Visitors from Scotland this time…

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.

Streaming

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.

Netflix

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.

HBO

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.

Starz

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.)

Showtime

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!

TNT

The Alienist Dark and slow serial killer mystery in olde NYC. Great cast!

AMC

The Walking Dead Season 9 continues with new episodes.  Uh oh… Carl could be in trouble.  Haven’t had a chance to watch yet!

CMT

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.

PBS

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.

Comedy Central

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.

Fox

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

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.

FX

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.

The CW

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

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

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!

Closing Words

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!

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Entertaining my family Part Two…

It’s been a great 10 days of visiting with my two sons and daughter-in-law. Between excursions it’s been all Olympics, all the time on our living room TV. My boys have wicked senses of humour and they have delighted in finding non-traditional Olympics coverage (worst crashes and wipeouts in all sports) as counterprogramming to NBC’s worshipful coverage of the Olympics from the perspective of an exclusive concentration on American athletes.

We did make it out to see the opening weekend of the latest Marvel superhero series, Black Panther, and I finally caught up with the Disney Pixar Best Animated Feature nominee, Coco. More on both and some regular viewing recommendations follow.

Remember, that the Oscars will air on Sunday Mar. 4 on ABC with Jimmy Kimmel hosting.  If you are scurrying to catch the 9 nominated films for Best Picture, the following article may be of some interest:

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/g18193837/where-to-stream-2018-oscar-nominated-movies/

On the Big Screen

Black Panther What an interesting experience it was to go on opening weekend to see this comic book adaptation. My husband broke his vow of never watching super hero movies to see this film in the company of my son. We have a family tradition of seeing tent pole movies together (Star Wars, Deadpool, John Wick,etc), so we continued our tradition. It was lovely to see so many families attending this one. We saw it at Naples’ premiere luxury cinema, the Mercato. I have never seen so many African Americans in Naples. The film celebrates African roots and presents a mythical African kingdom that is a success story because it was never colonized and exploited by any imperial nation. There’s a parallel universe in Wakanda, a country that guards its natural resource, the mineral Vibranium, from the rest of the world. This is an origin story of Black Panther and I enjoyed it immensely. Pure energy on the screen and wonderful performances from an almost entirely black ensemble cast featuring Chadwick Boseman (42, Avengers), Forrest Whittaker (The Last King of Scotland), Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do Wth It), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station, Creed), Lupita Nyongo ( 12 Years A Slave), etc. Sterling K. Brown (This is Us, American Crime Story: OJ Simpson) deserves a special shout out for his role as N’Jobu.  The guy is so talented he can play a street thug wannabe as well as he plays a hopeless nerd, or prosecutor Christopher Darden. Andy Serkis and Martin Freedman are the two white supporting actors whom you will recognize from their previous work in the Lord of the Rings movies among many others.

Streaming

Coco While Black Panther celebrates African roots, Coco from Disney Pixar nominated for Best Animated Feature Oscar, is a loving look at Mexican culture. Overwhelmingly family centred, this lovely and charming film tells the story of a little boy in love with music who longs to connect with the great great grandfather who is a Mexican singing legend. On the Day of the Dead, he is magically transported to the land of the dead where he finds out the true story of his ancestry. Prepare to be charmed. Great tunes from the team that also provided the songs for Frozen, Ratatouille, etc.

Geostorm My younger son has a sentimental fascination with disaster films. I will think of this as the Sharknado of space. For some reason Gerard Butler has become the go-to star of many disaster films (Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, etc). Set to a large degree on a space station that is throwing the world’s climate into chaos, there are scenes in this one that are laugh-out-loud hilarious as multiple tornadoes, tsunamis, ice storms, etc. consume the great cities of the world. I’m not sure it’s entirely healthy for audiences to laugh at such great destruction but it sure has become a thing. My son’s evil cackle will haunt me forever!

The Path The harrowing and haunting look at life inside a cult that is aiming for respectability continues.

Mary Kills People A very intriguing look at a doctor who takes on the job of assisting terminally ill people with suicide.

Netflix

Babylon Berlin I can’t believe I watched the whole thing! All 16 episodes! This is the most expensive series ever made for German TV. You will be transported back to Weimar Germany in 1929. It’s the Germany of the decadent and debauched Cabaret era, Trotskyites versus Leninists, plots to revive the monarchy under Kaiser Wilhelm, etc. All of this is being investigated by a mysterious police inspector with a nasty drug addiction and PTSD from his WW1 experiences. Get ready for a wild ride!

The Cloverfield Paradox Again, we have an odd family tradition of watching the Cloverfield movies together, so our sons forced us to watch this Netflix original. Oh my, we’re on a space station (again) that is trying to test an alternate energy source to save a dying world, when they accidentally enter a parallel universe. Great ensemble cast featuring Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo, Chris O’Dowd, etc. There is much controversy about how this film was suddenly released on Netflix and not in theatres as originally planned. Conspiracy theories abound, including tacked on scenes and endings, when the producers feared the film was unreleasable. Judge for yourself! It does seem to be a pastiche of the Alien films, the Cloverfield films, any movie that is based on a space station, etc.

For more info on new shows that are debuting and old ones that are returning to Peak TV via Netflix and Amazon (that I haven’t had time to catch up with), here’s a helpful article from the NYTimes:

Broadcast Networks and Premium Cable

Showtime

Homeland The intrigue has begun. The president is nuts and Carrie’s bipolar disorder is showing!
The Chi Still haven’t caught up with last week’s episode. If you liked  The Wire, you might want to catch up with this one.

STARZ

Counterpart This series  is a great espionage/parallel universe show starting the great character actor JK Simmons in a dual role.

HBO

Divorce I am finding this series about the recess and after effects of divorce much more delightful now that Thomas Hayden Church has a new squeeze and Sarah Jessica Parker is jealous.
Here and Now OK, I did snooze most of the way through last week’s premiere, but I will give it another go because of the cast (Tim Robbins) and creator (Alan Ball). So far, it’s no Six Feet Under or True Blood.

CMT

Nashville Ahhh. Juliette’s gone completely bonkers and is finding herself in a cult in Bolivia!

CBS All Access

Star Trek: Discovery (My children slyly refer to this series as STD and of course, we had to watch the final episode of Season 1 together).  Ooh, the parallel universe and Klingon stories came to an end and there will be a new captain next year. Can’t wait!

FX

The Assassination of Gianni Versace So grim, I haven’t caught up with last week’s episode yet.

PBS

Victoria Victoria and Albert, longing for an escape from their devoted servants, watch dogs, etc., deliberately get themselves lost in the wilds of the Scottish highlands near Blair Atholl, and they discover the delights of a simple life they have never experienced.  The young lovers steal a few moments away from their privileged lives and learn to cook for themselves and even darn socks.  A very touching episode where even some of their servants and coterie have an escape from the restricted lives they normally lead.  The undeniable chemistry between the two courtiers, Drummond and Paget is finally given life, and they have some private romantic time, unaware that Wilhelmina Coke observes their passion.

TNT

The Alienist This show has turned into a bit of a snooze fest, but I am hanging in to see how the story ends.

Closing Words

There really are no words to describe the sadness and anger that people are experiencing in the wake of the latest school shooting in Ft Lauderdale. When 17 children are murdered there, two years after the Orlando nightclub shootings where 56 people died, there are still, unbelievably, gun lobbyists in Florida advocating for continued generous access to guns. Here in the “gunshine state”, stand your ground laws still stand. It is easier for an 18-year-old to obtain an automatic military grade weapon than it is to obtain a handgun. The prevailing wisdom here says that if the murder of 20 children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut didn’t change the gun control debate then adding this week’s toll is unlikely to signal a change. This time, the classmates of the fallen have begun to make their voices heard to demand stricter controls. Time will tell whether the many legislators whose campaigns are determined and financed by the NRA gun lobby will be brave enough to take on the challenge of defying their funders. What a sad state this country is in. People have come to accept the collateral damage from murdered children to be the price that must be paid for the right to bear arms. I can’t believe that anyone really thinks that the founding fathers would have supported the rights of mentally ill teenagers to murder their classmates with lethal automatic weapons.

Despite the grim reality of recent events, the sun still continues to shine here. We deliver our son to the airport this morning and then will get our house ready for visitors from Scotland and Canada who arrive on Tuesday to drink in a little Florida sunshine, play a little golf and enjoy the delights of Naples.

To everyone, make every moment count, wherever you are. Cherish your loved ones. Hugs to my friends who are dealing with health challenges.

