Last week in Paradise…

Well, the suitcases are out and ready to be packed as we are leaving next Sunday, so I am obviously procrastinating on packing by writing this blog. I procrastinated on writing this blog yesterday by spending a good part of the day golfing in 90 degree heat and then recovering by floating around my swimming pool.
This past week we went on a lovely Naples Conservancy Cruise through the mangrove bays around the gulf with lunch at Pelican Bend on Isle of Capri. We were very lucky to see many nesting Ospreys and their fledgelings as well as frolicking dolphins.  This week our film group is going to see Finding Your Feet on Wednesday. I will be hosting a farewell Mimosa session for our fitness group. The night before we leave we will be going to a farewell neighbourhood party next Saturday night. We will be on the road back to the Great White North next Sunday!

On the Big Screen

Our film group is headed to the actual theatre this week to see Finding your Feet, a generic English comedy about a woman finding herself after discovering that her husband is having an affair with her best friend. In the mold of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movies, all Hugh Grant comedies, all Judi Dench/Maggie Smith conedies, I am assuming that one forgets the plot lines of these movies on leaving the theatre. Our film group just watched two in-house films Loving Vincent and The Florida Project which were extremely memorable and stay with you long after viewing them.  Sometimes you just have to go and see something that is lightly entertaining.

New Show Alert and Old Shows Return

True confession:  I now have so many programs stored on my PVR that I think I have passed the point of no return.  There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to watch all the shows I have recorded, and there is little chance that I will be able to watch the new shows that continue to debut every day of the week.  There has been almost no rain this winter in southwest Florida, so no excuse for staying indoors and couch potatoeing away days on end.  Maybe some of you are stuck indoors and actually have time to watch TV and may appreciate this list of new shows that are appearing on the schedule:
Unforgotten is a mystery series that premieres Sunday nights on Masterpiece; originally produced for ITV in Britain it’s an 18 episode miniseries starring British stalwarts like Nicola Walker, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Trevor Eve, Mark Bonnar, Gemma Jones, etc.
Howard’s End is a 4 episode miniseries that premieres Sunday nights on STARZ; focussing on the social and class divisions in early 20th C England, it stars Matthew Mcfadyen and Hayley Attwell.
Killing Eve is a 9 episode suspense miniseries debuting on BBC America on Sundays; it stars Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw
Paterno is a TV movie that debuted this weekend on HBO; it stars Al Pacino as Joe Paterno the longtime Penn State football coach who got caught up in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal
The Crossing is a 12 episode science fiction mystery that debuted on ABC last week; it stars Steve Zahn in the role of a lifetime as the sheriff of a small town that sees refugees from a war-torn country 180 years in the future who start showing up in the present to seek asylum in his town
The Child in Time is a 130 minute film from BBC that debuted on PBS last week and stars Benedict Cumberland and Kelly McDonald as parents whose little girl has disappeared.  Sad, elegiac and confusing. For Benedict Cumberland fanatics only.
The Expanse returns to SyFy channel for its 3rd season this week;  it is a mind blowing space series starring sultry Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo and Steven Strait in a world that is constantly at war with other worlds and within itself
Imposters returned to Bravo last week for its second season; it’s a dark comedy that focuses on a female con artist who marries people and then disappears with their money; this show is funny and smart and has a great cast that includes Uma Thurman and Brian Benben
Legion returned for its second season last week; it is a bat shit crazy series on FX from the Marvel Universe that stars Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as the superhero mutant son of X Man Xavier; David Haller is a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter, he discovers special powers that will change his life forever
Tracey Morgan The Last OG is a sitcom that debuted last week on TBS and stars Tracy Morgan as an ex-felon who is shocked to see just how much the world has changed when he is released from prison for good behaviour after a 15-year stint and returns to his newly gentrified Brooklyn neighbourhood; I hated Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock, but actually enjoyed him in this very silly fish out of water series
Trust is a miniseries about the Getty kidnapping on FX that debuted a couple of weeks ago; starring Donald Sutherland as JPGetty, the richest man in the world; it differs from the feature film starring Christopher Plummer, in that it’s told in long story form over 10 hours and seems to indicate that JPGetty III is complicit in his own kidnapping as he tries to repay a Mafia debt; great cast (Hilary Swank is Getty III’s mom) and well worth watching
Splitting up Together is a newish sitcom on ABC that stars Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson; it’s the story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce; I liked it, I really liked it
Suits has returned to conclude its (yawn) 7th season; Princess Meghan and Patrick J. Adams will leave the series at the end of this season, so that is the only reason to watch anymore; I now officially hate every other character
The Americans has returned for its last season on FX and it’s darker and more complicated than ever; the Berlin Wall is falling and with it Communism, so the lives of our characters are about to change

Streaming and Netflix

Annihilation is a science fiction film about a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply; starring Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh this movie is a total waste of time.  For Natalie Portman fanatics only
The Commuter is a suspense film about a businessman who is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home; ludicrous and action packed; for Liam Neeson fanatics only
The Titan is a truly awful science fiction film starring Sam Worthington; when I give up on a film after 15 minutes, it’s usually because I have decided that life is truly too short to be spent watching something exasperating and boring
The Looming Tower is a 10 hour miniseries from Hulu about the events leading up to 9/11; it stars Jeff Daniels and Peter Sarsgaard as adversaries in the FBI and CIA who are constantly battling over turf in an attempt to head off terrorist attacks against the US; heartbreaking and powerful, this is must see viewing
Wild Wild Country is a 6 hr miniseries that tells the story of what happens when the world’s most controversial guru builds a utopian city deep in the Oregon desert and conflict with the locals escalates into a national scandal. A true story!

Regular addictions

Sunday nights are now incredibly complicated by the fact that programmers seem determined to present their best content all at the same time.  It’s going to take me all week to finish viewing last night’s programs:
Call the Midwife
Barry
Billions
The Good Fight
Homeland
The Kennedy’s on CNN
The Child in Time Masterpiece Theatre
Silicon Valley
Jesus Christ Superstar (ok, this special was on last week, but it was fabulous and is available on demand from NBC)
Here and Now
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Howard’s End
Killing Eve
Unforgotten
The Walking Dead
Trust

The rest of the week

OK, some of following content is formulaic and juvenile, but I just can’t look away!
60 Minutes
PBS Frontline
CBS Sunday Morning
Riverdale
Roseanne
The Terror
Corporate
Designated Survivor
Gotham
Arrow
IZombie
Rise
Legion
Hap and Leonard
Real Time with Bill Maher
Unreal
Jim Jeffries
Samantha Bee Full Frontal
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Closing Words

I will be taking a bit of a break from blogging as most of next week starting April 15 we will be on the road and out of television range. We plan to spend two nights in Savannah, Georgia and three days visiting friends in Pinehurst, NC. We should be arriving back in Toronto by April 21. It has truly been an amazing season of extraordinary weather with friendship, golf, mahjong, book group, film group, fitness, bicycling, touring, hosting and general good times. Fingers crossed that it will be daffodil time and that the snow and ice will be long past when we return home to family and friends next week. Best wishes to all our fellow Snowbirds who are on the road in the next couple of weeks. It will be hard to say goodbye to Paradise. Hugs to all my friends facing medical challenges.
Advertisements

Two weeks to go!

Well it’s been another action packed week!  We had company from Toronto, so we got to revisit Campiello’s on Third, one of our favourite spots for people watching and great Italian food; we had a great sunset Cosmos pizza on the beach and cocktails with neighbours; I got my last Steinmart shopping fix in; our girlfriends group said goodbye to one of our neighbours who is moving to a nearby community; I had one of my last rounds of golf in my ladies’ league; we managed to get together with dear friends from our Thornbury community for an end of season feast at The Quarry in North Naples.  I also managed to squeeze in a little Theatre and TV and can make some recommendations as follows:

Live Theatre

Bench in the Sun by Ron Clark at The Marco Players’ Theatre.  This was a very touching little community production about two old friends in a retirement community whose friendship is challenged when a lovely woman comes upon the scene.  Everyone in the audience could relate to the challenges of growing old in Florida. I was tickled to be invited to join a group of neighbours when an extra ticket became available.  Seeing local theatre here is one of my goals and I loved the opportunity to discover another venue on Marco Island.

Revisiting

Journey’s End is a very dark but touching film about a handful of British soldiers at the front in WWI; I had seen this little gem at the Toronto International Film Festival last September and it is just now getting a commercial release; starring Sam Claflin (Me Before You), Paul Bethany, Toby Jones, Tom Sturridge, and Asa Butterfield; these soldiers await their fate in a trench as conditions around them continue to deteriorate.  Here’s what the critics are saying:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/reviews/article-review-world-war-i-drama-journeys-end-elevated-by-superb-cast/

The Florida Project is another very impressive little film about a young woman and her precocious 6-year-old daughter surviving in a welfare motel on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida. This is the film for which Willem Dafoe was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award.  Most of the other performers in the film are first time actors.  The little girl in the lead role is incredibly charismatic and you won’t be able to take your eyes off her.  It’s a small independent film that I will be showing to my film group this week as it was very hard to find in Naples before the Oscars.  Here’s what the critics had to say:

https://www.rogerebert.com/festivals-and-awards/cannes-2017-sean-bakers-the-florida-project

Special Easter Programming

Jesus Christ Superstar concert production is live tonight on NBC; starring John Legend, Sara Bareilles and Alice Cooper; could be great or could be painful; you never know with a live production!!!

Series Debut

The Terror on Mondays on AMC; all episodes released on demand; great British cast stars in this scary Alien on the ice tale that retells the story of the lost Franklin Arctic expedition to find the Northwest Passage; set in 1845, it’s a horrific tale of a monster and the elements devastating this brave group of seamen; starring Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies and Ciaran Hinds.  Terrifying!
Here’s what the Deadline Hollywood had to say about it:

Series Return

The Americans is back on FX Wednesdays for its last season; we’re in 1987 and the Berlin Wall is about to collapse; Gorbachev is facing challenges within Russia which have repercussions for our two sleeper agents in Washington; their teenage daughter has enthusiastically joined the family business and is a junior agent now; the show is very complex as the couple works at cross purposes and several cases are on the go. One screen only viewing experience!
Here’s what John Doyle from the Globe and Mail had to say about it:
Billions the cat and mouse game continues in its third season between US Attorney (Paul Giamatti) and hedge fund king (Damian Lewis) on Showtime Sundays
Suits continues its 7th season on USA network; this is the year that the show says goodbye to Patrick J. Adams and soon to be princess Meghan Markle
Jim Jeffries is an acerbic Australian comedian with his own show on Monday nights on Comedy; he sees America from a completely outsiders’ view

Series you may not be watching

Hap and Leonard originates on Sundance and is now in its third season; I love this sweet swamp noir tale of two best friends in the deep south in the late 1980’s; great cast with James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Willias
The Good Fight continues its second season on CBS All Access; classy spinoff from The Good Wife with Christine Baranski continuing in her role as Diane Lockhart
The Path with Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) concluded its third season on Hulu this past week; a dark exploration of life inside a cult

My Usual Addictions

Counterpart – concludes its first season on STARZ Sundays this week but available on demand; mysterious miniseries set in a parallel universe Berlin
Homeland – on Showtime Sundays; we’re in Washington now and the President sees enemies everywhere; just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get you
Here and Now – on HBO Sundays; a less maudlin version of This is Us with a little magical realism thrown in

The Walking Dead – now in its 8th season on AMC Sundays; the survivors still face a harrowing world where everyone is out to get them

The Chi – on Showtime Sundays; this series explores life on the south side of Chicago; if you were a fan of The Wire, you will love this series which completed its first season last week and will continue to be available on demand

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – on HBO Sundays; Oliver gives his sardonic twist to today’s events

IZombie – on The CW Mondays; a comedic series where zombies are generally the good guys
The Resident – on Fox Mondays; a medical procedural with a great cast

The Alienist – on TNT Mondays; olde time police procedural with a great cast
The Good Doctor – on ABC Mondays; a medical procedural with a twist – our lead character is an autistic doctor!

Unreal – on Lifetime Mondays; although I’ve never watched a single episode of The Bachelor, this parody does explore the machinations behind reality TV; I do enjoy its rather venal take on Hollywood

Rise – very sweet show on NBC Tuesdays; watch it if you love musical series set in a high school; it is extraordinarily reminiscent of Friday Night Lights, the show about high school football in a small Texas town  which I absolutely loved and still miss; full disclosure: I started life as a high school theatre arts teacher, and there couldn’t be a show I would be more naturally inclined to admire, so I will give this new series my full attention

The X-Files – on Fox Wednesdays; last week’s episode was the last of the season; very sweet and affectionate considering it dealt with the pursuit of their child William; do Mulder and Scully have a happily ever after?

Riverdale – on the CW Wednesdays; not your granny’s Archie Comics as sex, violence and intrigue abounds

9-1-1 – on Fox Wednesdaysmedical/legal/firefighter procedural all rolled into one show about LA’s emergency services operations; very entertaining and superb cast including Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Connie Britton; this series completed its debut season last week but episodes will continue to be available on demand

Designated Survivor – on ABC Wednesdays; ludicrous political suspense series featuring a totally unqualified man suddenly elevated to the position of President of the US; like that could actually happen?

The Assassination of Gianni Versace – on FX Wednesdays; dark and sad exploration of the events around this murder; finished its season last week but will continue to be available on demand

Corporate – on Comedy Central Wednesdays; hilarious parody of corporate life

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – on TBS Wednesdays; Bee’s comedic take on current events

Gotham – on Fox Thursdays; now in its 4th season, this very gothic series explores the beginnings of the Batman story; I am a huge fan of Ben McKenzie since his breakout role on The O.C. and then Southland, so I take real pleasure in this campy show which shows the back stories of all the DC characters in the Batman comics

Real Time with Bill Maher – on HBO Fridays; great panels discuss current events

Strike Back – airs new episodes on Cinemax Fridays; mayhem abounds as a special ops team from British military intelligence completes high risk missions around the globe

Saturday Night Live – on NBC Saturdays; now in its 43rd season, this venerable comedy/variety series still keeps chugging along capturing the zeitgeist of our times; there was a very clever CBC satire on last week’s episode hosted by Bill Hader (the word “sorry” was overused to hilarious effect).

Shows that keep me sane

CBS Sunday Morning – on CBS Sundays; the news show that does personal interest pieces and has done since 1979; anything from interviews with actors, political figures, athletes, musicians, etc. This show continually informs and inspires.  Very soothing in these turbulent times.

The Comedians (Stephen Colbert on CBS nightly; Trevor Noah on Comedy Central M-Th; Jimmy Kimmel on ABC nightly; Seth Meyers on NBC nightly; James Corden on CBS nightly; Samantha Bee on TBS Wednesdays, Bill Maher on HBO Fridays). Some times you just have to laugh at the madness around us as these satirists poke fun at current events.

Closing Words

Happy April’s Fools Day everyone!  Today we are headed to an Easter Sunday Feast at our clubhouse.  Later in the week, we are meeting for dinner with old friends who are staying in Pelican Bay.  I will host my movie group by showing The Florida Project, a marvellous little movie about living a marginalized existence in Orlando, Florida. Our book group is meeting to discuss Breakfast at Sally’s, a touching book about a marketing executive who loses his business to bankruptcy and who lives among the homeless in Washington state. It will be my second last round of golf with my 9-hole ladies group on Tuesday.  Boo hoo, as I continue to say goodbye to the many lovely women I’ve met here who are soon departing for places north.  It’s been a great winter season here, and now it’s flying by.  Have a wonderful week wherever you are.  Safe travels to those of you who are on the move. Hugs to friends dealing with medical challenges.

Naples paradise continues…

Instinct – I am not sure I like this show on CBS Sundays which premiered last week; a former CIA operative (Alan Cumming from The Good Wife), who has since built a “normal” life as a gifted professor and writer, is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose; the pilot episode was appallingly lame

Counterpart – on STARZ Sundays; mysterious miniseries set in a parallel universe Berlin
Homeland – on Showtime Sundays; we’re in Washington now and the President sees enemies everywhere; just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get you
Here and Now – on HBO Sundays; a less maudlin version of This is Us

The Walking Dead – now in its 8th season on AMC Sundays; the survivors still face a harrowing world where everyone is out to get them

The Chi – on Showtime Sundays; this series explores life on the south side of Chicago; if you were a fan of The Wire, you will love this series which completed its first season last week and will continue to be available on demand

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – on HBO Sundays; Oliver gives his sardonic twist to today’s events

IZombie – on The CW Mondays; a comedic series where zombies are generally the good guys
The Resident – on Fox Mondays; a medical procedural with a great cast

The Alienist – on TNT Mondays; olde time police procedural with a great cast
The Good Doctor – on ABC Mondays; a medical procedural with a twist – our lead character is an autistic doctor!

Unreal – on Lifetime Mondays; although I’ve never watched a single episode of The Bachelor, this parody does explore the machinations behind reality TV; I do enjoy its rather venal take on Hollywood

Rise – very sweet show on NBC Tuesdays; watch it if you love musical series set in a high school; it is extraordinarily reminiscent of Friday Night Lights, the show about high school football in a small Texas town  which I absolutely loved and still miss; full disclosure: I started life as a high school theatre arts teacher, and there couldn’t be a show I would be more naturally inclined to admire, so I will give this new series my full attention

The X-Files – on Fox Wednesdays; last week’s episode was the last of the season; very sweet and affectionate considering it dealt with the pursuit of their child William; do Mulder and Scully have a happily ever after?

Riverdale – on the CW Wednesdays; not your granny’s Archie Comics as sex, violence and intrigue abounds

9-1-1 – on Fox Wednesdaysmedical/legal/firefighter procedural all rolled into one show about LA’s emergency services operations; very entertaining and superb cast including Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Connie Britton; this series completed its debut season last week but episodes will continue to be available on demand

Designated Survivor – on ABC Wednesdays; ludicrous political suspense series featuring a totally unqualified man suddenly elevated to the position of President of the US; like that could actually happen?

