Day 310: Daredevil

Daredevil on Netflix.

Daredevil on Netflix.

I recently posted about how much my wife and I are enjoying Gotham. After a few episodes, I decided to start watching Daredevil on Netflix.

Needless to say, the rest of Gotham has been put on hold.

I’m three-quarters of the way into the first season and so far Daredevil has been superb. He’s one of my favorite superheroes, but I put off starting the series because I was scarred from the Ben Affleck version. It was okay, but nowhere near as gritty as I thought it should be. And Affleck didn’t do it for me as a superhero (which is why I’m sure I’ll put off watching Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice).

I grew up on Frank Miller’s version of The Man Without Fear, which was gritty before gritty was cool. The Born Again storyline, along with The Big Three (Maus, Watchmen, and The Dark Knight Returns) changed the way I looked at comic books.

The Netflix series has been everything I wanted from Daredevil. It’s not about a superhero saving the world, but rather the story of a city, Hell’s Kitchen in New York, and the people trying to control it/save it. It’s more like The Wire, which is only the greatest TV show ever. There are no corny one-liners or sly nods to the audience. The fight scenes aren’t over-the-top, and the fight in episode two where Daredevil goes into the heart of bad guys’ sanctuary was an all-time great.

Yes, a show produced for the small (and mobile) screen has an all-time superhero scene. Television, or what we call TV these days, has come a long way and mostly for the better.

Day 235: Couch Potato

Fear the Walking Dead

Fear the Walking Dead

With the Galaxy hosting the New York City Football Club, Tiger Woods in contention at the Wyndham Championship, and the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, my Sunday was booked solid.

Unfortunately, Tiger quickly dropped out of contention, but that allowed me to get out of the house after the Galaxy game. The Galaxy looked like MLS Cup contenders again, thanks to Robbie Keane’s continued MVP form and Giovanni Dos Santos’ all-around excellence. Although I missed out on the game today (I tried to buy tickets after Gio had signed, which meant that it was already sold out), it was still fun watching the Galaxy dominate the game and I expect to go to the StubHub Center later this year for another championship game.

Fear the Walking Dead is on right now as I type this, but my wife and I are both finishing up some work before AMC reruns it. I hope it lives up to the hype, but I still prefer binging on shows 2-4 episodes at a time so we’ll probably watch tonight’s pilot before taking a few weeks off to stockpile episodes.

Nothing says couch potato better than zoning out on a bunch of zombie shows.

Day 170: The Beard Is Coming

Game of Thrones meme

Game of Thrones meme

I stopped by the library to find a copy of the Searching for Sugar Man soundtrack. I took it to the check-out counter, where I hadn’t seen one of the clerks in quite some time. She commented on my beard and asked the same question my wife had asked me recently: “Why grow it now? Won’t it be hot?”

I said something about protecting my face against the elements, but decided to come clean and got a good laugh from the entire front-counter staff: “Actually, we’ve been binge-watching Game of Thrones lately.”


Day 99: Caught Up

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

SPOILER ALERT: I’m talking about The Walking Dead, season five (scroll down to continue)









We finally caught up with The Walking Dead tonight. Wow. I thought that things had slowed down once the group reached Alexandria. Thankfully, I wasn’t ready to give up on the show and the last two episodes were brilliant: tense, emotional, and action-packed.

Once the group made its way to Alexandria and tried to return to a pre-apocalyptic way of life, the series seemed to lose its steam. While the focus has always been on Rick, Glenn and Maggie slipped to the background, as did Daryl. Carol was more prominent and she’s never been more charming and menacing. Noah’s death was heart-breaking, just as Emily’s was at the midway point.

As the utopian Alexandria came crumbling down, the show got its mojo back. It was great to see Morgan again and how perfect was his reunion with Rick?

As Mrs. G. and I binged on the final few episodes, it reaffirmed my taste in television viewing: I’m a binger, not a weekly show type of guy (except for half-hour comedies about an Asian American family). We began the second half of season five in real time, watching each episode as they aired. After a few weeks, we decided we liked watching episodes a handful at a time. Not only can we watch when we want to, but it’s easier to follow the story. For me, it’s easier to remember characters and details when I’ve seen them hours rather than weeks before.

Now that season five is over, I’m ready for season six. I won’t be watching the premiere, though. I’ll watch it a few weeks later, along with another handful of episodes.

