Posts Tagged ‘netflix


Nerd Multiverse: Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House

So, we’re back. Only took a couple years.

I’m firing this back up, and it’s going to be a place covering a wide variety of things, from the kids, to society to, yes, nerd stuff.

We’re starting off with that last thing because I happen to have ready-made content and 1) I’m lazy and 2) excited about it.

So here is my podcast review of the Netflix series “The Haunting of Hill House.”

You can download it here because I can never get the Podbean player to embed in an article on WordPress.

Feel free to subscribe via Itunes, Podbean or Stitcher.

The many “look there are ghosts you don’t see” articles I have not seen mention which really got me geeked out. It’s a small thing but really hearkened back to the 1963 movie “The Haunting” which was also based on Shirley Jackson’s excellent novel, “The Haunting of Hill House.”

Get ready for creepy.

So Hugh and Olivia are trying to find young Nell, who has disappeared in Hill House during a storm (this takes part in a flashback in back in the 1990s).

They search upstairs and, at one point, Hugh decides he’s going to look elsewhere.

Statue 1

I’ve lightened this so the whole thing is clearer.

Also, sidenote, Hugh says “I’ll be right back” and for goodness’ sake you never say that in a haunted house.

As you can see, the statue over Hugh’s right shoulder (camera left) is looking intently at its a bowl in its hand. What is in the bowl? What is so interesting? We can only speculate, but my guess, mold.

Olivia, the flighty, somewhat possessed mom, walks into a room near the statue, checks out some broken glass and then heads back out into the hallway to keep looking for her daughter.

But wait, something has changed.

Statue 2

Whatever was captivating about that bowl isn’t as interesting as Olivia.

One can only imagine the statue is wondering where Olivia bought that dress.

Olivia heads down the hallway where things happen but Nell still doesn’t show up, and then she walks back towards the statues.

Statue 3


It’s a small, subtle thing and yes, I spoiled it, but I wanted to use it as a great example of how well and thoughtfully made this show is – including set design.

And consider that even though I was looking for crap like this, because it is something I loved in the original movie (The Haunting 1963 not the crapfest from 1999), I still missed a ton of stuff.

Watch the show, it’s fantastic.

And yeah-


Orange May be the New Black but Larry is Just an Old Jackass

“Waahhhh my fiance is in prison it’s so tough on meeeeeeeee… can you hand me another scotch and the TV remote?” image via

So I finally finished the first season of Orange is the New Black, one of Netflix’s batch of original series (all of which have been interesting and well executed efforts).

For those who don’t know, Orange is the New Black is the story of Piper Chapman, a woman serving a prison term for carrying drug money for her former girlfriend, Alex, when she was younger. Life had moved on for Piper, known among the prisoners as Chapman, but her past eventually caught up with her.

I know it’s been pretty hit or miss for people so far but overall I liked it quite a bit.

What I haven’t enjoyed has been the character of Larry, Chapman’s fiance.

Oh, by the way:

seriously kids don't open that door if you don't want them

seriously kids don’t open that door if you don’t want them

I suppose in order to contrast the insanity and abnormality of prison, the creators of Orange is the New Black decided they needed to balance it out with the normal world outside the barbed wired fences and prison walls.

Hence Larry, the fiance.

Any scene with Larry’s character is one, long, whine-filled segment of annoying filler.

Mind you, it’s not the fault of Jason Biggs, the actor. I don’t mind him, though he plays virtually the same character in everything I’ve ever seen him in.

No, the problem is that the writers have done a bad job of making him sympathetic. It’s really hard to feel anything but loathing for a guy complaining that he’s oh so lonely because he wife is in prison when he complains to his yuppie friends in his comfy pub while his wife is having her sleeping cube tossed by douche-bag the guard.

It’s like “hey I’m sure it’s really rough for you having to masturbate instead of having sex with your girlfriend but you know she’s in prison right?”

Followed by “feel free to finish sipping your Blue Moon beer and watching the end of the Yankee game before you answer, I’m sure your fiance will wait while she gets searched for contraband.”

