Would You Buy the AMAZON PRIME stand alone video service?

  
According to Variety Amazon will offer its video it’s video service as a separate offering for a $9 monthly fee. This is for licensed tv shows and AMAZON PRIME ORIGINALS only and doesn’t include the free shipping for products. 

Do you see any value in buying the video service separately? Would you buy it or does the free shipping and access to video content under the existing AMAZON PRIME for $99 make more sense?  

Let me know what you think in the comments. Here’s the link to the Variety article. 

The 5 Best Gifts TV Gave Us in 2015!

With over 400 scripted series on television and countless reality shows, there really is something for every spread across broadcast, cable and digital platforms.  But quantity does not equal quality.  With Christmas right around the corner, here’s my list of the 5 Best Gifts TV (including digital platforms) gave us in 2015 (in no particular order).

  1. Live Scripted Performances on NBC – In the pioneering days of television almost every program was performed live, but in recent history live performances have mostly been relegated to awards shows, reality show finales, the Super Bowl and 2 soaps during sweeps months (“One Life to Live” & “General Hospital”) and sitcoms like “Roc,””Will & Grace” and more recently “Hot in Cleveland.”  But in the spring of 2015, NBC aired a one hour live edition of its struggling sitcom “Undateable.” With musical performances from British pop star Ed Sheeran and guest stars including “Scandal’s” Scott Foley, the show served up it’s funniest episode up to that point prompting NBC to order of third season of all live episodes.  “Undateable” has become the most creative, daring and by far funniest sitcom on broadcast television this season.  While the live production isn’t without it’s technical problems, which have vastly improved, it all still works.  Watching the cast make each other laugh and use timely, real world references is just plain fun, something most returning sitcoms are missing this season. During the past few years NBC has also been staging live productions of classic musicals during the holiday season.  While “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan” fell flat, this year the the network wisely chose to update “The Wiz” featuring new-comer Shanice Williams as Dorothy and an all-star cast (Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, and Ne-Yo). “The Wiz” was a success on all fronts. It was expertly directed, choreographed and performed. The success of “The Wiz”should signal a change in the way NBC approaches its live musical productions. With FOX airing a live production of “Grease” this winter I’m hoping other networks look for creative ways to deliver more live scripted programs, especially on the one hour drama front. I would love to see a live episode of “The Good Wife” set in a courtroom during a big trial.
  2. “Empire” (FOX) – “Empire” premiered it’s first season in January of 2015 and became an instant hit and pop culture sensation.  Oscar nominee Taranji P. Henson gave the break-out performance of the year as mother and ex-con Cookie Lyon, but it should be noted that Terrence Howard’s underrated and under appreciated performance and patriarch Lucious Lyon is giving other classic primetime soap villains JR Ewing (“Dallas”), Alexis Carrington, (“Dynasty”) and Angela Channing (“Falcon Crest”).While season 2, which premiered this fall hasn’t benefited from the strong narrative of season 1, and has had some story missteps (Jamal sleeping with a woman, sigh…) “Empire” overall delivers soapy goodness.
  3. “Looking” – Season 2 (HBO) – In 2015 HBO delivered the second season of “Looking,” the half hour dreamed about a group of gay men in San Francisco facing challenges in romance, family and career. The show delivered a sexy and nuanced love triangle between Patrick, Kevin and Richie which I’m sure the writers planned on diving deeper into in season 3 if there was one.  Unfortunately HBO decided to cancel the quiet series that didn’t make as much noise as the creatively challenged “Girls.”  The second season of the show was also notable for introducing HIV positive character Eddie and being the first tv show to have a characters talk about PreP (Truvada) a drug the FDA has approved for use to help prevent HIV infections in conjunction with other safer sex practices such as condom use. HBO ordered a two-hour wrap up movie of “Looking” to air in early 2016, but it still stings that a thoughtful show about gay men as leads had such a short life.  Luckily, for fans of the show and for those yet to discover it, episodes of “Looking” will live on HBO GO (HBO’s digital platform) forever. And if we’re really lucky, the “Looking” movie will do well enough for HBO to revisit the characters with more tv movies.
  4. Mature Audiences Matter on Digital Platforms – With the broadcast networks still chasing the 18-49 demo, digital platforms such as NETFLIX and AMAZON PRIME proved that stories featuring older characters still matter and can draw an audience. Shows like “Bloodline” (NETFLIX), “Grace and Frankie” (NETFLIX), “Transparent” (AMAZON PRIME) proved that older, mature characters are still compelling and can carry story.  With few exceptions, broadcast television has abandoned storytelling for older characters unless they’re male leads on procedural dramas or supporting characters.  Digital platforms have embraced these characters and delivered high quality series centered around them. A few weeks ago I was watching “The Golden Girls” and realized that today that show wouldn’t exist on broadcast television and if it did, it would be a watered down version not nearly as relatable or timeless as what we got in the 1980s.  Digital platforms have created a space for the diversity in story-telling that doesn’t exist on broadcast television.
  5. Regina King wins an Emmy! (“American Crime, ABC) – Regina King is that rare actress who started out as a child star and was able to stay out of trouble as she transitioned into an amazing adult actress.  I always thought her performance on the NBC/TNT drama “Southland” should have been earned her multiple Emmy nominations but it was her performance in the limited series “American Crime” that earned her an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.  With every performance, whether on tv or the big screen, comedic or dramatic, King gives strong and nuanced performances.  Based on the reviews and buzz she could find herself back in the race for her performance in HBO’s “The Leftovers.”  King returns for the next edition of “American Crime” in 2016.

NETFLIX estrenó su primera serie en Español CLUB DE CUERVOS

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NETFLIX estrenó su primera serie en Español CLUB DE CUERVOS ambientada en el mundo de futbol profesional (conocido como soccer en América) y que tenía que probar la demostración. Ya que mi español no es tan buena como lo fue una vez, sólo planifiqué en ver el primer episodio para ver cuánto podía entender. También supuse que debido a la configuración de futbol habría un montón de escenas con partidos de fútbol, para lo cual sería mucho diálogo. NETFLIX sabiamente incluye subtítulos así que terminé acercar los 13 episodios de una temporada más de un día y medio. El catalizador de la historia es la muerte del patriarca Iglesias, dejando a hermanos Isabel (Mariana Treviño) y Chava ( Luis Gerardo Méndez) como los herederos de su imperio. Situado en un pequeño pueblo mexicano, la familia Iglesias básicamente construido y se convirtió en responsable de la mayor parte de la industria de la ciudad debido a la Liga de futbol.

Durante la lectura de su padre le revela que su estado es a dividirse por igual entre todos sus hijos, que le da a su esposa mucho más joven Mary Luz la oportunidad para anunciar que está embarazada, lo que significa a Isabel y Chava tendrá que compartir su herencia con el nuevo heredero. Isabel está convencida de que el bebé es producto de un asunto e insiste Mary Luz de acuerdo a una prueba de ADN. Chava tiene más de un punto blando para Mary Luz, que sin duda esconde algunos secretos.

La primera mitad de la serie se centra sobre todo en el conflicto entre Chava y Isabel. Chava ha sido nombrado Presidente del equipo, sobre Isabel a pesar de que ella tiene un MBA y ha trabajado todos los días al lado de su padre hasta su muerte. Chava es carismático pero carece de cualquier conocimiento real sobre el funcionamiento del equipo, que propulsa la mayor parte de la historia. CLUB DE CUERVOS es honesto en su narración en lo que respecta a las actitudes machistas hacia las mujeres en el mundo corporativo. En su vida personal, vemos a Isabel como un igual en su matrimonio con pronto a jubilarse portero Rafael (Antonio de la Vega). Como se intensifica la batalla entre Isabel y Chava, los dos demuestran que están dispuestos a ir a cualquier longitud para obtener el poder que tanto desean y crean que se merecen.

Conforme avanza la temporada, empezamos a conocer un poco más algunos de los jugadores y sus vidas. La introducción de un jugador de España causa interrupción a los vestuarios, el equipo tiene que ajustar a su estatus de superestrella. Más tarde en la temporada, la homofobia en los deportes y las comunidades latinas se explora cuando uno de los jugadores es marginado, aunque él se describe con énfasis como pansexuales. Esta historia da a espectadores una oportunidad para ganar la penetración real en el verdadero carácter de Isabel y Chava y las líneas serán y no cruzar para el negocio.

