Netflix Recommendations- Rhythm + Flow

You’ve gotta watch-it on Netflix!

N avoida readin’-it on Wikipedia!

To avoida spoiler’s boy-E!

Rhythm +Flow, a Netflix original production (“singing competition”) featuring judges Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I.! Follow the judges from the Westside to the Eastside, from the Dirty South to the Windy City, in search of the best rappers in the great land of the United States!

Imagine ‘X-Factor’, but minus all the singers and dancers. Imagine ‘The Voice’, but minus all the white dudes. Imagine ‘America’s Got Talent’, but minus all the R N’ B and Gospel artists. And what you left with? Is Rappers! Back to back Rappers! Wall to wall Rappers! Contestant after contestant of Rappers! So if you luv Gangster rap, lyricism, and homies spitting bars? Then you’ve gotta watchit on Netflix!

We start the rap journey with 4 Open mic auditions in LA, NYC, ATL and Chicago. Then the top 30 are flown to LA to take part in 6 rounds of rap  challenges – where the 30 is initially sliced down to 16 through the Cypher round (for you white boys….Cypher is what you call ‘Group work’). Then the 16 is reduced down to 8, after the head to head ‘Rap Battles’. Then 8 becomes 6, after the filming and airing of their own Music Videos. Then 6 is filtered down to 5, after producing their own Samples, their take on a well-known melody. Then a handful become 4, after the collaboration round with today’s hottest R&B artists! And then there were only 4 Rappers remaining in the finale, where the finalists perform LIVE a brand new rap track which they wrote and co-produced in 3 days! All nicely choreographed with pyrotechnics, and judged on their performance and crowd interaction – one deserving winner earns themselves $250K in cold hard cash! Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all!

It’s a modern day TV series classic! 10 episodes of artistry, and you know how they say ‘pressure produces diamonds’? Well, Rhythm + Flow exhibited how Pressure, Hardship, Sacrifice, Talent, and Hard work produces Rap Superstars!

If you wanta checkout Rhythm + Flow for yourself? Click HERE!      

Netflix Recommendations- Fastest Car (Season 2)

Whoo! Fastest Car is back on Netflix for another season of drag-racing down the quarter mile! Yay!

If you’re a car nut like me, you’re literally shaking in excitement to get a second dose of fast metal screaming down a straight stretch of road! But Fastest Car is much more than just fast cars and pedal-to-the-metal for less than 15 seconds – it’s the people behind the wheel! And if you enjoyed the human side of the first season – then you’ll love season 2, as it’s even more about the backstories of the competitors, and oftentimes the car takes a back-seat to the driver.

Hey, I’m a bit of a granite when it comes to emotional stuff, nothing can get this boy teary-eyed. But I have to admit, there were a couple of times even I almost teared up from hearing the life stories of these gutsy drivers. So if you’re thinking to yourself “I don’t give a, about cars”, but if you like Reality TV, I guarantee you’ll still enjoy Fastest Car S2.

But for the car guys, there are still all the sleeper cars, there are still all the American V8 muscle cars, there are still all the inappropriate vehicles (a Toyota Hilux) with big motors dropped into them – powering down the straight like a chubby fella doing a 100m sprint; and of course there are still all the Supercars with everything to lose – lined up against these Frankenstein home-jobs.

The improvements we’ve seen from season 1 to season 2 have been: introducing rules to pre-race, thus eliminating a repeat from last season when a dude did a pre-race burn-out trying to warm up his tyres, which then cause the other cars who were patiently waiting on grid to over-heat – resulting in one heat being a fizzle-out. And the second improvement was in the championship race, they allowed each car to perform a test run, giving us a chance to properly hear each car tear off down the track! And allowing us to hear the other drivers comment on what they thought of their competitor’s start and car performance. This was good, as otherwise the actual race is over way too quickly!

The slight criticisms I have, is that the Supercars which rolled up for season 2 lacked variety. I think 4 of the 6 Supercars this year were all McLarens, which didn’t sound all that crazy compared to the high pitch whine of a V12 Lamborghini or a V8 Ferrari. And as mentioned before, the actual drag race just doesn’t have enough of a build-up to it. So after sitting through almost 40 minutes of lead-up to the race, the race is then all over within 60 seconds – so the ratio between build-up and race just don’t add-up. If they could extend the Championship format to each of the heats, i.e. allowing each car to do a test run? I think that would do the trick for Season 3 (fingers crossed that there is a Season 3). Vroom Vroom!

