Its been awhile but I still have some things to say about 2017!

I haven’t been posting on this blog much in the last 6 months due to having been involved in a couple of very time-consuming activities that take up most of my days. As a result, my TV and movie viewing has been curtailed and my reading diminished during this period.  I resolve to change this in 2018 beginning in March but I did want to weigh in with a few posts about the best books I read and the movies and TV shows I thought were the greatest of 2017.  This first post will cover TV.

The 5 Best TV Shows of 2015 (that I watched)

  1. The Leftovers

The Leftovers had the perfect final season and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to this controversial show.  If you haven’t seen it, Season 1 is very dark, bleak and hard to get through but it becomes so worthwhile to have done so in order to watch Seasons 2 and 3.  This show about grief, loss and craziness also delivered pure joy in Season 3 with a Tasmanian sex boat and numerous other gripping episodes.  Carrie Coon was magnificent and you should watch it for just her performance.

  1. Halt and Catch Fire

This is another show that struggled a bit in its first season but just blossomed over the course of the next three seasons and its final one this fall, delivered perfectly.  While many may question whether they want to watch a show about the history of technology and the beginnings of Silicon Valley, rest assured that at its heart, this show is about the characters and particularly two women who form one of the most compelling relationships in television.  Watch this show on Netflix.  Feel free to only see the first 4 episodes and the finale of Season 1 and then savor every episode after that.

  1. The Good Place

I’m watching fewer and fewer network TV shows but this one is great.  A show that is about heaven, hell, ethics and morality delivers those messages in such a comedic way that it makes it impossible not to care deeply for a group of very flawed characters. The Season 1 finale twist and how the show runners picked it up this fall were unpredictable and executed flawlessly.  The cast is terrific and it is just a fun show with lots of meat.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale was excellent and it was worth having to pay for Hulu for a couple of months to watch it unfold each week.  It did drag occasionally but the acting chops of Elizabeth Moss and Ann Dowd made it all worthwhile and I should note the surprisingly excellent work of Alexis Bledel – who knew?  The parallels between this dystopian world and this past year, unfortunately were a little too close.

  1. Better Things

This smaller 30-minute dramedy is excellent and the second season was even better than the first.  Unfortunately, the show is linked so closely to Louis C.K. which makes for a tough decision on whether to support it or not but I don’t think it is fair to Pamela Adlon to boycott it.  Better Things is based loosely on her life and her Directing and Acting in it are very good.  This show hits to the heart of what it is like to be a single mother, struggling to keep things going at home while trying to keep a career going at the same time making many mistakes with both.  There is so much honesty and emotion in this dramedy that it is hard not to love it.

The Best of the Rest:

Jane the Virgin, Alias Grace, The Americans, Big Little Lies, Mary Kills People, Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones, Last Week with John Oliver, Stranger Things, Catastrophe, Casual, You’re the Worst, The Young Pope, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Keepers, Billions, The Vietnam War, the Middle

Shows that I didn’t get to but I really want to see:

One Mississippi (S2), One Day at a Time, Top of the Lake China Girl, the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Sneaky Pete, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (last 2 seasons) 

Shows I’m still watching despite them not being that great:

Homeland, Fargo, the Affair, Scandal, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, the Magicians and few that I’m too embarrassed to mention (and no, they aren’t reality shows!

One final thought:  There are some shows that are nearly perfect in their premier season and should end that way.  Unfortunately, good ratings, lots of buzz and some award nominations and all of a sudden, we have Season 2 of Stranger Things, Big Little Lies and worst of all, 13 Reasons Why despite the storylines being completely wrapped up in what should have been the only season.  Let them stand alone and go on to other innovative projects.







TV: Did You Think I Stopped Watching? Network Finale Wrap-Up


May sweeps came fast and furiously with most shows wrapping up their seasons.  Instead of going over each one in detail, I’m just going to provide some random thoughts on this season for many of the shows I watch: 

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC):  Wow, a huge explosion and fire at Seattle Grace (or whatever its not- so- new name is) and no one died.  It’s a first for the show that is known for its disaster finales that always entail big deaths.  We did have one doctor leave the show because of the fire but I didn’t care for that character so no big deal.  I am amazed at how this show just keeps chugging along.  I’m in for the long haul as well as the love triangle that the season finale set up for next year.

