Tag: Netflix

Outlander Based on Books – Coming to Netflix

Interesting article. Netflix has picked up the first two seasons.  Diana is working on another book. This article was published in Oprah Magazine on May 15. Follow link to read.

Gabaldon is currently working on the series’ ninth book titled Go Tell the Bees I’m Gone.

Source: Outlander Based on Books by Diana Gabaldon – Outlander Books in Order

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Netflix 2018)

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I have been overdue for a good period drama and waiting patiently for the release of this film. In anticipation, I ordered the book but found it to be a compilation of letters and not written like a regular novel so I put it aside.

After seeing the trailer for the movie version, I’m so thankful it’s finally out.  There’s no disappointment whatsoever in this touching story staring Lily James.  As usual, I find her adorable, and her performance goes well in this sometimes heartbreaking story that eventually has a happy ever after.

The story is about Juliet Ashton, an author from London, who receives a letter after the war in 1946 from a peculiar group of people who calls themselves The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society.  They are a book club that was formed on the Isle of Guernsey (a British island in the Channel), during the German occupation.  Curious about the group, Juliet travels to the location to meet those who make up the book club. In doing so, she learns of the years of occupation in which they endured and a very sad story about one of their members.

The story jumps back and forth from the present to the war, giving insight as to what actually happened to the characters now speaking to her in 1946.  Juliet wants to write about their experiences, but the club would prefer that she does not because of the pain it represents in their lives.

The others who star in the movie are some of your favorites, such as Tom Courtenay, Katherine Parkinson, and Penelope Wilton who does a wonderful job in her role. Add to the cast is Matthew Goode, and you have a well-rounded, experienced group of seasoned actors.

Though you may find the movie a bit slow in parts, it’s worth the scenes to take the slow walk on the beach or run around the pig pen to get the feel of the location and its people.  If you’re a period drama junkie or enjoy WW2 stories, check it out on Netflix.

Escape to the Country (BBC)

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Have you ever had a dream that you knew in your heart would never come true?  Are you brave enough to watch a show about that dream and torture yourself by seeing others live it instead?  Well, click your heels three times and say with me, “escape to the country in England.”

Currently streaming on Netflix is this wonderful BBC insight into country living.  It’s a reality show where individuals or couples are seeking to leave the bustling cities and find a property in a quaint village in the English countryside.  The host shows them three properties that fit into their desires (i.e. budget, number of bedrooms, size of lot/land, location), with the last one termed as the “mystery home.”  After viewing each of the properties, the home seekers guess the price before being told the actual listing.

The show covers a variety of counties in England.  What is nice about each location visited, is that the host introduces interesting tidbits about the small country village’s history and what they may be famous for in the way of special goods, i.e. leather, lace, candy, etc., and then shows examples of how these are made. (The lace one blew me away! I never knew the intricacy and hours of work for one piece of handmade lace.)  It gives the guests and the audience the flavor of the locality, along with stunning views of national parks, rolling hills, dramatic coastlines, etc.

Frankly, I’ve only been through three episodes shot in York, Wiltshire, and Devon.  Future episodes are Dorset, Shropshire, Scottish Highlands, West Wales, East Midlands, North Dorset,  Gloucestershire, Northumberland, Cornwall, Somerset, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire.

Usually, my mouth doesn’t drop open while watching television, but I’ve had a hard time keeping it shut while entering some of these properties.  From the typical country thatch roof to converted barns to small estates to Georgian-style houses, I’m green with jealousy wishing I could live in one of these fabulous places, in a country village setting.  Alas, life will probably never grant me that dream.  (Perhaps, I should be glad based on the murder rates on so many fictional British crime shows.)

On the downside of this series, you are left with the knowledge of which house the guests like but not given the knowledge of what house they actually purchase!

If house hunting bores you, this is not the show for you.  However, if you’re curious about English properties in the country, their cost, etc., you’ll love the show even though it’s not a five-star British period drama with a handsome duke to sweep you off your feet.  Instead the properties will enthrall and cause your heart race to increase.

