Tag: NetFlix Series

Virgin River (Netflix Series 2019)

3.5 Kernels

Well, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., I binged a new series on Netflix – Virgin River. Was it a waste of time or could have I been more productive finishing my laundry and vacuuming instead?  As guilty as I felt about sitting on my rear for so many hours in one day, with occasional bathroom, kitchen breaks, and a short one-hour nap, the show obviously kept my interest.

Virgin River is a romantic series, which Netflix has already commissioned a second season due to be released June 2020. Therefore, don’t throw your hands up in the air when you reach the last episode of season one, because more is coming your way.  The show is “loosely” based on a series of books written by author Robyn Carr, another lucky author (unlike myself) whose books are being brought to life on television.

The series is about Melinda Rose, a talented nurse played by Alexandra Breckenridge, who brings strength to the leading female character. Melinda has a terribly sad past and has experienced horrible heartache, all of which she is hoping to forget by taking a job in northern California. The fictional town of Virgin River is apparently two hours from Eureka, on the California coast. However, the show was filmed in British Columbia, and the scenery is far more mountainous than the actual location depicted. There are also shots of Eureka, but they are far from what Eureka looks like. After living there for eighteen months, I can tell you much about the place.  Nevertheless, setting aside the rather unrealistic locations, it’s worth tuning into.

During the series, there are multiple flashbacks to Melinda’s life, which are slowly revealed in each episode as to the reason she has left Los Angeles in an attempt to forget the painful memories of the location. It takes time to peel back the reason behind her hurt and pain. When she arrives in Virgin River, she meets an eclectic group of individuals. First, there is the seventy-plus year-old-doctor that she is supposed to support as a nurse. She quickly learns he doesn’t want her there and is being forced to take on extra help in his sole practice as the only physician in Virgin River. Then there is the mayor of the town, who pretty much tricked her into coming, who is a character in herself. As small towns go, she’s just part of a larger group of women who knows everybody’s business and can’t seem to stay out of anything in anybody’s life. Like a dog with a bone, you’ll soon find out that she is not the most likable individual.

The slow-burning romantic interest comes in the way of Martin Henderson, playing Jack Sheridan, the owner of the town bar. He has his own past of being a vet with post-traumatic stress disorder. He hires other vets to work for him at the bar and is intent on helping those who can’t get back into the swing of things after coming out of service, all to ease his own guilt of what happened in Iraq.  He immediately feels a spark of attraction to Melinda and quickly offers to help her get settled into Virgin River. However, he has his own surprise twist waiting in the wings. Melinda is extremely secretive with him about her past, and he doesn’t understand what she has been through into much later in the episodes.

There are other sub-plots through the series and characters to keep your interest from illegal pot growers in the mountains to a woman on the run from the law with her young son. These offshoots are merely fillers in the larger picture of Melinda and Jack’s journey to wholeness. Though some of the episodes have places to yawn, overall I found Virgin River to be entertaining and will tune to the second season.

As far as the heat level, think Hallmark clean. Very little swearing. No glaring sex scenes – just kisses. I found that interesting because a few of the book reviews complain about sexually explicit scenes or too much sex. Apparently, the screenplay writer decided otherwise. Fine with me.

Lost in Space (Netflix 2018)

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2-1/2 Kernels

Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!

Well, if you grew up in the 1960’s, like I did, Lost in Space was the show to watch and many reruns for years afterward.  Though it only lasted three seasons, Netflix has had the brilliant idea of bringing back the premise of the show.  It doesn’t quite look the same in the scheme of the old one, except for a robot that is way more scarier and somewhat cooler.

I sat through all ten episodes for the sole purpose of avoiding my tax return and paying my bills.  (I promise to file tomorrow.)  Instead, I sat watching the show in two days finding it mildly entertaining but was left scratching my head a few times and hitting the fast-forward button in the last three episodes because I wanted to get over it.

