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  • Brian Alex Clark 10:10 pm on September 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    The Hard Times of RJ Berger Season One, Part One 

    Welcome to a new type of post: reviews of show seasons on Netflix to help you know whether the many many hours of time needed to invest in programs will be worth it. This article will cover the first 6 episodes of The Hard Times of RJ Berger, Season One, while a follow-up article will cover the last 7 of the season. It’s a new concept, so let’s dive right in:

    The first season of RJ Berger suffers from one very unfortunate flaw: the first episode is so blindingly good, so above the par, such a found treasure that everything following can’t live up with it’s raw originality. Nothing following in the series can be that good. But that’s not to suggest the season is a waste of time. On the contrary, the following five episodes of RJ Berger should be looked at as being 100% great while the pilot was firing at 125%. Knowing that, let’s dive into some bite-size episode reviews.

    Episode One: Pilot
    If you’d like a more comprehensive review of the pilot, follow this link to the full episode one review. Now that that’s been supplied, let’s get on with it. The first episode is essentially perfect. Any flaws it might have get wiped away by the caliber of it’s best moments, especially that freaking amazing ending. The plot of the first episode boils down to RJ getting matched with his lady love Jenny Swanson as study partners right before the whole school learns about is “curse” (he’s got a giant dick), all the while dealing with his very sexually inappropriate parents (the neighbors and them talk about an orgy they’ll be enjoying together right in front of RJ at the dinner table). So far, it is the best episode of the season.

    Epidose Two: Yes We Can’t

    In the followup episode Max Owens (Jayson Blair)–the infamous boyfriend of Jenny Swanson–as the President of the Student Government Association keeps approving the funneling of “emergency funds” into the athletic club (including an over $1,400 request that essentially paid for the Coach’s gambling debt) while refusing money to groups like RJ’s Computer Club and even his own girlfriend’s Theater Club, which only needed $500 for sets. So what is a big dick, nerdy, and unlikely hero to do against the unopposed President of SGA? Why, make him opposed, of course. And he does a damn marvelous job at it, despite his friend’s disbelief in him. It’s a valiant episode that could be described as a slightly better version of this summer’s The Campaign and one that introduces an awesomely funny Kevin Stern (Adam Cagley) as a wheelchair bound student, though based on his use of a leg to turn himself in a later episode, I don’t think he needs it. That, or more likely, the actor just didn’t do as flawless a job at portraying a crippled kid as Kevin McHale did on Glee. Either way, the episode is a blast and it has an ingenious ending that helps RJ not win (after all, he wouldn’t be the underdog if he held his arch enemy in the palm of the hand, could he?

    Episode Three: The Berger Cometh
    “Vamp Side Story”. If that sounds like the bad title to a worse melding of West Side Story and Vampires, then you’ve landed on the main MacGuffin of the third episode in RJ’s televised life. Because, of course, the leading lady is lovely Jenny. And if RJ doesn’t join the play, he’ll be without his precious Jenny time for weeks! As you can expect he gives an awful first reading for the main Vampire’s love-struck monologue. But then Jenny comes in and he nails it. One complaint I have about that moment is that instead of becoming captivated by Jenny and looking at her the whole time he says the monologue (like every movie with the same scene always does), he catches a glimpse of her and then looks blankly into the distance as he says the speech. But getting past that small moment, the episode has a lot of fun messing with RJ as he approaches the inevitable moment, which is the kiss their love crossed lovers share at the show’s conclusion (repeatedly referred to as “the climax” by the lady director).

    Episode Four: Here’s to You, Mrs. Robbins
    The digitally remaster re-release of Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark in theaters. Getting invited to Jenny Swanson’s sweet sixteen. What more can a nerdy high school kid ask for? Well, $300 apparently. That’s how much RJ thinks he needs to get something special for Jenny’s birthday party (read: something with gold). After an unsuccessful attempt to get the money from his mother in the laundry room that ends with her not so subtly riding the washing machine, he finds a solution in doing chores for his neighbors. Yes, the same ones with the dinner table orgy talk. Unfortunately for our boy RJ this causes ripples every day. The first day he does chores for Mrs. Robbins he’s so exhausted he doesn’t wake up in time to join his best friend Miles for their night of Indiana Jones glory, causing Miles to dump him as a best friend. He even returns his half of a pair of necklaces that when put together spells “Bros.” The second day he spends the day at the local Tennis Club to act as Mrs. Robbins’s (very underage) designated driver, and gets embarrassed when Mrs. Robbins tells Jenny (who is also a member) how jealous she is of her young, perky breasts. Then the coup de gras occurs: having just dove for every piece of Mrs. Robbins’s cookware that mysteriously ended up on the bottom of her pool, Mrs. Robbins sexually ambushes him until Mr. Robbins catches his wife almost getting her way with our underage hero… and wants to join in. Besides some weaknesses in the episode as well as the humorous continuity errors a drawing of RJ’s go through (crumpled into a ball then neatly folded in four then barely with any creases), this is actually one of the highlights of the season.

