Netflix is my new entertainment fix

Netflix

Late on Monday night I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a Netflix Canada account, which is free for the first month, then $7.99/month after that. I had been contemplating joining since it came to Canada in September, but I had never bothered to take the plunge.

Content

I have to say, I’m impressed. Since signing up I’ve five movies (four documentaries, one comedy standup) and there is so much more content that I haven’t even sifted through yet. I’ve seen some criticism that there isn’t enough content, but considering the many licensing issues I’m sure they have to deal with, Netflix isn’t doing too bad.

Yesterday’s post by Ryan Lawler over at GigaOM shows just how popular the online movie streaming site has become; clearly people like it:

According to Sandvine’s latest Global Internet Phenomena Report, the subscription streaming service now accounts for 29.7 percent of all peak downstream traffic in North America. That’s up 44 percent from the previous figure released in Sandvine’s Fall Study just six months ago.

Also according to the article, since the September launch in Canada, the number of subscribers has already surpassed 800,000, which is a good chunk of the country’s Internet user base.

Usability

I’m impressed with the usability and reliability of the site, so far. Watching a movie is as simple as scrolling through the genre you’re interested in, or performing a simple search, and you’re there. All you have to do after that is click play. The quality is dependent on what your watching – though that can be attributed to the movie itself, not the service.

Another bonus is the fact that I can watch movies/shows on my iPhone from anywhere. This option is great for those on the go, or if you find yourself in a not-so-entertaining event; just open up the app and you’re good to go.

Conclusion

I know this post seems like it was paid for, but in my limited time with the service I honestly don’t have much to complain about. The one downside for me, is that I don’t have a Sony PS3, Microsoft Xbox 360 or Nintento Wii, so I’m stuck watching shows on my laptop/iPhone instead of my TV.

Have you signed up for the service? If so, what do you like/dislike about it? If not, how come?

LOST is over: Let the withdrawals begin

Sunday May 23, 2010 marked the end of LOST, a show I’d spent about six years watching week to week. Sometimes I’d watch it more than once if others hadn’t seen it. I was never into the massive online crowd that liked to speculate what was happening, or how it related to this religion or that philosopher’s teachings in some obscure way. I liked to watch the show and experience it for what it was; great entertainment. Sure I voiced my own speculation from time to time, but it wasn’t necessarily based on anything; just an avid enjoyment for the show. Six years of this meant I was quite invested in the characters and I wanted to see an ending that left me satisfied and ready to move on.

Last night’s finale was not perfect by any means, but with a show as complex as LOST, it’s hard, if not impossible to answer every single question. (Some would argue it’s because the creators didn’t have any idea what they were doing the first couple seasons and have spent the last two or three trying to fit them together as best they could.) SPOILER ALERT: It has long been speculated that the the island was some kind of limbo between heaven and hell. While that was always too basic of an answer, it appears to have been the case.

I obviously haven’t had too much time to speculate, but from what I saw on the finale, it looked as if everything that happened on the island was a battle for souls; to make people believe in themselves and see worth, before moving on. As Christian Sheppard explained to Jack, both timelines actually happened to the characters, but different outcomes came of it.

The characters in the “Flash sideways” were flawed, though for many not in the same way as those on the “regular” timeline. Desmond, with the push by Charlie, went around, a la Touched by an Angel and helped people on the manifest (though for some reason, not everyone). They had to have their demons exorcised, and finding their “constant” (if that term can be used/makes sense) helped them to see the light, as it were.

The characters on the island had a more literal fight for escape by dealing with the island and its own issues. That would make sense in a way because many characters have died over time, and some have stayed (ie. Hurley, Ben and Michael) to help those that come through the next time around; because as we’ve learned, there’s always a next time.

Of all the characters, I’ll probably miss Michael Emerson’s evil, conniving, yet flawed and misunderstood Benjamin Linus who joined the cast in the second season. Originally signed on to appear in 3 episodes, Emerson’s Ben went on to become one of the most important characters in the show. His performance was so well done, he received Emmy nominations in 07 & 08, eventually winning one in 2009. The final episode didn’t fully close Ben’s story, as he is left outside the church in the side flash (possibly to go live with Rousseau & Alex, happily ever after), and he becomes yet another 2nd in command to the island’s leader on the “regular” timeline, continuing his subservient nature. In the end I’m left wanting to know more about him, but happy that he didn’t end a “bad guy”.

LOST is definitely the network show of the decade in my mind. Its finale didn’t do as strong as say M*A*S*H, Seinfeld or Friends, but considering the investment it took to watch (you really needed to watch it every week to get it), 13.5 Million viewers was still a good turn out in my mind.

Flawed or not, I’ll miss the heart in my throat excitement that happened every week. Like my books, I appreciate strong character-driven stories, and these had quite a few well-developed characters (thanks to the flashbacks) that I rooted for or against (many times flip-flopping) from week to week. Now it’s over for good.

Which character or storyline will you miss the most? Was there a flaw in particular that left you upset with the finale or show in general?

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