Gorgeous weather here has beckoned, and I actually spent a glorious morning birdwatching with a naturalist and several neighbours as we drove golf carts around our course and spotted many varieties of birds. In the meantime when I wasn’t glued to Netflix watching the fabulous Australian series Wanted, I did manage to catch up with a few series and films. Here are some suggestions for you:
The Big Screen
The Florida Project is a small independent film with only 1 professional actor in it. Willem Dafoe plays Bobby, the manager of a welfare motel in Orlando, Florida. Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadow of Disney World. The film is poignant in its depiction of life lived on the margins of the American Dream and the Magical Kingdom. The children’s performances are truly magical.
Wanted is a fast paced Australian suspense series about two strangers who become prime suspects in a murder. I loved this series for the wonderful performances from the two lead actresses, the Aussie locations, and the incredible suspense that builds as the two characters are relentlessly pursued by both good and bad guys. I watched the first 6 episodes in 1 day and was delighted to see that the second season is already available on Netflix. Damn you Netflix, I just can’t quit you!
The Hatton Garden Job is a small British caper film based on the true story of the 2015 burglary of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company by 4 elderly men. The total stolen was valued at 200 million British pounds and has been called the “largest burglary in English legal history.” I actually watched it for its stars Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey), Stephen Moyer (True Blood) and Joely Richardson and then was charmed by its cast of British character actors who played the elderly thieves.
Berlin Station continues its tales of espionage in the new cold war. Great performances from Ashley Judd, Richard Armitage, Richard Jenkins, Rhys Iffans, etc. If you are missing Homeland, this is a good alternative.
Good Behaviour stars Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) as Letty Raines, a thief and con artist whose life is always one wrong turn, one bad decision from implosion. She hooks up with a charming paid assassin and the thrill ride continues in Season Two of this very entertaining suspense series.
Outlander is truly the most romantic series ever made for TV as an English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743. Season 3 continues to enchant as we follow the story of the two star-crossed lovers through time. I usually hate the time travel genre, but I have made an exception for this marvellous epic romance.
Chance stars Hugh Laurie (House) as a forensic neuropsychiatrist who reluctantly enters a dangerous and violent world of mistaken identity, police corruption and mental illness. This second season follows the story of a serial killer who is pursued by Chance.
Star Trek: Discovery is the latest reboot of this perennial favourite sci-fi series. Starring Jason Isaacs as the latest Captain, the series takes place ten years before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise, as the USS Discovery discovers new worlds and lifeforms and as one Starfleet officer learns to understand all things alien.
The Good Doctor is about Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and Savant syndrome, who is recruited into the paediatric surgical unit of a prestigious hospital. From the team that created House, this series has actually become a huge hit, and people are intrigued by the main character’s journey. I resisted watching this one (because honestly, I can’t possibly watch everything worth watching on TV) and it has been the breakout show of this season), however, I am now hooked.
Designated Survivor started out with the intriguing premise of what could happen when everyone in line for the Presidency is wiped out by a terrorist attack and a nebbishy cabinet secretary played by Kiefer Sutherland ascends to the presidency. The plot lines often veer towards ludicrousness, but I can’t stop watching.
The Brave is a total guilty pleasure show about good guys confronting bad guys as a special operations unit stages rescues and interventions around the globe.
This is Us I resisted watching this during Season 1, and then relented for Season 2, since it was the breakout hit show of last season and I had to see what the fuss was all about. Although, I still find it maudlin and overly sentimental, I’m not giving up until I find out how the Dad died.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert continues to amuse with Colbert’s humorous take on the news of the day.
Better Things is a raw and poignant series about a single mother trying to survive in LA. Starring Pamela Adlon, hitherto known for her work with Louis CK. As a result of his recent notoriety, Adlon has received an unwanted amount of attention for her relationship with him.
You’re the Worst is a sitcom which enters on two toxic, self-destructive people who fall in love and attempt a relationship. Now in its fourth season, the series hasn’t maintained the quality it started out with and is actually quite cringeworthy for the most part, but I have to see how this relationship ends.
Real Time with Bill Maher and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver both continue to amaze me with their satirical comedy on current events.
Tracy Ullman’s Show showcases her amazing skills as a mimic. Her Judi Dench alone is worth watching for.
The Walking Dead is still on the air in its 8th season. Who knew you could watch Zombies attack the living for this long? Same old, same old. I can’t look away.
Riverdale, Dynasty, and Arrow are all pretty silly (especially the lame reboot of Dynasty from the 80’s) but they are awfully entertaining. I know they are shows for teenagers to watch, but they fascinate me all the same.
The Long Road Home is a new miniseries about American forces occupying Iraq who are ambushed in a Baghdad neighbourhood. I have recorded the first episode and will watch a few episodes together once I summon the stamina to watch a series about this terrible endless war.
Damnation I actually really enjoyed the first episode of this epic saga about the secret history of the 1930’s American heartland. It centers on the mythic conflict and bloody struggle between big money and the downtrodden.
The Girlfriend Experience Our journey into the dark side of the escort business continues as the series now divides itself in two with two separate 1/2 hour storylines each airing. In one story, Erica Myles, the finance director at Right to Action, a Republican super PAC, enlists the help of an escort, Anna Garner, in an attempt to gain access to a secret, dark money donor network. In the second storyline, Bria Jones a former escort, enters the witness protection program in order to escape an abusive relationship. When she is relocated to a small tow in New Mexico, she finds the escort world beckoning her once again.
Durrell’s in Corfu, Poldark, and The Collection make up the PBS Sunday Night Masterpiece Theatre program. Delightful and soothing. Period costumes and British accents, who could ask for anything more.
The Orville is a tremendously entertaining Star Trek parody from Seth MacFarlane.
The Gifted comes to us from Marvel’s Universe. Starring Stephen Moyer (from True Blood), it takes place in a world where gutted humans are treated with distrust and fear, where an institute for mutants battles to achieve peaceful co-existence with humanity.
Gotham, now in its 4th season, tells the story behind Detective James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival. Campy and kitschy, this show is not for everyone, but I love its over the top performances and crazy plot lines.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is a very funny take on today’s news.
The Jim Jeffries Show is a delightful take on today’s news. As an Aussie, he takes a very sanguine view of today’s headlines.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is a fearless satirical take on today’s news.
CBS Sunday Morning is my Sunday morning alternative to Church worship.
The show takes a relaxed approach to human interest stories and celebrity profiles. My moment of Zen.
Fareed Zakariah GPS takes a very measured approach to explaining world events.
There are some new shows coming up this November and I will write about them next week. Until then, get outside and enjoy the weather if it’s wonderful where you are, and if not, stay in, stay warm and enjoy the pleasures of the winter season.