Well, it’s been a great week. Got to play three rounds of golf in TO and in Thornbury. Made it to a live theatre production in Collingwood, and of course, caught up on a bit of TV viewing. Here are my recommendations:
Live on Stage
Theatre Collingwood at the Gayety Theatre has kicked off its Summer Theatre Festival with a production of Sexy Laundry, a two character play from Theatre Orangeville. This comedy is about married life after 25 years of ups and downs. Great performances by the two actors and a very engaging evening of entertainment that is both amusing and poignant.
Hap and Leonard is a swamp noir tv series that originates on Sundance in the US. The first two seasons (16 episodes) have aired and I must highly recommend this series. Set in the late 1980’s, Hap and Leonard is a darkly comic tale of two friends who have overcome tragic beginnings and have ended up becoming entangled in crimes they didn’t commit. Great performances from James Purefoy as Hap and Michael Kenneth Williams as Leonard.
Brockmire is a comedy series from IFC and stars Hank Azaria as a famed major league baseball announcer who suffers an embarrassing and very public meltdown live on the air after discovering his beloved wife’s serial infidelity . He decides to reclaim his career and love life in a small town a decade later. This is hilariously raunchy stuff for adults only!
Master of None starring Aziz Ansari has returned for its second season of episodes loosely based on Ansari’s real life. In the latest episodes, Dev (Ansari) is living in Modena (Italy) and his adventures continue.
Bloodline will return for its third season on May 26! According to IMDB, John faces the real situation. He is caught and tells all real stories to the police. Kevin escapes and may never be back. Meg stays in low profile, but is still haunted by the bad karma. The mafia starts interrupting John’s family. Can’t wait!! I love this dark and dangerous tale of family secrets in the Florida Keys.
House of Cards will return for its fifth season on May 30. It will be fascinating to see how this political drama deals with the political spectacle that is simultaneously unfolding in reality. Season 5 will begin with President Underwood in the midst of a re-election campaign, his ever-formidable wife Claire at this side. The biggest obstruction on the road to a second term is Frank’s sordid past, which is dangerously close to being exposed for the world to see amid a maelstrom of controversies and accusations.
Jamaica Inn comes to Netflix from the BBC and stars Jessica Brown Findlay (the doomed Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey). Set on the Yorkshire Moors, this dark and brooding mystery is based on Daphne Du Maurier’s novel. A young woman moves in with her aunt and uncle and soon discovers unsavoury happenings in her new home. I lasted through 2 episodes of this murky 3 episode miniseries.
Norm McDonald Hitler’s Dog, Gossip and Trickery is a 1 hour comedy special currently available on Netflix. I realized about 20 minutes in, that I really like Norm McDonald in small doses. An hour is simply too much!
John Doyle gives the new Netflix true crime series The Keepers a rave review:
The Telegram (UK) gives some Netflix recommendations:
Animal Kingdom is a dark and brooding suspense series set in a Southern California beach town where a crime family is headed up by a most ungrandmotherly Ellen Barkin. The second series of 12 episodes is set to debut on May 30 on Bravo in Canada. If you haven’t caught up with season 1 yet, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to find it.
The Wizard of Lies premiered last night on Sat May 20 on HBO. A chronicle of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, which defrauded his clients of billions of dollars. Stars include Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro and Hank Azaria.
Twin Peaks the noir masterpiece originally directed by David Lynch will return after 26 years on May 21 on TMN in Canada.
Dark Angel will debut on PBS Masterpiece on Sunday May 21. It is a two-part drama shown in its entirety and is about the Victorian serial killer Mary Cotton (played by Anna from Downton Abbey – Joanne Froggatt).
Shows I’m Still Keeping up with
Genius is an 11 episode miniseries biography of Albert Einstein both as a young man and the wiry haired genius who went on to solve the secrets of the universe. On National Geographic and Showcase in Canada.
The Handmaid’s Tale from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel is an 11 episode miniseries airing on Bravo in Canada.
Harlots is an 8 episode miniseries from Britain’s ITV that is airing on Superchannel in Canada. Starring Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sibyl on Downton Abbey). It is about the war between two competing brothels in London during the 18th century. For adults only!
Call the Midwife is the heartwarming PBS series that is now in its sixth season. Get out your hankies of this wonderful series that chronicles the lives of a group of midwives living in East London in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s.
Veep is an acerbic comedy series now in its sixth season on HBO. One year after losing the presidency, Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) attempt to secure her legacy. Created by Armando Iannucci (comic genius behind Alan Partridge, In the Loop, The Thick of It, etc.), the show is brilliant in its no holds barred skewering of political life.
Silicon Valley is now in it fourth season on HBO. The guys struggle to find funding for Pied Piper’s video chat app. A lovable group of nerds dealing with the cut throat wheeling and dealing of SV.
The Leftovers is in its third and final season on HBO. Will there be a second apocalyptic catastrophe?
The only way I can watch the news these days…
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver continues to entertain as John Oliver brings his persona to this weekly news satire program on HBO on Sunday nights.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs nightly on Comedy Mon-Thurs.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs Mon – Fri on CBS.
Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal airs Wednesdays on Comedy.
Real Time with Bill Maher airs Fridays on HBO.
CBS Sunday Morning airs Sunday mornings and its personal interest pieces, interviews with actors, political figures, athletes, musicians, etc. keeps me sane and inspired. This morning’s episode on Amsterdam was sublime.
The Best Shows you Should Be Watching
Better Call Saul is the prequel to Breaking Bad on AMC.
The Americans is in its fifth season on FX. Two Soviet intelligence agents pose as a married couple to spy on the American government. Very timely…
Fargo is in its third season on FX. Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and murder in and around frozen Minnesota. Yet all of these tales mysteriously lead back one way or another to Fargo, ND.
Assorted Reading on Media
As I am an unapologetic Anglophile, I thought you might enjoy reading about the best British tv series:
Looking forward to my upcoming Book Group discussion (My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout), listening to A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles on Audible.com (tells the story of a Russian aristocrat living under house arrest in a luxury hotel for 30 years), just finished A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicolson (memoir about seven generations of Juliet Nicolson’s literary family). Despite the dire weather predictions of rain for the next 5 days, I am looking forward to a couple of games of golf and the retirement party of a dear friend. We will be attending a charity car rally next weekend in Collingwood, so cross your fingers for me as most of my friends know how hopelessly directionally challenged I am. Have a wonderful week regardless of your plans. If it rains, stay in and read or goodness knows, there are plenty of good programs available for watching!