    Episode Five: The Rebound
    Jenny dumps Max for cheating. And in typical fashion, it is splendidly public. Does anyone need to say “now’s your chance RJ, old buddy, old chum”? The episode follows two separate threads. First, it deals with all the beavers coming out of the woodwork wanting to chew on Jenny’s bark. Second, RJ is unfortunately roped into the task of proving Max’s innocence. Max’s defense? The panties Jenny found in his locker were mediums and “he doesn’t do fat chicks.” After some digging, he actually discovers that what Max says is true. To make matters worse, RJ gets stuck with a moral kerfuffle of whether to tell his longtime crush when Jenny asks to spend Friday night with him (the coveted night of coitus that all those busy little beavers are shooting for). She even goes as far to tell him that she needs an honest, nice guy like RJ. On his bed. After telling him she doesn’t want to study. It’s kind of unfortunate that this show seems so predictable upon review because The Hard Times of RJ Berger handles these moments with much more grace than any cheap copycat of The Wonder Years ever could. At the end of the episode you’ll definitely have a warm feeling in your stomach… or is it heart?

    Episode Six: Over the Rainbow
    To give you the proper view of this episode, let me recreate the conversation RJ has with his dad when they talk about his golden haired crush: “You gotta hump a few clunkers before you can fondle a ferrari.” “Uh, Dad. As far as my balls are concerned, the wheel hasn’t been invented yet. I wouldn’t know the first thing, what to do.” “That’s the great thing about clunkers. You can knock em up against a few walls, leave cigarette burns in the upholstery, and dump em in a ditch.” Yep, it’s that kind of episode. What a timely speech for RJ to get, too; because it just so happens a “clunker” Claire (who i’d say is still way out of his league) moved in right across the street. Let me point out: if a girl is much closer to Jenny than she is Lily (RJ’s ugly sex crazy stalker), then she’s no clunker. But be it as it may, things don’t come easily to our boy RJ. It turns his new British accented Indian girl (not the type with the feathers as everyone keeps pointing out) is very much about purity.

    That’s right, abstinence baby! But things aren’t as hopeful for RJ as they seem. Because according to Miles, those are the freakiest type of girl. There’s a wonderful obscene dance to accompany his explanation of what a Rainbow Party is. (it’s a party where the girls all put on different color lipsticks and “paint” the boys, doing everything but–two T’s butt). So RJ’s sites are set on the new girl from across the pond who seems to prefer his nice group of losers to the arrogant jocks who see her sexy potential because according to Claire RJ and his friends seem “a lot cooler.” So he joins the purity club. And the craziest thing about their boring, bible reading group? The Rainbow Party thing is true. Apparently, this is what goes on with American purity groups. Not so much with the British purity groups, though, and Claire bolts. Can you guess what happens? With his pants still unzipped, RJ bolts. And suddenly he’s got a clunker gf because it’s sweet for a boy to “walk me home instead of getting his balls drained by half a dozen slags.”

    All things said and done, this is definitely a good first half to the season, with promises of more goodness to come. Because at the end of every episode choice clips from the next episode act as a “next time on” segment which works very well on a platform like Netflix. Usually those kinds of trailers are completely separate from the episode’s cut. It’s definitely a smart move for MTV.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is definitely a gem to check out. It’ll have you watching all 24 episodes of it’s complete two seasons, I can promise you that. (unless it gets really lame later, I haven’t seen those episodes yet lol). Either way, this is definitely something for Netflix viewing.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out this first season trailer.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are a few helpful links to the physical copies and Amazon digital copies, which are free for Prime Members:

    The Hard Times of RJ Berger: Season One
    The Hard Times of RJ Berger: Season Two

    Amazon Instant Season One [HD]
    Amazon Instant Season Two [HD]

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 7:04 pm on September 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    The Hard Times of RJ Berger Episode 1 Review 

    In sitcoms like The Hard Times Of RJ Berger the lead (played by Paul Iacono) is always an incredibly dorky but lovable guy we’re supposed to assume is the ugliest person in the world, even though he’s a little bit above the bottom of the barrell. For the first time we have a show where the lead actually is ugly. Not imperfect looking like Michael Cera or the star of The Inbetweeners, but actually ugly. And that puts you out just enough that the show has to work that much harder to pull you back in.

    Luckily for it, it succeeds somewhat with some very excellent, dare i say family guy-esque moments of random left field humor. And I’m taking about the kind of humor they DON’T let out of left field because those selfish left-fielders want it all for themselves, it’s that good. Starting the series with his mother walking in on him masturbating to a drawing of a girl on a dragon is probably the tamest of these gems.

