Lest my readers think that all I do is fold yoga pants all day long, I’d also have you know that I watch a lot of television. As such, I consider myself a bit of an authority on what’s available for your viewing pleasure these days because if I’m not watching it, one of my four kids most definitely is.
As you might have read on Facebook, in between kitten videos and all that fake news, the holidays are upon us and you’ll need a reason to take extended breaks from all that family time and alleged good cheer. And it seems these days saying, “Sorry, I’ve got to catch up on my show,” is passing as a valid excuse for why we can’t (FILL IN THE BLANK):
- A: Make dinner
- B: Get out of our yoga pants
- C: Shower
Okay, I made that last one up because when I try to avoid bathing for extended periods my children start to complain. But you get my drift. Having a “show” can be helpful for a lot more than just passing the time. It could literally save your life (cue dramatic bom-bom-bom).
I thought I’d introduce shows that aren’t necessarily the ones that everyone is talking about. Obviously, I’m totally committed to a lot of them. I’m completely up-to-date with “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards” and “The Walking Dead” (btw: What is up with this season? Enough with Negan already. Somebody please bash in his skull.). I watched all of “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “Gilmore Girls” (btw part 2: I wish I could insert emojis here to really express how crazy I thought the ending was.). And I’ve kinda stalled on a few shows I really loved for a season or two but just can’t finish, like season two of “Bloodline” and “Transparent” and season three of “The Americans” and “Orange is the New Black.” And I didn’t get all the way through season one of “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce,” “Odd Mom Out” and “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” so I don’t know if that says something about the shows themselves or my struggle with follow through.
But there are a bunch of great shows that I watched and totally loved that are a little more off the beaten tv track. So, in no particular order:
- Westworld (HBO): I have a very smart girlfriend who is really resisting this one because she’s tired of all the gratuitous misogeny on shows like “Game of Thrones.” She just can’t watch one more woman get raped right there on her tv set. I get that, but then I read a really interesting piece about why that’s not completely nuts and maybe kinda feminist and it made me feel better about liking these kinds of shows that flaunt all that violence against women. Anyway, yes, WestWorld has lots of sex and violence but it’s also chock-a-clock with amazeballs acting and ideas that are making me reconsider everything I’ve thought about life up until now. Like, I’m pretty sure I’m a robot. Confused? Just start watching and you’ll be having all sorts of existential thoughts, too.
- This Is Us (NBC): Missing “Parenthood”? Here’s your antidote, being slowly dribbled out one-week-at-a-time on network television. But it’s so sweet and poignant that I can forgive the old timey notion of weekly television and advertising and look forward to each week’s installment. Plus, it has Jess from “Gilmore Girls” who’s a lot less annoying on this show than he was as Rory’s n’er-ds-well boyfriend.
- The Crown (Netflix): I think I’d be as obsessed with this gorgeous series even if I wasn’t going to London in a few weeks. Not only is everything beautiful – the actors, the settings and everyone’s lovely and very proper British accents – but history lessons have never gone down so easily. The London Fog? WHO KNEW? Churchill was selected twice as prime minister? Who knew that one, either? Well, not me anyway. Might even watch again.
- Stranger Things (Netflix): As a person with the TV viewing habits of a 13yo boy trapped in a 50yo woman’s body, this series checked every box of things that I love: monsters, kids riding around on bikes, Eggo Waffles. It’s set in the 1980s and is such a loving homage to the era and the Steven Spielberg-take on it. All my kids watched and loved it including — especially — the 13yo boy who watched it twice and follows all of the kid actors on social media. You’ll thank me.
- The Fall (Hulu): As a single woman who often finds herself alone at home, I don’t even know why I’m watching this one. So. Damn. Creepy. But my very cute manager at the legging factory was raving about it so I was like, “Well, she’s a very nice girl and we seem to like a lot of the same stuff so I’ll give it a go.” Yikes. It’s about a straight-up serial killer roaming around Belfast (it’s a BBC production) and the detective who’s trying to nab him. But the nut job is the guy who starred in “Fifty Shades of Gray” and the detective is the very amazing and badass Gillian Anderson. I’m about halfway through season two. Please come hold my hand.
- Jessica Jones (Netflix): Talk about badass. This one has all the bad stuff: sex, violence (lots against women and even a hand in a blender towards the end). But I still totally loved it, especially, or maybe because of, David Tennant who plays the very evil – yet kinda sexy and amusing – villain. It’s based on Marvel Comics characters and somehow ties into “Luke Cage” and “Daredevil,” which my daughter could tell you all about but I don’t pay much attention to. It was super fun to watch but, as with most of these shows, make sure your kids are in bed before you press “play.”
- Sherlock (PBS): I was never a huge Benedict Cumberbatch person. Like, I kinda didn’t get it. But then I watched “Sherlock.” He’s very appealing as the pretty crazy detective running around London and figuring out the most convoluted mysteries. And his trusty sidekick, Watson, is played by Frodo Baggins so what’s not to like there? Really fun and yet another super-evil villain (MORIARTY YOU BASTARD) and I can’t wait for the next installment to come out, which is New Year’s Day on PBS.
- Catastrophe (Amazon): Romantic. Hilarious. Devastating. Catastrophe, a British import, is all of those things. It’s what happens when a sexy one-week-stand results in a pregnancy and the ensuing messy thing we call marriage. And love. But the lead actress also does the writing for this as well as Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Divorce” on HBO, which I also happen to really like.
- Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon): Two words: Bernadette Peters. Need more? Okay, behind the scenes at a financially struggling NYC symphony and the ensuing romances, politics and backstabbing. Really fun and, bonus!, Season 3 just came out this week.
- You’re the Worst and Love (FX and Netflix): I’m pretty sure these are the exact same shows but somebody didn’t tell their respective networks. And it’s kind of weird because I really liked “You’re the Worst” and did not like “Love.”
- Master of None (Netflix): All I have to say is that you know it’s a good show when you have legit romantic dreams about Aziz Ansari.
- Unreal (Lifetime): I don’t know if I’d watch another season of this behind the scenes look at a Bachelor-like reality show because I don’t think the producers could get any worst in the name of ratings. But if you’re a reality tv person (which I am not), it’s fun to get a look of what might be going on when the cameras aren’t rolling. Plus, I’m obsessed with the tattoos the two female leads get at the beginning of season two. Badass.
What’s in your queue? I’m hot to watch “Poldark” and maybe finish up some of those shows I left hanging mid-season.
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