Netflix recommendations- Married to Medicine

You can take the girl out of the hood, but not the hood out of the girl!

Ok, I’m officially stunned, stunned that there have actually been 7 seasons of ‘Married to Medicine’ that has aired in the United States- and here I was, thinking it was a ‘one & done’ show as Netflix only has the first season on their streaming platform.

For all those who haven’t had the privilege (or have been spared the pain of), ‘Married to Medicine’ is an American Reality TV show based in Atlanta Georgia in the South. The 16 episode (45 min each) follows the lives of 2 female doctors, and 4 women who are married to doctors. And like most of these reality shows following the uber rich, the camera crew follows the ladies on events and outings (oftentimes thrown for the purpose to give the show makers more content to fill up a season)- thus it’s not always reality? Me thinks.

In season one we’re introduced to Mariah (the Queen-bee of the group); Dr Jackie (the matriarch of the group); Dr Simone (a playful OB); Kari (the token Anglo of the group); Toya (she’s ghetto chic); and Quad (the latest member to join the ‘Married to Money’ fraternity. I’m not sure if the Producers of the show on day one of shooting, knew exactly what direction this show was going to take? As from episode 2-3 onwards, it already took a sharp left-hand turn, and got real catty and bitchy really quickly. Which we have to admit, was the only reason why we kept watching- as after episode 1 we were almost going to give up on it.

But enter Quad, who started to rub Kari the wrong way, which led to friction between Kari and Mariah (Quad’s best friend). Then add in gossip which reached the wrong ears, and finally include a classy birthday party attended by the respected members of the Atlanta medical fraternity- which ends up being a ghetto cat fight between MD spouses? And that’s how ‘Married to Medicine’ kept us glued to our LCD screen. It was cringing, embarrassing (for all those who were involved), but hilarious (for all those who weren’t). “Oh damn, that’s when the handbag goes into the pool!” and “Who started the fight? Was it when she threw the glass at her head?”

Unfortunately the fight and the subsequent fall-out overshadowed much of the other goings on in the rest of the season- I’m sure there were scenes of charity events, portraits of blissful family life, and cute doggies……. But all that comes to mind when I reflect back to the show was Mariah V Toya, and the shot of the designer handbag and mobile phone at the bottom of the pool. Haaha. I think why we enjoy Married to Medicine, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Bling Empire- is for one simple fact! That is the knowledge, knowing that money does not buy you happiness, and although it might seem like they have it all, but the rich also have their own problems- even if most of their problems are self-inflicted. I guess it’s all about who you surround yourself with.

If you’re bord this weekend and want to watch something truly trashy! Like truly awful but still so entertaining! Then check-out ‘Married to Medicine’ season one, just click HERE!

Netflix recommendations- Rich people problems

Not Kevin Kwan’s best seller, but 3 similar shows on Netflix!

What’s our fascination with rich people? Is it that we hope we might learn something from them, so we too can learn how to become rich? Or do we just like to live vicariously through others, so seeing someone else live a lavish lifestyle makes us feel like we too had experienced it for ourselves? Or perhaps we snoop on the rich, just so we can tell ourselves we don’t need that lifestyle- we’re better off just being ourselves? But regardless why we have a fascination for the rich, here are 3 shows you can watch on Netflix that depict the lives of the filthy rich. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Real Housewives of Beverley Hills season 1 (2010)

Meet Kyle, Adrienne, Kim, Lisa, Camille, and Taylor- the real housewives of Beverley Hills………. Well, not exactly housewives as they all have their own ‘day jobs’, but a good enough cross section of your typical Beverley Hills socialite. And I think the reality TV show would have been pretty boring if it wasn’t for Camille Grammer, from a seemingly innocuous misunderstanding, but for that misunderstanding to drive much of the plot line for the next 6 episodes? Ah, rich people problems, where you can be fixated on one little comment, and raise hell to seek revenge! But I have to admit I couldn’t stop watching it, for this real-life unfolding drama between two housewives. Meow!

