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Author Topic: In praise of Netflix and request for recommendations
maui babe
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I moved into a new apartment about a month ago, and to help afford the higher rent, I cancelled my cable TV subscription. In its place, we've been watching TV shows on DVD from Netflix, and I'm wishing I made this change long ago. We used to waste SO much time watching nothing on television it boggles my mind.

Anyway, here is a list of the TV series we've watched in the last month:

Monk - So far we've watched the first 3 discs of the first season, a total of 12 episodes. As a rule, I like mystery shows and have really enjoyed this one. There are at least four seasons on DVD available through Netflix, and I'm sure we'll work our way through them all.

Firefly - I first heard of this series on Hatrack when Serenity was released and there was so much traffic about it here. I wasn't sure about the premise of this series, but I watched the first disc and enjoyed all three episodes. It looks like this one only ran for one season (is that correct? Or is there only one season out on DVD and there are more to come?), so there are only 3 more discs to watch. I've enjoyed it and plan to watch Serenity after I've finished the series.

Dead Like Me - This is (was?) a Showtime original series. I watched the pilot episode (which was the only episode on the season one first disc). It was a bit dark for my taste, but I may watch one more disc before I write it off for good.

The Dead Zone - I watched this one last night and enjoyed it a lot. I usually like to watch only one episode a night, but the first episode had such a cliff hanger that there was no question that I would watch the second as well. I'll certainly watch as much of this series as I can.

Any more recommendations? Even when I had cable TV, I seldom watched any network programming. I watched mostly the Discovery Channel, A&E and the Food Network, so I never even saw promotions for most TV series from the last 20 years or so. So tell me about your favorites.

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katharina
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Gilmore Girls
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Veronica Mars
Sports Night**

All four of those are amazing. There are others, but those are the best - all four are comedy/dramas, and they are amazingly clever with great characters. They are different enough to get some variety.

I didn't like Dead Like Me - it only gets darker, and it isn't funny or insightful enough to justify it.

**Don't write it off for the title - it has nothing to do with sports.

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Noemon
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I'll look through my queue tonight and make recommendations, maui babe. Any interest in getting "netflix buddies", or whatever it is that they call it?

In the meantime, you're right in thinking that there is only the one season of Firefly. It's criminal that that's the case, but there you go.

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Ophelia
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Arrested Development
Scrubs

And I second Gilmore Girls and Sports Night.

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maui babe
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My youngest daughter watched reruns of Gilmore Girls after school last year, and I occasionally caught parts of it.

Are all of those available on DVD?

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lem
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I am a big fan of season 1 and season 3 of "24."

I also liked the first season of LOST and Desperate Housewives, but I will not watch the other seasons until they are on DVD.

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katharina
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Seasons 1-5 are available on DVD.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
In the meantime, you're right in thinking that there is only the one season of Firefly. It's criminal that that's the case, but there you go.
It's worse than that. They didn't even get to finish out the first season.
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maui babe
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Noemon,

I'm KarlEd's Netflix buddy. He's probably totally bored with my selections of shows. I don't remember how to add a buddy, but give me your username or whatever, and I'll add it.

I have my Netflix membership separated into 3 different queues for me and my two girls. I'm not sure if my buddys see all of our movies or just the ones from my queue.

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Noemon
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Well, I'll still look for more when I get home tonight, but I've made my way through, or am in the process of doing so:

Battle Star Galactica (miniseries and season 1. Season 2 is on TV at the moment, and is the only reason I haven't yet dropped my satellite TV subscription)

Fantastic television, and one of the two best SF themed TV shows ever to have been broadcast, in my opinion. Don't be put off by the fact that the show shares a name with the fairly horrible show from the late 70s.

Deadwood
I don't usually care for westerns, particularly, but this show is quite good. It's an HBO original series, so its quality isn't really surprising. There is a tiny bit of nudity in it (so far--I've only watched the first 2 discs), and more swearing than you can shake a stick at, so if that bothers you you may want to pass on this one.

