To my surprise, Netflix Canada has been serving up enough interesting stuff to keep us on the hook for the $8.00 a month subscription. Indeed if they continue to expand their selection and add more contemporary programming, the prospect of canceling the Eastlink cable and using Netflix as our television provider is within the realm of possibility.
It’s weird watching movies and TV shows on Netflix: we have our Nintendo Wii hooking up to our regular old 1990s-era Sony television, so watching something on Netflix is just like watching something “on television.” Except that there are no commercials on Netflix. And no censorship (I watched episodes of MI-5 on PBS and Netflix on the same day, and the only difference is that PBS bleeps out “offensive” language).
In this light, Netflix certainly makes “broadcast regulation” appear absurd: why “broadcast” television and “Internet television” are subject to different regulations perplexes me, especially when they ride into our television on exactly the same wire.
Here’s what’s kept me hooked on Netflix’s Canadian streaming of late:
- Survivors (Netflix has series one and series two, 6 episodes each) is a science fiction series from the BBC. Set in the U.K. after a flu virus has killed most of the people on earth. A good cast and an interesting conceit.
- Billy Connolly: Journey to the Edge of the World is a travel series hosted by the Scottish comedian that takes him from Halifax to Vancouver Island by way of Newfoundland, Baffin Island and the Northwest Passage. It’s a little goofy, and Connolly seems to have only one emotion, “giddy delight,” but it’s interesting to see my own country through other eyes, and the scenery in the north is beautiful.
- The Black Donnellys is a 13-episode Paul Haggis television series that ran on NBC in 2007 but was canceled. It’s set in New York City, and is a pretty straightforward “Irish mob drama” but with a compelling cast of characters and some good writing.
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno, a Kevin Smith film. I found it endearing; everyone else in the room hated it. You have been warned.
- Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is another film that only I liked. I read it as “biting commentary on contemporary social mores” whereas my TV-mates saw it as “vulgar teenaged pot movie with lots of fart jokes.”
- I Like Killing Flies, a documentary about the New York restaurant Shopsins and the family that runs it, is the best thing I’ve watched on Netflix so far.
- Runaway Train is a 1985 Jon Voight and Eric Roberts movie. When I mentioned Unstoppable on Twitter, people told me to watch this instead. Very 1985 and a lot of grunting, but if you like train movies it will hold your attention.