They’re married!

Superchannel

Deep State This series from Britain debuts tonight.  What happens when a man who believes he has retired from MI6 is called back to do one more job to regain his life, only to discover that this job may mean he has no life to go back to.  Stars Mark Strong.
Mr. Mercedes This 21 episode series from Britain tells the story of a psychopathic killer who drives a stolen Mercedes into a crowd and a recently retired detective who tries to bring him down.

W

The Good Fight This wonderful sequel to The Good Wife is set in Chicago and continues with Christine Baranski playing Diane Lockhart.  Her struggles this season include killings of lawyers, her marriage, living with the reality of Trump politics, etc.

Comic Relief and Zen

As always, I recommend keeping abreast of current events through the filter screen of comedy, including Colbert, Noah, Bee, Oliver, Jeffries, Maher and Meyers. Both CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes continue to provide palatable human interest stories and current events coverage while informing and inspiring.

 

Closing Words

We are off to collect our flowers today from Riverside Greenhouse in Heathcote for my annual foray into container gardening. I know some people love gardening and find it both therapeutic and relaxing. Me, I find it a very easy way to throw my back out!! Fingers crossed that our weather continues to gently warm up and that overnight deep freezes are a thing of the past as I’m not up for dragging heavy pots across my garden to put them to bed for the night. It looks like it will be a great week and we will be continuing with all our regular activities which now include Canasta which a very patient group of women are teaching me.  Hugs to all my friends dealing with medical challenges.  Have a wonderful week wherever you are!

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Lots of new programming…

This week I’m going to concentrate on what’s new and noteworthy.  It’s been a very busy week with two golf course celebratory openings (both Lambton and the Georgian Bay Club welcomed back their members with exhausting golf events), lots of time with friends including a rousing Trivial Pursuit night, a night at the movies, etc.  Spring has finally sprung here, so in addition to being outdoors every possible moment, here are a few recommendations for your weekly viewing:

On the Big Screen

Finding Your Feet I attended this British comedy with a group of friends who almost all enjoyed it thoroughly.  It’s aimed at the same audience of older viewers who enjoyed the Marigold Hotel films, Victoria & Abdul, Quartet, etc.  This feel-good film is profoundly predictable.  There are dance scenes that will make you squirm with discomfort (especially the one involving motorized wheelchairs), surprise disclosures of terminal illness, glossed over depictions of Alzheimers, etc.  This film is so contrived that it’s difficult to give it praise for some of the things it does well.  I loved the scenes of London that included Bif’s small flat and Charlie’s canal boat.  The cast is superb and includes Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie, Tim Spall, and Joanna Lumley. There is little nuance here, but it is one of the few films today that is aimed squarely at an adult audience, so if you want a lame romantic comedy to attend when you are feeling out of touch with today’s super hero movies, here’s an alternative film to see.

Streaming

The Greatest Showman is a musical with Hugh Jackman that was released to almost universal scorn from critics but was loved by many audiences.  The songs are melodic, every single one done in an overblown showstopping way; the choreography is hiliariously contemporary for a story taking place in the early years of the century.  The film is done at a fever dream pace which never slows down.  My husband and I found it delightfully entertaining and I must admit, I could watch the aerial lovesong between Zac Effron and Zendaya again!

New on PBS

Little Women is one of my favourite books from childhood and this latest TV adaptation debuts tonight on Masterpiece Theatre.  I am eagerly anticipating this British adaptation of the classic novel.  Fingers crossed that this one holds up although the advance reviews favour the 1994 film adaptation directed by Gillian Anderson.

New on Netflix

Safe is a new 8-episode TV series original to Netflix.  It stars Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as a  widowed British surgeon whose daughter disappears from a gated community outside London.  Once you get over the shock of Hall’s accent, the show is pretty watchable.  Dark secrets will be uncovered….
The Chalet I just started watching this one yesterday and am already up to Episode 3 of 6 episodes.  I have to admit I am loving this Gallic suspense series.  A reunion of childhood friends at a remote chalet in the French Alps soon turns into a desperate struggle for survival as they get cut off from the rest of the world and a shocking dark secret from the past surfaces.

New on HBO

Vida is a 7-episode series.  This show follows the life of two Mexican-American sisters, Emma and Lyn, from the Eastside of Los Angeles who couldn’t be more different or distanced from each other.  Loving it!
Patrick Melrose is a 5-episode series from Showtime which is based on the novels of Edward St. Aubyn.  The first episode “Bad News” debuted last night and is a graphic depiction of a 22-year-old dealing with heroine and cocaine addiction.  Benedict Cumberbatch is the star and is compulsively watchable in his struggles.
Sweetbitter is a 6-episode series about a young woman who learns how crazy it is to work in a restaurant in NYC. Great cast features Ella Purnell as the achingly beautiful star, Tom Sturridge playing the mysterious Jake and Paul Sparks (House of Cards) as the imperious restaurant owner.

