We are now condo dwellers…

We made the big move last Monday and spent two nights in our new place before retreating to Thornbury to squeeze in a couple of golf games, mahjong, and some meals with special friends.  We are now in the one-month countdown to leaving for Florida by Oct. 23. I am currently setting aside clothing that will make the trip down to Naples with us.  Here’s a summary of my viewing recommendations:

On the Big Screen

Toronto International Film Festival

We took a 5 film package, and although we didn’t get any of our first choices we did love two of the films we saw:

The Exception stars Christopher Plummer, Lily James and Jai Courtney as people caught up in the whirlwinds of history during WWII.  Plummer steals every scene he’s in and was an absolute charmer at the Q&A after the film.  He stars as Kaiser Wilhelm who lives out the remainder of his life after WWII in exile in Holland.

Frantz is a German French co-production directed by the prolific French director Francois Ozon.  This moody romantic mystery also takes place in the aftermath of WWI as a Frenchman travels to France to meet the family of a young German he had befriended before the war. The performances from the French and German cast members are mesmerizing and the film shifts seamlessly from flashbacks to present day, from black and white to colour, etc.

Loving is a true story about an interracial couple in 1958 Virginia who were arrested and imprisoned for miscegenation.  Played by Ruth Negga and Joel Egerton, they are calm quiet conservative folk who end up moving out of the state to avoid further prosecution as they quietly go about living their lives until they launch an ACLU fight to change the laws that so cruelly punished them.  The film is complex with subtle quiet performances, but it does move at a fairly slow pace.  Nothing flashy about this one.

Una stars Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn as a young woman who pursues the man who sexually abused her as a child.  The film has an intriguing premise, but it asks far more questions than it answers.  It really doesn’t go anywhere in terms of plot and character, and ultimately fails to engage the audience beyond its initially interesting set-up.

The Secret Scripture manages to waste both Rooney Mara and Vanessa Redgrave in a muddled mess of a movie that tries to combine the genres of wartime romance, psychological intrigue and Catholic guilt-mongering.  It often fails to make sense on the most essential level. It’s absolutely awful and full of the most ludicrous coincidences and plot twists. I am still amazed that this film was part of TIFF as it is simply just a terrible movie, one which I would have gladly walked out of long before its painful ending.

In the Theatres

The Light Between Oceans is a film starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander based on a novel by M.L. Stedman.  Both my book groups read the novel, so I was anxious to see the film.  I thought the adaptation was lovely and true to the tone of the novel, even though it abbreviated many plotlines. Set in Australia after WWI, it tells the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia who raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat to disastrous results.  The film is beautiful to look at and Fassbender and Vikander make a convincing romantic couple (in real-life too, apparently!).

TV – the new shows begin

Designated Survivor (Wednesdays on ABC) stars Kiefer Sutherland as a low-level Cabinet member who becomes President of the US after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him.  I have to confess that I was a fan of 24 and have been very curious about seeing Sutherland in a very different role.  It also stars the delightful Natasha McElhone as his wife, and Kal Penn as his speechwriter.  Penn famously set aside his show biz career a few years ago to go and work for Obama in Washington, so it’s fascinating to see him return to TV in a role that seems to mirror his real life.   This will be an interesting show to watch, to see if Sutherland can save the country each week in an entertaining way.

The Good Place (Thursdays on NBC) stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. I found this show to be absolutely delightful as it tell s the story of a young woman mistakenly sent to Heaven rather than Hell as she is clearly an awful person.  The premise of the show appears to be about her learning to be a good person.  Very funny and whimsical.

The Exorcist (Fridays on Fox) is a TV adaptation of the 1973 film.  I was delighted to see Ben Daniels appear as Father Marcus, Geena Davis is the embattled mom, Alfonso Herrera is Father Tomas.  There is a major plot twist in the pilot episode, but so far the series is taking its time in building up the fright factor.

Maigret (Thursdays on BBC Canada) stars Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr. Bean). I couldn’t resist seeing this series as Atkinson does have one of the funniest faces ever. I kept waiting for him to do something hilarious as the famous Parisian detective.  Sadly, the production was entirely grim and funereal.  I had a wonderful snooze through much of the pilot episode which did a lovely job evoking 1950’s Paris, even if the entire cast spoke with the accents of Surrey.

Streaming/On Demand

I watched all 6 episodes of Line of Duty (Season 3 on Superchannel). This British series follows the story of an Anti-Corruption Squad (like our Internal Affairs) as it follows a team that is trying to solve the incredibly complex mystery of a killing by a police officer that leads to the uncovering of a pedophile ring that involved very senior police and public officials. This series is very complex and intense and I had to watch it until the mystery was solved.  The last episode did seem to go off the rails in terms of ludicrous action scenes, but on the whole, it’s incredibly engaging.

