Netflix is 3% Closer, but Still Fighting White Supremacy Saviors

At this point, it’s damn near impossible to keep up with the onslaught of Netflix original programming. Along with all of the film and series content, the tentacles of the entertainment Kraken inevitably started reaching out for more international collaborations. Around Thanksgiving we were treated to the Brazilian series 3%. In terms of originality, it doesn’t score high: another variation on the theme of a future world where young adults do what they have to do to survive.

It does have its points of deviation though from say The Hunger Games and Divergent with a touch of Elysium. Brazil has had a long and appalling history of income inequality, which I’m sure is where the idea of the tagline came from: “In a dystopian future there is a clear divide between the rich and poor, but when a person turns 20, they have the opportunity to cross the divide.” As implied, by free will all the candidates get to try to make it from the miserable mainland to the utopian island Mar Alto; that looks kind of like Recife to Fernando de Noronha on the map. The tests they undergo are less physical and more psychological until they are whittled down to the fabled 3%. The setting, albeit futuristic, feels closer to present as we undergo our own survival in the collapse.

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Diversity on Fire: Thoughts on the Return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I would not fault anybody for not watching or liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to its hot mess of a first season. However, it has improved. Does it still have issues? Indeed it does. But with those issues comes the fact that it still remains one of the most diverse casts on TV. Though aside from showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, I wonder what that diversity looks like behind the cameras. Anyway, now there is Gabriel Luna. With his head on fire. There was a lot of hype about the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider leading up to the season 4 premiere. By and large, it held up. Here are just a few points I remember and talked about with friends in person and via the internets.

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Tigresa y Tarantula

Daredevil Season 2 has been up and streaming on Netflix for some time now and if you haven’t watched it, are you okay? Should we call someone? Just kidding. But seriously, go watch it if you still haven’t. It was another successful team-up for Netflix and Marvel after an exceptional Jessica Jones. If you haven’t watched that yet, that’s it, I’m coming over! As I’ve previously written, I recognize my bias and personal history with Daredevil, but in my opinion, especially in terms of tone, the series continues to be the MCU’s masterpiece (ducks).

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The Imperator and The Widow

Last year was the year of the most iconic feminist leading lady in action/sci-fi, arguably the most in cinematic history: the one and only Imperator Furiosa played be Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road. Thanks to a fellow NOC, I have finally finished the way too short first season of Into The Badlands. Following Furiosa and a long history of leading women in Hong Kong action cinema with better acting chops and doing more roundhouse damage than their male co-stars (Michelle Yeoh will be back soon as Yu Shu Lien people!), Into the Badlands also introduced us to strong heroines whose stories I hope to better understand in more detail in a second season. More than Wu’s Sunny, more than the avatars, even more than my man Cung Le, it was Emily Beecham’s show-stopping performance as The Widow that locked me in.

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#AskLexi II: We Are Lexi

On a very cold sub-zero January evening in Minnesota (talking windchill -30 F people) , one of our favorite NOCs was ready for some questions. Director, writer, activist, martial artist, general badass, and real life superhero Lexi Alexander joined me at The NOC for another round of #AskLexi. I wasn’t prepared for the hundreds of fans that overwhelmed us with questions, but the feeling of love radiated out of the computer and warmed my heart in the chilly house. Here are some highlights.

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The Challenger: No Challenge at All for a Few Minutes of Your Time

I had no interest in watching the first Democratic Party debate without analysis from Democracy Now and commentary from my favorite late night and podcasting comedy crews. So, it worked out well that on the same evening I was introduced to a short film that packs quite the punch: The Challenger.

Pun intended.

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Scored Too Soon? The Career of Michael Jai White: A Retrospective

In most sports, scoring early is a good thing. If you’re a soccer player or fan, though, you know the woes of scoring too early. If any of you listen to or watch Men in Blazers, you’ve heard this all before from Roger’s unending sadness with his Everton routinely scoring too early. This has happened to me both on the pitch, but mostly watching my beloved teams pay dearly for going up 1-0 in the first five minutes of matches only to be smacked down with three or four unanswered goals once the final whistle blows. It’s part of the roller coaster of emotions that is the world of football. I feel like this could be a metaphor for Michael Jai White’s career.

I recently had an evening to myself and while scrolling through the ever expanding Netflix streaming queue, I noticed a couple of recent Michael Jai White flicks I hadn’t yet seen. Double feature? Sure.

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Spare Parts: An Emotional Roller Coaster at the Theme Park of Broken Immigration Policy

The number of PG or PG-13 films that really move or inspire me is not that large. Somewhere at the top of that list is Finding Neverland. It’s tough to remember exactly what was going on with me at the time, but I remember it hit me hard. There is now a new contender: Spare Parts. The movie is based on this Wired article about four undocumented high school students from Arizona with a shoestring budget that enter and win a national robotics competition. Oh, and they end up at the college level knocking off the likes of MIT students.

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Daredevil: First Season Wrap-Up

Some of my fellow NOCs and other contributors have written eloquent season reviews and critiques of Daredevil so I’ll keep this brief. I’m pretty biased with this character and while I tried to restrain some and was somewhat critical, there was a lot of praise throughout my recaps. When something that’s been a part of 2/3 of your life finally is treated correctly, it can be quite the emotional ride. Congrats to Netflix for this, their greatest and most-watched original series. Netflix and Marvel: the new Kingpins. Best superhero show? Yes. Best Marvel property? Yes. Best show, movie, anything a camera has filmed? Shit, probably. Sure. Yes.

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NOC Recaps Daredevil: None Shall Sleep

What a groundbreaking ride this has been. I am so thrilled that this character and his world that connected with me as kid has finally fallen into the right hands and ended up not just revolutionizing the superhero genre, but TV and film in general. Therefore, it’s fitting that show runner Steven DeKnight took the writing and directing duties for the finale. After all the defending of Daredevil I’ve done up to this point with haters of the “lesser Spider-Man,” not to mention the failure of the movie, it feels personally triumphant for me. Bill Everett and Jack Kirby have passed, but I can’t imagine how Stan Lee must feel watching a Pavarotti moment with these characters in the finale culminating the origin story and thusly named: “Daredevil.” I think Puccini would approve.

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