We recently sign up for Netflix here in Canada. You may already be aware that the service is different here than it is in the US. However, there still are thousands of movies, TV shows and documentaries to choose from. In addition it is free for the first month, so there is nothing to lose by giving it a try. We also signed up for Shomi, one of its competitors in Canada. Shomi also has a free trial, and costs the same as Netflix on a monthly basis.
You should know that the movies and TV shows I mention may not be available as you are reading this. Both services add and remove certain films and TV programs from time to time. However, by giving you examples you should get some idea of what each service has to offer.
Shomi Launched in 2014
You need a PVR to watch Shomi but a smart TV is not necessary. It will work on any TV but a PVR is necessary to access it. Shomi has a very good selection of TV series. It had all seasons of Parenthood, except for the last one (which may have been added by now). You can watch multiple seasons of current TV programs such as Scandal, Homeland, The Good Wife, Two Broke Girls and so on. Of course many older shows are offered as well, including both comedies and dramas. If you like binge watching series, then you will probably find lots to keep you entertained.
Much less impressive was their selection of movies. The most recent movie we could find was about 10 years old. Many of the films were ones I had never heard of. However, we did find some we were interested in, like Insomnia with Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson’s last feature role.
However, there is a good selection of classics for those who like watching the oldies. The Alfred Hitchcock selection features just about all of his iconic films, such as Psycho, The Birds and so on. The 70s classics Dog Day Afternoon and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were two we enjoyed, as it had been years since we first watched them.
One thing we noticed is that Shomi offers TV series and movies that we can’t get on Netflix. Whether this is intentional or not I don’t know, but it does make sense to offer something different to subscribers.
Of course Shomi is a very new service. I expect over time that the selections will increase and improve from what is offered now. As I already mentioned, the choices for TV programs is already quite good. Although we cancelled it for now, we will probably start paying for it later in the year when we are home more in the evenings and looking for things to watch. By then the movie choices will probably be a lot better too.
My Impression of Netflix for Canadians
Now for Netflix. One of the first things I wanted to know was if the Netflix original series were available to Canadians. I’m glad to say that yes they are. Currently we are watching House of Cards. So far there are three seasons available with each season having 13 episodes. Other programs that are original to Netflix can be seen as well.
In May of 2015 Netflix released Grace and Frankie, a comedy/drama with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson. It is available in Canada too. So I’m very glad to know that although we don’t get nearly as much content as Americans do, we are able to view the Netflix series as soon as they are released.
Netflix releases all episodes of a season at once. Each season typically has 13 episodes. I’m sure this is how binge watching became popular!
I’ve also been watching Bloodline, a dark drama with Kyle Chandler (from Friday Night Lights fame, another series offered by Netflix) Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard, and Ben Mendelsohn. Ben plays the black sheep of the family, and his performance is already getting a lot of Emmy buzz.
Bloodline is a very compelling drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The story is a bit slow to build, but by the fourth episode it is very compelling and suspenseful. Bloodline is filmed in the Florida Keys. The one thing I don’t like about Netflix programs is there is a lot of bad language that wouldn’t be heard on regular TV. I’d prefer a lot less profanity, as I don’t think it’s necessary to tell a good story. However that also is the case with many movies that are out today.
The Netflix original programs are very good, aside from the language in my opinion, and a nice change from what is available on network TV. Most of their series are dramas.
Of course there are many TV series available as well, including some British ones such as Broadchurch, Dr Who, and Land Girls. Canadian programs can be enjoyed, and of course US series. Some shows currently available are The Guardian, Nashville, Hannibal, Boss, Hawthorne, and My Name is Earl.
Netflix Documentaries and Movies for Canadians
Netflix has an excellent selection of documentaries. Some of these originally aired on PBS. Wildest Latin America, Wildest India, Wildlife, Mysteries of the Unseen World, and Planet Earth: The Complete Collection, are some examples. Quite a few documentaries are British made as well.
Netflix offers some movies that are fairly recent, like The Wolf of Wall Street, The Book Thief and Boyhood. As with TV programs, there is a lot of British made ones. Some we had never heard of. We’ve watched a couple of them and they have been fairly good.
The classic selection is limited but includes a Marilyn Monroe collection, Paul Newman, as well as the Godfather films. Then there is a large selection of older movies. I’d say the choices are decent but not great.
Both Shomi and Netflix have a lot of TV shows and movies for families. In fact Netflix has a lot of family friendly movies. With new ones being added regularly there shouldn’t be a shortage of things for younger people to watch.
One thing I noticed about both Shomi and Netflix is that it is easier to browse online than on the TV. It’s much easier to check out the different genres. If you find something you want to watch later just add it to your wish list. Then it is easy to find on your TV.
Of course both services can be watched on multiple devices, including a smart phone and tablets. So far I’ve just watched on TV as I enjoy the much larger screen.
We decided to keep Netflix once the free trial was up. For less than $10 a month it is really worth it. I’m looking forward to seeing all of House of Cards (an excellent series) and Bloodline and then will likely check out more of Netflix original programs.
We got rid of the extra cable channels and are saving about $50 a month by paying just for basic. In March of 2015 new rules will take effect where cable providers will have to offer customers channels individually rather than just bundles. I’m looking forward to the changes because I like a few networks such as Turner Classic Movies that I’d like to have, without having to pay for extra channels we don’t watch.
I hope this review of Netflix and Shomi has been helpful. Shomi has a lot of potential and I think it will improve as time goes on. I like Netflix mostly for the original series and documentaries as well as some films.
Image is in the Public Domain at Pixabay.