The problem is that we only see Larry – or Chapman’s mom, her brother, her fiend Polly, Larry’s parents – occasionally and briefly. It’s not his show. It’s Chapman’s and as she’s in prison, well, that’s where the show is.

Unfortunately, since we’re supposed to see some of the life she is missing, we get stuck with Larry. Just not enough to show him in a sympathetic light.  In fact, just about every person in Chapman’s pre-prison life is a complete ass.

Even when Larry finally gets his “big break” as a writer, he (and it) comes off as self-serving. Larry writes an article about the effect of her incarceration on them as a couple, but while Chapman seems fine with it he clearly goes into details she’s not OK with. He then follows it up with an appearance on radio where he tells even more stories out of turn, which makes her life a nightmare.

At that point he’s found out that Chapman is sleeping with Alex Vause – the woman who got her into this mess in the first place. Instead of calling Piper on it or talking to her, he dodges her calls (a pretty petty thing to do to an inmate) and then heads onto the radio to blab about things he shouldn’t.

Even he says it’s childish and vindictive.

There’s an interesting angle here – that we often spend parts of our relationships pissed off at how our partner’s issues impact us, not them – but if that is subtext here, it’s so deep that we can’t see it.

So for Season 2 of this show, I truly hope that if Larry returns (and one assumes he will) they find a way to make him an actual character and not just a whiny douche.

Either that or have Pennsatucky survive and shank him in the Visitor’s Room.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?


Cutting the Cable Cord

So when we moved coasts (West to East), we decided to cut the cable cord.

Actually my wife wanted to, while I was more reluctant.

Four years later, I don’t miss it much and as it stands she was once again right.

Being in a beach house with cable reminds me jut how little I miss it. Seriously, how much crap I don’t want to watch can you produce?

Lots, apparently.

We do Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime streaming and while we miss some shows live (especially ones we get into late), those are few and far between. Not to mention the fact that we get to watch when we want to watch.

With DVRs, streaming and other techie goodness, that’s the way of the future and frankly, Hollywood and the Cable Companies are just spitting in the wind as they try to prevent it.

The only issue has ever been sports, but there are a ton of ways around that, not the least of which is heading to a bar.

The added benefit of cutting the cord has been that the kids are less inundated with ads, resulting in less bouts of MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMENEEDNEEDNEED that seem to happen when they have full TV for a week.

I don’t think they miss it. Hell, Alpha Tween started the vacation week pushing to go to the beach and specifically said he didn’t want to watch TV.

Not to say he hasn’t or won’t just that he wanted to do not watch.

Sometimes they get caught up in screen time with the Ipad or streaming anyway, but we’ve reduced it a bunch and will continue to especially during school.

I used to think we might be rare freaks for this, but turns out we aren’t.

This past weekend we went into Queens for a friend’s 4oth birthday and I met multiple people who had done the same. It was really surprising.

As a country, we appear to be pretty attached to our televisions, but that seems to be changing. People are cutting back on their cable and spending less and less money on it.

Now, it doesn’t mean we aren’t over-wired because, well here we are on a blog while I am on vacation and I’ve been on Twitter all day as well. We’re still pretty attached to our “stuff”.

However, we can and do control how and when we (and our kids) watch. The trick is to fill that non-screen time with activity – be it hunting for turtles like we did this afternoon or reading (our kids, thank goodness, are avid readers) or a million other things.

Do rather than watch. Not all the time but more often.

Computer games and screen time is fine. Sometimes, though, we let it take over our lives, especially television.

I’m thankful for Netflix, Hulu and the rest. For streaming sports when NBC gets around to airing the Olympics. For all the different ways we can get content delivered to us when we want it versus when “they” say we can have it.

For the chance to take control of our lives and choose to do other things.

I’m actually pretty happy we cut the cord, so much so that 99% of the time I don’t even think about it.

It’s nice to know that, apparently, we’re not alone.

I’d be curious how many of you don’t have cable or, even if you do,how much more you watch online than live. Let me know in the comments.

I’m off to the beach for a bit.

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What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages