While We Wait: Shows That You Can Binge Watch on Netflix PH While Waiting For Voltron
Like many of the Netflix subscribers here in the Philippines, I was one of those who were foaming in the mouth at the announcement of Voltron: Legendary Defender as a Netflix exclusive. Then June 10 rolled in. Immediately, I fired up Netflix and went straight to “Recently Added”. It was surprising to find a whole bunch of nothing. Then I moved on to search; still nothing. Frustrated, I went to the Netflix Facebook page and sent a private message; inquiring about the availability of Voltron in the PH. By this time, I was already thinking that it may have something to do with their licensing; that perhaps it was still only available in certain territories.
My suspicion was confirmed after a day, when Netflix replied. Apparently, Voltron was still part of their old licensing agreement with Dreamworks (before their service went global), which only allows them to broadcast Dreamworks-produced shows in certain territories. There is some good news though, Netflix also said that they have since “expanded this deal which will allow all current original series produced by DreamWorks to become available to Netflix members everywhere, but they will only be available on Netflix after it airs on broadcast locally, at a later date.” When that “later date” will be, we can only guess. We’ll just have to wait for their announcement when the Lions will land on our side of the universe.
As one of those who have “gone legit”, the only option is to wait. So I made a list of shows available on Netflix PH that can distract us until Voltron is released in the local platform.
This widely popular show recently aired its final episode on March 5, 2016, after 13 years of tackling urban myths, adages, and many other legends that they can test (or blow up). Like most of the viewing public, it’s one of those shows that you catch on Discovery while channel-surfing through ye olde Cable TV in the early early 2000s. I, personally, only caught a few episodes but was widely entertained by series hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage’s amazing chemistry, along with their equally fun companions, Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara. So it’s really nice to be able to catch up on some of the myths that I didn’t get to see before. Only seasons one to five are available as of yet, but there’s enough science, zany antics, and explosions in those seasons to keep you entertained for weeks.
Top Gear UK
Poignant (and borderline offensive) British humor, silly challenges, constant bickering among the hosts, and, yes, cars; trust me, they’re there. While Top Gear is worldwide Car Magazine/Show franchise that has local versions almost everywhere in the world, fans of the show still prefer the original UK version because of the amazing wit of presentors Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. The series doesn’t go all the way back to the beginning, though; only series 13 to 22 are in the Netflix PH library.
Series 22 is the last season with Clarkson, Hammond, and May in it. They have since not renewed their contract with the BBC and are now hosts of The Grand Tour, which is pretty much the trio’s unhinged version of Top Gear in Amazon Prime. Netflix also confirmed that it will pick up the latest Top Gear series hosted by Chris Evans (not Captain America) and Matt LeBlanc. So that’s ten seasons worth of entertaining and informative automotive programming, and potentially more.
The odd combination of romance, time travel, sexy scenes, and quilts is something that I never knew I needed. The show is based on a series of books written by Diana Gabaldon that follows the story of Claire, a former World War II nurse. After the war she was reunited with her husband, but was once again plucked away from him as a mysterious Celtic circle sent her back to the 18th century while they were vacationing at Inverness, Scotland. As she is marooned, she is forced to adapt and thrive in the Highlander way of life, even as far as developing a romance with a Highlander warrior named Jamie Fraser.
The Scottish accents can get a bit tough to understand but it adds to the authenticity of the setting. Just turn on the subtitles if you don’t want to bother with it. A strong point of the series are the stunning period perfect costumes, and the performance of the cast. Sam Heughan (Jamie) and Catriona Balfe (Claire), have an electric romantic chemistry that will have your heart screaming “OTP”, while Tobias Menzies, who plays both Frank Randall (Claire’s husband in her own time), and Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall (an insidious British Red Coat Captain, and ancestor of Frank), delivered amazing nuanced acting in both of his roles.
The series is currently ongoing (now on its second season) with new episodes added weekly.
This one comes with a bit of personal bias because I’m a big fan of Kyle Chandler (Early Edition, Friday Night Lights) and Linda Cardellini (Scooby Doo, Freaks & Geeks, The Avengers: Age of Ultron), but this series can stand up with its own merits. Aside from an amazing cast which includes Ben Mendelsohn and Sissy Spacek, Bloodline is a gripping thriller about the Rayburns, a rather well-known family in the Florida Keys, and a dark secret that is creeping up on their already shaky relationship with each other. It’s not recommended to marathon this show, as it can get pretty heavy, but that means that it will keep you occupied for weeks.
If these end up not being enough, I don’t actually mind going through the Netflix library and looking for more shows that I can binge on. Other shows that are in my queue are Marco Polo, Narcos, Bojack Horseman, and many others. If you have any other shows that you can recommend, feel free to sound off on the comments.
Still, the sooner I see Voltron, the better.