Bling Empire season 1 (2021)

And similar to the housewives, but now insert Asians! Bling Empire follows Kevin, Kane, Christine, Kelly, Anna, Cherie, Kim, and Jamie- who are all based in Los Angeles and are filthy rich! You can tell that some of the scenarios have been staged and perhaps they all don’t know each other all that well, but I guess you have to manufacture drama to draw-out those rich people problems somehow. If you only get as far as episode 1, you might conclude that the show is absolute trash! And you wouldn’t be wrong there. But give it a few more episodes and all of them start to grow on you, seeing a vulnerable side to all of them- be that break-ups, unacquired love, fertility issues, and missing loved ones. In the end, rich people have both rich people and every-day people problems as well.

Dynasty season 1 (2017)

And over in Atlanta Georgia, meet Blake, Fallon, Steven, Kristal and Jeff- your fictitious southern rich people in the 2017 Soap Opera re-make of the 80s Dynasty. To say Dynasty is trashy is an absolute understatement, as I haven’t watched anything this unbelievable before! Like show me a character who didn’t have skeletons in their closet and show me a character who actually is who they claim to be! And show me a character who leaves season 1 unscaved! Dynasty season 1 was ridiculous beyond belief, but somehow, I managed to get through all 22 episodes of season 1- and oddly I’m pondering if I should start season 2? As somehow, they manage to work-in a cliff hanger at the end of every ep, so you’re always bound to come back for more. But if dynasty is an example of what problems rich people have? Then no thanks, I’m happy being middle classed.

But if you’re loss for something to watch this weekend, and you want to gain a sense of glee from the problems of  the rich? Then by all means, check out the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, or the crazy rich Asians from Bling Empire, or those nasty Carrington’s from ‘dynasty’! All can be found on Netflix!

Netflix recommendations- Audio description

An open letter to online TV/movie streaming services.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! How audio describe has changed my enjoyment of TV/movies!

Previously I’ve mentioned that I’m blind. Yes? Have been so for almost 20 years now. And for a large majority of that time, I just didn’t enjoy watching/listening to TV/movies anymore. As you can appreciate, not being able to follow a storyline could really suck!

However in the last couple of years, since Netflix and Disney have been enabling ‘Audio describe’ on all of its new releases and in some cases retrospectively recording Audio description on old titles- it has really changed how I enjoy a common past-time of vegeing on the couch watching a good (or sometimes average) show.

For those who have never required Audio described content before, it is a feature which can be switched on via your Netflix or Disney Plus app. Once turned on, all subsequent content which has an Audio described recording will now automatically play hence forth (until you unselect it at your next session). You’ll know immediately if there is an Audio description recording, as a disembodied voice will describe and read out the opening credits (music to blind ears!). And as time goes by, I’ve found that more and more content have an Audio describe recording- which is fantastic!

An Audio describe narrator basically describes all the on-screen visuals, from describing a scenes background, informing you which characters are on screen, describe physical interaction between characters, describe action sequences, to describing gestures and facial expressions on people’s faces. The narration usually occurs during a break in dialogue between on screen characters, and when describing action scenes or montages it would dim the original audio volume so you can better hear the narrator’s descriptions. The end outcome is that a non-sighted viewer can independently enjoy a show on their own, and completely follow the entire storyline from start to finish. Which is great! As these days I no longer fall asleep during movies with my wife, because I’m bord and unable to follow the film. And/or now I can watch content on my own, stuff which my wife has no interest in. Hence, I can keep pumping out these blogs, as I rip through Netflix and Disney’s libraries.

Sure, not all Audio descriptions are made equally. Some narrators are better than others. Some recordings have very bad audio balance, so that the original dialogue and audio is very soft. While some others describe action sequences before they occur, so it ruins any suspense for your sighted viewing companions. But on the whole, 95% of Audio descriptions are fantastic! Where the narration scripts have been well thought out and conveys the point in as few words as possible, and I love it when the narrator gets right into the action sequences- you can tell that they’re also on the edge of their seats trying to keep up with the action! Haaha.

