Archive for the ‘Streaming’ Category

The Fosters: Season 5

October 19, 2017

The Fosters keeps getting better. Hard to believe the kids are so grown up after only five years. Stef and Lena continue to navigate parenting with a home full of teenagers. Each child has their own life, friends, loves, hopes, dreams. Side stories with the legal parents, birth parents, foster parents. It can seem like a lot, but it’s life and love and creators Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg do such a great job. I look forward to a new season each year. 4 out of 5 for this heartwarming family drama from Free Form.

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Match Game ’75

October 16, 2017

Thanks to Buzzr, Amazon Prime Video added some classic game shows. One of my all-time favorites, Match Game has a number of episodes streaming from 1975 and 1976. So much fun! Brett Somers, Richard Dawson, Fannie Flagg, Betty White, Greg Morris, and many, many more. Were they drunk? Were they stoned? Only host Gene Rayburn knows for sure. Whatever, they were giggly and silly. Great nostalgia. 4 out of 5.

The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson

October 15, 2017

David France’s (How to Survive a Plague) sophomore documentary effort, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson creates an essential conversation. Unfortunately the film meanders in unknown directions. Too bad because the focus of trans people of color, disenfranchised and destitute warrants examination and solutions. How do marginalized people travel in the world? How do we help others out of poverty, homelessness, and a myriad of other issues which keep them stuck in a bad place? How do we empower people while honoring their individuality? France covers all of that. But the focus on the film vacillates between an amateur sleuth story of Johnson’s friend Patricia trying desperately to uncover the truth of her friend’s death, a modern story of a trans woman’s murder, and the chaotic world of Marsha’s friend, Sylvia Rivera. Not sure how a film that features a person’s name can become so convoluted during editing. Watching it proved frustrating knowing that a better focused film would have brought the viewer into a world which desperately needs our respect and support. 3 out of 5 for the film.

Find out more about transgender issues and how you can help:
National Center for Transgender Equality 
Sylvia Rivera Law Project

The Merv Griffin Show

October 12, 2017

Amazon Prime Video has quietly added a number of classic television shows this year. Reel Charlie’s already discussed My Favorite Martian. A unique addition to Amazon is The Merv Griffin Show. Merv’s talk show spanned 1962-1985. What’s available to stream are some best-of episodes spanning the 20+ years. You can see Merv in his infancy interviewing Andy Warhol and Salvadore Dali. Merv’s show in the beginning resembled a more serious format. Think David Susskind or Charlie Rose. Later on in the 1970’s the show morphed into a more popular Hollywood celebrity format featuring people like Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Marie Osmond. The 80’s brought a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Ms. Magazine with Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Carole King (in a rare television performance), and Loretta Swit. The capsule ends with Merv interviewing the cast of The Golden Girls during their first year of production. Merv certainly supported women in Hollywood. Though it all, Merv awkwardly flirts with some women, but in a most respectful way – just enough so his audience won’t realize he’s gay. That part of it is sad – the closet always is. But he certainly had a style and created a blueprint for talk shows through today. Merv on Amazon is a fun trip down memory lane or a history lesson for younger viewers. 3 out of 5.

For an in-depth examination of the damage Griffin’s closeted life did to himself and the gay community, read Michaelangelo Signorile’s piece from 2007.

Cut the Cord 2017

October 11, 2017

Presenting Cut the Cord tonight for the fourth year at Fairfield Public Library. First time I am doing it at the branch library. Still amazed at how many people continue to seek out this information. This year I separated the program into two parts – Intro and Advanced. I’ll post my new PowerPoint next week after I present the second half. I’ve spent so much time updating the presentation. There’s so much new information, it’s astounding. Who knew we’d have six choices for cable replacement services in 2017?

We have a capacity of 70 people. 110 signed up this week, 92 for next week. I’ve already discussed doing another set in a month to support as many people as possible in the community.

Looking forward to sharing information this week and next. Tonight at 6:30 pm at Fairfield Woods.