La historia del origen para CLUB DE CUERVOS no es algo que no hemos visto antes, pero se dice de una manera convincente y a veces divertida. Si bien hay momentos de sexo, yo estaba esperando el espectáculo para ser más atractivo, que realmente no es. El show se mueve en algunos lugares muy oscuros como avanza la temporada que me tiró adentro y me quiere seguir viendo. Sorprendentemente no hay ninguna historia de amor de grandes en el espectáculo. Estoy un poco ambivalente acerca de esa decisión. Por un lado creo que el espectáculo presentado muchas relaciones complicadas que una historia de amor más grande podría haber sido una distracción. Pero, por otro lado, hay un par de personajes que podría haber usado una historia de amor que hubiese funcionado como parte de la historia más grande del paraguas.

CLUB DE CUERVOS no es técnicamente una telenovela pero al final de la temporada, dan la mayoría de los caracteres suficiente cierre en caso de que no hay una segunda temporada. Sin embargo, la historia es lo suficientemente amplia como para que hay más historias que se les diga con la familia de Iglesias, la Liga de futbol y los jugadores. Para su primer esfuerzo embarcarse en la serie en español, NETFLIX definitivamente consigue una “A” su esfuerzo expandir su contenido más allá de la programación de lengua inglesa.

Compruebe hacia fuera el trailer CLUB DE CUERVOS a continuación:

NETFLIX Debuts Spanish Language Series “CLUB DE CUERVOS”

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NETFLIX debuted its first Spanish language series CLUB DE CUERVOS set in the world of professional futbol (know as soccer in America) I had to give the show a try.  Since my Spanish is not as good as it once was, I only planned on watching the first episode to see how much I could understand.  I also assumed that because of the futbol setting there would be a lot of scenes featuring soccer games, for which there wouldn’t be much dialogue. NETFLIX wisely includes subtitles so I ended up binging the 13 episodes of season one over a day and a half.  The catalyst of the story is the death of the Iglesias patriarch, leaving siblings Isabel (Mariana Treviño) and Chava ( Luis Gerardo Méndezas the heirs to his empire. Set in a small Mexican town, the Iglesias family basically built and became responsible for most of the town’s industry because of the futbol league.

During the reading of their father’s will, it’s revealed that his estate is to be equally divided among all his children, which gives his much younger wife Mary Luz the chance to announce that she’s pregnant, meaning Isabel and Chava will have to share their inheritance with the newest heir.  Isabel is convinced that the baby is a product of an affair and insists Mary Luz agree to a DNA test. Chava has more of a soft spot for Mary Luz, who is definitely hiding some secrets.

The first half of the series mostly focuses on the conflict between Chava and Isabel.  Chava has been named President of the team, over Isabel even though she has an MBA and spent everyday working beside her father up until his death.  Chava is charismatic but lacks any real knowledge about running the team, which propels most of the story.  CLUB DE CUERVOS is honest in its storytelling in regards to the chauvinistic attitudes towards women in the corporate world. In her personal life, we see Isabel as an equal in her marriage with soon to retire goal keeper Rafael (Antonio de la Vega).  As the battle between Isabel and Chava escalates, the two show that they’re willing to go to any lengths to gain the power they both desire and believe they deserve.

As the season progresses, we start to gain a little more insight into some of the players and their lives.  The introduction of a player from Spain causes disruption to the locker room as the team has to adjust to his superstar status. Later in the season, homophobia in the sports and Latin communities is explored when one of the players is outed, although he emphatically describes himself as pansexual.  This story gives viewers an opportunity to gain real insight into the true character of Isabel and Chava and the lines they will and won’t cross for business.

The origin story for CLUB DE CUERVOS isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but it’s told in a compelling and sometimes fun way. While there are moments of sex, I was expecting the show to be sexier, which it really isn’t. The show moves into some very dark places as the season progresses which pulled me in and made me want to keep watching.  Surprisingly there’s no big love story in the show. I’m a bit ambivalent about that decision. On one hand I think the show presented so many complicated relationships that a bigger love story might have been a distraction. But, on the other hand, there are a couple of characters that could have used a love story that would have worked as part of the larger umbrella story.

CLUB DE CUERVOS isn’t technically a telenovela but by the end of the season, it does give most of the characters enough closure in case there isn’t a season two.  However, the story is broad enough that there are more stories to be told with the Iglesias family, the futbol league and the players. For its first effort embarking into the Spanish language series, NETFLIX definitely gets an “A” for its effort to expand its content beyond English language programming.

Check out the trailer for CLUB DE CUERVOS below: