tv series

3% (Netflix)

3% is a Brazilian, dystopian thriller series created by Pedro Aguilera, starring Bianca Comparato and João Miguel. The show is set in a future wherein people are given a chance to go to the "better side" of a world divided between progress and affluence in the Offshore, and devastation and poverty in the Inland, but only 3% of the candidates succeed. Developed from a 2009 independent pilot episode, it is Netflix's first original Brazilian production and the second produced in Latin America, after Club de Cuervos.

I came to this series by way of two recommendations.  Netflix and a friend.  Since I watch a lot of foreign language films,  they both thought I would enjoy this series (Netflix is pretty smart).  As you read the summary above, you might think its a bit interesting or similar to so many other movies or shows of earths segregation after some sort of disaster (mostly zombies but not this one thank goodness).  So I took the time to look at the episodes one by one.  First, a couple of take aways i got from the series. This was a very diverse cast.  Brazil consist of so many different cultures and races that it really represented the true people of the country.  This I believe gave this story a very broad appeal if you wanted to relate to the characters.  Then, it was the conscience approach to show how the separation of the 3% isn't based on color, race or religion.  But intelligence and the ability to contribute to the greater cause offshore. This was what the 3% of the choosen had to accomplish so they could move to the sacred offshore island.  That my friend kept me interested with where this was going.

To give you a reference point.  This was similar to the Hunger games or Divergent.  A battle to be the choosen or be the elite but in a mysteries way that wasn't clearly defined.  Biggest difference is not having to kill each other and not having a main character with some special appeal or power.  Th only thing you had to have was cleverness and intelligence.  It made it a worth while series to watch.  Even though people were being killed during the process, it didn't focus on that.  It had you thinking what was next for the qualifying teams and what had to be done to become the top 3%. One aspect of technology that was crucial to the story line was, In order for the 3% facility people to know who was selected and who the candidates were. Each person had a identification chip implanted behind their ears that had their complete information about them and you could tell when the individuals were scanned.  This is important because one of the story lines we find out is, like most other forced segregated societies,  their are rebels that are against the 3% process.  We see rebels trying to infiltrate the 3% process to destroy it and how the offshore militia are sent on shore to combat them.  Buuuut theres' also another plan that slowly comes to fruition as you watch the series. We find that their are some covert rebel operatives applying for the 3%. We find these characters struggling to maintain their cover throughout the testing period and try to get to the end to execute the ultimate plan.    And to make things a bit more interesting, within the 3% society, they're people within the Offshore government that wants to take over the 3% facility to make it a better functional place.  You begin to realize you are watching the internal as well as external battle within the offshore organization and at the same time you are watching the onshore people trying to become the chosen 3%.

Here is the great part i was totally into.  There are tests the candidates have to take that are mostly mental and requires them to work at times as individuals and other times as teams.  Depending on the situation, the teams have to rely on the weakest physical person or the strongest minded person.  They create an interesting mental game that kind of pulls you in and wonder what you would do.  There is violence but mostly mental fatigue and ethical dilemmas that has you wondering who will get through.  There is a real interesting character they placed within the mix of the challenge.  We are presented with a young man in a wheel chair that qualified to be part of the 3% enrollment.  You automatically think this can't work, he can not physically get through this.  Well, you see what he and the team goes through and realize what actually happens. This was a very good way of adding physically challenged people to an alleged physical challenge.

Overall this is a very good series worth seeing as well as experiencing.  Netflix gave the show a one-season order with an 8-episode first season. César Charlone, an Academy Award nominated cinematographer known for City of God and Blindness, served as director alongside Daina Giannecchini, Dani Libardi, and Jotagá Crema. The second season is confirmed.  I'm a big foreign language movie guy so I went with the subtitles.  Their is a dubbed english version  but it reminds me of the old Japanese Kung Fu movies.  The cadence and flow of the show doesn't even feel right with the dubbed version.  But I have to say, worth seeing. 

O A (Netflix)

A young girl goes missing for 7 years and suddenly shows up in a hospital  with vague memories and mysterious scars on her back.  She is very reluctant to reveal what happened to her as well as where she has been.  But the mystery lies with why is she able to see now when 7 years ago she could not.

