We were delighted to host our friends Doug and Catherine Thomson from Scotland over the past few days. As a result, we watched mostly sports on TV (those darned Olympics and golf, of course), but we did get to do some wonderful touring including a Naples Harbour tour, 5th Avenue and shopping, shopping, shopping. We finally made it to the wonderful fine dining restaurant Sale and Pepe on Marco Island which we had never managed to get to over the past 12 years that we have been visiting Naples. A wonderful dining experience with a gorgeous sunset view. I got to celebrate my 65th birthday with a group of friends who gathered from all over the area to surprise Catherine on her visit. Catherine joined our fitness group in Toronto 7 years ago when her husband was transferred from Scotland and we all loved her and missed her when she returned to Edinborough. All in all, it was a wonderful visit.
Here are some viewing recommendations for the week:
On the Big Screen
Peter Rabbit The animation in this film is absolutely amazing and James Corden is terrific as the voice of Peter Rabbit. I admit that I found the story a little bit too malevolent. I didn’t like characters being electric shocked and thrown against walls, carrots being stuffed down character’s bottoms, etc. Terribly silly and not nearly so clever as Paddington 2. While I could recommend both Paddington films to absolutely everyone, you’d better have a child with you for Peter Rabbit, or you may find yourself a bit bored. The small children seated near me, however, were rivetted.
New & Returning Show Alert
iZombie (The CW), The Resident (Fox), The Good Doctor (ABC) are all returning from hiatus tonight.
Living Biblically (CBS) and Good Girls (NBC) are both new series debuting tonight.
Designated Survivor (ABC) returns with new episodes on Wednesday.
Chicago Fire (NBC) returns with new episodes on Thursday.
Gotham (Fox) returns with new episodes on Thursday.
Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) returns with a new show on Friday.
Strike Back has been stealthily showing new episodes for Season 6 on Cinemax here in the US. It may be available in Canada on HBO as previous seasons aired there. I have some catching up to do as the current season is showing Episode 5 this week.
The Square This film won top prize at Cannes and is from the director of Force Majeure. It’s a scathing social satire of contemporary life in Sweden, the art scene, income inequality, etc. It is a weird study of an art gallery director whose life goes into meltdown after his mobile phone is stolen. Think of a more surreal Curb Your Enthusiasm on steroids. In addition to the charismatic star Claes Bang, there are supporting performances from Elizabeth Moss and Dominic West. It’s nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for the Oscars, but it may be a little too arty for many viewers.
The Frankenstein Chronicles Inspector John Marlott (Sean Bean) investigates a series of crimes in 19th C. London, which may have been committed by a scientist intent on reanimating the dead. This series starts off slowly but does come together eventually. A very original twist on the Frankenstein origin story. It has very few horror touches, so admirers of British mystery and suspense tales with a historical twist will enjoy this. Two seasons available in six episodes each.
Divorce This series was created by the brilliant comic writer Sharon Horgan who previously created Catastrophe. While not as brilliantly funny as Catastrophe, I do find it quite entertaining.
Here and Now I am making a second attempt to give this new series a chance, but the first episode did bore me to tears the first time I attempted to watch.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver I adore this naughty British man.
Counterpart This is a mind boggling parallel universe show about two Berlins, both cities starring an amazing JK Simmons (Farmers Insurance commercial, Whiplash, Oz, etc.)
Homeland Intrigue abounds in this parallel universe show about an unstable US president and the intelligence network around her.
The Chi If you loved The Wire, you will love this show about the south side of Chicago. Powerful!
The Alienist Dark and slow serial killer mystery in olde NYC. Great cast!
The Walking Dead Season 9 continues with new episodes. Uh oh… Carl could be in trouble. Haven’t had a chance to watch yet!
Nashville This soapy series is in its last season and they seem to be trying to tie up all their storylines. Thinks don’t look good for Will Lexington! Too many steroids!
HULU and Streaming
The Path I am still watching this harrowing and haunting look at life inside a cult.
Victoria on Masterpiece This show couldn’t be lovelier in depicting the majesty of a bygone era. Things were very different in the days of Empire.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah I’m a big fan of Trevor Noah. He seems to have captured the Zeitgeist of our current era.
Corporate I have fallen behind on my watching recent episodes, but I will get back to this savage satire at the first available moment.
The Resident I’m watching because Bruce Greenwood (Canadian!!) is a star of this show, but it has deteriorated into a pretty routine medical procedural where mysterious illnesses present on a weekly basis.
CBS Sunday Morning My moment of Zen every Sunday from 9 – 10:30.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert I do get a kick out of Colbert’s monologue every night.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace I am finding this show to be dark and disturbing. It doesn’t help that Darren Criss who was so angelic and positive on Glee (another show from Ryan Murphy) is absolutely terrifying as the psychopathic murderer Andrew Cunanan.
iZombie I do love this silly show which is returning for its 4th season tonight.
Big Alert for Oscars
OK everyone! This is the final countdown to Oscar night. The Academy Awards will be televised on ABC next Sunday Mar. 4. The awards telecast will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and begins at 8 pm and you can start watching the red carpet festivities at 6:30.
Many of the films are now available to own or rent. These are the Best Picture Nominees:
Call Me by your Name
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
I loved Lady Bird the most; I found The Shape of Water the most magical; I anticipate that Three Billboards will probably win many awards as its message of female empowerment seems very timely for the Time’s Up and Me Too movements. Watch for Allison Janney to have her Oscars moment for playing the amazingly intense mother in I, Tonya. To get the most out of the show, it’s really ideal to have seen as many of the films as you can manage. Good luck and happy viewing this week!
It’s been amazingly hot in Naples this past week or so. Temperatures hovering between 85 and 90 – not that I’m complaining. We’re anticipating a great visit with George’s book group who are coming (with spouses) to have a sleepover and book discussion with us later this week. The book is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, a harrowing tale of two sisters and the French resistance during WWII. Our local book group is discussing The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin this week. Frankly not loving this self-help book which I think made the author very happy because she made a lot of money by writing this incredibly dull book. I’m playing bocce, golfing and going to fitness classes most days this week. Heading out to dinner with visiting friends from Toronto another night. Life in Naples is very, very nice. Enjoy the season wherever you are!! Hugs to my many friends who seem to be down for the count with the flu and those dealing with serious health challenges. Have a wonderful week!