Oh, you lucky Brits!  I’m green with envy.

Kurt Seyit & Sura (Turkey Television Series 2014)

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If anyone would have said to me that I would enjoy a television series with subtitles from Turkey, I would tell them they were crazy. However, proven wrong, like many other swooning women I’ve encountered in the Period Drama Group on Facebook, is this interesting series entitled, Kurt Seyit and Sura. Unlike other fictional tales, this series is based on a true story of romance during the turbulent times of World War I and the changing political climate in Russia, Crimea, and Turkey. It’s romantic and heartbreaking.

Surprisingly well done, except for a few oddities you might find difficult, it consists of forty plus episodes now streaming on Netflix. Be ready to listen to the Turkish language, however, I understand it is also available and dubbed in other languages such as Spanish. If you don’t have Netflix, you can also find clips on YouTube.  Unfortunately, there is not an English version. The subtitles are in yellow and sometimes difficult to read or flash by way too fast to get through the entire sentence. Nevertheless, you can glue yourself during those really good portions and read everything to catch the drift of what is going on. The only problem is that your eyes may drift from the words to the male star, who is gorgeously handsome with mesmerizing eyes. His name is Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and his love interest, Sura, is played by Farah Zeynep Abdullah.

This true story is about star-crossed lovers from different cultures who fall madly in love with one another. Seyit’s father expects him to marry a Turkish Muslim woman, while Sura’s family expects her to marry a Russian noble. The story begins during World War I. Seyit is a Lieutenant in the Tsar’s army. He’s a well-respected soldier but has the reputation of being a womanizer. Sura walks into a room at a ball he’s attending and immediately he falls in love at first sight. She’s is young, innocent, and beautiful. As soon as she sees him, the feeling is mutual.

However, as the story continues and they get to know one another, obstacles arise. He goes off to war, and while he’s away, the rebels who plot the overthrow of the Tsar are busy beginning a revolution on the home front. Seyit, however, is Turkish by birth and his family’s home is in Crimea. If anything, this show has sent me searching the history books and trying to understand these turbulent times and culture that I know very little about.

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When the war ends, Seyit and his friends are considered enemies of the new regime, since there were the Tsar’s soldiers. On the other side of the coin, Sura comes from a noble family, and she, like many other families she knows, flee Russia from those who would kill them. The heartbreaking outcome of their lives being torn apart by war, revolution, and rebels continues the series. Eventually, many of them flee to occupied Istanbul for refuge, which is not without danger. All I can say, is be prepared to watch a love story unfold that you wish for a happy ending, but in real life ends up much differently.

The story’s first half set in Russia and Crimea is far different than the second half set in Istanbul.  When that part of the story begins, it’s not as engaging as their relationship begins to deteriorate due to various factors. Nevertheless, it’s worth the watch.

After doing research about the real Seyit and Sura, I discovered the sad tale that in 1945 Seyit committed suicide, having never been able to marry Sura. However, her name was on his dying lips. A book about their love affair was written in Turkish, which the series is based off. An English version of the book is now available on Amazon.

Is this production as professional as a British or U.S. production? No, but it has its qualities. The music changes often according to the characters from a love-swept melody to a dark Russian tune for the traitor in the story. Eventually, the musical soundtrack gets a bit annoying, but if you like period dramas and a good love story, you will overlook the obvious lower quality tones of the series.  Below is a YouTube rendition of the music that represents their love affair, which is the most haunting song of the entire series.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a man on a white horse to sweep you off your feet, this series is for you.

Sunset Song (Movie 2015)

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Usually, I don’t write scathing reviews.  I’m pretty nice for the most part.  However, this movie really left me depressed and unsatisfied.  It is a dark story with no happy ending of rural life in Scotland pre-WWI.  It’s been highly rated by critics, including Roger Ebert’s Website, but since they don’t pay me the big bucks to write reviews, I’ll let my peanut-gallery two cents proceed with my ranting.

