A Happy Thanksgiving Gratitude Poem

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is my gratitude poem. (If you share it, please give credit.)

I am grateful…

To all long-term plotters,
And last-minute shleppers,
To early risers,
And all-week preppers;

To those who travel,
And those who stay,
To those who grumble,
And those who play;

To solo celebrators,
And party mavens,
To those who mourn,
And provide safe havens;

To diners-out,
And those facing a squall,
To those who relax,
And workers, all;

To families by blood,
And those we choose,
To angst sometimes quelled
By drugs or booze;

To those who won’t say much,
And those who speak up,
To those who stay silent
While raising their cup;

To those without homes,
And those who share theirs,
To those who serve kindness
Along with their prayers;

To natives and newbies,
To all types, all ways,
May all beings benefit,
Today and all days.


2019
By Sally Ember, Ed.D. (Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember, sallyemberedd

) (http://www.sallyember.com)

“The Friday TV Report” 55 for 11/1/19, Updated for 11/15/19, from Sally Ember, Ed.D., and her mom

“The Friday TV Report” 55 for 11/1/19, Updated for 11/15/19, from Sally Ember, Ed.D., and her mom
Mom and I April 2019
Mom and I, April, 2019

I (Sally) update this ever-changing post of TV viewing news plus our ongoing mini-reviews and premiere/return dates, renewal/cancellation status, and other tidbits for SOME of the hundreds of specials, series and live performances aired on non-premium cable TV, PBSAmazon Prime and Netflix, with a few shows from other networks, premium cable (HBO, Showtime, Epix, etc.), and Canadian, Australian and UK TV (CBC, Acorn, BBC, SKY), that become available later on DVDs via our local library. Begun in fall, 2015) and updated often between “full” posts (check on Fridays), there is always something new here for TV watchers.

Next full post = December 6, 2019
****************************************************************************


Newest plans for viewing network and cable TV channels in the USA (and a few new shows on Netflix) for fall, 2019 (most are recorded to watch at our leisure
because CARDINALS BASEBALL!!!), and a bit beyond. Full descriptions appear later in this post. Once we have weighed in, they appear below this section in “Yay,” “Nay,” or “Maybe.”
I watch some by myself (while coloring; these are marked with one asterisk *; when Mom watches alone, usually after I go to bed, these are marked with 2 asterisks, **.
Returning shows are in regular italics; new shows are in bold italics:
11/24 & 25/19 Garth Brooks Biography documentary A & E
11/26/19—Dolly Parton at the Grand Ole’ Opry
12/8/19—Christmas at Dollywood
12/15—-Kennedy Center Honors (annual honorees vary)
date?—-*Psych 2nd film (USA channel; late in 2019)
1/2/20—Deputy premieres
January ?— Carter resumes
1/3/20—Anne with an “E” (Netflix) resumes
1/6/20—Manifest resumes
1/6/20—Good Girls resumes
1/7/20—FBI Most Wanted premieres
1/7/20—Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist premieres
1/10/20—Lincoln Rhyme, Bone Collector premieres
1/15/20—Roswell, New Mexico resumes
1/19 & 1/20/20—-9-1-1 Lonestar premieres
1/23/20—The Bold Type resumes
2/6/20—Katy Keene premieres
2/6/20—Indebted premieres
March ?—Council of Dads premieres

Whenever a show/series is canceled, I erase the review and its listing from this page and the opinion section (because, otherwise, this compilation gets too long). Likewise, whenever I/we dislike a show, I list it at the end of this post for only its active year, then I erase it.

I am having problems deciding what to put in the NEWS section (now at the END), because there are far too many upcoming, pilot, put pilot, commissioned, planned and soon-to-be-scheduled series and specials for me to describe or list them all. Then, I have to track them to find out what happens to the plans: many do not come to viewing.
I tried to have a system (only list those we might watch, e.g.), but gave up on being consistent. I may come along occasionally and move some of the “news” listings to “scheduled” (when that happens), or “lost” (meaning, it’s been more than 6 months and I haven’t seen anything scheduled), or remove them all together, but I can’t claim any kind of reliable criteria for that movement or inclusion, yet. Be surprised.

I am maintaining a summary section (“Yays,” “Nays,” and “Maybe/Still Considering”) for the current year’s shows (until canceled; see above) and for any series that are continuing or still available to view (some on DVD, for us). I add to reviews of many previously reviewed shows with new info/casting, renewals, and opinions often, so check weekly if you’re interested in those updates.

While we can understand the urge to be timely, the heavy-handedness and pervasiveness of stories that feature “us” vs. “them,” whether “they” are mutants, aliens, Earthlings from the future with special powers, immigrants to the USA (Middle-Easterners or former USSR folks, usually with questionable immigration status or criminal tendencies), sex traffickers and greedy/criminal politicians, we do NOT want our “entertainment” to be filled with “news of the day” so much that we can never relax or feel entertained.

We vote. We watch Rachel Maddow/Joy Reid. I listen to NPR and Mom watches many other news shows (Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, others on MSNBC). That’ is plenty of “reality” for us.

