I played golf the other day in single digit temperatures. It was bracing! This will be my last week of organized golf culminating with a closing dinner at Blue Mountain Village for our Friday morning golfers. As our northern season winds down, we look forward to balmier temps in Florida where we should arrive around Oct. 24. Meanwhile, fingers crossed that the impending arrival of Hurricane Ian misses Naples and our part of the Gulf Coast as it tracks north from Cuba. Here are some viewing suggestions for you:
Jeopardy is back Mon – Fri, Ken Jennings is the permanent regular host, all is well with the world!!!
Bad Sisters (10 episodes) Follows the Garvey sisters, who are bound together by the death of their parents and a promise to always protect each other. Delightful black comedy featuring Brian Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle, Claes Bang, Sharon Horgan. It will make you root for the Garvey sisters as they deal with their horrible brother-in-law.
Sidney (1 h 51 m) Follows the real life story of Sidney Poitier, the Oscar winner of 1964. Very touching look back at his life and career.
Noughts and Crosses (Season 2, 4 episodes) The conclusion to this Sci-Fi twist on the Romeo and Juliet story set in a dangerous, alternate world where racism divides society. Very enjoyable!
Deconstructing Karen (Documentary, 1 h 51 m) A group of nice white ladies who haven’t got a racist bone in their bodies join Saira Rao & Regina Jackson for a provocative dinner conversation about the unwitting ways they’re upholding everyday white supremacy. Definitely not for everyone, but if you want to view the most woke show I’ve ever watched, this is your doc.
LIDO TV (6 episodes) Created and hosted by the Grammy-nominated artist Lido Pimienta, LIDO TV is a variety show filled with unhinged sketches interviews, music and documentaries that cover timely topics with humour and heart. Every bit as woke as Deconstructing Karen. Episode 1 focused on Colonialism! Not for everyone.
FBI (Season 5, 5 episodes listed so far) From the Dick Wolf production team. This procedural drama about the inner working of the New York office of the FBI is back! So are its sister shows, FBI Most Wanted and FBI International. For those who like their crime series neat and unambiguously pro-police.
The Murdochs: Empire of Influence (6 episodes, debuts tonight) It will explore the rise of Rupert Murdoch, his influence in the world and his battle of succession. Advance reports archly observe that Succession is real!
Andor (24 episodes) Prequel series to Star Wars’ Rogue One. In an era filled with danger, deception and intrigue, Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a Rebel hero. Stars Diego Luna, Stellan Skarsgard, Genevieve O’Reilly. This has been described as Star Wars without the star wars. You don’t have to be a fanatical SW fan to enjoy this!
Monarch (11 episodes) The Romans have created a country music dynasty but when their reign as country royalty is put in jeopardy, Nicolette will stop at nothing to protect her family’s legacy. Dreck warning. This is awfully soapy. Stars Trace Adkins (not the best actor around), Anna Friel, Susan Sarandon (now mostly in flashbacks).
Industry (16 episodes) Young bankers and traders make their way in the financial world in the aftermath of the Covid market collapse. in this cut throat and gruelling world, the young bankers misbehave like the young characters on Euphoria.
House of the Dragon (Prequel to Game of Thrones, 11 episodes) This tells the story of an internal succession war within House Targaryen at the height of its power, 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen. Bonus: there are lots of dragons! Loving this so far!
No Demo Reno (20 episodes) I can’t believe I didn’t know this series existed and now I’m addicted. She redecorates 2 houses in each show. Value for money! Perhaps the most energetic woman on TV, Jennifer Todryk races through each episode showing people how to rejuvenate their homes without necessarily taking down any walls. Love it!
New Amsterdam (Season 5, 7 episodes listed so far) Maudlin TV returns. Now Max is mourning the loss of his relationship with Helen, there’s a Bollywood salute, Iggy has a new autistic patient, etc. I can’t look away.
Athena (1 h 39 m) Hours after the tragic death of their youngest brother in unexplained circumstances, three siblings have their lives thrown into chaos. Heart pounding tracking shots and non-stop action. You will never want to visit a predominantly Muslim Paris suburb after this. From Director Roman Gavras (son of the famous Costa Gavras).
Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir (Documentary, 1 h 41 m) A look at the life and work of author Amy Tan (author of The Joy Luck Club). I loved this very touching biography.
