In the last two years I have watched more television than in the 35 previous years combined. Interestingly enough, a little over two years ago we decided to “cut the cord” and get rid of our cable subscription because we weren’t big television watchers. A perfect storm of Apple TV and a broken foot completely changed my television viewing practices forever. Here are a few things I’m watching now:
Murder She Wrote (originally on CBS)
This was a Netflix find. I’d been fruitlessly searching for a digital way to watch Anne of Green Gables (inspired by the conversation on this post by Rita) when this came up as a suggestion. I remember my mom watching it but I don’t think I ever did (1 – I don’t think my mom would have let me because for as tame as it is – I had an overactive imagination 2 – The only shows I remember watching with any regularity were the Cosby Show and Saved by the Bell). It’s formulaic and adorable and Dame Angela Lansbury is so perfectly cast. It’s just good. And makes for great knitting television.
I was completely uninterested in watching this show but one of my friends twisted my arm and I watched the first episode. Even then I was kind of “meh”. Then she asked me to watch the second one. (Have I mentioned I have more of a problem with peer pressure now than I did as a teenager?!? I know that’s completely backward, but it’s also true.) Now I’m trying to convince her to purchase the third season and watch with me. She’s less susceptible to peer pressure.
Jesse doesn’t watch TV. That involves sitting. He will, however, come in and watch about half of each episode of this show and then pepper me with questions about the half he missed (which is just my favorite) because while he can NOT sit and watch an hour of television – he really likes this show a lot. It’s a western filled with men’s men who do men’s men things while building a transcontinental railroad. Lest you think you’re not interested in that kind of television, it’s also smart. Well crafted. And well acted. It’s one of the more interesting television shows I’ve watched that deals with the theme of redemption. And you know, if that doesn’t interest you, there’s always Anson Mount. But if you don’t like smart, character driven stories with some seriously attractive lead characters – this probably isn’t for you.
This is another one of those shows that is completely peer pressure based (and because I kinda have a girl crush on Jamie Lee Curtis). I’ve only watched the two hour premiere and basing a show on a “pilot” isn’t easy to do. I would not describe this as smart television. It wants to be. It definitely wants to make a statement about social media (there’s a scene where a killer and the victim are standing across from one another texting each other and instead of calling the police, the victim attempts to get help via status update) and society in general.
My favorite exchange in the whole show:
Grace: You’re a horrible person.
Chantal: Maybe. But I’m rich and I’m pretty so it doesn’t really matter.
Sometimes it just feels like it’s going to be too campy and too much pushing the envelope and just too much. I’ll probably try and give it another episode or so, but I’m not sure I’m the right audience. Have you seen it? What did you think?
Have you watched anything great lately? Movies, television, otherwise? I’m knitting for Christmas so I have a feeling there will be a whole lot more watching in the next few months ahead.
Good-bye brain cells.
(I’ll also take any book recommendations you have to off-set all this television watching!)
“Good-bye brain cells” … 🙂
I watched Murder She Wrote as a kid, and I remember really enjoying it.
My husband and I just finished the two seasons of Last Tango in Halifax, a modern day show set in Yorkshire, England. We really enjoyed it, and are looking forward to more seasons coming down the pipe. Now, we’re into Mr. Selfridge, a period series set in London in the early 1900s (WW ! has just started in season 2). This has been quite addicting, and has been hampering my knitting! My husband has just left on a business trip and I’m rather determined to leave the TV off, and to turn the radio on instead! We used to be CBC devotees, which kind of sort of went by the wayside when we had kids (too hard to catch everything said on radio when the kids were noisy). In the last few months, however, I’ve been slowly getting back into listening to CBC again, because while I find it difficult to knit and watch TV, I find it easy to knit while listening to the radio. I guess this is a long-winded way to make the somewhat off-beat suggestion of NPR 🙂 .
I do love to listen to NPR and tend to listen it to it in the car or when we are up in the cabin. I don’t know why I don’t do it at home. I really should!!
Thank you for the suggestions. You’re the second person to suggestion Mr. Selfridge to me. I tend to go for period English anything so I’ll have to look that one up soon.
I love these kinds of posts. Just two days ago Cane and I were trying to find something new to watch together. Like you, I cut the cable cord a few years ago, and I’ll never go back. My only TV now is what I can get on Netflix and Amazon. This means I’m a few years behind everyone else, but that’s OK with me! I’ll never go back to commercial TV. When I’m at my parents (who still have that) I feel assaulted by all the ads.
Anyhow, if you like Hell on Wheels, you might like Narcos, which is what we decided to watch. Only one episode in, and I expected to not like it (not much of one for violence), but I did like it. I’m also finishing Bloodline. Oh my gosh–so much sweaty discomfort–and it took me several episodes to get hooked, but hooked I became. If you want something a little disturbing/weird/British, you might try Black Mirror. It’s like an updated Twilight Zone. More conventional British: Bletchley Circle. LOVE. I also really liked The Americans–Soviet spies living under cover in early 80’s America. It’s really the story of relationships.
Writing this, I can see that my recommendations are heavily influenced by finding things I can watch with a man. That’s mostly the only TV watching I do, and we don’t have time to do much of that. Project TV has to be something I don’t have to necessarily look at the whole time I’m watching.
I LOVED Bloodline. (If you can love a show that’s filled with that many horrible people). I saw your comment on Jules’ last television post about how you weren’t really liking it and was bummed because I thought it was really well done. Ben Mendelssohn as Danny is brilliant. I’m interested to see how the second season plays out.
I’m definitely going to check out Black Mirror and Bletchley Circle. Narcos sounds like a maybe. I’m terrible with violence. Hell on Wheels even made me super queasy and I had to leave the room a few times. And I love man approved viewing choices because then Jesse will come and sit with me for at least a LITTLE bit before he goes to putter. 🙂
Hell on Wheels (which I haven’t seen) sounds like it might be similar to Peaky Blinders and Deadwood (the latter is old and maybe you have already seen it, but Timothy Olyphant is always, always worth mentioning). Both of those shows have uncomfortable violence, though. But worth it.
I LOVED Narcos. I was a bit put off at first by the cheesy voice-over, but it really hooked me in. The actor who plays Pablo Escobar is truly amazing. There is violence, of course, but it’s mostly not the kind of slow, close-up, dwelt-upon violence that really bothers me. About half of each episode is in Spanish, though, so It’s not a knitting show unless you are truly fluent.
Right now we are watching Longmire on Netflix. A bit formulaic, but good entertainment. In fact it’s kind of a contemporary, male-protagonist version of Murder She Wrote, I’d venture to say!
Hi Sarah! I actually watched the first few episodes of Peaky Blinders on my brother’s recommendation but stopped when the violence got to be too much. I haven’t watched Deadwood, however, so I’ll add that to my list and Longmire sounds like something I’ll have to give a try quite soon. Thank you for the suggestions!!!