In the digital age, Netflix appears to be leading the charge of creating streaming-only, television-style content.
To date, Netflix has eight original works available for streaming, and several more planned for release. The content includes a variety of subjects in several formats including films, series and stand-up comedy.
Netflix's first original series "Lilyhammer," debuted in February of 2012. The one-season, eight-episode series follows an ex-gangster played by Steven Van Zandt. The series holds 3.9 out of 5 stars based on approximately 360,000 member ratings. Although the series did not meet with overwhelming success, the release signified the beginning of a change in the way Netflix subscribers digested content. Because Netflix releases the entire series at once, as opposed to having to wait for an episode airing on television, viewers were able to binge-watch the series at their leisure.
Netflix did not release more original content until this February, when "House of Cards" made its debut. And, although I had no interest in "Lilyhammer," "House of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey, immediately drew me in. The series follows Spacey, who plays a congressman bent on conquering the political world by any means necessary. With great acting, intriguing characters, artsy cinematography and fourth-wall breaking narration by Spacey, the series earned 4.5 stars with more than 900,000 ratings. And, a second season is in the works.
Thus far, my favorite of Netflix's original series is definitely "Hemlock Grove." The one-season, 13-episode supernatural horror series was directed by Eli Roth ("Hostel"). "Hemlock Grove" strikes an uncanny resemblance to David Lynch's "Twin Peaks," but appeals to a more youthful audience that is attracted to the "Twilight" and "True Blood" style. For me, it brought back memories of reading "Bitten" by Kelley Armstrong. The series earned 4 stars based on more than 330,000 ratings. A second season has not yet officially been announced, but with the cliffhanger finale and dozens of unanswered questions I wouldn't be surprised if it were to come sooner than later. However, I also wouldn't be surprised if much like "Twin Peaks" the series fell to the wayside.
Netflix is also doing a huge service to the fans of "Arrested Development" by releasing a fourth season of the series that was canceled in 2006. The series will feature 15 new episodes, which will all debut May 26.
Highlights And Happenings
With Dusten Rader
Netflix also has several stand-up comedy specials, which were released earlier this year, available including: "Fat Man Little Boy," "Brian Posehn: The Fartist" and "Craig Ferguson: I'm Here to Help." A film, entitled "Shotgun Wedding" and a one-season, five-episode series called "Bad Samaritans" are also available. And, "Orange Is the New Black," created by Jenji Kohan ("Weeds") will debut in July.
As per usual, here are the highlights and happenings going on in the area.
Comedy at JSBA Continues Friday Night: The Jamestown Savings Bank Arena is heading into its ninth week of the Wits n' Giggles: Friday Night Comedy Series. This week's edition of Wits n' Giggles will feature co-headliners, Terry Sachs and Matt Breen.
The show will take place in the upstairs Arena Club from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $8 presale and $12 the day of the show. They are available at the JSBA Box Office, 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown, by phone at 484-2624 or at jamestownarena.com.
For more information search for "Jamestown Savings Bank Arena" on Facebook or follow on Twitter.
Waiters, A Live Dance-Theatre Production, To Appear At Fredonia Opera House: "Waiters" combines modern and ballroom dance with strong theatrical performances. "Waiters" is set for May 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and May 19 at 2 p.m.
Ten characters will come together in their search for love and connection in a theater transformed into a ballroom. The storyline is revealed in the lyrics of songs from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. "Waiters" is funny, tragic, powerful and timely dance-theatre.
The production is choreographed and directed by Terry Beck, of SUNY Fredonia's Theatre and Dance departments. The show is performed by faculty, alumni and students of SUNY Fredonia along with professionals from the Buffalo arts community.
For more information visit www.fredopera.org.
Routes To Art Weekend To Set For Saturday And Sunday: Thirty-five artists will Exhibit and sell their wares at this year's Routes to Art weekend.
For the past five years, Routes to Art has entertained thousands of visitors with back road beauty and a wealth of artistic talent. Now in its sixth year, RTA will feature 35 artists showcasing their paintings, baskets, drawings, beadwork, jewelry, porcelain, pottery, photographs, sculptures, toys and wood carvings.
Routes to Art is an annual, self-guided, open-studio artists' tour taking place across Cattaraugus County and the Seneca Nation and produced by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council (CCAC). During RTA weekend, the artists will open their homes, studios, and businesses to welcome visitors and present their artwork.
For more information visit routestoart.com, contact CCAC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 372-7455.
Punk Night At The Blend Is Wednesday: Furniture City Hardcore and Something Beautiful Tattoo and Piercing to present "Punk Night at the Blend" in Jamestown on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The show will feature various up-and-coming regional punk and hardcore bands as well as the national act Ambassador Gun. The event is all ages, and admission is $5. Suburban Blend is located at 209 Pine St. in Jamestown.
To include an upcoming show or event in this column, email email@example.com or call 487-1111 ext. 253 by Monday.
Pete Pepke With Andrea And The Giants: 6-8 p.m., The Corner Coffeehouse, 54 W. Main St. in Frewsburg.
Blue Grass Jam: 7-10 p.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
Stan Barton Jazz Mandolin And Violin: 6-8 p.m., The Corner Coffeehouse, 54 W. Main St. in Frewsburg.
Ken Larsen: 6 p.m., Wine Cellar, 309 N. Main St. in Jamestown.
Coyote: 8 p.m. to midnight, Casino Bar, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd. in Salamanca.
The Saloonatics: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Peek 'n Peak, 1405 Olde Road in Findley Lake.
The Bogarts: 1-3 p.m., Southern Tier Brewing Company, 2072 Stoneman Circle in Lakewood.
Doc And Bill: 6 p.m., The Corner Coffeehouse, 54 W. Main St. in Frewsburg.
Tommy Z Band: 8 p.m. to midnight, Casino Bar, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd. in Salamanca.
Annual Armed Forces Ball Featuring DJs Unlimited: 8 p.m. to midnight, Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
Sean Patrick McGraw: 9 p.m., Pine Junction, 9757 Bailey Hill Road in Sherman.
2 Degrees From Perfect: 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Peek 'n Peak, 1405 Olde Road in Findley Lake.
Robert "Freightrain" Parker: 4-8 p.m., Casino Bar, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd. in Salamanca.