The New Fall shows are coming…

It’s been another wonderful week in Thornbury.  I’ve had a few great dinners with friends, went to two newish restaurants in the area (St Louis Bar and Grill and dinner at The Orchid), went to see an actual movie in a real  movie theatre, played golf and mahjong, went to the local Antiques Fair, and caught up with programs I was curious about on Netflix. There are some new show alerts coming up very soon.  Watch for Jack Ryan which debuts on Amazon Prime on August 31; The Sinner Season 2 debuts this Monday Aug 20 at 10 pm on Showcase; Ozark Season 2 on HBO debuts on Netflix on Aug. 31; The Deuce Season 2 on HBO debuts on Sept. 9 and there will be many other new and returning shows debuting soon.  I’ve included a link to a handy article from Deadline Hollywood for your easy reference.  Here are my recommendations for the week to come.

Here is your Fall TV Preview from Deadline Hollywood:

On the Big Screen

Crazy Rich Asians (feature film 2 hrs) I loved this totally frothy romantic comedy.  I had read the first novel in the trilogy on audible.com and really enjoyed it.  The film follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s incredibly wealthy family. Just a delightful film that introduces us to a society of extremely wealthy and comically idiosyncratic Singaporeans.  Trip to Singapore to follow!  Also sit through the ending credits as there is a bonus scene to the film and make a dinner reservation for afterwards at the best Chinese restaurant in the area as you will have an immediate craving for Chinese food.

Netflix

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (feature film 2hrs 4 min)  What a delight to see a book I really enjoyed turned into a film rather than a tedious miniseries that expands the story into 5 or 6 hours.  This film takes place in the aftermath of World War II, as a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island.  She decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.  A beautiful story of love, friendship and the sadness of friends lost. Just in case you don’t use the IMDB application, you will see many familiar faces from Downton Abbey in this one:  Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil Crawley), Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot), Lily James (Lady Rose) and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley).  For Game of Thrones fans watch for Michiel Huisman (Daario Naharis).
House Doctor (43 min, 20 episodes)  I loved the original version of this show starring Ann Maurice which ran from 1998-2000.  The concept of an American designer travelling around the UK helping hapless homeowners stage their homes for sale was delightful as a fish out of water series where two cultures clash.  It has been revived with a new host (Tracy Metro) who again crisscrosses Britain to help homeowners sell their houses.  I now fast forward from the introduction to the reveal and thus was able to binge my way through 20 episodes of home staging UK style.  Just loved it and found the new brash host to be very entertaining.
Jack Taylor (Irish mystery series, 1 hr 30 min, 9 episodes) I only binged on this one because I am a huge fan of  Iain Glen and I ache for his return to Game of Thrones); the episodes are strangely slow-paced, there are meandering plot lines and inexplicable voiceover narration. However, It makes for great afternoon nap watching.  Just put on an episode, cover yourself with an afghan on your most comfortable couch and see how long you can manage to keep your eyes open.  Very soothing.

Streaming

Jane (documentary, 1 hr 30 min) The life and work of the renowned primatology scientist, Jane Goodall, especially on her research about chimpanzees.  I am looking forward to watching this one as I have been an admirer of Goodall since I saw the first articles about her work and life in National Geographic.
Younger (sitcom, 5 seasons, 30 min) Oh my, Liza has been passing as a millennial for 5 seasons now in order to work in the publishing field.  Her secret is getting out quickly and the last episode of this season is about to air this week. So enjoyable!
Animal Kingdom ( 1 hr drama, 3 seasons) The last episode of this season airs this week.  Oh my, J has turned into quite the ruthless killer in this breathtakingly ruthless family of criminals.  Ellen Barkin will literally take your breath away as the family matriarch who will not hesitate to kill one of her children if necessary.

HBO

Battle of the Sexes (feature film, 2 hrs) I have recorded this one for later viewing.  Starring Emma Stone, Steve Carell and Andrea Riseborough.  The film tells the true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.
Outcast (2 seasons, 1 hr) This series falls under the batshit crazy category adapted from a comic book.  Demons are possessing people in this doomed town.  A demon-hunter is a total outsider here.  I dare you to try and make sense of this show.
Sharp Objects (Season 1, 8 episodes) A reporter confronts the psychological demons from her past when she returns to her hometown to cover a violent murder.  A slow burn of a series that meanders between past and present.  Painfully slow to watch, but features a great cast including Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.  Last episode airs tonight.