Day 43: Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul on AMC

Better Call Saul on AMC

The much-anticipated premiere of Better Call Saul was this weekend and based on the reviews and social media reaction, it’s lived up to the hype. I thought the two-episode debut was solid and there were some nice tie-ins with Breaking Bad. It’s great seeing Saul in his pre-Goodman days as Jimmy McGill, a down-on-his-luck ambulance chaser. Like Walter White, we’re going to see one man’s transformation; unlike Walter White, we know exactly what Jimmy/Saul is going to become.

I have mixed feelings, though: not about the show itself, but of my viewing habits. Just like The Walking Dead (which also debuted the second half of season five this weekend), I like to get my television fix in two- or three-episode chunks instead of one-episode bites. Should I risk seeing spoilers on social media, just so I can stockpile a few episodes to watch in a few weeks?

It’s too bad that all shows can’t be released in a binge-friendly format like House of Cards.

Day 12: Cutting Cable


Image source:

My wife and I have saved thousands of dollars since we cut cable a few years ago. We love not paying for channels we never watch and since we’ve never made it a point to set a specific TV night, we can easily get by with a Netflix subscription and Youtube videos for our video entertainment. Actually, that’s not entirely true; we love watching Jeopardy during the week, so thankfully a cheap pair of rabbit ears brings in quality digital reception of Mr. Trebek. The antenna works for the major networks and lots of minor ones, too, so there’s always something available if the need arises.

The only thing I’ve missed are sports. ESPN, Fox, Time Warner, and other cable companies have most of the games now, with the major networks only showing weekly NFL and NBA games (and the playoffs). I could subscribe to league passes, but I don’t have enough time to watch anyways.

I thought losing out on sports after we cut cable would be tough, but my favorite teams (Lakers and Raiders) are mired in mediocrity (and worse) these days. And thankfully I like listening to the Dodgers on the radio; I’m one generation removed from when listening to baseball was the rule, not the exception. As thrilling as it is to see the web gems on ESPN, I’m perfectly content listening to Vin Scully make the call.

This link is to an easy-to-use calculator to find out exactly how much money you’ll save by cancelling your cable TV service and replacing it with Netflix or other services. With so many streaming options available, there’s been no better time to do so.

Day 7: Zombie-fied


The Walking Dead on AMC.

The Walking Dead on AMC.

As far as horror sub-genres go, zombies are probably last on my list, next to lovestruck teenage vampires. I always found zombies to be boring. Gross, yes. Fascinating? Exciting? Cool? No, no, and no. I liked the original Night of the Living Dead, but all of the other classic Romero films did nothing for me.

In fact, my most memorable zombie movie moment had nothing to do with the actual film itself (the remake of Dawn of the Dead). I was living in Santa Barbara at the time and my roommates and I went to see the Sunday matinee showing. About 20 minutes into the movie, a drunk guy walked in and started harassing the people in front of him. Words were exchanged, then fists were flying. The film was stopped, the drunk guy was tossed out, and order was restored. I remember laughing with my roommates and recalling how people freaked out years earlier when Boyz N the Hood opened, thinking gang violence would mar the film’s opening weekend, especially in urban areas. Obviously, those worries turned out to be for naught, since the real troublemakers came out on lazy Sunday afternoons in tourist towns.

It wasn’t until two weeks ago that I became a zombie fan. My wife and I don’t watch much TV, except for the local news and Jeopardy. However, we are notorious Netflix binge-watchers and after Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black (she finished it, while I ended up re-watching The Wire), we finally gave The Walking Dead a shot. We’d heard a lot of good things about the series, but I wondered how each of us would react, given my indifference to the genre and her preference for rom-com and feel-good movies.

The Walking Dead has been excellent. We’re finishing season three soon and we’re both surprised how much we’ve enjoyed it so far. It’s another reminder that we’re living in a golden age of television since another generic zombie film wouldn’t have made me care, but the long format of a television series suits the source material well. Watching these characters evolve from one season to the next, as the story has moved from surviving the apocalypse to rebuilding communities, has been utterly fascinating and engrossing.

Now that I think about it, I’ve probably overstated my indifference to the zombie genre. The Edgar Wright film Shaun of the Dead is something I can always sit through if I find it while flipping through channels. Dead Trigger was a game that I played constantly on my wife’s Nexus 7; the second she finished pinning things on her Pinterest account, I grabbed the tablet and started blast thousands of zombies.

So, upon further review, I’m bumping up the zombie genre in my rankings of horror sub-genres. And I’ll be watching every episode of The Walking Dead from the comfort of my bedroom: it’s much safer than a Sunday matinee in Santa Barbara.