And the aspects which we enjoyed from Season 1 and were still present in Season 2 were, the diversity of drivers, the diversity of sleeper cars, and there was a healthy representation of female drivers! Which assists all viewers to be able to imagine themselves behind the wheel of a fast car. “See babe! It’s completely normal to be a chick driving a heavily modified sleeper car. And for this reason, why you should let me further modify our Beast……….”

Ok, if I’ve injected some gasoline into your veins, you can check out Fastest Car Season 1 and Season 2 right HERE!  

Netflix Recommendation- The Chefs’ Line

A cooking competition with all the mouth-watering food, minus the bitchiness!

Do you love reality TV cooking competitions? Well, here is another one for you to feast on! The Chefs’ Line originally aired on the Australian Special Broadcast Station (SBS) but since its first airing in 2017, Netflix has now made it available to a wider global audience to binge on.

Presented by Maeve O’Meara, the show features a weekly cuisine, 4 home cooks who take on the Chefs’ Line of a renowned Australian restaurant from that cuisine, and sprinkles in some celebrity judges – and you’ve got a recipe for success! The chefs’ line is made up of an apprentice chef, a station chef, a sous-chef, and the executive chef. And let’s take week one as an example, on Night One –  4 home cooks (majority of whom were from a Vietnamese background) took up their place at the studio kitchen to take on the chefs’ line of Dandelion, a Vietnamese fine-dining restaurant located in Melbourne.

And as the subsequent weeks roll-by, each week is a new cuisine e.g. Italian, Greek, Chinese etc. Each round the cooks are given a task to present their own take on a popular dish from the given cuisine, cooked to a strict time limit. And when the food is presented, one of the three judging panel blind-tastes the dishes, choosing their favourite dish and the least inspiring dish – the owner of which, is eliminated from the competition. And the week’s competition continues until there is only one home cook  standing, to take on the executive chef of the restaurant, taking it to the renowned executive chef at their own game – it’s heart/soul v. professionalism!

The episodes are short, only 25 minute affairs – this short and sharp format ensures that there’s more action and no time for gas-bagging. And with a trio of judges to critique their dishes along the way (Melissa Leong, Dan Hong, and Mark Olive) they bring a level of gravitas to the show.

And in the unlikelihood where a home cook produces the best dish of the night, they’re rewarded with a trophy – while the restaurant takes a hit against their good reputation. And at the conclusion of the week, when all has been decided, Maeve O’Meara drops in on the restaurant and explores the ins and outs of the restaurant – giving them a shameless 30 minute unpaid plug.

All in all, it’s a refreshing make-over to a predictable format. Each week there are 4 new contestants, the head-to-head competition with professionals is fun, a weekly cuisine gives the show structure, and the in-depth look at the inner workings of a restaurant has given me a short list of new places to check-out. So everyone’s essentially a winner in the end!

If you haven’t already taste tested The Chefs’ Line on SBS or Netflicks, click HERE to start gorging! **Note: Unfortunately not all of season 1 has been uploaded to Netflix. Boo!

Netflix Recommendations- Hyperdrive

How fitting, just as our ‘Beast’ was in the shop being modified into a genuine ‘Hyper Hatch’, Netflix uploaded their latest original production reality game-show! I’ve heard others describe it like this, and it is one of the first things which comes to mind as well – but it’s literally like Ninja Warrior for cars! Imagine guys and girls pushing themselves to the edges of their physical limits and performance? But insert heavily modified sports cars, driven by guys and girls pushing their machines to the limits of performance and challenging the laws of physics! This is Hyperdrive!

As difficult as ‘drifting’ already is, but drifting a vehicle was the minimum skill the international list of competitors had to master to be even considered for the tournament! Then include ‘Walk on Water’ which tested drivers’ wits, insert the Leveller which tested drivers’ patience and touch, just add water…….blaster which tested drivers’ timing, and include a set of rails which tested the drivers’ nerves! And each step of the way, our nerves as viewers were tested as well! I can’t tell you how many times I cringed from seeing people’s pride and joys being smashed-up and written-off. Let’s just say we’ll never be attempting to drive through a flooded curb-side drain ever again! RIP baby pink BMW 1-Series.

Look, it’s given that rev heads will enjoy Hyperdrive, but honestly it was the best Netflix original I’ve ever seen on Netflix to date! But if you’re not a car-nut, you’ll still enjoy it as well! As it’s exciting, it’s narrative driven, and it’s not American-centric nor gender-centric! To tell you the truth, this post is a little light-on and premature, as I’ve purposefully avoided Googling ‘Hyperdrive’ for interesting facts and details, as we haven’t finished the series yet- surprisingly Hyperdrive has quite a few episodes to get through. Which is great! So, at time of writing this post, I’m still unaware of who ultimately wins the tournament, but whoever does? They’re completely deserving of the crown! DK baby! DK!

If you’re interested to check it out? Just click HERE!        

Netflix/Podcast Recommendations- Last Chance U/Hard Knocks Podcast

Wow! Here’s a first – a cross medium recommendation! But the underlying point of similarity is the fact that they’re both football reality shows!

Netflix- Last Chance U season 1

East Mississippi is a long, long way from Sydney NSW, and this is why we love reality TV, as you get a real glimpse into real lives, oftentimes quite different from our own reality. For us, Last Chance U wasn’t so much the football aspect which made the show interesting for us. But it’s the individuals, it’s the stories, and seeing a side of people which you’d otherwise never see. Be that the good, bad and the ugly of being a coach of young men; the gentleness behind a 250-pound defensive lineman; the genuine connection faculty staff develop with their students; and how this game of football really is the last chance for these young men! And although it wasn’t all about the football, it was still nice to see my wife show interest and attempting to understand the confusing game of American football (if you’ve never followed it before) e.g. asking why it was bad to run up the scoreboard with seconds to go in the second quarter? Haaha.

We’re currently taking a break before we return to Scuba for season 2 (as it was a bit of an emotionally draining series) but we’ll be back to see how the Lions go in season 2016!

If you’re interested to check out Last Chance U, click HERE!

HBO- Hard Knocks Podcast

And if watching Hard Knocks isn’t enough for you, there is even a companion app! Or in my case, I don’t have cable TV and Hard Knocks the podcast is all that I have to keep up with the goings on of Hard Knocks season 14 – starring the Oakland Raiders! Grrrrrr.

For us Aussies who aren’t all that familiar with Hard Knocks, HK is an annual NFL Films production, where camera crews follow a given team for 5 weeks during their pre-season as the team prepares for a new start to a new season. The stories usually centre on the Rookies (college kids who were just drafted to the professional world of football); unsigned or undrafted players who are attempting to make it onto the final 53 man roster (pre-season starts off with almost 100 players); and we discover who are the quirky characters on the team. For the Oakland Raiders the quirkiest characters have been their coach Jon Gruden, their superstar Wide Receiver acquisition Antonio Brown, and Rookie Johnathan Abram “Is it Salmon or Sal-mon?”

Hard Knocks the Podcast is hosted by NFL Network’s Peter Schrager; the pod is a tight professionally produced show (less than 30 mins), discussing the highlights from the latest HBO episode, further insights to the key stories through interviews with people close to the action in Oakland, and if you just can’t get enough of the HBO show, then you have an extra 30 mins of content to enjoy! Great as a re-cap, even better as a summary of the show if you haven’t had the chance to see it- due to lacking access to HBO content.

If you’d like to enjoy the Hard Knocks series in a different way? Check out the Hard Knocks Podcast, just click HERE! Enjoy!

Netflix Recommendations- Blown Away

You know you’re starting to scrape the bottom of the reality-TV competition barrel when you’ve dropped millions in producing a glassblowing competition. Oh goodness.

But well, if you’re Netflix, you’ve got the available funds to do so, so why the heck not!

I have to admit prior to watching Blown Away, I hadn’t thought all that deeply into how glassware is made (although I have been to Corning HQ in up-state New York). But since watching the 10 episodes of Blown Away, I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the delicate art of glassblowing.

In Netflix’s original reality-TV competition, 10 contestants compete and vie for the grand prize of $60K and an Artist Residency at the Corning Museum of Glass. Over 10 challenges, the contestants sweat away in a purpose built facility enabling all 10 Glassblowers to work simultaneously on their gelatinous works of art. And being newbies to the glassblowing scene, we became familiar with new terms like punty and glory holes…….. And watch how volume, colour, texture and shape is added to an  inanimate object- delicately brought to life by the Master Glassblowers- showing off their artistry and creativity! Truly incredible!

So if you want to experience the highs of pulling off an incredible glass masterpiece..Or watch the heart-breaking lows when pieces of art go smashing to the floor in a devastating error! You can experience all the highs and lows of glassblowing on Netflix’s Blown away! To start streaming, click HERE!

That’s it babe! I’m going to retain every empty beer bottle from now on!