Netflix recommendations- Cars, Cars, Cars and more Cars!

Movies for the Rev-heads!

 

Recently I’ve found myself in a deep Netflix rabbit hole, after showing an interest in seeing what type of car movies Netflix had in their movie library. And 3 weeks on and a dozen movies down…… Here is a list of car films I’ve seen thus far:

 

Drive (2019)

 

Starting off with the most obscure, ‘Drive’ is Bollywood’s attempt at a Fast and Furious style action thriller! But unfortunately they were unable to take the better halves of their two respective cultures in this mash-up- only in succeeding in delivering a totally confusing heist flick, with unnecessary twists and turns which only left me baffled and confused. *Crossed-eyed*.

 

The Italian Job (2003)

 

While on the other hand, Hollywood has the heist flick recipe nailed right down! The winning formula being a rag-tag team of experts, led by a suave operator, a pretty female antagonist, and mix in some mirth! Then throw in some cute souped-up Mini Coopers and you have a truly entertaining heist film! This was probably my favourite from this list!

 

Baby Driver (2017)

 

Previously I’ve already raved on about Edgar Wright’s film and its music soundtrack in previous posts, however I enjoyed this film in a whole new light- when I watched it with ‘Audio description!!!. In the past I’ve mentioned that I’m completely blind? Yes? And I had watched Baby Driver in cinema when it was first released, I had closely studied the plot summary on Wikipedia, and I’ve listened to multiple pods and interviews where they’ve broken down the film scene by scene. However having all the visuals described to me in real-time, for the first time I was able to truly enjoy the film as I actually knew what was going on in each and every scene!                       . The actual story-line is simple and perhaps the acting isn’t great, but it’s all about the music and how the visuals interact perfectly with the audio!

 

Lady Driver (2020)

 

I finished this entire film without making the connection between its title and its potential word-play with Edgar Wright’s film. I’m not sure if Lady Driver ever made it onto the big-screens of the cinema, or had it been directly released to Netflix- as it does scream-out being a ‘Tele-movie’! But Lady Driver is a feel-good-film, great for the family, and the acting was surprisingly good I thought. Check-out this teenage dirt track racer getting her tyres dirty with the boys!

 

Rush (2013)

 

Now this was a movie I was really looking forward to, and it didn’t disappoint! A real-life re-telling of the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, which spanned the 70s. Even if you’re not a racing/F1 fan, I think you’ll still enjoy this film- as it’s the story-line which drives this film.

 

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

 

Can you believe it? The Fast and the Furious is almost 19 years old! The original, and the best! Where it was all about the cars and the street racing culture! Love it! Love it! And again, I was able to enjoy the film at a whole other level, due to Netflix uploading the Universal Pictures version of the films with Audio description as an option!  *Claps hands*. You have to listen to the prim and proper narration guy, describing what the scantily clad bikini babes get up-to. Haaha.

 

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

 

Minus Dom, but you get Roman…. You know what they say, sequels never live-up to the lofty heights of the originals? Yeah, this is definitely the case for 2F2F, but if you’re a die-hard F&F fan, this fact doesn’t stop you from watching it again and again!

 

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

 

I think the masterminds behind the F&F franchise are still kicking themselves for creating Tokyo Drift, as it completely throws the saga and storyline out of sequence! Where does this fit in? How does he die and then appear in later films? And the acting….. But since I was in such a Japanese fan-boy mood when I watched it, I lapped up each and every moment of Tokyo Drift!

 

Fast and Furious (2009)

 

Perhaps this is the best film from all of the F&F series? Just because it hits the right balance between feeling modern, having Dom and Brian back together again, there are enough car-porn moments, while the franchise hadn’t turned itself completely into a Hollywood heist movie franchise just yet. And the introduction of Tej! My favourite character! Luda!

 

Fast 5 (2011)

 

Throw in Hobbs into the mix, and the franchise got a bit too main-stream for my liking. The men are bigger now, so are the cars, and the scenes are even harder to believe now! Like what’s with the dragging of the massive safe through the streets of Rio all about? And the main gripe for me, was the fact that there weren’t enough hot cars! More car-porn please!

 

Fast and furious 6 (2013)

 

The introduction of the alt-team, the European mirror image of the Yanks. Once again, the men got bigger (now with 3), the cars got more exotic (more Euro cars, which I don’t mind), and the explosions got definitely bigger as well! The latter films are all starting to blur into one another for me, but yeah…… I just have to say, how long was that aeroplane runway in the final action sequence?! It literally felt like the plane was running at full throttle for 3 minutes trying to take off, and after all that time they still never run out of tarmac? I found that a bit unbelievable….. Along with all the other unbelievable parts in the film….