Regular Viewing

Superchannel

Mr Mercedes Brendan Gleeson stars as a retired police detective playing a cat and mouse game with the psychopathic killer who drove a Mercedes into a crowd.

HBO

Rellik continues to tell the story in refers of how a team of detectives try to hunt down a serial killer.

Bravo

Hard Sun is a 6-episode series showing two detectives with opposing viewpoints who are forced to work together in a pre-apocalyptic criminal world.  Tom Sturridge (Sweetbitter) stars.

CTV

The Detail is a 10-episode police procedural about three female homicide detectives who solve crimes while also dealing with their personal lives.

Fox

Gotham is now in its fourth season. It’s an original story showing Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon and all the Batman villains before they became the icons of the comic books.  Dark, gothic and campy, this show is full of humour.  Love it.

The CW

The 100 is now in its fifth season showing incredibly attractive young people trying to survive in space after an apocalypse.  Great cast features Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco,   Henry Ian Cusick, etc.
Riverdale is nearing the end of its second season.  Its a darker, sexier, more violent Riverdale than was ever depicted in the Archie comics.  Compulsively watchable!

Comic Relief

Colbert, Noah, Bee, Jeffries, Maher, and Oliver are all my mainstays when I need to see the funny in today’s news.  Shoutout to Seth Meyers whose “A Closer Look” segments can be found on You Tube.

Zen Moments

CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes are two newsmagazine shows that always inspire and inform.

Closing Words

It’s a busy week for Royals Watchers.  The big wedding is coming up next Saturday May 19!  I will be having a pre-wedding send-off for the couple by holding a Royal Luncheon featuring fascinators and scones for my long-time friends. It’s been a return to routine with fitness, walking group, Mahjong and golf.  Enjoy this very fine weather wherever you are.  Special hugs for my friends dealing with major medical challenges.  Happy Mother’s Day to all my family and friends who are being celebrated today.  Put your feet up with a good book, movie or TV show after being feted by your family.  Enjoy the accolades!

Uplifting and satisfying…

OK, I realize that last week’s blog was kind of sad.  I was truly in a malaise about the state of affairs on TV.  Everything is so bleak.  Characters are so flawed. Plot lines are dense and confusing.  Storylines are told in so many episodes when things could be condensed and told in far less time.  As a result, I am going to concentrate on viewing experiences this week that are a little more positive.  Here are some recommendations:

Live Theatre

Fun Home (short for funeral home) is the musical that is currently playing at the CAA Theatre in Toronto. It was the 2015 Tony Best Musical Award winner.  While the music is not always terribly memorable or melodic, the show is incredibly moving as it tells the story of a family that struggles with the sexual identities of both a father and a daughter.  The three actresses cast as the daughter from childhood to middle aged are wonderful and their harmonies when they get to sing together will bring a tear to your eye. Worth seeing.

Heartwarming &/or Good vs Evil

Here are some shows you might like to catch up with as they avoid some of the nihilistic tendencies of many of the shows that are getting me down:
Call the Midwife 
The Good Fight I must make special mention of this season’s current story line as it has featured an investigation into the existence of the Golden Showers videotape and there is a great article in The Daily Beast:
Billions
Howard’s End
Rise
Arrow
Gotham
The 100
Mr Mercedes
The Americans
The Crossing
Designated Survivor
Chicago Fire
Chicago Med
The Resident
The Good Doctor
Silicon Valley
Modern Family
The Handmaid’s Tale
Rellik
Imposters

Plus Special Mention of Nearly All PBS Programming

Although I did mention Call the Midwife as leading the list above, PBS is also the home of much entertaining programming that doesn’t depress or confuse.  Their  dramas and mysteries on Masterpiece Theatre and Masterpiece Mystery will provide many hours of viewing bliss and all are available through shop.pbs.org:

Dramas

Victoria, The Child in Time, Man in an Orange Shirt,  Little Women (upcoming), Downton Abbey, Poldark, Breathless, A Room with a View, Great Expectations, Edwin Drood, Mansfield Park, Anna Karenina, Birdsong, Poldark, The Durrells in Corfu, The Collection, My Mother and other Strangers, King Charles III, Home Fires, To Walk Invisible, Mr. Selfridge, Indian Summers, Churchill’s Secret, Foyle’s War, Sense & Sensibility, Worricker, Arthur & George, Wolf Hall, The Forsyte Saga, Death Comes to Pemberley, The Jewel in the Crown, Inspector Lewis,  The Paradise, Poirot, The Escape Artist, Silk, Upstairs, Downstairs, Love in a Cold Climate, Bleak House, I, Claudius, Far from the Madding Crowd, Page Eight, Wuthering Heights, Any Human Heart, The Diaries of Anne Frank, Goodnight Mister Tom, Cranford, Little Dorrit, God on Trial, The Last Enemy, Northanger Abbey, The Wind in the Willows, Elizabeth 1: The Virgin Queen, Middlemarch, Pollyanna, Our Town, Wives and Daughters, Last Tango in Halifax, etc.

