Breaking Bad

Netflix has a neat feature that allows users to download a limited number of episodes of selected shows for offline viewing. I took advantage of this and downloaded AMC’s Breaking Bad. Netflix has all 5 seasons to watch and more importantly for download.

On a recent trip to Asia, I started watching these episodes and downloading them at the hotel wifi for future offline watching. I finished the final episode before returning to US.

My thoughts on this show is mixed. I thought the first 3 seasons went very well. The final 2 seasons seems to be dragging out a “good thing” by meandering through these plausible storylines. The character development was varied depending on the character throughout the seasons.

Walter White’s transition from a high school chemistry teacher into a meth cook is an interesting study into his psychology. As the series progresses, his psychological state begins to drastically change as his demeanor and ambitions grows bigger while fear and paranoia grips his every day life. He has a quote “I feel alive” that sums up his adrenaline filled days of meth cooking, conspiracy and thug/underworld life (for lack of a better word). As the series progresses his ambitions start to get the better of him. Mike towards the end of the show pointed out how good it could have been if it were not for his “pride.” As correct as Mike is, I think it was more than pride that fed into his hubris and eventual downfall.

Jesse Pinkman could have been developed even further. His character doesn’t grow nearly as much as White. Throughout every season, I found him going from one emo state to another emo state. He feels like a tragic hero that the writers used to dump all the horrible results on while Walter White gets away with just about everything. Ultimately, he was not ready to be the partner White needed him to be. He never was developed to be as ruthless as White but more of a sniveling underling that was in way over his head.

Although this show is 10 years old, it’s worth watching all 5 seasons. Just be prepared for some exasperating moments.

Master of None

Aziz Ansari (wiki) has recently been in the news as part of the #MeToo (wiki) movement.  Before this event, he’s originally a stand up comedian who transitioned into TV show fame.  Some of his stand up routines on Netflix (here, here) are pretty funny.  I’ve read his book Modern Romance which held a few hilarious dating anecdotes that are relatable to the singles dating life.

Master of None is his latest TV show on Netflix.  Ansari recently won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in TV Series, Musical or Comedy.  As one of the series on my “To Watch” list, I started watching sometime last month and finished watching it yesterday.  As I watched the show, I began to realize that I was more interested in the dating and relationship stories between Rachel and Francesca.  I think what makes this such a great show is the relatability of the characters and their backstories.  The Thanksgiving episode is a great example and is one of the better episodes from both seasons.  It’s well written and well directed and shows the evolution of Denise and her family’s acceptance of Denise as a lesbian.

Towards the end of season 2, I related to Ansari’s character of how he felt and with his emotions with relationships.  I understood just how Ansari’s character felt as I had felt the same way many times in the past.  That physical pain and heartache in the chest, the constant thinking in my own head space, and the irrational decisions were all relatable emotions and attributes.  The last two episodes of season 2 made me reflect on my emotional, physical and rational state when I was experiencing these emotions.  Watching these episodes made me sad that the relationships never worked out.  Unlike the happy ending in season 2, the potential for a positive relationship wasn’t even an option in my case.

This show is worth watching.  The cast and storytelling are relatable in this modern day.

President Obama Interview

David Letterman has a new Netflix show.  It’s not quite the same late night talk show format in his previous career but I think it suits him fine.  The first guest of this show is none other than Barack Obama.

There’s so much Letterman can talk about with President Obama but there’s clearly not enough time given the show’s format.  Obama speaks eloquently about a number of topics from family, Obama’s use of social media, the financial crisis, and even the current political system.  I find myself entranced at their conversation… so much so, I listened to it a 2nd time to digest the parts that I missed the first time.

I truly think 1 hour is nowhere enough time to cover all the topics that are of interest to Obama and in some ways interest to the US population in general.  I really look forward in seeing what Obama can do in the future to make his legacy even more enduring.

2nd Season of Bill Nye Saves the World

Looks like Bill Nye Saves the World has a 2nd season on Netflix now.

I’m amused by opening the season with a discourse on marijuana.  Is this Nye’s effort to engage the Netflix audience to open a broader national dialog into marijuana?  Nye approaches this subject from a scientific curiosity/inquiry viewpoint regarding the unknown effects of marijuana through the investigative reporting of groundbreaking Israeli scientific work into understanding the effects of marijuana.  Since marijuana is a Schedule 1 drugs/substance in the US, little is known about the effects on humans since controlled research can’t be performed due to it’s drug classification.  Using this scientific curiosity/inquiry approach is interesting to get the conversation started but ultimately the FDA/DEA will need to have one key question answered: Does marijuana usage lead to a “high potential for abuse”?  Without satisfactorily answering this question, the FDA can’t possibly condone further experiments to fully understand marijuana effects on humans.  Or can they?

Aside from marijuana, the other episodes also look to be interesting. From the quick synopsis of each episodes, there is one about cybersecurity, sleeping, and super resistant “superbugs.”

Grand Tour Season 2

It looks like Amazon’s Grand Tour is back for season 2!  Of the five episodes I’ve watched so far, the cars they drive are absolutely amazing to look at.  The Acura NSX, the Ford GT, and the McLaren 720S all look beautiful.  The sleek low aerodynamic styling is definitely a head turner.

This season though has a two interesting things happen already.  The first is the car crash and fiery explosion of a concept super car.  The second is not as bad but still putting water into a gas tank kind of bad.  It makes me wonder about a few things…

  • Are these cars being loaned out to Amazon for use?  Some of these super cars they drive aren’t cheap.
  • What happens to all the incidental damage that happens to a car or other cars during the filming of the episode?
  • Why is the term “super car” reserved only for sleek and stylish fast cars?


HK Comedian Cheuk Wan-chi on Netflix!?

This is such a great show.  On Netflix, I just finished a 2 part show that stars Cheuk Wan-Chi who is an Hong Kong comedian and media personality.

I’m very impressed with the translators who did this.  Both shows were in Cantonese but the subtitles were translated so well that the jokes and witty comments were spot on funny.   At the same time, some of the references she uses were lost on me because she’s from Hong Kong.  The crowd definitely understood so there’s a slight cultural gap.

Either way, it’s a great show.



Million Yen Women

Netflix clearly has interesting shows like House of Cards.

But have you watched Million Yen Women?  This is a Japanese 12 episode TV show.  The plot starts off with those “too good to be true” TV tropes where 5 random female protagonist rent a room from the male protagonist.  The male protagonist is a struggling author while the 5 female protagonist have various professions.  These kinds of “too good to be true” TV tropes are widely used and they usually end up as romantic comedies.  But I assure you, this show is not quite romantic nor comedic.

Admittedly, the first four episodes were pretty slow as the plot dabbled with the background of the women and man.  At episode five, the plot picks up and takes you for a ride all the way to the last episode where it has a very short denouement.  I think it ends pretty nicely despite the various unexpected plot twists.  I certainly didn’t expect three of the major plot twists to occur.

The character development is pretty significant for such short series.  The male protagonist’s character development is the highlight of the show but the development of the five female protagonist shouldn’t be discounted either.  Their interactions with each other gave a sense of realness which is a testament to the show’s great acting, writing and directing.  I certainly was attached to one of the female protagonist.  The writers gave her such a great thoughtful personality that she was extremely likable.

It’s a great show.  Spend 5 hours and watch it…