We’re here…

We’re here in Naples!  The weather has been beautiful and balmy this past week.  We arrived to find our place in pristine condition (thanks to our home watch company and their cleaning team).  I have only screamed loudly enough to wake the dead a few times as a nesting cockroach kept making an appearance in my dishwasher and then in my kitchen sink.  I believe I was finally successful in washing him down the garburator drain after he had made about 4 appearances.  I’m really hoping that he’s the last of his kind.  Fingers crossed!  I have been busy watching a number of shows I missed during our travel time, so here goes my summary and recommendations:

Streaming

Anthropoid with Cilian Murphy and Jamie Dornan tells the real life story of Operation Anthropoid, the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich’s third in command after Hitler and Himmler.

Movies on TV

Fathers and Daughters stars Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. It is a maudlin little film that deals with the grief that follows when a writer grapples with being a widower and father after a mental breakdown. Twenty-seven years later, his grown daughter struggles to forge connections of her own.  This peculiar little film wastes Jane Fonda in a tiny role as the writer’s agent and Aaron Paul has a thankless role as a would-be suitor to Amanda Seyfried.

Amazon Prime

Goliath is a miniseries starring Billy Bob Thornton as Billy McBride, a disgraced lawyer who gets a case that could bring him redemption or at least revenge on the firm which expelled him.  Kind of a darker Better Call Saul, without the humour.

Hulu

The first three episodes of Chance have aired.  It stars Hugh Laurie as a forensic near-psychiatrist who reluctantly enters a dangerous and violent world of mistaken identity, police corruption and mental illness.  It has a real noir vibe and features Gretchen Mol as the temptress Jaclyn Blackstone who seems to be sucking Chance down into the inevitable downward spiral.

Netflix

The Fall returns for its third season.  Starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan in a cat and mouse game as a relentless police detective on the trail of a serial killer.

PBS

Sunday night madness is upon us again.  At this point my PBS lineup includes The Durells in Corfu. Set in 1935, when the Englishwoman Louisa Durrell, whose life had fallen apart, decided to move from Bournemouth to the Greek island of Corfu.  Her husband had died some years earlier and she has financial problems, when she suddenly announces that she and her four children will move to the island. A battle ensues as the family adapts to life on the island, especially when they discover that Corfu does not even have electricity at that time.  But it is cheap, an earthly paradise and the Durrell family make the big step that will change their lives.

The very sweet Durrells are followed by the heroic Poldark.  Ross Poldark returns home after the American Revolutionary War and rebuilds his life with a new business venture, making new enemies and finding a new love where he least expects it.  It stars the dark and dangerous Aidan Turner who removes his shirt whenever the writers devise a suitable opportunity.

The heroic Poldark is followed by the morally ambiguous Indian Summers.  This drama is set in the waning days of Empire as British colonial rule winds down in India.

To give PBS its due, I also caught a few of their other shows.  Nova ran its Florida Sinkholes episode which was riveting and I did catch a bit of the Great Performances episode called Hamilton’s America which was a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Broadway smash Hamilton.  All of these PBS programs are available on demand in the US or on PBS.org. I also discovered a little gem of a series based on PG Woodhouse called Blandings which is a satire of British aristocrats and features the actor Jack Farthing who plays the evil George on Poldark as a particularly dimwitted fop.

AMC

There was so much happening last weekend on our arrival that I almost missed the seventh season return of The Walking Dead.  This season’s opener was incredibly controversial for its rapid dispatch of two of the survivors.  Having been brutally overpowered by Negan and his gang of Saviours, Rick and his group kneel helplessly as they suffer a heavy loss, leaving everyone traumatized.

FX

The Strain airs tonight what I hope is the final episode of this gruelling series (now in its third season). Hopefully, the Master will be undone as the survivors seem to have come up with a way to destroy the Stregoi vampires.  Fingers crossed!!

Better Things is the Thursday night comedy starring Pamela Adlon as an actress raising her three daughters while juggling the pressures of working in Hollywood and being a single parent.

FXX

You’re the Worst is the Wednesday night comedy that shows the struggles of mismatched hipsters to survive in LA.

Cinemax

Quarry aired its 9th (and final?) episode this past weekend.  It answered all the questions about the Viet Nam massacre that haunts Quarry’s life.  This series airs on HBO Canada in Canada and on Cinemax in the US.

Showtime

Masters of Sex is another Sunday night show (also on HBO Canada) that continues to intrigue as it details the lives and careers of the pioneers of the science of human sexuality whose research touched off the sexual revolution.

Shameless is another Sunday night show (also on HBO Canada) that is now in its 7th season.  It tells the story of a family headed by an alcoholic man who lives in a perpetual stupor while his six children cope as best they can.  There’s been a tremendous amount of development in these children over the past seven years, with triumphs and failures along the way.

HBO

Westworld is a Sunday night show inspired by the 1973 film of the same title written by Michael Crichton about a futuristic theme park populated by artificial beings.  The suspense is really rising as these robots begin to think for themselves.

Divorce is a Sunday night show which follows a couple who go through a long, drawn-out divorce.

On the political commentary scene, HBO also airs Real Time with Bill Maher (Fridays) and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Sundays). This week the Hillary Clinton emails have taken over the 24 hour news cycle and I am extremely worried about the consequences for this election.

Fox

Gotham airs on Mondays.  I have a soft spot for this story behind Detective James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham city in the years before Batman’s arrival.  Got to love that Ben McKenzie, (The OC, Southland).  Wonder if he and Logan Marshall Green (now on Quarry and who was his Ryan’s evil brother Trey from The OC) ever get together socially to compare careers, etc.

The CW

Now that Superman as joined the fold (played by Tyler Hoechlin of Teen Wolf), I have given Supergirl (Monday nights) a second look and find it awfully sweet.  Very empowering for girls (and there does seem to be a developing same sex relationship happening).

Arrow (Wednesdays) deals with the aftermath of Laurel’s death, and the departures of both Diggle and Thea from Team Arrow, so Oliver has to build a new team to protect Star City’s citizens.  Stephen Amell is pretty dreamy as Arrow/Oliver Queen.

TBS

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (on Comedy in Canada also on Mondays) has been a little hard to keep track of as the series tried for timely coverage of the debates.  There is a new episode Monday night and I can hardly wait to hear Bee’s take on the latest email scandal.

BBC America

I binged on all 6 episodes of The Living and The Dead, a BBC import that aired in its entirety prior to Halloween. When a young couple inherit a farm, they are determined to turn it into a success, but strange supernatural forces soon intervene, threatening their marriage and their lives.  I found this series to be absolutely exhausting, but then perhaps it is unwise to try and watch 6 – 1 hour episodes over the course of 2 days. Colin Morgan (Merlin, The Fall) looks absolutely hunky with a beard (as opposed to his nerdy appearance on Merlin).

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Saturdays) is absolutely batshit crazy as it centres on the titular holistic detective who investigates cases involving the supernatural.  It is based on the “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” novel series, written by Douglas Adams in 1987. I have only seen the first two episodes, but so far it is supremely silly stuff.

USA

Falling Water tells the story of three unrelated people, who slowly realize that they are dreaming separate parts of a single common dream.  Each of them is on a mysterious and highly personal quest – one is searching for his missing girlfriend, one is searching for a lost child, one is looking to cure his catatonic mother – and it is the clues found in their collective dream that come to guide them.  The deeper they dig, the more they come to realize that their missions touch on stakes that are much larger than their indivual agendas.  This show has a dreamlike quality, not unlike Mr. Robot which originates on this network.  You have to pay extreme attention to try and determine reality from dream.  Try not to check your email or the actors’ IMDB pages as you watch this one.

TVLand

Younger is now in its third season.  I love this series which stars the amazing Sutton Foster as Liza, a 40-something passing as a 26-year-old millennial in order to get and keep a job in publishing.  She is juggling a relationship with a hunky much younger tattoo artist while being attracted to her hunky close-in-age publishing boss.  Great satire of our obsession with social media and the buzz words that accompany this quickly changing technology.

NBC

Still following Chicago Fire on Wednesdays (love that Lt. Casey and those blue eyes) and The Blacklist on Thursdays (for Tom, soon to get his own spin off show).  I caught an episode of The Good Place (Thursdays) this past week and did enjoy it as Kristin Booth fights to stay in Heaven despite the fact that she is a terrible person who should have been sent to Hell.

CBS

Elementary is airing its 100th show tonight. Although I adore Jonny Lee Miller, I lost interest in this series some time ago.  I may try and catch this show on demand as my PVR will only allow me to record two events at one time, and I lack time shifting features.  What’s a girl to do when there are an insane number of programs all airing at the same time?!!!

Also on CBS, I did catch this morning’s edition of CBS Sunday Morning and loved the dog segment in particular.  So soothing!  I look forward to inspired humour of The Late Show (nightly at 11:35) with Stephen Colbert and The Later Show (nightly at 12:35) with James Corden.  His carpool karaoke show with Lady Gaga was fabulous last week.  Find it on YouTube.

ABC

Designated Survivor (Wednesdays) continues to intrigue as Kiefer Sutherland tries to survive the myriad forces that seem to conspire against him.

Comedy Channel

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs nightly M-Th at 11 pm.  I adore Noah and his endearing South African accent as he takes a global view of the current US insanity.

Shows I have lost track of…

Queen of the South (aired on USA in the US and on Bravo in Canada) ran for 14 episodes in its first season. Great series about a Mexican woman fighting to survive in a world dominated by drug cartels and corrupt politicians and police.

Queen Sugar (airs on Showcase in Canada and OWN in the US).  This series follows the life of three siblings who are fighting to maintain the inheritance from their recently departed father, an 800-acre sugarcane farm.

Occupied (airs Sunday on TVO in Canada).  In the near future, Norway is occupied by Russia on behalf of the European Union, due to the fact that the newly elected environmentally friendly Norwegian government has stopped the all important oil and gas production in the North Sea.

And Finally…

We are headed uptown this afternoon to take in one of the final films at this year’s Naples International Film Festival.  Score:  A Film Music Documentary brings Hollywood’s premier composers together to give viewers a privileged look inside the musical challenges and creative secrecy of the world’s most widely known music genre: the film score.  Features segments with Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Trent Reznor, James Cameron, Randy Newman, Quincy Jones, Junkie XL, Howard Shore, Alexandre Desalt, Harry Greyson-Williams, Thomas Newman, etc.

Looking forward to seeing my fitness, golf, book group (discussing Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver) and mahjong buddies this week as they arrive in Naples.  Our golf club is finally hosting a welcome party for our members as the new clubhouse begins regular operations this week.  Dear friends from Toronto arrive for a visit, so it is shaping up to be another busy week.  And that’s before Pickleball and Bocce ball official seasons get started!!  Our new social events coordinator arrives from the Ritz Carlton to start her job here on Tuesday.  For those of you in sunny climes, enjoy this beautiful balmy weather and for all friends and family in the north, stay warm and be careful on those roads.

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Preparing for the drive to Florida…

 

It’s been a hectic week as I played my last rounds of golf for the season at Lambton and the Georgian Bay Club. I said goodbye to my Thornbury Mahjongg group after a great summer of friendship and laughter. It  was just revealed that one of Trump’s accusers disclosed her assault by Trump to her Mahj group a year and a half ago. Many truths are revealed at the Mahj table! As we packed for our Florida trip this week, I managed to keep up with my viewing as I report below:

Live On Stage

Ones is a travelling road show that showcases the Beatles’ number one hits. It was performed at the historic Meaford Hall last night. I had the great pleasure of seeing it with our longtime friend Brian who was in a Beatles cover band for many years. The Ones performers are a great band with wonderful musicians and singers. They were backed up by a string section and a horn section and were able to produce a very big sound for a small number of musicians. It was a wonderful community event.