    There’s not really a specific story driving the episode like there are in later episodes. This is all about introducing us to RJ Berger, the assortment of very strange friends of his, and that smoking, hotter-than-life crush he has. Ya know, all the staples of a modern day romantic comedy. Oh, and of course the douche boyfriend she has. That’s basically a requirement but we don’t mind, the episode makes such great strides.

    There is his best friend Miles Jenner (Jareb Duaplaise, the hilarious sidekick to the shirt-too-tight jock in Transformers 2) who is fat and obsessed with becoming popular but is the one that made me see RJ as ugly in comparison. Then there is Lily Miran (Kara Taitz) who is the friend he doesn’t want due to her wildly creepy infatuation for him. She starts off RJ’s schoolday by bragging how she masturbated to the thought of him earlier. Oh, and she didn’t do it in a bed like he did. It was much worse than that. Then there is Jenny Swanson (Amber Lancaster, actually a current model on The Price Is Right), the aforementioned smoking hot crush, who at one point hilariously rips her dress off with one hand so she can slo mo walk towards our hero in very flattering lingerie. Boner alert, anyone?

    Luckily for Berger he finally gets his shot (as much a shots a loser like RJ would) when they get matched up as study partners. We know she’s a good person because she didn’t ditch the nerd and pair up with a bestie like she would have in the real world.

    It’s easy to tell that the writer has a real perverted sense of humor and we are grateful for it. Besides the previous examples, our hero has a wonderful and funny dinner with his parents and their best friends/neighbors, another married couple. The talk at the dinner table? Some light flirting between the respective couples. And by light flirting I mean they won’t stop not-so-subtly talking about the orgy they’re having later. The breaking point is when RJ’s mom doesn’t want to be the only one not taking a crack at the neighbor’s wife.

    And then there’s the world shattering news: RJ’s dick. Apparently it’s huge. So why hasn’t this sympathetic nerd been riding that gravy train of a blessing all the way to biscuit town? He thinks it’s a curse. And the animated cutaway (an occasional staple of the series) explaining it is a blessing to watch.

    Obviously his friend Miles is the smarter of the two.

    I have to point out something strange I noticed about RJ though: he has the prerequisite stutter when his crush starts talking to him but once he gets past those first couple seconds he carries on a conversation with her like she’s anybody else. It just seemed out of place. Dorky characters like this usually never catch a break.

    On the other side of the equation, I have to comment on the leading lady: though she definitely has the looks to lead viewers to expect as much, I had no idea she got her first exposure through shows like Are You Hot?: The Search for America’s Sexiest People and the already mentioned The Price Is Right modeling gig. That is mainly because she is an excellent actress who holds her own among the less attractive actors (lol) and even shows off some talented chops later on down the line.

    So of all these excellent, perverse, and very funny moments, which is the one that inspired me–nay, required me–to come back for all the other episodes. Well let’s just say what RJ does after getting clocked at a party by the chick’s boyfriend is the most fun I’ve had watching a tv show, and everyone in that Starbucks knew it by roaring laughter. Suffice it to say he whips his giant dick out in front of the chick, the boyfriend, and everyone at the party. And that’s not even the funny part. Once you see it for yourself, you’ll know exactly why he’s able to keep a steady voice talking to his lady love: he’s got some balls.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is definitely a show that should be sought out. Definitely even just the first episode (reasons coming in the season one review). Definitely something to watch on the Netflix.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are a few helpful links to the physical copies and Amazon digital copies, which are free for Prime Members:

    The Hard Times of RJ Berger: Season One
    The Hard Times of RJ Berger: Season Two

    Amazon Instant Season One [HD]
    Amazon Instant Season Two [HD]

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 5:21 pm on September 19, 2012 Permalink  

    For Kevin 

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  • Brian Alex Clark 3:57 am on September 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    The League Episode One Review 

    I am in no way, shape, or form a fan of football. The one game I ever watched was in 7th grade when I bet another kid a dollar the team he was making fun of would win the Superbowl. I think it was The Patriots. They won the Superbowl by a point and he still owes me a dollar.

    But watching The League, a show in which a band of 5 friends who are all slightly weird in their own little ways play out their yearly season of fantasy football, is incredibly more interesting. I didn’t know how fantasy football worked before watching this show and thankfully they didn’t waste my time trying to explain it, so I only had to watch the interesting parts. So in other words, the entire 2 Seasons on Netflix.

    So the question is, after having already watched two seasons, does the first episode still hold up as a quality piece of viewing pleasure or is it radically different than the series I’ve come to love ala show pilots like Seinfeld and to a lesser extent Psych?

