CBG’s Netflix Suggestions – January 2017

It’s a whole new year and it’s time to kick-start those resolutions! For me, those resolutions include catching up on some of the Netflix programs that I wanted to watch in 2016 but never got around to doing it.

Therefore, my picks for January are some of the programs available on Netflix that I really want to see but haven’t had the opportunity to as of yet…

Marvel’s Luke Cage

I remember reading the comic adventures of Power Man & Iron Fist when I was a kid, so when I heard that Netflix was going to make series of both superheroes, I was really excited to see how a modern take on the characters would look.

I’ve watched and loved the series of both Daredevil and Jessica Jones, so I am fully aware of what Netflix brings to the table in terms of quality programming and a realistic take on these incredible human beings. So you may be asking yourselves why I haven’t yet watched this series?

Well…I’ve started it, so I guess that’s why this is the top pick for me. After watching the first couple of episodes, I’m really loving the gritty realism that Netflix brought to this series. I’m definitely “all in” and I can’t wait to finish watching how Luke Cage deals with both Cottonmouth and his own morals at the same time.

Elstree 1976

I am a MASSIVE Star Wars fan and have been since watching the original on the big screen way back in 1977 shortly after it premiered. So I do whatever I can to gather information on stuff from behind the scenes whenever possible (it’s my “nerdy side” coming through, I guess).

This is a documentary where actors and extras reminisce about their time on the set of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and how making the film affected their lives. It shows “Then and Now” footage of bit players who appeared in the movie and tells the story of how the film and its legions of fans changed their lives forever.

While I’ve always watched stories from the stars of the movies reminiscing about creating these films, I’ve never heard the tales from extras and “bit players”. So needless to say, I’m really looking forward to seeing this one.

Roman Empire: Reign of Blood

I gotta be honest…I don’t really know a lot about this series. What I do know, however, is that almost every new take on the Roman Empire (ex: Rome, Spartacus: War of the Damned, etc.) has been excellent, so I am definitely looking forward to seeing this play out. 

Now, what makes this intriguing is that it’s not a “series” with a new spin on it…it’s a docuseries based on historical events. I like that because sometimes new versions can go off the rails in their attempts to “entertain” as well as educate.

Reign of Blood is done in six parts and derives its origins from the historical Roman Empire and tells the story of Commodus, who was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He was the son of Rome’s greatest philosopher king, but he was also the fool who brought down an empire.

The Big Short

I have heard a TON of really good things about this movie, but for whatever reason I just haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.

Four men, who are in the world of high-finance, predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s. However, the big banks don’t have the same foresight so they decide to take on the big banks and walk away with unbelievable wealth.

The cast is what really intrigues me…Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carrell. Wow…talk about a great group of actors! Needless to say I’ve got to find the time to watch this Academy Award winning movie.

Gotham

I’ve been extremely hesitant to watch any of the television series that deal with superheros because, quite frankly, the film versions are better 99% of the time. As much as I love the Marvel cinematic universe, I’ve never watched a single episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Of course, having said that let’s not ignore the fact that Netflix has done an incredible job with Marvel characters thus far (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and what I’ve seen of Luke Cage to this point have been stellar series). But with the floodgates seemingly opened on television (ex: The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, etc.),  I just didn’t know if I’d want to dive into another series.

But from everything I’ve heard, Gotham is an excellent series on its own. It’s a unique twist on the Batman tale where we meet Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne before Batman has even been created. The stories are really focused on the origins of many of Batman’s eventual arch-villain nemesis’s: including Penguin, RiddlerCatwomanPoison IvyTwo-Face, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Hugo Strange, Mad Hatter, and Ra’s al Ghul

To me, this sounds like a crazy way to introduce all of these bad guys…where they really all around Gotham in the years before Bruce Wayne turned into Batman? Well…from everything I’ve read and have been told, the series does a great job of introducing everybody without being too over-the-top. So for that reason alone, I’m willing to give it a shot.

**********

That makes up my “2017 Netflix Resolution” list. Are there any shows that you’ve been wanting to watch but just haven’t had the time yet? If you have any suggestions of your own, please don’t hesitate to let me know as I would love to hear them. You can always hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email.

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, but all opinions are my own.

Ringing In The New Year In A VERY Cold Way

Polar Bear DipFor the last few years, Sunshine has done the Polar Bear Dip every January 1st. Last year I somehow found the guts to try it myself. We were both set to do it again this year when we the morning of January 1st came and the temperature was well above zero. Not only that, but it was pouring rain outside and the thought of waiting with a couple hundred others for our number to be called wasn’t overly appealing.