 

Furious 7 (2015)

 

It was inevitable that eventually terrorists would be cast as the enemies to Toretto and his famiglia- for that reason of being too cliché Furious 7 will go down as my least likeable of the F&F films. But I did love the ‘in memory’ ending, celebrating Paul Walker’s life. R.I.P Paul- at least he passed doing what he was passionate about. In the 7th instalment the cars are definitely getting hotter and more exotic, so too are the female leads (you should hear the audio description for the bikini beach scene….. Sun kissed complexion hey?).

 

Wheelman (2017)

 

And finally there’s Wheelman, a B-grade “action/thriller”- if Fast and the Furious is on one end of the spectrum with unbelievable action sequences and a multi-million dollar budget, then Wheelman must be on the opposite end of the spectrum with wholly believable chase sequences and I’d imagine a very modest budget.  I’d estimate that nearly 85% of the film we the viewer are taken on a back-seat ride with the Wheelman whilst he conducts his business on his iPhone- and where F&F is too unrealistic? Wheelman is a bit too real, right down to the dumb-ass criminals. The only thing this film has going for it, is the sweet exhaust note from the BMW E46 getaway car, and the rawness from the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS engine.

 

So if you’re into cars as much as I am? Check-out all these vehicular films for the first time, or for the 101st time! I watched all of them while doing my afternoon spin-bike sessions, cycling has never been this emotive, with the sounds of revving, roaring engines coming right at cha. Especially when they drop the NOS, me on my bike? I’m GONE!

 

Netflix recommendations- Japanese dating shows

Comparing and contrasting the two extremes of Japanese reality dating shows……………

 

Since realising the ability to watch foreign Netflix content using Siri to read the English subtitles, I’ve gone a bit cray cray in trying out any non-English content on the Australian Netflix library. And since I’d been watching Terrace House, of course the Netflix app has recommended  other similar Japanese content for my viewing pleasure. So after completing two different Japanese reality dating shows, here is a compare and contrast of the two:

 

Ainori Love Wagon Asian Journey (Season 1)

 

The first program which I completed was Ainori (travel together) Love Wagon, which is a revival of a classic Japanese dating show from the 90s-00s, now resurrected by Netflix for a global audience. The premise is that 7 young people are brought together on an international trip, touring multiple countries on a Pink tour bus (the Love wagon). The 7 individuals are made up of 4 men and 3 women, and what they all have in common is that they’re usually a bit hopeless in the love department. You know, all friend groups have that one friend who is chronically single, or hops in and out of short-term loveless relationships? Yeah, got that friend in mind? Now bring all of those individuals together, and force them to travel together on a pink bus, on a scant travel budget, and throw in the pressures of trying to find ‘the One’ from your fellow travel companions? And there you have Ainori Love Wagon!

 

In season 1 they travel through Vietnam, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore- a local guide takes them to all the usual tourist hotspots, and to some destinations off the beaten track- usually designed to educate them on the state in which the local people subsist (inevitably reminding them how privilege they are, being Japanese  and growing-up/living in a developed country).

 

If to this point, Ainori sounds a bit boring to you? Well, it is at times, but wait until the drama starts! When potential romance develops, and a participant needs to take the plunge and formally declare their feelings! If the feelings are reciprocated, the rules are that they’ll have to kiss to ‘seal’ the deal. Then both of them immediately leave the tour and go home to Japan together (oh yeah, I didn’t mention how after confessing their feelings, they hand over an airline ticket to return home together). While if the feelings are not reciprocated, the airline ticket is handed back  and the rejected individual returns home alone. So that is the interesting thing about Ainori, it’s pretty much ‘all’ or ‘nothing’! And the surprising thing is they never quite test the waters first before taking the plunge, half of the time the won who is told that they have been the target of one’s affections, they are genuinely surprised as they hadn’t seen it coming and inevitably those scenarios end in tearful rejections. And more often than not, they take the all or nothing plunge only after a short period of time, one girl professed her feelings to a guy 4 days after they first met!