Scandal (ABC):  It’s a good thing Scandal is ending next year.  It has gotten to be so far-fetched that it spends most of its time in the world of the absurd.  Nellie as President – really? Not in our lifetime.  Olivia as a power-hungry manipulator in the white house?  I’m afraid the foundation for that plotline was loosely laid.  Fitz off to a quiet life in NH?  If true, he’d certainly be in the best place of any of them but I doubt it will last.  Olivia’s mother is back….pleez…don’t they have any new ideas?  Certainly, not for Quinn who is pregnant with who knows whose kid.  Ugh…. a show that started off so fantastically is well beyond its prime.  Wrap it up!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC):  Somehow, this show actually got renewed for a 5th season.  I didn’t love this year with the AIDA killing everyone and the alternate universe where Fitz is a baddie and his relationship with Simmons on the rocks.  I can’t say as I followed who exactly were the bad guys and how next season was set up but I suppose I might eek one more year, maybe, out of this show.  I don’t think it will last for more.

The Blacklist (NBC):  Another show where I have invested years and they aren’t exactly paying off.  To have to wait 4 years to confirm what everyone had pretty much figured out from the beginning (that Reddington is Liz’s father) was so anti-climactic as to be a “who the heck cares any more” moment.  I was sorry to see Mr. Kaplan go but am intrigued enough by the “bones” headed toward Liz to tune in next year.  If they drag out that mystery too long, however, I’m out of there!

Mary Kills People (Lifetime):  This is not the most intellectually compelling show you’ll ever see but it is well done and I hope it will be around next year.  If you missed it on Lifetime, catch up this summer.  Not only is it shot beautifully, the acting is good (particularly Caroline Dhavernas as Mary) and it is written and directed mostly by women.  Each episode moves quickly with the requisite amount of suspense and the subject matter is compelling.  And, despite its compelling subject matter, there is humor which is needed to break up the death scenes.  Hopefully there will be a Season 2 because the show deserves it.

Jane the Virgin (CW):  I love, love, love this show and it never disappoints.  The characters are amazing and have so much heart that the viewer is emotionally attached to each and every one.  This season has primarily revolved around the central theme of love or in Jane’s case, her re-entry back into the world of dating after coming to terms with Michael’s death. Her parent’s relationship deepens and ends in marriage and even her grandmother finds love.  The finale introduces us to Jane’s probable new love interest for next season and I can only count the days until this show comes back in September.  Jane is a tough show to catch up on as there are approximately 23 one-hour shows per year and there have been several seasons but if you have missed it, and have “binge” time this summer, try it out.  You won’t be disappointed.

The Flash (CW):  I thought the Flash this season was a bit too morose and dragged out Iris’s death interminably.  Barry’s disappearance at the end of the season should be short-lived next season and I assume we will be back to the creature of the week with an overall super villain story-arch.  I like what they did with the Killer Frost character in the finale by not having Kaitlin go back to normal with no ramifications.  It keeps that character complex and interesting.  Hopefully next season will recapture some of the “lightness” the first two seasons had as this one was just a little too dark for me.

Supergirl (CW):  Supergirl is destined never to have a lasting love interest and this season was heartbreaking for her as her Daxamite boyfriend Mon-El can no longer exist on earth and is sucked into a black hole in space.  On the plus side, Supergirl kicked Superman’s ass and Cat Grant (Callista Flockheart) was in the last two episodes and yes, she does know who Kara is!  Bring this woman back full-time!  We were introduced at the end to next season’s villain – a blood sucking kryptonite who was also launched from the planet as it was exploding to what I only assume will be a landing on earth.  Supergirl and Flash are my antidote to watching Rachel Maddow in the hour before them.  They take me away from it all!


So, with all those finales, you must be wondering whether I saw any new shows and unfortunately, I did.

Bloodline (Netflix):  The first season of Bloodline was “bloody” fantastic.  One of the main reasons was Ben Mendelsohn who was just plain spectacular.  Unfortunately, he died at the end.  Season two had Mendelsohn in flashbacks but it just wasn’t the same and the show was not good.  Season three (the final) dropped last week on Netflix and because I am a glutton for punishment, and a perverse side of me wants to see all the Rayburns rot in hell, I watched the first episode.  The whole thing took place in the dark and I couldn’t even see the characters.  It was extremely irritating.  The most obnoxious thing, however, is that I am going to have to watch it again to have any understanding of what happened.  It seems like a high price to pay to have to watch an entire season of this just to see them all get their just rewards but I can be a masochist especially during the summer when there isn’t much happening elsewhere on TV.  If you haven’t seen this show, don’t get involved with it!!!!!!

Note:  I still haven’t caught up on DVR with Billions, Genius and Legion but now that things are calming down, I intend to do some catching up!


TV: A slow week with only two premiers: Jane the Virgin and the Durrells in Corfu.



Jane the Virgin (CW)

Jane the Virgin returned this week picking up from last season’s cliffhanger that left Michael in critical condition after Rose shot him. This of course happened just minutes before he and Jane were going to consummate their marriage and the title of the show would have to be changed. We are kept in suspense throughout the premier as to Michael’s fate but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the other plots. Will Petra overcome her paralysis and do something to her evil twin who has taken her place? What will Jane’s mother do about being pregnant after a one-night stand? Will Jane and Rafael have a new dynamic and continue to more away from their love triangle? Where did Rose take Louisa?  Although I have never seen a real Telenovela, this one seems to have all the drama and plot twists of the best of them.

It is wonderful to have Jane and company back in my life after spending all summer binging Seasons 1 and 2. Given the ratings, I’m not optimistic for another year so I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this weekly escapist hour of fun with all of it’s heart, great characters and plot twists.

The Durrells in Corfu (PBS – Masterpiece Theater)

The Durrells in Corfu premiered last weekend as a new 6 episode series on Masterpiece. It won’t stretch your intellect but it is a wonderful little show about a widow and her four children who relocate from England to the Greek island of Corfu in the 1930s. Her children range in age from the oldest boy 21 (an aspiring writer), to the youngest boy of about 10 who his mother calls “different” and who cares mostly about animals. In between are Leslie and Margo who don’t do much of anything. The family is destitute and have heard that life is cheap on the island so make the trek and land up with a house that is falling apart, has no electricity but is situated on the ocean with magnificent views.

I’m going to enjoy following this quirky family for the next 5 weeks. The scenery is lovely, the humor engaging and the relationships enjoyable. The show will lift your spirits and make you want to book passage on the next ship to Greece.

Shows I bagged this week because I’m watching too much TV and these either are going to get cancelled anyway (No Tomorrow); I’ve lost interest in (Gotham) or the show is fine but it’s just not engaging me (Insecure and Pitch). 

Gotham (Fox)

No Tomorrow (CW)

Insecure (HBO)

Pitch (FOX)

TV: Did you think I had stopped watching? You’re the Worst, One Mississippi, Better Things, Masters of Sex, the Last Ship and Jane the Virgin

As readers of this blog know, I am the queen of the one hour scripted dramas and not a big fan of comedy. However, in the past couple of years, a new genre of comedy has arrived and for lack of a better word, these shows are often referred to as “dramadies”. They are mostly one-half hour shows that fall into the comedy category but have very serious plotlines and complex characters. The best of them include You’re the Worst, Casual and Catastrophe. Transparent also falls into this genre. What these shows deliver are stories addressing difficult topics including depression, unplanned pregnancies, disintegrating relationships, gay/transgender cast and drug/alcohol dependencies with a comedic twist. The half hour format allows for crisp writing, succinct storytelling and no time to prolong the often-difficult subject matter. Most are only 6-8 episodes per season so they are easy to binge or catch up on. No shows are wasted or “fillers”.

Some argue that this format has replaced the one-hour scripted drama as the best work being done on television. While I agree there is some fine work being done here and certainly the Network scripted dramas have become very weak, my favorite shows on television are still The Americans, Rectify and Game of Thrones. I haven’t abandoned my one-hour dramas yet but I’m really liking some of these shows! Four new dramadies are premiering over the next two weeks and are getting rave reviews. They are Amazon’s “One Mississippi” and “Fleabag”, HBO’s “Insecure” and FX’s Better Things. Two are covered below along with You’re the Worst.


