I’ve decided not to keep updating my usual viewing fare and instead concentrate on listing some items for you to watch when considering your regular network viewing, Netflix picks, Amazon Prime debuts, etc.
First of all, I must include a little video from my talented son David, who completed a project for CBC Music recently. I encourage you to share it with anyone who has been delighted by the coverage Justin Trudeau received this past week on his Washington, DC visit.
I watched 45 Years the other night starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay. It’s about a married couple preparing to celebrate their wedding anniversary who receive shattering news that promises to forever change the course of their lives. A great character study and portrait of a long marriage. Charlotte Rampling has one of the most enigmatic and expressive faces in cinema. At 70 she is still a great beauty and at 79 Tom Courtenay has morphed from his youthful roles in British “kitchen sink” cinema in the 60’s to become a wonderful character actor. The movie is sweet, slow, sad and short, more like a novella than a fully fleshed out drama that ends on a note of ambiguity.
I completed all 13 episodes of House of Cards Season 4. Totally enjoyable as the Underwoods are challenged in the election campaign by a much younger and very attractive husband and wife team who seem to be awfully similar in their Machiavellian tendencies. The Underwoods also grow very close to their speechwriter. Hmmm….
Love is Judd Apatow’s latest comedy series made expressly for Netflix. It’s a relationship show about an odd couple who seem to be polar opposites with an obvious attraction for each other. The first episode (meet cute) may not hook you, but I suggest hanging in for another episode or two to see if you come to care for these two Los Angeles hipsters. For a very different take on this series,have a look at John Doyle’s column from the Globe (I totally disagree with his opinion and suspect he only watched episode 1):
Flaked is a Netflix original starring Will Arnett. Set in a funky California beach enclave, he plays Chip, the go-to guy for personal insights who isn’t quite as enlightened when it comes to his own baggage.
Cuckoo is a British series made for Netflix about Rachel who shocks her proper British parents when she marries an American hippie, but it’s just the first in a series of surprises for the family. It stars Andy Samberg, Taylor Lautner and Greg Davies.
Man Up stars Simon Pegg and Lake Bell in a British film based on the premise of a single woman who seizes an opportunity when, while standing under a train station clock, she meets a stranger who mistakes her for his blind date.
Streaming On Crave/Amazon Prime
Catastrophe is a series you may not have found yet. Possibly the funniest relationship comedy I have ever seen, it follows the romance between an Irish woman living in London and an American expat from Boston. They have a one-night stand, she gets pregnant, he decides he wants to have a relationship with her, etc. It’s brilliantly written and will keep you on the edge of your seat gasping to see what will happen next. Here’s John Doyle’s take on the show:
Bosch (starring Titus Welliver) returned to Amazon Prime this weekend for its second season. He’s a hardboiled LAPD homicide detective trying to solve the murder of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court for the murder of a serial killer.
On the Networks
Younger (TVLand on Wednesdays) is my current favourite comedy. It follows the journey of a 4oish single mom who has to pretend she’s 26 in order to land a publishing job. Hilarious sendup of hipster millennials, social media, etc. Sutton Foster (a huge Tony award winning star of Broadway musicals) is very lovable as the lead character, Liza Miller.
The Walking Dead continues on AMC Sundays. A surprising romance has blossomed, a new villain is on the horizon. The suspense continues.
Better Call Saul continues on AMC Mondays. The prequel to Breaking Bad, it follows the escapades of Jimmy McGill as he transforms into morally challenged lawyer Saul Goodman.
The People vs OJ Simpson continues on FX Tuesdays. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Bruce Greenwood, Sarah Paulson, Nathan Lane, David Schwimmer, John Travolta, Courtney B. Vance and many others. This series follows the behind the scenes stories of the OJ trial. Sarah Paulson is especially heartbreaking as the very vulnerable Marcia Clark who faced endless ridicule in the press for her personal style and had to put up with nude pictures of her running in the tabloids. You really feel empathy for this very smart hardworking woman who is treated so badly by everyone.
The Family on ABC Tuesdays takes place in a community rattled when a politician’s son, who was presumed murdered years ago, returns home. It stars Joan Allen, Rupert Graves and Allison Pill. Very suspenseful and mysterious!
Billions on Showtime Sundays. The cat and mouse game between US Attorney and his quarry, hedge fund founder continues. Stars Damien Lewis (Homeland) and Paul Giammatti (roles too numerous to mention).
Shameless on Showtime Sundays. I loved the original British version of this show and enjoy watching Canadian actors show up in small roles in this series. Starring the great William H. Macy, this series is about an alcoholic man who lives in a perpetual stupor while his six children cope as best they can.
Black Sails (on Starz here and Superchannel in Canada; argh, the pirate show) is about Captain Flint and his pirates, in Naussau twenty years prior to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island,” and it features movie scale music, beautiful cinematography and a wonderful performance by Toby Stephens as Flint.
American Crime (series concluded on Wednesdays on ABC, but available on demand). This terrific series starred Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Regina King, and Lili Taylor in a story ripped from the headlines about a teenager sexually assaulted by his private school classmates and the following investigation with its significant racial and class components. The lead character, Taylor Blaine, is played by a perfectly cast Connor Jessup (Falling Skies) whose expressive face telegraphs every heartbreaking emotion that a troubled teenager can experience.
Outsiders (Tuesdays on WGN) is a great David and Goliath story about a Kentucky hillbilly clan that decides to defend their mountain from Big Coal. It’s Deliverance meets Justified meets Sons of Anarchy. Executive produced by none other than Paul Giammatti.
Colony (Thursdays on USA) is a great high concept story about a Los Angeles that is run by alien invaders. Stars Josh Holloway (Lost) and Sarah Wayne calls (The Walking Dead). It’s produced by Carlton Cuse of Lost. It’s a great mystery/suspense/sci fi show.
You, me and the Apocalypse (Thursdays on NBC) is nearing it’s conclusion. Like nothing that’s ever been seen before on TV, it’s about a group of ordinary people who learn that an eight-mile wide comet is on a collision course with Earth. They hunker beneath the town of Slough, England to watch the end of the world on television. In short, it’s a comedy drama about the final days of mankind. It stars Jenna Fischer, Rob Lowe, Megan Mullally and is definitely not for everyone, but I kind of liked its very quirky storytelling.
The Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (available on demand from HBO Documentary) is an incredibly poignant doc about a young woman in Pakistan who is sentenced to death for falling in love and who becomes a rare survivor of the country’s harsh judicial system that forgives and supports honour killings. It won the Oscar for Best Documentary, Short Subject, and it will make you very angry.
The Political Pundits
Although I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the non-stop insanity of the run-up to the next US Presidential elections, I can’t stop myself from watching the political comedy shows including Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah and John Oliver. Donald Trump scares and saddens me as it appears that he is saying all the things his many supporters truly believe regarding Muslims, Mexicans, etc. He is playing from some demagogue handbook and I can only hope that some scandal or other will haunt him before the campaign is finished allowing some more reasonable candidate to take over the direction of the Republican Party. He is a disgrace and an embarrassment and I would be very worried if he were to actually win the election and lead the US in its foreign affairs. He admits to total admiration for Putin (extremely distressing given his predilection for having opponents murdered, etc.) and his desire to make America great (or white) again is a very sad dream for a wonderful nation.
Last week, I had the great pleasure of attending a farewell to Downton Abbey party where about 40 women gathered to eat and drink away their sorrows on the final episode of this wonderful program. If you are longing for new costume dramas to sooth your grief over the departure of DA, may I recommend you catch up with the first seasons of Outlander (Starz here), and Poldark (Masterpiece Theatre on PBS) as their new seasons are due to commence soon.
I have been busy walking local beaches (Tigertail at Marco Island where you have to wade across a blue lagoon to access the beach) and birding trails at conservation areas (Eagle Lakes nearby), playing Bocci, Mahjong, golf (a great Breast Cancer tournament was held at our club this week) and generally just enjoying the wonderful weather here in southwest Florida. Oh yes, and East Naples got its very own Steinmart department store just down the street from us. What joy (although opening day was hilariously chaotic)!!
This week I will have the bittersweet honour of hosting a coffee party for a neighbour who is leaving Treviso Bay for the splendours of Twin Eagles in N. Naples. I will be attending our good friends’ St. Patrick’s Day party in Estero. Last of all, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of fellow golf widows and longtime friends next weekend as our husbands gather to go off on their annual golf trip on “the other coast” and I will be entertaining the ladies in Naples for a few days. I am planning to take them on a little alligator excursion in the Everglades, a trip to the Botanical Gardens with a concert nearby, etc. As usual, there will be many cocktails and much laughter around the pool. I can’t believe we are easing into our last month here. It has flown by! Enjoy this beautiful spring season and don’t forget to watch some terrific TV and/or movies. Oh yes, I understand there are some wonderful books out there as well!