 

And if you’re thinking, well that’s a bit boring and sad then- if slowly one by one the travellers dwindle down in size, as they all drop-off like flies? No, no! Those quirky Japanese producers have thought of that as well, as soon as one person leaves (or a couple if there is a match), new travellers immediately join their tour! Thus making things very very interesting, as they stir up the existing dynamics of the group. Moohaaha!

 

By in large, all of the travellers are well behaved, they rarely fight over the same person, they’re polite to one another, but there is one traveller who stirs things up when she has a bit too much to drink. So keep an eye out for her. *Winks*. So if it wasn’t for her, the entire series is pretty tamed, a show which families back home in  Japan could all sit down and watch together! I think it has a PG  rating. But on the other hand……

 

Rea(L)ove

 

On the other hand we have Rea(L)ove, and if the brackets and the capital L confuses you, the show is called ‘Real Love’. Well, if Ainori is a program which you can sit down with Mum to watch? Real Love is a show which you definitely don’t want to watch with mum!

 

The preface is that 12 girls and 12 guys are brought to Okinawa Island for an intensive 3 day date-fest! But even before the show commences a guy and 3 girls have already dropped out, leaving the gender balance badly skewed. But they didn’t drop out because the prospect of an all expenses paid trip on a resort island wasn’t appealing. Or the prospect of meeting ‘the One’ was too frightening. But it was the fact that each participant on the show, they all have a ‘dark secret’, a secret so shocking which has previously spoiled previous attempts at love. Yes, secrets so alarming, that once it’s out there, potential partners would usually go running the other way! And those who dropped out, probably realised that disclosing their dark secret on global television wasn’t the wises thing to do, thus pulled out at the last minute. And did they make the right choice?

 

So from the get go I must warn you that Real Love pushes the envelope. It’s not so much the  goings on between participants, nor the depravity of  people’s secrets- but more so due to the things which one Host says. The maile Host, Atsushi Tamura- a comedian comes  off as being misogynistic, demeaning, and basically makes jokes at the expense of others. So if hearing that already turns you off the show? Then steer clear of it! By the way, Real Love has a MA15+ rating. However if things like that don’t offend you, then yeah, Real Love can be quite a bingeable show.

 

The guys and girls are brought together, they introduce themselves and their ‘Vanilla’ side of their lives, and over the next 3 days they undergo group dates, one-on-one dates, trying to work out if there could be love? And at a chime’s notice at any part of the day or night, a participant is randomly chosen to disclose their dark secret to the group. And it could be at a moment when they’re in front of everyone else! Or it could occur when their one-on-one, on a romantic date. Without spoiling the show for you, the secrets could range from being in debt or being a divorcee, to having a criminal past or having a some-what embarrassing fetish.  So yeah, it’s embarrassing to admit, but it is quite entertaining and they love to stick a reveal right at the end of an episode, so you’re sucked in to keep watching the next episode to find out what the deep dark secret is. And I don’t think we were too shocked by any of the secrets, but did the 4 individuals who pulled out, did they make the right choice? Probably yes? It’ll be hard to face  a boss the next day, or to find future romance, once that dark secret is out there for the world to re-watch over and over on demand!

 

And at the end of the 3 days, each person is given an opportunity to confess their love for someone, now that they know what they’re getting themselves into. And if the feelings are reciprocated, then the couple can develop that relationship at the conclusion of the show (and in some cases, two or more individuals professed their feelings to the same person, and said person just has to choose). What I liked about it, was right at the end they catch-up with the couples, so you’ll find out if they’re still together after several months.

 

So yeah, that’s my compare and contrast of Japanese reality dating shows. One which is appropriate for the entire family to watch! the other….. You’ll just have to watch it under your covers. Haaha.

 

To start watching Ainori Love Wagon, click HERE

 

For Real Love, click HERE!

 

 

Netflix Recommendations- Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City

It’s just like ‘Big Brother’ but way better and definitely less skanky!

Now how many times have you used the above statement, when trying to describe to friends about the Japanese reality TV show you’re watching?

So back in 2015 we started to watch Netflix’s first season of Terrace house, a reality TV show capturing the lives of 6 housemates who have been hand-picked to dwell in a Tokyo share home. And back in 2015, we were pretty clueless. I.e. we were new to Netflix and thought that whole series were uploaded onto the service all in one go; I literally didn’t understand half of the show (as I don’t read subtitles); and when we actually caught-up with the most recent episode (ep 13) we actually thought that the series had abruptly ended there. So much so that we stopped watching, annoyed that all of the story-lines were left open ended and that was that, we didn’t give Terrace house any more thought as we continued on with our lives (i.e. watched other stuff).

Fast-forward to the present day, everyone is spending more time at home and out of curiosity I clicked on the latest series of Terrace house on Netflix, by this stage they’re onto season 4- but the crew is back in Tokyo. And because I was viewing it from my phone (where I have Speech/Voiceover turned on) all of a sudden I had Siri reading out all of the English subtitles, and for the first time I actually knew what was going on! No longer was the Fuji TV panellist’s rapid fire Japanese a blur for me, and no longer was I just relying on brief descriptions from my wife on what was going on from scene to scene- but now I was able to follow each conversation and exchange between the housemates! Sure, at times it was confusing to work out who was actually speaking (as Siri dims the audio when she speaks), but that was half the fun of it! Trying to work out who were conversing with each other based on the content of their conversations alone. And once I had knocked over 20 odd episodes of the current season- I started to wonder how it would be like to re-watch Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City, now that I could understand the dialogue.

And shock horror! I then found out that all those years ago, we had prematurely given up on it thinking the season had ended abruptly, but in reality we had only caught-up to their most recent episodes and all subsequent episodes were released on a weekly basis. *Smacks hand on forehead*.

So it was like walking down memory lane, reliving the 13 episodes which we had watched 4-5 years ago, and then proceeding onto the episodes which we had never seen before. And the unique thing about Terrace house, is the fact that the housemates are free to come and go as they please. It’s not like ‘Big Brother’ where they’re locked inside a compound, unaware of what people are saying about them in the real world, only leaving the home when they’re eventually evicted by a people’s vote. But housemates in Terrace house go about their regular lives, maintaining their day-time vocations and they’re even free to view themselves on TV (when the episodes eventually air) and check-out online forums where fans are gossiping about them. It’s all pretty weird (yet fascinating) as private discussions among the girls re who they’re interested in, would eventually become public knowledge within the home in a matter of weeks after the episode airs on national and international television. So the show is interesting in that respects, as the dynamics in the home change, as they gain more information about each other (in person or in delay).

And the other interesting fact of Terrace House is that the roommates are free to leave the show/home at any time. Therefore although only 6 housemates reside at the home at any one time, during the 46 weeks of filming 17 housemates actually went through the place at one point in time. And each time someone leaves and another person comes and replaces them, their inclusion often changes the dynamics of the home again. For example, new hot girl arrives- all of a sudden all the guys are interested in her, to the annoyance of the original female housemates; or a more outspoken housemate joins the home- and steps on toes and shakes things up a bit; or a more outgoing fun individual moves in- and the energy of the home changes for the better; or a new guy enters the home- and romance ensues. So the house evolves and changes over-time, so much so that when I reflected back to the original 6 housemates and the overall feel of the home in the first 13 episodes, the house and the show was completely transformed by the end when episode 46 wrapped things up. So that fact alone, still blows my mind!

And the most interesting element about Terrace house, is the simple fact that we’re given an insight into one of the most interesting, unique and quirky cultures in the world! From their formal and polite interactions with each other; the fact that they hardly engage in physical contact; their obsession with having purpose and continued growth; their various festivals and customs; the interesting little day trips that they take around Tokyo and its surrounds; and right down to the meals they cook and dine out on, everything is so interesting and uniquely Japanese!

So if you just want a change of ‘scenery’ after consuming all that American content? Or if you’ve always been into Japanese culture- check out Terrace House! It’s so addictive and different! Once it’s safe to travel again, we’re so going to Tokyo! But for now, our local Japanese restaurant will suffice.

To binge watch all 4 seasons of Terrace house, click HERE

**Note: If you’re not much of a fan of reading subtitles, consider watching Terrace house (and other foreign films/shows) on your phone, with Speech/Voiceover turned on.

Netflix Recommendations- The Last Dance

All hail Michael Jordan! We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!

Wow, how was that? A walk down memory lane! Sitting here thinking about it now, I must have been in Year 5, perhaps 9 or 10 years old in 1993, when I was first aware of Michael Jordan. Sure, he had been a world-wide phenomena for 9 years by that stage and had already 3-peated by then……. But I was growing up in Australia, in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and back in those days, kids like us were only interested in Rugby as a sport. Not a whole lot of basketball was being played out there in those school yards back then.