Mysteries

Endeavour, Grantchester, Prime Suspect, Tennison, Sherlock, Wallander, Inspector Lewis, Miss Marple, Case Histories, Zen, Framed, Endgame, Collision, Heat of the Sun, The Turn of the Screw, A Thief of Fire, Coyote Waits, Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries, Rebecca, Skinwalkers, The Tunnel, Unforgotten (which is one of the few Masterpiece Mysteries I have hated), Dark Angel, Midsomer Murders, Marcella, The Widower, etc.

Plus PBS public affairs series

PBS News Hour, Nova, Frontline, American Experience, Independent Lens, Great Performances, etc.

Public Affairs across the other broadcasters

CBC offers a host of great programs like The Fifth Estate, The Passionate Eye, The Nature of Things, CBC Docs POV, etc.

CTV offers  WFive.

TVO offers The Agenda, and innumerable documentaries, historical series, science and technology shows, etc.

CBS offers my very favourite show CBS Sunday Morning, 60 Minutes, Face the Nation, etc.

NBC offers Meet the Press, Today, Dateline, etc.

CNN offers Fareed Zakaria GPS, Reliable Sources, State of the Union, etc.

ABC offers Good Morning America, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Nightline, etc.

Special Shout out to Netflix

Netflix has become a provider of some great shows like The Crown, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Peaky Blinders, Making a Murderer, Jessica Jones, The Great British Bake Off, The Good Place, The Fall, Sense 8, Luke Cage, Riverdale, The Honourable Woman, The Killing, Love, Queer Eye, Ozark, Tabula Rasa, Portlandia, Sons of Anarchy, Bloodline, 13 Reasons Why, Shameless, Luther, Broadchurch, Grace and Frankie, Extras, Daredevil, Everything Sucks, Rectify, Mindhunter, Master of None, American Crime Story: People vs OJ Simpson, The Walking Dead, Godless, Better Call Saul, Mad Men, Freaks and Geeks, Breaking Bad, etc.

Don’t forget about Amazon Prime Video

I keep forgetting that we actually subscribe to this network and that I have seen several of their shows like The Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle, Red Oaks, Orphan Black, Goliath, Catastrophe, Mr. Robot, Transparent, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Justified, The Americans, Veep, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, The Wire, etc.

Comic Relief

You have to hand it to the political satirists who can interpret the day’s events and manage to add comic spin. My favourites are Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Jim Jeffries, Samantha Bee, Bill Maher, John Oliver, and Seth Meyers. SNL had a great opening sketch this past week which actually featured Stormy Daniels playing herself in a telephone conversation with Trump and his hapless lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Closing Words

It’s a beautiful day in Thornbury today.  Yesterday was spent walking our golf course and dining with friends.  Today it’s errand running and then a trip into Blue Mountain village for dinner with friends.  This week will be a mixture of golf, mahjong, both a Trivial Pursuit night with my fitness friends and a movie night to see Finding Your Feet, dental appointments and some miscellaneous get-togethers with friends.  Enjoy this beautiful spring day wherever you are!  Hugs to my friends dealing with medical challenges.

 

 

 

 

I can’t keep up with Bleak TV….

Bleak TV

Oh my gosh! After a season in the sun, I have returned to the great white North only to find that there is no escape from the wasteland of bleakness that assaults our TV screens. I am literally counting the days until Little Women makes its debut on PBS on May 13. I need something heartwarming not soul destroying to watch. Everything is noir, all major characters are deeply flawed. Help me, I think I’m drowning. I now understand why most friends have taken to watching home decor and cooking shows. They have happy endings! In the meantime, here are some suggestions for you:

On The Big Screen

A Quiet Place is a film for those who actually want to pay money to be terrified for 90 minutes. So intense that you will feel you must eat your popcorn completely silently (hey, maybe you should anyway), we are in a post apocalyptic world where the alien invaders can track us by the sounds we make. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski star and are wonderful in this sci-fi thriller. Not for the faint of heart.

Shows that are New to me

Rellik (on HBO) is a British crime series where the crime is being investigated in reverse chronological order, and the lead character is terribly scarred by an acid attack.  Dark, very dark.

Caught (on CBC) is a Canadian crime series starring the lovable Newfoundland actor Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) as a career criminal who breaks out of jail to hook up with his partner for one more drug deal.  Dark, yet comic at the same time.

Burden of Truth (on CBC) is an icky sweet legal series about a big city lawyer who returns to her hometown to take the case of a group of girls suffering from a mysterious illness.  Slightly nauseating and starring Kristin Kreuk (Smallville).