AMC

Better Call Saul (Season 4, 10 episodes) The trials and tribulations of criminal lawyer, Jimmy McGill, in the time leading up to establishing his strip-mall law office in Albuquerque, NM.  Great performances from Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, Giancarlo Esposito, etc.  If you liked Breaking Bad, you will love this series.
Lodge 49 (Season 1, 10 episodes) Surfer dude joins a Fraternal order.  Quirky and strangely appealing.  I am loving this one.  The star, Wyatt Russell is the son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell if you can’t figure out why he seems strangely familiar.
Preacher (Season 3, 10 episodes) Another entry in the batshit crazy category adapted from a comic book. After a supernatural event at his church, a preacher enlists the help of a vampire and his ex to find God.  I think that says it all!

Bravo

Queen of the South (Season 3, 13 episodes) This series tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza, a woman who is forced to run and seek refuge in America after her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico.  In the process, she teams up with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the very drug trafficking ring that has her on the run. Powerful and unrelentingly violent.

Comic Relief

I still seek daily relief from the Trumpocalypse by watching Colbert, Noah, Maher, Bee, Jeffries, Oliver and most recently Sacha Baron Cohen in Who is America?  OK, I’ll admit that Cohen’s series is actually more painful to watch than the reality it’s supposed to be providing relief from.  Cringeworthy!!

Zen Moment

CBS Sunday Morning which has been airing every Sunday morning at 9 am since 1979 is my weekly 90 minutes of information and inspiration. Stay tuned for the final moment of nature if you want to get your week off to a peaceful start.

Closing Words

I am headed back to Toronto this evening to join a group of lady friends on an outing to beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake tomorrow.  Later in the week we have friends coming to stay with us in Thornbury and we will have dinner with them and other local friends as our summer comes rapidly to an end.  Another friend is hosting an art event in the area that I will attend and we will gather after at a newish restaurant in Meaford that I have yet to make it to (Gio and Fran’s).  Enjoy the beautiful late summer weather wherever you are.  Hugs to my friends dealing with medical challenges.

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A New Week Begins…

Well, it’s been an interesting week.  We got to see a very funny and touching Norm Foster play in Collingwood. Our mahjong group had a delightful lunch in Collingwood before playing this week. I have been exploring Netflix shows I was curious about and I got to join my Toronto fitness group for a catch up coffee session. I played my usual brand of struggling golf 3 times this past week. Lots of variety.  Here are some recommendations for you:

Audible.com

We finally finished listening to Kompromat a comic novel by Stanley Johnson (father of Boris).  What started out as a giggle worthy idea (Russian interference in Brexit and the 2016 US Election) turned out to be interminably silly and drawn out.  Way too long!

 

Actual  book on paper!

The Other Woman (Daniel Silva)  I received a copy of this book when I went to hear Daniel Silva on his book tour in Toronto in July.  I found this 18th novel featuring Gabriel Allon a little slow getting started, but the last half of the book moved more quickly.  Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say about it:

The actions of real-life British intelligence agent Kim Philby, who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963, drive bestseller Silva’s excellent 18th novel featuring Israeli art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon (after 2017’s House of Spies). Israel’s intelligence division, known as the Office, is running an operation to save blown Russian agent Konstantin Kirov, one of Israeli’s most valuable sources, and bring him to sanctuary in the U.K. When the operation goes bad, Gabriel and his team are drawn into a meticulously planned mission, involving both MI6 and the CIA, to unearth one of the Kremlin’s highest-placed moles. Meanwhile, in Andalusia, a French journalist starts writing a memoir called The Other Woman, which contains the key to the mystery that Gabriel must solve. Philby, who died in Moscow three decades earlier in 1988, turns out to be at the bottom of it. In recent years, a number of thriller authors have focused on Philby, but Silva’s treatment of him may be the most complex and fascinating yet. Readers will be enthralled by both the history and the up-to-the-minute plot that Silva spins with such finesse.

 

And all the other shows I’m watching

Outcast (HBO)
Preacher (AMC)
Animal Kingdom (Streaming)
Younger (Streaming)
Queen of the South (Bravo)
Castle Rock (Space)
Harlots (Superchannel)

For those of you wondering how I try and keep track of new shows debuting and returning show dates

There are a number of websites and blogs I look at to keep track of what is new and returning.  I usually check Deadline: Hollywood on a daily basis as well as Entertainment Weekly, the Daily Beast, etc. You can do a simple Google search for new show and returning show dates and you’ll get a quick update on how to keep track of shows you are following.

Comic Relief

Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, Jim Jeffries, Bill Maher, John Oliver are all among my favourites.  OK, we have also been watching Sacha Baron Cohen’s new show Who is America, but frankly it is too uncomfortably cringe inducing for me to enjoy, and I hesitate to call it comedy as he cruelly entraps his victims into revealing their prejudice and ignorance as he interviews them using alter egos.

