D-Day has arrived…

Well D-Day has arrived. Our family is gathering at my mother’s nursing home to celebrate her 100th birthday and then they are coming back to our place for pizza afterwards. We leave dark and early tomorrow morning for our trip to Florida from which we will return on November 15th for George’s surgery. I’m not sure how much TV I’ll be watching over the next few weeks but here are some of the shows I’ve seen this past week. I’m also going to indicate some new Fall programming that is arriving.


Wanderlust (2018 from the BBC, 6 episodes) Stars Toni Colette and Steven Mackintosh. A therapist tries to save her marriage after a cycling accident causes them to reassess their relationship.  A cautionary tale about open marriages. Worth a look.
Bodyguard (2018, from the BBC, 6 episodes) Stars Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes. A contemporary thriller featuring the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service.  The most watched BBC series in 10 years!  Hello possible future James Bond in Richard Madden.
Here’s what John Doyle had to say about it in the Globe and Mail:
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018, 20 episodes) I watched the pilot and part of the first episode because I was curious to see how Kieran Shipka (Mad Men) would fare and I adore British actor Richard Coyle who is the Dumbledore of this series about a teenage witch.  Really for the preteen set, although I had high hopes that it might be a little more like sexy Riverdale from the same creative team.
Haunting of Hill House (2018, 10 episodes) Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.  I had high hopes for this great cast featuring Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, but I found it glum and unengaging and gave up after two episodes.  I think I have a lot on my mind and may give this another chance on Halloween.


Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018, 2 h, 2 min) The drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border.  Stars Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin.  If you’re wondering where Trump gets his info re Muslim terrorists hiding amongst Central American migrants, you can blame this ridiculous action flick with a plot that makes absolutely no sense.
Christopher Robin (2018, 1 h 44 min) A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the -Pooh, who helps hm to rediscover the joys of life.  Very sweet, but even though Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell star, there’s way too much lame stop motion animation of the original Pooh characters for me.  Maybe if I were 5?

Regular viewing

Riverdale (The CW)
9-1-1 (Fox)
The Resident (Fox)
The Rookie (ABC)
The Mayans MC (FX)
Mr. Mercedes (Superchannel)
PBS Frontline (PBS)
Chicago Fire (NBC)
Vanity Fair (CBC)
American Horror Story: Apocalypse (FX)
Doctor Blake Mysteries (PBS)
Broken (PBS)
Poldark (PBS)
Durrells in Corfu (PBS)
The Woman in White (PBS)
Kidding (HBO)
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Comic Relief

I’m adding James Corden for his carpool Karaoke with Michael Buble last week, along with Colbert, Noah, Bee, Jeffries, Maher, Tracey Ullman and Oliver. Special shout out to Seth Meyers for his closer look segments on YouTube. Also watch the Jim Carrey thank you speech on YouTube at the LA Britannia Awards for his Charlie Chaplin Comedy award.

Programming and Movie Alerts

Debuts are headed to the small and big screens:


Tell me a Story (CBS All Access and Streaming) Oct. 31 from Kevin Williamson. Modern fairy tale

Patriot Act (Netflix) Oct 28 comedy series with Hasan Minhaj

House of Cards (Netflix, 8 episodes) Nov. 2

Homecoming (Amazon Prime, 11 episodes) Nov. 2 starring Julia Roberts

Outlander (STARZ, 13 episodes) Nov. 1

The Other Side of the Wind/They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead ( Netflix, documentary 1 h 38 min) Orson Welles’ final film is released accompanied by a documentary about the project on Nov 2


Boy Erased (feature 1 h 54 min) Nov. 2 stars Lucas Hedges

Monrovia, Indiana (Documentary 2 h 23 min)

Mid 90’s (feature, 1 h 24 min) directed by Johah Hill, starring Lucas Hedges

Burning (feature, 2 h 28 min) starring Steven Yeun

Zen Moment

I am watching CBS Sunday Morning as it covers the stories of this week:  pipe bombs in the mail and a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.  Trump blames the media for inflaming crazies across the land. History will tell the tale.

Closing Words

It snowed overnight in Toronto, but all evidence has thankfully melted away as most of my family takes to the roads today.  We are headed to the sunny south tomorrow and are looking forward to baking the very end of terrible head colds out of our systems while we are there.  We have also booked our tickets for the Freddy Mercury/Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody! Golf and mahjong await!!


Countdown to Florida begins…

I have been at the tail end of a terrible cold and cough that has been incredibly persistent. As a result I have thrown myself under an afghan with plenty of hot beverages and have been wildly catching up with all kinds of programs that I have been intending to watch. I’ve been trying to get rid of my cold before getting back on a plane to Florida with head congestion next weekend. Here’s what I’ve been watching:

Back home again with lots of catching up to do…

Our two wonderful weeks in Europe came to an end on Saturday. We did a Uniworld River cruise up the Rhone And Saone Rivers in France, followed by two days in Paris and 4 days in London. We flew to Marseilles and boarded the ship in Avignon with stops in Arles, Vivier, Macon, Lyon, etc.  Beautiful beyond compare.
Along the way I read a couple of books, watched a few downloaded series and then we managed to see four plays in London.
Here are some of our highlights from my reading, iPad downloads, and theatre in London:

Live on Stage in London

Everybody’s talking about Jamie This delightful musical is fabulous, funny and has great songs and dances.  It’s about a 16-yr-old who dreams of being a drag queen.
Strictly Ballroom The Musical Adapted from Baz Luhrmann’s award winning film, the show has been transformed into a very entertaining musical with 30 hits that are sung and danced to.
Hamilton The Tony award winning musical is brought to life at the newly renovated Victoria Palace theatre.  Featuring a hip-hop musical score and great dancing, the story of the self-destructive egomaniac who was America’s first secretary of the treasury, it’s a wonderfully engrossing story.
Company This wonderful revival of the 1970 Sondheim musical features Patti Lupone and has been updated with a female lead.  Great songs!

