Confessions of a failed bingewatcher…

I totally intended to bingewatch season 2 of Bloodline on Netflix this wknd, and I’m very sad to report that I haven’t even watched episode one yet. Too much golfing and hiking! Also, my husband watches this thing called the NBA Playoffs and since Toronto has been involved, he has been glued to the screen and I am honour bound to watch shows that he is interested in when he is available. Hence, very little TV watching has been going on, but here is a little summary of what I have managed to watch and what I am planning to watch in the week ahead.

Streaming

I did, however, bingewatch the entire Julian Fellowes miniseries in 3 episodes Dr. Thorne. This is the next series to come from the Downton Abbey creator. Based on the Barchester novels of Anthony Trollope, this very Jane Austenish story is full of all the usual “suitable match” and “family disinherited by primogeniture” storylines. It’s boy knows girl, boy is forbidden to see girl, boy must find suitable heiress, etc. Great period costumes and English accents, so I found it very comforting.  It aired on ITV in the UK and it will air on Amazon Prime in the US, so will probably be available on Superchannel, Shomi or Crave in Canada.

I watched a few more episodes of the comedy series Casual. Created for Hulu and directed by Jason Reitman, I love this series about LA hipsters looking for love. This was a popular theme for many comedies including You’re the Worst, Love, etc. I find this story particularly endearing as a divorcing sister moves in with her brother who runs a dating website.

Netflix

I totally enjoyed the action/suspense film American Ultra starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart.  A Jason Bourne-like Eisenberg is targeted for termination by his CIA bosses.

I started the Gunpowder, Treason & Plot miniseries about Mary Queen of Scots.  Thrilling, yet plodding at the same time.

AMC

I did watch Preacher when it debuted last week. Batshit crazy!

HBO

I still haven’t watched All the Way about LBJ as played by Bryan Cranston. It had great reviews as HBO adapted his stage play for TV. It is available on demand.

Game of Thrones continues to thrill on HBO as does Penny Dreadful. The comedies Veep, Silicon Valley and Sensitive Skin are all worth a watch on HBO as well.

PBS

Wallander and Call the Midwife both had their finales on PBS last week.  Very touching.  Both series are available on Netflix.  Coming up on PBS will be Sherlock, Endeavour, Inspector Lewis, etc.  Our local PBS affiliate runs a Saturday evening full of British mysteries including Father Brown, Vera and Foyle’s War. All very soothing.  There is a midweek episode of Doc Martin on Thurs. evenings about life in an eccentric British seaside town with a lovable doctor with Aspergers at its heart.

On Demand

Superchannel has been showing the entire first season of Versailles.  This series has spectacular costumes and settings as it tells the story of Louis XIV building the palace of Versailles and it details the scandals of the royal court which include a cross dressing gay younger brother of the King.

FX

The Americans had a terrific episode this past week as the Jennings are expected to complete a mission that exacts quite a toll and the episode ends with an amazing scene where Elizabeth and Paige are mugged in an alley and Paige gets to see just who her mother really is.

I am on tenterhooks waiting for Tyrant to return for its next season.  It’s currently in reruns for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.

Lifetime

The devilish series Unreal returns for a second season.  If you haven’t seen Season 1 yet, it begins screening at 10 pm on Tuesday on Lifetime.  It is a great drama about the making of a reality dating show which shows how scripted, plotted and produced series like The Bachelor really are.  Very funny.

The CW

Arrow had its season finale in a tumultuous pre-Apocalyptic show.  Looks like there may be a chance that Oliver and Felicity are not over.

Showcase

Outlander continues to be the most romantic show on TV.  Although I am not a fan of the time travel genre, the English accents and costumes keep me very happy.

Political Satire

Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO), John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight (HBO), The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy), Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (Comedy), and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS) all deal with the political nightmare of Donald Trump that is inexorably unfolding in the US.  It’s getting harder and harder to see the humour in this situation, but all of these shows do a great job of seeing the lighter side of this developing tragedy.

Current Events

CBS Sunday Morning (CBS), 60 Minutes (CBS), The Fifth Estate (CBS), Frontline (PBS),  and Nature (PBS) all offer intelligent and thought provoking programming that informs and enriches.

In the meantime, enjoy the week to come and this glorious summer weather that has finally arrived.

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TV Alert: New shows are coming!!!

Oh my goodness!  There are some great shows returning and new ones arriving this week!!

Netflix

Bloodline returns for 10 episodes for its second season on Fri May 27.  If you haven’t watched the first season yet, get ready to be glued to your screen for 13 episodes.  Set in the Florida Keys, this noir series exposes the dark family secrets behind the Rayburn family.  Starring Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek,  Australian actor, Ben Mendelson stole the first season with his deeply unsettling portrayal of black sheep son, Danny.  Apparently, he haunts season 2 as well.  Get ready for suspense and intrigue in a picture perfect Florida resort town.

Streaming on Amazon Prime (or find it on the Internet)

Dr. Thorne (produced by Julian Fellowes writer/producer of Downton Abbey and Gosford Park for Britain’s ITV from the Anthony Trollope novel) tells the story of penniless Mary Thorne, who grows up with her Uncle, Dr. Thorne, and her relationship with the family at the nearby Greshamsbury Park estate.  If you are longing for period costumes and English accents (how we miss Downton Abbey), this may be the 3-part miniseries for you and debuts on May 20.

AMC

Preacher debuts tonight on AMC. Starring Dominic Cooper, it tells the story of a preacher who enlists the help of a vampire to find God after a supernatural event at his church.  OK, I know most people aren’t as keen on vampires as I am, but this Seth Rogen produced series looks to be right up my True Blood missing alley.

HBO

All the Way debuted on Saturday.  This original HBO film tells the story of Lyndon B. Johnson as he becomes the President of the US in the chaotic aftermath of JFK’s assassination and spends his first year in office working to quickly pass the Civil Rights Act.

FX

Tyrant is returning for its third season in July, so if you haven’t been watching it, you have a month to catch up with seasons 1 & 2.  It tells the story of an unassuming American family drawn into the inner workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation and it’s addictive.  Adam Rayner is fabulously charismatic as the lead character Bassam “Barry” al-Fayeed, the LA paediatrician who becomes embroiled in the politics of his home country.

Comedy Special Fundraiser on NBC

Red Nose Day (adapted from the British fund raiser) comes to NBC on May 26.  Host Craig Ferguson brings together Jack Black, Ellen De Generes, Paul Rudd, Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan, Key & Peele, Anna Kendrick, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, etc.  The fundraiser is intended to help lift kids out of poverty and is sponsored by Walgreens. It has raised over $1 billion globally in the last 25 years, and in the UK, has become a cultural phenomenon.

My regular addictions

Sunday night is my crazy time.  I have to remember to record/watch an incredible number of shows that I love:

Game of Thrones (HBO), Fear the Walking Dead (AMC),  Call the Midwife (PBS), Wallander (PBS), Veep (HBO), Silicon Valley (HBO), Sensitive Skin (HBO), Penny Dreadful (HBO), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) and, as of tonight, Preacher (AMC).  All I can say, is Sunday is a battleground, created by TV Networks who play with us and throw more good programming at us in one night than most people would ever watch in a week.  Why do they do this to us???!!!

I will miss The Good Wife on Sundays but look forward to Brain Dead from Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King.  Billed as a comic thriller, the series is set in the world of Washington, DC politics.  It follows a young, fresh-faced Hill staffer getting her first job in DC and discovering two things:  The government has stopped working, and something mysterious is happening to a growing number of Congressmen and Hill staffers.  It premieres on June 13 (CBS)!!

Monday night, programming slows down to a much more manageable level as I watch very little reality TV and settle in to enjoy Gotham and Houdini & Doyle  (Fox )and then Turn: America’s Spies (AMC).

Wednesdays, I even have to remind myself to watch the wondrously suspenseful The Americans   (FX) as I keep forgetting to watch this show because I am usually watching deliciously soapy Nashville  (ABC), and recording sad but compelling Underground (about the underground railroad) (Bravo). Sadly, Nashville has been cancelled and is looking for a new home.  Hopefully, Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon will pick it up.  What will I do without worrying about Deacon, Rayna, Avery, Juliette, etc.?  I will miss them and T-Bone Burnett’s music. Guilty pleasure admission:  Arrow (the CW).  I have no excuse for loving this mask wearing deeply flawed super hero with amazing archery and martial arts skills.

Thursday, don’t forget to watch the Red Nose Day special and it looks like Doc Martin (PBS) has ended its most recent season as it begins reruns (which is great as I missed the first show of the season).  I love this gentle Bitcom about a doctor with no people skills in an eccentric village in Cornwall.  Delightful! The Path (Showcase) tells the very dark story of a cult in New York State.  Very haunting.

Fridays, I am so going to miss Grimm (NBC monster of the week show) and Banshee (HBO bat shit crazy series about a crime infested town in Pennsylvania) as both shows had their finales last Friday.  Fortunately, hunky Kiwi Banshee star Antony Starr is going to star in a new series American Gothic (CBS)  about a prominent Boston family reeling in the wake of the chilling discovery that someone in their midst is linked to an infamous string of murders.  As shocking secrets from the past and present are revealed, their mounting suspicion and paranoia that one of them is a killer, threatens to tear the family apart.   Fortunately Real Time with Bill Maher is still on (HBO).

Saturdays I have been enjoying our local PBS lineup:  Father Brown, Vera and the most recent episodes of Foyle’s War.  All three are British mysteries and I find them very soothing.  Perfect for recording and saving for sleepy afternoons.

As I usually write this blog while watching CBS Sunday Morning, I must mention some of my other regular comedy and current affairs favourites:  The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy), The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS), Nova, Nature and Frontline (all PBS), 60 Minutes (CBS), The Fifth Estate (CBC – always available ON Demand).

It’s a gorgeous sunny day in Thornbury and I’m looking forward to continuing my gardening duties here (not too strenuous, but soil must be relocated before I can continue dropping my store bought urns into my own containers).  Looking forward to the week ahead which features a golf clinic and some scheduled games.  Spring appears to have finally sprung here so get out there and enjoy it!!

 

 

 

Catching up with Sunday’s programs…

In my post last week, I listed all the programs I intended to watch this past week, beginning with the Sunday offerings.  I must confess that I have only today finished catching up with the Sunday programs, so I have fallen behind on my tv watching.  In addition, I got a bit distracted by various on demand and Netflix offerings, and managed to make it to an actual movie theatre twice, so my recommendations are a true mixed bag this week.

Shomi On Demand

As we have become recent subscribers to Shomi (because of our enormous Rogers bills, apparently) I just caught up with the on demand film, A Little Chaos, starring Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet.  This wonderful period film features fabulous costumes and English accents and is set during the Louis XIV period when Versailles was being built.  It is a gorgeous film about the building of the external ballroom with cascading fountain walls.  Beguiling!!

On the Big Screen

We saw The Jungle Book in 3D last weekend and I think it’s an absolute masterpiece with fabulous live action animated animals who are gorgeously voiced by Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Bill Murray and many others.  Perhaps a little intense for very small children, but very engaging for adults.  Tonight we are headed to see Money Monster with George Clooney and Julia Roberts.  Fingers crossed as I haven’t been a fan of films that tell the story of the 2008 financial collapse and detail bad behaviour by investment professionals.

Netflix

I was delighted to find the film MI5 (aka Spooks: The Greater Good) on Netflix. Starring the pouty and adorable Kit Harington (Jon Snow on Game of Thrones), this film is a final instalment of the long running BBC TV series Spooks.  Old time spyycraft in the LeCarre mode starring Peter Firth, Jennifer Ehle, etc.

Superchannel on demand

A Little Chaos whetted my appetite for all things Louis XIV, so I turned to Versailles on demand on Superchannel.  Sexy and naughty, there is much nudity and philandering at the royal court that I never knew about!!

Streaming

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an absolute hoot of a film for those of you who love Jane Austen and are not adverse to throwing a zombie apocalypse into the mix.  Starring Lily James (Downton Abbey, Cinderella), Sam Riley, Jack Huston, etc.).  This is an affectionate retelling of the Austen classic with hilarious zombie attacks thrown in to induce incongruous martial arts displays by our cast of very fetching young people.  Watch for Douglas Booth as Mr. Bingley.  He is surely as beautiful as any of the young women cast in this film, and in a hilarious role reversal, the Bennet sisters are called upon to rescue their young gentlemen in distress.

My Recommended Programming

Friday night was a night of Grimm (NBC), Real Time with Bill Maher , and Banshee (both HBO).
Grimm is my guilty pleasure monster of the week show; Bill Maher is my politically incorrect political satirist; Banshee is simply the most intriguing batshit crazy show set in a crime ridden Amish village in Pennsylvania.  I love it!!!

Saturday night is my catch up with the cozy mysteries of period piece Father Brown on PBS and whatever is happening on new Saturday Night Live shows.  As we were out to see a friend performing with his band on Saturday, I never properly caught up with the actual SNL show with Drake but caught up via YouTube with many of the sketches.  He’s a pretty good comic performer for a rapper.

Sunday programming is not for the faint of heart.  Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh is the Masterpiece Mystery offering on PBS these days. John Doyle has a great article in the Globe on why it’s worth watching in its last season:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/john-doyle-the-likely-last-season-of-wallander-is-breathtaking-to-behold/article29911131/

Call the Midwife (PBS) is a wonderful period piece about life in East London among the very poor who are looked after medically by an Anglican group of nursing sisters.  Incredibly touching and inspiring.  It makes me weep every week (in a good way!)

Game of Thrones (HBO) was awesome this week.  Jon Snow has a new mission, Daenerys strikes back and shows off her awesome body.  Everyone has a new purpose in life!!

Outlander (Showcase) continues its historical romance, adventure and intrigue as our fabulous couple plot against the Jacobite Rebellion in the royal court of France.

Silicon Valley and Veep are two hilarious HBO comedies that are both devilish parodies.  SV makes incredible fun of nerdy Millennials and Veep is an outrageous political satire about White House life.

Sensitive Skin (TMN) stars Kim Cattrall as a woman coping with midlife crisis.  Very cool show about middle aged hipster life in TO.  Great scenes from the Toronto Islands this week.

John Oliver (HBO) puts everything into perspective with sly humour as he reviews current events on Last Week Tonight.  I love this witty Englishman.

Also honourable mention in the political humour vein is the Mon-Thurs The Daily Show (Comedy) with Trevor Noah, a witty black South African; Stephen Colbert ‘s The Late Show (CBS) is a nightly talk show hosted by the wittiest and most intelligent humorist on TV.  If only the combined efforts of those two comical gents were enough to vanquish the forces of evil at work in US politics today.

Monday night is my guilty pleasure Gotham (Fox) night featuring Ben Mackenzie as a young Jim Gordon looking after a very young Bruce Wayne (pre Batman).
Houdini & Doyle (Fox) is a period mystery starring Stephen Mangan (Episodes) in a very non-comic turn as Arthur Conan Doyle.  English accents and period costumes abound!
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (Comedy) is a great political satire sketch comedy show with lots of doc bits with real people thrown in and a bit of standup from the host.  Bee is a wonderful host for this show and I’m so darned proud of her Canadianness!!

OK, that brings me up to date with what I have been watching.  I have set my PVR for Megan Kelly Presents, a prime time show on Fox tonight featuring an interview with the Donald.  Although I detest everything Fox News stands for, you have to admire Kelly’s feistiness in standing up to Donald Trump this past year.  Can someone not bring this guy down before November?  For those of you who will be glued to the Raptors tonight, Go Raptors Go!!!

Sunday night is upon us again…

It is the last episode of the wonderful series The Good Wife on CBS tonight and the first episode of Wallander on PBS. Kenneth Branagh plays the melancholy Swedish detective. Also set up on my PVR tonight will be Call the Midwife on PBS, incredibly moving with its tales of 1960’s British medical issues; Silicon Valley and Veep, both delightful HBO comedies; Game of Thrones on HBO which, hopefully, will continue the Jon Snow subplot  tonight; Outlander on Showcase continues the adventures of Jamie and Claire in The French court of Louis XIV as they seek to prevent the Highland Clans’ defeat at Culloden; Fear the Walking Dead on AMC which sees our family fleeing LA for a zombie free refuge; The Family on ABC, which could have been more suspenseful and is now plodding wearily along; Penny Dreadul on HBO is back for its third bloody season of terrifying creatures. Finally, John Oliver hosts Last Week Tonight on HBO in which he takes a satirical look at news, politics and current events on a weekly basis. Tonight’s show should be a whopper as Oliver should have great fun with the Trump candidacy.

Monday night features Gotham on Fox followed by Houdini and Doyle, a new detective show featuring both the above solving mysteries in Victorian London. Turn: Washington Spies on AMC has returned for a new season. Incredibly suspenseful!

Tuesday night features my two dopey procedurals Chicago Med and Chicago Fire both on NBC. I have no excuse for watching these two very silly shows.

Wednesday night features Arrow on CW (again, I have no explanation for why I like this silly show); The Americans on FX which sees our two leads committing reprehensible crimes; and Nashville on ABC, which has become hilariously soapy.

Thursday night is my Doc Martin night on PBS, in which our clueless hero and his lady love Louisa see a therapist to save their marriage; Blacklist on NBC continues its ludicrous storyline of Reddington’s search for revenge against the killers of Elizabeth Keane (yeah, like we really believe she’s dead! don’t they know they’re never dead the first time you kill them!); The Catch on ABC would be much better with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, but we’ll have to settle for the robotic Mireille Enos and Peter Krause; The Path on Showcase is a dark exploration of a Scientology-like cult.

Friday night features my guilty pleasure monster show Grimm on NBC; Real time with Bill Maher on HBO; Banshee on HBO (possibly the most violent show ever seen on TV; and VICE on HBO, a very edgy documentary series.

Saturday brings us Father Brown and Vera, both detective series on PBS; Saturday Night Live on NBC featured a wonderful Game of Thrones sketch last week that poked fun at the reanimation scene with Jon Snow. Worth watching for that one laugh alone.

Next Sunday morning, the madness begins again with my Emmy award winning Zen-like series, CBS Sunday Morning and then the relentless barrage of episodic tv on Sunday night begins again.

Don’t forget to watch The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (M-Th on Comedy) and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS to see their political satire. I think they are the most watchable political comics on TV right now.  For Canadians, this past week has been unbearably sad with daily updates on the fire in Fort McMurray. A tragedy of huge proportions. Please consider donating to the Red Cross which is coordinating relief efforts. All donations will be matched by both the provincial and federal governments.

Netflix

I tried to watch the movie Man Up with Simon Pegg and Lake Bell, but got a little caught up with American star Lake Bell’s British accent. I was very distracted by it.

Grace and Frankie is worth watching only for Jane Fonda’s age defying hair, makeup and wardrobe. Otherwise, painfully unfunny.

I’m dying to watch Marseille with Gerard Depardieue but haven’t had time.

Streaming

I tried to watch Tom Hiddleston in the soon to be released film High Rise. Too dark and dystopian for me as life in a luxury high rise building in the London suburbs goes totally Lord of the Flies!

At the movies

Got to see the premiere of Love and Friendship, a Jane Austen adaptation from a posthumously published novella. This film is directed by Whit Stillman known for his contemporary black comedies Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco. Although it stars Kate Beckingsale and Chloe Sevigny, this film is curiously lacklustre.

I also saw a Hot Docs film called Obit about the NY Times obituary writers and loved it. It was followed by a Q & A session with the director and one of the major players. Fascinating!

It’s been a great week with outings to movies in TO and three days of golf in Thornbury. Mother’s Day was celebrated with delicious home made French toast prepared by Chef Georges, an outing to the local nursery for our spring flowers, and dinner in Thornbury with good friends. Back to TO tomorrow for a week of fitness, golf, lunches with friends, etc. I can’t complain and it looks like spring may finally have sprung!
Sent from my iPad

New/Old Shows are arriving…

HBO

Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Veep all returned to HBO last wknd. All three are still great! Game of Thrones was unusually woman centric and no one was raped or publicly humiliated! Penny Dreadful returns tonight with monsters galore! (HBO).  Banshee returned a few weeks ago with more murder, mayhem and chaos than even my previous guilty pleasure show Sons of Anarchy contained.  Also on HBO on Sunday nights is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, my go to comedy show to explain current events.  Bill Maher’s Real Time on Friday nights has great panel discussions of current events. Vice is also on late night on Fridays and is a brilliant look at international issues and politics.

Comedy Channel

I truly enjoy watching Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show  Mon-Thurs show at 11 pm on Comedy.  This South African comic has a wonderful international take on the US political scene and world events.

CBS

Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show includes both Colbert’s brilliant take on politics as well as his skewering of many cultural icons and issues. His public confessions (he’s a hilariously devout Catholic) are a wonder to behold.

Showcase

Outlander is also back on Showcase and we are now involved in intrigue at the royal court in Paris. Still incredibly romantic! The Path also continues on Showcase and is very dark and mysterious as it explores life in a cult.

FX

The Americans continues on FX and poor Martha has been discovered by her bosses as Philip frantically tries to extract her. This season has a long way to go before it finishes on June 8. Anything could happen as Philip considers whether this is the life he wants for his family.

AMC

Fear the Walking Dead on AMC has our intrepid survivors at sea looking for a safe haven. Turn (also on AMC)the story of America’s first spies during the Revolutionary War, also returned last week. Very suspenseful and taking surprising turns.

Netflix

I binge watched the entire series of Doctor Foster in one day. Full of intrigue and suspense this exploration of infidelity and marriage is incredibly watchable with great performances and terrific writing.
I have started watching Rebellion which tells the story of the 1916 Irish Rebellion. Dark and dour, this series hasn’t been a lot of fun to watch.

Shomi

We recently discovered that we are subscribers to Shomi, the Rogers streaming service. As a result I have been watching Blunt Talk starring Patrick Stewart as a hopelessly drug and alcohol addled talk show host. Hilarious! He has a wonderful relationship with his valet/chef/chauffeur who has been with him since their military service days.

The Good Wife (CBS) and all the Sunday night shows (PBS)

As The Good Wife heads toward its last episode which will air on May 8, I look forward to all my comforting Sunday night British shows. Call the Midwife (PBS) delves into the thalidomide crisis and Grantchester (PBS)further explores our dishy cleric’s tormented past. I’m still enjoying my two British light comedies, Father Brown (PBS) and Doc Martin (PBS), both featuring a cast of eccentric characters in charming British villages.

At the Movies

It’s going to be a busy week. We have tickets to a film premiere tonight. It is titled Love and Friendship and stars Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny in a story based on the Jane Austen novella Lady Susan. It features matchmaking and Stephen Fry is also in it!

Tomorrow night we are attending the Hot Docs film festival and will see the film Obit which tells the stories of the obituary writers at The New York Times. I am a big fan of obituaries and try and read Lives Lived every morning in the Globe as I am usually inspired by the stories of unheralded people who are viewed as extraordinary by the people who remember them.

Thornbury Life

Our official golf season starts this week with our first organized games at Lambton and The Georgian Bay Club. I’m hoping to play my first game of Mahjong in Thornbury this week and George and I are literally gearing up for Pickleball at the Beaver Valley Community Centre. So far, I have the shoes, now rackets must be found. Fingers crossed that the sun makes more regular appearances this week! It’s spring here, isn’t it?