Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Summer Viewing

Summer is my window for television viewing. During the school year, I get an hour or so a week of TV time, so it can take me a loooong time to watch something. Especially during the age of Netflixing, I'm so behind on my media consumption!

But in the summer, the living is easy…and gives me a lot more time for television, so I do some catching up.

So, here's what I watched this summer: 

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 2: I started watching this one while school was still in, so I finished the rest in a rush in my first few days of vacation. I'm a fan of Neil Patrick Harris as far back as Doogie Howser, though I love him best for Dr. Horrible.

I've enjoyed these books with my children, and this series captures the feel so much better for me than the movie attempt of a few years ago.

Campy, but sincere. Funny, but dry. Intelligent, but silly.

Patrick Warburton's deadpan narration as Lemony Snicket is perfect and the contributions of Joan Cusack, Nathan Fillion, and Lucy Punch have been such fun!

Stranger Things and Beyond Stranger Things (all of it). I had already watched the series (I FOUND extra TV time to make it through the series unspoiled), but my 11 year old daughter really wanted to see it.

I decided it would be best if we watched it together in case it raised questions for her, since it's a little more mature than anything I've let her watch up till now. No hard sacrifice to watch it again on my part. :-)

Of course, she became a hardcore fan, just like her mom. She plans to be El for Halloween this year. We even watched the accompanying interview show and are keeping our fingers crossed that the third season will be just as good when it comes out.

I used this as my excuse to introduce her to some of the material the show riffs on, so we also watched The Goonies, The Lost Boys, It, and ET. Stand by Me is still on the TBW list.  

Grace and Frankie: Season 3 and part of 4. I started watching this one this past spring when I had the flu and spent almost a week in bed. Overall, I really like it, though each episode is quite short and that can make things feel jumpy and disjointed at times.

Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda make a great "Odd Couple" set of roommates and the story offers a lot of poignant and thoughtful moments surrounding issues of aging, even if it does veer into an "afterschool special" sort of feeling from time to time.

It's been like a who's who of actors over 60, and it's been fun to see some actors whose work I know playing something outside their usual. Sam Waterson, Martin Sheen, Peter Gallagher, Craig T. Nelson, Sam Elliot, and Lisa Kudrow, among others have turned in some stellar moments.

Jane the Virgin, Season 4: My older daughter recommended this one to me a year or two ago, and I was happy to see that there were new episodes out on Netflix. It's a little outside my usual watching preferences, but I've come to love the characters, and watching them grow from season to season.

The show has a lot of fun playing with telenovela tropes running rampant through the life of Jane, who would like to be a straightforward, sensible woman, but keeps being thrust into over-the-top dramatic situations. I enjoy the switching between English and Spanish representing the way a lot of folks live their lives in two or more languages (the Spanish is subtitled, if needed), and the universally positive potrayals of family life, even in the middle of hyperbolic turmoil.

I'm especially fond of Rogelio, her father and telenovela star, as portrayed by Jaime Camil, and season 4 gave Abuela Alba so much more to do!

Killjoys, Season 2 (most of it). I'm watching this one with my husband, which means we need two adults available, awake, and in the mood for this show at the same time. So, it'll probably be a few more months till we finish.

We're not thrilled with the going-behind-each-other's back stuff that's going on with the main three right now (feels like false tension for writer convenience instead of anything character based with real motivation), but we still love Dutch and are invested and seeing her win.

We've got no doubt she eventually will.

Wynona Earp, Season 2: Since I loved Lost Girl even when it got really
crazy, Netflix suggested this one to me.

It was right.

I'm a sucker for a good reluctant hero, and Wynona foots the bill. Add some demons, a curse, and a revision of her family history to include the supernatural, and I'm in! The Scooby Gang springing up around our heroine has a lot of fun characters as well.

It doesn't hurt that this version of Doc Holliday played by Tim Rozon is so very charming.

Jessica Jones, Season 1: This is another one my husband and I have been watching together and we finally finished a season. The Marvel-verse on TV is the part I feel the most behind on, and anxious to catch up on.

I still haven't seen all of Daredevil, the rest of Jessica, any of the Punisher, or Luke Cage. I've only just started Agent Carter. They produce this stuff faster than I can watch it!

Not sure if I'm ever going back for Agents of Shield (the character Skye drives me up a wall and even the magnificent Ming-Na Wen can't save the series from her). I saw and was underwhelmed by Iron Fist.

Anne with an "E": All of Season 1 and some of Season 2. This is another recommendation from my daughter. It's interesting that she knew I'd like it, when she doesn't even know Anne of Green Gables. It wasn't one of those childhood classics that grabbed her, like it did me. Little Women, either. She doesn't generally like "period pieces" like I do. But we both love this show.

I read the novels as a child and loved them. Maybe not with the passion that some do, but still, they stuck with me. I LOVE this retelling. It's like someone took this pastoral fantasy and decided to tell it more realistically, with some of the grit and baggage that must come into any life that has involved difficulty.

Anne's relentless optimism plays very differently (and, in my opinion, more powerfully) when framed with more background on the difficulties Anne faced in her life before coming to Green Gables. And AmyBeth McNulty (who plays Anne) is utterly amazing. I hold out hope that the rest will be just as strong.

Wow! That's a lot of TV.

Believe it or not, I still did other things with my summer, too. Writing it all out here, it sounds like I was a total couch potato. But school starts this week, so I'm back on my feet and in the classroom again. Let me know in the comments what I should catch up on next summer!

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