All I can say is be prepared for a plot with more holes in it than a slice of Swiss cheese. There are more danger scenes packed into ten episodes with the more impossible scenarios of “getting out of this jam” than you can imagine.  From nailbiting scenes to the ridiculous, you’ll watch the Robinson family escape danger, solve every problem you can possibly image, and save the day while being hounded by one crazy woman who is Dr. Smith.

What works in this series?  Special effects are acceptable.  Robot friend of Will is fine until he starts killing everything, but redeems himself when pre-historical alien creatures are about to eat everyone.  The brave attempts of survivors (more than the Robinson family), to leave a planet they have crashed upon fill up most of the story. Perhaps they could have just made it on this piece of rock, except that apparently, this plant is dying too.  Oh, and don’t think you get the whole story of why the Robinsons and the special people had to leave earth.  I’m still confused on that one too.  Apparently, it was all a ruse.

What doesn’t work, is the plot and unanswered questions.  You’re forced to sit through flashbacks to their former life on earth, and then are hurled back in space with the family.  We have a husband (Toby Stephens plays John Robinson) and wife (Molly Paker who plays Maureen Robinson) who were about to get divorced and are now together escaping planet earth.  We have Will (Maxwell Jenkins, fairly cute kid) who has two sisters (Taylor Russell and Mina Sundwall).

The mother is so intelligent about absolutely everything it’s to the point of being ridiculous.  Definitely, the overreaching dominate female who semi-emasculates her husband emotionally. Their eighteen-year-old daughter who looks like fourteen is a doctor.  Will and his other sister are smart enough to run around the ship and fix just about anything.  On top of it, Will saves the day when it comes to finding fuel.

I can’t really go bonkers over this remake.  Everyone has a near-death experience at least three times in each episode.  A few of the characters are annoying, and Dr. Smith (Parker Posey) and her evil psychopathic or sociopathic or something psychotic personality grates on your nerves.  There is no clear reason why she acts to insanely intent on conniving to ruin every situation or every person around her for self-preservation.  Frankly, I think she just gets her kicks out of being a bitch. She’s like a monkey wrench thrown into each scene to muck things up.

Okay, enough ranting.  Give it a spin if you like space movies.  Just remember by the end of it, you may be just as lost as the Robinsons in space.

 

Stranger Things (Season 2 Netflix) Review

stranger-things-release-date-poster5 Kernels

Devoured in two sittings, much like the creatures in this horror show devour humans, I watched Season 2 on Netflix.  I’m currently in recovery mode and slightly disturbed.  Is Season 2 better than Season 1?  You betcha, Netflix, and you’ve succeeded in scaring the bejeebers out of me in the process.

All right, readers, you want spoilers?   It doesn’t take long to see that Will is disturbed by his prior adventures, leaving him with PTSD so they say. Frankly, it gets even worse as he tries to face his fears and ends up becoming consumed and possessed.  Boy, the kid can act!

The other boys who play the quirky unwanted geeks of middle school once again steal the show. The elder teenagers continue with their drama of boyfriend/girlfriend sagas. Then there is the Sheriff and 11, living out their lives not so quietly in the forest.  Will’s mother is in love again with an all-around nice guy.  Instead of stringing lights around the house be prepared for the next insanity to fill her walls. Eventually, things go terribly wrong at the mystery company when the other evil side continues to extend its terror underneath the ground and breaks through to take over the world.

A lot of focus is also on 11 aka Jane as she searches out her mother, attempts to find her place in the world, and rediscovers that she really wants to be with her friends because they need her.  Truths are revealed.  She can really channel her anger in frightening ways, which almost makes me jealous.  I could certainly take care of a few problems with that kind of power.

Season 2 has enough scare factor for Halloween to make you comp on that buttered popcorn in a frenzy.  You may exclaim a few choice swear words and mumble the following.

Why are you going down there?
Get out of there, dummy!
OMG, that’s gross!
What the hell?
It’s eating the poor …!  (inserts tears)
Everybody is going to die!

