Saturday, April 18, 2015

Netflixing: Cedar Cove, Knife Fight, Halt & Catch Fire.

Our Netflix diet of late has been a potpourri of The X-Files, Quantum Leap, and Cedar Cove, judiciously arranged so that soothing Cedar Cove episodes come just before bedtime. Retiring to bed after some of the more gruesome X-Files episodes can endanger a peaceful night's rest!

Cedar Cove, we've discovered, is one of those "comfort food" series: undemanding plot-lines, idyllic setting, pleasant, good-looking characters, decent script and acting. It originated on Hallmark channel, to which we've not had access, but I can well imagine most of its fare being of this good-natured ilk.

Cedar Cove is based on Debbie Macomber's novels of the same name. The series focuses on Municipal Court Judge Olivia Lockhart's professional and personal life and the townsfolk of her small town, Cedar Cove. The Judge is nicely played by Andie MacDowell. Her "love interest" (there always has to be one of those) is Jack (Dylan Neal) the newly arrived from Philadelphia leading (only) reporter on the town's newspaper. See Wikipedia for full cast list. Filmed on beautiful Vancouver Island, the series' location is actually meant to be Port Orchard, Washington State, a dozen or so miles from Seattle.

If anyone's looking for a bit of undemanding comfort viewing as antidote to ubiquitous slam-bang nastiness, this series acts as welcome relief.

Decent movies, as against TV series, on Netflix have proved harder to find. We've begun watching several only to dump them after 20 minutes or so. The majority are definite "C", "D" or "E"-list fodder - in our estimation at least. Last weekend we tried a movie newly introduced to Netflix, Knife Fight, subject matter not as one might expect from the title. The film is about shenanigans in the American political campaign business. Rob Lowe (once of the wonderful West Wing) heads a cast which also includes another West Wing alumnus, Richard Schiff - the pair share a couple of the best scenes in the film, bring in much-needed chuckle-worthy one-liners. I really enjoyed the film, but most critics panned it. American politics and their shenanigans being comparatively new to me, I'm probably more easily pleased. I've seen several other movies of this genre, and for me, though this isn't one of the best, it's definitely better than some critics would have us believe, and worth a viewing, especially as full-on campaign season is about to come down on us once again.

Another, fairly new to Netflix, series devoid of slam-bang is Halt & Catch Fire. It originated on AMC channel, which has a good record of screening excellent series such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men. With those two as recommendation we decided to give Halt and Catch Fire a try. It's set in Dallas, Texas in the early 1980s, when personal computer development and production was in its infancy. Whereas Mad Men is about the advertising industry and its personalities, Halt & Catch Fire is about the burgeoning personal computer industry and those involved.

I didn't much enjoy the pilot, but as husband was intrigued we stuck with it, and I eventually became hooked too. One doesn't really need much, or any, deep tech know-how to appreciate the story lines - they're all about the characters, and their creative aims and dreams. The show is worth a look-in if you're tired of police and courtroom dramas, or hospital tales, or historical themes, or nasty slam-bang - this is something different, not top-notch but interestingly different.

PS~~ Halt and Catch Fire, known by the assembly mnemonic HCF, refers to several computer machine code instructions that cause a computer's CPU to cease meaningful operation. (Wiki)


mike said...

I, too, am having difficulty finding entertainment on Netflix, which seems impossible, given their selection. I'm not nearly the movie-goer that you and anyjazz are, so it would seem an easy task for me, but it isn't. I've kept a list of "wants", but Netflix either has them only on DVD, or not at all.

Two movies that are on Netflix and I enjoyed that you've probably already seen, but maybe not:

"Like Water for Chocolate"


Twilight said...

mike ~ Old (and not so old) TV series are keeping us happy, so far, but if not for those, we'd be struggling to find good content. Once in a while a decent movie will be added to their "menu", old film or newer - I keep an eye on "New to Netflix" lists online so's not to miss 'em.

We haven't seen "Like Water for Chocolate" - will look for it - thanks.
"Amelie" -hmm I'm not sure, I think we might have seen it, but some years ago.
Will check.

Both are foreign language films though...not my favourite genre, but tolerable if the story is good.
We often use the subtitles facility anyway, especially if watching British productions, for anyjazz's benefit. :-)

mike (again) said...

You might enjoy two series that were recommended to me. I don't typically like the genre or drawn-out series, so I haven't viewed them. Both are available on Netflix.

"White Collar"

"Burn Notice"

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks...We used to watch "White Collar" - on TV as it aired - all the first season + maybe part of 2nd season too. Enjoyed it for a while, but it started to become formulaic. Nice lead actor.

Ads for "Burn Notice" used to be under our noses on TV frequently, but we didn't fancy it, and I "took against" the face of the lead actor - lol - I do that occasionally.

Roku/Netflix has drastically cut our TV-proper watching time. "The Voice", "American Idol" and "Real Time" with Bill Maher weekly- that's our lot at present, unless there are tornadoes around, then we'll watch a local channel if a storm is brewing nearby.

Anyjazz is wary about cancelling stuff in case Cableone decided to mess with our internet as penance! They are probably losing customers left and right these days. Must be done soon though.

mike (again) said...

I'm disappointed with Henry and Ben:

"Ben Affleck requested his slave owner ancestor be censored from PBS' 'Finding Your Roots'"

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Yes, it is disappointing. Especially this from Henry:
He's a megastar. What do we do?
WTF - megastars? ...Tsk tsk!! They are just people same as the rest of us, they have a modicum of talent and more often LUCK, influence and a following wind behind them. They didn't come down from the sky on a silver-lined cloud. Dang!!! Henry should have put they guy right without even thinking of seeking further advice. :-/

Bob said...

Had to watch "Hudson Hawk" after seeing Andie MacDowell's name.

Hudson Hawk - Swinging On A Star

Twilight said...

Bob ~ LOL! I must look for that movie on Netflix - can't remember whether I saw it long ago or not. I always preferred Bruce Willis being silly, that's the way he started ("Moonlighting") - once he morphed into "tough guy" mode, didn't enjoy as much - or at all.