The 29 Shows I Binge-Watched in 2017

Dear Friends,

If you’re looking for shows to binge-watch this winter, do I ever have the list for you! Full disclosure — we are premium cable, Amazon Prime and Netflix subscribers, so some of these shows may not be accessible to everyone. Okay, pull up a chair and let’s get started!

29 Shows?!? Seriously? What were you thinking?!?

  1. Mind Hunter — While the anachronisms of the years and the music choices drive me a little crazy, this deep dive into the genesis of forensic science has been really fun to watch.
  2. Hap and Leonard — Not since True Detective paired Harrelson and McConaughey have I seen such brilliant casting as partners James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Williams. These two are perfect together. It was fun to see Christina Hendricks again, too. I’ve missed MAD MEN so! This series is based on the books by author Joe R. Lansdale, all of which I binge-read — he has a new one out I cannot wait to get my hands on!
  3. The Patriot — Quirky, clever, and captivating. Also, this has probably one of the most haunting pieces of opening music of all the shows I’ve heard this year, second, maybe, to the opening music in Season 1 of The Affair. Here’s a link to The Patriot’s opening theme song (I’ll forewarn you, it’s a haunting ear worm. I’m hounding Jack’s guitar teacher to teach it so I can sing along, much to Jack’s chagrin). “The Train Song” by Vashti Bunyan: https://youtu.be/0AGD78mWcss
  4. Fortitude — This series, set on an uber-bleak isle off of Norway, is the site of murder and sci-fi mayhem. You’ll recognize two actors from Game of Thrones and in Season 2, Dennis Quaid plays a lead role brilliantly.
  5. Stranger Things — I talked about that previously, here. It gave me an ’80s-gasm from which I have yet to recover.
  6. Orphan Black — I have such a show hangover from this one. I sorely miss the believably different characters Kosima, Allison, Sarah — all played by actress Tatiana Maslany, who has given Streep a run for her money. And then there’s Felix…I miss Felix’s amazing flat. This series was so much fun!
  7. The OA — This series was super quirky and haunting. It made me yearn for more.
  8. Fargo — Regardless of the season, I love, love, love this quirky murder mystery series set in the Coen Brothers’ world. Watch them all.
  9. Channel Zero: Candy Cove — This was super creepy and probably fairly inexpensively made. It had a really interesting concept.
  10. The Missing — Season 1 is eerily reminiscent of the tragic Madeline McCann case, and this has your heart breaking for the parents of a missing boy and the long-term effect it has on them. I had to binge-watch Season 2 right away, as enamored as I was of the wonderful French “cold case” detective, Julien Baptiste.
  11. Catastrophe — This romantic dramedy is such smart writing, and I loved Carrie Fisher’s role in it. (I’m still so sad she is gone–watch her last documentary with Debbie Reynolds–haunting.)
  12. Sneaky Pete — This has that “Wait! I HAVE to see what happens in the next episode!” quality to it of Breaking Bad, and it was created by Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston in one of the lead roles. It’s wonderful.
  13. Better Call Saul — I’ve had many friends tell me they didn’t like this as much as Breaking Bad. To me, it’s just as good, but you have to be more patient with letting the story evolve than you may have been in Breaking Bad.
  14. Preacher — Okay, I must admit, I wasn’t keen on seeing the Christ — the religious figure on whom I base my entire religion — having sex, but outside of that, this quirky story and cast of characters was a blast to watch. Tulip is the best, and oddly enough, you’ll feel empathy for Hitler. I know, that news is hard to swallow, but trust me.
  15. Taboo — Tom Hardy had probably one of the greatest sex scenes of all the shows I’ve seen in the past year. I can’t wait to see what happens in Season 2. Oona Chaplin is wonderful, too. I hope she is back.
  16. Mr. Robot — I’ll admit, I’ve only seen Season 1. After the “big reveal” at the end of Season 1, I’m truly unsure if I can move forward, but I’ll probably give it a go for a couple of episodes.
  17. Tin Star — I was happy to see Christina Hendricks in another great role, but sadly, her character wasn’t likable, nor were any of the characters. After the last episode, I sat and thought about it, and realized I genuinely disliked every. single. character — even Tim Roth, who played the lead.
  18. Longmire — There’s a comfort to watching this series — that slower-paced, unpretentious western vibe, and the Indian reservation and the customs they discuss are fascinating to me. If you loved Battlestar Galactica, you’ll recognize the wonderful Katee Sackhoff.
  19. Black Mirror — This is the Twilight Zone for the modern era. I love it. But frankly, if I had never seen the episode with the Prime Minister having sex with a pig, I’d be a little less traumatized. I’m told that episode was loosely based on some true story, which sickens me even more.
  20. Ray Donovan — I binge-watched Season 1 and I found the storyline of a dysfunctional Boston family transplanted in L.A. fairly enthralling, but somehow, I lost steam on this one. I’ll give it another go.
  21. The Americans — I am a couple of seasons behind, but I really enjoy this one. It’s not the level of Breaking Bad (can anything ever be?) but it’s engaging.
  22. Homeland — Now that they’ve gone PC and started foregoing the route of mentioning radical Islam in any storylines, I’m losing interest and finding this fairly dull.
  23. Westworld — This show taps into the zeitgeist of sexbot and artificial intelligence anxiety in such a smart way. The opening music and imagery is beautifully rendered and let’s face it — anything with Anthony Hopkins and Peter Weller…how can it lose?
  24. Big Little Lies — While it was hard to see Alexander Skaarsgard, my favorite True Blood vampire, playing the role of an abusive husband, the storyline and its stellar cast kept me hooked and let’s face it — anything set in a California backdrop…sigh…
  25. The Affair — I binge-watched Season 1 and have Season 2 waiting for me, but I’m sort of losing steam on this one, as much as I love Maura Tierney.
  26. Broadchurch — This is my current binge-watch show. I finished Season 3 last night. I adore the pairing of actors David Tennant and Olivia Colman. I also like how they wove the characters & tropes from Season 1 into Seasons 2 and 3. I wish for more, but alas, it’s a trilogy.
  27. The Walking Dead — Once they killed Glenn so brutally in Episode 1 this past season, I could never go back. It was torture porn to my mind. Now my friends just tell me what’s happening, and that’s enough for me. I don’t need to see it.
  28. Fear the Walking Dead — The Walking Dead set in California and Mexico made for some interesting scenes, but to be honest, most of the characters in this season aren’t terribly likable, aside from Colman Domingo. It doesn’t help that the lead actress is a Katie Couric look-alike, since she irritates the shit out of me.
  29. The X-Files — I was beyond thrilled to see new episodes, but I need to know what happened to Scully & Mulder’s child! Keep filming!