In short, I’m enjoying visual content 10 times more than I was 2-3 years ago. And I just want to say thank you. Thanks Netflix and Disney Plus (and Apple TV) for investing in our community’s needs, it is very much appreciated.

To turn on Audio description, select ‘Language and audio’ from your player and select ‘Audio description’. And with Netflix, you can filter content based on the availability of Audio description- next time when scrolling through the app, just select ‘Category’ from your home page and filter by ‘Audio description’. Enjoy!

Netflix recommendations- Brigerton

Aren’t we glad that we live in the 21st Century!?

Estimated to be Netflix’s 5th highest debuting series ever, Brigerton (a period drama) even sucked me in! Although I’ve never had much of a taste for 19th Century Regency romances. But after a week of binging Brigerton here are my thoughts.

But to set the scene for you, Netflix’s Brigerton is based on Julia Quinn’s novel of the same name. It is set in the 1830s in an alternative reality of 19th Century London. The 8-episode series focuses on a 2–3-month period of time during the season when debutants are presented to court- that facilitates potential matches between high born ladies and gentlemen. The storyline focuses on the  Brigerton family (4 sons and 3 daughters), and the Featherington family (3 daughters). The storyline is explained to us the viewer by a narrator( voice over by the legendary Julie Andrews), which we later learn that the exerts we’re hearing are parts of a gossip column written by a mystery writer (Lady Whistledown). Laid-out as a 19th Century soapy, it covers off themes of class, saving face, gender, romance,  birth-right, greed, shivery and gossip. All very trashy, but admittedly  very binge worthy.

The main standouts for me were:

Racial equality- if racial barriers were broken down hundreds of years ago, skin colour would no longer be an issue today. As exhibited in Brigerton, where the Queen of England was a woman of colour. Throughout the series race and colour was never an issue, but it was based on a man (or woman’s) depth of character which people were judged on. But unfortunately this reality only exists in an alternative history drama.

The inequalities of class, birth-order and gender- and the reason why I’m so glad that we live in the 21st century now, is because in Australia at least we don’t have a defined class structure, inheritance isn’t based on birth-order, and gender barriers are almost demolished. Watching Brigerton, it reminded me of how unequal wealth and opportunity was distributed back in those days, to the first-born male of a high-born family- and everyone else (the other 99%) can get stuffed!

Pre-Google era- And Brigerton reminded me what life was like when knowledge was held by certain people, who can decide to pass on (or withhold) that information which could place others at a disadvantage. In an era where we can find the answer to any question which pops up in our mind in a matter of seconds, imagine living in the 19th Century and being completely ignorant? It’s not that you’re unable to find the answers, but you don’t even know that there is a question to be asked! How sad, how sad. With knowledge comes power, and I think we’re all more empowered today, thanks to Google!

Power of social media- and final stand-out for me from the series is the power of social media. In Brigerton social media took the form of a gossip column, however the outcome was the same in the 19th as in the 21st Century. Anonymous writer, voicing their own opinions and disclosing facts (true or false) could tarnish and ruin reputations and people. From Brigerton it has shown that everyone likes gossip, as long as that dirt isn’t flung our way, and isn’t that the truth in the present day? With tweets, memes, and fake news? It’s all a laugh and entertainment until we’re personally caught out by it. Should we do more to control social medias?

In the end, Brigerton was far better than I thought it would be. It presented as a trashy period soapy, but it ended up delving into far more deeper themes than I’d anticipated. If you’re interested to check-out Brigerton, click HERE!

Netflix recommendations- Titans season 1

A bird, an alien, one who is possessed, and a shape shifter walks into a bar…….

It was the Umbrella Academy who opened the flood gates for us, as prior to UA we weren’t really into comic book TV seeresses. However once I saw the trailer for ‘Titans’ and it strongly resembled Umbrella Academy- i.e. teenagers with superpowers, teaming up to fight a mutual foe? We were sold!

Titans (or Teen Titans) is a DC comic series, turned into an action series by Warner Bros (and now streaming on Netflix). The premiss is that Dick Grayson (aka Robin from Batman & Robin) is no longer a vigilante and is fighting crime with a badge, as a bonified detective on the Detroit police force. When he comes across Rachel, a troubled teenager who is haunted by visions (which are not her own) and the demonic possession by an ‘evil spirit’. After they escape several attempts at her capture, they come across Kory a mysterious woman who is able to flame throw and chargrill anything in her path (although she is a mystery to herself, with a serious case of amnesia). And after they’re joined by a shape shifter in Garfield (oh! I get it now, Garfield is an orange cartoon cat, thus he shapes shifts into a green-tinged tiger?). Together, they seek to protect Rachel from the forces who are out to get her, protect Rachel from herself, and to ultimately protect Rachel from ending the world as we know it!

The storyline isn’t all that ground-breaking, as almost all comic book storylines involve the potential complete destruction of our world! But what made Titans a binge worthy show, was how they went about telling their story. By introducing characters seemingly out of the blue, but to back-track in later episodes to tell of their origin stories- thus retrospectively filling in the gaps and creating some ‘ah ha’ moments for its viewers. Which I have to admit it was a bit annoying at the time, as the previous episode ended on a cliff-hanger, but to pick-up at a completely different spot the following episode!? Thus leaving you and I in complete limbo for an extra 50 minutes! Or a day or two, depending if you or I don’t get a chance to keep watching on in one sitting. But it makes for some epic ‘TV time’ when you eventually get back to it. 

 The grandiose nature of this small screen show far exceeded what is usually expected from a TV series. Sure, most of it could be CGI and they’re not actually blowing up houses and tearing up Bruce Wayne’s mansion- but merely for an alternative future sequence, they re-created Gotham city, and showed the depravity the city had become after the Bat had lost his way. 

The casting and acting were all exemplary, the fight sequences and manifestations of their powers was truly wicked, and their ability to keep you riveted right through each episode was masterful. Right down to literally airing the last episode of season 1, as episode 2 of season 2!? They have honestly sucked us in, line and sinker! We’re so invested into the next 11 episodes now- where the Teen Titans invite more superheros into their fold.

If you haven’t already seen this, run (don’t walk) to check out Titans, click HERE to start binging. 

Netflix recommendations- Lucifer season 1

the Prince of darkness as a misunderstood individual.

Surely one of these days I’m going to run out of content to fill my weekly blogs. It’s bound to happen right? And this week we’ve come dangerously close to scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I’d seen it sitting there on my Netflix app for a while now, the Netflix AI recommending that based on my past viewing history, that I’d probably enjoy Lucifer. But being a religious man, it just didn’t feel right to be watching a show where the main protogenos was the devil? Yeah?

But I must have been “tempted” by a spirit of curiosity, as I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I gave it a go, and this is what I thought.

The preface is that the Devil himself roams the earth among us, after being sick and tired of the underworld, so he took a vacation to Los Angeles- living out his days as a club owner called Lucifer Morningstar. And after coming into contact with a female detective who was assigned to investigate a killing of a friend of his, Mr Lucifer finds himself using his devilish charms to assist the LAPD in solving murder cases.

The plot sounds farfetched, and half of the time the murder investigations are all too predictable- but it is Tom Ellis’ depiction of Lucifer which is the stand-out of this series. As he’s a charming Brit with a dry sense of humour- you know that typical quick witted arrogant Brit (we all have one in our workplaces). But only Tom Ellis could pull off depicting the Devil on earth, pretty much no other actor could do the role justice (definitely no American actor could). There’s T&A, sexual inuendo galore, copious amounts of alcohol being consumed, and greed and depravity drives most of the crimes- all you’d expect from the circles in which the Devil dwells within (or perhaps it’s just life in LA). However Lucifer the show, tries to rehabilitate the Devil’s reputation, re-casting him as a misunderstood individual, as the son of God, and a man who is actually more compassionate than he is, when playing the role inwhich he is forced to fill in hell as bidden by his Father (according to the screenwriters anyway).

It’s all a bit amusing, mindless, and entirely fictional. Perfect if you need a distraction from your reality.

If you’re interested to check-out Lucifer, click HERE! There are 5 seasons to binge.