Ranking Netflix Original Shows: Part 1

I was hesitant to give a Netflix original a try back in 2013, but when the buzz around “Orange is the New Black” became too loud to ignore, I was swayed to appreciate the brilliant concept streaming really is: Consumers like it because of the lack of annoying network regulations and censorship, plus no commercials, and the ability to devour episode after episode without waiting a week in between (thanks to Netflix for that; other platforms like Hulu lack that particular perk). Showrunners probably appreciate the flexibility and innovation. And Netflix, well they get to see their numbers start shooting up because no one wants to be left out when the hype starts circulating about an awesome new show, so they hurry to sign up. Without delving into too much research, I believe Netflix was the first to offer streaming-only television. Now Hulu and others like Amazon Prime and HBO Go have jumped on the money-making bandwagon. I haven’t strayed too far from Netflix because it’s still top banana in my eyes, but I may have to make an exception soon to check out Aaron Paul in “The Path” (Hulu).

Anyway, the list of Netflix originals started small and has significantly expanded over the past couple of years and within the past few months, I’ve finally started to branch out and try a few more. Some of the newer ones with short episodes and truncated seasons take barely a day to watch. Others are more of a long-term commitment. And many are pleasant surprises. Below is a sampling of the ones I’ve tried so far and where they rank in my personal opinion. 

1. Orange Is The New Black

OITNB

The OG of Netflix originals. I was hooked instantly on the story of Piper Chapman, a wealthy good girl whose brief stint as a drug mule catches up to her just before the statute of limitations reaches its cut-off. She winds up having to leave her fiancé and incredulous family grappling with many questions and a slight inability to cope with these revelations as she enters a women’s prison in upstate New York for 15 months. What ensues is a very real, scary, uplifting, unflinching, funny, and sometimes heart-breaking look at life as an inmate. I read the biographical tale on which the show is based and was impressed with how the smallest paragraph in writing became a running theme for an entire episode on screen. I love learning the backstories of these incredibly complex characters. The show does hit some speed bumps, particularly as the seasons go on, but it still has that X factor that keeps you coming back for more. It’s also morphed into an all-out event that keeps viewers itching with anticipation. When season 3 was released a day early last year, the social handles for the show knowingly acknowledged that people would be devouring it all on the spot, tweeting out questions like, “Who’s still with us?” at 4 a.m. with winking emojis. It’s fun to feel like you’re part of a collective watching party and few shows elicit that vibe the way OITNB does. Continue reading

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2015 Summer Movie Preview

It’s that time of year again … here are five movies I can’t wait to see this summer!

Avengers: Age of Ultron | May 1

Avengers Age of UltronGiven how 2012’s The Avengers finally sucked me into the Marvel frenzy, I’m quite excited for the long-awaited sequel hitting theaters next week. I know nothing of their basis in comics, only that the juggernaut featuring a band of superheroes looks to save the world—again. An artificial intelligence program designed by Tony Stark/Iron Man goes awry and it’s up to the rest of the gang (Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, and Hawkeye) to protect the planet from his wrath. Looks pretty awesome and will probably end up being the quintessential blockbuster of the season. Continue reading

I’ll miss you, Loki!

I’ll admit, I really didn’t get into Marvel at first. You see a face like this enough times, it kind of starts to turn you off the whole superhero thing for a while. Plus there’s so many of them! I think I’ve seen maybe a dozen on this list, only a handful in theaters, and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep during at least half. (Nicholas Cage as a flaming skeleton? What did I expect? Worst rental ever.)

I have to credit The Avengers for thawing my icy disdain for the whole genre. Well, that and the decision to erase constipated Tobey from our minds by replacing him with an adorable Brit who fell for one of the most fabulous actresses of my generation, both in the movie and IRL. Both movies took the summer of 2012 for an epic thrill ride, but the superhero-movie-on-steroids really surprised me. It wasn’t something I would have ever expected to even go see, let alone like as much as I did. But anything with enough humor (and hot men) can win me over and they did an excellent job of infusing the nonstop action with some hilarious moments, like when the Hulk beats the shit out of Loki. Continue reading