Watched on the Inflight Entertainment system on the flight over to Marseille

Meditation Park This wonderful little film is set in Vancouver’s Chinese community and tells the story of an aging woman who questions her life after suspecting her husband of having an affair. Stars Sandra Oh and Don McKeller.

La Bolduc This is the life story of Mary Travers also known by her stage name of La Bolduc. She was a musician and singer of French Canadian music who sang rapid patter songs that were adored in the 1930’s.

On the Big Screen

A Star is Born (2 h 15 min) Both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper are great in this film, but I do confess that I found it a little long and slow.  Probably as this is the latest of several remakes of the basic story, so there is very little suspense as we wait for Gaga’ star to rise and Cooper’s to fall.

Books in Print

I tucked in two paperbacks which I actually enjoyed and finished during our cruise.  Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police (small town police chief solves an apparent hate crime). Daniel Silva’s The English Assassin (Mossad’s Gabriel Allon pursues a killer across Europe).

On my Ipad downloaded from Netflix

The Party (1 h 11 min) This very black and bleak comedy is an ensemble piece about a dinner party to celebrate a political victory.  Great performances from Cillian Murphy, Timothy Spall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Patricia Clarkson, Cherry Jones, Emily Mortimer.  Probably too dark for most.
Anne (Season 2, 10 episodes) I loved the first season of Anne with an E, but admit to finding season 2 a little tedious.  She’s annoying me now.  Maybe I was exhausted from bingewatching on the plane.
Babylon (7 episodes) This hilarious look at the people in charge and on the front lines of a contemporary police force in the UK.  James Nesbitt and Nicola Walker are among the ensemble of British actors.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (1 h 45 min) This wonderful film is a true story about the last days of Academy Award winning actress Gloria Grahame whose life was as tragic as many of her roles.  Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Kenneth Cranham and Julie Walters star.
The Angel (1 h 54 min) Overly long true story of espionage between Egypt and Israel.
Maniac (10 episodes) Two strangers are drawn to a mysterious pharmaceutical clinical trial that will solve all of their problems… Bat shit crazy!! Starring Joah Hill and Ema Stone.
Burn Burn Burn (1 h 45 min) Following the death of their friend, two girls embark on a road trip to spread his ashes.  Very sweet.

New on Netflix

Private Life (2 h 3 min) This highly recommended Netflix original stars Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn.  Here’s what a review from Variety said about it:
The Walking Dead (AMC,  9 seasons and I’m still watching this show!)  I can’t look away, no matter how sad or harrowing this series is.
Get Shorty (Epix, 2 seasons) Fabulous satire of filmmaking in Hollywood stars Chris O’Dowd and Ray Romano.
Mr Mercedes (Audience/Superchannel 2 seasons) A very dark tale of the hunt for a mass murderer.
Better Call Saul (AMC, Season 4, 10 episodes) Prequel to Breaking Bad. Wonderful in its own right.
Shameless (Showtime/HBO – OK, it’s season 9 and I’m still watching this show!)  I can’t look away no matter how insufferable some of these characters have become.
The Sinner (Showcase Season 2, 8 episodes) Powerful story of a young boy with a mysterious past who murders two adults.

OK, now the task of catching up with new and returning programs begins!

Catching up with the new shows

Vanity Fair (CBC 7 episodes) This latest adaptation from ITV is sumptuous in its recreation of regency England and the venal ambitions of Becky Sharpe to climb to the top of society.
Manifest (NBC 13 episodes) Absolutely awful and clunky as an opposite to Lost plotting (this time the plane gets lost for 5 years but reappears mysteriously). I have only suffered through 1 episode, but doubt I will return.
New Amsterdam (NBC  7 episodes) Full confession: I really liked Ryan Eggold (Tom from The Blacklist) so I have caught up with a couple of episodes of this one despite the insufferable characters and ludicrous plotlines.
Mayans MC (FX 11 episodes) Sequel to Sons of Anarchy with a largely hispanic cast as we delve into the world of motorcycle gangs and cartels.

Catching up with the returning shows

911 (Fox Season 2, 16 episodes) The high-pressure experiences of first responders continue…
Tracey Ullman’s Show (HBO Season 3, 6 episodes) Her sketch show continues to skewer British society and world leaders.  I find her hilariously funny!
American Horror Story (FX Season 8, 10 episodes) Bat shit crazy show now focusing on a post-apocalyptic world where demons reign.
The Resident (Fox Season 2, 13 episodes) Oh the melodramatic medical mysteries go on and on…
CBS Sunday Morning (CBS, 40 seasons) My Sunday morning ritual continues.
Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Bill Maher, Jim Jeffries, Samantha Bee,
Saturday Night Live alL continue to make me laugh at the news of the day.
Poldark (PBS Season 4, 8 episodes) Aidan Turner continues to ride the Cornwall Bluffs in full romantic hero mode.  Very dashing indeed!
The Durrells in Corfu (PBS Season 3, 8 episodes)  Keeley Hawes continues to enchant as a rather Bohemian mother of 4 trying to live cheaply in Corfu in the years leading up to WWII.

Closing thoughts

It’s good to be home and I have to confess that a head cold has confined me to the couch in case you are wondering how I managed to watch so much TV over the last few days.  It’s hard work, but someone has to do it. Our son and daughter-in-law are on the road to Naples and are driving our car down for us, but unfortunately, a hurricane is threatening along the way.  Best wishes to all who are travelling in these stormy days and  hugs to my friends who are dealing with medical challenges.