GLOW Review

We wouldn’t count ourselves as people who would be interested in Women’s wrestling. But two episodes & we were hooked. Netflix must be commended for coming up with an interesting storyline around women’s wrestling. The show revolves around Alison Brie’s character – Ruth – an out of work struggling actress in 1970’s America, who dreams with her eyes open. The show will keep you engrossed as you trace Ruth & her best friend turned foe – Debbie Eagan, played by the busty Betty Gilpin transforming themselves into professional wrestlers.

The show is funny & will keep you glued to your seats. Credit must be given to the writers for this terrific script. Although you know, how the show will unfold & the fact that it is on the lines of Chak De or Lagaan – the journey of Ruth & Debbie will keep you intrigued. The supporting characters too are perfect in their roles. Take a bow team Netflix.

Our Rating: *****

Hidden gems of Netflix, Amazon Prime & Hotstar

Game of Thrones, Sherlock, Better Call Saul, Orange is the New Black, Narcos, Dexter, House of Cards, 13 Reasons Why, Suits, The Mentalist, The Blacklist, Marvel series, Veep, Fargo etc are shows that every urban Indian knows about. Even though they may have not seen them all, they are aware of these shows. But, there are several  award winning shows on Netflix, Hotstar & Amazon Prime, that barely get mentioned in spite of being awesome & just as good, if not better than the popular shows & movies.

The Opinionated Indian lists out the hidden gems available on online streaming apps

  1. broadchurch is an engrossing british whodunit – available on netflix

    Broadchurch (Netflix): Easily the most under rated show available in India right now. This show had us hooked from day one. This British whodunit, will keep you at the edge of your seats & make you binge on it, till the last episode. The twists & turns manage to hold your attention throughout. One can forgive them for getting way too melodramatic at times. The series boasts of an ensemble cast & great acting. At no point did we feel that, the show is dragging. The show has had a run of two seasons & we just can wait for the third season.

  2. Billy Bob is amazing in this award winning legal drama

    Bojack will become your favorite animated character

    Goliath (Amazon Prime): Although an Emmy award winning show in the US, the show barely gets any coverage in India. As expected, brilliant acting by Billy Bob Thornton, who plays the Goliathesque lawyer. He plays the drunk, ex top lawyer, who is now living out of a motel & carries the show on his skinny shoulders. His acting is never OTT. The supporting cast is spectacular, the characters are well scripted & the story line is gripping. If you are a sucker, for the underdog who takes on the big guys sorta shows/movies, Goliath – as the name suggests is just the show for you.

  3. Bojack Horseman (Netflix): We had our reservations watching a animated show. But, a few episodes of this funny show & we were hooked. The story about a not so good hearted washed out TV star is entertaining. The writers need to be commended for their out of the box thinking. Scenes like the one where a cow, who is a waitress just puts a glass inside her blouse, & then pumped her breasts to give a glass of milk cracked us up. Every animal in the show can communicate like humans, but do retain their traits. With every episode barely 25 mins long, you will end up watching all the 5 seasons before you even realize.
  4. The Newsroom (Hotstar): One of the most brutal & honest shows on American Television. This show is a breath of fresh air. The shows give the viewers an insight about how a news organisation functions & how various people keep pulling strings which ends up impacting the news presented to us. it may seem like a gritty drama, but at heart is a love story. Do watch this one!
  5. Red Oaks (Amazon Prime): Red Oaks gives us a peek into the lives of wealthy American club members in the 70’s  that of the club staffers. The show revolves around a young undergrad who is caught between the love of two women, his passion for acting, photography & his father’s advice to become an accountant.It is a trip down memory lane. Viewers will be able to relate to the story & reminisce about incidents from their days growing up. The show keeps you entertained throughout & is a fun watch. Do keep some popcorn handy & put your feet up while watching this one
  6. The Night Of (Hotstar): One of HBO’s best written & under rated shows, The Night Of is a whodunit. The show revolves around a Pakistani – the son of a Pakistani immigrant cab driver, who is accused of murdering a white woman post spending the night with her. Very well written, the show keeps viewers guessing till the end. The show does touch upon racism, terrorism, jail violence. The supporting cast including Poorna Jagannathan is good.
  7. Transparent is a award winning sitcom by Amazon

    Transparent (Amazon Prime): Another good show on Amazon Prime. This sitcom is a pleasant surprise. The story revolves around a dysfunctional family. The family patriarch is a woman trapped in a man’s body & attracted to women! The oldest daughter is a married woman who cheats on her husband with a woman! The son is a womanizer who then has a change of heart, The youngest daughter is sexually active woman who discovers the joys of lesbianism. The show has enough twists & turns to keep you excited for the first two seasons. We couldn’t get ourselves to watch beyond season two though. The show gets boring & repetitive post the first two seasons.

  8. Get Me Roger Stone (Netflix): The only documentary on our list. We love Netflix for its amazing collection of documentaries & would have loved to include some more documentaries on the list. But, none of them is as deserving as Get Me Roger Stone. It gives us a closer look at Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s key campaigners during the presidential election. The film gives us a peek into the mind of campaign managers, who relentlessly strive to make their candidate win “at all costs”. The film lists out the rules of political campaigning as mentioned by Roger Stone. The film also delves into the various controversies that Roger Stone has been involved, right from Nixon’s campaign to Ronald Reagan’s to Donald Trump’s campaign.
  9. American Playboy gives you a peek into the life of Hugh Heffner

    American Playboy (Amazon Prime): Easily the most exciting title on the list, American Playboy is a excellent show documenting the meteoric rise, popularity, struggles & crises that Hugh Heffner went through. The show includes interviews of various people who played a part in building the Playboy brand right from its inception in the 1950’s, people who were witness to major events in the life of Hugh Heffner, his kids, his numerous exes & Hugh Heffner himself. The show has ample nudity & hitherto unseen footage of Heff with his bunnies.