We are not eager to continue watching shows whose plots and characters are disturbing in the same ways “real life” is. We start, then we stop watching. Therefore, some series we had originally put on the “Yay” side are now in “Maybe/Still Considering,” or all the way to “Nay” at this time. Same goes for shows whose casting or writing team seemed promising but turned out to disappoint.

We think the first one or two airings of any SEASON’s shows on TV are similar to serving dishes at a pot luck table that look popular, due to being mostly empty early on: many pot luck goers may take more of those first-up casseroles or even clean out the pie pans near the start of the line (watch one or 2 Episodes of a series or spend an viewing entire evening on one station), but no one knows whether or not the choosers actually LIKED what they selected! The food could end up mostly uneaten, tossed or traded away. Likewise, the “high ratings” for these first weeks could dramatically diminish once people have sampled enough to know what they like and don’t like, see what else is on, plan their viewing schedules. The REAL test occurs week 3: what do viewers return to watch? So, stay tuned, ratings-wise. It’s after week 2 that some shows are “summarily” canceled, even when they have the rest of the SEASON in the “can.”


If you want to keep up with Netflix and other streaming and DVD sites’ offerings, this weekly update from https://movierewind.com/everything-netflix/ is unmatched. [BTW: I get no kickback, but I do subscribe and suggest you do the same (it’s free!).]

Here’s what the Movie Rewind team provides, weekly:
Netflix Instant Streaming and DVD release dates as they become available …
Red Subheadings tell you if the titles are DVD or Instant Streaming, U.S. or Canada.
Green Subheadings are for Amazon Prime Instant Streaming titles.
You’ll find some TV series Hulu, Acorn TV, Networks, and other platforms information in Pink. I can only include selected Canadian Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu titles – TV series and hot new movies.”

Also, Collider.com offers great genre lists of Netflix‘s library (“Best TV Shows on Netflix” is one of them), and its own reviews, news, and opinions of many TV series,  characters, writers, directors.

This is the 55th Post, for 11/1/19, Updated for 11/15/19,
(each post is UPDATED on most interim Fridays).

Next full post, 12/6/19


Regarding late-night shows
(which are often repeated in the early morning hours):

—we both watch James Corden‘s musical skits, “Carpool Karaoke” and “Broadway at the Crosswalk,” when they’re on the regular channel (we don’t get iTunes shows), but not the rest of his shows’ segments;
—we watch the first or both of the first parts of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and sometimes one or more of his guest spots;
—my mom watches The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but I only watch a few bits, usually on YouTube, later (“Lip Sync Battles,” e.g.);
—Mom watches Seth Myers‘ show’s first parts, but I do not;
—I sometimes watch the first parts of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (we miss you, Jon Stewart!), but Mom does not;
—Mom watches all of Saturday Night Live, but I don’t like it (never did);
—Mom also watches Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and a lot of other MSNBC news shows, I watch Rachel, also;
—I catch some of John Oliver’s Episodes on YouTube a few times a year; Mom does not.


Our constantly updated summary (newly put into the for; RENEWEDm of sections for “Yays” and “Nays” and “Maybe/Still Considering”), with CANCELED or RENEWAL notices, for the current TV year (UPDATED 11/15/19).