Well, you get the picture.  Frankly, the episodes are so intense it’s probably a good thing they are short rather than an hour long.  My sick stomach needs to recover from all that goo and flesh-eating monsters taking over the world.  Yes, in parts I really did get nauseous but it was worth it, keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Will there be a Season 3?  It’s hard to tell as it really didn’t hang very “cliffy” if you get my drift except for another sight of the whirling evil waiting in the dark.  No doubt, it wants another chance to take over the world.

Fact vs Fiction: Netflix’s drama ‘The Crown’ – Royal Central

A good read from Royal Central.co.uk – Fact or Fiction in the Crown – One thing not mentioned is the Smog of December 1952 – That was fact (read here).

If you are like what seems to be the majority of my Twitter feed, you too binged watched Netflix’s most recent drama ‘The Crown’. Based on the life of Queen Elizabeth, the £100 mi…

Source: Fact vs Fiction: Netflix’s drama ‘The Crown’ – Royal Central

How Are Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Related? | POPSUGAR Celebrity

“Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s nearly 69-year marriage has been the subject of such speculation that their early days as a couple have been turned into a new Netflix series, The Crown.  Although most people know the basics about how the royal couple fell in love, there’s a surprising, little-known tidbit that we sometimes forget: Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh are cousins.”

Read More at the Source: How Are Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Related? | POPSUGAR Celebrity

The Crown (Netflix 2016 – Review)

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Monarchy is God’s sacred mission to grace and dignify the earth, to give ordinary people an ideal to strive towards, an example of nobility and duty to raise them in their wretched lives.”

(Quote from The Crown – Queen Mary)

5 Kernels

Yes, as one article stated in The Guardian, the Americans will be highly fascinated over Netflix’s new series – The Crown.  We will eat it up like candy amidst our 2016 election sours, which has given most of us nausea over the thought of who will win on either side of the ticket (I’m staying neutral on this topic). Perhaps it will make us miss the good ‘ole days of being a colony under the British empire, wishing for all the beauty, jewels, and pomp and circumstance compared to our current affairs of mud-slinging politicians vying for the office.  Of course, that’s not to say that the British empire hasn’t had its own share of scandals on the green side of Parliament during elections. Somehow, though, it doesn’t sound so bad when you call your opponent corrupt while using a British accent.

Nevertheless, I flipped the switch on Netflix last night and sat my derriere down to watch the first five episodes after a boring day’s work.  Today, I watched the remaining episodes. I’m sure my stomach fat increased, according to the latest research (Read Here). Regardless of being harmful to my health, I glued myself through hours of television, stuffing my mouth with food and occasionally crying like a baby.  (I have been watching too many period dramas of late and it has wreaked havoc on my emotions.)

The Crown is unique and deeply entrenched into the meaning of the monarchy and rightfully focuses upon the meaning of its title.  The crown is merely not a bejeweled head ornament that a monarch wears, it is an ancient belief that whosoever wears it has been ordained and anointed by God. Throughout the production, the crown takes precedence over one’s private life, whether it be the monarch or the family.  Anyone who strays from its innate purpose places the monarchy at risk.

Netflix has done a stellar job in all aspects of this production from the authenticity of the times to the costumes, settings, and trappings of the royals.  Even though they spared no expense, they have not left its audience with fluffy cotton candy.  On the contrary, they have presented a well acted, well written, and not to mention educational peek into the House of Windsor post-World War II.  Each character, from the staff to the queen plays their roles meticulously well.  If I were a fortune teller, I would say that a few Emmy’s will definitely be forthcoming.

Claire Foy must have spent hours studying the mannerisms and voice inflections of Queen Elizabeth as her portrayal is uncanny. John Lithgow has reincarnated Winston Churchill (if he doesn’t get an Emmy for his performance, I’m going to be extremely disappointed).  Matt Smith does an interesting portrayal of Prince Philip.  He looks very much like the young prince.  I don’t think there is a performance in the entire cast that I can find fault, from Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margret, Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary, Victorian Hamilton as the Queen Mother, Ben Miles as Peter Townsend, Jared Harris as King George VI, and many others including Jeremy Northam.