    I’ll have to go with the former choice. This is a show that knew what it was from the beginning and if it’s changed over the two seasons it was a natural evolution that when looking back didn’t make the earlier episodes look inferior.

    So what makes this show about 3 time league champion Pete Eckhart (Mark Duplass), assistant district attorney Kevin MacArthur (Stephen Rannazzisi), Jewish product-liability attorney Rodney Ruxin (Nick Kroll), plastic surgeon Dr. Andre Nowzick (Paul Scheer), and Kevin’s stoned, unemployed little brother Taco MacArthur (Jon Lajoie) getting together for essentially an “adult” roleplaying game?

    Well, for starters four minutes in Pete’s wife (played by the journalist Tony Stark shagged in Iron Man) jumps him for sex and in the middle butt rapes him with her finger then pushes him off, slaps him on the very recently defiled area and says “good show, old boy” before strutting herself to the bathroom. Kevin essentially runs his team by saying “yes, dear” because he’s another guy with his wife’s hand stuck up his ass (ventriloquist pun), but he does have a penchant for tricking his less gullible opponents into making awful trade choices. Ruxin is so desperate to win that he chases a very underage boy like  a guy you wouldn’t be surprised seeing on To Catch A Predator because the kid is called “The Oracle” of fantasy football.

    “Doctor” Andre is rich as hell with a loft with 4 guest bedrooms but no one to fill because he’s the bald loser everyone makes fun of and is so ignorant the guys let him pick a player 3 years retired. And finally Taco, my favorite character, is just so stupid he becomes a chick magnet. He makes draft choices with pretty much no knowledge of what he’s doing yet somehow he’s the only one besides Pete who has his name on the fantasy football trophy.

    Ah, the trophy! That in itself is gold. Later down the line you’ll get the whole glorious story and experience of the trophy, but to give you the small insight it’s got a plaque of Shiva, a hot nerdy girl from high school they all have a very, very sexual crush on.

    As a non-sports fan, I’m just glad boring football was invented and the much more boring “sport” of fantasy football JUST so this awesome show could be invented. If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is definitely a show that will tickle that funny bone. So get the chips and dips, gather the friends over, and say “forget football, we’re gonna watch The League on Netflix.” lol.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the long and very fun trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are a few helpful links to the physical copies and digital copies of the 3rd season, which isn’t on Netflix:

    The League: The Complete Season One [Blu-ray]
    The League: The Complete Season Two [Blu-ray]
    The League: Season Three [Blu-ray]

    The League, Season Three [HD]

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 1:38 am on September 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alcohol, , comedy central, dick in a box, drunk, , nipple, , weed, workaholics   

    Workaholics Episode 1 Review 

    In what world of sexting is a shot of a girl’s nipple supposed to be followed by a picture of a dude’s dick? That is a question Anders Holmvik (Anders Holm) didn’t bother to ask when his two best friends Adam Demamp (Adam DeVine) and Blake Henderson (Blake Anderson) were messing with him. I mean, if they tell you they heard it on Dateline, what are you supposed to do but believe it, right? Well, now Anders has to live with the fact that everyone in their friend Vanessa’s phone have a very interesting–and oddly tan–new wallpaper. As his pranking friend Adam reveals “the nipple of your dreams is really the tipple of nightmares.”

    If you’re wondering why the main actors of Workaholics have names eerily similar to their characters, it’s not an accident. The first season of the very funny Comedy Central show was ordered after an executive of the popular cable channel saw a series of YouTube videos the three actors/writers/producers had posted on youtube. It’s another success story that bears the same universal message all got-famous-quick Hollywood stories have: you just have to go out and do it.

    So does this show about three alcoholic, pot smoking, proudly degenerate telemarketers deserve to share the same airspace with such long-living series’s as South ParkThe Daily Show, and The Colbert Report? I’d have to give one big ass, happy ass resounding “YES” to that. I mean, they even named it with the right frame of mind. Workaholics was a play on words, implying alcoholics in the workplace.

    So what wrench is thrown into these three immature and lovable friends’s monkey for their premiere episode that would rock their world and inspire a complete 22 minutes of mayhem and antics? It’s brilliant in it’s simplicity: drug test. Dun dun dun.

    Let’s just say when they turn to a playground of kids to get a clean sample of urine you’ll have no doubt this show is a melding of insane brilliance and *&^%ing insanity that reminds you of those great SNL shorts everyone loves like Jizz In My Pants or Dick in a Box. And with a finish intentionally channeling Die Hard, is there anything that this series can’t get right? Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.

    If after you watch this you feel the need to buy the following two seasons (which are not at home on Netflix, unfortunately), there is nothing wrong with you. You’re only problem is that you have excellent taste.