The Detail (on CTV) is a crime series about 3 female homicide detectives solving crimes while also dealing with their personal lives.  I like this one, particularly because it stars Wendy Crewson as the tough as nails homicide chief detective.
Mr. Mercedes (on Superchannel) is going to be very tough going for Torontonians as it opens with a scene where a psychopathic killer drives a stolen Mercedes into a crowd.  The series follows the efforts of a recently retired detective who tries to bring him down.  Dark, very dark.  Stars Brendan Gleeson, Harry Treadaway, Holland Taylor, Mary-Louise Parker, etc.
Lost in Space (on Netflix) is a goofy reboot with terrific special effects.  Stars Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, and Parker Posey.  Total escapism and family viewing to boot!!
Wild, Wild Country (on Netflix) is a relentlessly grim 6-part documentary on a cult in Oregon that ran rampant in the 1980’s before it imploded and sank with few traces after law enforcement became aware of its stockpile of weapons and free sex bad habits.  I found this way too long and painful to watch.  My husband was fascinated for some strange reason.  I far preferred The Path, the recent miniseries on Hulu about a strange cult in upstate New York (starred Aaron Paul, Hugh Dancey, Michelle Monaghan). Fiction was far more enthralling than fact for me.

Returning Shows

Westworld Season 2 (on HBO) Yikes, it’s hard to remember where Season 1 left off. Oh my, there was a robot/host revolt and many died.  There are parallel timelines at play.  It’s all very confusing.  Watch very closely.  Read a recap of Season 1 and try not to multitask while watching.  Compelling performances from Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, etc.  Dark, very dark.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2  (on Bravo).  OK, I must admit, although I have the first two episodes recorded. I am not up to watching them just yet. The extreme bleakness of this series scares and depresses the hell out of me. Every actor is way too good at showing the nightmare quality of their lives (Elizabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, Elizabeth Dowd, Joseph Fiennes, etc) The US has become a theocracy, ruthless in its punishment of anyone who defies the rule of law. Here’s what John Doyle has to say about it:
The Expanse Season 3 on Space. OK we’re lost in space on this. Earth is at war with its neighbours and there is no rule of law. Intriguing, dark and bat shit crazy at the same time.

Dark &/or Bat Shit Crazy Shows

OK, just for fun, I thought I would make a list of shows that depict a world where everything has gone to wrack and ruin. There is some kind of apocalypse and either zombies, robots, criminals, corporate corruption, superheroes/mutants, or evil spirits have come to rule (I am sure I am leaving many shows out, but these are the only ones I have actually watched):
Westworld
Legion
The Walking Dead
I-Zombie
Happy
Preacher
Gotham
Arrow
Supernatural
Into the Badlands
Riverdale
Corporate
The Expanse
Mr. Robot
Mr. Mercedes
Just at the moment, I am feeling a little fragile and am having trouble watching these relentlessly dark shows. Coincidentally, just when I am experiencing a malaise about the difficulty of keeping up with the amount of TV content that is flooding the airwaves these days, I came across an article in the most recent Vanity Fair magazine by Nicole Sperling about how difficult a job being a TV critic has become in this era of peak/bleak TV (I read VF on Texture, so you may have to hunt this one down on your own by searching the Internet if the link below doesn’t work):
“Critical Mission” Vanity Fair, May 2018

Shows that are actually heartwarming and sometimes inspiring

Call the Midwife (on PBS)
Little Women (on PBS – I hope as I am waiting for it breathlessly)
Anne of Green Gables (on CBC On Demand and Netflix US)
Rise (on NBC)
Chicago Fire (on NBC)
Chicago Med (on NBC)
Modern Family (on ABC)
The Middle (on ABC)
The Durrells in Corfu (on PBS on demand)
Poldark (on PBS on demand)
In fact, most things PBS airs, try to elevate the spirit, rather than deflate it.
The Good Doctor (on ABC)
The Resident (on Fox)
Silicon Valley (HBO)

These three intriguing shows below fall in between bleak and inspiring

Billions (on Showtime US and TMN)
Homeland (on Superchannel)
The Americans (on FX)
The last 3 shows are in the grey area between good vs evil, but at least sometimes good prevails.
Oh my gosh, now I understand why so many of my friends are addicted to formula TV like Law and Order or Bluebloods. It’s TV that doesn’t challenge or provoke. Sometimes there are happy endings. I will never make fun of you again for your addictions to The Great British Bake Off, Queer Eye, any home decor show, etc.
I need me some feel good TV right now, so I’m going to immerse myself in the kinder gentler world of CBS Sunday Morning and see if I can get myself out of my funk! Later, it will be 60 Minutes, and then the Holy Grail of feel good TV, Call the Midwife!!

Closing Words

Maybe I just haven’t been getting enough air.  Resolve to get outdoors more!  Starting with a walk with my fitness group tomorrow, first golf game of the year at Lambton with friends, birthday celebration with family, exercise with fitness group, evening out with my book group, etc.  Maybe, everything people have been telling me my whole life is true:  TV really isn’t all that good for you!  Resolve to watch less TV or at least happier TV.  Resolve to read more books, and not just Nordic Noir either!  Am presently listening to James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty (boy is he ever sanctimonious, no wonder Trump hated him) and just finished re-reading Bill Browder’s Red Notice (ooh Russia is even more evil and scary than we ever suspected, a total kleptocracy!).  Have a wonderful week wherever you are and enjoy this fine spring weather.  Hugs to all my friends facing medical challenges.