Entertaining my family…

My two sons and daughter-in-law have been visiting us this past week.  It has been a lovely week of dinners out, excursions around town, and shopping.  We just returned from an outing to Shark Valley in Everglades National Park where we saw more alligators than you can shake a stick at.  I have had to catch up with TV and movies pretty furtively as my kids think I watch an insane amount of TV.  I am currently typing away as they have gone to play pickle ball.  Of course, while I write, I am watching a recorded version of my CBS Sunday Morning, a show that they think is hopelessly square.  They are bemused by our reliance on cable, which they view as prehistoric. In any event, here are some recommendations for you:

Streaming

American Made is a Tom Cruise film from director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity, Fair Game).  It is the story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980’s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair. I found it a little long and totally amoral.  If this were’t basically a true story, you’d wonder how anyone could come up with such an insane program.

Coco is a charming film from Disney Pixar.  Heavily rooted in Mexican Day of the Dead traditions it is a wonderful look into another culture. Absolutely delightful! Nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year.

New on Netflix

Berlin Babylon is a Netflix Original TV series that comes from Germany and is set in 1929.  It is Cabaret with a very dark background as Fascists and Communists clash and a policeman with the Vice squad has been sent from Cologne to Berlin on a very special assignment.  Very intriguing.

 

Other Shows Premiering/Returning this week:

Here and Now is a family dramedy that premieres on HBO tonight. Stars Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins. A multi-racial family made up of husband, wife, three adopted children from Somalia, Vietnam and Colombia and one biological child, find their bonds tested when one of the children begins seeing things which the rest cannot.  From Alan Ball creator of 6 Feet Under and True Blood.

Homeland returns tonight!!  Quinn is dead, Carrie is nuts and the President is totally insane and paranoid.  What could be more intriguing?  Apparently they’re really having trouble writing storylines that are as crazy as real life politics.  On Showtime in the US and I’m guessing Superchannel in Canada.

Our Cartoon President Oh my, this animated series about life in the White House comes from Stephen Colbert’s production team and it is absolutely unfunny. Such a disappointment. Airs on Showtime in the US.

Altered Carbon is a new miniseries that began airing on Netflix last week.  So confusing.  Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.  Mind bending is right!!  Stars Joel Kinsman, James Purefoy.

My Regular Viewing

HBO

Divorce is a bittersweet romantic comedy about the joys and pitfalls of divorce starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church.

NBC

This is Us OK, I know I was only going to watch to find out how the Dad died and now he’s dead.  Can I quit this show now? So maudlin and manipulative.

ABC

The Good Doctor I love this show about an autistic young doctor.  Freddie Highmore is wonderful in the lead role and Richard Schiff is reliably fabulous as his sad sack mentor.

Fox

The Resident Uh Oh. Too many medical shows.  This one had potential at first as iconoclasts battled the establishment, but it’s gotten a little cliched.

The X-Files I enjoyed this past week’s delicate combo of monster and conspiracy called Kitten.  Haunting!
9-1-1 Another case of a show that started out quite disarmingly original and seems to have deteriorated into cliches.  Connie Britton still magnificent!

The CW

Supergirl OK, I know I’m a little old for this one and all the other CW shows I enjoy (Riverdale, Arrow, Black Lightning), but I need a little true escapism sometimes.

STARZ

Counterpart Stars JK Simmons.  I truly love this mind bending suspense series.  Set in Berlin, a UN employee discovers the agency he works for is hiding a gateway to a parallel dimension.  So original!!

TNT

The Alienist What started out as an intriguing mystery set around the turn of the century in NYC, has now slowed down to a real trudging pace as a team of three investigators try to solve a series of killings of young boys working in the sex trade.

PBS

The Gilded Age on American Experience This is a wonderful documentary about the robber barons of the 19th Century and their impact on the US.

CBS All Access and Netflix Canada

Star Trek: Discovery I have totally enjoyed this new addition to the many Star Trek generations.  Jason Isaacs is now gone (or is he?), but Michelle Yeoh is back and there is a big season ender airing tonight.  Enjoy!

Hulu and Streaming

The Path This miniseries is back for its third season and is still a haunting look at life inside a cult.

FX

The Assassination of Gianni Versace My goodness this series is dark and depressing.  Darren Criss (Glee) as Andrew Cunanan is incredibly convincing as a homicidal maniac.

Streaming Canadian Imports

Mary Kills People I really do like this series about assisted suicide. Caroline Dhavernas is wonderful as Dr. Mary and in season 2, Rachelle Lefevre makes a great villain.
Cardinal This miniseries concluded its second season last week as the North Bay cop finally figured out the crime of why a woman was shot in the head in a wooded area of Northern Ontario.