Apparently, this movie is an adaptation of a novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbons.  The story revolves around a daughter of a Scottish farmer.  Hailed as an “epic rights of passage” for a young farm girl, Chris Guthrie, it’s frankly a depressing journey, to say the least.  As a young girl with her older brother, they live in an abusive household with their father who is a tyrant and jerk.  He beats the elder son and has no mercy for constantly impregnating his wife. (Of course, I get it, no birth control back then.)

Her mother gives birth to twins, when she already has four children, and then becomes pregnant again.  After falling into depression, she poisons herself and the two babies.  Eventually, the son leaves home, and Chris is left to take care of the household putting her dreams of being a teacher aside.  When her father has a stroke, her life is further burdened with his care until he finally dies.

She inherits the family farm, meets a young man, gets married, has a baby, and he is called off to serve in the Great War.  The movie is a continual spiral downward regarding her life, husband, and eventual widowhood.

This story is not a rite of passage with anything uplifting whatsoever.  It’s a dark and depressing look into the life of one family that leaves very little at the end for its viewers.  Clearly, suffering is understandable in life.  Written into a story it should at least have some purpose for its characters that leave the audience in a decent mood.  However, this film has no redeeming purpose in the end.

Instead of floating my remote, it sank.

Rebellion (2016 Series)

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(No butter to make it tasty either.)

In one scene behind a commanding officer from Britain are the bold words “BRITISH EMPIRE” on a map hanging on the wall.  As I write this blog on July 4th, sitting in the United States of America who fought for their freedom from British rule, I think of other countries who have done the same throughout history.  We have all seen our share of movies that tell the stories of Scotland, the Sudan, India, and wherever else the sun never set on the empire where people sought to be free from the monarchy. And here I am in the twenty-first century, wishing I could live across the pond.

Streaming on Netflix is Rebellion, which is television miniseries telling the familiar fight for freedom involving the Irish.  The Irish broadcaster RTE produced the series. The premise of the story is based on the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin that occurred while the world was fighting World War I. The story is fact, of course, and focused on a group of individuals who want freedom from tyranny.  Oddly enough, at the same time, the rest of the world, including British and Irish soldiers are fighting to maintain their independence from German rule.  One poignant voice among all the killing in the movie is a line (and I’m probably paraphrasing here), is that “the world is one huge slaughterhouse.”  After watching this series, I agree.  Will humanity ever stop killing each other?  Don’t get me started on that ranting.

In short, you are drawn into the lives of a group of Irish individuals. The majority of the characters want one thing – Irish independence.  The Irish Nationalist Party and the faithful who didn’t wish to wait for the war to end to push for freedom, begin their war and plan the infamous Easter Rising in April of 1916.  Of course, outnumbered by the British Army, they were no match for them. Eventually, they surrender, and Britain quickly makes a point by placing the leaders in front of firing squads to squelch the uprising and make examples of traitors. What happens to each of the characters – whether it be death or life in prison – contains its own sadness. The irony of it all, at least to me, is that the rebellious are shooting at their own countrymen in British uniforms who had joined to fight the Germans.

Like any other historical series, I usually run to the Internet afterward and check the facts. Apparently, the series received heavy criticism even in Ireland for misrepresentations of historical incidences.  Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a series that involves a bit of history, you might enjoy.  As far as acting, it’s mediocre, as well as the characters and background stories.

The oddity for me personally is that my ancestors apparently immigrated from Ireland in the mid-1700’s to England. Their name was originally Mullholland, and a few years after their arrival they interestingly changed their name to Holland. As I think about even those time periods, it’s obvious to me they were attempting to blend in as English. As the 1800’s and 1900’s generations came and went, they were English by all accounts.

Well, the firecrackers are cracking outside my window to remind me that we won our war of Independence. How odd, I wish I could live in England. All of my romance novels are set in England, too. To increase that oddity, my sales in the U.K. are extremely high compared to the U.S.  You can be assured that I’m not fighting to be free of that empire of revenue.