 

 

Back home again…

Last week in Paradise…

Well, the suitcases are out and ready to be packed as we are leaving next Sunday, so I am obviously procrastinating on packing by writing this blog. I procrastinated on writing this blog yesterday by spending a good part of the day golfing in 90 degree heat and then recovering by floating around my swimming pool.
This past week we went on a lovely Naples Conservancy Cruise through the mangrove bays around the gulf with lunch at Pelican Bend on Isle of Capri. We were very lucky to see many nesting Ospreys and their fledgelings as well as frolicking dolphins.  This week our film group is going to see Finding Your Feet on Wednesday. I will be hosting a farewell Mimosa session for our fitness group. The night before we leave we will be going to a farewell neighbourhood party next Saturday night. We will be on the road back to the Great White North next Sunday!

On the Big Screen

Our film group is headed to the actual theatre this week to see Finding your Feet, a generic English comedy about a woman finding herself after discovering that her husband is having an affair with her best friend. In the mold of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movies, all Hugh Grant comedies, all Judi Dench/Maggie Smith conedies, I am assuming that one forgets the plot lines of these movies on leaving the theatre. Our film group just watched two in-house films Loving Vincent and The Florida Project which were extremely memorable and stay with you long after viewing them.  Sometimes you just have to go and see something that is lightly entertaining.

New Show Alert and Old Shows Return

True confession:  I now have so many programs stored on my PVR that I think I have passed the point of no return.  There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to watch all the shows I have recorded, and there is little chance that I will be able to watch the new shows that continue to debut every day of the week.  There has been almost no rain this winter in southwest Florida, so no excuse for staying indoors and couch potatoeing away days on end.  Maybe some of you are stuck indoors and actually have time to watch TV and may appreciate this list of new shows that are appearing on the schedule:
Unforgotten is a mystery series that premieres Sunday nights on Masterpiece; originally produced for ITV in Britain it’s an 18 episode miniseries starring British stalwarts like Nicola Walker, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Trevor Eve, Mark Bonnar, Gemma Jones, etc.
Howard’s End is a 4 episode miniseries that premieres Sunday nights on STARZ; focussing on the social and class divisions in early 20th C England, it stars Matthew Mcfadyen and Hayley Attwell.
Killing Eve is a 9 episode suspense miniseries debuting on BBC America on Sundays; it stars Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw
Paterno is a TV movie that debuted this weekend on HBO; it stars Al Pacino as Joe Paterno the longtime Penn State football coach who got caught up in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal
The Crossing is a 12 episode science fiction mystery that debuted on ABC last week; it stars Steve Zahn in the role of a lifetime as the sheriff of a small town that sees refugees from a war-torn country 180 years in the future who start showing up in the present to seek asylum in his town
The Child in Time is a 130 minute film from BBC that debuted on PBS last week and stars Benedict Cumberland and Kelly McDonald as parents whose little girl has disappeared.  Sad, elegiac and confusing. For Benedict Cumberland fanatics only.
The Expanse returns to SyFy channel for its 3rd season this week;  it is a mind blowing space series starring sultry Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo and Steven Strait in a world that is constantly at war with other worlds and within itself
Imposters returned to Bravo last week for its second season; it’s a dark comedy that focuses on a female con artist who marries people and then disappears with their money; this show is funny and smart and has a great cast that includes Uma Thurman and Brian Benben
Legion returned for its second season last week; it is a bat shit crazy series on FX from the Marvel Universe that stars Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as the superhero mutant son of X Man Xavier; David Haller is a troubled young man diagnosed as schizophrenic, but after a strange encounter, he discovers special powers that will change his life forever
Tracey Morgan The Last OG is a sitcom that debuted last week on TBS and stars Tracy Morgan as an ex-felon who is shocked to see just how much the world has changed when he is released from prison for good behaviour after a 15-year stint and returns to his newly gentrified Brooklyn neighbourhood; I hated Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock, but actually enjoyed him in this very silly fish out of water series
Trust is a miniseries about the Getty kidnapping on FX that debuted a couple of weeks ago; starring Donald Sutherland as JPGetty, the richest man in the world; it differs from the feature film starring Christopher Plummer, in that it’s told in long story form over 10 hours and seems to indicate that JPGetty III is complicit in his own kidnapping as he tries to repay a Mafia debt; great cast (Hilary Swank is Getty III’s mom) and well worth watching
Splitting up Together is a newish sitcom on ABC that stars Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson; it’s the story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce; I liked it, I really liked it
Suits has returned to conclude its (yawn) 7th season; Princess Meghan and Patrick J. Adams will leave the series at the end of this season, so that is the only reason to watch anymore; I now officially hate every other character
The Americans has returned for its last season on FX and it’s darker and more complicated than ever; the Berlin Wall is falling and with it Communism, so the lives of our characters are about to change

Streaming and Netflix

Annihilation is a science fiction film about a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply; starring Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh this movie is a total waste of time.  For Natalie Portman fanatics only
The Commuter is a suspense film about a businessman who is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home; ludicrous and action packed; for Liam Neeson fanatics only
The Titan is a truly awful science fiction film starring Sam Worthington; when I give up on a film after 15 minutes, it’s usually because I have decided that life is truly too short to be spent watching something exasperating and boring
The Looming Tower is a 10 hour miniseries from Hulu about the events leading up to 9/11; it stars Jeff Daniels and Peter Sarsgaard as adversaries in the FBI and CIA who are constantly battling over turf in an attempt to head off terrorist attacks against the US; heartbreaking and powerful, this is must see viewing
Wild Wild Country is a 6 hr miniseries that tells the story of what happens when the world’s most controversial guru builds a utopian city deep in the Oregon desert and conflict with the locals escalates into a national scandal. A true story!

Regular addictions

Sunday nights are now incredibly complicated by the fact that programmers seem determined to present their best content all at the same time.  It’s going to take me all week to finish viewing last night’s programs:
Call the Midwife
Barry
Billions
The Good Fight
Homeland
The Kennedy’s on CNN
The Child in Time Masterpiece Theatre
Silicon Valley
Jesus Christ Superstar (ok, this special was on last week, but it was fabulous and is available on demand from NBC)
Here and Now
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Howard’s End
Killing Eve
Unforgotten
The Walking Dead
Trust

The rest of the week

OK, some of following content is formulaic and juvenile, but I just can’t look away!
60 Minutes
PBS Frontline
CBS Sunday Morning
Riverdale
Roseanne
The Terror
Corporate
Designated Survivor
Gotham
Arrow
IZombie
Rise
Legion
Hap and Leonard
Real Time with Bill Maher
Unreal
Jim Jeffries
Samantha Bee Full Frontal
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Closing Words

I will be taking a bit of a break from blogging as most of next week starting April 15 we will be on the road and out of television range. We plan to spend two nights in Savannah, Georgia and three days visiting friends in Pinehurst, NC. We should be arriving back in Toronto by April 21. It has truly been an amazing season of extraordinary weather with friendship, golf, mahjong, book group, film group, fitness, bicycling, touring, hosting and general good times. Fingers crossed that it will be daffodil time and that the snow and ice will be long past when we return home to family and friends next week. Best wishes to all our fellow Snowbirds who are on the road in the next couple of weeks. It will be hard to say goodbye to Paradise. Hugs to all my friends facing medical challenges.

Two weeks to go!

Well it’s been another action packed week!  We had company from Toronto, so we got to revisit Campiello’s on Third, one of our favourite spots for people watching and great Italian food; we had a great sunset Cosmos pizza on the beach and cocktails with neighbours; I got my last Steinmart shopping fix in; our girlfriends group said goodbye to one of our neighbours who is moving to a nearby community; I had one of my last rounds of golf in my ladies’ league; we managed to get together with dear friends from our Thornbury community for an end of season feast at The Quarry in North Naples.  I also managed to squeeze in a little Theatre and TV and can make some recommendations as follows:

Live Theatre

Bench in the Sun by Ron Clark at The Marco Players’ Theatre.  This was a very touching little community production about two old friends in a retirement community whose friendship is challenged when a lovely woman comes upon the scene.  Everyone in the audience could relate to the challenges of growing old in Florida. I was tickled to be invited to join a group of neighbours when an extra ticket became available.  Seeing local theatre here is one of my goals and I loved the opportunity to discover another venue on Marco Island.

Revisiting

Journey’s End is a very dark but touching film about a handful of British soldiers at the front in WWI; I had seen this little gem at the Toronto International Film Festival last September and it is just now getting a commercial release; starring Sam Claflin (Me Before You), Paul Bethany, Toby Jones, Tom Sturridge, and Asa Butterfield; these soldiers await their fate in a trench as conditions around them continue to deteriorate.  Here’s what the critics are saying:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/reviews/article-review-world-war-i-drama-journeys-end-elevated-by-superb-cast/

The Florida Project is another very impressive little film about a young woman and her precocious 6-year-old daughter surviving in a welfare motel on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida. This is the film for which Willem Dafoe was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award.  Most of the other performers in the film are first time actors.  The little girl in the lead role is incredibly charismatic and you won’t be able to take your eyes off her.  It’s a small independent film that I will be showing to my film group this week as it was very hard to find in Naples before the Oscars.  Here’s what the critics had to say:

https://www.rogerebert.com/festivals-and-awards/cannes-2017-sean-bakers-the-florida-project

Special Easter Programming

Jesus Christ Superstar concert production is live tonight on NBC; starring John Legend, Sara Bareilles and Alice Cooper; could be great or could be painful; you never know with a live production!!!