Well…it’s clear I need to be doing more productive things with my time than binge-watching shows. That explains some unfinished paintings in my office. I didn’t realize how insanely extensive this list was until I got to the very end! Maybe I’ll be better next year…

 

 

 

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I’m Divorcing The Walking Dead

I’ve given myself a week to recover and seriously consider this, but on this Halloween day, my decision remains the same. I’m divorcing the The Walking Dead. Done. Game over, man.

The first episode of this season crossed a line for me, coming waytooclose to torture porn for my comfort level. It’s still making me sick to my stomach, a week later. I wish I could unsee that which can’t be unseen — Glenn’s all-too-graphic death. It’s still playing in my head. I was disturbed by one of the past season’s episodes, the one where Laurie gave herself her own c-section, and The Governor was combing his zombie daughter’s degrading scalp as it fell apart in his hands, but this first Negin episode was my horror cup runneth over. I’m content to simply read the recaps online and not watch it anymore.

And while I’m talking Walking Dead, I have to be honest. Fear the Walking Dead, the west coast version of Walking Dead, has never measured up for me to the original series. I wanted it to. There are few places in the world I love more than the west coast. I thought it would make an interesting, fresh retelling of the story. I just could never get as emotionally invested in those characters — the protagonist mother and daughter mostly just irritated me. Perhaps it’s because the mother reminded me too much of Katie Couric, who also irritates the shit out of me. In the final analysis, I’d rather be watching Westworld or Preacher.

Pretty much sums up Episode 1.

Pretty much sums up Episode 1.

With all of the anxiety over my beloved CUBS winning the first World Series in 108 years, and the current political landscape, my entertainment shouldn’t be amping up my stress. Maybe I need to immerse myself in some Bob’s Burgers binge watching. In the interest of adding some levity to this weird confluence of stress ball events, here are some memes that have made me laugh over the last day:

Oh please, oh please, oh please...!

Oh pleaseOh pleaseOh please…! GO CUBS!

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What Are You Watching This Summer?

 

HBO's THE LEFTOVERS

HBO’s THE LEFTOVERS

Last night Dave and I decided to give HBO’s new offering The Leftovers a try. We typically enjoy Damon Lindelof’s work, so we were geeked for some great TV. Episode 1 sets the stage where a large percentage of the population just instantaneously disappears one day. Poof! Gone! Is it the rapture? Alien abductions? I Dream of Jeannie Syndrome? We are left wondering the origin as the story advances to three years later, and life is a bizarre combination of orderly civilian living–trains still run on time, electricity is still on, and food and drugs are still plentiful–and pockets of anarchy. A mysterious, mute, chain-smoking cult clad in white keeps dog-eared records on the living, targeting and intimidating various civilians, and seems to be recruiting or preying on the vulnerable. In short, life has turned to shit.

Dave and I are giving it two more episodes before committing to continue watching or cutting bait. So far, we’ve found no sympathetic characters to root for, and we’re already depressed enough after the endless, dystopian TV journey that is The Walking Dead. If anyone following me has seen The Leftovers, I’d love to hear your take on it. If they do a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, I’ll probably check it out…that is, if it isn’t in the dreaded Hall H!

 So, which TV shows are you all watching this summer? What has you engrossed? I’ll post your suggestions here.