Ending the year out, I wondered what was new on the streaming sites (HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) that I could binge watch during my relaxing time during the holidays.  I was emailed this new series from Netflix that had some pretty good recommendations.  I never heard of the writer/directors even though they had some movies out previously.  But the story line seemed bland and the trailer sparked an interest.  But with the comparison to the other Netflix series "Stranger Things",  I said why not.

Basic premise was a lost blind teenager disappears for 7 years and suddenly finds her way back.  The big differences in her life besides being gone for 7 years was, she could see, she has some weird ass scars on her back and she is trying to get back to where she was being held.  You first think, hmmm Stockholm syndrome?  But we hear her life story from her memories as told to her band of misfits from her town.  O, I forgot. Who is her?  Well she is a Russian Barons daughter that changed her name twice, then to her adopted name Prairie then her new name OA.  I know, I know freakin weird right?  So lets talk about this in short form. OA is totally confused in the town she returns to and doesn't want to tell anyone anything until she runs into the town psycho bully (I still don't know what she did to the dog).  She bonds with him and tells him she'll help him with his problem of being sent away to a deservingly reform school if she get five people to come together to help her get back to where she was at.  WTF?  Yup she basically told him that she would keep his psycho ass out of teenage prison. But while she was hoping he would find people, she put out a you tube video to recruit on her own.  Of the million + mentally disturbed people who access the internet,  She got her 5.  Including the bully.  This is where we start seeing the life of OA.  

She tells her new founded team, in her previous life.  She was a barons daughter until she died in a school bus accident with  other children of the Russian Oligarchy.   When she died she had a choice to came back without the ability to see or stay within the mysterious realm she was in without suffering.  She returned and her father sent her away to a blind boarding school with her aunt because of the danger of her father's enemies.  OA stays with her aunt until her father presumably disappears and now her aunt gets no more money to protect her and keep her with the very expensive boarding school.  OA becomes the blind servant of her aunt at this house of ill repute.  Not longer after her arrival, an older couple adopts her and the little blind girl is brought  into a better life than living in a whore house with baby producing prostitutes.  Luckily we don't get into these details of her life and the going ons with the house.  Not really relevant to the story.  But while OA's life is being changed, from one household to another.   She has these night terrors and dreams of her past life and premonitions.  She wakes up with these random nose bleeds and in her mind.  These dreams are telling her that she needs to get back to her father.  When she gets older she dreams of meeting her father in this mysterious place while she is playing her violin.  She takes these visions and leaves her home and believes she is to meet up with her father in New york.  He doesn't show up and she feels if she plays her music in the subway.  Her father will return to her.  But there is a man that finds her.  A doctor that has been studying exceptional people who has had experienced with near death experiences.  He seduces her and this mad doctor captures her and brings her to an isolated place where she is with other people who had near death experiences (NDE) like her.  The story shifts to showing the relationships of these 4 but eventual 5 people in these glass cages and how they are being tested to figure out the secret to life after death.  It gets weird and we find that this maniac doctor is killing them over and over to see their reactions to gain insight to the experience.  The one thing OA does show us is,  she has an interaction with someone when she is dead which causes her to make a decision to go back to the world or stay with her and not suffer again.  With all of this being said.  She is telling this to her 5 band of misfits so they can learn the 5 movements to transition to another dimension where she believes her friends she was held as a prisoner are still being held.

Whew, that was a mouth full.  Not quite like stranger things, a little of Christopher Nolan's "The prestige and a touch of (my opinion) "12 monkeys" series.  Its not a wow you series that keeps you totally engaged or so mysterious it works your left and right brain.  Its interesting and very unique.  Lots of plot holes and vague interpretations of things that occurred but I will say a very interesting series.  Their is a lot more that went on that will get you to disengage or become more engaged.  Thats up to you.  I thought it was pretty good but not sure if season 2 will have something for me to continue watching it.  i will say, the 5 misfit characters had some interesting story lines as well.  They didn't touch them too much besides the psycho bully but good enough to see them more than just extras.  Worth seeing? I think it is, especially with the shows out now trying to be clones of each other.  sad, thoughtful and above all interesting.  


