Tag Archives: TV

My Family’s Netflix Adventures


A funny thing happened when my family and I were checking out Dawn of the Croods, a recently released Netflix Original.

As my whole family enjoyed a little bit of downtime in between Taekwondo, basketball, and swim lessons, we delighted in the adventures of our favorite prehistoric family (sorry Flintstones). Suddenly I had a thought, and said “Wouldn’t it be awesome to live back in this time and be a cave family?”

The rest of my family thought I was nuts, but I love an adventure. And as the Croods prove, back then just leaving the cave was the adventure of a lifetime. They couldn’t Google everything or use Wikipedia to get a plethora of information at the drop of a hat. They had to experience life and figure it out on their own. When you think about it, it’s the ultimate adventure every single day. A little dangerous? Sure. But that unpredictability just makes it all the more interesting.

Naturally, this started quite the debate as my family members then took turns describing which Netflix world they’d enter if they could have their own imaginative, TV-inspired adventure.


My wife, MJ, was the first to chime in and she knew exactly where she’d be off to — Berk.

For the uninitiated, that’s the village in the Netflix Original How to Train Your Dragon, Dragons: Race to the Edge. My wife is slightly obsessed with all things HTTYD, and she would love to live in the age of vikings and — more importantly — dragons.

“Are you kidding me? Of course I’d live in Berk. I’d get to fly a dragon and have one as a pet. Who the heck would pass up a chance to fly and own a pet dragon??”


My oldest son Will is a little more practical. Don’t get me wrong, he wouldn’t pass up the chance to ride a dragon. However, my analytical 7-year-old is obsessed with documentaries at the moment, and Titanic has his complete focus.

He wants to delve into the Titanic’s Final Mystery documentary and be able to go back in time to April 14, 1912 — the night history’s most infamous passenger ship struck an iceberg and began its slow, deadly descent into the depths of the ocean. Will said he wants to know how the ship hit the iceberg, why it didn’t see it, what the captain and crew were doing at the time, and is interested in the physics of how it actually sank. But he does have one caveat.

“I don’t want to have an adventure on the ship, I want to be on the iceberg. Because I don’t want to die in the cold water.”


My 2-year-old, Sam, only had one word to describe his most sought after adventure: REVVIT!!

He loves Dinotrux. I mean, LOVES it! And his favorite character by far is Revvit, the tiny “reptool” who fixes the larger dinotrux and is everyone’s favorite little helper. It’s awesome watching Sam get lost in the ridiculously cool world Netflix and DreamWorks brought to life, with dinosaur-machine hybrids roaming the Earth and learning lessons of teamwork and friendship.


I jokingly asked my 4-month-old Tommy where he’d like to go on his Netflix adventure, not expecting him to answer. But much to my amazement, he gave me one. He didn’t say it out loud or anything — the kid can’t talk, he’s only 4 months old. But I can take a hint.

He looked at me with glazed over eyes, grunted inaudibly, grabbed my car key out of his hand and threw it on the ground, and just then his older brothers farted loudly and blamed it on him. I knew without a doubt that was Tommy’s way of saying he wanted to travel to Manitowoc County in Wisconsin, home to the now infamous Netflix documentary Making a Murderer.

I won’t give you any spoilers or go into detail, except to say you HAVE to see this documentary. It’s insane, and it’ll leave you playing the “Is he guilty or innocent?” game along with the rest of the Internet.

So there you have it, our Netflix inspired adventures for 2016. Where would you and your family choose to go?


StreamTeamBadgeI was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an a smart TV. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

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The Real Reason The Walking Dead Scares Me


The Walking Dead terrifies me, but not for the reasons you’d think.

It’s Halloween and scary movies/TV shows are all anyone is watching.  AMC’s The Walking Dead (available on Netflix) tops that list for many because it is a thrilling epic involving hordes of flesh-eating zombies that are quickly taking over the world and snuffing out the last bits of humanity that remain. And to make matters worse, some of the people untainted by the mystery plague zombifying the world have turned into violent sociopaths hellbent on killing everyone they meet.

But while there have been countless gut-wrenching death scenes (too often involving our most beloved characters) featuring people being ripped apart by the undead, zombies and gore don’t scare me.

I’m most horrified by the idea of being a parent in a climate of hopelessness.