Sunshine then decided to come up with a new idea…let’s drive to our favourite beach and simply jump into the ocean!!

So that’s what we did. We packed up our swimming gear (and the kids) and took off for the beach. Once there, we decided to live-stream the entire event on Facebook. For those who are inclined, here is the end result…

The Best Television of 2016

Favourite TV Shows of 2016

best-of-the-best

The Walking Dead

 

walking-dead

Without question, this is my favourite program on television. Believe me; I have heard all of the complaints from people about the show: “I don’t like zombies”; “There aren’t enough zombies in it”; “It looks dumb”.

Listen, at the end of the day this show is about humanity and its spiral into the abyss once the apocalypse hits. Let’s say there weren’t any zombies but a monster virus still killed off 75% of the world’s population, which then led to the destruction of all utilities that we take for granted (ex: electricity, a working government, ability to communicate, etc.). How would the world react? How would people survive? That’s what this show is really about. The zombies are just another obstacle thrown into their way.

the-walking-dead-on-netflixI remember telling my wife about the show for years before she finally decided to give it a shot a couple of months ago. Thanks to Netflix, we’re now firmly entrenched into Season 4 and she’s loving it, even though she’s not a big fan of zombies at all. She loves the character development, the storylines, and the incredible acting…which are all reasons why this is still my top television program.

Game of Thrones

I’m hoping this pops up on Netflix at some point soon because I would LOVE to be able to get my wife into watching it with me. This show is incredible from top to bottom. And while I still have a difficult time trying to keep all of the character names straight, at the end of the day this show has everything you could possibly want in a television program. And honestly, if you watched GoT from the beginning and at the end of the “Hold the door” episode DIDN’T get “all the feels”, then I don’t think we can be friends.

Stranger Things

stranger-thingsI didn’t really know what to expect from this one. The word of mouth spread extremely quickly when it was released, and that normally means it’s over-hyped. Thankfully, my wife and I gave it a shot and were extremely impressed with what we saw. The story was incredibly unique, the acting top to bottom was amazing, and it left us wanting more when the season ended. If you have Netflix and HAVEN’T watched this yet, then you’re really giving yourself a massive disservice.

Orange is the New Black / Wentworth

oitnbAgain…I’m diving into Netflix here because, quite frankly, some of the best original content on television over the course of 2016 came from Netflix. My wife and I originally gave OITNB a chance because I had heard good things about it and she was willing to give me two episodes to convince her it wasn’t softcore pornography. Once Season 3 had ended, we were emotionally heartbroken and shocked…which says that we were both emotionally invested.

wentworthMy wife had also heard about this “Australian version of OITNB” that we should check out. Now that we’re done watching Season 4 of Wentworth, we can honestly say that we love both shows equally and for completely different reasons. Yes, they’re both shows that take place in female prisons, but they are extremely unique and worth watching individually.

This Is Us

this-is-usI wasn’t convinced to watch this show at first, but I caved after a request from my awesome wife. I’ll be honest…it only took one episode to get me hooked. The incredible uniqueness to storytelling with this show is only part of the reason why we both love it so much. As far as “regular” television goes, this show isn’t simply the best new program of 2016, it is far and away the best drama on TV: period. I can’t give away too much because you need to watch from the beginning to truly understand and appreciate the show (sorry…don’t jump in part-way through the series), but just know that the show continues to surprise and suck you in after the first two incredible episodes have completed.

Modern Family 

modern-familyStill, without a doubt in my mind, the best family comedy on television today. While not every episode is a winner, when the show fires on all cylinders there is no better comedy out there. Period.

Masters of Flip

masters-of-flipWhile I may have a massive crush on Kourtney Wilson, that doesn’t really take away from the fact that this is a really entertaining HDTV program. Kourtney and her husband, Dave, are a realtor/designer/construction combo team that take houses and flip them in Nashville. The flips themselves are only part of the appeal of the show, though. The primary appeal comes from the married couple, as their charisma and natural chemistry comes through in every episode. I don’t normally watch renovation programs, but I love this one.

Survivor 

survivorEven after 30+ seasons, the family loves to get together in the living room every Wednesday night and watch Jeff Probst guide a new group of people through an incredibly entertaining season. We love that even after all of this time, the show isn’t stale. This is due to a number of reasons:

  1. The people that they choose to play the game are usually quite interesting;
  2. The themes of each season are always different (for example, this past season was “Millennials vs Gen-X”)
  3. The games played are a blend of physicality and intelligence, sometimes based on previous seasons and sometimes completely original;
  4. The new players are all Survivor fans, so the game play and how votes are cast is a fascinating process to watch; and
  5. Jeff Probst himself, who continues to be the primary reason why this show is so bloody entertaining.