The Assassination of Gianni Versace – on FX Wednesdays; dark and sad exploration of the events around this murder; finished its season last week but will continue to be available on demand

Corporate – on Comedy Central Wednesdays; hilarious parody of corporate life

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – on TBS Wednesdays; Bee’s comedic take on current events

Gotham – on Fox Thursdays; now in its 4th season, this very gothic series explores the beginnings of the Batman story; I am a huge fan of Ben McKenzie since his breakout role on The O.C. and then Southland, so I take real pleasure in this campy show which shows the back stories of all the DC characters in the Batman comics

Real Time with Bill Maher – on HBO Fridays; great panels discuss current events

Strike Back – airs new episodes on Cinemax Fridays; mayhem abounds as a special ops team from British military intelligence completes high risk missions around the globe

Saturday Night Live – on NBC Saturdays; now in its 43rd season, this venerable comedy/variety series still keeps chugging along capturing the zeitgeist of our times; there was a very clever CBC satire on last week’s episode hosted by Bill Hader (the word “sorry” was overused to hilarious effect)

Shows that keep me sane

CBS Sunday Morning – on CBS Sundays; the news show that does personal interest pieces and has done since 1979; anything from interviews with actors political figures, athletes, musicians, etc. This show continually informs and inspires.  Very soothing in these turbulent times.

The Comedians (Stephen Colbert on CBS nightly; Trevor Noah on Comedy Central M-Th; Jimmy Kimmel on ABC nightly; Seth Meyers on NBC nightly; James Corden on CBS nightly; Samantha Bee on TBS Wednesdays, Bill Maher on HBO Fridays). Some times you just have to laugh at the madness around us as these satirists poke fun at current events.

Closing Words

It’s going to be a busy week here. Today we’re having our street party for our block and the next one over. Company arrives on Monday for the week and we will be taking them to various spots for excursions and nights out. Wednesday we are gathering for a farewell drink for a neighbour who is moving to a nearby subdivision for a bigger house and garage. Time is quickly ticking away as we count down our last three weeks. Oh no….

Having trouble fitting everything in…

I’ve been seriously overbooked this past week, trying to see lots of friends before folks go home for Easter. New shows are appearing throughout the spring  and I am desperately trying to keep up with them. Here’s an article to help you keep track:
Here are some viewing recommendations for the week ahead:

Netflix

Tulip Fever – feature film 2017; I must admit that when I saw this newly added to Netflix I was thrilled; an amazing cast that includes Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz – what could possibly go wrong?  This was a very troubled production that kept getting delayed, recast and then finally made on a lowish budget; filmed like a Rembrandt or Vermeer painting and set in 17th C. Amsterdam during the days of Tulip Fever, this unlikely romance film offered period costumes and accents; perfect for snoozing!  It is certainly snoozable, but at times makes very little sense. Beautiful to look at though!
Jessica Jones – season 2, 13 episodes; Krysten Ritter stars as a hardboiled private eye with superpowers; she is rebuilding her personal life and career as a hot-tempered, sardonic private eye in Hell’s Kitchen NYC; plagued by self-loafing and a wicked case of PTSD, Jessica battles demons from within and without, using her extraordinary abilities as an unlikely champion for those in need…especially if they’re willing to cut her a check.

Streaming

Loving Vincent – feature film; it’s hard to describe how magical this wonderful film is.  In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days here. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature (it lost to Coco), this is a most unusual kind of biopic.  Using tens of thousands of oil paintings commissioned from scores of artists, the filmmakers transform famous works of modern art into a hypnotic and beguiling work of animation.  The people van Gogh rendered on canvas are brought to uncanny life, with the voices of professional actors, some of them well known. You may recognize the animated renderings of Douglas Booth and Chris O’ Dowd among many others. I loved this beautiful film and can’t recommend it highly enough.

The Good Fight – Season 2, 13 episodes; this spinoff from The Good Wife originates on CBS All Access but is available to stream; I love this wonderful show about Chicago’s legal community; on tonight’s episode, mass hysteria results with an apparent chemical attack on the law offices and the legal team takes on the case of a reality show contestant who is the victim of a sexual assault
The Path – Season 3, 13 episodes; originates on Hulu and available to stream; dark and mysterious series about the origins of and the life within a cult
Hap and Leonard – Season 3, 6 episodes; originates on Sundance but available to stream; I love this wonderful series about two brothers from different mothers in the 1980’s; it’s a darkly comic swamp noir of two best friends, one femme fatale, etc.; incredibly entertaining, it stars James Purefoy (Rome) and Michael Kenneth Williams (from The Wire)

Amazon

Absentia – 10 episode miniseries; after being declared dead in absentia, an FBI agent must reclaim her family, identity and innocence when she finds herself the prime suspect in a string of murders; stars Stana Katic (Castle); I’ve only seen 1 episode so far, but I will try and keep up

The usual addictions

Instinct – on CBS Sundays premieres tonight; a former CIA operative (Alan Cumming from The Good Wife), who has since built a “normal” life as a gifted professor and writer, is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose

Counterpart – on STARZ Sundays; mysterious miniseries set in a parallel universe Berlin
Homeland – on Showtime Sundays; we’re in Washington now and the President sees enemies everywhere; just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get you
Here and Now – on HBO Sundays; a less maudlin version of This is Us

The Walking Dead – now in its 8th season on AMC Sundays; the survivors still face a harrowing world where everyone is out to get them

The Chi – on Showtime Sundays; this series explores life on the south side of Chicago; if you were a fan of The Wire, you will love this series

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – on HBO Sundays; Oliver gives his sardonic twist to today’s events

IZombie – on The CW Mondays; a comedic series where zombies are generally the good guys
The Resident – on Fox Mondays; a medical procedural with a great cast

The Alienist – on TNT Mondays; olde time police procedural with a great cast
The Good Doctor – on ABC Mondays; a medical procedural with a twist – our lead character is an autistic doctor!
McMafia – on AMC Mondays; I’ve already bingewatched this one, but you can catch its 8 episodes on a weekly basis; good substitute for espionage films

Unreal – on Lifetime Mondays; although I’ve never watched a single episode of The Bachelor, this parody does explore the machinations behind reality TV; I do enjoy its rather venal take on Hollywood

This is Us – on NBC Tuesdays; maudlin but addictive family drama; get out your hankies!

Rise – on NBC Tuesdays; watch it if you love musical series set in a high school; it is extraordinarily reminiscent of Friday Night Lights, the show about high school football in a small Texas town  which I absolutely loved and still miss; full disclosure: I started life as a high school theatre arts teacher, and there couldn’t be a show I would be more naturally inclined to admire, so I will give this new series my full attention

The X-Files – on Fox Wednesdays; last week’s episode was the last of the season; very sweet and affectionate considering it dealt with a murderous cult; do Mulder and Scully have a happily ever after?

Riverdale – on the CW Wednesdays; not your granny’s Archie Comics as sex, violence and intrigue abounds

9-1-1 – on Fox Wednesdaysmedical/legal/firefighter procedural all rolled into one show about LA’s emergency services operations; very entertaining and superb cast including Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Connie Britton

Designated Survivor – on ABC Wednesdays; ludicrous political suspense series featuring a totally unqualified man suddenly elevated to the position of President of the US; like that could actually happen?

The Assassination of Gianni Versace – on ABC Wednesdays; dark and sad exploration of the events around this murder

Corporate – on Comedy Central Wednesdays; hilarious parody of corporate life

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – on TBS Wednesdays; Bee’s comedic take on current events

Gotham – on Fox Thursdays; now in its 4th season, this very gothic series explores the beginnings of the Batman story; I am a huge fan of Ben McKenzie since his breakout role on The O.C. and then Southland, so I take real pleasure in this campy show which shows the back stories of all the DC characters in the Batman comics

Real Time with Bill Maher – on HBO Fridays; great panels discuss current events

Strike Back – airs new episodes on Cinemax Fridays; mayhem abounds as a special ops team from British military intelligence completes high risk missions around the globe

Saturday Night Live – on NBC Saturdays; now in its 43rd season, this venerable comedy/variety series still keeps chugging along capturing the zeitgeist of our times; there was a very clever CBC satire on last night’s episode hosted by Bill Hader (the word “sorry” was overused to hilarious effect)

Shows that keep me sane

CBS Sunday Morning – on CBS Sundays; the news show that does personal interest pieces and has done since 1979; anything from interviews with actors political figures, athletes, musicians, etc. This show continually informs and inspires.  Very soothing in these turbulent times.

The Comedians (Stephen Colbert on CBS nightly; Trevor Noah on Comedy Central M-Th; Jimmy Kimmel on ABC nightly; Seth Meyers on NBC nightly; James Corden on CBS nightly; Samantha Bee on TBS Wednesdays, Bill Maher on HBO Fridays). Some times you just have to laugh at the madness around us as these satirists poke fun at current events.