Rick Grimes leads a band of misfits through the ongoing apocalypse, but first and foremost he has to worry about his teenage son Carl and his toddler Judith. Being exposed to that unyielding and unsafe environment is bad enough, but having to worry about your kids in it? It’s the most terrifying thing I can think of.

Maybe it scares me more these days because sometimes it feels like we’re not so far removed from The Walking Dead.

If you’re a news junkie like I am, it’s difficult sometimes to read the headlines every day and not wonder if bringing three kids into this world is an act of cruelty. Kids are shot to death in schools and in accidents after getting a hold of loaded weapons on a damn near daily basis, yet no one in charge will even attempt to fix the problem. Too many families live in poverty and then have to deal with the added insult of being vilified for accepting handouts.

In the show, the longer Rick is exposed to this environment the more of his humanity erodes. The very meaning of decency changes in real time, and doing the right thing becomes an impossibility because the “right thing” loses all meaning. Rick, in an attempt to protect his family, has gotten dangerously close to turning into the very thing he guards against. After one hits a certain point, sometimes there’s no return.

As a frequent denizen of Internet comment sections, I have seen a lot of ugliness from a lot of people. There’s a certain segment of the population that is honestly looking forward to an end-of-days scenario like The Walking Dead. They secretly (and not-so-secretly) wish for armed revolution. For a chance to overthrow the government. For chaos and insurrection and every man for himself survival of the fittest. They pine for the day they can put their stockpile of weapons and their bunker to good use.

The storylines in The Walking Dead don’t scare me because they’re spooky fiction, but because of how quickly it could become reality. And I’m scared to death of raising kids in the thick of hopelessness and horror.

But hey, it’s just a TV show. Right?


StreamTeamBadgeI was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an iPad Mini. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

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Dinotrux Roars onto Netflix

As part of the Netflix StreamTeam, the company paid for my travel & hotel accommodations to visit DreamWorks Animation in June. But as always all opinions are my own.


Have you ever seen certain people and judged them immediately without ever having so much as a conversation with them? Have you ever been completely wrong in your assumption?

Welcome to the premise of Dinotrux — a fantastic new show from DreamWorks airing on Netflix August 14. Two months ago I was lucky enough to fly out to DreamWorks in California, where I was able to get a behind the scenes peek at how Dinotrux was made, do an actual voiceover, meet some show executives, and take in the first two episodes.

And let me tell you, young kids (and their parents) will love it.

What Is Dinotrux About?

Do you have kids who like dinosaurs? How about construction vehicles? Well, welcome to a TV show that hits the kid sweet spot — dinosaurs combined with construction vehicles. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds and yes your kids will want one immediately.

Ty is a hybrid tyrannosaurus rex and megaton excavator, whose species is the biggest and baddest in the Mechazoic era. But when his village is destroyed and he is injured by a volcano, he wanders the prehistoric landscape to find a new home in a crater teeming with other creatures with plenty of Ty’s favorite food: ore.  But the problem is T-truxes are universally feared by other creatures, meaning no one will talk to Ty.

No one except Revvit.

Revvit is a Reptool (lizard + rotary drill) who goes against millions of years of prevailing wisdom to courageously talk to Ty. The entire village is amazed by the dinotrux-reptool partnership, and soon a few more eager recruits join the cause.

Skya is a sassy Craneosaur (brachiosaurus + construction crane); Ton-Ton is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants daredevil Ankylodump (ankylosaurus + dump truck); and Dozer is a curmudgeonly but kind Dozeratops (triceratops + bulldozer). They soon find themselves on a series of adventures against their nemesis, another T-trux name D-Structs, who hates to share and wants Ty out of the village.


Why Your Kid Will Like Dinotrux

A good show hits on universal themes, and executive producers Ron Burch and David Kidd pull this off in masterful style with Dinotrux.

Each episode has an adventure and provides a lesson in friendship, teamwork, and problem-solving. When one of the gang gets stuck in a tar pit, it takes quick thinking and action from all the other friends to come to the rescue. And when Scraptors and Scraptadactyls — predators who will literally pick about dinotrux and reptools to feast on them — kidnap some Reptools and take them to a nest, the dinotrux team has to create a distraction and build a ladder to get them down safely.