    So if you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is a must to watch. Don’t add it to your Queue, just search, play, and enjoy this wonderful season on Netflix.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out this clip.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are a few helpful links to the physical copies and digital copies of the 3rd season:

    Workaholics: Seasons 1 & 2 [Blu-ray]

    Amazon – Workaholics: Season 3 [HD]
    iTunes – Workaholics, Season 3

    A head’s up: Seasons One and Two are sold separately on DVD for $13 a pop, while both are sold together on Blu-Ray for $16.

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 11:05 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cinderella, , fables, fairytale, lost, mystery, once upon a time, prince charming, snow white, , wicked witch   

    ONCE Upon A Time Episode 1 Review 

    When you add all the pieces together, this is an excellent television series. A brilliant and innovative concept, created by two writers of the critically acclaimed show Lost, and with a wealth of talented actors ranging from Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) to Jennifer Morrison (House). At least, that’s what it should have added up to.

    What happens when all the happy endings from all the fairytales suddenly get taken away, with all the fairytale characters sent to a horrible place (our world) where there are no happy endings and no one remember who they really are?

    “Nothing very interesting” is sadly the answer. In fact, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t get past the first minute, it is so boring. It starts at the smart and logical point, considering the story they set up: the ending of Snow White, where Prince Charming rides in and kisses his pale love interest back to life. Except, if we’re to assume they both just went through the most trying ordeal in their life, there would have been a lot more emotion to the scene. And “saying goodbye” wouldn’t consist of a boring kiss and her immediately waking up. Take a clue from Patrick Dempsey, dude. He rocked that moment in Enchanted.

    And then they’re married, the Wicked Witch crashes and says shit’s gonna go down, and yada yada yada. What we end up getting is essentially Lost, except the flashbacks is where the sci-fi stuff happens instead of the present. With obvious (read: unoriginal) transitions between the two story lines, horrible–yes HORRIBLE–visual effect, very mediocre lines being pushed through the character’s mouths, and even some bad acting from actors we know are talented elsewere, it’s no wonder I kept checking how much time was left in the episode. The story, unfortunately, is paper thin. But wait, let me explain.

    In the fairytale land, the characters do for a whole episode what would have been 10 minutes at most in a well handled movie or tv show. Back in the real world, they take just as much time roping the daughter of Snow White into coming to live in Storybrooke, home of the amnesiac fairytale characters, through her given-up-for-adoption and kinda weird son. Are the writers afraid they’ll run out of story if they pack their episodes with plot? At least it would have caused them to breeze faster past the stale plot they were serving us.

    I know action can work on television. Even though it’s nothing groundbreaking in the two episodes I’ve seen, Nikita is a show that can nail an action scene as good as the big boys in Hollywood. But the fight scenes in Once Upon A Time are lackluster at best, mainly because of the poor cinematography–which, by the way, will randomly zoom around characters like the moment is important when it’s not. Some might see this as sad, but they really need to take a page from the camera crew on Glee. Check it out for yourself. That show’s on Netflix, too.

    Are you guys tired of me bashing on Once yet? Because I was about 3 paragraphs ago, but continued on because this wouldn’t be much of a review if I just said “it was bad.” You guys deserve to know why. But I’m really left wondering: how did that show keep upwards of 11 million viewers an episode in it’s first season? I can’t believe it’s just the added benefit for viewers at being able to point and say “ooh, ooh, that’s supposed to be Little Red Riding Hood.” So I guess I might watch a couple more episodes just to see if they finally bring the A game.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is something you might want to go to after you exhaust all the really good stuff you want to see. It can wait. There are better things on Netflix.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copy:

    Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

    Strangely, the Blu-ray is $2 cheaper than the DVD. If you’re looking for an excuse to pick up that well-priced Blu-Ray player you’ve been eyeing.

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 7:22 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , doctor, , , house, hugh laurie, miniseries, ,   

    Fortysomething Episode 1 Review 

    To start things off right, I watching the entire first episode of Fortysomething, a miniseries staring Hugh Laurie (House) as a doctor (yes, doctor) named Paul Slippery, thinking that his character’s wife, Estelle Slippery (Anna Chancellor), was played by the same actress that portrays his House foil and love interest Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). They looked so similar I just thought Hugh brought his previous costar to share the screen with him again on American television screens.

    So, once we collectively get past the mistake we’ve all made (read: the mistake only I made), does Fortysomething live up to the legacy that is House?

    Unfortunately, while it is good, it is not on the same level as the bitingly perfect television series Hugh Laurie is most commonly known for. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s upsides. Fortysomething is the story of a doctor in his mid-40s who is all too comfortable talking about sex and drugs with his 3 sons, but who recently has started losing his memory about certain things (like when the last time he had sex with his wife was). To top it off, at the start of the episode he starts hearing people’s thoughts.

