And now for a recap of what I’ve been watching this week:
At the movies
Saw The Martian with Matt Damon. An inspiring look at how using science and tenacity we can solve most problems. Also saw Bridge of Spies, a wondrously old fashioned Steven Spielberg film starring Tom Hanks. I loved the way this film showed how using principles and tenacity (again) we can resolve incredibly difficult moral problems. This is Tom Hanks’ Atticus Finch role and he is terrific here.
Discovering US delights
Now ensconced in Naples for one week after a 2-day drive from Toronto, I have managed to play my first 3 rounds of golf and have also discovered some tv shows that I might not have accessed so easily in Canada.
The Man in the High Castle is a high concept British miniseries made as original programming for Amazon Prime. It hypothesizes a future in which the Nazis won WW2. A fascinating dystopian tale.
The Last Kingdom is a BBC miniseries that tells the story of England’s struggle to become a nation. It will have wondrous appeal to Game of Thrones fans, but sadly, there are no dragons.
Beast of no Nation is an original Netflix film starring Idris Elba that tells the story of child soldiers in war torn Africa. Incredibly moving, very disturbing and unforgettable images of children who lose their childhood and are forced to commit atrocities.
W1A is a BBC comedy series in 4 parts that takes satirical aim at the BBC with a hilarious parody of its groupthink mentality as it installs a Values chairman as a kind of ombudsman to ensure that BBC programming correctly embodies British values. Downton Abbey fans will get a kick out of Hugh Bonneville’s very befuddled Values chair role.
The Middle, Modern Family, You’re the Worst which all make me laugh.
Fargo, The Bastard Executioner, Gotham, The Flash, IZombie (which featured a delightful cliffhanger ending) and Arrow continue to intrigue. I watched the season premiere of Supergirl and found it delightful. I am hanging in with Blindspot and The Player because of my devotion to their two leads, but I have pretty much given up on Blood and Oil and Quantico. The soaps Empire, Nashville (which included quite the shocker ending for Jeff) and Scandal still manage to entertain me despite their incredibly over the top and unbelievable plot lines. I have fallen in love with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which is a 1 hour musical comedy series featuring parodies of Broadway style musical numbers incongruously set into this tale of a Harvard educated lawyer who follows her old boyfriend from her teen years from NYC to suburban California. The Good Wife continues to intrigue with wonderful story lines and terrific acting. Somehow this show retains its quality after 6 seasons. Chicago Fire is my guilty pleasure show featuring hunky firemen (I’m talking about you, Casey) in scene after scene of deadly jeopardy. Its appeal is inexplicable, yet undeniable. Also cliffhanger ending for Dawson who so deserves some happiness!
I have also fallen in love with the PBS Sunday night lineup, starting with Home Fires, the coziest of stories about the wartime activities of British women on the homefront. Indian Summers is my snoozing show and I manage to stay awake for most of Julie Walters’ scenes. The Guilty, a BBC miniseries about the disappearance of a toddler, now follows Indian Summers and was very intriguing in its first episode. It stars Tamsin Greig (Episodes, Friday Night Dinner) in a most unlikely role as the lead investigating detective. She is equally talented at drama and comedy!
This week was quite the cliffhanger on The Walking Dead and viewers are still reeling in shock from the cliffhanger ending for Glen (sorry slowpokes, you must keep up with the show!) The Leftovers continues to mesmerize me with its dreamlike qualities as Justin Theroux and his family work their way into a new life in the apparently idyllic town of Miracle, Texas (or is it, as the disappearance of 3 teenagers undercuts the peaceful facade of the town). I am sadly missing Homeland and The Affair as they originate on pay networks in the US to which we do not subscribe and I shall have to hunt them down on the Internet at some point.
I am still loving my regular political comedy series: Real Time with Bill Maher, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Also, don’t forget about CBS Sunday Morning which is the most relaxing and inspiring hour on television. We have just subscribed to PBS On Demand and are now catching up with the many Frontline and Nova episodes that we have missed. Entertaining, informative television at its best.
It is another glorious 85 degree blue sky day here in Naples (I almost passed out on the golf course yesterday as my Canadian constitution hasn’t quite adjusted to the heat). It is Halloween, which they take very seriously here, and we are headed into town for the Halloween festivities tonight which feature the best dog costume contest I have ever seen. Last year’s winner was The Poopmobile which featured a costumed chihuahua as the Pope driving a motorized Popemobile. Adorable!! There are also numerous families with young children who attend the Fifth Avenue event which restores my faith in the fact that there are absolutely normal families who live in this town and we’re not all retirees mobbing the shops, theatres, beaches and restaurants.
In the meantime, stay warm my friends in the north! Take comfort in the fact that it can actually get uncomfortably warm here.