image from Pixabay

Yay
9-1-1 (Okay for SEASON 3)
*After Life (Oddly compelling; Netflix RENEWED for SEASON 2)
All Rise (we really like this one)
A Place to Call Home
(EXCELLENT series from Australia; SEASON 6 is final; ACORN or DVD)
*Anne with an ‘E’ (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Big Little Lies (Finished on HBO for SEASON 2 and won several Golden Globes!; waiting for DVD)
*Blood & Treasure (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Blue Bloods (Okay for SEASON 10)
Bluff City Law (We like it enough; CANCELED)
Bull (Good for SEASON 4 but lost its producers)
*Cable Girls (Las Chicas Del Cable) (Good, but darker for SEASON 3; Netflix )
*Call the Midwife (EXCELLENT show; RENEWED for SEASONS 8, 9, 10)
Carter (mostly fun; RENEWED for SEASON 2, which airs in Jan, 2020)
Case Histories (very well done; 2 SEASONS; Netflix )
C.B. Strike (very well-written and -acted; RENEWED for SEASON 4; DVD or On Demand)
Chicago Med (Okay for SEASON 5)
Chicago PD (Okay for SEASON 7)
Chicago Fire (Okay for SEASON 8)
Documentary Now! (now in its 4th SEASON)
Endeavor (RENEWED through SEASON 8)
F.B.I.  (Good enough for SEASON 2 and getting a spin-off)
Frankie Drake Mysteries (great! RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3; Netfli)
*Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
*Genius (Einstein, 2017; Picasso, 2018; Aretha Franklin, 2019)
God Friended Me (Still sweet for SEASON 2)
Gone (We like this)
*Good Girls (good enough for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Grace & Frankie (Netflix  RENEWED for SEASON 6; we sort of like it)
*Grey’s Anatomy (Good for & RENEWED for SEASONS 16 & 17)
*Jane Fonda in 5 Acts (excellent)
Janet King (We liked this; several SEASONS on DVD)
Lewis (We liked this; several SEASONS on DVD)
Madam Secretary (Great for FINAL SEASON 6)
Manifest (intriguing; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Darkly funny; Netflix RENEWED for final SEASON 3)
Midsomer Murders (Netflix has 18 SEASONS; DVDs for the rest; we like this a lot)
*Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Another great, feminist, Australian series; 3 SEASONS and 3 films [planned]; Netflix)
*mixed-ish (I like it)
New Amsterdam (We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
NCIS (Okay for SEASON 17)
NCIS New Orleans (Okay for SEASON 6)
*Ozark (FUN to see “my” lake! Okay for SEASON 2; Netflix RENEWED for SEASON 3)
*Patsy & Loretta (very well-done)
Pearson (Tentatively liking this; CANCELED)
Perfect Harmony (Mostly silly, and not enough/no so fun music; CANCELED)
Private Eyes (trite, but somewhat cute; splits its SEASONS, June/February)
Prodigal Son (great writing, but very upsetting; RENEWED)
Reef Break (love Poppy Montgomery!)
Republic of Doyle (6 SEASONS; we increasingly liked this; Netflix )
Scott & Bailey (liked this a lot; 5 SEASONS; DVDs)
Station 19 (Trite, but watchable; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Stumptown (We like it enough; RENEWED)
The Blacklist (RENEWED for SEASON 7)
The Bletchley Circle [DVDs; RENEWED for SEASON 2 in (relocated to) San Francisco]
The Bodyguard (sadly compelling; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*The Bold Type (Good for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
The Brokenwood Mysteries (we like this a lot; RENEWED for SEASON 6; DVD for us)
The Good Doctor (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
The Good Fight  (Excellent for SEASONS 1 & 2; awaiting DVD for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
The Great American Baking Show (had to get rid of the abusive co-host; ON for SEASON 4)
The Great British Baking Show/Bake-Off (THE BEST; RENEWED through SEASON 12)
The Heart Guy (AKA Doctor, Doctor) (DVDs RENEWED through SEASON 3)
The Kominsky Method (very fun; Netflix; great for SEASON 2)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
The Orville (but moving to Hulu for SEASON 3; so, DVD for us)
The Resident (Good for SEASON 3)
The Rookie (Good for SEASON 2)
*The Split  (great acting; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*Unforgotten (Extremely well-written, acted and intriguing; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
*You (weirdly fascinating; RENEWED and moved to Netflix for SEASON 2)
*Younger (I like this; RENEWED for SEASON 7)
*Young Sheldon (Good for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)

Check our opinions against the networks’ decisions with updated lists of Canceled and Renewed/Canceled shows (UPDATED 10/43/19):
 http://TVShowsCancelled.com/

Nay
*Absentia (TOO DARK; Amazon Prime; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
*Chesapeake Shores (WRETCHEDLY STUPID for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
*Burden of Truth (very uneven; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
*Charmed
(Mom stopped watching;  RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Nancy Drew (awful)
*Pandora (not great; got worse; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
^Project Blue Book (barely kept my interest; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*Roswell, New Mexico (not so happy with this version; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
The Doctor Blake Mysteries (EXCELLENT PBS series, but star got blackballed for bad behavior and is OUT for the final film; changing name to The Blake Mysteries and featuring his new wife, instead)
The Oval (couldn’t even get past first 10 minutes; awful)
The Politician (terrible, and NO SINGING )
*This Is Us (OFF OUR LIST: egregiously awful scripts; in SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASONS 4 – 6, anyway)
Treadstone (too violent for us)
*Will and Grace (still awful and in final SEASON 11)

Maybe/Still Considering
(Not Great/BORING/Upsetting)


(image from Pixabay)

*Almost Family (already CANCELED)
*Batwoman
 (We didn’t like it much)
*black-ish (not so good; RENEWED for SEASON 6)
*Carol’s Second Act (somewhat iffy; RENEWED)
Emergence (not great; CANCELED)
Evil (too Catholic and silly, but RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*Greenhouse Academy (Trite, but watchable; Netflix RENEWED for SEASON 4)
*Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger (confusing; not great; CANCELED for SEASON 3)
*Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (returned summer, 2019, & RENEWED for final SEASON 7)
*Sunnyside (mostly silly and CANCELED)
Supergirl (Not great for SEASON 5)
*The Good Place (off our list for final SEASON 4)
The Inbetween (kind of dark…CANCELED)
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (not great; Amazon Prime; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
*When Calls the Heart (treacle, but RENEWED for SEASON 7)


[TRUTH, RUMORS and PROBABILITIES are now at the END of this post: too cumbersome!:

NOTE: I can’t possibly include all the upcoming projects, pilots and series, casting changes, renewals/cancellations, staffing switches, and network politics. I TRY to focus on planned/upcoming series and TV specials (and their casts) that we might watch as premieres on basic cable TV, on Netflix or Amazon Prime, or that we will wait to watch after the premium or other streaming service channels’ series come out on DVD, because I/we might find them interesting. Additionally, I include some of the shows I choose to complain about and declare we will not watch.]

**************************************************************

If you want to check out the newest original series on Netflix, go visit
Every New Netflix Original Series Premiering in 2019 (as of 11/15/19)
https://www.indiewire.com/gallery/new-netflix-shows-2019-premiere-dates/

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Acorn and other streaming and DVD listings are updated constantly here: https://movierewind.com/everything-netflix/

As of 11/15/19, hot off the presses, the constantly updated renewals, cancellations and premiere dates, by month (all subject to change): https://www.thewrap.com/fall-tv-2019-canceled-tv-shows-renewed-ordered-new-series/

This is the 55th Post, for 11/1/19, Updated for 11/15/19,
(each post is UPDATED on most interim Fridays).
Next full post, 12/6/19

CANCELED, TBD or RENEWED shows’ statuses can be found here:  http://TVShowsCancelled.com/

For the shows we watch, I put each one’s status beneath its review or listing, when it is known.

Also, I have been steadily removing my reviews or expectations for/of all shows that have been discontinued/canceled since we started this series of posts in 2015, or that we gave up on watching.


BACKGROUND

My mom (87) and I (65) are probably not the “target demographic” for almost any show on television or any movie being produced currently. We live in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, USA (Midwest, for those of you unfamiliar: think of that huge “Gateway Arch”—That’s here). I grew up here but then didn’t live here for 42 years; I’ve been back since August, 2014.

We were both raised Jewish, but I have been a meditator since 1972 and a practicing Buddhist since 1996. We are both Caucasian women-born-women. We are considered “middle class” although we have almost zero dollars of “disposable income.” My mom is hetero; I am bisexual. We are both partly disabled. I am highly educated (doctoral degree plus other training); my mom has extensive work experience, with a high school diploma.

Mom in stardust 2019 BDMy mom, Carole, age 87, 2019

My mom has been a TV watcher for over 60 years. I watched a lot as a kid, but from about 1972 – 2002, I didn’t have a TV and hardly watched it elsewhere, either. I usually didn’t have a TV between 2005 – 2014 as well, but I watched some shows online (Hulu, usually) or Netflix.

We think we should be part of a group that at least some producers are aiming to please, because we (especially Mom) now watch a lot of television. We also get movies regularly from DVD borrowing through our local library. We even occasionally go to a theatre to see a movie. We eagerly await the “new season” of television every one of the four times it seems to occur every year: “Fall Sweeps” happen, but so do Mid-season Sweeps, Mid-year New Seasons, and channels with an entirely different set of “seasons.”

We also occasionally watch TV shows and movies on Netflix (since 2016) and Amazon Prime (since summer, 2017)

However, we are consistently disappointed that many shows we do like are canceled and some shows we despise seem to go on forever. Plus, we have several pet peeves:

—“Why is it always so dark in all these shows? I can’t see a thing. What is the point?”
—“Why is the music so loud but the dialogue is barely audible?”
—“Why do so many writers depict adult characters as adolescents with endless insecurities and incessant competition and/or bickering?”
—“Car chases, foot chases and fighting are NOT PLOT.”
—“There is no one to like on this show!”

Keep up with the changes! http://thefutoncritic.com/guide/
or here, for the schedule (UPDATED 11/15/19, for future months):   http://TVShowsCancelled.com/

We don’t watch: most “sit coms”; any zombie or most vampire shows; reality shows (except the baking shows on BBC/ABC); extremely violent shows; premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Starz, EPIX, Cinemax, Sundance NOW) or other pay channels (SundanceTV, CBS All Access, Disney+, etc.)); most YA/”teen” or any children’s/animated shows. We do sometimes get the local library’s DVDs or watch Netflix/Amazon Prime airings of these pay shows, about one year later.

NOTE: Our viewing “schedule” includes a lot of recording-and-watching-later, due to simultaneous broadcasts and my early bedtime.

**usually only Mom watches
*usually only I watch

Post 55, for 11/1/19, Updated for 11/15/19

I/we continue with this Friday TV Report: New and Returning PBS/BBC, Netflix, Amazon Prime, regular cable network (non-premium) TV Shows and some specials (shows that were more recently viewed are higher up on the review sections) and some on DVD from our local library (that were on premium or non-USA channels, originally).

Shows we recently have watched and reviewed (UPDATED 11/15/19)

