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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’re the Worst is the Wednesday night comedy that shows the struggles of mismatched hipsters to survive in LA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Designated Survivor (Wednesdays) continues to intrigue as Kiefer Sutherland tries to survive the myriad forces that seem to conspire against him.
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.
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.