America’s Got Talent

agtThe family also loves getting together to watch normal-yet-talented people do incredibly entertaining things. Sure, it’s fun to watch weird people, too…but to see a vast array of singers, gymnasts, dancers, and performances that don’t fall under any particular category all compete on stage for the same prize. The chemistry of the judges is also fun to watch, too. Oh…and did I mention that Simon Cowell returned to judging, too!?!

MasterChef 

masterchefFinally, this is another show that the family loves to sit around and watch. Whether it’s MasterChef, MasterChef Junior, or MasterChef Canada, the premise of the program and how it’s directed/edited always makes for an entertaining hour of food porn.

*****

What about you? Were there any TV shows from 2016 that you’d like to share some love for? Sound off below!

The Best Movies of 2016

best-of-the-best

Deadpool 

deadpoolI was never a Deadpool comic reader. I had only heard of “The Merc With A Mouth”  in passing from time to time. It wasn’t until the test footage of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool was released that I became 100% on board with the concept. To say that this was a role that Reynolds was born to play would be a massive understatement.

deadpool-2From beginning to end, Deadpool provides a hilarious blend of action, violence, gross-out comedy, and 4th-wall-breaking comedic brilliance that makes this movie one of the most uniquely entertaining you’ll ever see. The story doesn’t suck, either…which really helps this move along.

In a year where the majority of superhero movies failed to live-up to the hype (I’m looking at you, Batman vs Superman and X-Men: Apocalypse), Deadpool exceeded expectations to provide the best movie of the year.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

rogue-one-1I think it’s fair to say that this movie has exceeded expectations, both critically and financially. The way this movie is selling tickets, it just might end up being the #1 movie of the year at the box office both domestically and internationally. 

But set that all aside…Rogue One is an incredible movie reminiscent of classic war movies like Saving Private Ryan (seriously). The battle sequences are spectacular, the acting is above-par, and the characters are likable and entertaining. You can really tell that director Gareth Edwards was a massive Star Wars fan growing up.

rogue-one-2If you are a Star Wars fan, you’re probably going to end up having this movie in your Top 3 list…it’s that good. If you’re NOT a Star Wars fan, though, I’d still dare say give it a shot. It’s a stand-alone movie that is a prequel to the original Star Wars: A New Hope but doesn’t require a viewing of that film in order to understand what’s going on. 

At the end of the day, selling LucasFilm to Disney has been one of the best things to ever happen to Star Wars. It’s also one of the best things to ever happen to Marvel, too, because the next top movie of the year is…

Captain America: Civil War 

civil-war-1Of course, after finishing the initial blurb up top about how superhero movies disappointed in 2016, I’m jumping right into another superhero movie. No apologies, though…Captain America: Civil War was Marvel’s way of showing DC and Fox how a superhero movie is SUPPOSED to be done. Combining multiple storylines and characters in a way that was both believable and intelligent, Civil War was able to provide a movie experience that did not disappoint. And honestly, have you ever seen a more believable “giant” on screen than Ant-Man at the airport?

The Jungle Book 

the-jungle-bookAs a huge fan of the original (both as a child and again as a parent), I was a little hesitant to give The Jungle Book remake a chance. I’m so glad that I did, though! This movie is as good a live-action adaptation as you’re ever going to find. The CGI is so flawless that you forget you’re not really watching wolves talk to a tiger. And aside from a couple of diversions, the original’s storyline is almost completely followed in this movie. DEFINITELY a must-watch.

Warcraft 

warcraftI might get some flack and eye-rolls for this choice, but I think this movie was massively under-rated. The CGI was flawless, which is important because the majority of the movie was based on CGI-based characters and backgrounds. There were slower moments, to be sure, but for someone like myself who had never played the original game this movie was a very unique fantasy tale. My son absolutely LOVED this movie, so why should I disagree just because it wasn’t the biggest box-office hit of the year?

The Big Short

the-big-shortI honestly wouldn’t be able to explain this movie to you, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t find it extremely entertaining. I thought the acting was awesome (it’s really an all-star cast here), the characters were compelling, and the story itself was easy to follow…it was just the details of the story that didn’t make much sense at first. Trust me…you’ll have to see it to truly understand. In a year where there were massive big-budget movies, this was a really welcome choice. 

*****

What were some of YOUR favourite movies in 2016? I’ll be recapping my faves in television and music as the week continues!