The Politician Netflix (released 9/27/19; already RENEWED for SEASON 2)
This was so bad we couldn’t even get through one Episode. Why do they cast people in their late 20s as HIGH SCHOOL students!?!  Ridiculous. And, the characters ad story are terrible; not one likable one amongst them. Too bad.
Starring Jessica Lange and Dylan McDermott, “the new satirical comedy primarily tracks Payton (Ben Platt), a wealthy Santa Barbara politician who will drive the series. Each season will track a different political race he’s working on…Gwyneth Paltrow, January Jones, Zoey Deutch, and Lucy Boynton are all series regulars.” Also “popping in” will be two more megastars: Judith Light and Bette Midler!?!
We love Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect, Dear Evan Hansen), Gwyneth Paltrow (Duets), Dylan McDermott, January Jones, Jessica Lange (who knew those last three can sing?]) and the amazing, possibly guest-starring…Barbra Streisand [update: 3/25/19, Streisand‘s horrifying comments and attempted walkback of same regarding the kids abused by Michael Jackson (now adults, as seen in the HBO documentary about Neverland) may get her axed from this show].
WOW! With those singers, we’re bound to watch the second; not sure about the first.
THIS WAS AWFUL and there was no singing, but it’s already RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Oval BET (premiered 10/23/19)
This Tyler Perry series was so terrible that we couldn’t even get past first 10 minutes; awful. Purports that it “tells the story of a family placed in the White House by people of power while also highlighting the personal side and everyday lives of the staff who run the inner workings of the nation’s most iconic residence.” If ongoing domestic violence between the First Couple is Perry’s idea of “drama,” forget it.
Stars: Ed Quinn, Kron Moore, Javon Johnson, Ptosha Storey, Vaughn Hebron, Teesha Renee, Paige Hurd, Daniel Croix Henderson, Lodric Collins, Ciera Payton, Walter Fauntleroy, Taja V. Simpson, Brad Benedict, Travis Cure and Matthew Law.
We often like White House dramas, so we tried it. However, we haven’t liked anything by Tyler Perry (series is written, directed and executive produced by him) and don’t know Michelle Sneed‘s work (she is other Exec Producer), so not sure.  These two have another new series (Sistas) starting the same week that sounds like an African-American, social media-focused Sex & the City. Passing on that one.
This Oval was almost as bad as the one IRL these days!

*Jane Fonda in Five Acts HBO (premiered 9/24/18)
This lived up to its hype: excellently done. Billed as “a candid documentary About the formidable actress and activist.” Despite an uneven script and some silliness, we have enjoyed Fonda‘s playing off Lily Tomlin in Grace & Frankie on Netflix these last several years. “Drawing on 21 hours of interviews with Fonda, the film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to largely positive reviews. Per the official synopsis: ‘[Fonda] speaks candidly and frankly about her life and her missteps. She explores the pain of her mother’s suicide, her father’s emotional unavailability, 30 years of an eating disorder and three marriages to highly visible, yet diametrically opposed, men.’…[It] also includes interviews with family and friends—Robert Redford, Lily Tomlin, producer Paula Weinstein and former spouses, Tom Hayden and Ted Turner—as well as rare home movies and verité footage of the 80-year-old Fonda’s busy life today.”
Loved this

Patsy & Loretta Lifetime (premiered 10/19/19)
This film was very well done; expecting that, since it’s from Callie Khouri (Nashville). It is very sad, since it ends with Cline’s death, mostly, but also, very moving and sad in other places as well as inspiring.
“About country music stars, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. Megan Hilty (Smash) will play the former and Jessie Mueller (Broadway’s Beautiful and Waitress) the latter.” Janine Turner (Northern ExposureFriday Night Lights) “will play Hilda Hensley, Patsy’s mother, and also her seamstress/costume designer and confidante.”
Written by Angelina Burnett (Halt and Catch Fire), it gave a very intimate look at their friendship and home lives. Starts with a glimpse of their separate lives, then “revisi[s] how the singers first met. ‘Cline already was one of the biggest stars in country music and Lynn was starting out with little to her name but a $17 guitar,’… Instead of seeing the newcomer as competition, Cline took Lynn under her wing to help her make it in Nashville. They soon became close friends, touring together, bonding over their husband troubles, and commiserating on being females in the male-dominated music business….
“Cline and Lynn’s respective daughters, Julie Fudge and Patsy Lynn Russell… co-produce[d].”
Kyle Schmid (Six) and Joe Tippet (Rise) are also starring.  “Schmid…[as] Charlie Dick, Patsy’’s second husband. Tippett… [as] Doolittle ‘Mooney’ Lynn, Loretta’s husband and father of their [6] children.”
I watched this having just seen both of Ken Burns’ documentaries (Bluegrass and Country Music as the topics), which animated this for me a lot.
I appreciated this very much

Treadstone USA Network (premiered 10/15/19)
Are you a Jason Bourne franchise fanatic? Then you’ll be glad to know that his “origin story” has gotten its own TV series, written by Tim Kring (Heroes and Heroes Reborn) on the USA Network.
However, neither me nor Mom could stomach the confusion and violence of this version of these stories. We got out after Episode 1 (me) and 2 (Mom).
Stars: Jeremy Irvine (War Horse, Mamma Mia 2) and Brad J. Smith (Sense8).
This says it “explores the origin story and present-day actions of a CIA black ops program known as Operation Treadstone —- a **covert program that uses behavior-modification protocol to turn recruits into nearly superhuman assassins. The first season follows sleeper agents across the globe as they’re mysteriously ‘awakened’ to resume their deadly missions. Irvine stars as J. Randolph Bentley, a spy dispatched by the CIA to eliminate a key target, but ends up embroiled in an international conspiracy. Smith plays Doug McKenna, an all-American oil-rig worker whose life changes after he discovers long buried truths about himself.”
We’re OUT

