on Netflix

In honor of Comic-Con going on right now in San Diego, CA these two Binge Watch suggestions have a science fiction theme. The plots almost always have a real life counterpart and the science fiction element is a way to hold up a mirror, or show what disasters will happen if we persist in pursuing some course of action. One suggestion is a TV series and the other one is a movie. It looks like a season 2 for the TV Series has not been announced yet.

1) Sense 8 – 12 episodes

There are 8 people scattered across the planet in America, England, Russia, India who are magically connected. The audience knows they are connected somehow because Daryl Hannah appears as a vision to each of them in the first episode. The 8 people slowly find out they are connected because they can mentally access each other’s skills, abilities, knowledge, language and emotions. They can ‘visit’ each other at will and talk to each other and help each other even though they are not physically in the same place. But they can be mentally in the same place. There’s lots of sex: gay sex, group sex and straight sex. There’s a conspiracy of course, a sinister organization wants to weaponize the genetic connection these people have. But the sinister conspiracy plot is never really made clear. The only familiar face is Sayid from ‘Lost’ and Daryl Hannah, everyone else is relatively unknown. The series was created by the Wachowski siblings, who were responsible for ‘The Matrix’ trilogy.

2) Safety Not Guaranteed – 2012

This is a really cute movie with a simple premise and it ends in really cool way. It stars Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, and Aubrey Plaza. Mark Duplass plays a guy who seriously places a classified print ad asking for a volunteer to go time traveling with him and says that their ‘Safety is Not Guaranteed’. The classified ad sparks the interest of some young journalists who befriend the man who placed the ad to find out if he’s serious. He’s very serious. Or is he crazy. The skeptics start to become believers, and its very funny.

JUNE: What to Binge Watch on Netflix

There will be crappy weather days even in the summer. There will be days and nights when you don’t have anything better to do. You know it, I know it. That is why you binge watch shows and movies on Netflix. I am only recently getting around to watching PBS Mysteries. “Antiques Roadshow” and “Downton Abbey” were the gateway drug, now I have to binge all the PBS Mysteries too. The show I’m going to recommend to you stars an actual SEXY SPINSTER character. Then there’s a summer comedy set in the 80’s you need to watch again if you’ve watched it before, or watch it for the first time.

1) Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – 26 episodes

Essie Davis stars as Phryne Fisher living in 1920’s Melbourne Australia. Phryne (pronounced FRY-nee) is your second favorite Sexy Spinster. She’s never been married, never had children, she’s independently wealthy and has lots of affairs and sex and solves murder mysteries. She’s assertive and is the master of her own destiny at a time when women didn’t do that. Of course she has the luxury of choosing that life because she has the money to do it. More power to her. In addition to various lovers, there’s a ‘will they or won’t they’ story line with the local detective in charge. I feel like she has more chemistry with her fly-by-night lovers.

2) Wet Hot American Summer (2001) – Comedy

See if you recognize any of these names: Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, David Hyde Pierce, Elizabeth Banks. All of them appear in this hilarious comedy set in 1981, the year I think I went to sleepaway Girl Scout Camp. In the movie its the last day before everyone goes home and there’s unfinished business. Love triangles, unrequited love, daring rescues, broke down vans, runaways, a mentally ill mess hall cook, and The Big Talent Show. On July 31, 2015 you can binge watch new episodes of the new Netflix series “Wet Hot American Summer”, all the same people from the movie are back.


Here’s Your Mother’s Day Weekend Netflix Binge

This is where I reveal my perverse sensibilities a little bit. Two May Mother’s Day recommendations from Netflix, neither one anywhere near a heartwarming hallmark holiday. They are the opposite. If Mother’s Day is too touchy feely watch these Netflix recommendations. If I showed these suggestions to my own mother she would roll her eyes so hard the force of gravity would cause her to fall over backwards.

What to watch this Mother’s Day Weekend on Netflix

1. “Dear Zachary” (2008) – Documentary

The less you know the better, no fair Googling the story before or during the movie. Like all great documentaries, the filmmaker intended to tell one story, then unbelievable unpredictable events hijack the whole project. I have to warn you that you will never ever get over seeing this movie. We find out that the subject of the movie, Andrew, is dead and he left behind son named Zachary. The filmmaker is Andrew’s childhood friend Kurt who wants the audience and Andrew’s son Zachary to know his father. Since Kurt has tons of home movies with Andrew from childhood to adulthood there’s lots of footage showing us that Andrew is an immensely likable human being. When Zachary’s mother is introduced a dark cloud descends on the whole story. Andrew’s parents are everything you wish your parents were, and everything you hope you would be if you were a parent. I’m getting choked up now. Just watch it.

2. “Broadchurch” Series 1 (2013) – 8 episodes

‘The body of an 11 year old child was found on harbor cliff beach at Broadchurch’. Every parent’s nightmare. Here’s where the Mother’s Day Weekend Netflix binge becomes a marathon. Its eight episodes, only one story told all the way through. Broadchurch is a small resort town in England. Things like child murder don’t happen there. One detective Alec (David Tennet) is a transplant with no personal ties to the people or the town and has the clearest picture of the people and the crime. His partner is Ellie (Olivia Colman) has lived in Broadchurch forever, knows everyone and her objective judgement might be clouded by having such deep roots in the town.

APRIL: What to binge watch on Netflix

1.BLOODLINE- 13 episodes on Netflix

The big selling point to get you in the door is COACH TAYLOR (Kyle Chandler) from ‘Friday Night Lights’, he plays John Rayburn, but you’ll stay for the guy who plays John’s brother Danny. The other supporting cast will look familiar, but you might not know them by name. Except Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard are Mom and Dad Rayburn. The rest of the family  includes Meg (Linda Carellini), Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz) and Danny (Ben Mendelsohn). The whole thing starts with John narrating that the Rayburns aren’t bad people they did a bad thing, whoops. The resulting episodes show us what the Rayburns did and why they did it.

When you get half way into the episodes the most compelling thing about the whole show becomes Creepy Danny. You’ll start out having some sympathy for him, because we’re told he’s the outcast loser of the family. But half way through the 13 episodes, the actor Ben Mendelsohn who plays Danny conveys absolute menace, terror, and fear without saying a word. He does some awful stuff, but the way he looks at people, it will make you truly believe that he’s capable of anything. The only comparison I can make is what Anthony Hopkins did with Hannibal Lector when we first saw him looking at the camera in “Silence of the Lambs”. THAT GOOD.

*You have my permission to go ahead and binge on beer & potato chips while you binge watch Netflix

2.FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – 76 Episodes on Netflix

Since I brought up this show in Netflix binge watch suggestion #1, here it is again. If you’ve seen this show, you KNOW its not just about High School Texas Football. Football is just the backdrop needed to tell us the story of The Taylors and the people of Dillon, TX. It’s the common thread that ties the community together and gives us a chance to follow them around and find out what they’re up to. The most important thing for you to know is that this show is for adults its not aimed at ‘teens’.
‘Friday Night Lights’ happens to have two of the greatest characters in the history of television – Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his wife Tami Taylor (Connie Britton). Yes they are up there with JR Ewing, Homer Simpson, Archie Bunker, Hawkeye Pierce, Alexis Carrington…etc. I can’t praise this show enough. And I want to be Tami Taylor when I grow up. Or even more interesting, Connie Britton should host a talk show on Lifetime in character as Tami Taylor. I would watch the shit out of that.

This trailer hits plot points from the entire run of the series, so you’ll get a good idea. There’s not enough Tami Taylor in the trailer. I would have fixed that if I was editing. “Clear Eyes Full Hearts Can’t Lose!”