Futurama
Matt Groening's satiric SF cartoon series is pretty entertaining. It isn't quite as brilliant as I'd hoped it would be, given the things that some have said of it, but it's well worth watching.

Lost Season 1 (season 2 is on TV at the moment)
Very well done. Moves too slowly for me to be able to handle watching it at a rate of 1 episode per week, so I'm now waiting for season 2 to be released on DVD.

Stargate SG1
Fluffy, popcorn TV SF. There isn't a whole lot to it, but it's entertaining. Teshi will now kill me.

Deep Space 9
My favorite of the shows set in the Star Trek universe, there are 7 seasons of Trek-y goodness to be had here.

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Stephan
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TV Shows?

Wonderfalls (From the creator of Dead Like Me, but not nearly as dark)
Coupling

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Goody Scrivener
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Definitely feel free to add me to anyone's Netflix buddies!

I'm currently working through Lois & Clark alternating with regular movies. I think the next series on my list is Dead Like Me. And I have to add the latest season of Dead Zone (season 3, I think?).

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Advent 115
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I second Futurama, it was a great show. To bad they canceled it.
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solo
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Freaks And Geeks
There was only one season of this incredible series. The show is set in 1980 or 81 and focuses on a brother and sister. The brother is a geek and has two very good friends who are also geeks. He also has a crush on a friendly cheerleader. The sister is a former Mathlete who has started hanging out with the "freaks". The rebel kids. It is very funny, but can also be uncomfortable to watch at times because of its brutal honesty.

Undeclared
From the same creator as Freaks And Geeks and also featuring some of the same actors. This is like Freaks And Geeks go to college in the 90s. Or at least judging by the first episode or two it is. I will definitely be watching the whole season in the coming weeks. Only 1 season of this as well.

Carnivale
Another HBO original series. This is set in Depression era America and follows a couple of different storylines that look like they will converge in a good vs. evil showdown. The main storyline involves a man with a shady past who has joined a travelling circus. He seems to have a strange healing power. The other big storyline involves a preacher who thinks he is being told what to do by god (but there is a strong sense that he is going to be the unknowingly evil side of the battle). I have seen the first 6 episodes (of 24) and I have really enjoyed it despite it having more nudity than I am usually comfortable with.

Wonderfalls
Another short lived series. This follows the life of Jaye, a graduate of Brown. She majored in philosophy and is now working at a souvenir shop in Niagra Falls. She may or may not be going crazy. Fake animals of various sorts (a wax lion, pink flamingos, etc.) speak to her and tell her things she needs to do, none of which she ever understands. She tries not to go along with it but things never turn out right until she does.

Corner Gas
This one might not be available on Netflix, being that it is a Canadian show. This is one of the best sit-coms I have ever watched. It is set in Dog River Saskatchewan. A tiny town that has very little going on. The cast is stellar and the comedic timing is almost always perfect. This is the only one that I am adding that is still an ongoing series.

I will also add my vote for Firefly, Veronica Mars, Lost, Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, and Scrubs.

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Olivet
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24 is a lot more fun on dvd. You get to giggle at the technical booboos and you don't have to wait a week to see how the episode-ending cliffhanger works out.

I would also suggest Profit, the first in a long line of superior shows cancelled prematurely by Fox. Two episodes aired in ... what? 1995? to tremendous critical acclaim. I think they cancelled it before word even got out about how good it was. It's a little dated, but we enjoyed it a lot.

I'm halfway through the second season of Oz and really like it so far. Be warned, though. It was on HBO, so no network censors. It can be really brutal, but the performances are top notch.

Edit: no is a small word, but frequently an important one.

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Stephan
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I caught an episode of Corner Gas on a weekend trip to Niagara Falls and Toronto. 30 minutes very well spent. How long has it been on?

Also, if it was cancelled by Fox before a full season aired, its probably well worth getting.

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SC Carver
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Smallville,

There are some throw away episodes, but thats the great thing about DVD's you can skip the bad ones.

Season 3 is when it starts to get interesting. you can skip about half of the episodes of the first half of season 4 The second half of 4 is really good. Just follow the stones storyline.

