We have some Sony news as they look to create their own shows with Amazon, and I start going through my Top 10 Marvel Heroes with 10 through 6. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider subscribing and leaving a rating and review. Those …
I haven’t done my Top 10 TV shows yet so there will be some overlap, but I wanted to focus just in on Netflix because there are so many Netflix original shows out there now that are good that I think it’s worth talking about them and I’m pretty sure I can do a top 10. This will include live action and animated shows, and it will qualify anything that is “original” to the US on Netflix.
10 – Ultraman
One of the two animated shows on the list, this one was just a lot of fun to watch with good voice acting as well. It’s fairly typical in how it works, someone becomes a hero who wasn’t always planning on it but they end up being Ultraman and they have to figure out how to deal with that power and how to save the world. A good fun romp with only one season thus far, but it has been renwed for another. I like the blend of 2d and 3d animation in it that works very well. The voice acting is really good in it. It’s not a heavy show, but it’s a lot of fun.
9 – Umbrella Academy
This one, had the first season started out more consistently would have been much higher. I really like the absurdity of the show, and I like how it’s a group of super heroes, but they are basically failures at what they do and completely dysfunctional. The question, always, is can they figure it out to stop the end of the world by working together in time. What makes this show so good though is the characters. Number 5 is amazing, and Hazel was a great character in season one and Klaus is just amazing all around. And in season two they really develop the rest of the characters in great ways and it really tackles a lot of big issues and interesting dynamics. If you can power few the first few episodes of the first season it is very much worth it.
8 – Lucifer
One of the interesting ones on the list because this is only half Netflix. They picked it up from Fox, I believe, and kept it running. The show is just a lot of fun, it’s a procedural show based off of a comic, but not super hero or as completely absurd. It is really absurd because the Devil has come to Los Angeles and he meets and intriguing Detective who doesn’t really fall for his charms, and he wants to know why. So he joins the police as a consultant after helping her with a case, and it’s about the adventures and misadventures of the two of them. It is procedural, which isn’t always my cup of tea but it works in this case because it is fairly absurd.
7 – Dragon Prince
Another animated show for the list and the highest one on the list, but this is a really good show. Technically it’s a kids show, but I think it does a great job of being what a family show should be. It doesn’t shy away from emotions and some big questions, but it doesn’t fill itself with needless violence, sex, etc. that permeates most shows that target adults at all. In this show it’s about what happens with two sides won’t work together and are butting heads and how people can fall from grace and rise to power and what all that means, and what emotions people have when the world around them is very tough or unexpected. Overall, this is an extremely well done show with a ton of interesting things in it, and I’m excited for more of it to come out.
6 – Ragnarok
One of the first of a few foreign language shows that will show up on the list. Not out of where you’d get most of those shows, Ragnarok takes place in Norway and is about a family that is returning to their home town and the things that are off about their home town. Something is happening to the water and there are some people who might not be who they seem to be. It is kind of a teen drama, but it does more than that tying itself interesting into Norse mythology and developing a really fun story. One season thus far, so it’s easy to binge, and it has been renwed for another. I’ll be curious to see where this show builds to into the second season.
5 – The Order
I really like this show because it’s just cheesy schlock, and it’s amazing. It’s about a college age kid, Jack Morton, who is trying to get into a secret society at the local college, because something happened to his mother, and he blames the head of this secret order for what happens. Along the way he stumbles into a world of magic and werewolves, falls in love, and generally everything completely absurd that you’d expect happens. Jack is one of those characters that has a punchable charisma to him and he just kind of makes the show, plus he’s surrounded generally be a really good cast of characters and the use and abuse of magic in this show is really enjoyable. The second season takes a little step down but still really binge worthy.
4 – The Rain
Now, I will say with this, I haven’t seen the latest seasons of the show, so I’m only going off of the first, but this show was amazing. I like survival shows that really pull at your emotions, and this one does that. Something has happened to the rain and turned it deadly. Simone and Rasmus are brought into a shelter that was created maybe for this happening and then left their by their father, and they grow up in there. But when the bunker starts to malfunction, they have to leave and join up with a group who are trying to survive. What has caused the rain and can they find their way back to their father who is somehow connected to the rain? It is a good adventure, but like a lot of these shows, it’s about the dynamics of those who are surviving and how they can work together.
