Busy week, but a few recommendations anyway….

It was a great week for catching up with my fitness ladies, book group, mahjong group, and my lady golfers on Tues., Thurs., and Fridays. What a glorious weekend we just had!!!  For a refreshing change the weather was gorgeous, and sunny with blue skies.  We attended a retirement party for a dear friend in Toronto, did a very fun car rally for the charity Hope Air in Collingwood, and then I had the great pleasure of attending a baby shower for the daughter of a longtime friend in Toronto.  Truly, not much TV got watched this week, but I have a few warnings and recommendations as follows:

Dirty Dancing Remake Alert

A remake of this 1987 film aired on CTV (ABC in the US) this past week.  Although it will be available on demand, my warning is be afraid, very afraid of catching up with this one.  If you fondly remember Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, you are in for a disappointment with this lacklustre and pointless recasting.  The new leads (Abigail Bresling and Colt Prattes) are sadly lacking in charisma and there is absolutely no chemistry between them. Unfortunately, Breslin is really not much of a dancer and even in the final scene where she leaps into her partner’s arms, the choreography is so simplified to match her skill level, that it is actually unintentionally funny. It was a very bad idea to remake this, and once seen, it cannot be unseen.

Twin Peaks Sequel Alert

The two-hour premiere of this returning series aired last Sunday night on HBO (Showtime in the US).  It is even more batshit crazy than the original and that’s saying a lot.  I have always had an inexplicable liking for Kyle McLachlan, who has always had an otherworldly look about him.  The new series picks up 25 years after the inhabitants of a quaint northwestern town are stunned when their homecoming queen is murdered.  Full of incredibly creepy images, the sequel is almost totally inscrutable in its first two hours.  There are dopplegangers, mysterious people in boxes, people on oxygen, etc.  TV has come a long way in 25 years, with mysterious apparitions almost becoming the norm.  Lost, Mr. Robot, Legend, Fargo, and True Detective (to name a few) all have fantasy and fever dream aspects to them.  TV has gone a little nuts in the past few seasons, and Twin Peaks is at the forefront of nuttiness!  Watch if you dare.

Some upcoming series debuts and returns….

Animal Kingdom returns to Bravo soon!

This great series (adapted from the terrific Australian film made in 2010 which starred the unforgettable Ben Mendelsohn who has since made Bloodline so memorable) returns for its second season on May 30 on TNT in the US if you can access that.  Otherwise, it will have its Canadian return on Bravo later this season. It stars Ellen Barkin as the matriarch of a California crime family.  The action begins when her 17-year-old grandson moves in with her and the rest of the Cody clan after his mother dies of a heroin overdose.  Great performances from Scott Speedman as the lieutenant to his mom, and Shawn Hatosy as the loose cannon son with a prison record and psychiatric issues.  Barkin is terrifying as a grandma who thrives on controlling every aspect of her children’s lives and work.

Still Star-Crossed

This new series which is a sequel to Romeo and Juliet from Shonda Rimes will debut on ABC on May 29 at 10 pm. I have given up on every Shondaland production I’ve ever watched (Gray’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, The Catch, etc.) however, I do love costumes and British accents, so you never know!

World of Dance

This dance competition show debuts on May 30 at 10 pm on NBC.  Jennifer Lopez is one of the judges.  I currently do not watch any reality show competitions, but I did have a soft spot for So you Think You can Dance, so you never know!

Fear the Walking Dead

Season 2 returns to AMC on June 4. For zombie lovers only.

Nightcap

This comedy about a fictitious late-night TV show returns on June 7 at 8 pm on Pop in the US.  Real life guests include Julianna Margulies, Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore. I think you are going to have to download or stream this one in Canada.

Queen of the South

This cartel drama returns to USA in the US (Showcase in Canada) on June 8.

Younger

I love this comedy series (starring Sutton Foster) which returns for its 4th season on June 28 (TVLand in the US) It will be available on E in Canada at a later date .  It is about a 40ish woman who passes herself off as a millennial in order to get a job in publishing.

 

Netflix Alerts

Master of None has returned with Aziz Ansari and I have found this second season to be even more enjoyable than the first.  I love the Italian flavour of his Modena experiences (the first episode is a charming parody of Vittorio De Sica’s neorealism classic, The Bicycle Thief).  It’s addictive, so be careful.  I’m up to episode 8!

 

Bloodline has returned for it’s third and last season.  The steamy Florida Keys make the perfect setting for this noir tale of a family of adult siblings who find that their past secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep of a brother returns home.

House of Cards will return on May 30 for its 5th season. Frank and Claire Underwood will stop at nothing to achieve their political ambitions.  Murder, blackmail, and manipulations of every kind fuel their revenge plots.  You must watch this season to see how the writers will be able to keep the level of mayhem on this series competitive with the real life events that are unfolding in the Trump presidency.

Other Shows I like

I am a huge fan of Better Call Saul (AMC), The Americans (FX) and Fargo (FX).  These series are all dark and suspenseful, so possibly not for everyone.  I love the intricate plotting and the surprising twists and turns of these continuing stories.  The plots are layered and nuanced and generally unpredictable.  Great performances and great writing.

I’m also enjoying Genius (National Geographic) a biography of Albert Einstein; The Handmaid’s Tale (Bravo) which is Margaret Atwood’s dark dystopian view of the future;  Harlots (Superchannel) a British miniseries about two competing brothels in 1763 London; Veep (HBO) a delightful political comedy; Silicon Valley (HBO) a delightful comedy about tech geniuses; The Leftovers (HBO) is the very sad tale about the Rapture and the pain that is felt by those who are left behind; The White Princess  (Superchannel) tells the story behind the rise of the House of Tudor and is an adaptation of a Philippa Gregory historical novel.

Current Events

I find that political satirists provide the most palatable version of the news these days, so I’m hooked on Last Week Tonight on HBO Sundays with John Oliver; The Daily Show on Comedy Mon – Thurs with Trevor Noah; The Late Show on CBS Mon – Fri with Stephen Colbert; Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal on Comedy Wednesdays; Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO on Fridays. For my moment of Zen, I always try to catch CBS Sunday Morning (which airs on CBS every Sunday morning at 9 am).  It’s a gentle way to spend a Sunday morning reflecting on popular culture in the most relaxing way.

Parting Words

We have some very good friends from Pinehurst, NC joining us for their very first trip to Canada next week.  We’re going to tour Toronto with them, take them to Stratford for a theatre getaway and introduce them to life on Georgian Bay.  Really looking forward to introducing these two Americans to Canada!  Have a wonderful week wherever you are and fingers crossed, we will have many more sunny days from now on.

 

 

 

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