After talking with Ron and David, I also liked how the writers and animators stuck to the laws of physics to create a more realistic prehistoric universe. That’s right. Even though the premise is clearly made up, they made sure all the creatures adhere to the laws of physics. So if a reptool has the body of a pipe wrench, it’s not going to bend or wrap around a tree. The show has a mechanical feel to it and the writers and producers didn’t want to detract from that.


The Coolest Part of My Dinotrux Adventure

Have you ever loved a cartoon so much you wished you were a part of it? I absolutely have, and thanks to Netflix and DreamWorks I’ve also experienced being a part of it.

I was downright giddy when they told me we’d be headed into the recording studio to do some voice over work. And lest you think voice actors have it made and it’s all a piece of cake, allow me to disabuse you of that notion immediately. It’s pretty difficult to get the timing down and voice a character that is multifaceted with lots of emotional complexity. And yes, even fictional Reptools have layers. Also, the room full of bloggers will tell you it takes more than a few takes to get something even remotely usable. Here’s my attempt:

It took me almost 10 minutes to do this one line. Now imagine the editing and production that goes into producing the full 10-show season that’s about to drop on Netflix this Friday. And that’s in addition to creating the characters and imagining the unprecedented world in which these characters live.

I have a newfound appreciation for the work these guys do and the blood, sweat, and tears they pour into these shows. I can’t wait for Sam to take this in and even though Will is on the older end of the demographic spectrum, he’ll probably like it too.

Give Dinotrux a shot on Aug. 14 and let me know how you like it.


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When Our Dragons Leave the Nest


It took me a bit to figure out why I was having such a visceral reaction to the Netflix Originals series Dragons: Race to the Edge. But when I finally figured it out, it made perfect sense.

This DreamWorks animated show is related to the feature films, but takes place between the first and second movies. Whereas the first How to Train Your Dragon was Hiccup finding himself discovering how to interact with people in his world, the show takes place a few years later. Hiccup and the dragon riders are older — well into their teenage years — and teeming with youthful pride, arrogance, and that unavoidable yearning for independence.

As you can see from the map above (taken at DreamWorks during an event last month), the center is their home island of Berk. When the first movie started, that hunk of rock was all Hiccup knew. It was his world and his entire universe. But after befriending dragons and using them as a means to explore, their world got a lot bigger.

That’s great for my 7-year-old, who binge-watched this as his summer vacation started and marveled at all the new adventures the characters were having and all the fresh discoveries of new lands and types of dragons. He wants to be Hiccup and Astrid and Fishlegs, out there in the brave new world making important and exciting discoveries. And who can blame him?

As for me, I found myself commiserating with Stoic, Hiccup’s dad. Why? Because he was struggling with conflicting emotions regarding his son going off into the world. He’s a protector, and that protection has always come by gathering everyone together on the island of Berk to keep everyone safe. Safe at home. Safe from harm.

But even in fictional worlds set in a time long since gone, parents still struggle with letting go.

I realized I was relating to this show because the kids (and the dragons) are literally leaving the nest. Stoic is watching his son leave home and establish his own identity with equal parts pride and worry. For parents, the toughest part of kids growing up is letting them stand on their own two feet and losing the ability to protect them at all times.

So as Hiccup and gang explore dangerous new places, deal with conflict both internally as well as taking on enemies, and learn to survive on their own, I just keep looking at Will and wondering how I’ll cope.

Right now his map is our small New England town. But as he gets his proverbial dragon wings, that circle will grow. Breakneck bog will be the next town over when he can ride his bike on his own. His driver’s license will take him to SnowWraith Island with friends. And it’ll be the far-flung Eret’s Island if he decides to go far away for college and life afterward.

Will watches Dragons with wide-eyed enthusiasm and longing for adventure. I watch it through Stoic’s eyes. The eyes of a parent. Eyes that get occasionally moist with a mix of pride and worry at the thought of my son striking out on his own, outside of my direct protection.

I’d feel a lot better if he could take Toothless to college.

