I spent last week preparing for a big bridal shower for my future daughter-in-law and this week I am recovering, had a wonderful trip to Niagara on the Lake with my walking group, plus played lots of golf, practiced my mahjong skills, watched meteor showers in the dark country sky above Thornbury, etc. (just some reassurance for those of you who worry that I am sitting way too much – as sitting is now the new smoking in terms of how much damage it does to your health -and not straying too far from the couch).
Premiere Alert on HBO Canada
Show Me a Hero debuts on Sunday Aug 16 on HBO Canada from the creator of The Wire starring the always intense Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex Machina, etc.); apparently this miniseries is based on a 1999 book about the desegregration of public housing in Yonkers, NY and is as compelling as a show about city council meetings and zoning ordinances can be
Streaming on Netflix
I still haven’t managed to watch some new original Netflix programs like Wet Hot American Summer the Prequel and Staten Island Summer. This week a few new items debuted such as The Rewrite with Hugh Grant, Dancing on the Edge from Britain, and Club de Cuervos.
I did watch part of an episode from the new Britcom series The Delivery Man about a male midwife; awfully lame and silly, but if you’re addicted to Britcoms you may like it
Obvious Child – indy movie starring the charming and luminous Jenny Slate as a stand up comic who gets pregnant after a 1 night stand with a stranger; very sweet and kind of reminded me of one of my favourite Steve McQueen movies Love with the Proper Stranger in a millennial unromantic way
Video on Demand
TMN Canada is showing Dracula Untold; as I have a weakness for vampires, werewolves and zombies, I was a natural candidate for this film which tells the previously untold story that Vlad the Impaler was really a Transylvanian nationalist bravely fighting for his kingdom against the murderous Turks; starring Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper, Charles Dance and Canadian actress Sarah Gadon, I rather enjoyed this unique take on an old favourite
I am Steve McQueen is a doc currently airing on TMN Canada. It was a journey down memory lane for me as I had forgotten how influential this “king of cool” really was. He stands up as a real film superstar and the clips from many of his classic films (including one of my favourite all time films The Great Escape from 1963) make him appear as relevant as though he were with us today. He died tragically young at the age of 50 from cancer so will always be remembered for his classic anti-hero style. If he were still alive, he’d be 85 years old.
Here’s what I have managed to watch so far:
On HBO Canada
Finale of True Detective aired last week- dark, sad, nihilistic; don’t know anyone else who stayed with this very bleak series
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – totally bonkers BBC show about magic aired its finale last week; it’s Harry Potter for grown ups
Masters of Sex – Masters & Johnson get closer
Strike Back on HBO Canada – the wild and crazy guys are back and they are kicking up mayhem wherever they go
Ray Donovan – fascinating turn of events as Ray has gone to work for the Finney family which includes father Andrew (played by the magnificently malevolent Ian McShane) and daughter Paige (played by Katie Holmes as a nasty piece of work)
Bill Maher on HBO Canada – he’s back and as snarky as ever
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – a wonderful weekly show where Oliver skewers world culture including FIFA, the Miss Universe pageant, the justice system, etc. He is a much more lovable satirist in a much less snarky way than Bill Maher
Continuing to watch:
Mr. Robot – streaming on the Internet but coming to Canada in Sept.: bonkers but hypnotic
Defiance on Showcase– latest episode has the Nolan the Lawmaker in deep trouble as he has shot a senior official during a hallucination and is being exiled to Brazil where he may be executed by the Votanis Collective (I’m not making this up)
Falling Skies on Superchannel – uh oh, all is not what it seems when the 2nd Mass realizes that something is awfully wrong at the military base that seemed initially to be a refuge; good thing this show is coming to an end this year as it has gone down some of the same storylines as the far superior Walking Dead series
The Last Ship on Space– still heading towards a showdown with the submarine crazies
Tyrant on FX Canada – Barry’s wife and son both know he’s alive and kicking; things start to look a little dicey for the Jamal’s newly revealed son whom he has appointed Army Chief of Staff as he goes behind the president’s back
Married on FX Canada – very wry look at married life in LA
The Strain on FX Canada – so scary and gory and so over the top
The Ambassador on PBS – I have now realized that this show combines the facile problem solving of Madame Secretary with an Angela Lansbury Murder She Wrote vibe so if you love those two shows, you may love Pauline Collins as the British Ambassador to the Irish Republic
Dr. Blake Mysteries on PBS – I am hope watching this rather slow Aussie police procedural set in the 50’s featuring a doctor who works for the police; so dark and plodding; somehow Dr. Blake needs more charisma for us to care about his tragic past
Hell on Wheels on AMC – Cullen Bohannan continues to try to get the Irish and Chinese to work together as he leads the race between the Central Pacific and Union Pacific’s efforts to build the transcontinental railroad
Zoo on CBS – unintentionally funnier and funnier; last week was all about bears in Paris
CBS Sunday Morning – this is my hands down favourite current affairs program; I watch this every Sunday morning at 9 am (well 9:30 in PVR time so that I can FF through the commercials) as my Zen experience of the week; filled with profiles and human interest stories it inspires, energizes and relaxes me all at the same time; I can’t recommend it enough
Please Like Me on CBC – OK, I have fallen prey to the charms of the hopelessly nerdy 21 year old main character who is trying to figure out his love life after his girlfriend convinces him he’s gay; very touching episode last week when a major character died unexpectedly; very interesting relationship between his parents who are divorced and trying to move on
Banished on CBC – brutal and compelling; we see how Australia began as a penal colony for Brits often wrongly accused and harshly punished by a very unfair justice system
Teen Wolf on MTV – still loving this kooky teen show about monsters; this year’s plot has the writers paying homage to schlock Brit sci fi with its Dread Doctors storyline
Still watching Suits, Graceland and Murder in the First and still getting great enjoyment from these three shows that approach law and order in entirely different ways
Still watching The Whispers to see how and why the invisible imaginary friend is pursuing its strategy of making children do unspeakable things
And now a word about TVO and PBS – so many great documentaries (especially if you’re feeling the summer doldrums of repeats, etc.) : this past week featured one about the roots of WW1, the roots of the Palestinian conflict, the Ottoman Empire, etc. I really should be watching more of this type of stuff (plus of course PBS Frontline, Nova, etc.) rather than guilty pleasure shows like Zoo, Defiance, etc. Watching docs on both TVO and PBS make me feel rather virtuous in that I invariably learn something I didn’t know
E – I have never watched this channel before, and I watch no reality TV (since I watch so much scripted TV), but I have fallen under the spell of Cait Jenner (Call Me Cait) and I am fascinated by Jenner’s transgender journey. I think Jenner is sincere in her passion to make the world more understanding of transgender issues. I have never watched a single episode of the Kardashian series, but I do like Cait’s story very much. I know people struggle with Jenner’s self exploitation for profit and the fact that so much of “reality TV” is scripted and produced with a firm storyline in place, however, I do feel that if Jenner can educate and put a human face on her transition, while preventing bullying and suicides in this community, then the series will be worthwhile.
That’s all for now as I have flowers to deadhead and laundry to change. I am off to the actual movies in a theatre tonight and am still trying to decide whether it will be The Man from UNCLE (I was a huge fan of this 60’s spy dramedy for which I actually submitted a story outline and received an official reply from NBC) or Mission Impossible Rogue Nation starring the strangely unwrinkled 53-year-old Tom Cruise who does trouble me with his Scientology affiliation not to mention his weird marriages. The Collingwood Cineplex only runs blockbusters as it must be all things to all people, so a summer blockbuster it will be.