3 – Dark
I love time travel, but rarely is time travel done all that well. In Dark, they nail it. This is a topsy turvy show that takes you through a few different times as you try and figure out everything that is going on and if the cycle can be broken. A German show, it is probably worth watching subtitled in German, though the English dub isn’t bad, it is just noticeable. The feel of the show is very much dark, but it works really well and it is highly atmospheric. Definitely one to checkout if you like shows with a bit of mystery and horror to them. I’m not fully caught up, so it’s one of those shows that I’m going to have to dive back into again soon.
2 – Stranger Things
This is what most people would have pegged for the top of my list, it has monsters, it has adventure, it has humor, it has kids on bikes. And I love it. But there is one show that beats it out for me. This is what really brought the original and variety of Netflix shows to the map, and I love all the characters, I love the campy nature and I like that they’ve been able to keep the show fresh and interesting. The first season had so much interest and intrigue to it, and the second season, while it had an episode that was a complete miss, was really good, but then they came back with a third season that was maybe even better than the first season. I like how you get different group dynamics of over and younger characters and how the adults never treat the kids just as dumb kids. I need to go back and watch through it all again because I just love this show.
1 – Locke & Key
So, the show that beat out Stranger Things only has a single season thus far, and that’s Locke & Key. If you want to say I should wait for season two, I can see that, but I love this show. I love how they manage to take what is a fairly rough comic and something that probably wouldn’t have been as successful if they hadn’t turned it into something more young adult, but still manage to make a great show out of it. I like the acting a lot in it, especially from Kinsey who has an amazing moment and change in her acting in the show. And I like the world that is being built with the keys. The idea of these keys that can do magical things is just really cool and feels like there is so much that can built out around that. I’m extremely excited for a second season and this is a show that I am going to go back and watch again soon.
So for you, what are some of your favorite shows on Netflix, there are so many out there that could be considered. I know with my tastes that The Witcher could have been one considered, but for me that was just okay. Plus there are shows like Ozark and many more that I haven’t even checked out yet because they just aren’t quite my type of show that I know other people love. Let me know in the comments below.
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At the start of working from home, due to Covid-19, I watched through the first season of The Order and I wrote up my thoughts on that season, which can be found here. Thankfully, because I was a bit late to the party for the first season of The Order, season two came along quite quickly, but does it hold up to season one?
Season One Spoilers To Follow
Season Two picks up fairly quickly from season where, where the Knights of Saint Christopher have had their memories erased and various acolytes of the Order of the Blue Rose have been tasked with keeping an eye on them. There’s one issue, though, they keep on getting their memories back as the werewolves keep healing them. To add to that, the werewolves keep on almost escaping because someone is doing magic, and the Knights, without their memories can’t stop them from coming out. Things go from bad to worse when a new magical organization shows up, this one with the plan of bringing magic to the masses, but what is the cost of that going to be. Meanwhile, Alyssa Drake is struggling to control her own magic for some unknown reason.
I think a good starting point for talking about this is that season two is probably more absurd than season one. There are some cameos in it that are just hilarious and extremely well done. And a lot of the situations are completely out there. That said, this has always been a show about secret magic, werewolves, and college, so it was never a show that took itself too seriously. They do a good job of setting the tone for that early in the first episode of season one. So I like that this has continued down a pretty cheesy path as that’s one of my favorite things, cheesy monsters. And I don’t feel like it’s too overbearing though, there are some real moments that happen in it with the characters, and there are real stakes so it’s not just about the goofiness, though that was a highlight of season two.
In terms of the acting, it’s on par with the previous season. Basically all the main players who survived season one are back again and play large roles. They do a good job of giving Randall more to do as well as Gabrielle this season, though both did a fair amount in season one. But they become very important characters in season two. And the new characters introduced are fine, I think that the sect of magic users who want to bring magic to the masses are okay. Their acting is not always the best, nor is their motivation properly defined. I think this added group muddies the waters a bit too much, and they really are trying to lean into everything being grey, but not in a way that really works all that well. And I feel like the character development of Jack Morton and Alyssa Drake kind of takes a bit of a step backwards. Now, I know the rules that characters shouldn’t get together because once the ones you are pulling for do, they become more boring. However, they had ways to keep them apart, and they used them quite well early on in the season, but later, especially Jack’s motivations are messed up with what we have known his personality to be.
With that said, I have to go back to this being a cheesy show about monsters, werewolves, and magical secret societies, 90% of which takes place on a college campus. It doesn’t take itself seriously, the writing isn’t high quality, so I don’t expect it to be handled perfectly. When I watch The Order, I’m doing so because I want to have fun, and this season hands out a ton of fun. If you enjoyed the first season, it’s more of the same, just with a less well defined bad guy. If you didn’t, this season won’t change anything for you. And if you haven’t watched it but like cheesy monster college shows, it’s a very specific genre, you’ll enjoy this show. I’m hoping the numbers will do well enough for season three, because I think there’s ways to go with the story that will be interesting, but if not, it ends in a solid spot.
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As I’ve talked about before, part of my work from home has given me a chance to thrown on some television shows in the background while I work. This might be distracting for some, but I always have a YouTube video or audio book playing while I’m working in the office. I used that time to catch up on some anime, but then I decide to checkout some science fiction, and the first one I picked was Nightflyers, the show based off of a novella by George RR Martin.
Earth is in need of help, as is pretty common in sci-fi. So a group of scientist, colonists, and others head out into deep space to find a mysterious object, the volcryn, that seems to be giving off the same energy signature as telepaths on Earth do. Yes, there are telepaths on earth, and there is even one on the ship, Thale, who is dangerous, but also might be their only way to contact the volcryn. However, from the get go, things are not going like they should on the ship, the Captain Royd Eris is hidden away only showing up as a hologram, things are breaking down, and for this mission, everyone is on edge. As they go further into space and get closer to the volcryn, more things go poorly and it is clear that someone on the ship does not want them to reach the volcryn, all while the main character, Karoly d’Branin becomes more and more obsessed with finding reaching their end goal. Will they survive all the way to the end?
This show reminded me a lot of Helix, another SyFy channel show, set in space. It’s about who you can trust, or who you shouldn’t trust on the ship. And if what you’re going after is going to be worth the cost. I think that it Nightflyers, without delving into too much plot detail, is fairly standard in a lot of it’s handling of sci-fi tropes. I don’t think that’s always a bad thing, because there are a lot of interesting story elements, but for the most part, it feels fairly typical to stuff that I’ve already seen and stuff that has been a part of sci-fi for a long time. It does delve into some interesting areas about grief and humanity, but for the most part it leans into the horror and sci-fi elements in ways that you’d expect.
So while the sci-fi elements might not always be the most unique, I thought that it did a good job blending the elements of sci-fi and horror. And in the horror you actually get some more unique things, which tie back into the sci-fi nature of the show. With horror, I do believe that it is a bit all over the place at times. You some where it’s very psychological and other times where people are being frozen or jump scares or a pathogen loose in the air. But I have a soft spot for the blend of horror and sci-fi in my heart, because both of them can really dig into issues that would be too abstracted in a more realistic setting.
I think that the concept of the show works, I think while it is fairly standard, the story of the show works. I feel like they mess up some pacing in the show, there’s a large time jump for no good reason at one point in time, just to set-up the next horrific thing happening. I think the time jump is confusing as well, because it’s a slow burn show. Most of the elements are played out slowly over a long period of time and it works well in the show. You can tell the story is based off of George RR Martin, the Song of Ice and Fire series has a slow burn as well, and this matches it where a lot of the horror is based things and confusion moving slowly and building tension versus jump scares.
Would I recommend this show? It was pretty enjoyable and because it’s one season only, I think there are enough interesting horror and sci-fi elements in it that makes it worth checking out. The world building for something that basically only takes place on a spaceship is done really well. There’s a good amount of depth there, and that depth builds throughout the whole of the show, not just the the start with an info dump, but you never feel like they are info dumping on you and that you don’t have the information that you need. If you enjoy fairly heavy sci-fi with a good dose of horror thrown in, it’s definitely a show that is worth watching.
Have you seen the show, read the novella? How do they compare, is the novella worth reading if you’ve seen the show?
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