Toothless!!! #dreamworksdragons

A video posted by Aaron Gouveia (@daddyfiles) on



I was compensated by Netflix for writing this post in the form of an all-expense paid trip to DreamWorks Animation in California. Also, as part of the StreamTeam, I received free Netflix for a year and an iPad Mini. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

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If You’re Defending Josh Duggar, You’re the Problem

Josh Duggar repeatedly molested underage girls, including his sisters, while his parents sought to cover it up and avoid talking to the proper authorities. You’ve seen the news by now and you know how utterly revolting it is from every angle. I don’t need to cover the horrifying details here.

I read the news last night as I was going to bed. I thought finally, even the most ardent supporters of TLC’s clown show won’t be able to spin this, and perhaps common sense will prevail. The blanket condemnation and the collective horror at not just Josh’s action, but the duplicitous cover-up by his parents, will be the nudge all of the extreme fundamentalists require to come to their senses.

Turns out I was giving that particular group far too much credit.

Right, Samantha. Because the first thing a rational person thinks after finding out about a serial child molester who targeted sleeping children including his own sisters aided by his parents in a massive coverup to hide the facts until the statute of limitations had run out, should be “Boy, I really hope I can still watch all these people on TV every week.”

Oh you’re sorry, Republican Girl. You are very, very sorry. Mainly because your definition of “amazing people” includes child molesters and those who enable them.


Catherine has taken the “blame the media” approach and given it an Alex Rodriguez level steroid injection. Instead of questioning why Josh Duggar is molesting young girls and, more importantly, why his parents wouldn’t alert the proper authorities, she points the finger at the DAMN MEDIA! After all, how dare reporters look under the surface for things and file FOIA requests to obtain information from official sources and then publish that information for people to read. Wait. What? That’s PRECISELY the job of media members everywhere? Oh. Well, nevermind then…

These two esteemed Twitter users were far from alone in making this point. As instructed by the Far Right Emergency Handbook, religious conservatives everywhere immediately started shouting about Lena Dunham (and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton too, just because) and pointing out the LIBERAL HYPOCRISY of getting upset about one and not the other.

Dunham, in case you hadn’t heard, described a moment in her childhood when she — at the age of 7 — looked in her 1-year-old sister’s vagina, found some pebbles, and then alerted her mother. Clearly this single incident is exactly the same thing as being a 14-year-old, repeatedly groping and fondling young girls while they’re sleeping, having your parents cover up that abuse over the course of years, all the while telling anyone within earshot gay people are dangerous pedophiles.

That’s not just apples and oranges, it’s apples and fire hydrants.


Got that? It’s less about the criminal molestation and more about the actions afterward. And Josh Duggar apologized, so dude — move on already! Right? Hell, this thing has been in the news cycle a whole 20 hours and we’re STILL TALKING ABOUT IT! But it’s interesting Valerie thinks failing to alert the authorities and trying to pass off a summer remodeling homes as “therapy” is “lifting up the name of Jesus.” Jesus didn’t return an email seeking comment for this piece, but I have to believe he’s not too thrilled to be involved in this one.


This is the craziest comment I’ve personally seen on this issue. And it’s also the most frightening, because it’s 100% pure, unadulterated praise. For Josh Duggar. An admitted child molester.

Kelly is right in that Josh Duggar didn’t “justify or defend.” Mainly because there’s just no way to justify or defend being a serial child abuser. And yes, he confessed. Bravo. It only took him 13 years, a hidden letter in a book that was sent to Oprah Winfrey’s show, and multiple FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests that revealed hard evidence in the form of police reports that couldn’t be denied.

But “humility and redemption?” Is it humble to publicly call gay and transgender people dangerous pedophiles when YOU are actually the dangerous pedophile? Sorry, but I fail to see how Josh Duggar is “redeemed” by being exposed as a dangerous and utterly hypocritical fondler of young girls, and part of a family that would DARE cast stones regarding homosexuality when they were housing and covering up for a pedophile in their own four walls.

When you think about it, several members of the Duggar family seem more like sociopaths than anything else.

All I can think about are those poor girls, the victims of Josh Duggar’s abuse. Did they get the help they need? Have they suffered additional trauma having to live with their abuser and see him every single day for all these years? Or were they afterthoughts in the mad scramble to protect poor Josh’s reputation?

Either way, if you’re someone publicly defending Josh Duggar or the Duggar family after this unspeakable atrocity, you are every bit as big of a problem as the perpetrators.

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