Getting into Kodi

So, I decided it was time to set up an oldish laptop that I had as a video playback solution connected to my TV.  I could stream from my gaming PC, but I’m planning on sending that onto a better home (and the laptop, I feel, is more power efficient and takes up much less space).

First plan, install Kodi.

Second plan, consolidate all the drives containing random videos that I want to watch.

Third plan, configure Kodi to play and record TV from an old Freeview TV stick that I have kicking around.

Of the three plans… plan 1 has happened.

Plan 2 is a bit time consuming.

Plan 3… I hit a hurdle.  I actually don’t know what I’m doing.

I shall come back to this later, once I figure out what I’m doing.



13 Reasons Why

Clay Jenkins is unwittingly drawn into the events surrounding the death of Hannah Baker, a friend who could have been more, with emotional, devastating consequences.

Narrated by Hannah Baker, performed beautifully by Katherine Langford, over thirteen episodes (each representing the side of an old-school audio cassette), we follow Clay Jenkins (played by a perfectly cast Dylan Minnette) as the story unfolds and the secrets of those around him intertwine with the stories that lead up to Hannah’s suicide.

Whilst it could be argued that Hannah is an unreliable narrator, the way the story on the tapes ring true for those involved, and their steps at damage limitation, are a crushing weight for Clay and others, especially as the truths get darker.

A large cast does lead to some characters falling to the way side – Jeff and Montgomery – whilst the core characters are so well crafted that it’s impossible not to be drawn into events.  It’s not just the teenagers that feel isolated as the parents of Clay and Hannah have to deal with ones erratic behaviour and the loss of the other, respectively.

A show that has drawn controversy, with some even arguing it is ‘dangerous’, 13 Reasons Why is an exceptional series with an incredibly timely story.  The feelings of isolation and the behaviour of their peers can cast a shadow on the lives of anyone, even if they seem fine on the outside.

A bold series that tackles suicide and its aftermath, rape, drugs, violence and peer pressure, if 13 Reasons Why can do one thing, it should be to start a conversation about the risks and threats, not silence the discussion.


Riverdale (The Return to Netflix)

I was never a fan of Archie comics – it was a bit too apple Pie America for me.  On top of that, there were no superpowers involved.

Having signed back up to Netflix at the recommendation of couple of friends, I was drawn to Riverdale and thoroughly engaged by it.

Imagine a cross between The OC and Twin Peaks, and you’ve got Riverdale.

A series in which Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica are caught up in a maelstrom of murder, duplicity and the underlying darkness of small town America.  An investigation into the death of Jason Blossom unveils the cracks in the otherwise perfect Riverdale and consumes everyone involved.

With a cast that includes KJ Apa as the red-haired Archie, Cole Sprouse as Jughead, Lili Reinhart as Betty and Camila Mendes as Veronica, the roles are large, the characterisation deep and the performances compelling.  Add to this Luke Perry, Madchen Amick and Skeet Ulrich to the mix, and the cast is as talented as it is broad.

As the story develops, we get a feel for the darkness that envelopes Riverdale, whilst the love of the this group of high school students evolves, not just between the principles, but amongst the supporting cast of characters, too.

With so much potential, it’s hardly a surprise that we’ll be getting a second season.  But, where next…

Avoiding the News with Random TV

Sometime ago, I decided to stop spending two hours before work watching the news and watch… other things instead.

Between cartoon series that I’ve amassed on DVD, I’ve moved onto TV series that I’ve also acquired on DVD.  This is stuff I’ve picked up relatively cheaply and would have eventually got round to watching at some point… probably.

On the list, thus far, has been Teen Wolf and Chicago Fire, both entertaining series that don’t require my undying fealty to enjoy what’s going on.  The pre-work ritual wouldn’t work with a series like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, but there’s plenty of series out there that are still entertaining, fun to watch and don’t require a cult-like level of attention and following.

Then I made a slight error of judgement with Turn: Washington’s Spies season one, an AMC TV series set during the American Revolution starring Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull, a man who starts a spy ring to support Washington’s insurgency against the British.

The first episode makes great television, with a solid cast of British, including Burn Gorman and Kevin McNally, however it’s the type of TV that doesn’t quite fit in my throwaway entertainment plans.  It’s an engaging story of a period of history (though, I have no doubt that there’s liberties taken with the story) that saw a change of tides in the American Revolution.

With the British portrayed as pompish, overbearing and feeling they have a right to dominate, it’s up to a group of rebels, former friends who become spies, to rout British rule, though the path isn’t going to be an easy one as deception, violence and pride all seem to be in far from short supply.

This is the type of TV that calls for being devoured all at once – not the type of thing that my pre-work regime was going to be.  I’ve already ordered season 2, but may have to spend a couple of evenings watching this instead of trying to do it when I’m only half awake!