Closing Words

We’ve been awfully busy this last week:  we finally made it to Naples’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the many high school marching bands; we dined out at several restaurants around town including 21 Spices, Kareem’s, Alberto’s, Bistro La Baguette, Mediterrano, Jeri Lu’s Kitchen and last but not least, our neighbourhood Panera to sample their new Breakfast Brioche.  We hosted George’s Orlando golf group for dinner last night (they leave for their big annual trip tomorrow) and are celebrating the end of a wonderful season of golfing with George’s Treviso Bay regulars tonight at our clubhouse.  This week I am attending a lunch talk with the authors of a beautiful book on Naples Beach Houses and we are participating in a tournament of our Georgian Bay Club golfers at Pelican Marsh. That’s on top of my usual golf and bocce activities!!  I will be taking a little rest from this swirl of activity when we get back to Toronto.  It’s in the 80’s today with blue sky and sun.  Enjoy your week wherever you are! Hugs to my friends dealing with medical challenges.

Counting down our final month…

We are now in the countdown process to heading home.  Trying to empty out the fridge and pantry; trying to make social engagement plans with all our friends and neighbours who are also heading home shortly; starting to count the last fitness classes, golf games, mahjong games,  bocce matches, etc.  This past week I had the great pleasure of participating in a fun golf event with the big girls who play the 18-hole course and played with a superb golfer who has made me reevaluate my golf game to the extent that I can see how being able to drive the green from many holes would make this game that I play very badly much more fun!  Lessons to follow when I get back up north!

Further to last week’s Academy Awards, for those of you still trying to catch up with the nominated films, here’s a handy link from the NY Times to stream those films:

https://nyti.ms/2FVWfq2

Meanwhile, back on the small screen, new shows are continuing to debut this spring, and older shows are returning from hiatus.  Here are some recommendations:

Streaming

Breathe –  British movie starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy; this is an inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Their heartwarming celebration of human possibility marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis.  I heartily recommend this wonderful film which gives you a chance to see Claire Foy in one of her first film performances after The Crown; Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey) also makes an appearance in this film as an inventor who works with the Cavendish family to make significant improvements in the lives of the disabled.

Binge watched

McMafia – Mondays on AMC; I was able to stream all 8 episodes of this series starring James Norton as a British banker who gets involved with the Russian mafia; although Norton’s performance is a little wooden, for those of you needing an espionage fix in lieu of something like The Night Manager or a new Bond film, you might like this one.
Collateral – 4 episode miniseries on Netflix; Carey Mulligan stars as a police detective investigating a murder in London; it’s a world of refugees and the political landscape of contemporary Britain.  Fans of British mysteries may enjoy this one.
The Frankenstein Chronicles – on Netflix, starring Sean Bean in Season 2 of this 6 episode miniseries; set in 1830’s London, Marlott must operate outside the law as he comes up against dark forces in high society and in the dangerous slums of the over-crowded capital.
Strike Back – season 6 on Cinemax;  I am now caught up on the first 6 episodes of this 10-episode season; follows the actions of Section 20, a secretive unit of British military intelligence; a team of special operations personnel conduct several high risk missions across the globe. Lovers of military mayhem, ticking clocks, and lots of explosions will love this one!

Call My Agent – I did binge watch this tremendously enjoyable French showbiz miniseries of 13 episodes in two seasons when I first discovered it on Netflix; this week John Doyle wrote a rave review for it in the Globe and Mail:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/review-call-my-agent-is-a-gem-of-a-series-about-showbiz-strangeness/article38200763/

New Shows debuting this week

Little Women: A Timeless Story – 3 episode miniseries will air on PBS Sundays starting next week; a behind-the-scenes look at this series featuring Emily Watson, Michael Gambon and Angela Lansbury airs tonight

Deception – on ABC Sundays; a disgraced magician puts his skills of deception and illusion to work at the FBI

Rise – on NBC Tuesdays; a working class high school drama department and the students come alive under a passionate teacher and family man whose dedication to the program galvanizes the entire town; if you loved My So-Called Life, Fame, GleeFriday Night Lights, and Smash, you will love this one.

The usual addictions

The Path – on Hulu and available to stream; dark and mysterious series about the origins of and the life within a cult

Counterpart – on STARZ Sundays; mysterious miniseries set in a parallel universe Berlin.
Homeland – on Showtime Sundays; we’re in Washington now and the President sees enemies everywhere; just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get you.
Here and Now – on HBO Sundays; a less maudlin version of This is Us.

The Walking Dead – now in its 8th season on AMC Sundays; the survivors still face a harrowing world where everyone is out to get them

The Chi – on Showtime Sundays; this series explores life on the south side of Chicago; if you were a fan of The Wire, you will love this series

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – on HBO Sundays; Oliver gives his sardonic twist to today’s events

IZombie – on The CW Mondays; a comedic series where zombies are generally the good guys
The Resident – on Fox Mondays; a medical procedural with a great cast

The Alienist – on TNT Mondays; olde time police procedural with a great cast
The Good Doctor – on ABC Mondays; a medical procedural with a twist – our lead character is an autistic doctor!
McMafia – on AMC Mondays; I’ve already bingewatched this one, but you can catch its 8 episodes on a weekly basis; good substitute for espionage films

Unreal – on Lifetime Mondays; although I’ve never watched a single episode of The Bachelor, this parody does explore the machinations behind reality TV; I do enjoy its rather venal take on Hollywood

This is Us – on NBC Tuesdays; maudlin but addictive family drama; get out your hankies!

Rise – on NBC Tuesdays; watch it if you love musical series set in a high school
The X-Files

Riverdale – on the CW Wednesdays; not your granny’s Archie Comics as sex, violence and intrigue abounds

9-1-1 – on Fox Wednesdaysmedical/legal/firefighter procedural all rolled into one show about LA’s emergency services operations; very entertaining and superb cast including Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Connie Britton

Designated Survivor – on ABC Wednesdays; ludicrous political suspense series featuring a totally unqualified man suddenly elevated to the position of President of the US; like that could actually happen?

The Assassination of Gianni Versace – on ABC Wednesdays; dark and sad exploration of the events around this murder

Corporate – on Comedy Central Wednesdays; hilarious parody of corporate life

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – on TBS Wednesdays; Bee’s comedic take on current events

Gotham – on Fox Thursdays; now in its 4th season, this very gothic series explores the beginnings of the Batman story; I am a huge fan of Ben McKenzie since his breakout role on The O.C. and then Southland, so I take real pleasure in this campy show which shows the back stories of all the DC characters in the Batman comics

Real Time with Bill Maher – on HBO Fridays; great panels discuss current events

Strike Back – airs new episodes on Cinemax Fridays; mayhem abounds as a special ops team from British military intelligence completes high risk missions around the globe

Saturday Night Live – on NBC Saturdays; now in its 43rd season, this venerable comedy/variety series still keeps chugging along capturing the zeitgeist of our times

Shows that keep me sane

CBS Sunday Morning – on CBS Sundays; the news show that does personal interest pieces and has done since 1979; anything from interviews with actors political figures, athletes, musicians, etc. This show continually informs and inspires.  Very soothing in these turbulent times.

The Comedians (Stephen Colbert on CBS nightly; Trevor Noah on Comedy Central M-Th; Jimmy Kimmel on ABC nightly; Seth Meyers on NBC nightly; James Corden on CBS nightly; Samantha Bee on TBS Wednesdays, Bill Maher on HBO Fridays). Some times you just have to laugh at the madness around us as these satirists poke fun at current events.

Closing Words

Looking forward to a week of our usual activities.  We’ve had a bit of rainy weather this weekend, but hey, I never mind a day to catch up with my recorded shows and movies.  Enjoy the week to come, wherever you are and cherish every moment. Hugs to my friends with medical challenges.

Academy Awards Edition!

We just had a lovely visit with George’s book group from Toronto (including spouses!).  We visited the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk in the Everglades, walked Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, visited Goodland and explored our own community’s little walking trail and boardwalk.  We enjoyed a wonderful discussion of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (which most of the spouses had already discussed with their own book groups previously).  They are a most thoughtful, interesting and interested group of individuals.  A genuine pleasure to host.

OK, enough about our real life.  Tonight is my Superbowl, the Academy Awards telecast on ABC at 8 pm hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.  I will be hosting a group of neighbours, and following my childhood family tradition of Chinese food on Sunday evenings, we are going to have a Chinese buffet from our local Pei Wei (owned by PF Chang and pretty good for takeout!).  Can’t wait!! I am watching last night’s Independent Spirit Awards on IFC (often seen as a bellwether for the Oscars), so I am drinking in pre-Oscar atmosphere all day today.

Here are my picks for what I would like to see win, and my predictions for what will win:

The Best Film nominees:

Call Me by your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

What should win Best Film:  I loved Lady Bird the most for its very human and touching moments; I found The Shape of Water the most magical and transformative, a true art film.

What will win Best Film award:  I anticipate that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri will probably win many awards as its message of female empowerment seems very timely for the Time’s Up and Me Too movements.

What should win Best Director and what will win will coincide tonight:

Guillermo del Toro has created a work of art in The Shape of Water; it’s beautiful and touching and unlike any other film.

For Best Actress:

What should win – I loved Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird.

What will win – Frances Macdormand has run away with all the other best actress awards, so I think she will continue her streak in Three Billboards.

For Best Actor:

What should win and what will win – I am in total agreement that Gary Oldman should win for Darkest Hour and predict the Academy will also honour him.

For Best Supporting Actress:

What should win – I loved Laurie Metcalf’s performance as the mother Marion in Lady Bird.  It moved me to tears.

What will win – However, watch for Allison Janney to have her Oscars moment for playing the amazingly intense mother in I, Tonya.

Best Supporting Actor:

What should win – Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) gives a totally moving and understated performance as the most understanding welfare motel manager ever in this lovely, surprising and original independent film about life on the margins in Orlando, Florida.

What will win – However, Sam Rockwell is likely to win for his much lauded tragic/comic performance in Three Billboards.

For a great article on how Rotten Tomatoes is skewing the Oscars Best Picture race, here’s a link:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/2/17068324/oscars-2018-best-picture-academy-awards-voting-changes-rotten-tomatoes-oscarssowhite

For another perspective on what should win the Oscars race tonight, here’s a great article from Esquire:

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a16591550/who-should-win-oscar-best-picture-2018/

Short subjects

Another blogger has helpfully included a link to see trailers of all the nominated shorts:

https://shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/trailers/live-action/dekalb-elementary

 

Streaming

Wonder is a lovely family film based on the NY Times bestseller.  It tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial deformities who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.  Jacob Tremblay (Room) is Auggie, Owen Wilson is Nate the dad, Julia Roberts is Isabel the mom, and Izabela Vidovic is Via the sister in a break-out role where she is incredibly touching as the neglected child.

The Death of Stalin I had high hopes for this very dark comedy from from Armando Iannucci.  Iannucci is the creator of political satires Veep, In the Loop, The Thick of It, all hysterically funny.  Stalin is much darker as it follows the Soviet dictator’s last days and depicts the chaos of the regime after his death. Not nearly as funny as I had hoped it would be.

The Path was created for Hulu.  It is a dark examination of life inside a cult.  It stars Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as the brooding cult leader.

Netflix

Wind River is a modern day Western.  A veteran tracker (played by Jeremy Renner) with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy. I enjoyed this dark and brooding film.

Mute is an original Netflix film directed by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) and stars Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux. A mute bartender goes up against his city’s gangsters in an effort to find out what happened to his missing partner.  Skarsgard is the mute who is wonderful to watch; Paul Rudd is cast against type as an evil gangster; Justin Theroux is almost unrecognizable in a blonde wig and delivers a performance that suggests the role was almost tailor-made for Owen Wilson. Intriguing but probably not for everyone.

My recommendations for viewing that you might otherwise miss:

The Good Fight – on CBS All Access Sunday nights and available through streaming; this wonderful spin off from The Good Wife returns for its second season debut tonight; Christine Baranski continues as Diane Lockhart and this year’s storyline is apparently about an attempt to impeach Trump;  ooh…

Our Cartoon President Oscars edition- on Showtime on Sundays; this is a Stephen Colbert production, and tonight’s episode apparently shows Trump critiquing the Hollywood community.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – on HBO Sundays; this series has returned after a long hiatus and is often brilliantly funny
Sundays with Alec Baldwin – on ABC debuts tonight after the Oscars and will air regularly on Sunday nights; who knows what the mercurial Baldwin will have up his sleeve;  apparently, he is exhausted by his Trump impersonation on SNL and is longing for a change
Arrow – on the CW has returned on Thursday nights and the villains are still intent on destroying Star City; I know this series is aimed at teenagers, but I can’t help watching it for its Canadian star, Stephen Amell
Chicago Fire – has returned to NBC on Thursday nights and I have no excuse for watching this terribly predictable action soap but for the two head firefighters who are awfully easy on the eyes
Real Time with Bill Maher – has returned to HBO on Friday nights; I am finding Maher’s glibness and smarminess to be a little offputting of late, but he does have great panel discussions

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee– on TBS on Wednesdays returns this week with new episodes; Bee is relentless in her attacks on the powers that be; so un-Canadian for a Canadian girl
Designated Survivor– on ABC on Wednesdays returned last week with new episodes; so maudlin now that the President’s wife has met with tragedy in a soapy ending; I can’t look away from this often ludicrous series as it posits a situation where a man totally unqualified to be President is unexpectedly appointed to the position
McMafia – debuted on AMC last week on Mondays; in lieu of a new James Bond or the forthcoming Dan Silva film adaptations that I am still waiting for, this is a great series in the tradition of The Night Manager which aired last year on AMC.  Russian mafiosi/oligarchs abound.
Gotham – on Fox returned last week on Thursdays; I love this very gothic look at the Batman origin story
Unreal – returned last week on Lifetime on Mondays; devilish parody of the Bachelor-type reality series (which I have taken a vow never to watch)
Strike Back – completely flew under my radar and returned 5 episodes ago on Cinemax with a brand new cast; I loved the original seasons of this great action series
Riverdale – on the CW returns this Wednesday with new episodes after hiatus; I love this silly show aimed at teenagers; not your grannie’s Archie Comics

 

My Usual Weekly Picks

Waco – this six episode miniseries is airing on the new Paramount channel; very dark and sad
The Assassination of Gianni Versace – airs on Wednesday on FX; also very dark and sad
Counterpart – this 13 episode series airs on STARZ on Sundays; set in a parallel universe Berlin, it is dark and intriguing
The Chi – on Showtime Sunday nights; the south side of Chicago is the star here; violent and brooding

Homeland – on Showtime Sunday nights; we’re in Washington now and art mirrors life with a demented President seeing enemies of the state in every corner
9-1-1– on Fox Wednesdays is a very enjoyable procedural on the emergency services in LA
The Resident – on Fox Mondays is a very enjoyable medical procedural with a great cast
The Good Doctor – on ABC Mondays is an enjoyable medical procedural with a twist:  the lead character is autistic
Divorce – on HBO on Sunday nights; a delightful rom/com with a wonderful cast
Here and Now – on HBO on Sunday nights; it took me 3 episodes to get hooked on this one; sort of like This is Us with a multiracial cast, but much less cloying and maudlin
The Walking Dead– on AMC on Sunday nights; more mayhem, but a very sad ending for Carl last week
i Zombie – on the CW on Mondays; black comedy abounds in this polar opposite of The Walking Dead where zombies are actually the good guys
The Alienist – on TNT on Mondays; this olde time crime series features an incredible cast (Eric Bruhl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning) tracking down a serial killer of rent boys in turn of the century NYC

Comic Relief

In addition to the comedy stylings of Samantha Bee, Bill Maher and John Oliver, I love to catch the monologues of Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah.  Seth Meyers and James Corden are always worth a look on YouTube.  Jimmy Kimmel has the unenviable task this evening of hosting The Oscars for his second consecutive year. He has had an outstanding year where he castigated the government for their lack of commitment to universal health care, spoke out on mass shootings and has generally been outspoken on his concerns re the Trump administration. It will be interesting to see how he handles the Me Too/Time’s Up movement along with all the other political undercurrents of the day.

Zen Moments

I am currently watching CBS Sunday Morning as I write this morning.  The segment on now is about the many generations of the Newman musical dynasty (Alfred, Lionel, Emil,  David, Thomas, Randy et al).  Truly inspiring and amazing. Watch the feature documentary Score (available through streaming)  if you get a chance. It explores the work behind the composition of musical scores for many films and features composers like John Williams and Hans Zimmer among many others.  Other shows that inspire me on a regular basis are CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, CBS’s Face the Nation, PBS’s Frontline, Nova, Nature and many others.

Closing Words

Well, you all know what I will be watching tonight.  It is another glorious day here in Naples, and I am starting to count down the days before we head back north.  Until mid-April or so, I will enjoy every moment here.  There’s much bocce, golf, mahjong, book group, etc. to be enjoyed.  Please cherish every moment, wherever you are.  Hugs to my friends who are facing medical challenges.  Carpe diem!

Visitors from Scotland this time…

We were delighted to host our friends Doug and Catherine Thomson from Scotland over the past few days.  As a result, we watched mostly sports on TV (those darned Olympics and golf, of course), but we did get to do some wonderful touring including a Naples Harbour tour, 5th Avenue and shopping, shopping, shopping.  We finally made it to the wonderful fine dining restaurant Sale and Pepe on Marco Island which we had never managed to get to over the past 12 years that we have been visiting Naples.  A wonderful dining experience with a gorgeous sunset view.  I got to celebrate my 65th birthday with a group of friends who gathered from all over the area to surprise Catherine on her visit.  Catherine joined our fitness group in Toronto 7 years ago when her husband was transferred from Scotland and we all loved her and missed her when she returned to Edinborough.  All in all, it was a wonderful visit.