HUM∀NS (2015-)

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Saturday I was in a fit of depression. Sunday, I snapped out of it and went to the Oregon coast and got some perspective.  Of course, ever since I know the big one is lurking out there in the Cascadia fault line, waiting to drown all the Oregon coast habitats in a tsunami, I stare at the white waves in trepidation.  If it happens during one of my visits, I probably won’t be able to run fast enough to higher ground.  (Don’t you love these odd introductions?)

Okay, so back to Saturday and depression.  On Amazon Prime, I stumbled across HUM∀NS. It’s a period drama not backward but forward into the not-so-far-away future of owning an android to help us around the house with chores, cook, babysit, carry our golf clubs, make sure we take our medications or have sex with a “synthetic” or what is called a “synth” in this series. In the development of these androids lurks a mad scientist who can’t keep well enough alone.  He gets the brilliant idea to make a family, including one who is half human/half machine to replace his dead son.  This family, though, is not like the others wandering around the world.  These guys have self-realization thoughts and are nearly human-like, except for the chips that make them run.

It’s that age-old fear that we will build machines that will dominate the human race because they are smarter, stronger, and far superior to our weaknesses in the flesh.  Each of these family members appears to have a variety of instincts from the mothering-type to the psychopathic killer.  When they realize that they can evolve even farther because of a secret code their creator has implanted in their machine psyche, they have the ability to connect with every android on earth giving them realization.  It’s a code for disaster. The question remains, can you build a machine with a soul that knows right from wrong, evil from good, or how to really understand what it means to be human.

The first eight episodes are pretty good, filled with some of your favorite British actors.  Apparently, it’s scheduled for a return in season two in late 2016 to the UK and 2017 in the US.

It makes you think about the future because we are not far behind in robotics development.  The Chinese and Japanese have human-like ones now that give you the creeps.  Frankly, a hundred years into the future, and we will no longer be writing science fiction because it will be reality if we don’t nuke the earth, die from global warming, or a comet smashes and wipes us all out.  On that note, have a great day!

 

The Crown: everything you need to know about Netflix’s £100 million series about the Queen’s reign

 

“The success of Downton Abbey across the Atlantic proved that American audiences are suckers for a British period drama. Which helps to explain why Netflix, the US video-on-demand service, is staking £100 million on a series about the Queen – from the early years of her reign through to the present day.”

 Looks like a great cast, including one of my favorites – Jeremy Northam.

Source: The Crown: everything you need to know about Netflix’s £100 million series about the Queen’s reign

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Movie 2007)

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I did not write a review of “Elizabeth” released in 1998, starring Cate Blanchette. Needless to say, it is another favorite and at least a 4 Kernel watch that focuses on her rise to the throne after the death of her half-sister Mary.

It’s hard to believe that I have walked by her grave in West Minister Abbey and stood where she is buried. I’ve literally stood on top of her father’s remains, Henry VIII.  These are memorable visits but watching movies like these brings to life characters that are literally bones underneath the granite in which they are buried. History indeed that leaves us in awe.

Currently streaming on Netflix is “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.” Since I’m hibernating indoors due to 100+ degree weather this weekend, I have been overdosing on films and television series.  While surfing this morning and stumbling up upon this treasure, I cooked my morning eggs, bacon, and toast. Nothing like 8:00 a.m. in the morning sitting on your green recliner with freshy brewed coffee, food, and a movie to enjoy.  Yes, a bit pathetic, I know.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the first Elizabeth film. Now we are ushered into another dramatized era entitled, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”  I will admit that I can enjoy a movie that has not received good reviews from critics or the audience for that matter. Of course, our tastes in entertainment and what floats our boat (or TV remote in this case) varies as much as our individual personalities.  Apparently, this is the case.

