more television to watch

With stay at home orders still in effect here in my home state as well as around the world, here are a few more television shows to keep you occupied when the cleaning, cooking, news watching and zoom meetings are done:

The Worlds Most Extraordiary Homes (Netflix & BBC)

Architect Piers Taylor and actress Caroline Quentin travel the world to find, really, the worlds most extraordinary homes!  Not only do they visit but they spend the night allowing for a truly intimate experience. With a balance of architectural know-how (Piers) and gut reaction to the spaces (Caroline) the show provides a wonderful point of view suited to anybody interested in good idea based architecture. You will see all types of homes from tiny, to luxury to absurd. But mostly it is intimate access to spaces one would never even know existed let alone get a peek inside of.

The AO (Netflix)

This strange yet intriguing tale of near death experience exploration is really good TV. If you are anything like me you’ll wonder whose mind can conjure up such an extraordinary and bizarre story line. And it’s brought to life by amazing actors that keep you enthralled from start to finish. It’s perfectly set up for a next season so here’s hoping . . .

Ozark (Netflix)

Season 1 was fantastic. Season 2 was OK. Season 3 just launched so here’s hoping it better. Word on the street is good. But at any rate, watching Jason Bateman play opposite Laura Linney is worth it regardless.

Salt Fat Acid Heat (Netflix)

Another cooking show . . . But following chef Samin Norsat around the world eating, cooking and celebrating the basic elements of food that make it taste so wonderful — is more like taking a glorious trip with your new best friend. Go for the journey. It’s well worth it!

The Morning Show (Apple TV)

I didn’t expect to like this so much. But it is an extremely topical program that strikes an amazing resemblance to recent events at NBC News amidst the Me Too movement. I hate to say that Jennifer Aniston and her Juvaderm face is a bit hard to take at times but acts as further unspoken comment on being a women in entertainment and what it takes to stay relevant into your 50s.

 

how to survive social distancing

Here are some great TV shows to watch during this time of uncertainty when we are mostly stuck in the house. I always find a little escapism helps. That and a nice cup of tea.

Money Heist (Netflix)
This Spanish import is addictive. Three seasons and a fourth on the way in April tell the story of a bank heist gone right, then wrong, then right, then again. You’ll fall in love with the cast of characters and the unexpected plot twists. Put it at the top of your list.

Mystery Road (Acorn)
Another Australian TV show well worth watching. Starring Judy Davis as a small town cop investigating a cattle station disappearance that leads to a host of other crimes, cover ups and Outback intrigue.

Delicious (Acorn)
An unexpectedly delightful story of a chef, his ex-wife, his mistress and their families all set around the theme of the moment — cooking at a high level.

800 Words (Amazon Prime & Acorn)
A syrupy yet poignant family drama about a father who relocates his two kids to a small town in New Zealand after his wife dies. Even through the story is predictable, the cast of characters zany and cliche, with a teenage daughter played by an actress that looks no less than 30, it somehow all works.

Patrick Melrose (Showtime)
Benedict Cumberbatch as you have never seen him before — a hilarious and harrowing character study that takes us through child abuse, drug abuse, family drama and recovery.

Episodes (Showtime)
The behind the scene antics of Matt LeBlanc playing Matt LeBlanc the one time star of Friends now starring (but quickly eclisped by a new generation of young hot kids) in a crappy tv show meant to reinvigorate his career. Akin to how Entourage showed the real Hollywood through completely implausible yet reality based characters.

australian television rocks

To round out my obsession with Australia in general, I have discovered that there are some pretty awesome Australian television shows worth a binge watch. Here are a few of my favorites:

A Place to Call Home

The Downton Abbey of Australia. Wealthy land owning family in a small country town outside of Sydney set just after World War II, deals with the changing times and a whole host of intriguing social issues. Currently in season 5 and available through the subscription service Acorn TV on Amazon for under $5/month or as a YouTube subscription

The Kettering Incident

A sci-fi mystery set on the beautiful and unmistakable Tasmanian coast. The setting is as much a character in this one and done series as are any of the actors — who are superb! Dark, mysterious and simply breathtaking. Available on Amazon Prime.

Janet King

Featuring the same lead actress as A Place to Call Home, Marta Dusseldorp (how she does two ongoing hour long dramas at the same time is a mystery) this series is three seasons in and a spin off of the equally binge worthy Crownies following the equivalent of the Sydney DA’s office prosecuting a host of serious murder and sex crimes set against the personal lives of the young and sexy prosecution team. Janet King sets a more serious tone than the original, following the burgeoning career of the most senior prosecutor as she faces personal drama, dangerous retaliation and increasingly challenging career opportunities all in the name of justice — yet still surrounded by the original host of familiar likeable characters.  Both shows are available on Acorn TV through Amazon.

The Wrong Girl

A likeable romantic comedy drama series based on the novel by favorite blogger & instagrammer Zoe Foster Blake. I watch the show more because I’m a fan of Blake’s dry wit and seriously diverse talent — she’s a beauty editor, turned novelist, turned travel writer, turned beauty company founder and hipster spokesperson, winding her way through early motherhood and sharing it all with the world. Not to mention, she’s not afraid to cast her husband in her hit TV series. I just like her style! And the show’s not bad either. Available through various streaming services online — just takes a search.

All good TV!

good tv you’re not watching

We all know about Game of Thrones, Orange Is The New Black, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Homeland. .  .The breakout hits of this new television landscape in recent years. But there are some shows that are every bit as good and don’t get the same buzz for whatever reason. Whenever I mention them to friends I simply get blank stares back. Huh?  Let’s face it, in this landscape it’s hard to find shows amongst all the competition. But here are two to watch:

The Americans (FX):  I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon this show in its very first episode. I don’t know if it is because I was a huge fan of Keri Russell since her Felicity days or had an instant kinship with the 80’s cold war setting (the days of my youth perfectly recreated down to the nth detail) that hooked me but boy, hook me it did. And four seasons in, the show has only gotten more intriguing, more surprising, more nail biting, more better and simply irresistible.

 

Outlander (Starz):  I’d never heard of the books that have been around for 25 years. I like many others don’t know if they qualify as romance novels, science fiction, historical fiction or what. But wow, do they make for good TV. Another period drama, this time set partially in the 1940’s but mostly in the late 1700’s (that’s the sci-fi element you’ll have to watch to understand) the show is a mix of romance novel casting (down to the beefcake hunk with a mop of curly hair playing opposite the fair skinned, dark haired beauty and a swashbuckling, uniformed villain), painstakingly accurate historical detail and riveting story that can be as sexy as it is disturbing and everything in between, that defies easy categorization. Don’t be fooled, however, this show is fearlessly acted, thought-provokingly produced and well worth a binge watch to catch up for the season two finale next Saturday (July 9) evening.

Want a little more unexpected good TV from days gone by?  Here are a few more shows that have garnered that same blank stare reaction that I promise are worth a download:

Warehouse 13:  Long ago, I stumbled upon a little known TV show on the Syfy Network. It was a crazy leap of faith time travel dramedy rooted in history with just enough Moonlighting thrown in to make the show oddly romantic and zany. I loved its twist on historical objects and watched faithfully to the very last episode.

 

The Tudors:  The first of the period cable dramas I ever binged watched, chronicling the reign of Henry VIII in full technicolor glory. Not only did I watch, but i became so fascinated by the history I went on to read every book about Henry VIII I could get my hands on stumbling upon one of my favorite reads of all time, The Autobiography of Henry VIII.

Mistresses:  This original British series following friends who live an unabashedly modern and adulterous lifestyle was disappointingly short lived and had the most ingenious 9/11 plot turn of all time — something that was perfectly timed and only to be pulled off in another country.  Puts any Real Housewives show to shame as only a scripted drama can.

passion for food

mind of a chef graphicThe number one thing I admire in a person is passion. It’s so sexy to see somebody completely enthralled by the doing of something that turns them on.

The Mind of A Chef, a superb television show produced and narrated by Anthony Bourdain celebrates the passion of some of the world’s most talented chefs. They are nothing if not passionate about what they do. And all completely different from one another.

Every time I watch the show, done is a series format with several episodes concentrating on one chef cooking with friends, highlighting the foods that are special to them and if we’re lucky, seeing into the heart of their kitchens, I am convinced that each featured chef is my new favorite. April Bloomfield goes without saying. I’ve been eating in her restaurants for years. I was completely blown away by the quiet demeanor and expansive knowledge of Kentuckian Ed Lee. And now I am obsessed with dining at the Swedish restaurant of Chef Magnus Nilsson — a 12  seat, 20+ course tasting menu affair choreographed down to the minutest detail, served in a barn some 375 miles north of Stockholm. I don’t know if I’ll ever get there but watch and you’ll see why it sounds like a must do experience.

The Mind of a Chef airs on PBS. Check your local listings for showtimes or catch past seasons on Netflix. And don’t miss the bonus scene after the credits roll.