You’re the Worst (FXX) ( first two seasons available on Hulu, Amazon, Itunes)

I love this show. It is about 4 completely dysfunctional people who are in relationships that they shouldn’t be but you come to love them and at least cheer for the lead couple, Jimmy and Gretchen, played by Chris Geere and Aya Cash. These are two seemingly despicable people who are in a relationship filled with hedonistic activities. Jimmy is a writer who is a total narcissist and Gretchen suffers from debilitating depression. Due to the brilliant, edgy writing, you actually come to hope that they will be together forever.

Season 3 premiered last week and the first two episodes were good but not quite as great as Season 2, which knocked it out of the park. It has raked in its share of Critic’s Choice Award nominations and I hope it gets back to the level of last year. Even if it doesn’t, I’m just happy to have Jimmy and Gretchen back in my life again.

One Mississippi (Amazon)

One Mississippi is one of the “dramadies” discussed above and was dropped on Amazon September 9th. It grabbed me from the fist few minutes of the show and I watched straight through the six, thirty-minute episodes. It was great. The show is based on the life of comedian Tig Notaro who apparently endured cancer, the death of her mother and a relationship breakup in the same year all of which happen on the show. There are comedic moments (both this show and Better Things (below) are produced by Louis C.K.) but it is a story of family, grief, memories, and how to cope with life when it deals you a series of sucker punches. I can’t believe I have to wait at least another year for Season 2. Again, it is just great and I love that there is a Lesbian lead character.

Better Things (FX)

Better Things premiered this week and while it is difficult to make a determination about it after one 30-minute show, there was definitely enough to keep me coming back. It is the story of Sam Fox who is a single mother of three girls trying to make it as an actress while holding it all together. There are moments of hilarity along with the day-to-day struggle of making a living and being a parent. Not only does Sam have to deal with Hollywood attitudes towards middle age womem, she also has feelings of failures as a parent. There are moments every parent can relate to (particularly working and/or single parents) around which battles are worth fighting with your kids in order to survive. Several stars popped up with cameos in this first episode including Julie Bowen, Constance Zimmer and Bradley Whit ford which were all fun. I think this show has a ton of potential.

Masters of Sex (Showtime)

Masters of Sex was one of the best shows on television its first two seasons and then it went off the rails in season three. Horrible writing and plotlines overshadowed the great acting by Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen. This is a common thread, unfortunately, for Showtime dramas. However, Homeland was able to turn around after a couple of very poor years so what the heck, maybe this show might as well. I was not encouraged by the fact I could find NO reviews for this season the day before the premier. If critics aren’t talking about your show, it is not a good sign.

I tuned in to the premier on Sunday night and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t perfect but it looks like the showrunners are trying to fix the mistakes of last year.  It was important to get Masters and Johnson back together again but Johnson’s slip decent into darkness was a bit overkill and the reconciliation happened pretty quickly.  Whether to continue with this show will be a week by week decision.  On to next week.


The Last Ship (TNT)

I don’t know why I actually watch this show. I guess because it came on a few years ago during summer and there wasn’t much else to watch. It was never bad enough to abandon it but never quite good enough to really recommend it. This summer, TNT announced that it is renewing it for the next two seasons so I’m thinking that there are a lot of people out there watching this show.  The initial premise was that a disease had destroyed the world and the crew of the Navy ship Nathan James was left to float around the world until a cure could be found and they could safely land somewhere. The cure was conveniently discovered by a doctor on their boat and they came back to deliver it to everyone left on earth.

I wasn’t sure where the show would go once the disease was cured but the show runners managed to figure out a plausible plot based on the disintegration of the world’s governments. The Nathan James and her Captain (played by Eric Dane) helped solidify a centralized democracy and military in the USA. This season was interesting with the dissolution of the government and the Nathan James once again being “homeless” and set adrift in Southeast Asia to fend for itself. It wasn’t bad, there was plenty of action and intrigue. The finale had the ship returning with yet another exiled President in an attempt to take the country back from the bad guys. A handful of good guys took the entire government down with only one major character death.  We’ll see what lies in store for the Captain and the ship next year. For sure, poor Mike Slattery (Adam Baldwin) will not be Captain for long (again) as Tom Chandler’s retirement will be short-lived.  If you are looking for something a little lightweight but offering some suspense, it is an ok show for summer. McSteamy isn’t bad either.


Jane the Virgin Season 1 and 2 (Netflix)

I did it. I actually got through the first two seasons of Jane the Virgin and I’m hooked. This didn’t come easily. When the show premiered two years ago, I watched a couple of episodes based on great reviews. I didn’t care for it at all. A comedy with shades of a Telenovela was so outside my wheelhouse that I didn’t connect to anything. I quickly gave it up. However, the critics that I have the most respect for didn’t leave it alone. For two years, they keep coming back to it as one of their favorite shows so I had a couple of weeks that were slow this August and tried it again. I must admit it took probably 5-6 episodes for me to really appreciate this show but after that, I was hooked.

Jane the Virgin is packed with great writing, acting and storylines. The characters are complex and continually evolving. The Telenovela aspect becomes just plain fun as the show’s narrator takes you through the similarities between Jane’s family and a real Telenovela. While all this is amusing, it is Jane who is the heart and soul of this show and how she deals with being mistakenly artificially impregnated, in love with both her fiancee  and the baby daddy and her struggles to establish a writing career tug at your heart and soul. The most important aspect of the show is the relationship between Jane, her mother and grandmother, which forms the basis of an amazing female family unit. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be totally in love with these characters and best of all, you’ll just feel happy when you watch it.

Some Good TV and a Very Good Movie

I’m trying to tie up a few loose ends before heading out for vacation and a break so here is a brief post covering some good entertainment.


The Innocents

This French film takes place in Warsaw in the aftermath of WWII and is based on a true story. A young female French Red Cross doctor attending French POWS (Mathilde) is called to a convent where several nuns are pregnant after having been raped by Russian soldiers. Mathilde continues to go to the convent secretly to provide ongoing prenatal care because she can’t walk away from the nuns who have only her to help. She faces opposition from some of the nuns who are so shamed they don’t even want her to examine them as well as the Mother Superior (who you may remember from Ida). The nun is not only trying to deal with the shame but syphilis and fear for how the nunnery will fare in the communist environment. Her actions, however, are horrific.

Mathilde develops a respect for the life of the nuns and the role of faith in desperate situations despite the fact that her parents are communists and she is not religious. She works closely with one of the nuns who is more secular to help deliver the babies. The story is dark with an encouraging end, which I suspect is happier than the true story. The actress who plays Mathilde is able to carry the film despite being on screen virtually the entire time. The film is complex and nuanced and provides a very different plot then we have seen in WWII movies.

The cinematography is excellent as most of the outdoor scenes are grey with snow and dark trees. The bleakness of these scenes is artfully contrasted with the black and white habits of the nuns. It’s really quite beautiful.  The film is very good and I’ll be interested to see if it makes it to the finals of Oscar’s Best Foreign Film category – it certainly should be in contention.



Thirteen (BBC America)

The BBC series finished up this past week and it was a satisfying end to what was a pretty good show. Ivy, as you may recall from a previous post, was kidnapped at age 13 for 13 years when she escaped. For several episodes, we witness Ivy’s attempt to fit back into her family and society in a world that had changed dramatically during her years of captivity. The police in this series were pretty incompetent and went overboard on their interactions with Ivy. They even accused her of the killing the kidnapper’s brother and threw her into jail. Of course she was innocent but it was only one of many missteps by the authorities. Then, another girl was kidnapped and all of a sudden, the police need to enlist Ivy to help them find the girl.

In the finale, through some more police ineptitude, Ivy gains the release of the young girl but is recaptured by her kidnapper. Fortunately, this didn’t last too long and she escapes in a satisfactory conclusion to the story that includes the death of her abductor. This was a one and done mini-series – no season two but was a very good summer show. Along with Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and HBO’s “The Night Of”, we got some surprise summer TV quality. All are worth watching.


Jane the Virgin, Season 1 (Netflix)

I have not been able to binge as much as I had expected to this summer due to all the sports and the last two weeks of political conventions but I am making my way through Season 1 of Jane the Virgin. I never gave the show a chance when it first came out having dropped it after the pilot thinking that it just wasn’t my thing. The critics never gave up on it though so I decided to give it a second look. I have watched about one half of Season 1 and am enjoying it more with each new episode. It has more heart than just about anything you can watch on TV and the acting is great. Each character is complex and engaging me in their stories. I guess technically it is considered a comedy but I find it more dramatic in the way it plays out. I hope to get through the rest of Season 1 before the end of the summer. If you haven’t seen it, try it by watching at least 7 or 8 episodes of the first season.

No posts for the next couple of weeks!


TV: 3 Very Good Premiers and Emmy Thoughts



Mr. Robot (USA) – Season 2

Mr. Robot premiered last year and it was the shock hit of the summer winning a Golden Globe as best drama and for Christian Slater in a supporting role. Rami Malek the star has just been nominated for an Emmy, as has the show for best drama. This cyber-hacking drama follows Elliot (Malek) who is a brilliant but disturbed computer wiz who falls in with a group of hackers intent on bringing down an “Evil” corporation and disrupting the infrastructure of the country. There are many twists and turns during season 1 but for those who haven’t seen it, I’ll leave it at that. I can’t say as I ever quite knew what was going on and some of the technical hacking sequences are out of my league but the story is intriguing and the acting very good.

Season two premiered this week with a 90 minute show that picked up somewhere after the massive season ending hack that brought down the economy.  Elliot has left his computer world and is struggling with himself and “Mr. Robot” as he tries for some normalcy in his life.  His former buddies, fsociety, is moving forward with more hacks and coming to grips with what they have achieved.  We aren’t really sure what Wellick and his wife are up to nor what role Wellick played in the hack but they are probably not up to anything good.  Several new characters have been introduced which should provide some interesting plotlines. I can’t say as I completely understood everything in the premier but that was partly because I was very tired and kept falling asleep, waking up and rewinding. Looks like a good season again and I’m totally in. I’ll do an interim update after getting through more episodes.

Stranger Things (Netflix)

Stranger Things starring Winona Rider dropped on Netflix Friday the 15th. Normally stories about the paranormal aren’t really my thing but this has very good reviews so I thought I would check it out. I believe it is meant to be homage to all things Spielberg. It has the feel of E.T., Poltergeist, a little Star Wars and Super 8. I’ve seen the first 2 of 15 episodes and there is some sort of electrical force/monster that has kidnapped a young boy and potentially killed others. This “force” is connected to the Department of Energy facility  in a small Indiana town in the early 1980s where a bunch of employees are clearly quite knowledgeable about what is going on.

There are several intersecting plots that are introduced in the initial episodes.  The first is the search by 3 young nerdy boys for their kidnapped friend Will. They enlist the help of an almost mute young girl who they are hiding from their parents. We don’t know much about her except that her name “11” is tattooed on her arm and that several nefarious men are tracking her down. The second storyline involves Will’s older brother and one of the boy’s older sisters. We also have a romance between Winona Rider’s character and the police chief who isn’t exactly on top of his job. Finally we have Will trying to communicate with his mother (Ryder) through the electrical light system. So far it is interesting but they are going to have to give me a little more in the way of answers before I say that this is the next E.T.  Ryder is great, however, and it is nice to have her back in a leading role.

The Night Of (HBO)

I covered this last week so just a reminder that it has started, it is great and I can’t wait for Episode 2.

Thought on the Emmys

Just some random musings:

  • The Americans finally got nominated for Best Drama, Best Actor and Best Actress. These are LONG overdue for what is arguably the best show on television. I doubt the show will win anything but at least it is finally being recognized. This is a real stunner in that shows that have been overlooked for years by the Academy almost never are rewarded later in their run.
  • HBO’s wonderful mini-series “Show Me a Hero” with such an amazing performance by Oscar Isaacs was inexplicably left out of the nominations.
  • The Leftovers had a brilliant 2nd season, won a Peabody for it’s excellence and yet wasn’t nominated for an Emmy? All the actors in this show do a great job but Carrie Coon in particular should have gotten a nomination. This is more typical of what I expect from the Academy.
  • Rectify is another great show that missed out
  • Loved the nominations for Mr. Robot and Rami Malek but where was Christian Slater’s Golden Globe winning performance!
  • The OJ Simpson mini-series walked away with a gazillion nominations – most of which were well deserved although I thought Cuba Gooding Jr.’s and John Travolta’s nominations could have been given to more worthy performances.
  • The academy nominated a wide variety of some of the great newer comedies but wish “You’re the Worst” and Aya Cash’s work was recognized.
  • Loved the Constance Zimmer nomination for UnREAL but no Sheri Appleby?
  • I’m ok with no Orange is the New Black nominations because Season 3 was not that great but I hope this year’s  much better Season 4 results in some nominations next year
  • Game of Thrones is one of my favorite shows and I’m happy it walked away with nominations but it seems overly generous for a season that was up and down.
  • Samantha Bee deserves a nod – her show is great.
  • Unlike the Oscars, the Emmys nominated a very diverse slate of actors and actresses, showing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science how it should be done.
  • While some old tired shows like Modern Family, Downton Abby and Homeland (although last season was a bit better) keep getting nominations, the Emmys are making progress in recognizing some newer shows that are really good.  I doubt the voters actually watch even a small portion of all the shows out there so we’ll see what actually wins but I am encouraged.  Usually on Emmy nomination day I just throw things at the TV – this year I’m in a much happier place!
  • It might be time for the TV Academy to rethink how they can reward these performances when there are over 450 scripted dramas a year in addition to comedies, mini-series, movies etc. Even I can’t watch 450 drama let alone the academy voters who are passing judgment on these shows.