Comic Relief

Real Time with Bill Maher airs on HBO on Fridays.  Although he has a tendency to smirk, Maher assembles interesting panels as he has great fun discussing the issues of the day.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs on Comedy Central Mon-Thurs. Noah’s South African background allows his to have a very different perspective on news stories.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee  on TBS.  I love this feisty Canadian satirist.  She pulls no punches.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Colbert’s nightly monologues on CBS have become must see viewing.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Oliver will return to Sunday nights on HBO next weekend.

Closing Words

We are off to the beach for sunset cocktails and appetizers this evening with our neighbours.  The weather really has been gorgeous and we are looking forward to the rest of this week with our children.  Make the most of each day and enjoy your week!  Warm thoughts to all my friends dealing with serious health challenges.

Alternatives to Super Bowl Sunday…

It has been very hard to ignore the big game today.  When dining out at a local restaurant the other night, a gentleman confronted me demanding to know if I was an Eagles fan.  I had to stammer that I didn’t really follow football, and as his smile turned to a frown, I thought I’d better respond that if I did actually watch football,  I would absolutely be an Eagles fan.  Enjoy the game folks!  I will be looking at alternative programming and will list my recommendations for tonight.  True confessions, my pot of chili is simmering on the stove and I will be tuning in to the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, the award winning commercials that show up on YouTube and the half-time show with Justin Timberlake.  It’s hard to ignore this cultural goliath entirely!

Peak TV and keeping up with debuts of new shows and returns from hiatus of old shows

I wrote last week about the sheer enormity of available programming.  If you want to keep abreast of what’s coming to TV this season, here’s an article that may help:

https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/2018-tv-premiere-dates-calendar/

Oscars Countdown

The telecast will air on Sunday Mar. 4. I have seen the nine films nominated for Best Picture and will list them here for you:

Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Phantom Thread
Ladybird
Call Me By Your Name
Get Out

Films you might want to catch for their Acting Nominations:

All the Money in the World (Christopher Plummer)
I, Tonya (Margot Robbie, Alison Janney)
The Florida Project (Willem Dafoe)

Netflix Finds

Retribution I hadn’t watched a new British crime series in a while, so I settled in to watch this British Netflix original 4-episode miniseries, where two families conspire to conceal a murder in a Scottish town.  Dark and forbidding. Juliet Stevenson is a standout and she looks exactly the same as she did in 1990 when she had her breakout role in Truly Madly Deeply (if you’re wondering where you’ve seen her before).  Layer upon layer of noirish intrigue unfolds as everyone sinks into a downward spiral of deceit.

For the other British shows you could be watching, you might enjoy this article:

The 15 Best British Shows On Netflix Right Now

Babylon Berlin This is another Netflix original that I haven’t started yet.  Set in 1929, a freight train traveling from the Soviet Union is hijacked. Meanwhile Chief Inspector Gereon Rath from Cologne pursues a mission in Berlin.  16 episodes in Season 1.  Can’t wait to get my teeth into this one!  Maybe this evening!

Altered Carbon Brand new Netflix original with 10 episodes in Season 1.  After 250 years on ice, a prisoner returns to life in a new body with one chance to win his freedom: by solving a mind-bending murder.  Stars Joel Kinnaman (The Killing), James Purefoy (The Following).  This is the show that is supposed to be Bladerunneresque in tone and style.  Another alternative Super Bowl possibility!

Amazon

Absentia This 10-episode suspense miniseries stars Stana Katic (Castle) as an FBI agent who has been presumed dead and is now out to reclaim her life. Haven’t had a chance to catch it yet, but maybe tonight!

Paramount

Formerly known as Spike TV, this is a new network in the US, making its debut pitch for new viewers with Waco, a 6-episode miniseries that follows the tragedy of David Koresh, leader of the cultish Branch Davidians, who had a fatal showdown in 1993 with the FBI and ATF.  Starring Taylor Kitsch (almost unrecognizable from his Tim Riggins character on Friday Night Lights) and Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water). Gripping and sad as we watch the inevitable fatal confrontation approach.

My Regular Addictions

The CW

This network caters to a young demographic with a preponderance of fantasy, action and science fiction programming.  Black Lightning, The Arrow, Riverdale, Supergirl, etc.  I have no excuse for watching these escapist shows but they do entertain me.

Fox

The X-Files This past week’s episode was thankfully a Monster-of the-week show called Ghouli which only touched on the central myth of the lost son of Mulder and Scully, William.

9-1-1 From Ryan Murphy’s production team, this series is more and more turning into a routine procedural.  Peter Krause’s very sad persona has been explained and the young firefighter and the older emergency services operator (Connie Britton) seem to be headed toward a real romance.