Here are some viewing recommendations for the week:

On the Big Screen

Peter Rabbit The animation in this film is absolutely amazing and James Corden is terrific as the voice of Peter Rabbit.  I admit that I found the story a little bit too malevolent.  I didn’t like characters being electric shocked and thrown against walls, carrots being stuffed down character’s bottoms, etc.  Terribly silly and not nearly so clever as Paddington 2.  While I could recommend both Paddington films to absolutely everyone, you’d better have a child with you for Peter Rabbit, or you may find yourself a bit bored.  The small children seated near me, however, were rivetted.

New & Returning Show Alert

iZombie (The CW), The Resident (Fox), The Good Doctor (ABC) are all returning from hiatus tonight.

Living Biblically (CBS) and  Good Girls (NBC) are both new series debuting tonight.

Designated Survivor (ABC) returns with new episodes on Wednesday.

Chicago Fire (NBC) returns with new episodes on Thursday.

Gotham (Fox) returns with new episodes on Thursday.

Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) returns with a new show on Friday.

Strike Back has been stealthily showing new episodes for Season 6 on Cinemax here in the US.  It may be available in Canada on HBO as previous seasons aired there. I have some catching up to do as the current season is showing Episode 5 this week.

Streaming

The Square This film won top prize at Cannes and is from the director of Force Majeure. It’s a scathing social satire of contemporary life in Sweden, the art scene, income inequality, etc.  It is a weird study of an art gallery director whose life goes into meltdown after his mobile phone is stolen.  Think of a more surreal Curb Your Enthusiasm on steroids.  In addition to the charismatic star Claes Bang, there are supporting performances from Elizabeth Moss and Dominic West.  It’s nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for the Oscars, but it may be a little too arty for many viewers.

Netflix

The Frankenstein Chronicles Inspector John Marlott (Sean Bean) investigates a series of crimes in 19th C. London, which may have been committed by a scientist intent on reanimating the dead.  This series starts off slowly but does come together eventually. A very original twist on the Frankenstein origin story.  It has very few horror touches, so admirers of British mystery and suspense tales with a historical twist will enjoy this.  Two seasons available in six episodes each.

HBO

Divorce This series was created by the brilliant comic writer Sharon Horgan who previously created Catastrophe. While not as brilliantly funny as Catastrophe, I do find it quite entertaining.

Here and Now I am making a second attempt to give this new series a chance, but the first episode did bore me to tears the first time I attempted to watch.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver I adore this naughty British man.

Starz

Counterpart This is a mind boggling parallel universe show about two Berlins, both cities starring an amazing JK Simmons (Farmers Insurance commercial, Whiplash, Oz, etc.)

Showtime

Homeland Intrigue abounds in this parallel universe show about an unstable US president and the intelligence network around her.

The Chi If you loved The Wire, you will love this show about the south side of Chicago. Powerful!

TNT

The Alienist Dark and slow serial killer mystery in olde NYC. Great cast!

AMC

The Walking Dead Season 9 continues with new episodes.  Uh oh… Carl could be in trouble.  Haven’t had a chance to watch yet!

CMT

Nashville This soapy series is in its last season and they seem to be trying to tie up all their storylines.  Thinks don’t look good for Will Lexington!  Too many steroids!

HULU and Streaming

The Path I am still watching this harrowing and haunting look at life inside a cult.

PBS

Victoria on Masterpiece This show couldn’t be lovelier in depicting the majesty of a bygone era.  Things were very different in the days of Empire.

Comedy Central

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah I’m a big fan of Trevor Noah.  He seems to have captured the Zeitgeist of our current era.

Corporate I have fallen behind on my watching recent episodes, but I will get back to this savage satire at the first available moment.

Fox

The Resident I’m watching because Bruce Greenwood (Canadian!!) is a star of this show, but it has deteriorated into a pretty routine medical procedural where mysterious illnesses present on a weekly basis.

CBS

CBS Sunday Morning My moment of Zen every Sunday from 9 – 10:30.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert I do get a kick out of Colbert’s monologue every night.

FX

The Assassination of Gianni Versace I am finding this show to be dark and disturbing.  It doesn’t help that Darren Criss who was so angelic and positive on Glee (another show from Ryan Murphy) is absolutely terrifying as the psychopathic murderer Andrew Cunanan.

The CW

iZombie I do love this silly show which is returning for its 4th season tonight.

Big Alert for Oscars

OK everyone!  This is the final countdown to Oscar night.  The Academy Awards will be televised on ABC next Sunday Mar. 4.  The awards telecast will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and begins at 8 pm and you can start watching the red carpet festivities at 6:30.

Many of the films are now available to own or rent.  These are the Best Picture Nominees:

Call Me by your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

I loved Lady Bird the most; I found The Shape of Water the most magical; I anticipate that Three Billboards will probably win many awards as its message of female empowerment seems very timely for the Time’s Up and Me Too movements. Watch for Allison Janney to have her Oscars moment for playing the amazingly intense mother in I, Tonya.  To get the most out of the show, it’s really ideal to have seen as many of the films as you can manage. Good luck and happy viewing this week!

Closing Words

It’s been amazingly hot in Naples this past week or so.  Temperatures hovering between 85 and 90 – not that I’m complaining.  We’re anticipating a great visit with George’s book group who are coming (with spouses) to have a sleepover and book discussion with us later this week.  The book is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, a harrowing tale of two sisters and the French resistance during WWII.  Our local book group is discussing The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin this week. Frankly not loving this self-help book which I think made the author very happy because she made a lot of money by writing this incredibly dull book. I’m playing bocce, golfing and  going to fitness classes most days this week.  Heading out to dinner with visiting friends from Toronto another night.  Life in Naples is very, very nice.  Enjoy the season wherever you are!!  Hugs to my many friends who seem to be down for the count with the flu and those dealing with serious health challenges.  Have a wonderful week!

Entertaining my family Part Two…

It’s been a great 10 days of visiting with my two sons and daughter-in-law. Between excursions it’s been all Olympics, all the time on our living room TV. My boys have wicked senses of humour and they have delighted in finding non-traditional Olympics coverage (worst crashes and wipeouts in all sports) as counterprogramming to NBC’s worshipful coverage of the Olympics from the perspective of an exclusive concentration on American athletes.

We did make it out to see the opening weekend of the latest Marvel superhero series, Black Panther, and I finally caught up with the Disney Pixar Best Animated Feature nominee, Coco. More on both and some regular viewing recommendations follow.

Remember, that the Oscars will air on Sunday Mar. 4 on ABC with Jimmy Kimmel hosting.  If you are scurrying to catch the 9 nominated films for Best Picture, the following article may be of some interest:

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/g18193837/where-to-stream-2018-oscar-nominated-movies/

On the Big Screen

Black Panther What an interesting experience it was to go on opening weekend to see this comic book adaptation. My husband broke his vow of never watching super hero movies to see this film in the company of my son. We have a family tradition of seeing tent pole movies together (Star Wars, Deadpool, John Wick,etc), so we continued our tradition. It was lovely to see so many families attending this one. We saw it at Naples’ premiere luxury cinema, the Mercato. I have never seen so many African Americans in Naples. The film celebrates African roots and presents a mythical African kingdom that is a success story because it was never colonized and exploited by any imperial nation. There’s a parallel universe in Wakanda, a country that guards its natural resource, the mineral Vibranium, from the rest of the world. This is an origin story of Black Panther and I enjoyed it immensely. Pure energy on the screen and wonderful performances from an almost entirely black ensemble cast featuring Chadwick Boseman (42, Avengers), Forrest Whittaker (The Last King of Scotland), Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do Wth It), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station, Creed), Lupita Nyongo ( 12 Years A Slave), etc. Sterling K. Brown (This is Us, American Crime Story: OJ Simpson) deserves a special shout out for his role as N’Jobu.  The guy is so talented he can play a street thug wannabe as well as he plays a hopeless nerd, or prosecutor Christopher Darden. Andy Serkis and Martin Freedman are the two white supporting actors whom you will recognize from their previous work in the Lord of the Rings movies among many others.

Streaming

Coco While Black Panther celebrates African roots, Coco from Disney Pixar nominated for Best Animated Feature Oscar, is a loving look at Mexican culture. Overwhelmingly family centred, this lovely and charming film tells the story of a little boy in love with music who longs to connect with the great great grandfather who is a Mexican singing legend. On the Day of the Dead, he is magically transported to the land of the dead where he finds out the true story of his ancestry. Prepare to be charmed. Great tunes from the team that also provided the songs for Frozen, Ratatouille, etc.

Geostorm My younger son has a sentimental fascination with disaster films. I will think of this as the Sharknado of space. For some reason Gerard Butler has become the go-to star of many disaster films (Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, etc). Set to a large degree on a space station that is throwing the world’s climate into chaos, there are scenes in this one that are laugh-out-loud hilarious as multiple tornadoes, tsunamis, ice storms, etc. consume the great cities of the world. I’m not sure it’s entirely healthy for audiences to laugh at such great destruction but it sure has become a thing. My son’s evil cackle will haunt me forever!

The Path The harrowing and haunting look at life inside a cult that is aiming for respectability continues.

Mary Kills People A very intriguing look at a doctor who takes on the job of assisting terminally ill people with suicide.