Binging Update:

Jane the Virgin (the CW; Season 1 on Netflix)

When Jane the Virgin premiered a few years ago, I watched the pilot and decided it wasn’t really for me. After on-going critical acclaim, I decided I would try it again this summer. It is always difficult getting through an hour-long show with 22 episodes a season but I’m several episodes in and it is pretty good. The show has a lot of heart and strong performances by the actors.  The writing is great and I’m enjoying the world of the “Telenovela”.  With several new shows starting and vacation looming, I’m not sure how much more I’ll get through but I’m going to give it a go.

TV: What I’m watching this summer


Summer TV viewing:

Summer is a time to catch up and binge watch shows that you haven’t gotten to see during the year or years past. Since retirement, I have been able to catch up on many shows I missed during my working career or that I just couldn’t get to in the last couple of seasons. This summer I am going to try and watch the following even though I’m pretty sure I won’t get to through every series.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and feel free to binge them yourselves!

Must see summer shows:

Mr. Robot (USA)

Mr. Robot starts its 2nd season July 13th. If you haven’t seen this Golden Globe winning drama, find Season 1 and watch this remarkably fine cyber hacking drama staring the magnificent Rami Malek. It is full of twists and turns and you won’t always know what is going on but the acting is fantastic and the show worth of all its accolades.

Rectify (Sundance)

Rectify will premier it’s forth and final season late this summer on Sundance. For me, this is tied with the Americans as the best TV program on the air. You can easily catch up on the first three seasons on Netflix, as each season only runs  6 episodes except for season 2 (I think).  I promise that it will be so compelling that if you don’t have the Sundance channel, you will get a Seasons Pass on ITunes so you won’t have to wait another year to see the final season.

Rectify follows Daniel Holden, who was convicted for the rape and murder of his girlfriend when he was 18 years old. At 36, after spending 18 years on Death Row, he is cleared through DNA analysis and returns to his childhood home. The show explores how he and his family and the community deal with his return. It is a beautiful character study that combines unsolved mysteries (did he really do it) with evolving personalities and relationships. Just an amazing series.

Netflix original shows I am involved with but haven’t been able to keep up on that I will try and finish:

  • The Unbreakable Kimmy  Schmidt (Very Good)
  • Bloodline (Good 1st season; 2nd season is supposed to be pretty bad but I’ll check it out)
  • Daredevil (1st season very good; haven’t gotten to more than 1 episode in season 2)
  • Jessica Jones (1st season very good; 2nd season not yet released)
  • Orange is the New Black (it has had it’s ups and downs but I am a faithful viewer waiting for the next season to drop)
  • Grace and Frankie (ok first season and second season is very weak)

Series I want to catch up on:

  • Jane the Virgin (I watched the original pilot but it wasn’t my cup of tea so I dropped it. However most of the critics I really respect love it and so I think I need to give it another chance
  • Sherlock (another very good one that I just have never been able to find time for)
  • Killjoy (Highly rated Sci Fy show that I’d like to check out)
  • PBS’s Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth (I’m a sucker for Jane Austin and this is supposed to be a great one!)
  • Happy Valley (got through an episode or so but had no time this year and can’t wait to get through the rest)
  • Billions (saw the first episode but never had time for the rest this season)

There are still some premiers and finales happening that I will be posting updates for them as they happen.