The Resident is a medical series with a great cast (Bruce Greenwood, Matt Czuchry, Emily Van Camp).  It attempts to differentiate itself by showing the dark underbelly of hospital procedures.  Last week’s series featured a cost cutting medical consultant who attempted to dictate what treatments and procedures patients could receive.  Don’t know how fact-based this series is, but it shines a slightly different light on the medical show.

FX

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace This 9-episode miniseries from the production team of Ryan Murphy is very dark and sad.  Great cast features Edgar Ramirez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz.  There is a grim inevitability to the storytelling as we begin episode 1 with the crime and then watch as Andrew Cunanan develops into the deranged killer who targets a man he worships and envies,

CBS 

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert still entertains me nightly with his monologues.

CBS Sunday Morning This venerable public affairs show soothes and inspires me every Sunday Morning.  I am watching it as I write.

The Good Doctor The show about the adorable autistic doctor.  Not sure how grounded in reality this one is, but you can catch up On Demand while it’s on hiatus.

NBC

The Brave and Chicago Fire are both mindlessly entertaining action shows with lovable casts.

This is Us There’s a hilarious promo from Crock Pot advertising tonight’s post Super Bowl episode.  Now we know how the Dad died.

ABC

Jimmy Kimmel has emerged as a comedian with strong views about public policy.  He’s taken a strong view on healthcare because he has an infant son that required life-saving heart surgery and he has been outspoken in his criticism of Washington.

CMT

Nashville No matter how corny and silly you get, I just can’t quit you!  Juliette’s in a cult; Gunnar, Avery and Will let a girl join their new supergroup; Deacon’s stumbling through his next romance; etc.  Last season for this one!

Comedy Central

Corporate This new series has a great time parodying the operations of a huge conglomerate.  Here’s an article you may enjoy:

https://www.vox.com/cards/best-tv-shows-hbo-netflix-now/corporate-comedy-central

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah This young comic helps me keep my spirits up with his nightly monologues about the times we live in.

HBO

Real Time with Bill Maher This past Friday’s episode featured a great panel (David Frum and Donna Brazil) facing off with Anthony Scaramucci.  Fireworks ensued!  Watch it On Demand and overtime on YouTube.

Divorce From the pen of Sharon Horgan (creator of the much funnier Catastrophe). Starring a great ensemble that includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Molly Shannon, Tracy Letts (Ladybird), etc.  If you think the process of consciously uncoupling is inherently funny, this is your show.  Mildly amusing in its second season as the newly divorced couple tries to cope with being single again.

PBS

Victoria Simply divine.  British accents and period costumes.  If you loved Downton Abbey and The Crown, this is your show.

Showtime

The Chi If you loved The Wire, you will likely love this show about the south side of Chicago.

STARZ

Counterpart is a 10-episode suspense series about a UN employee who discovers that the agency he works for is hiding a gateway to a parallel dimension.  It stars J.K. Simmons in a lead double role.  Sheer pleasure ensues! For lovers of espionage and suspense who are missing Homeland right now.

TBS

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee I love Sam’s gutsy approach to skewering the powers that be.  She’s originally Canadian you know!! Eh??!!!

TNT

The Alienist This 10 episode miniseries is set in turn of the century NYC.  Very similar in tone to Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders and other series that have shown old-time crime solving in the early days of detecting.  It’s very dark, but it does have a wonderful cast (Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning).  So far, I’ve stayed with the first few episodes but it is taking its time unfolding.

Streaming from various sources

The Path From Hulu and stars Aaron Paul, Hugh Dancy and Michelle Monaghan.  It’s a chilling examination of life inside a cult.  Season 3 now available.

Mary Kills People From Global TV Canada and Lifetime in the US.  Great suspense series about a pair of medical professionals who provide terminally ill patients with assisted suicides. Season 2 now available.

Cardinal from CTV Canada.  Stars Billy Campbell as a detective in Northern Ontario trying to solve a series of related crimes.

Star Trek: Discovery from CBS All Access. It stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs and Michelle Yeoh.  Set 10 years before Enterprise, the USS Discovery discovers new worlds and lifeforms as one Starlet officer learns to understand all things alien.

Closing Words

It’s a beautiful day in Naples.  My chili pot is simmering on the stove and we are headed out to play some golf.  Enjoy your day wherever you are.  Special thoughts to my friends dealing with medical issues.  Hugs always.