Created and co-executive produced by Robert Kirkman ("The Walking Dead"), the drama series "Outcast" stars Patrick Fugit ("Gone Girl") as Kyle Barnes, a man who has been possessed by demons since he was young. His search for answers -- and redemption -- leads him into a relationship with Reverend Anderson, a West Virginia evangelist who believes he is fighting in a holy war against Earth's evil forces. As Barnes sequesters himself from those he loves for fear of causing greater hurt, he begins to delve into secrets from his past. What he discovers could be life-changing -- and affect the fate of the world forever.

Some series I run into by chance, others are based on a Netflix, Hulu,or Amazon recommendation.  For some reason this one came from a list of most unique series of the year review.  The first thing I found out was this show was created for TV then a comic was created by the same name.  You should know by now, dark emotional comics are being brought to the screen as often as they can (Preacher, Walking dead).  I was cool with it and figured the premise sounded interested.  With all that said I decided to give It a try.  I'm not a big horror fan unless its made to be very interesting and captivating.  So when I found out that Robert Kirkman the creator of the "Walking dead" created this series and sold it to Cinemax before he put it into comic book print.  I was like damn.  Guess I better pay attention to this.  Basically this was a made for TV comic book series that happened to be sold oversees as well as locally.  But what you get from this show is a truly mysterious, creepy horror show like you wouldn't normally see on network TV.  Barely from cable TV.    I started reading the comic but found that since the show was written for TV.  The comic followed the same script.  Nothing deviating from the script.    But what the hell is Outcast about.  Funny you should ask.

We open up with a child watching a roach climb up a wall while he stares at it with a blank hypnotize glare.  He slams his head into the wall killing the roach and eats it.  WTF??  Yeah, he licks the wall and eats the damn thing.  O yeah, you got me now.    We switch to a man lying in bed while a knock on the door in the background disturbs his already disturbed sleep.  He's in a house thats pretty dark, disheveled and creeps you out with shit every where.  At the same time, we see flash backs of a closet and someone terrorizing a child constantly.   You are now introduced to Kyle Barnes.  This depressed, lonely ostracized man who was accused of beating his child and wife for no apparent reason.  He returns to the town he left to escape what happened to is family and his mother.  We'll get to his mother.  The creepiness continues when he runs into a preacher that has been exorcizing demons from people possessed in town.  The stories tells a different story about  Kyles memories of his mother that was possessed as well and is now in a coma.  You see her attack him and locks him in a closet.  The strange thing is Kyle has no idea what happen to her or why.  The show reveals very little but slowly pieces things together as the episodes go by.  Back to the preacher.  He has a tremendous ego feeling that he is doing gods work by curing these people from these possessions. But he finds that he is a useless pawn and Kyle is the key to overcoming these possessions.  The preacher encounters  Kyle while he takes while Kyle and his sister travels downtown Rome W. Virginia.  The Preacher convinces Kyle to help him understand a current possession he is dealing with which is the roach eating kid from the beginning of the show.   What we see at the house of the child, takes us through the complete first season with multiple characters and situations that the town, the preacher and Kyle begin to understand that this is bigger than one or two people that are being possessed.  They find during this engagement with this child that he is known by these demons that are possessing these people.  He is called an Outcast by these demons and he finds he has the power to release these demons from the bodies they possess.  

What makes this such an interesting story is the randomness of the people being possessed as well as who gets cured and who falls into a coma based on when and how the demons are released.  I really think these our aliens but the series never lets you know anything about their origin that clearly.  But the story lines keeps the spiritual aspect throughout the series.  The series also has very interesting characters supporting Kyle like his sister and her family.  His wife and his daughter.  The Black sherif in the town and the possessed people who now walk among them that are the same but really not.   A really dark almost depressing show with untold evil  that no one knows where its coming from and a reluctant hero that has no idea who he is to these demons and what is his purpose.  I binged through the 8 series 1st season in two days because it kept me so captivated by the mysterious demons and how Kyle had to fight with his past, family and realization that something is wrong and its not him.  Even though it really is him in a way he can not understand.  Worth the watch especially if you are a Walking dead fan or horror fan.  This I believe is top shelf writing