Nancy Drew The CW (premiered 10/9/19)
Based on the novels of my childhood (and a film which starred Pamela Sue Martin, who will guest star in this), this character’s stories have been made into pilots several times, recently. Let’s see if this one “takes.”
We couldn’t get past the first 20 minutes: very poorly conceived and acted. Not continuing.
Coming from Josh Schwartz, Noga Landau and Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl, Dynasty) and “centered on 18-year-old Nancy Drew…Set in the summer after her high school graduation….Nancy Drew thought she’d be leaving her hometown for college, but when a family tragedy holds her back another year, she finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation—and along the way, uncovers secrets that run deeper than she ever imagined.”
Kennedy McMann will play Nancy. Leah Lewis (Charmed) also stars, as “George, a tough, tattooed girl from the wrong side of the tracks, who felt personally wronged by Nancy in high school. George now finds herself a suspect in the killing along with her former nemesis, forcing her to team up with Nancy to track the culprit and clear their names… and it just may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Tunji Kasim (Nearly Famous) will play “Ned ‘Nick’ Nickerson, Nancy’s secret flame. Nick is a former high school athlete with a mysterious past, who should be on full scholarship to a top university. Instead, he’s working as a car mechanic when he winds up a suspect in the murder along with Nancy —leading her to uncover a shocking motive from his past. But whether Nick’s a victim of circumstance or something far more sinister remains to be seen.” Also starring Maddison Jaizani (Versailles), Scott Wolff (replacing Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Alvina August (Siren), and Alex Saxon (The Fix). “Jaizani will play Bess, a refined young woman whose wealthy background sets her apart from Nancy—but when they both become suspects in the same murder, Bess proves to be a spirited ally in the search for the real killer, all the while doing whatever it takes to keep her own dark secrets hidden….Saxon will portray Ace, a charming dishwasher with a philosophical bent; his provocative insights on the murder investigation will lead Nancy to conclude that there’s much more to this supposed burnout than meets the eye….Prinze will play Nancy’s dad, Carson Drew, a dynamic attorney who has become estranged from Nancy following the recent death of his beloved wife. But his attempts to reconnect with his daughter run aground when Nancy’s murder investigation reveals unsettling secrets from Carson’s own past…August will play Detective Karen Hunt, an ambitious police detective who had a close friendship with Nancy’s late mother. Karen has a protective attitude towards Nancy (McMann), who tends to get in hot water while pursuing her various investigations…..Martin will play Harriet Grosset, a small-town psychic who offers her talents to help Nancy investigate a murder—and ends up delivering an otherworldly clue that neither of them bargained for. The name of the character appears to be paying homage to Nancy Drew’s origins: author, Harriet Adam,s is credited with shaping up the literary character and early storylines…….[Riley Smith, Proven Innocent, Frequency] plays the handsome and affluent Ryan Hudson whose trophy wife is the murder victim. While he has been ruled out as a suspect by the police, Nancy’s not so sure.”
Larry Teng (The Walking Dead, The Good Doctor, S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds, ElementaryLethal Weapon, Supergirl, Animal Kingdom, Medium) will direct.
More info and a trailer, here: https://movizark.com/2019/05/18/nancy-drew-the-upcoming-cw-series-gets-a-first-trailer-check-it-out/  and  https://movizark.com/2019/05/18/cw-reveals-full-synopses-for-batwoman-nancy-drew-and-katy-keene/
Disappointing

Prodigal Son Fox (premiered 9/23/19)
Great cast, excellent writing, very creepy but interesting. We’re hooked.
From writers, Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver (Legends of Tomorrow, Deception and Forever, which we loved), this crime drama “centers on Malcolm Bright [Tom Payne (The Walking Dead), replacing Finn Jones (Game of Thrones, Iron Fist), who departed after the first table read over “creative differences”], who has a gift. He knows how killers think, how their minds work. Why? Back in the ‘90s, his father was one of the worst––a notorious serial killer called ‘The Surgeon.’ That’s why Bright is the best criminal psychologist around; murder is the family business. Bright uses his twisted genius to help the NYPD solve crimes and stop killers, all while dealing with a manipulative mother, annoyingly normal sister, a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son, and his own constantly evolving neuroses.”
Starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Aurora Perrineau, Bellamy Young, Frank Harts, and Keiko Agena, with Michael Sheen as “Martin Whitly, [who] is intelligent, wealthy, charismatic—he also happens to be a predatory sociopath who murdered more than 20 people. Martin once was a devoted family man and successful cardiothoracic surgeon with high-profile patients….Young plays Bright’s mother, Jessica Whitly, an elegant WASPy New Yorker who wields sarcasm like a samurai sword. As the wife of a serial killer, she is a disgraced member of high society, but she refuses to hide from her truth, and she wishes her son would follow suit….Agena will play Edrisa, the slightly off-center coroner working with the NYPD detective team. She is thrilled by her work, and she is both smitten and fascinated with Bright.”
We’re hooked; RENEWED

