I haven’t made a lot of progress with my TV watching this past week, but I have managed to catch up with a few shows I was dying to watch.
Bloodline is back with a vengeance. Ben Mendelson returns as Danny Rayburn, the black sheep of his family, through a series of flashbacks. His son Nolan has turned up and seems to be channelling his father’s malevolent persona (also a stunning resemblance in a piece of casting brilliance). I am only 5 episodes into the the 10 episode second season as I am respecting my husband’s plaintive desire to watch this series with me between sports on TV and endless games of golf.
Spotless is an intriguing French series set in the UK and made specifically for Esquire TV in the US. It’s about a crime scene cleaner who is pulled into his ne’er do well brother’s life of crime. Totally original! Here’s an article from the Guardian:
The Indian Doctor TV miniseries from BBC. A friend just told me about this 2010 series which she enjoyed for its gentle British eccentricity as it shows the adjustment of an Indian doctor to life in a Welsh village. Although I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, it had rave reviews:
Father Brown season finale. It looked like curtains for the charmingly rotund British country priest with a knack for solving crimes. This quintessential British cozy features lovable regular characters and is set in a tiny town with an alarmingly high rate of grisly murders (like so many other British mysteries).
Vera stars the British mainstay character actress, Brenda Blethyn. She’s a female Detective Columbo with a Newcastle accent, complete with a battered and wrinkled raincoat who is a savant when it comes to solving grisly murders. She’s endearing and down to earth, but she doesn’t miss a trick when she’s on the trail of a killer.
Outcast comes from the creator of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, and is a creepy look at demonic possession. First impression: bat shit crazy, but I have a fondness for this genre (e.g. the outlandishly violent Banshee), when crazy is done well.
All the Way is a stunning biopic about Lyndon Johnson’s first year in office. It shows the man, warts and all. Despite his predilection for swearing and bullying, he manages to get groundbreaking civil rights legislation passed by incessant deal making. Bryan Cranston is magnificent as LBJ, as is Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson, Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey, Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King, etc. This film also features a stirring musical score by James Newton Howard that is classically presidential.
My usual addictions on HBO
Game of Thrones continues to enthrall with the magic and power of its storytelling. Perhaps there could be more dragons?
Penny Dreadful is a creepy exploration of the great back stories of gothic horror including Frankenstein, Dracula, Dorian Grey, the Wolfman, etc.
Veep is delightful as a political parody and features a fearless performance by Julia Louis Dreyfus as the most venal self-serving president of all time.
Silicone Valley is hilarious as it details the exploits of brilliant Silicon Valley computer nerds.
Sensitive Skin echoes Truly, Madly, Deeply as Davina experiences life without her husband. Torontonians will delight in seeing her move to Ward’s Island and partake in the New Age/Bohemian lifestyle there.
House of Lies returned for its fifth and final season last week. Starring Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, this comedy series is a subversive, scathing look at a self-loathing management consultant from a top-tier firm who is never above using any means necessary to get his clients the information they want.
The Americans fourth season has delved further into the murky reality of what Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are willing to do to survive as the FBI begins to zero in on their secrets.
Tyrant will be coming back on July 6 for its season three premiere. I can’t wait to see what happens next for Barry Al-Fayeed and his family. Created by the same team that gave us Homeland, this series follows the journey of an LA paediatrician who returns to his middle eastern homeland for a family wedding and finds himself unable to leave as he becomes embroiled in political struggles there.
Preacher appears to be bat shit crazy as it explores supernatural themes in a gothic southern town.
Feed the Beast debuts tonight and tells the story of best friends Tommy (David Schwimmer) and Dion (Tom Sturgess) as they struggle to open a restaurant.
Unreal is a delightful exploration of the behind the scenes reality of a reality tv series not unlike The Bachelor. Season 2 premieres on Lifetime Canada on June 6. Vanity Fair has a great article about it:
Outlander is simply the most romantic series to ever be on TV. This year’s series has relocated to France and our indomitable couple cope with the intrigue of the French court, the troubling legacy of Black Jack Randall.
The Path follows the story of a cult in upstate NY led by Hugh Dancy. Aaron Paul stars as an adherent who is losing his faith. Michelle Monaghan plays his true believer wife. Very haunting show in a way similar to The Leftovers (which also dealt with a similar cult-like movement that arose from a mysterious disappearance of 2% of the population). In this case, the “Myerist movement” as they call themselves, has a distinct similarity to Scientology as their mythology follows the teachings of a former Army psychiatrist, Stephen Meyer. The belief system of The Meyerist Movement has a “ladder toward the light” which leads to immortality. Followers must pursue specific goals to achieve each rung on the ladder as part of their growth within the sect. It’s intriguing and thought provoking as it explores the dark side of a religion that helps people turn their lives around, but shows no mercy when adherents question their faith.
American Gothic debuts on June 13 and will feature Banshee star Antony Starr for those of you who are missing him terribly.
Brain Dead, created by The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King, will debut on June 22.
Here’s a Variety article on the two series:
Superchannel/ Streaming/ On Demand
I have recorded the most recent version of The Dresser, which stars Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellan, but haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. John Doyle gives it a rave review in the Globe:
In this age of Trump madness, I find relief in the TV comedy series that are following the Trump exploits and trying to find humour in them. There will be a new episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) tonight; Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show (Comedy) can usually be counted on to skewer Trump and Fox TV; Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show has the brilliant comedian having great fun with Cartoon Trump and actually throwing himself on the stage floor as he lies in a fetal position contemplating a Trump presidency; Bill Maher assembles a weekly panel of pundits to analyze the madness of American politics on Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO); last but not least is our own Canadian Samantha Bee on Full Frontal (Comedy) who satirizes American politics on a weekly basis.
Here in Thornbury, the sun is coming out despite a prediction of a very rainy Sunday, so I must force myself off the couch and face the prospect of getting on with my day. I believe there is gardening and straightening up to do!! It has been a wonderful sunny week here and there was a glorious regatta at the local marina yesterday with a piper playing as the sailboats ventured out into the blue waters of Georgian Bay. The local ice cream parlour had a line up and children were diving off the dock at the beach. Summer is in full swing as families walk by my door with wagons overflowing with beach regalia of towels, buckets and shovels, and toddlers in tow. Have a wonderful week!