    I’m not sure if this will be a running theme through the series because halfway through when he asks his coworker if she thought what he heard (that he looks like he hadn’t had sex for 6 months) she corrects him quite honestly (she thinks he looks like he hasn’t had sex for a year) and he doesn’t have any more “mind reading episodes” for the episode. If it is something that will continue into other episodes, it wasn’t handled very well.

    During his troubled day off (he forgot he doesn’t work Tuesdays) during which he acts as what can only be described as House Jr. (he tries saving a patient who doesn’t need saving), his wife goes to the first day of her new job only to find out the position she was hired for isn’t needed anymore and his oldest son Roy (played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch–the reason I had to check out the series) has to deal with his younger brother Daniel trying to sleep with his girlfriend. It’s strange and fun to see Roy get calmed down and convinced to wait downstairs for nearly forty minutes while they pretend not to hear Daniel succeeding. It’s the kind of thing that would make me never talk to my brother again forever, but Roy seems to forgive him by the end.

    So through an episode filled with 23 fridges being dumped on his lawn and his wife going AWOL on a walk through the park while he is desperately trying to get a hold of her driving him to come to the lesbian conclusion, it’s definitely not a boring show. But having seen it just yesterday, I’m already not interested in continuing on, which I can’t explain.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is something you might want to check out. After all, I remember enjoying it while watching it and Hugh and Benedict were very good, but ultimately it’s up to you whether to put it in your Netflix Cue or not.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copy:

    Fortysomething, The Complete Series

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 6:16 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , british television, , , , , the inbetweeners, twat   

    The Inbetweeners Episode 1 Review 

    British television is quite brilliant in it’s way of getting people to keep coming back every week. In it’s second season, Luther edited clips from the next episode into the credits sequence. The Inbetweeners, a show about a school reject trying to make friends at a new school, doesn’t wait that long into the episode. In the first minute while the main character Will McKenzie (Simon Bird) is still doing his voiceover listing his woes about the coming year, we get what can only be described as a funny highlight reel of things that won’t happen this episode, but later down the line. That’s the benefit of a 6 episode season: everything’s filmed before you air.

    But is the actual show interesting enough that you want to stick around to find out what caused all these glimpses into the future?

    In a very short answer, yes. In a slightly longer answer, The Inbetweeners is a great example of brilliant television programming. We follow Will, a kid that screams “bully magnet” so intensely that his own newly estranged mother doesn’t believe him when he tells her he wasn’t bullied at his last school (I’m not sure we’re supposed to believe him either) and who on his first day can’t walk down a hall without at least 5 different people insulting him on his clothes (posh wanker) or his suitcase (Charlie Bartlett would call it an attache case) or the big, green, stupid button the school makes all the new kids wear. AKA Will and “The Freaks” as he calls them. Even an 8th Grader gets in a shot. Hell, even the teacher gets in a couple good ones. This definitely isn’t a school that screams “the children are our future.” Punching bags would be more accurate.

    So how does Will’s first day go, besides the “not bullying?” Not well, I’m afraid. The school day consists of him trying to wedge himself into a group of three guys who just barely register as better than The Freaks that were trying to be his friend from the start. There’s a school tradition where all the underage kids go out to a pub on the first day, but this group of cool cats can’t be seen with him. After all, they consist of Simon (Joe Thomas), a guy with a slightly off hairdo who gets a boner just from talking to the girl he likes, Neil (Blake Harrison), the tall stupid guy with some surprisingly excellent dance movies (that comes later in the series), and finally James (James Buckley), the one guy in the group who’s actually gotten laid “loads of times.” In fact, he’s so experienced he knows you don’t just go balls deep (which is difficult enough according to him), you go balls in. Otherwise, as Neil’s heard, “it doesn’t work.”

    So after a waterfall of bad luck, Will finally makes SOME ground when his future pals meet his mom, who is “so fit” and immediately start talking about getting with her. They go so far as to ask Will if he’d shag her if she wasn’t his mom, but he’s unwilling to accept the groundwork for the “what if” scenario question. It’s probably the one smart choice he made the entire episode, since doubtless he would have opened himself into a whole tirade of Oedipus-inclined mockery if he hadn’t.