Emergence NBC (premiered 9/24/19; CANCELED)
X-Files meets Manifest meets UFO/ET tropes. Somewhat interesting, but mostly predictable. However, now into Episode 4, the ‘science” is NOT.
This is a “mystery drama” from creators/executive producers, Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters [Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Agent Carter, Resurrection], and director, Paul McGuigan (Designated Survivor, Devious Maids, Lucky, Carnival Row). This one says it “is a character-driven genre thriller that centers on a sheriff who takes in a young child [Piper, played by Alexa Sky Swinton (Billions)] that she finds near the site of a mysterious accident who has no memory of what has happened. The investigation draws her into a conspiracy larger than she ever imagined, and the child’s identity is at the center of it all.”
Starring Ashley Anfderheide, Clancy Brown (Billions), Robert Bailey, Jr. (The NIght Shift), Owain Yeoman (The Mentalist, Turn), Zabryna Guevara (New Amsterdam), and Allison Tolman (Fargo). “Tolman’s Jo is the police chief on Long Island’s Peconic Bay. Newly divorced from Alex, Jo lives with her 14-year-old daughter, Bree, and her ex-firefighter father, Ed….Yeoman plays Benny, an investigative reporter for Reuters….Guevara will play Abby, a pediatrician who is a longtime friend of Jo.” Seems less like something we’d like.
Lots of cliches. Wonky “science”; CANCELED 

*Sunnyside NBC (premiered 9/26/19; CANCELED)
Not as bad as I had feared, but could be so much better. May not continue, but giving it 2 Episodes; CANCELED
A comedy created by and starring Kal Penn (Designated Survivor, House, How I Met Your Mother) and co-written by Matt Murray (CommunityParks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-NineThe Good Place) and Michael Schur (The Good Place, SNL), “centers on a disgraced New York City Council[person] and former baseball wunderkind, Garrett Shah (Penn), who finds his calling when faced with six recent immigrants in search of the American Dream.”
Politics, baseball, immigration, economics, with jokes: what could go wrong? Does star many immigrants, though,which is great: Kiran Deol, Moses Storm Diana, Maria Riva, Samba Schutte, Poppy Liu, Joel Kim Boster, Tudor Petrut.
Doubt if I’ll continue to watch; CANCELED

Perfect Harmony NBC (premiered 9/26/19; CANCELED)
Mostly silly and deteriorating quickly; not enough music, and all the vocals are poorly dubbed.
This stars Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, The Handmaid’s Tale, Valley of the *Boom and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) and “is about a rural church choir that gets the gift it never thought it needed when a salty, Ivy league professor (a role earmarked for Whitford) becomes its director” and comes from Whitford (The Handmaid’s Tale), Lesley Wake Webster (Speechless) and Jason Winer (Single Parents).
Who knew Bradley Whitford is musical? Not I! If the singing AND stories are any good, we might like it.
Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect+, True Blood, The Good Wife, Good Girls Revolt) is also starring. “Camp will play Ginny, a waitress and divorced mother. Ginny plays the piano for the church and is the de facto director of the choir.” Also starring Will Greenberg (Wrecked), who “will play Wayne, Ginny’s (Camp) ex-husband.” Also featuring: Geno Segers (Banshee) and Rizwan Manji (Outsourced). Segers will play Shep Rollins. Rugged and strong, he is the youngest of six enormous brothers. Manji will portray Reverend Jax. He was not born in the U.S. but has a lifelong love affair with American pop culture.”
Whitford plays a House-type alcoholic widower character, as a “tough love” choir conductor. Trite, and worsening. Camp and her son have the best-drawn characters, so far.
Was fun, but getting worse; probably not long for TV; CANCELED

*Carol’s Second Act CBS (premiered 9/26/19)
I tried it. Mostly stupid, but some of it is endearing. Some god moments. Mom is out.
Starring Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), Bonnie Dennison (Third Watch), ; RENEWEDKyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex & the City), Jean Luc Bilodeau (Baby Daddy). and Ito Aghayere (Logan Lucky), from creators Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins (Trophy Wife, The Mayor, Imaginary Mary, Black-ish).
This “centers around Carol Chambers (Heaton), who, after raising her two children and retiring from teaching, embarks on a unique second act: she’s going to become a doctor…
.Dennison will play Jenny, Carol’s big-hearted daughter, who became a pharmaceutical rep because, as a pretty and charming young woman, it’s an easy job. Jenny loves and is supportive of Carol, and her practical and outgoing demeanor is a buoyant counterpoint to Carol’s neurotic medical colleagues. MacLachlan will play Dr. Frost. Handsome, affable and accomplished, he is the Senior Attending Physician on the ward (as well as the Department Chair) and thinks he’s funnier than he is. Considerably more empathetic than Dr. Maya (Ito Aghayere), Dr. Frost takes an immediate shine to Carol. …Aghayere portrays Dr. Maya, the Chief Resident in charge of Carol and the other three interns. A type-A, high-achieving disciplinarian, Dr. Maya is all business. She’s instantly annoyed because Carol is a chatty maverick who hates authority—and Dr. Maya and her authority are not up for debate….Bilodeau will play Daniel, the second member of Carol’s quartet of interns. He graduated from Harvard in 2014 and from Harvard Medical School in 2018 and already is published in The New England Journal of Medicine—twice.” Directed by Pam Fryman (Abby’s, Murphy Brown).
These creators have a very bad track record, for our tastes.
Somewhat iffy