However in Year 6, when I changed schools to a more affluent Inner West educational institution, everyone there had NBA and Michael Jordan fever! I remember at the back of the classroom where we kept our bags and boaters, our teacher used to allow us to stick-up our favourite posters – no surprise, MJ’s dunk from the three throw line was one of those glossy posters up there. And all of a sudden I too was a basketball fanatic! I remember trading in my old NRL Rugby league trading cards for Upper Deck NBA Basketball cards, and my mum even enrolled me into after-school basketball classes (which I utterly sucked at). And I remember how we used to take running jumps, to randomly reach for and touch low hanging beams pretending to dunk like his Airness, and everyone in my class wanted to be like Mike!

Fast-forward 26 years, and we’re all locked down due to Covid-19 isolation, where no live sports are being played – but for ESPN and Netflix’s ‘The Last Dance’!

The Last Dance is a 10 part sports documentary, focusing on the Chicago Bulls and that man – Michael Jordan! The title of the documentary doesn’t spell out ‘Basketball’, but it was named as such, as entering the 97/98 NBA season, after winning 5 of 7 NBA championships, the 97/98 Bulls were told that this was going to be their ‘last dance’, as after the conclusion of the season their team would be disbanded. Thus they had one last shot to complete a two time 3-peat, a rare feat in any sport!

The documentary uses archival footage, from as early as the early 80s (even before I was born); behind the scenes footage shot during the 97/98 season; and interviews with 90 people who were all present during the 1984 – 1998 timespan. Even 2 former Presidents and 1 Playboy centrefold were interviewed!

Aside from capturing MJ’s life through the years of his basketball career, through an interesting method of telling the story of the 97/98 season, it also told the back story of the team and it’s key players by travelling back in time to the start of Michael’s career. And slowly telling his story, the story of those around him, until the past catches up with the present day (1998). And through that re-telling, it pretty much re-told our own life stories as well, as we cast our mind back to where we were in our own maturations, when all of these events unfolded. E.g. the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where the Dream Team were assembled for the very first time – that was the first Olympic Games I could remember as a child. Or the off-season when Michael was filming Space Jam – I remember being in Year 7 eating chips and collecting Space Jam TASZOS as in-packet collectables. Or stimulating a memory of the days when I used to play video games, i.e. NBA Live 96 and 99 – and feeling so devastated that in both of those years, Michael was retired thus I couldn’t play as the Bulls with the man MJ as my avatar. D’oh! All these memories flooded back thick and fast as I watched the Last Dance, so thank you, thank you Jason Hehir for this experience!

And if you want to experience the Last Dance in a more in-depth way? You have to re-watch the series, and listen to the companion podcast- Jalen & Jacoby- the After Show! Where former NBA star Jalen Rose and commentator David Jacoby host a podcast that dissects each episode of the Last Dance, immediately after its airing (or ‘Hehirring’, according to Jacoby). And it’s not just two fan boys chatting about what you had also seen, but they have behind the scenes intel, as each episode they’re joined by the Director of The Last Dance – the man of the hour, Jason Hehir! And after you hear from the man himself, you appreciate the 10 hour show even more, and my respect for Jason has utterly gone through the roof! He is one cool, measured man – and is a fantastic story teller.

From the pod, I learned that even though the documentary is pretty much a 10 hour homage to Michael, the production crew had only interviewed him twice, once as red shirt and once as blue shirt. And I learnt of all the effort the production team had put into the soundtrack of the documentary, that each montage showing one of Michael/Bulls runs- the music which was playing were tracks taken from that exact year to heighten the authenticity of what you were seeing and hearing. And ‘no way, how could Michael be the only one who got food poisoning from eating that mid-night pizza in Salt Lake City?’ When he was in a room with a bunch of boys playing cards? But I learnt that MJ often spat on his food, ensuring that no one else could eat from it, thus it was plausible that he was really poisoned ahead of game 6 of the 96/97 NBA finals! So if you want to learn all these truths for yourself, you’ll just have to listen to the After Show pod HERE!

The documentary filled in a load of gaps for me – sure, as a pre-teenage kid I picked up some of the detail which was going on at the time. But the doco fed me those facts again, and I was able to take it all in as an adult – which has now clarified and deepened my understanding of those iconic Bulls teams, and of Michael. And I guess, the one thing which I didn’t want to learn about MJ, which we all have now learnt, is the fact that Michael was probably a bully, a jerk, and a man who used to love to rub people’s faces in it. It’s a bit disappointing to have my image of him tarnished by firsthand accounts from people who knew him intimately, but hey! I guess you need to walk over others, to get to where you want to be.