    Alas, things don’t go smoothly after they go out. Not only do they land themselves at the wrong pub, but at both their first location and the second one (once they finally relocate) no one but James can get a drink, because only James thought of getting a fake I.D. That and the other 40 or so classmates they find at their final destination. It shouldn’t have to be said that this is the breaking point for Will, who gets so frustrated he outs every single person at the bar for being the underage blokes they are thus locking in his role as most-hated by everyone including–unfortunately for his future–the crazy psychopath of the school. Unfortunately for poor Will, his mother says the boy seems nice after Will tells her he just threatened to kill her. Parents.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is a show you can definitely devour. And it’s a plus time-wise that there’s only 2 seasons totaling 12 episodes, though I wish the E4 Network had’t been so clever when they chose to keep the 3rd season off Netflix, forcing people to buy the 3rd season through other means if they wanted to be all caught up for the coming movie. Though it’s not perfect in that sense, the first two seasons are definitely something you should bookmark on Netflix.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the hilarious movie trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copy, as well as extra links to season 3 episodes:

    The Inbetweeners – The Complete Series

    Season 3, Ep 1: The Fashion Show
    Season 3, Ep 2: The Gig and the Girlfriend
    Season 3, Ep 3: Will’s Dilemma
    Season 3, Ep 4: The Trip to Warwick
    Season 3, Ep 5: Will is Home Alone
    Season 3, Ep 6: The Camping Trip

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 8:28 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art, , conman, , , forgery, matt bomer, network, orger, superman, , , usa network, white collar   

    White Collar Episode 1 Review 

    There are certain shows that make you want to drop everything and become something else. Footloose makes me want to pick up the professional dancing career I retired from in the summer of ’07. White Collar, another show that makes me look at the USA Network and say “hey, there”, makes me feel like I could pick up a life as a globe trotting international art theft and forger. And I’d be damn good at it, too.

    Jeff Eastin’s long-enough-running crime/espionage/comedy/drama show about a convicted conman Neil Caffrey (Matt Bomer, Magic MikeChuck) who breaks out of prison 3 months before his sentence is due to finish only to get taken back in (willingly) by the only man who could ever catch him in the first place, Special Agent of the FBI Peter Burke (Tim Dekay, Tell Me You Love MeChuck).

    So what is it that inspired Neil Caffrey to suddenly buy himself four more years in the big house? A girl. But not just any girl. The love of his life. And now she’s disappeared. And very effectively at that. So in a mad gamble to not go back behind bars, Neil makes Special Agent Burke an offer: Neil gets to serve out his remaining four years on a 2-mile “house arrest” on the island of Manhattan and in exchange he works for the FBI to help them put away–essentially–Neil’s peers in the White Collar Division.

    It sure is lucky for Mr. Caffrey then that the FBI just blew up–literally–their last lead into who The Dutchman is.

    So Peter signs out Neil in what is described as a tamper-proof ankle monitor. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t go down the road of a half baked Hollywood movie–Neil’s living arrangements are his own and well removed from the house of our do-gooder FBI Agent. Unfortunately for Neil, the place he’s staying in is also a shithole. Because–as Agent Burke puts it–“it costs $700 a month to house you on the inside so that’s what it costs here… You find somewhere better, take it.” He also turns him on to a great place for clothes: the thrift store.

    Neil Caffrey must be the luckiest guy in the world, because he takes the less-than-white-collar suggestion and runs into June Ellington (Diahann Carroll) donating a stack of worth-more-than-your-car suits to donate. Apparently her late husband was quite the older Neil Caffrey (convicted felony and all) and she just happens to have a walk in closet of his old clothes and a spare bedroom–suite, more like it–to spare.

    If you think things for Neil come to easily, you’re not the only one. Agent Burke has to eat his words when Neil leaves a note telling him he’s moved 1.6 miles. Commenting how even the coffee at June’s is perfect, Peter is almost tearful when he explains to Neil that this isn’t how the world works. After all, it is wildly unfair that Peter works so hard and gets what he sees himself as deserving and Neil by comparison does so little and gets so much more.

    But then again, he does have stunning good looks and a stare that would make me feel lucky to be it’s recipient, and I’m a 100% straight male.

    But do all this groundwork warrant continued viewing, all through it’s 3 (and soon to be 4) seasons on Netflix? No. Because it’s so much more than that. This is a smart, clever, and very witty show. You’ll enjoy it so much you’ll be audibly giggling. The ending of the first episode, in fact, is the cleverest ending in a television show I have the pleasure of remembering. I’ll be definitely going on to do a review of the first season–and every season–of White Collar. And just to illuminate how much of a compliment that is for the show, it means me re-watching every episode. Hell, if there was only the first season of this show on Netflix, I would still be singing it’s praises. And you’ll know exactly why when you watch the show or read my review for the first season.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, you should definitely look at the words “White Collar” as the X on a treasure map, because you’ll strike gold watching this. And this is definitely the place for people who were fan’s of Matt Bomer’s turn as Bryce Larkin on the cult favorite show Chuck. To those people I don’t need to say that I wish he’d gotten the role of Superman he was up for instead of Brandon Routh, but I’ll say it anyways. So hit the play button and enjoy all the seasons available on the blessing that is Netflix.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are some helpful links to physical copies of all the box set seasons of White Collar as well as a link to the season 4 episodes you can get buy on Amazon Instant Video:

    White Collar: Season One

    White Collar: Season Two

    White Collar: Season Three

    Season 4, Ep 1: Wanted [HD]
    Season 4, Ep 2: Most Wanted [HD]
    Season 4, Ep 3: Diminishing Returns [HD]
    Season 4, Ep 4: Parting Shots [HD]
    Season 4, Ep 5: Honor Among Thieves [HD]
    Season 4, Ep 6: Identity Crisis [HD]
    Season 4, Ep 7: Compromising Positions [HD]
    Season 4, Ep 8: Ancient History [HD]
    Season 4, Ep 9: Gloves Off [HD]

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 5:29 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: burton, , crime, crime show, detective, guster, pineapple, psych, psychic, psychic detective, shawn, spencer,   

    Psych Episode 1 Review 

    It’s always interesting going back to a pilot episode after a show has been on for 5 or more seasons. If you go back and watch the pilot episode of Seinfeld it looks absolutely ridiculous. The sets are cheap, the camera work raw, George is wearing these ridiculous plaid shirts, and Kramer has a dog that never shows up ever again. The fact that so much is NOT what you’ve loved for the last how many years almost adds another layer of funny to the whole proceeding.

    This was my experience when revisiting the pilot episode of Psych, a USA show about a man Shawn Spencer (James Roday, Beerfest) who pretends to be a Psychic to get out of being arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s not his fault he could tell who robbed the electronics store just by watching the news. From a young age, his father groomed him to be a detective. But not just any detective, he taught him how to be the best detective ever. One of the most important lessons he taught him: how to always know the number of hats in a room.

    But like many sons of overbearing fathers, he didn’t quite take that path. Instead he’s had countless jobs and gets extra money by calling in tips to the police. But like we already know, if you call in enough (correct) tips just based on what you see on the news, the cops get suspicious. So he “guesses” things he couldn’t possibly know about the officers around him, even outing the lead detective Carlton Lassiter’s dirty little secret that he’s been sleeping with his partner after being separated from his wife for 5 months. The detective, played by Timothy Omundson (Judging AmyXena: Warrior Princess), doesn’t appreciate that too much. That, coupled with his bullshit detector going haywire, make him the perfect same-side-antagonist that any underdog needs.

    Luckily for our protagonist though, he’s not the one calling the shots. As he leaves the station, the pregnant Interim-Chief Karen Vick asks his help with a kidnapping case. So what is he to do? Say yes, of course. He immediately ropes his best friend from childhood Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill) into a second job away from the glamorous life as a pharmaceutical rep.

    Okay, so I’m just going to cut to the chase and say this show is excellent, superb, above the pay grade of most cable television programming. After all, I’ve seen every episode for Christ’s sake. And not because I had to. Did I watch every week on USA, catching every episode? No. I mass watched on Netflix. But it’s a show that’s good enough I could have been inspired to do so.

    Knowing that it’s an ace in the hole, it was funny going back and seeing all the differences. Things ranging from the pilot-only partner (and sex partner) of Lassiter, Lucinda Barry (played by Anne Dudek) who I have to say would have been the weak link of the series, with her less than “breath of fresh air” performance that his next partner brings (you’ll meet her in episode 2 and she is a mainstay, thank the TV gods and goddesses) to the fact that the now iconic logo of Shawn Spencer’s Psychic Detective agency was purple in the first episode but was changed to an awesome green for the rest of the series. Also, it’s a tad surreal to see the “flashback Shawn” change for the first couple of episodes before they land on the Kid Shawn and Kid Gus that they use for the rest of the series. Even things that were funny but surely invented for the sake of solving the case (like Gus’s “super sniffer”–aka his incredible nose) evolve to play important parts later on. And it feels good to know that Buzz McNab (Sage Brocklebank–omg, that’s an amazing name), a police officer that is always a supporting (and often comical) cast member, was actually there in the first episode. I really get tired when I see the classic “hey, remember the sister/ex-fiancee/illegitimate offspring I’ve literally never mentioned before? Well they’re coming to town and it will conveniently tie in to this week’s story” bit.

    But I digress. This is an amazing, fun, and funny show. If you have Netflix or are considering a 30-Day Free Trial, it is a great bet that you should swing over to this show for many many hours of viewing pleasure. Just watch and see how funny/creepy/stalker-y Shawn and Gus can get when they’re interested in a girl. You won’t be sorry you did. And a little tip: play Spot The Pineapple while you’re watching. There’s one in every episode.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence about Psych, check out the very fun (possibly fan made?) trailer below:

    Let us know what you thought about the film by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copies:

    Psych: The Complete First Season

    Psych: The Complete Second Season

    Psych: The Complete Third Season

    Psych: The Complete Fourth Season

    Psych: The Complete Fifth Season

    Psych: Season Six

     
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