I read Roger Ebert’s review. He thought that the splendor, costumes, sets, and music were too sumptuous and weighed down the movie, distracting from the characters.  What hindered Ebert from his enjoyment of this film, frankly enthralled me to no end. The sumptuousness of this version is what I enjoyed. I do not think that it detracts from Cate Blanchett in her portrayal as Elizabeth. Elizabeth in her own right is a complex character underneath her beautiful costume dresses, and the story is mostly focused on her struggles of remaining a powerful monarch, whose throne and life are under constant threat, yet struggling with the human need for love. This indeed is a Golden Age of her reign, which I think was the purpose behind all the sumptuous sets, etc.  I loved the soundtrack as well.

The only negative, of course, is that Geoffrey Rush is back as Sir Francis Walsingham, protecting Elizabeth1the queen, and torturing traitors left and right. Those scenes for me are the fast forwards or close your eyes and plug your ears moment. As you probably can tell from previous reviews, violence is not my forte.  Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that torture happened and gruesome deaths awaited many of the main characters who played in history of ages past.  Even Sir Walter Raleigh eventually lost his head after the Queen died and his favor at court lessened.

Yes, I like this movie and all of its golden glory. Some of the best scenes are, of course, Elizabeth on her white horse and dressed in armor urging on her troops as the Spanish Armada approaches their coasts. Among all of these historical moments, I always find the religious aspect interesting, as well as each side prays to God for the victory believing it is heaven’s will for them to win.  Movies like these lead me to Wikipedia so I can read and learn the historical truth of these characters that lived and reigned in England.

Nevertheless, Netflix is bombarding us with new releases well worth the watch, plus every Disney movie imaginable come September.  It makes me wonder if the price of our subscription will rise, but it’s still a lot cheaper than $9.50 ticket at the show and $12.00 a small popcorn and drink for one showing. Nothing like watching a hundred episodes on Netflix for less in one month.

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Awake (2012 TV Series)

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Just finished watching thirteen episodes of Awake on Netflix, which at one time was an NBC television series that came to cancellation after one season.  Nevertheless, it has an intriguing premise that makes your head spin as you try to keep up with the scenes.  You almost need to look at what color rubber band is around your wrist to discover what world you’re in at the moment.  Here is why…

It’s about an LAPD police detective Michael Britten (played by Jason Isaacs), who is in a car accident with his wife and son. The tragedy leaves an aftermath of split realities. When he sleeps, he wakes up in one reality where he lost his wife in the accident and lives with his son who survived (played by Dylan Minnette). Then he retires for the night and wakes up in another reality where he’s lost his son and lives with his wife (played by Laura Allen). In each reality, the ones who survive the accident are faced with grief and loss that they try to overcome through various means.  He knows which reality he’s in when he awakens by the color of the band around his wrist.

Even though Britten is keenly aware of his strange experience when in either reality, he does not share what is happening to either his wife or son.  The only ones who do know are two psychiatrists that he sees in each world.  They attempt to convince him that he is in their reality and that the other is a dream, which they contribute to a coping mechanism because facing the truth is too painful. Britten does not reveal his odd life to anyone at work, but his split worlds help him solve crimes.

It’s a good show that keeps you guessing and in the counseling chair with Britten. You’ll hear plenty of psychological mumbo-jumbo explaining why this is happening to him.  Britten, on the other hand, wants to keep things as they are because he can still have his wife and son in his life. Nevertheless, as the show continues, the terrible truth of why the accident occurred and that a criminal police cover-up is part of the reason, brings havoc. His mind begins to break and reality turns delusional at both ends of the spectrum.  At one point he’s stuck in one and desperate to get back to the other.  He begins to hallucinate seeing odd things like penguins and characters who are not there.

Issac Jacobs does a wonderful job acting this convoluted existence on screen, and it is a shame he didn’t receive any recognition.  The writers, knowing that the show is to be cancelled, brings the audience a totally mind-blowing ending that will have you scratching your head.  As Britten’s psyche breaks further, you can only conclude that he’s conjured up a third reality to make sense of the past two versions filled with undeniable heartache and betrayal.  It’s the reality he wants above all else, and probably that of the audience too.

It’s a good show, worth a Netflix binge.

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