Netflix is raising its prices for US subscribers (The Verge)

October 5, 2017

Do  you care about spending $2 more per month for Netflix? From The Verge,

Netflix is raising two of its pricing tiers for US subscribers beginning next month, Mashablereports. The standard tier, which allows subscribers to watch on two screens at once, will be bumped up from $9.99 to $10.99 per month. The premium tier, which is available in Ultra HD and allows users to watch on up to four screens, will go up from $11.99 to $13.99. The Basic $7.99 per month plan will remain the same.

Read the full article on The Verge.

Transparent: Season 4

October 1, 2017

“Sleep and I shall soothe you, calm you and anoint you…”

Who knew the Pfeffermans were as obsessed with Jesus Christ Superstar as I was when I was a little boy. And they remember the words to the songs after all these years. Even Maura’s sister! Such a magnificent and glorious television series Transparent continues to be. Is this the most loving, dysfunctional family you’ve ever met? Does yours rival them? Mine sure doesn’t. Which is probably why I love watching them tick. This season the family connects with their spiritual and social roots on a trip to Israel. Every one comes together and then proceeds to find their own corner and take some time out to contemplate life: Josh at meetings, Sarah with Len, Ali at the farm, and Maura and Shelly meditating in the midst of the chaos. The only logical family member of Maura’s who gets any back story time this season is the luminous Davina, my favorite non-Pfefferman. We dig deeper into Davina’s past to find her vulnerabilities. I love Davina even more after this season. She is the heart, soul, and calm of the show. Alexandra Billings brings nuance and wisdom to the role. Can’t say enough how much I adore Transparent. 5 out of 5 for this family ensemble.

The Five

September 30, 2017

Honestly enjoyed the U.K. mystery series, The Five created by Harlan Coben. The 10-episode story features solid performances from O-T Fagbenle (Looking), Tom Cullen (Weekend, Downton Abbey), Sarah Solemani, and Lee Ingleby. The four play childhood friends facing the resurrection of a sibling gone missing case from 20 years ago. Although the middle of the story veers into several non-realistic plot turns, I hung in there and was rewarded with an exciting story filled with extremely satisfying characters. Normally I’d give something like this a 3.5 out of 5. But the addition of a librarian character with the major discovery scene taking place in a public library, the beautiful use of pop music, and the way each episode ends on a nail-biting question left me no excuse but to give The Five a 4 out of 5.

Amazon’s Canceled TV Shows (Indiewire)

September 26, 2017

Indiewire posted an article recently about all of Amazon’s cancelled shows. Here’s my take on it:

The Last Tycoon – Agree. Pilot promising, season weak.
Z – Agree. See above.
Good Girls Revolt – Strongly disagree. Should have given it another season or two to find its audience.
Alpha House – Agree. Silly and not in a good way.

Click on the titles above to read Reel Charlie’s reviews.
Read the full article at Indiewire.

My Favorite Martian: Season 1, Ep. 1 & 2

September 24, 2017

Told you Amazon Prime has been adding a whole lot of classic television. Watched two episodes of the crazy My Favorite Martian which landed in television sets during the mid-1960’s. Ray Walston plays Uncle Martin the Martian. Walston’s role felt familiar alongside other fussy, bachelor-type characters of the day including Jonathan Harris’ Dr. Smith from Lost in Space, Sebastian Cabot’s Mr. French of Family Affair, and Paul Lynde’s Uncle Arthur in Bewitched. These characters were a combination of comic relief, throwing some spice in an otherwise ordinary household and acting as a surrogate parent – particularly in place of an absent mother for a heterosexual household. In 2017, these characters read old school asexual gay to me: don’t ask, don’t tell. Walston’s character acts more as an intrusion into main character Bill Bixby’s life as the marooned Martian in the series. He also plays cupid for Bixby as he struggles with finding the girl of his dreams. What struck me most about this stroll through nostalgia was the size of Bixby’s waist. A lean young man indeed, he was 29 during the first season. Full of sexist remarks – most surprisingly from the female characters, as well as the mandatory and annoying laugh track, My Favorite Martian remains best as a memory instead of a binge. 2 out of 5. Next.


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