New kid in town

What’s not on Netflix, Golden Globe winners and O.J. returns.

‘American Crime Story’ TV show (photo credit: PR)
‘American Crime Story’ TV show
(photo credit: PR)
Like many Israelis, I had a moment of elation last week when I got a message in my inbox saying that Netflix was available in Israel – finally. I signed up for a free trial and started streaming Roman Holiday, one of my favorite films. As promised, using Netflix couldn’t be easier, and it’s much more user-friendly than iTunes or whatever else you have been using (I’m referring to the legally murky world of streaming sites). It’s also inexpensive compared to cable services here, between NIS 32 and NIS 48 per month, depending on which option you choose.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that very little is available on it. Ironically, even the Netflix original series are not all on it.
House of Cards is not on it at all, while you can only watch the first two seasons of Orange Is the New Black, for example, another popular Netflix series. Apparently, the executives at Netflix made some kind of deal with YES and HOT, which offer these series locally.
In addition, it has few of the non- Netflix series you might want to catch up on. Mad Men, The Sopranos, The Good Wife, and The Wire are not available.
When I searched for classic movies, I didn’t have much luck, either. North by Northwest is the only Alfred Hitchcock movie available.
Searches for John Wayne, Orson Welles and Katharine Hepburn, for example, came up with zero.
Right now, based on some information I gave on my preferences, the service is recommending Eat, Pray, Love (is there anyone who wants to see that again?), Grease, Breaking Bad (one of the few very popular series that are available) and The Prince of Egypt.
Underwhelmed? I was. Whenever I visit friends abroad, any movie or series I can think of seems to be available at the touch of a button.
Not here, sadly.
The Golden Globes, which were awarded earlier this week, got sentimental this year, giving Jon Hamm his second (and final, of course) Golden Globe for Mad Men.
Hamm thanked series creator Matthew Weiner “for writing this horrible person.” Oscar Isaac, one of the best actors of his generation, won a Best Actor Golden Globe for portraying the late mayor of Yonkers in David Simon’s Show Me a Hero, and he had words of gratitude for the character’s widow. Best Actress in a Television Drama went, very deservedly, to Taraji P. Henson for her performance as the outrageous but touching Cookie on Empire.
Maura Tierney won Best Supporting Actress on a Drama for playing Helen, the discarded wife on The Affair, who has turned into the most appealing character on the show.
Mozart in the Jungle (which won Best Comedy Series) and Mr. Robot (which won Best Drama Series) are only available in Israel now on Cellcom TV, which costs NIS 99, somewhere in between Netflix and the big cable networks.
Remember the O.J. Simpson trial? That was when America went crazy for televised true justice. The trial turned Court TV into a huge hit, and the excessive coverage that made the participants into celebrities was the beginning of the reality craze. Certainly, it first brought the Kardashian family into the public eye, since Robert Kardashian (father of Kim et al. and ex-husband of Kris) was one of O.J.’s defense attorneys, so you can blame that on O.J. in addition to the rest of it.
The new US series American Crime Story will open its first season with a depiction of the trial, called “The People vs. O.J. Simpson.” It was just announced that it will begin running on YES VOD on February 18 and on YES Drama on February 22. This anthology series, a companion to Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. His defense team will be portrayed by Evan Handler as Alan Dershowitz, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian.
Selma Blair will play Kris Kardashian.
Can a dramatization add anything to a trial that was already so dramatic? We’ll have to wait and see.