But yeah, thank you Jason Hehir for giving this gift to us, while we were in iso. When I think back in a further 26 years’ time, to these weird days of 2020, I’ll always remember the experience of watching The Last Dance for the very first time! Woohoo! I’m so going to watch it all over again! To stream the Last Dance now, click HERE!

Netflix Recommendations- Sex Education (Season 1)

Surprisingly thoughtful and “it’s really not what you think it is!”

Ok, you know how the Netflix app highlights and recommends to you all sort of random stuff? And when I first spied ‘Sex Education’ as a new release, I honestly thought it was a series which gave you actual sex advice like ‘Sex Life’ (for those who grew up in the 90s). And if we’re being honest, who doesn’t want a better sex life? Right?

But when I eventually got around to checking it out, I was massively disappointed to learn that it wasn’t sex ed, but instead a British comedy drama about teenagers at a fictitious high school. Boo! For one, we’re in our mid 30s and way too old for teen dramas; secondly we don’t watch many dramas in general; and thirdly my wife found the first 5 minutes of episode 1 so distasteful and cringing, that she literally took her meal and left the room – finishing her lunch alone in the study. And that was that, I stopped the stream and tried pleading with her to come back (which she never did).

Now that was back in January, and I still remember it, as it was during the Christmas-New Year break, thus we were both at home on a weekday watching Netflix during lunch. Now we fast-forward a few months, and for me at least, I’m working from home due to Covid isolation, and during lunch breaks (tired of watching 24/7 news reports on coronavirus), I started to watch all the Netflix shows which my wife wasn’t interested in – i.e. ‘Kim’s Convenience’, ‘Master of None’, ‘The IT Crowd’, and I gave Sex Education another go……..

To give you a super-quick synopsis on the main premise of the series, essentially Sex Education is a British comedy drama produced by Netflix, following a bunch of teenagers in their final year of high school. The main protagonist is Otis Milburn, an awkward wall-flower who is largely unnoticed by his peers at school. He only comes to the attention of his year group, when the school’s bully finds out that his mother Dr Jean Milburn is a renowned sex therapist, and broadcasts on the classroom’s TV a clip of her giving sex advice using vegetables as handy propts. Which leads to Otis fleeing the classroom in shame, resulting in bringing Maeve Wiley (the ‘attractive bad-girl of the year’) into the same orbit as him. And after a humorous (for us at least) scene, Maeve notices Otis’ natural talent in giving others sex advice, which leads Maeve to suggest that they start a sex clinic together, giving their peers sex advice for cash (as she needs the money). And then the dramas and the laughs unfold from there.

The premise does sound a bit young, while not being appropriate for a young viewer either – but oddly for an ‘older’ person, I quite enjoyed the series. Although it’s crude at times, and touches on all the teenage taboo topics under the sun, but Sex Ed manages to capture the drama in an honest and thoughtful way. Dare I say…..? A tasteful way? I personally think it’s due to the British approach. If this was an American series – it would have been like ‘American Pie’, crude, filled with dick jokes, and the bullies would have been jocks. Although Sex Ed still had the occasional dick joke, bullies, and all that typical teenage stuff, but oddly the British still managed to make it classy and real in the end. Dick jokes which weren’t as crude as others; bullies who still had a vulnerable side; and they got down to the core of every teenage angst……… Not to mention it has a killer soundtrack!

And here is where I drop a huge bombshell….. A secret which I’ve been keeping for the past 18 months while blogging ‘Four Senses- Touch Smell Taste Sound’, which is…….I’m blind! So yeah, being unable to see, I found it impossible to believe that the mother Jean Milburn is actually played by Gillian Anderson! Yes, that Gillian Anderson from the 90s, the American actress who played Scully in the X-Files! For someone who only hears things, I found it nearly impossible to associate the mature British sounding woman, to the redheaded FBI agent from that 90s sci-fi show! A true ‘bravo’ to Gillian for completely transforming herself in the intervening years, and she does a superb performance in Sex Ed!

Although I wasn’t completely comfortable with all of the scenes and themes from Season 1- as there are parts where they really do push the envelope of mainstream entertainment – it’s an honest reflection of today’s society and a realistic reflection of what teenagers are really going through in this day and age. And again, although they could have made the scenes crude and over-the-top as the Americans would have, the producers of Sex Ed brought in some true emotion to the scenes, which then evoked some pretty genuine and real emotions from us the viewers.

If it sounds like I’m purposefully skirting only at the edges of the show, and that I’m being purposefully opaque? You’ve got me, I’m just trying not to give too much away, while trying to convince you that it’s “really not what you think it is.” 

So if you’re stuck in isolation and looking for something different to watch, check out Netflix’s Sex Education, it’s oddly worth-your-while! And Season 2 is also available if you want to binge on!

**Tip: If you don’t like seeing certain ‘acts’ on TV, try only listening to shows- just turn on ‘Audio description’ on your Netflix app and Bluetooth the audio to a SMART speaker. Enjoy shows with your other four senses! 

Netflix Recommendations- Formula 1: Drive to Survive season 2

Anti-climactic, boring, chronologically-confusing, and disappointing, to say the least!

The above ABCDs of Netflix’s second season of Formula 1: Drive to Survive says it all! I really don’t know what was more disappointing, the cancellation of the first handful of races for the 2020 F1 season, or how bad Season 2 of Drive to Survive was?

For those who aren’t familiar with Drive to Survive, it is a sports documentary produced by Netflix, which follows the teams and drivers from the Formula 1. In Season 1, the film producers captured the 2018 season perfectly, camera crews following the main players from the teams, from pre-season right through to the final race of the year! What we loved about the first season was how they made racing into a completely compelling production, for both race fans and non-fans alike – featuring a different team and driver per episode, and by telling their story they managed to tell the unfolding tale of the 2018 season, developing both driver and the main stories from that year in a logical and riveting way.

However unfortunately for Season 2, Season 1 had set the bar so high, and had already told so many of the back stories for both drivers and Team principals alike, that they frankly didn’t have many new compelling stories to tell in Season 2! Yes, we all thought that with Mercedes and Ferrari joining in for S2, that it would add more flavour to the story line – as they’re the high-flying teams of the championship. But sadly not, neither Lewis Hamilton nor Sebastian Vettel were featured much in their respective episodes, so they were there, but we didn’t learn anything new from either of them – to the extent that, I don’t believe that Lewis was even properly interviewed once for a sound grab. Also, the entire prancing horses’ story was woven into an episode which featured multiple other teams and drivers – being a Ferrari fan, this left me wanting MORE!

We were hoping as the Drive to Survive season went on, they were setting us viewers up for a dramatic conclusion! But unfortunately not, the 10th episode was just as low gear as Episode 1 was- meaning that it never really went anywhere exciting. Like doing laps of an empty car park.

DtS was boring, half of the time I was zoning out mid-episode as there was nothing interesting to really capture my full attention. And half of the time I was just hoping the episode would end, so I could go and watch something else.

In the first season, as each driver’s story was developed it was positioned nicely in the midst of the season, so as the driver’s story was told, it inevitably told the story of the 2018 season. But for season 2, it was chronologically-confusing, with early episodes starting their stories mid-season, when the other half of the time the driver stories were jumping back-and-forth chronologically, so you couldn’t get a good sense of how the 2019 season was actually unfolding. So much so that they had to do a little 5 minute montage at the end, to summarise how the 2019 season ended, with Lewis achieving his 5th world championship! Not to mention, if a documentary is well produced, the primary interviews would already tell the story- no need for a narrator to jump in to tell you what’s going on. But this season was so confusing, and the stories so unclear- they had to bring in a F1 analyst to give 10 second sound grabs now and again to develop and to push on the narrative of the episode, pretty poor really.

And boiling right down to it, it was DISAPPOINTING! Even more so, as now we know that much of the 2020 season is already lost due to Covid19, thus much of the cliff-hangers they were building up to, teasing a 3rd season of Drive to Survive? We know that it isn’t going to happen. So season 2 was a pure disappointment, meanwhile season 3 will probably be wiped out as well?

In the end, if failure and disappointment is deemed to be drama-worthy, and binge-worthy viewing? Then that is where the film-makers focused their full attention – focusing on all the negative storylines from 2019 and the drivers on the edge of success and failure. While at the pointy end of the competition, where your Hamiltons and Vettels reside, they hardly spent any time with them on the podium. But instead we were made to watch the grim stuff – deaths on the track, relegation to a lower tier team, and high hopes not meeting high expectations. To me, this ain’t compelling viewing.

But if you still haven’t been put off by my scathing review, you can view Formula 1: Drive to Survive HERE