Netflix Instant Picks for November, 2011

TV in 1931 ; not a lot to choose from. It hasn't changed much!

Television.   In my humble opinion, it really is the pits.  I can’t seem to find anything that I care to watch.  Most of the time I would rather read a book or do a little ham radio.  Television just does not have much to make me get excited.  And yes, I do subscribe to cable TV.  The only reason is because my wife insists that we keep it active so she can watch a few of her favorite shows.  It is not worth a fight.

Do I watch any television at all?  Yes.  I like to watch CSPAN, especially in the early morning.   You get intelligent and unbiased discussion of numerous current topics in politics.  Then of course I get to watch Greta each Tuesday morning.  I don’t think my wife likes Greta too much.  I’d watch Greta if she was interviewing Little League players about the size of sand grains that are usually found near first base.  I also watch Survivor, the first and only reality series that my wife and I subscribe to.  We have been watching it since the beginning and hope to continue until the show ends.  Unfortunately a small crimp has been placed in my playbill.  I now work nights and usually don’t get home until 9:30 pm.  The only way for me to watch Survivor is by using the VCR (a pain to set
it up) or on the computer.  Oh well, Jeff will understand.

What else is there on TV?  Well, you can always subscribe to Netflix and watch the TV selections that they provide.  Netflix has TV shows that are as recent as 2010 series or as ancient as some stuff that is over 50 years old.  Is any of it worth watching?  You bet it is!  Let’s look at some of my current suggestions:

Island at War; 2004,6 episodes

This is a British import.
It is all about a Channel Island in 1940.  It seems that Britain abandoned any semblance of military presence on the islands shortly after Germany began its bombing blitz on London.  What happened to the unprotected residents of the Channel Islands that reside between the coasts of Britain and France?  This short series deals with the very real specter of German invasion and control of the islands.  I have only watched the first
episode; but, if the remainder are as interesting as the first I will rapidly complete the series.

Check it out for yourself.

Twilight Zone; 1959, 138 episodes.

This series remains one of my all time favorites.  Rod Serling wrote most of the episodes and he appears at the beginning of all of them (sort of like the way Hitchcock did with his films and TV series).  When you watch Twilight Zone you will be introduced to almost every future star of 1960’s and 1970’s TV programs.  They are all there, including William Shatner as in impulsive gambler on a restaurant fortune-telling machine.  These 30 minute black and white episodes have a timeless quality about them.  They are as fresh today as they were in the ‘60’s.  I never tire of them.

Collision; 2009 Masterpiece Contemporary, 5 episodes.

This is another short run British series.  It’s the old buddy cop movie with a twist.  The two buddies are a man and woman who, if I remember, are former husband and wife.  They are presented with a massive roadway collision which at first appears to be the typical chain reaction mishap.  They dig deeper than their superiors want them to and an elaborate web of life stories is unveiled.  This is a very well done miniseries that will
have you riveted to the TV, even though it is in the typical British slow pace.

The Unusuals; 2009, 9 episodes.

The storyline is described as “a dysfunctional squad of New York homicide detectives” who do a poor job of ‘going by the book’.  I think you will appreciate how these
detectives transcend the paper cutouts that are the current rage of nighttime TV.  This is another one of those series that leave me scratching my head when I realize that it did not come back for a second season.   (You can watch the series for free on Hulu!)

Life on Mars; 2008, 17 episodes.

Did this one get by you like it did me?  Again, I just don’t watch TV, so it is easy for a series to pass me by.  It is very well that I never knew about this show back in 2008.  I would never have had the patience to wait a week to see the next episode.  A week?  I don’t even want to wait for the advertisements.  That’s the great thing about television series on Netflix, there are no advertisements.  You make your own by pressing the Pause

So, what’s with this program?  A present day detective (2008) is run over by a car that he absent-mindedly walks in front of.  Apparently he does not die because when he
wakes he is walking into his precinct house just like any other day.  The problem is that everyone there has long side taps and bell bottoms.  It is 1973, not 2008.  Sometimes I would watch 3 episodes in one night… this show is better than beer!  Don’t pass it up. (Note: Get a look at Gretchen Mol who plays Sam’s girlfriend in 1973!)

That’s it for November.  I am seriously considering dumping the mail portion of Netflix.  I’m lucky if one movie makes it here each week.  Likewise, it is getting more and
more difficult to find good stuff on the Instant View service.  Help!  What are your recommendations?










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