Netflix

Amanda Knox is a Netflix original documentary film that tells the story of American Amanda Knox and her prosecution for the savage murder of her British roommate in Italy in 2007.  It poses the question of how we all might handle a murder accusation, investigation and prosecution, in much the same vein as Making a Murderer. Incredible interviews with the actual players (including the prosecution team and the police who were determined to achieve a fast arrest and conviction).

Streaming

Transparent Season 3 is the latest season in this wonderful funny and heartbreaking series about a father of three grown children who is transitioning to female.  It follows his journey as well as that of his family and ex-wife.

The Nice Guys is a very dark film comedy about two private detectives in LA and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.  I lasted about an hour into this completely unfunny film and then had to turn it off due to lack of amusement and incredibly brutal action.

Younger has returned for its third season and tells the story of a single mother who is compelled to pretend that she is 26 in order to forge a career in publishing after her marriage ends and she is unable to find work as a forty-something.  Very funny especially in its depiction of social media and the role it plays in today’s workplace.

HBO

Westworld, Divorce, Masters of Sex, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver all air on Sunday nights.  An embarrassment of riches!  Westworld is absolutely intriguing in its depiction of a resort that features Artificial Intelligence characters and allows pampered guests to pretend they are in the old west. Masters of Sex is a terrific series about Masters and Johnson the pioneering sex therapists of the early sixties.  Divorce (starring Sara Jessica Parker) is a wry look at divorce (from Sharon Horgan of Catastrophe). Last Week Tonight is a savage comedy series hosted by the very funny John Oliver who delights in poking fun at the American political system and takes a weekly special look at widely divergent issues and problems in a most informative and enlightening way.

Real Time with Bill Maher (Fridays) is a must see show in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election. Maher is completely intolerant of political correctness in all forms and is having the time of his life poking fun at Donald Trump and his alt-right supporters.

PBS

Poldark, Queen Victoria and the Crippled Kaiser, Indian Summers, and The Durrells in Corfu are all part of PBS’ Sunday lineup.  Poldark continues to smolder and swashbuckle; Queen Victoria and the Crippled Kaiser gave much insight into the conditions that led to WWI; Indian Summers is a dark tale of the conditions that led to India’s self-rule; The Durrells in Corfu is a charming real life tale of a family of British eccentrics in the 1930’s who escape Britain’s cold unforgiving climate for a wonderful warm time in Corfu.

NBC

The Blacklist (Thursdays) is my guilty pleasure batshit crazy tale of a megalomaniac crime lord who has a soft spot for an FBI agent.
Chicago Fire (Tuesdays) is my guilty pleasure show about hunky firemen in Chicago.

ABC

Designated Survivor (Wednesdays) is Kiefer Sutherland’s return to network TV as a man who has the Presidency foisted upon him after a terrorist bombing.

TVO

Occupied (Sundays) comes to us from Norway and tells the story of a Russian occupation of Norway in order to control their oil and gas industry.

CBC

This Life (Sundays) is a touching tale of a single mom’s journey after a diagnosis of terminal cancer.
Shoot the Messenger (Mondays) is a ripped from the headlines tale of the Toronto Mayor’s office, an investigative journalist, and drug deals at Kipling and Dixon.
Kim’s Convenience (Tuesdays) is a very sweet comedy about a Korean Canadian family who run a convenience store in east end Toronto.

CBS

CBS Sunday Morning (9 am on Sundays) is now hosted by an adorably aging Jane Pauly.  This is my moment of Zen show and it centres me and calms me for the week ahead.
The Late Show (Mon-Fri at 11:3 5) with Stephen Colbert is must see viewing for Colbert’s take on the US political process.  He is also very fun on every other topic he tackles.

Comedy Network

The Daily Show (Mon-Thurs at 11) with Trevor Noah is my daily fix of political humour.  I like South African born Noah’s worldview take on politics.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (Mondays at 10:30, but the network has been moving this one around.  Bee is Canadian and is voting in her first US election and is completely outraged by the craziness of the US political scene and it is making for great comedy.

FX

Better Things (Thursdays) is a wry tale of a single mother/actress in LA who struggles to keep her head above water with a demented mother, 3 demanding children and an ex-husband who simply doesn’t care.

FXX

You’re The Worst (Wednesdays) is a demented comedy about mismatched hipsters in LA.

A few Last Words

Here’s a column from the Globe’s John Doyle on his TV series recommendations:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/john-doyle-five-cant-miss-coming-television-shows/article32314722/

We leave on our drive down to Florida In a few days. We will be spending a night in Pennsylvania and then visiting with friends in Pinehurst. NC. We’re hoping that the effects of Hurricane Matthew will have all been cleaned up as there was real road damage in parts of NC and 17 people died there. By this time next Sunday Oct 23, we should be in Naples. As I will have watched very little TV over the next week or so, I will probably catch up with my blog the following week.  The political debate leading up to the election on Nov 8 should get hotter and heavier as more unsavoury allegations about both candidates seem to be surfacing every day. In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful fall weather.

This is taking all my self-discipline…

It’s been a busy week of fine tuning our condo furnishings (much time spent comparing rugs, light fixtures, kitchen benches and carts, etc.) online.  We’re still awaiting the delivery of some major pieces (oh how I miss being able to sit on a comfy couch in the living room) so I am making do with things that are very temporary until the real items arrive.  It’s been a week of family gatherings for Thanksgiving, a fun-filled Indian wedding, and get-togethers with longtime friends.  We have about 11 days to get ourselves ready for the trip to Florida so here’s the best I can do at the moment with some recommendations and recaps:

Streaming

The first two episodes of Berlin Station premiered on the Internet this week.  The show is debuting on Epix, a US premium cable channel.  This spy drama is a contemporary serial set among CIA and German operatives in Berlin.  It will appeal to fans of Homeland, London Spy and The Night Manager.  The action kicks off when a well-regarded CIA analyst Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage known for The Hobbit, Strike Back, North and South, etc.) decides to become a field agent and is assigned to Berlin.  It’s a turbulent time for agency employees in Europe, given that an Edward Snowden-like figure has been leaking some of the CIA’s juiciest secrets to the press and a number of those revelations have caused problems for Berlin based spies in particular.  Familiar faces like Richard Jenkins (Spotlight, Olive Kitteridge, The Visitor, etc.), Michelle Forbes (Orphan Black, Chicago Fire, The Killing, etc.), and Rhys Ifans (Snowden, Elementary, Notting Hill, etc.) turn up in recurring roles.  It’s a great substitute for James Bond and John Le Carre films.

Broadcast Channels

ABC

Designated Survivor (Wednesdays) stars Kiefer Sutherland as an ordinary man who must assume the job of POTUS when all those above him in succession order are killed by terrorists.  Will he rise to the occasion?

NBC

I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live which featured Lin- Manuel Miranda ( Broadway’s Hamilton).  The cold open featured a hilarious performance by Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump in a follow-up to the Vice Presidential debate and the leaked audiotape of Trump making horribly vulgar remarks about his tendency to grab women’s genitalia.  The rest of the show had some great moments and a wonderful musical guest, 21 Pilots.

The Blacklist (Thursdays) I am still hanging in with this show until Tom gets his own spinoff.

Fox

Gotham (Mondays) continues to amuse as we see young Batman moving towards his goal and the star of the show Ben Mackenzie is the main focus as a young Jim Gordon.

The Exorcist (Fridays) tells the story of a teenager who is demonically possessed and her family’s attempts to get the Church to help her.

FX

Continuing to enjoy The Strain (Sundays) and Better Things (Thursdays).

FXX

Continuing to enjoy You’re The Worst (Wednesdays).

CBC

Shoot the Messenger debuts Monday night.  It is a crime drama about a young reporter.  It begins with the meeting a source with “something big” to tell her, but the rendezvous is interrupted by gunfire, leaving the source wounded and his friend dead.  Apparently, Rob Ford’s story was an inspiration for this one!!  Lots of political intrigue.

This Life (Sundays) returned last week and we are still following Natalie’s journey after a cancer diagnosis.

Kim’s Convenience will finally debut 2 episodes on Tuesday after being pre-empted by a late running Blue Jays game last week.  Looking forward to this comedy about the life of a family running a convenience store.