Zen Moment

CBS Sunday Morning (9 -10:30 am Sunday) is my reward to myself every Sunday morning.  It has been airing since 1979 and does personal interest pieces.  Jane Pauley is currently hosting and does a great job setting a relaxing tone.  Calming, soothing and inspiring.  Treat yourself!

Closing Words

The week ahead features golf, mahjong, dinners with friends, etc.  I’m going to stay up in Thornbury while my hubby heads back to the city for commitments.  It’s a glorious day here and I’m looking forward to another night of stargazing from our backyard as we try to watch the Perseid meteor showers. Enjoy this beautiful summer weather wherever you are.  Special hugs to my friends dealing with medical challenges.

On holidays in Thornbury…

It’s been a week of pure R&R in beautiful Thornbury.  We ran errands in Owen Sound and Barrie, and attended to household chores that are often neglected in pursuit of golf and social gatherings.  We actually lay by our pool reading, walked down to the pier in the evening and met up with friends for an after dinner ice cream at one of 3 ice cream emporiums that are within walking distance of our house.  Of course, I did manage to make time to catch up on some viewing and here are some recommendations;

 

Netflix

In Order of Disappearance (feature film, 1 hr 55min) This wonderful black comedy from Norway stars Stellan Skarsgard as a snow plough operator who seeks vengeance for the mob killing of his innocent son.  He has a remarkable natural ability for murder and in the process of eliminating all those involved in his son’s death, he manages to provoke a war between the Serbian mob and the local gang boss.  Hilarious!! I highly recommend this hidden gem of a film.  Beautiful photography of snowy Norway is an added bonus.
Ingrid Goes West (feature film, 1 hour 38 min) This is another hidden gem black comedy about an unhinged social media stalker Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza from Parks & Rec) who moves to LA and insinuates herself into the life of an Instagram star (Elizabeth Olsen).  Quite the dark portrait of today’s social media obsessed generation who measure their success in numbers of “likes” and who pursue a curated life.

Streaming

First Reformed (feature film 1 hr 53 min) Starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, this film centres on a priest of a small congregation in upstate New York who grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.  Written and directed by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver).  This is a very serious film about a crisis of faith and it has some surreal surprises which will make you wonder quite what the director intends. A great film for a discussion group.
The Halcyon (mini series from British ITV, 8 episodes) Starring Steven Mackintosh and Olivia Williams, this series was supposed to be the next Downton Abbey, but was sadly cancelled after one season.  However, I am quite enjoying this story of a bustling and glamorous five star hotel at the centre of London society and a world at war. It definitely has an upstairs/downstairs quality to it as we veer between the toffs and the staff of the hotel.
Avengers: Infinity War (feature film, 2 hrs 29 min) Oh my gosh! Our visiting son has actually gotten us to watch a superheroes film from the world of Marvel.  As this is one genre my husband usually refuses to watch, it was preceded by a short Youtube video bringing the uninitiated into the world of Marvel superheroes to catch up on the previous films. We have attempted to watch this film several times and basically were only able to screen the first 5 minutes or so before technical difficulties prevented us from continuing.  It will be an ongoing project this week and hopefully our server will behave.

New Series Alert

Lodge 49 (10 episode miniseries debuts Monday at 10 pm on AMC) Starring Wyatt Russell (son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, who also has a major role in Ingrid Goes West) This series is about a young guy from Long Beach who joins a local fraternal group, Lodge 49. This is supposed to be a surreal black comedy and has had fairly good advance press.

Series Return

Better Call Saul (Season 4, 10 episodes returns Monday at 9 pm on AMC)
We are still waiting for Jimmy to become Saul in this spin-off prequel to Breaking Bad.  Here’s what the NYTimes had to say about it:

Favourites all available on demand

Succession HBO
The Affair HBO
The 100 The CW
Outcast HBO
Preacher AMC
Animal Kingdom Streaming
Younger Streaming
Queen of the South Bravo

Comic Relief

Oh how I need my political satirists: Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, Jim Jeffries, Bill Maher and John Oliver.  We can only laugh as we reflect on the events of the day.

Zen Moment

I am about to reward myself for writing this blog by tuning in to my CBS Sunday Morning show which always informs and inspires and ends in a joyous moment of nature.

Closing Words

The past week has been relaxing and restful.  We got to attend a supper/concert at the Meaford Hall for a friend’s musical ensemble and tonight we will attend Thornbury’s weekly Jazz in the Park concert and enjoy a pot luck supper with friends. The week to come in Toronto will be full of doctor and dentist appointments as well as a fitness class with my longtime pals. We’ve also had our son up here for the long weekend and have enjoyed some wonderful meals with him. The hot weather continues, so enjoy the week ahead wherever you are.  Special hugs to friends facing medical challenges.