The Perfumier (in German with English subtitles, 1 h 36 m) A police detective tries to get back his girlfriend as well as his sense of smell, as he gets help from a perfume maker who uses deadly methods to find the perfect perfume. I found this to be a fever dream of a movie. I mostly snoozed through it (started watching way too late one night), so I have a very confused memory of what I actually watched.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (10 episodes) Story of the Milwaukee Monster fold from the perspective of the victims and police incompetence that allowed the Wisconsin native to go on a multiyear killing spree. I watched this because Ryan Murphy produced it for Netflix and his shows are usually very entertaining. Also the cast includes Evan Peters, Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, Michael Learned, etc. However, I did start watching this one too late and found it so suspenseful and terrifying that I couldn’t get through the first episode. I will try again when I am not so tired and afraid.
The US and the Holocaust (3 episodes ran this past week on Sun, Tues, and Wed) From Ken Burns and narrated by Peter Coyote. Exploring America’s response to the Holocaust, and how it challenged the ideals of democracy. This incredibly moving series is from master documentarian Ken Burns and it will mesmerize and sadden you with the heartbreaking tale of how the world ignored a genocide.
Sister Boniface Mysteries (from Britbox, 12 episodes) Our local PBS affiliate is running episodes of this. The investigations of Sister Boniface of St Vincent’s Convent – nun, moped rider, wine maker and part-time forensic scientist. Kind of a slapstick version of Father Brown (of which this is a spin off) set in the 1960’s with a nun with a penchant for crime scene investigations (having learned her trade through her service at Bletchley during the war). A very silly spoof of the cozy mystery genre.
Van der Valk (Season 2 debuts tonight, 3 episodes) A Dutch detective takes on criminal cases in Amsterdam using insightful human observation and his natural street smarts. Stars Marc Warren. Enjoy Masterpiece Mystery fans!
The Rings of Power (9 episodes) Epic drama set thousands of years before the events of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It follows an ensemble cast of characters both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emerence of evil to middle-earth. I now remember why I found the Rings films endless and unrelievedly dull. They are all about Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, harfoots and the like. It is the most expensive TV series ever made, $465 Million for eight episodes. You be the judge, but I simply am not a Tolkien fan. I far prefer shows with dragons. I continue to watch and find myself after 5 episodes in mainly interested in what is happening with Galadriel’s quest.
Three Thousand Years of Longing (1 h 48 m) a lonely scholar, on a trip to Istanbul, discovers a Djinn who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. Charming fairy tale for adults. Stars Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba.
Speak No Evil (1 h 37 m) A Danish family visits a Dutch family they met on a holiday. What ws supposed to be an idyllic weekend slowly starts unraveling as the Danes try to stay polite in the face of unpleasantness. I was terrified by the building suspense in this and had to stop watching it before the first hour was up. I may try again when I am braver.
The Good Fight (Season 6, 10 episodes) After being promoted to top partner at the firm, Liz is forced to accept Ri’Chard Lane as a new name partner brought on to help manage her staff and client load. Meanwhile Diane experiences deja vu. Andre Braugher and John Slattery join the cast. I’m willing to watch, but must confess to a little feeling of deja vu myself.
Midwich Cuckoos (from SkyTV, 7 episodes) A small village in England is completely subdued by an alien presence for an entire day. Upon waking, it is discovered that numerous women in the town are pregnant. Adapted from the novel by John Wyndham (whose sci-fi books fascinated me as a teenager), and previously adapted for film as Village of the Damned. Stars Keeley Hawes and Max Beesley. I am loving this spooky series!
The Resort (from Peacock, 8 episodes) Exploring love and the weird things we do in the name of it, encased in an elaborate true-crime conspiracy. Stars Cristin Milioti and Skyler Gisondo. Full of twists and turns, this show is already testing my patience and I’m only one episode in. I will give it another chance to intrigue me.
Vampire Academy (10 episodes) We’re in teen vampire country here. I do love a good vampire or werewolf story. Not sure yet if this is one of those. In a world of privilege and glamour, two young women’s friendship transcends their strikingly different classes as they prepare to complete their education and enter royal vampire society. Kind of silly so far.
I still try to maintain my Sunday morning ritual of watching CBS Sunday Morning, the most enjoyable newsmagazine show on the air which has been airing since 1979. Now hosted by Jane Pauley, this venerable series never ceases to delight, inform and entertain with its stories about current events, celebrities, and human interest. I feel better each Sunday for having watched it. Kind of like 60 Minutes lite (which I also watch). I also regularly record and watch Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, John Oliver and Trevor Noah to keep up to date with the news filtered through humour.
Looking forward to a week of dinners with friends, a visit with my new grandson, golf and mahjong. Shana Tova to those of you observing Rosh Hashanah this week. Stay safe everybody whose travels may take them into unpleasant weather (yikes, good friends have just arrived in Florida!) For those of you fascinated by the Murdoch saga, here is a little taste from the CNN website: