Counting down our final month…

We are now in the countdown process to heading home.  Trying to empty out the fridge and pantry; trying to make social engagement plans with all our friends and neighbours who are also heading home shortly; starting to count the last fitness classes, golf games, mahjong games,  bocce matches, etc.  This past week I had the great pleasure of participating in a fun golf event with the big girls who play the 18-hole course and played with a superb golfer who has made me reevaluate my golf game to the extent that I can see how being able to drive the green from many holes would make this game that I play very badly much more fun!  Lessons to follow when I get back up north!

Further to last week’s Academy Awards, for those of you still trying to catch up with the nominated films, here’s a handy link from the NY Times to stream those films:

https://nyti.ms/2FVWfq2

Meanwhile, back on the small screen, new shows are continuing to debut this spring, and older shows are returning from hiatus.  Here are some recommendations:

Streaming

Breathe –  British movie starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy; this is an inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Their heartwarming celebration of human possibility marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis.  I heartily recommend this wonderful film which gives you a chance to see Claire Foy in one of her first film performances after The Crown; Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey) also makes an appearance in this film as an inventor who works with the Cavendish family to make significant improvements in the lives of the disabled.

Binge watched

McMafia – Mondays on AMC; I was able to stream all 8 episodes of this series starring James Norton as a British banker who gets involved with the Russian mafia; although Norton’s performance is a little wooden, for those of you needing an espionage fix in lieu of something like The Night Manager or a new Bond film, you might like this one.
Collateral – 4 episode miniseries on Netflix; Carey Mulligan stars as a police detective investigating a murder in London; it’s a world of refugees and the political landscape of contemporary Britain.  Fans of British mysteries may enjoy this one.
The Frankenstein Chronicles – on Netflix, starring Sean Bean in Season 2 of this 6 episode miniseries; set in 1830’s London, Marlott must operate outside the law as he comes up against dark forces in high society and in the dangerous slums of the over-crowded capital.
Strike Back – season 6 on Cinemax;  I am now caught up on the first 6 episodes of this 10-episode season; follows the actions of Section 20, a secretive unit of British military intelligence; a team of special operations personnel conduct several high risk missions across the globe. Lovers of military mayhem, ticking clocks, and lots of explosions will love this one!

Call My Agent – I did binge watch this tremendously enjoyable French showbiz miniseries of 13 episodes in two seasons when I first discovered it on Netflix; this week John Doyle wrote a rave review for it in the Globe and Mail:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/review-call-my-agent-is-a-gem-of-a-series-about-showbiz-strangeness/article38200763/

New Shows debuting this week

Little Women: A Timeless Story – 3 episode miniseries will air on PBS Sundays starting next week; a behind-the-scenes look at this series featuring Emily Watson, Michael Gambon and Angela Lansbury airs tonight

Deception – on ABC Sundays; a disgraced magician puts his skills of deception and illusion to work at the FBI

Rise – on NBC Tuesdays; a working class high school drama department and the students come alive under a passionate teacher and family man whose dedication to the program galvanizes the entire town; if you loved My So-Called Life, Fame, GleeFriday Night Lights, and Smash, you will love this one.

The usual addictions

The Path – on Hulu and available to stream; dark and mysterious series about the origins of and the life within a cult

Counterpart – on STARZ Sundays; mysterious miniseries set in a parallel universe Berlin.
Homeland – on Showtime Sundays; we’re in Washington now and the President sees enemies everywhere; just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t out to get you.
Here and Now – on HBO Sundays; a less maudlin version of This is Us.

The Walking Dead – now in its 8th season on AMC Sundays; the survivors still face a harrowing world where everyone is out to get them

The Chi – on Showtime Sundays; this series explores life on the south side of Chicago; if you were a fan of The Wire, you will love this series

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – on HBO Sundays; Oliver gives his sardonic twist to today’s events

IZombie – on The CW Mondays; a comedic series where zombies are generally the good guys
The Resident – on Fox Mondays; a medical procedural with a great cast

The Alienist – on TNT Mondays; olde time police procedural with a great cast
The Good Doctor – on ABC Mondays; a medical procedural with a twist – our lead character is an autistic doctor!
McMafia – on AMC Mondays; I’ve already bingewatched this one, but you can catch its 8 episodes on a weekly basis; good substitute for espionage films

Unreal – on Lifetime Mondays; although I’ve never watched a single episode of The Bachelor, this parody does explore the machinations behind reality TV; I do enjoy its rather venal take on Hollywood

This is Us – on NBC Tuesdays; maudlin but addictive family drama; get out your hankies!

Rise – on NBC Tuesdays; watch it if you love musical series set in a high school
The X-Files

Riverdale – on the CW Wednesdays; not your granny’s Archie Comics as sex, violence and intrigue abounds

9-1-1 – on Fox Wednesdaysmedical/legal/firefighter procedural all rolled into one show about LA’s emergency services operations; very entertaining and superb cast including Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Connie Britton

Designated Survivor – on ABC Wednesdays; ludicrous political suspense series featuring a totally unqualified man suddenly elevated to the position of President of the US; like that could actually happen?

The Assassination of Gianni Versace – on ABC Wednesdays; dark and sad exploration of the events around this murder

Corporate – on Comedy Central Wednesdays; hilarious parody of corporate life

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – on TBS Wednesdays; Bee’s comedic take on current events

Gotham – on Fox Thursdays; now in its 4th season, this very gothic series explores the beginnings of the Batman story; I am a huge fan of Ben McKenzie since his breakout role on The O.C. and then Southland, so I take real pleasure in this campy show which shows the back stories of all the DC characters in the Batman comics

Real Time with Bill Maher – on HBO Fridays; great panels discuss current events

Strike Back – airs new episodes on Cinemax Fridays; mayhem abounds as a special ops team from British military intelligence completes high risk missions around the globe

Saturday Night Live – on NBC Saturdays; now in its 43rd season, this venerable comedy/variety series still keeps chugging along capturing the zeitgeist of our times

Shows that keep me sane

CBS Sunday Morning – on CBS Sundays; the news show that does personal interest pieces and has done since 1979; anything from interviews with actors political figures, athletes, musicians, etc. This show continually informs and inspires.  Very soothing in these turbulent times.

The Comedians (Stephen Colbert on CBS nightly; Trevor Noah on Comedy Central M-Th; Jimmy Kimmel on ABC nightly; Seth Meyers on NBC nightly; James Corden on CBS nightly; Samantha Bee on TBS Wednesdays, Bill Maher on HBO Fridays). Some times you just have to laugh at the madness around us as these satirists poke fun at current events.

Closing Words

Looking forward to a week of our usual activities.  We’ve had a bit of rainy weather this weekend, but hey, I never mind a day to catch up with my recorded shows and movies.  Enjoy the week to come, wherever you are and cherish every moment. Hugs to my friends with medical challenges.

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