I have recorded several other new shows but haven’t had a chance to watch yet, so I have some catching up to do.

I have also not caught up with some of my favourite ongoing shows (Mr. Robot, to name one) and will do a little more summarizing next week when life should have returned to a normal pace. For one of my favourite programs, CBS Sunday Morning, today was the farewell tribute  to Charles Osgoode, its host of 23 years who is retiring and being replaced by Jane Pauley.  I love this Sunday morning institution, which starts my Sundays with a truly Zen moment. Great interviews, profiles and culture segments.

The week ahead includes a return to routine for me as I rejoin my fitness classes, head to a screening of Bridget Jones’ Baby, and generally try to adapt to condo living.

And now, back to preparing the Thornbury house for winter and packing for Florida!!



I interrupt my packing for an important announcement…

To my horror, I have realized that I announced prematurely in Sunday’s blog that Suits had had its season finale.  Perhaps that was wishful thinking on my part, but the agony continues.  Just when Mike and Rachel seemed to have found their happily ever after, what could go wrong?  Anyhow, it turns out that tomorrow’s episode is the season finale.  Apologies to the many people I know who have become addicted to this show!

Also, I completely forgot to write about Queen of the South which airs Tuesday nights on Bravo here in Canada (USA Network, I think, in the US).  If you like Narcos, you’ll love this story about a Mexican woman who claws her way to the top of a drug cartel.

Also, Blindspot (NBC) and American Horror Story (FX) both return on Wednesday night.

Also, here’s a friend’s list of the fall Broadcast and Cable season premieres:

PBS Frontline Sep 6 21:00 (902-1)
PBS Frontline Sep 7 02:00 (44-1)
PBS Nova Sep 7 21:00 (902-1)
PBS Nova Sep 8 02:00 (44-1)
PBS Masterpiece Churchill’s Secret Sep 11 20:00 2 hrs.
PBS Masterpiece: Indian Summers Sep 11 22:00
HBO Canada  Masters of Sex Sep 11 22:00
NBC Blindspot Sep 14 22:00 Premier slot
Comedy South Park Sep 14 22:00 1/2 hr.
FX American Horror Story Sep 14 22:00
SyFy Z Nation Sep 16 20:00 2 hr. prem.
CBS The Big Bang Theory Sep 19 20:00 1/2 hr.
Fox Gotham Sep 19 20:00 61 mins.
Fox Lucifer Sep 19 21:01 59 mins.
NatGeo Star Talk Sep 19 23:00
CBS NCIS Sep 20 20:00
CBS Bull Sep 20 21:00
ABC Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Sep 20 22:00
CBS NCIS: New Orleans Sep 20 22:00
ABC The Goldbergs Sep 21 20:00 1/2 hr.
NBC Blindspot Sep 21 20:00 Regular slot
Fox Lethal Weapon Sep 21 20:00
ABC Modern Family Sep 21 21:00 30 mins.
Fox Empire Sep 21 21:00
NBC Law & Order: SUV Sep 21 21:00
NBC Chicago PD Sep 21 22:00
ABC Grey’s Anatomy Sep 22 20:00 61 mins.
NBC Superstore Sep 22 20:00 30 mins.
Fox Rosewood Sep 22 20:00
ABC Notorious Sep 22 21:00
NBC Chicago Med Sep 22 21:00
Fox Pitch Sep 22 21:00
ABC How to Get Away With Murder Sep 22 22:00
NBC The Blacklist Sep 22 22:00
ABC Last Man Standing Sep 23 20:00 1/2 hr.
Netflix Longmire Sep 23 03:01 Released
CBS MacGyver Sep 23 20:00
CBS Hawaii Five-O Sep 23 21:00
Fox The Exorcist Sep 23 21:00
CBS Blue Bloods Sep 23 22:00
SyFy Z Nation Sep 23 ??:00 Regular slot?
CBS 60 Minutes Sep 25 19:30
Fox Bob’s Burgers Sep 25 19:30 1/2 hr.
ABC Once Upon a Time Sep 25 20:00
Fox The Simpsons Sep 25 20:00 1/2 hr.
ABC Secrets and Lies Sep 25 21:00 61 mins.
Fox Family Guy Sep 25 21:00 1/2 hr.
ABC Quantico Sep 25 22:01 59 mins.
CBS Criminal Minds Sep 28 21:00
CBS Code Black Sep 28 22:00
CBS NCIS: Los Angeles Oct 2 20:00
CBS Madam Secretary Oct 2 21:00
HBO Westworld Oct 2 21:00
HBO Canada Shameless Oct 2 21:00
CBS Elementary Oct 2 22:00 CBS Scorpion Oct 3 21:00 2 hr. prem.
ABC Conviction Oct 3 22:00
NBC Timeless Oct 3 22:00
Hulu The Mindy Project Oct 4 00:00 Released
CW The Flash Oct 4 20:00
CW Arrow Oct 5 20:00
CW Frequency Oct 5 21:00
CBC Murdoch Mysteries Oct 10 20:00
CW Supergirl Oct 10 20:00
CW No Tomorrow Oct 10 21:00
NBC Chicago Fire Oct 11 22:00
CW DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Oct 13 20:00
CW Supernatural Oct 13 21:00
CW Jane The Virgin Oct 17 21:00
CBS The Odd Couple Oct 17 21:30 30 mins.
Hulu Chance Oct 19 00:00 Released
CW The Vampire Diaries Oct 21 20:00
CW Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Oct 21 21:00
AMC The Walking Dead Oct 23 21:00
AMC The Talking Dead Oct 23 22:00
CBS Scorpion Oct 24 22:00 Regular slot
CBS The Big Bang Theory Oct 27 20:00 1/2 hr.Regular slot
CBS Pure Genius Oct 27 22:00
Netflix The Crown Nov 5 03:01 Released
Amazon Red Oaks Nov 11 00:00 Released
TNT Good Behavior Nov 15 21:00
TNT The Librarians  Nov 20 20:00
HBO Canada The Affair Nov 20 22:00
SyFy Incorporated Nov 30 ??:00
Hulu Shut Eye Dec 7 00:00 Released

ABC The Catch Pend Midseason
ABC Scandal Pend Midseason
CTV Saving Hope Pend (Season 5 filmed in TO in 2016 spring)
Fox Bones Pend Midseason
Fox Sleepy Hollow Pend Midseason (Seven scripts written for Season 4 and filming)
BBCAm Dr. Who Apr Season 10
CMT Nashville Pend Midseason
CW The 100 Pend (New cast members hired, plot written, filming?)
CW iZombie Pend Midseason
CW The Originals Pend Midseason
CW Reign Pend (Season 4 began filming 2016 Jun)
Freeform Switched at Birth Pend Midseason
FX Fargo Pend Midseason
ITV The Halcyon Pend (Downton Abbey meets Upstairs/Downstairs)
Netflix Master of None Pend Midseason
Super channel Homeland Pend Midseason (Season 6 started filming 2016 Aug; seasons 7 & 8 renewed)
TNT Major Crimes Pend (No word yet on Season 6; TNT is still thinking about
whether to cancel their most popular show)

Cancelled: Blood & Oil (the well tapped out); Castle; Continuum; CSI: Cyber;
Da Vinci’s Demons; Downton Abbey; The Good Wife; Grimm; Haven;
Heroes Reborn; Legends; Limitless; Minority Report; The Mysteries of Laura;
The Player; Satisfaction; Unforgettable; Wicked City (nope, not another
acting dynasty; I guess Taissa can’t act, after all)

Comprehensive list at:

And now, back to packing.


The packing continues…

We move to our condo one week from tomorrow, so there are drawers to be cleaned out, clothing to be sorted, etc.  We have had a dizzying week of trips to furniture stores, many hours spent online comparing items, and, hilariously, looking at small appliances to replace those we passed on to Goodwill when the children moved in with us and their spanking new wedding present toasters, kettles, etc. replaced our old ones.  I also had the great pleasure of seeing a longtime friend get married yesterday in Niagara on the Lake, so now that that diversion is over it’s back to work (with a brief break this week to see 5 films at the Toronto International Film Festival).  In the meantime, I have a few recommendations to make including a great article from Esquire on the best tv shows of 2016 that you might want to catch up with online, on demand, on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or any which way you can.


Daily Beast had a great article on the best fall movies of 2016:



Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a very silly parody of a rockstar biography.  In the vein of Spinal Tap, it features many amusing cameos of actual pop stars (including Seal who is mauled by a wolf in a music video gone wrong). Andy Samberg is the star along with the other members of his The Lonely Island group who were responsible for many hilarious videos for SNL.


Narcos Season 2 is airing.  We have binged on the first 6 episodes of ten.  Still suspenseful even though we know (or at least those of us who cannot stop looking at Wikipedia) how this ends.  Amazingly, the lead actor Wagner Moura is from Brazil and had to learn Spanish to play this role.  He is incredible and manages to terrify by doing very little.

New Shows Begin


The first episode of Quarry aired last Friday.  The lead actor, Logan Marshall-Green, seemed remarkably familiar and when I checked him out on IMDB, it turned out that he was Ryan’s evil older brother Trey on The OC! That’s what happened to that guy!!  This series is very haunting as it follows the story of a returned Vietnam veteran in 1972 who can only find work as a paid assassin.

Ray Donovan has its season finale tonight and Masters of Sex begins a new season.

Old Shows Limp to their conclusions


Tyrant finally wound down to its series finale after 3 seasons.  Barry was looking very sad as he stared at a portrait his new son had painted of him and had hung in the palace right beside one of Barry’s father, the old dictator.  This show started off with great promise and was fascinating to watch as an LA based paediatrician returns home to the middle east and becomes sucked in by his country’s political quagmire. Unfortunately, there were many melodramatic moments along the way and characters became seriously unhinged and downright annoying.  This series has been cancelled by FX, but may be picked up (like Nashville which will air on CMT instead of ABC this year, and which has also become a trashy soap opera, but with great music).

The Strain returned last week and continues to be as insane as the previous 2 seasons.

Better Things began airing last Thursday.  It is a new show featuring the husky voiced Pamela Adlon whom you may recognize as the foul mouthed Marcy from Californication.  It’s a great series about Sam Fox, a working actress/single mother in LA.  It features scenes of her doing voice work for animation which draw directly from the actress’s own experiences as she has voiced several animated characters. In the pilot episode there’s a great scene where Sam is auditioning for a role right beside the actress Constance Zimmer (Unreal) who is similar in appearance and manner.  Both actresses decide to leave when they see Julie Bowen (Modern Family) exit the audition room being hugged rapturously by a staff member. The series is produced by Louis CK and Adlon is best known for her Emmy nominated work as Pam on Louie.


Suits came to the end of its sixth season and the question of whether Mike and Rachel would get back to one another was answered.  I have enjoyed this series’ central conceit of how long a brilliant young man can pass himself off as a Harvard trained lawyer with no formal legal training.  Over the course of 6 seasons, the will he/won’t he, will they/won’t they plot twists got a little old for me.  The past season where Mike had to serve a prison sentence for his fraud was a rehash of every prison cliche with bullying, informants, crooked guards, etc.  Sadly, Mike never had to build a tunnel and tattoo his entire body with an escape plan.  This series is going to have to find a new plan for next season to avoid its relationships and plot lines from devolving into endless repetition.  By the way, Toronto stands in for NYC and many scenes are filmed in the Bay/King area.


American Gothic is finally over.  What started out as a blackly comic mystery became very silly over the course of the series as many red herrings were dangled regarding the identity of the Silver Bells Killer and the red herrings continued right through to the conclusion.  One of the delights of this series was to watch Toronto stand in for Boston.  Look for the landmarks!

Zoo came to an astonishingly insane conclusion.  I confess this show was a total guilty pleasure for me and I loved fast forwarding through episodes to see scenes that featured animals on the rampage with hilariously cheesy special effects.

Brain Dead has its 2 hour season conclusion tonight.  I really have enjoyed this series as I adore the two leads, Aaron Tveit (that guy can do anything – musicals, undercover cops, congressional chiefs of staff, etc.) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (that girls can do anything – civil war dramas, science fiction, etc.)


Follow the Money came to its conclusion and justice was served as Energreen’s main players had to face the music for their financial fraud.

Undercover continues on Monday nights and Four in the Morning continues on Friday nights.


I caught up with the Season 3 conclusion of Peaky Blinders.  Cillian Murphy is compelling as the leader of a Birmingham crime family.  Double dealing abounds!


The Choir: Sing While You Work had an inspired and teary conclusion as the final workplace teams faced off against one another while singing one of the judge’s compositions.


You’re the Worst continues airing on Wednesday nights.  Witty and raw, I love this show about a mismatched, decidedly imperfect group of LA hipsters.

Final Thoughts

This is going to be a tough week for me.  So much to watch, so little time.  The Emmys are on next weekend and next Sunday night is also the last night of the Toronto International Film Festival and George has reminded me that it wouldn’t be a good idea to go to the closing night Viewers’ Choice award winning film (often a predictor of Oscar success) as we are moving the next morning.  In the meantime, our glorious weather continues.  I am hosting our neighbourhood backyard BBQ tonight for the last time in our house.  Fingers crossed that the wasps are all gone and that yesterday’s band of thundershowers has well and truly passed to the east.



Uh oh…starting to feel overwhelmed!

As a champion procrastinator, I have managed to live 35 years in the same house without having to purge and move on.  Now that our moving date to our new condo is swiftly approaching, the reality of having to make serious decisions about what to take and what to discard is starting to get to me.  I can’t believe I will have to make do with one clothes closet! All my precious entertaining pieces will have to stay in boxes until we actually acquire some condo appropriate furniture to put them in. As a result, I may actually have to severely limit my screen time so that I can complete some of the paring down and packing that will give the movers something to move when they arrive on Sept. 19.  In the mean time, these are my recommendations for the week.


On the big screen

I managed to take in one Meaford International Film Festival offering this past weekend.  I absolutely loved The Second Mother, a film from Brazil.  It is a touching and amusing look at the life of Val, a live-in maid/nanny whose long neglected daughter comes to Sao Paulo to write her entrance exams for a prestigious university architectural program.  While she hasn’t seen her own child in 10 years, Val has been raising Fabinho, the child of her employers, who is also going to sit the entrance exams for the same program.  The maid’s daughter Jessica is smart, strangely confident and not intimidated in any way by the class and income difference between her and her mother’s employers.  She totally ignores the unwritten rules about how deferential domestics must be in the household hierarchy.  This film was incredibly popular in Brazil and started a countrywide debate about the treatment of domestic help.

Next week we will be seeing 5 films at the Toronto International Film Festival.  All this and closing on our new condo at the same time!  Clearly, we hadn’t anticipated moving before we ordered our tickets.  I will give a full report on our selections if I can remember anything before seeing 5 films in a row.


I finally caught up with The 33.  The story of the Chilean miners who were trapped for 69 days underground and who all survived.  Gruelling but touching.

I also tried to watch Captain America: Civil Wars but lost interest about 1/2 way; I also started The Fifth Wave, an alien invasion film adapted from a Young Adult novel, which was clearly aimed at 13 year-old girls and I gave up after about an hour.

I also caught up with the most recent season of Peaky Blinders  on demand on Superchannel in order to fulfill my Cillian Murphy fetish.  Despite the awfulness of the haircuts, this Birmingham mob story is kind of hypnotic.  The magnificent Tom Hardy returns as a Jewish gangster in Season 3 Episode 5.

On the small screen


The last two episodes of Follow the Money aired last night.  Still available on demand.

Undercover is still airing on Monday nights as the BBC suspense series looks at an undercover policeman who has been reporting on his activist lawyer wife for over 20 years.

Four in the Morning is still airing on Friday nights.  This unconventional comedy is about hipsters who routinely hang out together has a very ethereal and dream-like quality as it combines magical realism with comedy.  Not for everyone.


Mr. Robot is still incomprehensible and still boggles me, but I can’t look away.


Suits appears to be approaching its season finale. The prison agony seems to be over for Mike. Fingers crossed that the deal holds.


The season finale of Tyrant airs on Wednesday night.  Barry and Molly are on the brink of war with the Caliphate; Leila makes a bold political move that risks a possible betrayal; and Barry and Daliyah’s relationship hits a final reckoning.

The Strain, a bat shit crazy scifi series about vampires returns for its third season  tonight.


You’re the Worst continues on Wednesday nights.  Gretchen begins therapy; Jimmy’s confidence weakens at work; and Lindsay neglects Paul.


Brain Dead continues its blackly comedic arch as more and more people become aware of the alien bug invasion.

American Gothic heads into a two-hour season finale on Wednesday night.  It is kind of limping to a close after losing momentum as a very blackly comedic thriller.



In The Choir: Sing While You Work, Choirmaster Gareth Malone has the last contestants in the top workplace choir continue their journey on Sunday nights.

Prestige Channels go on vacation

Both HBO and PBS seem to be taking the Labour Day holiday very seriously and are holding off on airing new episodes of major programming.

For those of you who prefer your recommendations in list form, here are two lists of recommendations from other sources:

Fall TV Preview


Fall Film Preview


Closing Words

It’s been a splendid summer.  Labour Day is here and this year, it heralds  a real closure to the summer for me despite the continuing idyllic weather.  Before Florida beckons in October, we are going to have a major move in store.  We are off to celebrate the wedding of the daughter of longtime friends this evening and we are taking advantage of this joyous occasion to continue our procrastination regarding packing.  As I write this, jets are swooping above my home as the traditional CNE Air Show takes place.  It seems like only yesterday that we were picnicking with our two little boys on the Lakeshore watching the show with them.  These lyrics from one of my favourite musicals sum up my feelings as summer comes to a close:  Sunrise, sunset, swiftly fly the years, one season following another, laden with happiness and tears.