Late to Netflix: A Ponderable…

Shifting gears from the delightful events surrounding his hometown’s hosting of “The Big Game,” TC provides his thoughts on venturing into the streaming world of Netflix. Enjoy! – the editor

You may find it funny that I am late to the Netflix train. Let me explain.

I actually had one of the original accounts for Netflix back in the day when it was strictly a DVD rental company. For a small fee you could rent up to three DVDs at a time and it did not require a drive to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, or to the grocery store. This was 1999, and it was to support my first DVD player, actually a combo VHS/DVD.

Back then Netflix did not produce product, it was just a modern alternative to going to video store or buying DVDs at Walmart, Target, or Best Buy. Eventually the price went up; the novelty wore off. Netflix and I parted ways.

Now in the 2020s, I finally got a Roku-based TV so I could cut the cord. My earlier LG Smart TV had Netflix and Prime on it, but adding new services were not an option. Plus I still had DIRECTV, and my Turner Classic Movies.

Through my smartphone, I had the Disney Bundle, with Hulu and ESPN+. I also discovered the wonders of PLUTO, the Paramount owned free streaming service. Lots of classic programing and a source to watch current re-runs, and the streaming feeds of news.

My Journey…

In my DIRECTV withdrawal, I started Peacock, with the free tier. Good but not great. Very limited programming. In that summer, HBOMAX went on sale for the year, as did Peacock Premium. I signed up in time for my second season of The White Lotus and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Paramount+ came around the corner when I needed to see the Oscar Winner Everything Everywhere All At Once.

[Find TC’s take on “Everything” here.]

Now lastly, it’s back to the Netflix.

I could have easily gotten my brother’s Netflix password (after all we both lived in the same house). I gave up trying for him to remember it, and signed up for the new basic tier, at $6.99 a month. The main reason to sign up? Bradley Cooper’s Maestro.

Teaser (1:36trt)

A film about Leonard Bernstein was a “no brainer”. After his directorial debut with “A Star is Born,” which itself was a remake we didn’t ask for, yet was better than it should be, I wanted to see what Cooper could do with the subject matter. I had learned that Cooper got the blessing from the Bernstein Family in its intimate portrayal of this dynamic between Lenny and his wife and mother of his children, Felicia, portrayed by Carey Mulligan.

To Cooper’s credit, his portrayal of Bernstein is phenomenal, but the dramatic heartbeat of this story is Carey’s, as the wife, and often second fiddle, to Lenny’s heart. In two hours, we feel her pain, her resolute to stay in a shared relationship, and in the end, Lenny comes through when she needs it most.

Having an observer’s view of a complicated relationship, we can answer the questions of why did they and why are they, even though younger generations may not under stand the dynamics of the time. This point was also paramount to the storytelling of the brilliant “Fellow Travelers,” — a short run series on Paramount+ with Showtime.

Taking a Mental Break…

I was affected at the end of Maestro, several Kleenex later, I could not take on another Netflix Oscar screening of “Nyad” or “Rustin”. Not just yet. I went on a lighter side with the rebooted Queer Eye, to see what the buzz was all about.

Still not ready to tackle another Oscar nominated film, I came across a documentary on the great American actress Katherine Hepburn. “Call Me Kate” was an intimate narrative not ever attempted in previous biographies. Through interviews, we also saw the why did she and why didn’t she throughout her life.

I learned she was a part of her generation and way ahead of her time. It could be easy to pigeonhole her with labels, but you simply cannot. It was too limiting. I was effected by this as well, but very glad I revisited a great talent and human being.

I had to go light after this one too, a Netflix LGBTA+ comedy special from last year that EVERYONE was on about…

A mega sampler of talent, it reminded me of the old “Drag Wars/Drags R Us” benefits I used to participate in back in the day.

That’s a Wrap!

So there you have it. I ripped off the Netflix band-aid, and I am now moving forward. There seems to be a programming shuffle between streamers. Consolidation may be in the future. It is a chapter still being written. That being said, let’s call this a “To Be Continued…”

Thanks for reading and hanging out with me!–TC


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