Series Debut

The Terror on Mondays on AMC; all episodes released on demand; great British cast stars in this scary Alien on the ice tale that retells the story of the lost Franklin Arctic expedition to find the Northwest Passage; set in 1845, it’s a horrific tale of a monster and the elements devastating this brave group of seamen; starring Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies and Ciaran Hinds.  Terrifying!
Here’s what the Deadline Hollywood had to say about it:

Series Return

The Americans is back on FX Wednesdays for its last season; we’re in 1987 and the Berlin Wall is about to collapse; Gorbachev is facing challenges within Russia which have repercussions for our two sleeper agents in Washington; their teenage daughter has enthusiastically joined the family business and is a junior agent now; the show is very complex as the couple works at cross purposes and several cases are on the go. One screen only viewing experience!
Here’s what John Doyle from the Globe and Mail had to say about it:
Billions the cat and mouse game continues in its third season between US Attorney (Paul Giamatti) and hedge fund king (Damian Lewis) on Showtime Sundays
Suits continues its 7th season on USA network; this is the year that the show says goodbye to Patrick J. Adams and soon to be princess Meghan Markle
Jim Jeffries is an acerbic Australian comedian with his own show on Monday nights on Comedy; he sees America from a completely outsiders’ view

Series you may not be watching

Hap and Leonard originates on Sundance and is now in its third season; I love this sweet swamp noir tale of two best friends in the deep south in the late 1980’s; great cast with James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Willias
The Good Fight continues its second season on CBS All Access; classy spinoff from The Good Wife with Christine Baranski continuing in her role as Diane Lockhart
The Path with Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) concluded its third season on Hulu this past week; a dark exploration of life inside a cult

My Usual Addictions

Counterpart – concludes its first season on STARZ Sundays this week but available on demand; 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 with a little magical realism thrown in

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 which completed its first season last week and will continue to be available on demand

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!

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

Rise – very sweet show on NBC Tuesdays; watch it if you love musical series set in a high school; it is extraordinarily reminiscent of Friday Night Lights, the show about high school football in a small Texas town  which I absolutely loved and still miss; full disclosure: I started life as a high school theatre arts teacher, and there couldn’t be a show I would be more naturally inclined to admire, so I will give this new series my full attention

The X-Files – on Fox Wednesdays; last week’s episode was the last of the season; very sweet and affectionate considering it dealt with the pursuit of their child William; do Mulder and Scully have a happily ever after?

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; this series completed its debut season last week but episodes will continue to be available on demand

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 FX Wednesdays; dark and sad exploration of the events around this murder; finished its season last week but will continue to be available on demand

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; there was a very clever CBC satire on last week’s episode hosted by Bill Hader (the word “sorry” was overused to hilarious effect).

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

Happy April’s Fools Day everyone!  Today we are headed to an Easter Sunday Feast at our clubhouse.  Later in the week, we are meeting for dinner with old friends who are staying in Pelican Bay.  I will host my movie group by showing The Florida Project, a marvellous little movie about living a marginalized existence in Orlando, Florida. Our book group is meeting to discuss Breakfast at Sally’s, a touching book about a marketing executive who loses his business to bankruptcy and who lives among the homeless in Washington state. It will be my second last round of golf with my 9-hole ladies group on Tuesday.  Boo hoo, as I continue to say goodbye to the many lovely women I’ve met here who are soon departing for places north.  It’s been a great winter season here, and now it’s flying by.  Have a wonderful week wherever you are.  Safe travels to those of you who are on the move. Hugs to friends dealing with medical challenges.

Naples paradise continues…

Instinct – I am not sure I like this show on CBS Sundays which premiered last week; a former CIA operative (Alan Cumming from The Good Wife), who has since built a “normal” life as a gifted professor and writer, is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose; the pilot episode was appallingly lame

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 which completed its first season last week and will continue to be available on demand

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!

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

Rise – very sweet show on NBC Tuesdays; watch it if you love musical series set in a high school; it is extraordinarily reminiscent of Friday Night Lights, the show about high school football in a small Texas town  which I absolutely loved and still miss; full disclosure: I started life as a high school theatre arts teacher, and there couldn’t be a show I would be more naturally inclined to admire, so I will give this new series my full attention

The X-Files – on Fox Wednesdays; last week’s episode was the last of the season; very sweet and affectionate considering it dealt with the pursuit of their child William; do Mulder and Scully have a happily ever after?

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; this series completed its debut season last week but episodes will continue to be available on demand

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 FX Wednesdays; dark and sad exploration of the events around this murder; finished its season last week but will continue to be available on demand

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; there was a very clever CBC satire on last week’s episode hosted by Bill Hader (the word “sorry” was overused to hilarious effect)

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

It’s going to be a busy week here. Today we’re having our street party for our block and the next one over. Company arrives on Monday for the week and we will be taking them to various spots for excursions and nights out. Wednesday we are gathering for a farewell drink for a neighbour who is moving to a nearby subdivision for a bigger house and garage. Time is quickly ticking away as we count down our last three weeks. Oh no….

Having trouble fitting everything in…

I’ve been seriously overbooked this past week, trying to see lots of friends before folks go home for Easter. New shows are appearing throughout the spring  and I am desperately trying to keep up with them. Here’s an article to help you keep track:
Here are some viewing recommendations for the week ahead:

Netflix

Tulip Fever – feature film 2017; I must admit that when I saw this newly added to Netflix I was thrilled; an amazing cast that includes Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz – what could possibly go wrong?  This was a very troubled production that kept getting delayed, recast and then finally made on a lowish budget; filmed like a Rembrandt or Vermeer painting and set in 17th C. Amsterdam during the days of Tulip Fever, this unlikely romance film offered period costumes and accents; perfect for snoozing!  It is certainly snoozable, but at times makes very little sense. Beautiful to look at though!
Jessica Jones – season 2, 13 episodes; Krysten Ritter stars as a hardboiled private eye with superpowers; she is rebuilding her personal life and career as a hot-tempered, sardonic private eye in Hell’s Kitchen NYC; plagued by self-loafing and a wicked case of PTSD, Jessica battles demons from within and without, using her extraordinary abilities as an unlikely champion for those in need…especially if they’re willing to cut her a check.

Streaming

Loving Vincent – feature film; it’s hard to describe how magical this wonderful film is.  In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days here. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature (it lost to Coco), this is a most unusual kind of biopic.  Using tens of thousands of oil paintings commissioned from scores of artists, the filmmakers transform famous works of modern art into a hypnotic and beguiling work of animation.  The people van Gogh rendered on canvas are brought to uncanny life, with the voices of professional actors, some of them well known. You may recognize the animated renderings of Douglas Booth and Chris O’ Dowd among many others. I loved this beautiful film and can’t recommend it highly enough.

The Good Fight – Season 2, 13 episodes; this spinoff from The Good Wife originates on CBS All Access but is available to stream; I love this wonderful show about Chicago’s legal community; on tonight’s episode, mass hysteria results with an apparent chemical attack on the law offices and the legal team takes on the case of a reality show contestant who is the victim of a sexual assault
The Path – Season 3, 13 episodes; originates on Hulu and available to stream; dark and mysterious series about the origins of and the life within a cult
Hap and Leonard – Season 3, 6 episodes; originates on Sundance but available to stream; I love this wonderful series about two brothers from different mothers in the 1980’s; it’s a darkly comic swamp noir of two best friends, one femme fatale, etc.; incredibly entertaining, it stars James Purefoy (Rome) and Michael Kenneth Williams (from The Wire)

Amazon

Absentia – 10 episode miniseries; after being declared dead in absentia, an FBI agent must reclaim her family, identity and innocence when she finds herself the prime suspect in a string of murders; stars Stana Katic (Castle); I’ve only seen 1 episode so far, but I will try and keep up

The usual addictions

Instinct – on CBS Sundays premieres tonight; a former CIA operative (Alan Cumming from The Good Wife), who has since built a “normal” life as a gifted professor and writer, is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose

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; it is extraordinarily reminiscent of Friday Night Lights, the show about high school football in a small Texas town  which I absolutely loved and still miss; full disclosure: I started life as a high school theatre arts teacher, and there couldn’t be a show I would be more naturally inclined to admire, so I will give this new series my full attention

The X-Files – on Fox Wednesdays; last week’s episode was the last of the season; very sweet and affectionate considering it dealt with a murderous cult; do Mulder and Scully have a happily ever after?

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; there was a very clever CBC satire on last night’s episode hosted by Bill Hader (the word “sorry” was overused to hilarious effect)

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

We’ve been awfully busy this last week:  we finally made it to Naples’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the many high school marching bands; we dined out at several restaurants around town including 21 Spices, Kareem’s, Alberto’s, Bistro La Baguette, Mediterrano, Jeri Lu’s Kitchen and last but not least, our neighbourhood Panera to sample their new Breakfast Brioche.  We hosted George’s Orlando golf group for dinner last night (they leave for their big annual trip tomorrow) and are celebrating the end of a wonderful season of golfing with George’s Treviso Bay regulars tonight at our clubhouse.  This week I am attending a lunch talk with the authors of a beautiful book on Naples Beach Houses and we are participating in a tournament of our Georgian Bay Club golfers at Pelican Marsh. That’s on top of my usual golf and bocce activities!!  I will be taking a little rest from this swirl of activity when we get back to Toronto.  It’s in the 80’s today with blue sky and sun.  Enjoy your week wherever you are! Hugs to my friends dealing with medical challenges.

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.