OK, fair warning, many of you need to get out there and start (or continue) watching the films that will likely be nominated for the Oscars. The telecast will be on ABC on Sunday Mar 4, so you have 5 weeks to prepare yourselves. Tonight, the Screen Actors Guild Awards will be telecast on TBS at 8 pm. Concentrating only on the acting awards, this show is often a bellwether for the Oscars, and it’s usually very entertaining. For those of you who are not so keen on the big screen, there are many new shows debuting in 2018. Here are some recommendations:
On the Big Screen
Paddington 2 is the second in the Paddington Bear series. As endearing as the first, now the little bear in the duffle coat faces a hilariously evil villain played by Hugh Grant. All the usual players are back including Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins as the bear’s adoptive parents, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent, etc. God knows, we need an escape from reality, and I heartily recommend this wonderful film which has a very simple message about being kind to others. Be sure and watch all the way through the closing credits and you will receive a wonderful surprise. No spoilers!
To help you with your pre-Oscars viewing, here’s a great article about what should be nominated:
New shows debut
The Alienist begins tomorrow night on TNT. Crime reporter, John Moore, meets with psychologist, Dr. Laszlo Kreisler, to investigate a serial killer in NYC during the late 19th century. Starring Daniel Bruhl, Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans, this series has had great advance press.
Black Lightning debuted last Tuesday on the CW. A retired superhero becomes a vigilante for justice. Featuring many black performers, this is a very engaging superhero story as a high school principal fights for the safety of his family and community.
The Resident premiers tonight at 10 on Fox. It centers on an idealistic young doctor who begins his first day under the supervision of a tough, brilliant senior resident who pulls the curtain back on all of the good and evil in modern day medicine. Lives may be saved or lost, but expectations will always be shattered. Starring Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Emily Van Camp, Bruce Greenwood, etc.
American Crime Story 2: The Assassination of Gianni Versace debuted last Wed. on FX. An all-star cast (Edgar Ramirez, Ricky Martin, Penelope Cruz, Darren Criss) recreates the real life personalities. I enjoyed the first episode and will stay tuned!
Rita is a Danish TV series that has returned to Netflix for its 4th season. Following the life of a very outspoken and rebellious woman, Rita is a school teacher who is competent in the classroom, but seems to need a teacher of her own, when it comes to her personal life. The Scandinavians do great comedy as well as Nordic noir. I love this series and find the central character refreshing and endearing.
There are many hidden gems available on Netflix. Here’s an article you may enjoy:
The Promise This 2016 film about the Armenian genocide of 1915 came and went without creating much of a buzz. Starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon, it is set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. The Promise follows a love triangle between Michael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana, and Chris – a renowned American journalist based in Paris. It’s a beautifully filmed movie, with gorgeous settings, but the subject matter will be very disturbing for those uncomfortable with holocaust stories.
Molly’s Game is the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. Jessica Chastain gives her usual intense performance. Aaron Sorkin directed this and it features his customary fast paced dialog delivered in monotones and monologs. I have to admit that I am neither a fan of Sorkin or of gambling stories, so I was predisposed to not like this film very much. I give it a kind of guarded recommendation. A lot of people admire Sorkin’s writing (The West Wing, The Newsroom), so if you like him and you like gambling films, you may love this!
The Bureau (Le Bureau des Legendes) has returned to IFC for its third season. In this one, Malotru is still held captive by ISIS and the French Secret Service tries to rescue him. Non stop intrigue and excitement. I love this dark and exciting series. Starring Mathieu Kassovitz and a host of French performers. If you love espionage and are missing Homeland, this may be the show for you.
The Path has returned to Hulu for its 3rd season. This series about a cult called the Meyerist Movement is a thoughtful and provocative look at why people join cults and why they leave. Suspenseful in its depiction of power struggles and crises of faith. Stars Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan, and Hugh Dancy.
Mary Kills People (on Global in Canada and Lifetime in the US) stars Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Mary Harris. She is an ER doctor by day, but by night she and her partner, a former plastic surgeon, moonlight as underground angels of death who help terminally ill patients slip away on their own terms. The series has returned for its 2nd season and now Dr. Harris is being blackmailed into committing murders!
Cardinal (CTV in Canada) has returned for its 2nd season. Based on the crime novels of Giles Blunt. The series features spectacular scenes of Northern Ontario and is set mainly in Algonquin Bay (North Bay) and stars Billy Campbell and a mostly Canadian cast. I’m not familiar with the source material, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this very Canadian mystery series. Very Nordic noir!
Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access) I am loving this series despite the prevalence of Klingons and their crazy boring language. I am a huge fan of Jason Isaacs (Captain Gabriel Lorca) so I am hanging in to find out how this all concludes.
The Good Doctor I have found myself really engaged by Freddie Highmore as an autistic young doctor in a dog-eat-dog world of competitive medical residents. OK, so it’s probably highly unrealistic that an autistic doctor could survive in such a tough environment, but his blue eyes make me swoon.
Blue Planet 2 This series features the best photography I have ever seen. It’s bewitching and addictive. You will not be able to look away from this story of our oceans.
Damnation Epic story of the labour struggles of the 1930’s as personified by two brothers on opposite sides of the conflict.
Chicago Fire is a guilty pleasure procedural about the adventures of hunky firemen.
This is Us is a maudlin exploration of a family’s triumphs and tragedies. I’m only watching until I find out how the dad died.
The Brave is another guilty pleasure procedural about the adventures of a mostly male team of special ops officers.
There is a great article on why so much broadcast network TV is so lame:
Nashville is an unbelievably soapy story of the Nashville music scene. This is officially the last season for Nashville, and I am watching to see how all the loose ends are tied up.
Victoria is an amazing, beautiful and inspiring look at the life of Queen Victoria. If you loved The Crown, this may be your show.
Riverdale, Arrow, and Supergirl are all delightful series that are aimed at the youthful CW market, but I like them anyway. So there!
Corporate is a wickedly funny satire aimed at the world of corporations. The first two episodes premiered last week. Catch it if you can.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee has returned with new episodes. The girl is really angry now! Don’t ask her if she thinks Trump is racist.
Real Time with Bil Maher has returned with new episodes. Friday night’s show featured Michael Wolff and Maher went pretty easy on him as he totally enjoyed the new salacious rumours Wolff is now spreading regarding Trump’s marital infidelity. Great panel as well.
9-1-1 is a surprisingly engaging procedural about emergency services workers. OK, the rebar through the head situation of one of the major characters was a little over-the-top, but still very entertaining.
The XFiles featured a monster of the week plot line this past week, which I find far more entertaining than the conspiracy shows. Bring on the monsters!
The Chi If you liked The Wire, you may like this very gritty series about Chicago. So far, I’m hooked.
Moments of Zen
CBS Sunday Morning I just watched the Nature Moment which came from Sarasota and featured water birds, and a beautiful Gator. Ah…….
Trevor Noah continues to amuse nightly on Comedy Central/The Comedy Channel in Canada.
Stephen Colbert continues to amuse nightly on CBS.
Enjoy your week wherever you are! Don’t forget to watch the SAG Awards tonight, The Alienist tomorrow night on TNT, and The Resident tonight on Fox. It’s a beautiful day today in Naples and golf beckons this afternoon. We are hosting a charity Fashion Show this week at our golf club, and the usual fitness activities, Mahjong, Bocce, etc are all on the schedule. Sending hugs to my friends who are dealing with serious medical issues.