They are in season 5, so far it has been good

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solo
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Corner Gas is currently running its 3rd season. The first two seasons are out on DVD.
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maui babe
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Wow! I never realized there was so many series available on DVD... Thanks for all your recommendations! Keep 'em coming.
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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by solo:
Corner Gas is currently running its 3rd season. The first two seasons are out on DVD.

Sigh, don't see it on Netflix. But it is on Amazon...
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Lalo
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quote:
Originally posted by Olivet:
24 is a lot more fun on dvd. You get to giggle at the technical booboos and you don't have to wait a week to see how the episode-ending cliffhanger works out.

I would also suggest Profit, the first in a long line of superior shows cancelled prematurely by Fox. Two episodes aired in ... what? 1995? to tremendous critical acclaim. I think they cancelled it before word even got out about how good it was. It's a little dated, but we enjoyed it a lot.

I'm halfway through the second season of Oz and really like it so far. Be warned, though. It was on HBO, so no network censors. It can be really brutal, but the performances are top notch.

Edit: no is a small word, but frequently an important one.

Heh. I can't wait through the credits between episodes when I watch 24 on DVD, I'd have a panic attack between weeks. For the sake of my sanity, I don't watch it in any other format.

Also, I second Oz. I own the first three seasons, and they're among the best series I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. HBO's amazing.

I'll add the first Airplane! and the first The Naked Gun movies to the queue. The best comedies ever made, and the leading cause for my longstanding crush on Leslie Nielson.

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Valentine014
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Pretty much any of the HBO ones. Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Carnivale (I loved the first season but I was really disappointed in how season 2 ended).
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Olivet
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:


Also, if it was cancelled by Fox before a full season aired, its probably well worth getting.

Someone else told me this recently, and I think it must be true. She agreed to Netflix Profit if I would Netflix Action.

I'll let you know how that works out (it isn't available until after 2/21).

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Noemon
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Maui babe, Goody, I've sent Netflix Friend invitations to both of you, using the email addresses listed in your Hatrack profiles.

Anybody else interested?

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Olivet
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oliviaf AT bellsouth DOT net
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KarlEd
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me, at the addy in my profile. I got a ton of netflix buddies but always looking for more.
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Noemon
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Sent and sent.
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Primal Curve
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The City of Lost Children
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Synesthesia
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i'm in netflix too...

chromesthesia
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Anti-Chris
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Freaks and Geeks, totally second that nomination.

Jamie and myself both fell in love with Dead Like Me, but thats because our humor is relatively the same as the guy who created it- which is why we also loved Wonderfalls (unique and same humor). I recommend watching maybe 3 more episodes. If it doesn't click by then, it won't any later.

If you like Sci-Fi and Military shows, Battlestar Galactica will not disappoint and in my opinion, you need to watch it.

I don't know if its on DVD, yet, but HBO's series called 'Rome'. Great show, but a lot of sex.

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maui babe
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Actually, if I was watching by myself, I'd be more willing to give Dead Like Me a chance. I really like Mandy Patinkin, and it looks like it has promise. But I'm watching it with my girls and it was too dark for them, and not all that funny IMO.
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SteveRogers
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Ren & Stimpy
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Silkie
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Below is an article about Netflix 'throttling' from MSNBC. Read the fine print in their "terms of use" - they were sued over that practice and had to revise their terms of use to acknowledge that frequent users are limited by their computer system to 13 units a month.

I use www.Blockbuster.com because they don't 'throttle' their accounts. My 'turnaround' is usually two or three days.
quote:
Frequent Netflix renters sent to back of the line
The more you use (the service), the slower the service, some customers realize

Updated: 3:37 p.m. ET Feb. 10, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO - Manuel Villanueva realizes he has been getting a pretty good deal since he signed up for Netflix Inc.'s online DVD rental service 2 1/2 years ago, but he still feels shortchanged.

That's because the $17.99 monthly fee that he pays to rent up to three DVDs at a time would amount to an even bigger bargain if the company didn't penalize him for returning his movies so quickly.

