Game of Thrones

Up until Saturday, I may have been part of the 1% that never watched or read Game of Thrones.  It’s an HBO show based off the fantasy series of the same name by George R.R. Martin.  Google had a promotion where I can purchase two TV episodes for $0.99 per episode.  The promotion is a pretty good deal but frankly there’s not many TV series that I watch that’s worth keeping.

Since $0.99 per episode isn’t that much to spend, I decided to buy the first two episodes of the first season of Game of Thrones.  My thoughts… after watching these two episodes, I’m reminded at the death, nudity and incest that occurs in the series.  I recall reading about the shock viewers had at such nudity and incest when it first came out.  And It certainly lives up to it’s reputation.  I’m also reminded about the notorious cliff hangers that the producers end each episodes with.  They definitely leave viewers with a sense of “what comes next!?” type of feeling.  I can see how certain characters are favorites in the show.  From just two episodes so far, I like the scrappy Tyrion Lannister.  His dialog with Jon Snow about owning up to being a bastard dwarf is great and very revealing of his nature.

If Google has more of these promotions, I’ll be sure to take advantage of it to slowly purchase the other episodes.  However, this show after two episodes doesn’t strike me as something I would enjoy to ask the many people who I know that have DVD/Blu-Ray discs.

All or Nothing

Have you seen Amazon Prime’s All or Nothing TV show?  I just finished Season 2 which talked about the LA Rams (disastrous) 2016 season.  They apparently ended the season 4-12.  Yet they were still ranked 3rd in NFC West in front of the 2-14 San Francisco 49ers.

This total access into the daily lives of the Rams’ coaches and players is fascinating.  I can’t imagine how many hours of footage was recorded to be summarized down to only 8 1-hour episodes.  But these 8 episodes cover quite a lot starting with their move from St. Louis to LA.  The show covers quite a few games as well as sheds light into some of the reason why Goff replaced Keenum.  The show ends with the Rams firing Fisher and hiring McVay as the head coach.

Overall it’s a pretty good show to watch while waiting for the 2017 season to start.

Grand Tour on Amazon Video

Anyone recall BBC’s Top Gear?  The original hosts appear to run into some issues that ended up with the show being cancelled. So what do you do with a show that’s been going on for seasons? You find a new sponsor and distributor for the show.  So now, Amazon distributes Grand Tour on Amazon Video which generally mirrors the format.

As someone who doesn’t really know much about cars, I find their “analysis” of the cars to be interesting.  Although I can gather greater horsepower is good, what I find most enjoyable is each host’s will demonstrate their utter enthusiasm for a particular car’s power, speed, and handling while simultaneously trying to minimize the other cars being showcased.  It inevitably ends up being such a crazy dialog that sometimes I want to drive all the cars just to see how it feels.

They also have these “crazy” challenges which are hilarious too.  The “eco-friendly” Land Rover conversion is definitely my favorite followed by the dune buggy.  I think it’s worth watching if anything for the comedy.


Thoughts on Downton Abbey 

So I finished the 6 season, 54 episode show. Overall I found it to be very good.  Thinking about the show, a number of social themes emerged that are relevant even in today’s turbulent society.

Despite a patriarchal society where male successors are prized, the show ultimately focuses on the women of Downton Abbey especially that of Mary.  The show presents situations that highlights some of the prejudices and difficulties that women faced during 1920s (and probably still face today).  One of the more glaring difficulties is related to the love life tribulations that Mary faces with her “Wheel of Suitors” and their continuous intrusions into her life despite her repeated deflections of their romantic advances.  Another difficulty that the show tackles is the way women are perceived by men.  It’s portrayed quite well with Mary and her suitors, with Isobel and Dr. Clarkson, with Edith and her editor, with the Crawley sisters and their father, with Anna and her ordeal, and even with Violet and her antiquated views.

The show also hints at the potential for upward mobility gained from greater education.  It was much more prevalent with Mr. Mosley and teaching credential storyline in the final season.  But throughout every season, there were tidbits of hope where someone learning a skill will eventually allow them to leave “service.”  Even as early as season 1 with the Gwen (a chamber maid) and Sybil (a daughter of the house) storyline where Sybil helped and supported Gwen move out of service even when Gwen herself felt all hope was lost.  It was only fitting that the final season devoted a few minutes to show what happened to Gwen and her upward mobility as well as the hint of the start of the demise of “service.”  Even Mrs. Hughes foresaw the future direction of maids and butlers in a household.

The show answered “what is family?” with the many of the storylines.  The one I liked most was that of Mr. Branson marrying into the family, feeling confused and lost after the death of Sybil, leaving to Boston and then returning back to Downton Abbey.  A rags to riches story where internal conflict and subsequent growth made him very likable.

Despite the social themes, the character growth of certain characters also made this show popular.  In particular, I initially didn’t like Rose.  Her portrayal was very similar to that of the modern millenial where she only thinks of herself and does what she wants.  But the show evolved her character into a much more likable person where she used her quick thinking and wit to de-escalate conversations and situations.  Honestly, I sometimes wish I had the same quick wit to read and assess the situation and act accordingly.

The Choices on Netflix

So I signed up for Netflix recently.  I’m finding that there’s just so many shows there that it’s impossible to start.  Does that sound familiar?  Ya… the paradox of choice.  I literally don’t know where to start.  There are these TV shows that people talk about like Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  All these were suggested by other people at some point in time.  I haven’t started watching them mainly because I’m currently engrossed in Downton Abbey (season 4 now).

But of what Netflix shows I’ve seen so far, there is a hilarious Asian American comedian Ali Wong who did a comedy show for Netflix.  If you’re Asian American, it’s worth watching.

Downton Abbey

I recently started watching Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime Video.  Yes I know it’s a pretty old show but strangely enough I find two story arcs to be very compelling.  The first story is the one that follows Mary Crawley.  The writers so far has made her out to be a selfish, strong willed, stubborn, cold and calculating yet petty as only the rich can be.  But despite all that, I can’t help but want to root for her to prevail.  The second story that I find fascinating centers around Anna May Smith. The writers have made her to be loyal, honest, and compassionate.  In some ways, she represents the complete opposite of Mary yet at the same time, you see how both women support the people they care about in their own ways.  Aside from these two main story arcs, the servant political intrigue is pretty amusing as well as the bickering between Isobel and Violet.

This show is supposed to last for 6 seasons and I’m already on season 3. Egads!