HBO

Westworld (Sundays) is deepening its mystery as we get more familiar with how this crazy resort works.  The machines seem to be developing an agenda of their own!

Masters of Sex (Sundays) gets more and more intriguing as the sex therapists have to deal with their own faltering relationship.

Quarry (Fridays) tells the store of a Viet Nam vet trying to make a living as a hitman.

Both Real Time with Bill Maher (Fridays) and Last Week Tonight  with John Oliver (Sundays) are required viewing as they discuss the upcoming US election.

Comedy Network

I love The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Mon-Thurs at 11 pm).  I think Noah is funny despite what many others say (yeah, yeah, he’s no Jon Stewart…l).

I also love Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (usually Mondays at 10:30).  She has a wickedly acerbic take on US politics.

Bravo

Bravo seems to be running for the owner of the title most female dominated series as it features both Queen of the South (Tuesdays) as a Latino in Texas climbs to the top of a drug cartel and Queen Sugar (Wednesdays) as a family dominated by women struggles to deal with the death of their patriarch.

PBS

PBS took Sunday night off (sigh, no Poldark or Indian Summers), so for those of you who still haven’t caught on, you have a chance to find these series On Demand and you can catch up before next Sunday evening’s episodes.

Closing Thoughts

I’ve not had as much time as usual to catch up with TV and movies this past week as we’ve been busy packing up our Thornbury house, trying to decorate our new Toronto condo and preparing to drive to Florida for the winter.  There are a ton of films I want to see (Hell or High Water, Sully, Snowden, etc.) and I have lots of shows I’ve recorded but haven’t had a chance to watch yet.  It’s been an absolutely beautiful fall season so far with lots of sunny days and the colours are approaching their peak, so get out there and enjoy this fine weather before the November shoulder season of drizzle and damp starts.  Have a wonderful week!!

Countdown to Florida…

Well, we’ve been in our condo for a week now and are gradually adjusting to underground garages with pillars that jump out at you from nowhere, bundle buggies to transport your possessions from the garage to the 23rd floor, etc.  One thing we really have enjoyed is the direct entrance from our complex to the subway.  We have used the subway for all our TIFF outings, a trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario, last night’s trip down to the Hot Docs Bloor Cinema, etc.  I do miss the ability to walk out my front door and hop in my car (no pillars involved), but hey, I can always do that in Thornbury and Naples.  We are now setting aside items that will make the trip down to Florida with us and are hoping to leave by Oct. 21 with a brief stop in Pinehurst, NC on our way.  In the meantime here are my recommendations:

 

Films:

Streaming:

The Meddler is a cute little film starring Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne about a widow who follows her daughter out to LA after her husband’s death.  Sarandon’s character initially lacks purpose aside from obsessively involving herself in her daughter’s life and it follows her journey of finding new purpose in life. JK Simmons and Michael McKean appear in small supporting roles as men who become interested in Sarandon.  Very sweet movie.

The Movie Network and On Demand:

Gods of Egypt is truly a movie that has to be seen to be believed.  It is a film that was savagely criticized for its white faced casting as Gerard Butler plays a Scottish accented Egyptian god Set and Nicolaj Coster Waldau (Scandinavian actor from Game of Thrones) gamely takes on the role of Horus.  The script is hilarious and has a ludicrous plot revolving around Horus’s attempt to gain back his power.  They really don’t make them like this anymore, but as I am a sucker for anything with swords, sandals and monsters, I had to watch this one.  For aficionados of the genre, only.

At the Cineplex:

Bridget Jones’ Baby is a sequel to the first two films.  Renee Zellweger reprises her role as does Colin Firth as Darcy.  Patrick Dempsey plays the new guy.  I have to admit that I find this series to be a little lame and predictable and sadly, Zellweger’s appearance does rather preoccupy.  She is now 47, but her eyes are perkier than they ever has been.  Much has been written about the injustice that actresses face when their looks are scrutinized as closely as their performances.  Again, I have to ask the question “Why didn’t they just cast an actual British actress in this role?”  I kept waiting for her accent to falter, but she’s actually pretty passable.  Spoiler alert:  the film seems to hold out the hope that Hugh Grant may actually appear in yet another sequel.  I do have a soft spot for him, and would like to see him nominated for his dance scene alone in Frances Foster Jenkins. I’m not a big fan of this movie, which works extraordinarily hard to be a feel good film (obtrusive musical score underlies almost every scene) and Bridget actually dances on her bed in her opening scene.  On a final note, Emma Thompson gets a writing credit for this script and she does manage to give herself some pretty good lines as the obstetrician who tries to cope with Bridget’s dilemma. For serious Bridget Jones fans only!!

The Bloor Cinema Hot Docs:

Command and Control is a chilling documentary based on the book by Eric Schlosser. It recounts the real life incident in 1980 Damascus, Arkansas that almost resulted in nuclear Armageddon.  The lesson of this film is that the world’s nuclear arsenals are not as safe as they should be and that we shouldn’t ignore efforts to assure that a nuclear weapon does not go off by accident, mistake, or miscalculation. The film is riveting and dismaying.  It expertly combines dramatic recreations, CGI tours of the missile site and interviews and archival footage of the people involved.

TV Picks

Netflix

The Second Season of Narcos was a 10 episode endurance test.  Still gripping, but the hunt for Pablo Escobar is painful and long and the last 3 episodes were difficult to watch as the task force slowly closes in on him.  Spoiler alert:  there will be a 3rd season, as there are still plenty more Narcos out there.

Amanda Knox debuted this weekend.  It tells the story of the American student who was twice convicted and acquitted of the murder of her roommate in Italy.  Amanda Knox and the people closest to her case speak out in this illuminating documentary.

Luke Cage is the latest instalment of Marvel’s superhero series following Daredevil and Jessica Jones.  Cage is a hoodie-wearing, unbreakable ex-con who fights to clear his name and save his neighbourhood.  He wasn’t looking for a fight, but the people need a hero.  Incredibly timely in this age of Black Lives Matter and Income Inequality.

PBS

Poldark (Sunday night on Masterpiece Theatre) continues the stirring story of Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner). Poldark is a brooding hero who looks fabulous with his shirt off or on.  The gorgeous Cornwall coast is the other major star of this series and Poldark gallops dramatically past the sea at some point in most episodes.

Indian Summers (also Sunday night on Masterpiece)  continues the tale of British expats boozing and idling away their days in Simla, India as the Raj comes to an end and the country nears its independence.

FX

The Strain (Sunday night) still has humans fighting the Strgoi in a most entertaining way.

Better Things (Thursday night) still amuses as Pamela Adlon plays an actress in LA who raises her three daughters while juggling the pressures of working in Hollywood and being a single parent.

 

FXX

You’re the Worst (Wednesday night) has taken on some serious topics lately:  severe depression, the loss of a parent, and this week, PTSD.  Pretty heady topics for a comedy about LA misfit hipsters.

CBC

Undercover (Monday night) came from the BBC and appears to have ended its first season of 6 episodes on a cliffhanger.  Very dark series about an undercover cop who marries the woman he is supposed to be informing on and they are married for 20 years before she finds out the truth.

This Life (Sundays) has its Season 2 premiere tonight and Natalie embarks on an experimental drug trial, unsure if she’s receiving the placebo or the true treatment.  Later, she and ex-husband David Clash.  I loved this series last year and will be trying to catch it when I am in Florida where it’s a little difficult to keep up with CBC.

Kim’s Convenience debuts on Tuesday night. A series about a Korean-Canadian family who run a convenience store in downtown Toronto, opens with Mr. Kim deciding to offer a store discount to gays, while Mrs. Kim seeks a hip, Christian-Korean boyfriend for Janet.

The Romeo Section has its Season 2 premiere on Wednesday night.Wolfgang gets a colleague to help investigate a possible government conspiracy; Rufus kicks it up a notch in the heroin business; and Lily learns how much of a coveted asset she’s become.

HBO

Masters of Sex (Sundays) just gets more intriguing.  The partners come to a new arrangement and Hugh Hefner is actually a recurring character this season.

Quarry (Fridays) tells the story of a Viet Nam vet trying to make a living as a hitman.

Real Time with Bill Maher (Fridays) continues to debate the upcoming US election and all the related issues.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Sundays) continues to find the funny in world news and issues.

Fox

Gotham (Mondaysstars Ben Mackenzie (The OC, Southland) as a young Inspector Jim Gordon in the early days of Batman.  This is one of my guilty pleasure shows, and I make no apologies for enjoying its pure silliness.

The Exorcist (Fridays) stars one of my favourite British actors, Ben Daniels (Flesh and Bone, The Exception, House of Cards, The Paradise, Law & Order UK, etc.) as Father Marcus.  Geena Davis is the beleaguered mom whose teenage daughter appears to be possessed by the devil.  A fun modern take on the scariest film ever made (at least in my failing memory).

ABC

Designated Survivor (Wednesdays) stars Kiefer Sutherland as an ordinary man who suddenly becomes US President after a terrorist bombing kills all those above him more qualified to succeed.  Great fun so far! Will he rise to the occasion?

McGyver (Fridays) is a remake of a series I never watched in the first place.  I must admit, I have gotten to the ‘who cares anyway’ stage with the plotlines, so I may not stay with this one.

CBS

Elementary returns Sunday nights with a modern take on the classic crime fighting duo of Holmes and Watson.  I love Jonny Lee Miller, but I must admit, I had gotten to the ‘who cares anyway’ stage with last season’s  stories.  I tended to fast forward a lot last year, and stopped watching midway through the season.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (nightly Mon-Fri at 11:35) is often brilliant in its comic take on public affairs and Colbert’s hilarious world view.  I do like Colbert and look forward to his skewering of all and sundry.

NBC

The Good Place (Thursdays) had a great first episode and a not so great second episode.  Stars Kristen Bell as a woman wrongly assigned to Heaven after she dies.  A truly terrible person, she spends the season trying to fit in and not get reassigned to the bad place.

The Blacklist (Thursdays) is a totally guilty pleasure show for me and I watch it only for the character of Tom played by Ryan Eggold.  He has morphed from hero to villain and back to hero again.  I understand he is getting his own spin-off series  called The Blacklist: Redemption, and then I shall never have to watch this silly show again. I apologize, but I have never been a James Spader fan.  That guy is a total hambone!

Saturday Night Live (Saturdays at 11:30) returned last night for its umpteenth season and starred Australian actress Margot Robbie as the host.  I fell asleep after the first election debate opening skit (Alec Baldwin played Donald Trump and was actually not quite as funny as the real Donald). New players are featured and Taran Killam will be missed. I will try and catch up on the rest of the show.

The Comedy Network

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Mon-Thurs at 11) has had a tough time with some critics.  I really do enjoy Trevor Noah’s worldview (he’s biracial from South Africa) and I think he’s delightfully funny. He hasn’t been an unqualified success as Jon Stewart’s successor, and I fear for his survival.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (usually Mondays, but there has been a Wednesday show the last two weeks).  Great writing and savagely satirical, Bee is having great fun working up to her first US Election where as a dual Canadian/US citizen she can actually vote.  I love this woman!

Bravo

Queen of the South (Tuesdays) is a bit like a female driven Narcos. We are in Texas and an illegal Mexican immigrant is on the run from a cartel run by a nasty politician who is after her.  Told in flashbacks, we see that she will eventually run her own cartel.  Great concept!

 

Queen Sugar (Wednesdays) is directed by Ava Duvernay (Selma) and airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network in the US. It’s a meditation on mourning and family as a family comes together to run their late father’s farm after his death.

Closing Thoughts

I’m sure I’ve left some things out (as usual) and there are probably lots more shows making their debut over the next week that I have been too lazy to track down.  This week we are back north doing a little closing down of our place (lawn furniture must be brought in) and I will be catching up with a little golf,  Mahjong and packing for Florida.  We are going to celebrate the marriage of a long-time friend’s son as a week of Indian celebrations culminates with a final party in King City on Friday evening.