Netflix

Babylon Berlin I can’t believe I watched the whole thing! All 16 episodes! This is the most expensive series ever made for German TV. You will be transported back to Weimar Germany in 1929. It’s the Germany of the decadent and debauched Cabaret era, Trotskyites versus Leninists, plots to revive the monarchy under Kaiser Wilhelm, etc. All of this is being investigated by a mysterious police inspector with a nasty drug addiction and PTSD from his WW1 experiences. Get ready for a wild ride!

The Cloverfield Paradox Again, we have an odd family tradition of watching the Cloverfield movies together, so our sons forced us to watch this Netflix original. Oh my, we’re on a space station (again) that is trying to test an alternate energy source to save a dying world, when they accidentally enter a parallel universe. Great ensemble cast featuring Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo, Chris O’Dowd, etc. There is much controversy about how this film was suddenly released on Netflix and not in theatres as originally planned. Conspiracy theories abound, including tacked on scenes and endings, when the producers feared the film was unreleasable. Judge for yourself! It does seem to be a pastiche of the Alien films, the Cloverfield films, any movie that is based on a space station, etc.

For more info on new shows that are debuting and old ones that are returning to Peak TV via Netflix and Amazon (that I haven’t had time to catch up with), here’s a helpful article from the NYTimes:

Broadcast Networks and Premium Cable

Showtime

Homeland The intrigue has begun. The president is nuts and Carrie’s bipolar disorder is showing!
The Chi Still haven’t caught up with last week’s episode. If you liked  The Wire, you might want to catch up with this one.

STARZ

Counterpart This series  is a great espionage/parallel universe show starting the great character actor JK Simmons in a dual role.

HBO

Divorce I am finding this series about the recess and after effects of divorce much more delightful now that Thomas Hayden Church has a new squeeze and Sarah Jessica Parker is jealous.
Here and Now OK, I did snooze most of the way through last week’s premiere, but I will give it another go because of the cast (Tim Robbins) and creator (Alan Ball). So far, it’s no Six Feet Under or True Blood.

CMT

Nashville Ahhh. Juliette’s gone completely bonkers and is finding herself in a cult in Bolivia!

CBS All Access

Star Trek: Discovery (My children slyly refer to this series as STD and of course, we had to watch the final episode of Season 1 together).  Ooh, the parallel universe and Klingon stories came to an end and there will be a new captain next year. Can’t wait!

FX

The Assassination of Gianni Versace So grim, I haven’t caught up with last week’s episode yet.

PBS

Victoria Victoria and Albert, longing for an escape from their devoted servants, watch dogs, etc., deliberately get themselves lost in the wilds of the Scottish highlands near Blair Atholl, and they discover the delights of a simple life they have never experienced.  The young lovers steal a few moments away from their privileged lives and learn to cook for themselves and even darn socks.  A very touching episode where even some of their servants and coterie have an escape from the restricted lives they normally lead.  The undeniable chemistry between the two courtiers, Drummond and Paget is finally given life, and they have some private romantic time, unaware that Wilhelmina Coke observes their passion.

TNT

The Alienist This show has turned into a bit of a snooze fest, but I am hanging in to see how the story ends.

Closing Words

There really are no words to describe the sadness and anger that people are experiencing in the wake of the latest school shooting in Ft Lauderdale. When 17 children are murdered there, two years after the Orlando nightclub shootings where 56 people died, there are still, unbelievably, gun lobbyists in Florida advocating for continued generous access to guns. Here in the “gunshine state”, stand your ground laws still stand. It is easier for an 18-year-old to obtain an automatic military grade weapon than it is to obtain a handgun. The prevailing wisdom here says that if the murder of 20 children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut didn’t change the gun control debate then adding this week’s toll is unlikely to signal a change. This time, the classmates of the fallen have begun to make their voices heard to demand stricter controls. Time will tell whether the many legislators whose campaigns are determined and financed by the NRA gun lobby will be brave enough to take on the challenge of defying their funders. What a sad state this country is in. People have come to accept the collateral damage from murdered children to be the price that must be paid for the right to bear arms. I can’t believe that anyone really thinks that the founding fathers would have supported the rights of mentally ill teenagers to murder their classmates with lethal automatic weapons.

Despite the grim reality of recent events, the sun still continues to shine here. We deliver our son to the airport this morning and then will get our house ready for visitors from Scotland and Canada who arrive on Tuesday to drink in a little Florida sunshine, play a little golf and enjoy the delights of Naples.

To everyone, make every moment count, wherever you are. Cherish your loved ones. Hugs to my friends who are dealing with health challenges.

Entertaining my family…

My two sons and daughter-in-law have been visiting us this past week.  It has been a lovely week of dinners out, excursions around town, and shopping.  We just returned from an outing to Shark Valley in Everglades National Park where we saw more alligators than you can shake a stick at.  I have had to catch up with TV and movies pretty furtively as my kids think I watch an insane amount of TV.  I am currently typing away as they have gone to play pickle ball.  Of course, while I write, I am watching a recorded version of my CBS Sunday Morning, a show that they think is hopelessly square.  They are bemused by our reliance on cable, which they view as prehistoric. In any event, here are some recommendations for you:

Streaming

American Made is a Tom Cruise film from director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity, Fair Game).  It is the story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980’s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair. I found it a little long and totally amoral.  If this were’t basically a true story, you’d wonder how anyone could come up with such an insane program.

Coco is a charming film from Disney Pixar.  Heavily rooted in Mexican Day of the Dead traditions it is a wonderful look into another culture. Absolutely delightful! Nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year.

New on Netflix

Berlin Babylon is a Netflix Original TV series that comes from Germany and is set in 1929.  It is Cabaret with a very dark background as Fascists and Communists clash and a policeman with the Vice squad has been sent from Cologne to Berlin on a very special assignment.  Very intriguing.

 

Other Shows Premiering/Returning this week:

Here and Now is a family dramedy that premieres on HBO tonight. Stars Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins. A multi-racial family made up of husband, wife, three adopted children from Somalia, Vietnam and Colombia and one biological child, find their bonds tested when one of the children begins seeing things which the rest cannot.  From Alan Ball creator of 6 Feet Under and True Blood.

Homeland returns tonight!!  Quinn is dead, Carrie is nuts and the President is totally insane and paranoid.  What could be more intriguing?  Apparently they’re really having trouble writing storylines that are as crazy as real life politics.  On Showtime in the US and I’m guessing Superchannel in Canada.

Our Cartoon President Oh my, this animated series about life in the White House comes from Stephen Colbert’s production team and it is absolutely unfunny. Such a disappointment. Airs on Showtime in the US.

Altered Carbon is a new miniseries that began airing on Netflix last week.  So confusing.  Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.  Mind bending is right!!  Stars Joel Kinsman, James Purefoy.

My Regular Viewing

HBO

Divorce is a bittersweet romantic comedy about the joys and pitfalls of divorce starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church.

NBC

This is Us OK, I know I was only going to watch to find out how the Dad died and now he’s dead.  Can I quit this show now? So maudlin and manipulative.

ABC

The Good Doctor I love this show about an autistic young doctor.  Freddie Highmore is wonderful in the lead role and Richard Schiff is reliably fabulous as his sad sack mentor.

Fox

The Resident Uh Oh. Too many medical shows.  This one had potential at first as iconoclasts battled the establishment, but it’s gotten a little cliched.

The X-Files I enjoyed this past week’s delicate combo of monster and conspiracy called Kitten.  Haunting!
9-1-1 Another case of a show that started out quite disarmingly original and seems to have deteriorated into cliches.  Connie Britton still magnificent!

The CW

Supergirl OK, I know I’m a little old for this one and all the other CW shows I enjoy (Riverdale, Arrow, Black Lightning), but I need a little true escapism sometimes.

STARZ

Counterpart Stars JK Simmons.  I truly love this mind bending suspense series.  Set in Berlin, a UN employee discovers the agency he works for is hiding a gateway to a parallel dimension.  So original!!

TNT

The Alienist What started out as an intriguing mystery set around the turn of the century in NYC, has now slowed down to a real trudging pace as a team of three investigators try to solve a series of killings of young boys working in the sex trade.

PBS

The Gilded Age on American Experience This is a wonderful documentary about the robber barons of the 19th Century and their impact on the US.

CBS All Access and Netflix Canada

Star Trek: Discovery I have totally enjoyed this new addition to the many Star Trek generations.  Jason Isaacs is now gone (or is he?), but Michelle Yeoh is back and there is a big season ender airing tonight.  Enjoy!

Hulu and Streaming

The Path This miniseries is back for its third season and is still a haunting look at life inside a cult.

FX

The Assassination of Gianni Versace My goodness this series is dark and depressing.  Darren Criss (Glee) as Andrew Cunanan is incredibly convincing as a homicidal maniac.

Streaming Canadian Imports

Mary Kills People I really do like this series about assisted suicide. Caroline Dhavernas is wonderful as Dr. Mary and in season 2, Rachelle Lefevre makes a great villain.
Cardinal This miniseries concluded its second season last week as the North Bay cop finally figured out the crime of why a woman was shot in the head in a wooded area of Northern Ontario.