  10. Black Mirror (Netflix): This show is slightly more mentioned as compared to other names on the list, barring The Night Of, but is still highly under rated. Each of the 3 seasons consist of 3 unrelated episodes depicting the ill effects of technology in the future. This British series is highly engrossing & will keep the audiences begging for more. The cast includes some well known faces from Brit TV. The writers of the show should pat their backs for their vivid imagination & storytelling. Never a dull moment in this one.
  11. The People V O.J Simpson will keep you glued to your seats

    The People Vs O.J Simpson (Netflix, Hotstar): We have saved the best for the last. The Opinionated Indian is shocked that despite the show being based on a true story of an ex football star charged with the murder of his ex-wife, boasting of an ensemble cast including John Travolta & Cuba Gooding Jr., this show is not getting the kind of mileage in mainstream media as much as it should. The story & characters are very well researched. A google search of the characters will make you want to hug the cast, producers & directors of the show for the uncanny resemblance of the reel life & real life characters & the script. The show covers issues ranging from racism, celeb leniency, celeb culture & the American judiciary. Go watch it, if you haven’t already!

Please do write to us, if you think there are some other eligible contenders who deserve to be on this list.

Netflix Vs Hotstar Vs Amazon Prime Connundrum

Are you spoilt for choice between Hotstar, Netflix & Amazon? Is the confusion giving you sleepless nights? Are you dying to decide on which one to subscribe? Relax, you have reached the right place. I will answer the question plaguing millions of viewers across India.

If someone would have told me 2-3 years back that not in the very distant future, I would stop paying for my Tata Sky Plus HD connection, I would have probably wagered against it. After all, Tata Sky with its pause, play, record options, high quality formats & long list of channels was the coolest thing in Indian living rooms.

The advent of Netflix & other content streaming platforms has totally changed the way content is consumed in India.

Hotstar was the first major entrant followed by Netflix. Amazon Prime Video was launched a few months back.

Hotstar which was the first entrant is backed by Star TV – the network behind hugely successful Hindi TV shows. Thanks to the support of their parent company Newscorp, Hotstar has been able to purchase quality content from US & other countries.

The top shows on Hotstar include hits such as Modern Family, Homeland, 24, Fresh off the boat. Their biggest strength though lies in their HBO tie up, which allows them to add titles such as Sopranos, Veep & Game of Thrones – probably the biggest TV show on the planet right now. Users can also consume Hotstar’s huge line up of Hindi TV shows & movies. Hotstar also has a huge line up of sporting events including the IPL! It recently got Republic News on board. The deal breaker though is it’s limited movie library. At ₹200 per month it is a very good value for money buy. Hotstar can be accessed through its mobile app, Smart TV’s, google chromecast & through web. It is not compatible with Xbox One/PS4.

Netflix launch was one of the most eagerly awaited events in the country. When rivals in the content streaming segment like Hotstar, YouTube were charging no money for consuming their content, Netflix changed the rules of the game by charging a whopping ₹600 bucks for their monthly HD subscription.

Netflix boasts of a huge library of world class TV shows, movies & documenataries, stand up comedies from across the globe. The sheer size of its library dwarfs all of its competition combined! Apart from homegrown content including TV shows like House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, 13 reasons why, Bojack Horseman, Netflix’s tie with Marvel is its biggest USP. Netflix- Marvel tie up has led to extremely popular shows like Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones & Iron Fist. Their tie up with Adam Sandler has yielded 3 movies. Hits not produced by Netflix include Better Call Saul, Gotham, Suits, How to Get Away With Murder, Broadchurch etc. It’s movie line up of English, Hindi & regional content is admirable. Netflix content is accesssible through their mobile app, smart TV’s, Xbox One, PS4, web. Netflix has recently started allowing users to download content on to their phones or laptops. The only reason why any urban Indian TV & movie connoisseur would not subscribe to Netflix is it high price. Hotstar clearly beats it when it comes to Indian content & Amazon Prime is way more affordable.

The last entrant into the online content streaming arena was Amazon Prime.

The biggest USP of Amazon Prime is its throw away price of ₹499 for the entire year! Which is way lower than Hotstar – ₹1200 & Netflix – ₹7200. Their content line up of Emmy winning TV shows like Goliath & other popular home grown content like The Patriot, Transparent, Red Oaks is impressive. The Mentalist series, good line up of Indian stand up comedies make the ₹499/year price very reasonable. Amazon Prime’s biggest strength vis-a-vis its competition is its movie line up. Be it Hindi, regional or English Amazon Prime easily has the best movie line up.The added advantage of subscribing to Amazon Prime is faster delieveries of your online orders from Amazon.
Amazon Prime is accessible through Smart TV’s, mobile apps, Firestick & web. Amazon refused to comment on when their tie up with Xbox One & PS4 abroad will be extended to India.

The earlier issue of not being accessible through google chromecast or Xbox One/PS4 has now been addressed by launching the Firestick.

If I were to pick a winner amongst the three I would definitely pick Netflix. Netflix wins hands down thanks to its huge content line up. If media sources are to be believed the library will only get bigger & better from here on. The local content in the Netflix library too will get a huge boost owing to their exclusive tie up with top production houses in the country

If I had to omit one from my monthly subscription – it would be Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime needs to better its English TV shows library.

But, as far as subscriptions are concerned Hotstar is the clear winner at 64 million & Netflix is at 4.4 million. Other rivals like Voot – which is no where in the race as far as content is concerned is at 13 million.

The biggest loser in this war of online content streaming players are Tata Sky, Dish TV etc who will have to come up with a way to deal with increasing number of urban English content viewing audiences who will stop paying for TV subscriptions.