retail news in context, analysis with attitude

I write a lot here about differential advantages, and often use original product efforts by both Netflix and Amazon as examples of how two retailers increasingly are spending money on what essentially are private label products to highlight their unique positions to consumers.

One of the things that Amazon does - and Netflix does not - is create pilot programs that Prime customers can view and opine about; the ones that get the best viewership and reviews get "green lighted" to go to series. I watched two of these pilots the other day, and am happy to report that they may be as good as anything on TV - well-produced, acted and written, thoughtful, provocative and unusual.

"The Man in the High Castle" is based on a 1962 Philip K. Dick’s novel that imagines an alternate history in which Germany and Japan have won World War II, with Japan occupying the US west coast and Germany running the east coast. There are tensions between the two, however, and signs of a resistance movement that hopes to reclaim the country. It is absolutely terrific - written by Frank Spotnitz of "The X-Files" fame, and executive produced by Ridley Scott - and there are images that are positively haunting. (I'm thinking specifically about a scene in which there appears to be a light snowfall...)

The other show is "Mad Dogs," about four middle aged guys who go to visit an old friend who has sold his company and now lives in a gorgeous Belize mansion. There is the bit of "The Big Chill" about the story, except with an underlying creepiness that only gets more pronounced until a moment well into the hour that changes everything. "Mad Dogs" is just great.

There's only one problem with "The Man in the High Castle" and "Mad Dogs." Assuming they get picked up by Amazon and turned into series, it is going to take at least a year before we're able to see their second episodes and succeeding episodes and find out what happens next. That's almost too long to wait ...

Of course, at the moment I'm seeing this from the other perspective. In about a week, "Bosch" will be coming to Amazon ... a series based on the Michael Connelly novels about LA Detective Harry Bosch (played with brooding intensity by Titus Welliver). The pilot came out about a year ago, made an immediate impression, and now the series is ready to go. Yippee.




While I was in Florida last week, I had the opportunity to eat at a Winter Park restaurant called The Ravenous Pig, and I can only describe the meal as sensational. We started with an appetizer of tacos made with crispy rock shrimp, cilantro, avocado and pickled jalapeño, and then followed that with yellowfin tuna rubbed with alepo pepper and served with heirloom tomato and farro. It was all melt in your mouth good ... especially with the Pazo Senorans 2013 Albarino that we used to wash it all down.

One other thing. The Ravenous Pig serves this amazing Old Fashioned, which is made from bacon-infused bourbon, vanilla maple, bitters...and a small slice of bacon. Just spectacular.




That's it for this week ... have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Slàinte!
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