The first few episodes are emotionally charged and quickly engulf the audience into the younger years of Elizabeth and her father who is falling ill.  The early episodes, up to Elizabeth’s coronation, had me glued to the television set.  In fact, my cat jumped on my lap, and a few hours later, I finally realized he was there.  The other episodes walk the audience through historical events, which definitely sent me to Google to check if they were true.  Finally, toward the end of the series, it’s the continual struggle of love and duty, which is the resounding theme that underlies much of the story.

A few of the historical points covered are:

  • Edward VIII’s abdication and his love for Wallis Simpson is a focus of early episodes. His continued ill treatment for having given up the crown and the shunning of his wife takes a different slant. Much of the family’s disdain comes from their own lips, but quite a bit of Edward’s own bitterness is center stage and vocal.  Unwelcome at Elizabeth’s coronation, his recitation to his house guests while watching it live on television, regarding the symbolism behind the coronation, is fascinating. I never realized us “mere mortals” couldn’t watch certain aspects of the divine unfolding.
  • Winston Churchill’s role as prime minister in his later years is another large focal point. Frankly, it had me hitting Google a few times afterward to check the timeline, as well as his artwork and the famous portrait commissioned for him on his 80th birthday.  And yes, what his wife did to it was apparently true.
  • The episode called, “Act of God,” is an incident that I had never heard about regarding the great smog of 1952 where London fell victim to fog/pollution trapped in the city.  Apparently, it resulted in thousands of people dying from inhaling the airborne pollutants.
  • The exhausting world tour that Elizabeth and Philip embarked upon in the 1950’s (sorry, I must have been only three years old, so I missed that news).
  • The love affair between Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend.  One can only wonder what her reaction would be today if she knew how many of her family members have since divorced and remarried. It only goes to prove that the ancient traditions can soften and change.
  • The Queen’s love of horses, not to mention her Corgi dogs underfoot.
  • The Queen Mother purchasing a castle in Scotland.
  • The surprising revelation that Elizabeth received very little formal education beyond the how-to of being a lady and understanding the constitution.

Of course, intertwined behind the public episodes, are the private lives of the royals and their staff. It’s interesting to watch Elizabeth grow into her role as queen and embrace the crown. Unfortunately, loyalty and duty, of course, have a price as the story tells of its straining relationships between Philip, her mother, and sister.   Whether the marital tension between Elizabeth and Philip is factual, I have no idea.  However, one can only wonder what it does to a man’s ego to kneel before his wife and swear allegiance. Both Philip and Margaret struggle to find purpose in the shadow of Elizabeth.

Yes, some of it does degrade into a soap-opera type mentality but it’s tolerable.  I thought the series started strong at 5-kernel bravo review for the first five episodes, but six through ten are much more cloistered and focused upon their private lives, slipping my kernel take down to 4.

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Regardless, this undertaking by Netflix is well worth the watch.  The only criticism I can muster about the series is that the cinematography is sometimes murky and dark, especially in the large rooms with dull lighting.  They almost look smoky in appearance and unclear. Whether that was an honest attempt to portray the royal residences, I’m unsure, but I found it a distracting and disappointing that I hadn’t a clearer picture of the opulence.

As far as the music, leave it up to Hans Zimmer to stir the audiences’ emotions with his wonderful soundtrack.  Below is the official intro at the beginning of each episode.  The visual effect of silver molding into a crown with Hans Zimmer’s score gave me shivers.

If anything, after you watch this series, I think it will give you a better understanding of the monarchy and its inherent meaning, whether or not you agree with that form of government.  Nevertheless, in November of 2016, it certainly was a breath of fresh air for this American, which helped to raise my current wretched existence living through the presidential election.

Bravo Netflix!  When does Series 2 start?  My popcorn is popped.

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