Netflix typically sends about 13 movies per month to Villanueva's home in Warren, Mich. down from the 18 to 22 DVDs he once received before the company's automated system identified him as a heavy renter and began delaying his shipments to protect its profits.

The same Netflix formula also shoves Villanueva to the back of the line for the most-wanted DVDs, so the service can send those popular flicks to new subscribers and infrequent renters.
The little-known practice, called "throttling" by critics, means Netflix customers who pay the same price for the same service are often treated differently, depending on their rental patterns.

"I wouldn't have a problem with it if they didn't advertise `unlimited rentals,'" Villanueva said. "The fact is that they go out of their way to make sure you don't go over whatever secret limit they have set up for your account."

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix didn't publicly acknowledge it differentiates among customers until revising its "terms of use" in January 2005 four months after a San Francisco subscriber filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company had deceptively promised one-day delivery of most DVDs.

Entire Article


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Ryuko
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House is really really great. Watch that.
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Goody Scrivener
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I remember seeing their reference to the throttling practices in their TOS when I read the proposed new TOS as a result of the Chavez lawsuit. I thought I'd seen it before but I'm not absolutely positive. And I'm too lazy to dig through the old posts here to see when I first commented on it here, although I know that I did. And frankly, with my rental experiences, I'm not entirely against the practice.

I'm averaging 12 movies a month according to my 3-month history on the site. I know this is down for me, but I also know that it's my doing, not theirs. The last couple months my boss and I have been dealing with a very involved international corporate transaction and I haven't been watching as many movies because of how wound up I've been. So it's taking me longer to get them returned. And I'm still getting 2-3 day turnaround consistently.

I don't use Netflix for watching the hot new releases. I do put them in my queue so I can keep an eye on their release dates, and then if I really can't wait, I'll go to the local family owned place up the street, or I'll go to my mother's because she *must* buy anything that looks remotely interesting the day it comes out. (we won't even go into how many of those are still shrinkwrapped on the sidetable...)

My understanding is that they are giving preferential treatment to lower volume customers on the movies that have the highest demand. So if a hundred people have Rent as their #1 movie, but they only have 20 copies, they're going to start with the customers who are going through fewer titles a month. In the meantime, those top viewers are going to get their #2 movie, and by the time their name comes up on the list for Rent, they'll probably have gotten through a half dozen titles because they're cycling so quickly. For me, a half dozen titles is a week and a half to two weeks. If I'm THAT antsy to watch Rent, I have alternatives. I'm not locked in to waiting for my turn to come up on Netflix.

And yes, I know that not every customer has that option.

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tmservo
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I'm also on netflix.

tmservo
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Big recommend as stated above for "Carnivale" VERY dark, but so well told, acted and arranged, I was impressed from the get go.

While Arrested Development is over, and I often found myself biting my tongue, it was some of the best over-the-top farce TV ever to air; it was non-stop humor, whether it be on the surface or just below. Great writing.

Hmm. I don't know, my list is pretty "long" and out there [Wink] I've been netflixing for about 3 years now, since they got going.. wouldn't give it up. [Smile]

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Silkie
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I think both Netflix and Blockbuster serve a purpose, and are good deals - it is just good to read the fine print and know what you're getting.

We use the two monthly free rental coupons that we get through Blockbuster to rent any 'gotta get it now' films.

The Sopranos is a good series to watch this way - my hubby had always wanted to see it and did't have the premium station it showed on (HBO?) We're on season 4 of it right now. Next he's planning to watch Deadwood. Monk is ongoing, new episodes airing this season, and it is great.

I like it for all the PBS specials and Music videos.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Maui Babe,

I think you should get three or four people to commend a recommendation before you put it in your list. There are real stinkers, imo, listed above.

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maui babe
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Well, I'll certainly use my judgement and read the reviews and synopses of the shows before I rent them. But if I rent one that I don't particularly like, I'm only out an hour or so...

The main reason I started this thread was to hear about what's out there. Although I enjoy certain types of television shows, I detest network television in general, and haven't voluntarily watched any since the early 80's. It really wasn't worth it to me, but watching shows on DVD is. Wading through the extensive lists on Netflix is pretty intimidating, so I came here, as many of us do.

