There was a big interwebby brouhaha when Netflix launched in Ireland in January. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly interested at the time. No one was raving about it. Many people said that the price was great (at just €6.99 a month, that seems a fair comment), but that the content was seriously lacking. The range of movies was very limited and the TV shows that were available were far from up-to-date. I gave it a miss.
Six months later (and late to the game) I decided to give it a go. Spurred on by a press release about Drive (which has just been released on Netflix Ireland), I dived in.
In keeping with my ‘late to the game’ theme, the first show I watched on Netflix is a show that everyone seems to be mad about these days, but one I never watched – Breaking Bad. It’s the story of a middle-aged, married-with-kids, impoverished school teacher (played by Malcolm in the Middle’s Bryan Cranston) who turns to meth dealing after he has been diagnosed with cancer. Despite this heavy drama premise, the show is extremely funny (yes, the humour is dark, but still hilarious). The characters have many dimensions and the progression of the story is like no show I’ve ever seen. Every single episode is different and progresses the overall story week by week.
I say week by week, but that’s not entirely accurate in my case. I started watching episode one of season one on the DART. Half way through episode two, I seemlessly moved to my laptop at home (I love this function) and three days later, I arrived at the shocking conclusion of season three.
You don’t have to do this!
Completely up to speed on Breaking Bad, I found myself needing my fix. Netflix was happy to recommend I watch Weeds next. A more lighthearted drama than Breaking Bad, it focuses on an impoverished mother who turns to dealing pot to support her family. I’m already halfway through the first season of and with three seasons available on Netflix of the seven that have aired, it’s hardly ideal but it’ll keep me going for a while.
When I first registered for the service, I was asked to input my favourite genres and how much I like certain styles of film. That obviously helped them recommend Troll Hunter to me. Troll Hunter is a 2010 Norwegian dark fantasy film, made in the form of a “found footage” mockumentary. And Netflix was right. I loved it. With great effects despite the low budget and a great believable cast, this turned out to be a gem.
I did a bit of research and it turns out that Hollywood is working on a US version of Troll Hunter. I want to see Bryan Cranston play the titular character.
Which brings us to Drive. I still haven’t watched it. I’m hopping on the DART to town shortly and I’ll start watching it on my iPhone. Hopefully, I’ll have enough battery power left to watch the remainder on my journey home tonight.
The jury is still out on Netflix Ireland. I’ve really enjoyed my first week of it and I am more than happy with the quality of the service, the recommendations, the number of devices it’s available on and the availability of subtitles (something I’ve become acutely aware of since becoming friends with someone who is hard of hearing). There are definitely some content issues. I have already been let down when looking for some movies I would have expected to see there. I’m optimistic for the future.
What do you think of the service so far? Has it changed how you view movies and TV for the better or is has it not lived up to your expectations? I’d love to hear your opinions.