Comic Relief

Real Time with Bill Maher airs on HBO on Fridays.  Although he has a tendency to smirk, Maher assembles interesting panels as he has great fun discussing the issues of the day.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs on Comedy Central Mon-Thurs. Noah’s South African background allows his to have a very different perspective on news stories.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee  on TBS.  I love this feisty Canadian satirist.  She pulls no punches.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Colbert’s nightly monologues on CBS have become must see viewing.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Oliver will return to Sunday nights on HBO next weekend.

Closing Words

We are off to the beach for sunset cocktails and appetizers this evening with our neighbours.  The weather really has been gorgeous and we are looking forward to the rest of this week with our children.  Make the most of each day and enjoy your week!  Warm thoughts to all my friends dealing with serious health challenges.

Alternatives to Super Bowl Sunday…

It has been very hard to ignore the big game today.  When dining out at a local restaurant the other night, a gentleman confronted me demanding to know if I was an Eagles fan.  I had to stammer that I didn’t really follow football, and as his smile turned to a frown, I thought I’d better respond that if I did actually watch football,  I would absolutely be an Eagles fan.  Enjoy the game folks!  I will be looking at alternative programming and will list my recommendations for tonight.  True confessions, my pot of chili is simmering on the stove and I will be tuning in to the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, the award winning commercials that show up on YouTube and the half-time show with Justin Timberlake.  It’s hard to ignore this cultural goliath entirely!

Peak TV and keeping up with debuts of new shows and returns from hiatus of old shows

I wrote last week about the sheer enormity of available programming.  If you want to keep abreast of what’s coming to TV this season, here’s an article that may help:

https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/2018-tv-premiere-dates-calendar/

Oscars Countdown

The telecast will air on Sunday Mar. 4. I have seen the nine films nominated for Best Picture and will list them here for you:

Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Phantom Thread
Ladybird
Call Me By Your Name
Get Out

Films you might want to catch for their Acting Nominations:

All the Money in the World (Christopher Plummer)
I, Tonya (Margot Robbie, Alison Janney)
The Florida Project (Willem Dafoe)

Netflix Finds

Retribution I hadn’t watched a new British crime series in a while, so I settled in to watch this British Netflix original 4-episode miniseries, where two families conspire to conceal a murder in a Scottish town.  Dark and forbidding. Juliet Stevenson is a standout and she looks exactly the same as she did in 1990 when she had her breakout role in Truly Madly Deeply (if you’re wondering where you’ve seen her before).  Layer upon layer of noirish intrigue unfolds as everyone sinks into a downward spiral of deceit.

For the other British shows you could be watching, you might enjoy this article:

The 15 Best British Shows On Netflix Right Now

Babylon Berlin This is another Netflix original that I haven’t started yet.  Set in 1929, a freight train traveling from the Soviet Union is hijacked. Meanwhile Chief Inspector Gereon Rath from Cologne pursues a mission in Berlin.  16 episodes in Season 1.  Can’t wait to get my teeth into this one!  Maybe this evening!

Altered Carbon Brand new Netflix original with 10 episodes in Season 1.  After 250 years on ice, a prisoner returns to life in a new body with one chance to win his freedom: by solving a mind-bending murder.  Stars Joel Kinnaman (The Killing), James Purefoy (The Following).  This is the show that is supposed to be Bladerunneresque in tone and style.  Another alternative Super Bowl possibility!

Amazon

Absentia This 10-episode suspense miniseries stars Stana Katic (Castle) as an FBI agent who has been presumed dead and is now out to reclaim her life. Haven’t had a chance to catch it yet, but maybe tonight!

Paramount

Formerly known as Spike TV, this is a new network in the US, making its debut pitch for new viewers with Waco, a 6-episode miniseries that follows the tragedy of David Koresh, leader of the cultish Branch Davidians, who had a fatal showdown in 1993 with the FBI and ATF.  Starring Taylor Kitsch (almost unrecognizable from his Tim Riggins character on Friday Night Lights) and Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water). Gripping and sad as we watch the inevitable fatal confrontation approach.

My Regular Addictions

The CW

This network caters to a young demographic with a preponderance of fantasy, action and science fiction programming.  Black Lightning, The Arrow, Riverdale, Supergirl, etc.  I have no excuse for watching these escapist shows but they do entertain me.

Fox

The X-Files This past week’s episode was thankfully a Monster-of the-week show called Ghouli which only touched on the central myth of the lost son of Mulder and Scully, William.

9-1-1 From Ryan Murphy’s production team, this series is more and more turning into a routine procedural.  Peter Krause’s very sad persona has been explained and the young firefighter and the older emergency services operator (Connie Britton) seem to be headed toward a real romance.

The Resident is a medical series with a great cast (Bruce Greenwood, Matt Czuchry, Emily Van Camp).  It attempts to differentiate itself by showing the dark underbelly of hospital procedures.  Last week’s series featured a cost cutting medical consultant who attempted to dictate what treatments and procedures patients could receive.  Don’t know how fact-based this series is, but it shines a slightly different light on the medical show.

FX

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace This 9-episode miniseries from the production team of Ryan Murphy is very dark and sad.  Great cast features Edgar Ramirez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz.  There is a grim inevitability to the storytelling as we begin episode 1 with the crime and then watch as Andrew Cunanan develops into the deranged killer who targets a man he worships and envies,

CBS 

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert still entertains me nightly with his monologues.

CBS Sunday Morning This venerable public affairs show soothes and inspires me every Sunday Morning.  I am watching it as I write.

The Good Doctor The show about the adorable autistic doctor.  Not sure how grounded in reality this one is, but you can catch up On Demand while it’s on hiatus.

NBC

The Brave and Chicago Fire are both mindlessly entertaining action shows with lovable casts.

This is Us There’s a hilarious promo from Crock Pot advertising tonight’s post Super Bowl episode.  Now we know how the Dad died.

ABC

Jimmy Kimmel has emerged as a comedian with strong views about public policy.  He’s taken a strong view on healthcare because he has an infant son that required life-saving heart surgery and he has been outspoken in his criticism of Washington.

CMT

Nashville No matter how corny and silly you get, I just can’t quit you!  Juliette’s in a cult; Gunnar, Avery and Will let a girl join their new supergroup; Deacon’s stumbling through his next romance; etc.  Last season for this one!

Comedy Central

Corporate This new series has a great time parodying the operations of a huge conglomerate.  Here’s an article you may enjoy:

https://www.vox.com/cards/best-tv-shows-hbo-netflix-now/corporate-comedy-central

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah This young comic helps me keep my spirits up with his nightly monologues about the times we live in.

HBO

Real Time with Bill Maher This past Friday’s episode featured a great panel (David Frum and Donna Brazil) facing off with Anthony Scaramucci.  Fireworks ensued!  Watch it On Demand and overtime on YouTube.

Divorce From the pen of Sharon Horgan (creator of the much funnier Catastrophe). Starring a great ensemble that includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Molly Shannon, Tracy Letts (Ladybird), etc.  If you think the process of consciously uncoupling is inherently funny, this is your show.  Mildly amusing in its second season as the newly divorced couple tries to cope with being single again.

PBS

Victoria Simply divine.  British accents and period costumes.  If you loved Downton Abbey and The Crown, this is your show.

Showtime

The Chi If you loved The Wire, you will likely love this show about the south side of Chicago.

STARZ

Counterpart is a 10-episode suspense series about a UN employee who discovers that the agency he works for is hiding a gateway to a parallel dimension.  It stars J.K. Simmons in a lead double role.  Sheer pleasure ensues! For lovers of espionage and suspense who are missing Homeland right now.

TBS

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee I love Sam’s gutsy approach to skewering the powers that be.  She’s originally Canadian you know!! Eh??!!!

TNT

The Alienist This 10 episode miniseries is set in turn of the century NYC.  Very similar in tone to Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders and other series that have shown old-time crime solving in the early days of detecting.  It’s very dark, but it does have a wonderful cast (Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning).  So far, I’ve stayed with the first few episodes but it is taking its time unfolding.

Streaming from various sources

The Path From Hulu and stars Aaron Paul, Hugh Dancy and Michelle Monaghan.  It’s a chilling examination of life inside a cult.  Season 3 now available.

Mary Kills People From Global TV Canada and Lifetime in the US.  Great suspense series about a pair of medical professionals who provide terminally ill patients with assisted suicides. Season 2 now available.

Cardinal from CTV Canada.  Stars Billy Campbell as a detective in Northern Ontario trying to solve a series of related crimes.

Star Trek: Discovery from CBS All Access. It stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs and Michelle Yeoh.  Set 10 years before Enterprise, the USS Discovery discovers new worlds and lifeforms as one Starlet officer learns to understand all things alien.

Closing Words

It’s a beautiful day in Naples.  My chili pot is simmering on the stove and we are headed out to play some golf.  Enjoy your day wherever you are.  Special thoughts to my friends dealing with medical issues.  Hugs always.