Again, Mahalo Plenty for all of your recommendations.

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Palliard
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I don't generally like a lot of TV series, but I will echo recommendations for Battlestar Galactica.

On the science-fictiony vein, I would also recommend Cowboy Bebop.

I'm also a big fan of Michael Palin's travelogues like Pole to Pole, but I don't see those on Netflix.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Stargate SG1
Fluffy, popcorn TV SF. There isn't a whole lot to it, but it's entertaining. Teshi will now kill me.

[Razz] *saves Teshi the trouble*

My recommendations:

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Seasons 1 & 2 are currently available. 3 & 4 won't be for a while yet, I'd imagine.

Quantum Leap
Seasons 1, 2, & 3 are available.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Remington Steele

The first two seasons are out on DVD. The pacing and dialogue are both charming. I'm partial to the first season for two reasons, in the first season, Steele is a very good thief and a bumbler as a detective. The problem isn't so much the cases as much as how Steele is wrong as often as he is right, and how he always maintained his aplomb. The second reason why the first season is delightful is Murphy Michaels is a well-played sympathetic character, creating a nice love triangle.

The later seasons, as Remington becomes more proficient, the show becomes less interesting for me to watch. The physicality of the show is also impressive, there isn't much fighting, but there is a lot of running away from bad guys. Laura Holt's character is always running, climbing, and jumping, and it's nice to see people hustle.

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rivka
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Good thought, Irami! In fact, I think S1 of Steele is on my queue . . . after S3 of Moonlighting, S2 of Quantum Leap, S1 of Doogie Howser, and S3 of MacGyver. Oh, and S1 of Northern Exposure.

There are a bunch of movies interspersed in there too.

At my current rate of Netflixing, my queue should last a year . . . unless I add something else! [Big Grin]

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pH
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What does Netflix use to mail out dvds? USPS, UPS, Fedex, DHL? Can you pick one?

-pH

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rivka
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USPS. From local warehouses. Mine usually show up one (occasionally two) day after they're mailed.
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pH
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Not here, they probably won't. [Frown] USPS is useless in this city.

As for tv shows, I'm watching a lot of Law and Order...classic and SVU. And I just got a season of the 4400, which I haven't watched yet, but it looks really interesting.

Edit: When I say "useless," I have yet to receive so much as a utility bill via USPS, and I've been here almost two months. However, packages and other things sent FedEx or UPS get here just fine.

-pH

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KarlEd
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One cautionary note about Netflix, and I hestitate to write this because I (still) really like the service: If you're a high volume renter, you will notice (or may have already noticed) a slow-down in your service. People who rent (I believe it is) 20 disks or more per month are considered high volume renters and periodically have a day added to their rental turn around time. Also popular titles are given preferentially to new customers and low volume renters. My co-worker rents as much as I do, and he had Madagascar on the top of his queue for a month while 2 other people in my office (a low volume renter and a new customer) got the movie quickly despite adding it to their queue well after my high-volume friend.

Netflix has admitted to this practice. They justify it because it costs them 78 cents round trip to mail a movie so high volume renters quickly eat up any profit margin. They are in a lawsuit now over what the term "unlimited rentals" really means and whether this tiered-preference system violates the advertised "unlimited rentals".

As I said, though, this hasn't been a major inconvenience to me. I really like the service and will keep it even if the price goes up a little. (Not that they've said it will, but I imagine it will if they lose the lawsuit.) I don't know if Blockbuster is having similar issues or not. They're still new enough players in the mail-rental market that they are probably OK with operating at a loss to build customer base.

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rivka
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Honestly, I'm just astounded that anyone has time to watch 20+ DVDs in a single month!
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Synesthesia
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Does anyone here like Oz as much as I do?
That first season was just INTENSE.

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Goody Scrivener
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Rivka, one a night after the little ones go to bed... watch it once, send it back, get the replacement in two days. [Smile] I'm not quite at 20 a month currently (I think last month was 15, the month before was 12 because I was sitting on a few), but I have been.
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