Bluff City Law NBC (premiered 9/23/19; CANCELED)
A bit trite, but we like it enough. Too bad this is canceled.
This comes from Dean Georgaris (The Brave), David Janollari (Midnight, Texas) and Michael Aguilar (Kidding) and is to be directed by the first Asian-American woman directing a broadcast drama pilot, Jessica Yu (American Crime, Billions, Parenthood, Castle and The Rookie). “A character-driven legal drama that follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis law firm that specializes in the most controversial landmark civil rights cases. Led by legendary lawyer, Elijah Strait, and his brilliant daughter, Sydney Keller, they take on the toughest David-and-Goliath cases while navigating their complicated relationship.”
Starring Jimmy Smits (The West Wing, How to Get Away with Murder), Jayne Atkinson (House of Cards), Stony Blyden (Edge of Seventeen), Barry Sloane (Six), Michael Luwoye (Hamilton), MaameYaa Boafo, and Caitlin McGee (Grey’s Anatomy and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). Smits will play Elijah and McGee will be “Sydney,…a hotshot lawyer from Memphis who gives up her corporate in-house job to work with her father on cases that she believes can actually make a differ…Atkinson will play Della Bedford, a warm-hearted but incredibly shrewd and wise lawyer in Elijah’s firm….Blyden will play Emerson, a tech-savvy assistant and paralegal at the law firm….Sloane will play Jake Reilly, a smart and confident lawyer who works for Elijah….Boafo will play Briana Logan, a private investigator who works for Elijah’s firm…. Luwoye plays Anthony Little, a fantastic lawyer who is also the warm-hearted father of three daughters.ence in the world.”
We like it enough; CANCELED

All Rise (fka Courthouse) CBS  (premiered 9/23/19)
Yet another legal drama, and we really like this one! It comes from writer, Greg Spottiswood (Remedy), and stars: Wilson Bethel (Hart of Dixie, Daredevil), J. Alex Brinson (Travelers), Marg Helgenberger (CSI, Intelligence, Under the Dome), Simone Missick (Luke Cage), Lindsay Mendez (Carousel), Ruthie Ann Miles (The King & I), and Jessica Camacho (Taken).
It “pulls back the curtain on the court system and follows the dedicated, chaotic, hopeful, and sometimes absurd lives of the judges, assistant district attorneys, and public defenders as they work with bailiffs, clerks, cops and jurors to bring justice to the people of Los Angeles….Bethel will play Mark, a roguish, highly successful Deputy District Attorney whose best friend and colleague, Lola (Missick), has been just been appointed a judge. Never great with boundaries, Mark struggles with the personal and professional changes in their relationship….Brinson will play Luke. Wholesome, generous and hardworking, Luke is a bailiff by day and law student by night, determined to move up in the world by becoming a lawyer….Helgenberger will play Judge Judith, who broke the glass ceiling by becoming one of the rare female judges in California. Originally a progressive voice from the bench, over time she has become an entrenched member of the judicial establishment. As Supervising Judge, Judith is a powerful and influential figure who oversees Lola’s transition to judge—and through that relationship, she will rediscover her passion for justice….Missick will play Lola. Over the course of her impressive career as a Deputy District Attorney, Lola was known to be independent, formidable and, occasionally, wildly impulsive. As a newly appointed judge, Lola suddenly has more power. So she doesn’t sit back on the bench; Lola leans in— immediately pushing boundaries and challenging expectations of what a judge should be…Mendez will play Sara, an ebullient, optimistic court reporter who has surprising hidden talents. A close friend do Emily, Sara hosts the Courthouse poker games and is a reliable source for gossip and courthouse intel. Miles will portray Sherri. As Lola’s Judicial Assistant, Sherri is The Gatekeeper; she controls the schedule, the witness lists, the flow of paperwork—everything. She can make defendants sit in the lockup and wait all day for the next appearance, or she can find a way to get them in and out before her morning coffee gets cold. Efficient, pragmatic and armed with wickedly dry sense of humor, Sherri isn’t thrilled she has to ‘train’ Lola…—a rookie judge….[Camacho] will play Emily Lopez-Berarro, a tough and determined public defender who is undaunted in her efforts to prove her clients’ innocence.”
Good cast. We like it a lot; RENEWED

*mixed-ish ABC (premiered 9/24/19)
black-ish has gotten a second spin-off (already has eldest daughter, Zoe’s, grown-ish), “about Rainbow Johnson’s (Arica Himmel as a young Tracee Ellis Ross) experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ‘80s, and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves.”
I lived in several communes, myself, so this set of characters interests me. The first Episode was good, so I’ll continue.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (The Passage) plays Bow’s father, Paul Johnson; he replaces Anders Holm (he was in the backdoor pilot). “Bow’s parents, Paul (Gosselaar) and Alicia (Tika Sumpter), decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they’re perceived as neither black nor white. This family’s experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one’s own identity when the rest of the world can’t decide where you belong….Co-starring in the series are Christina Anthony as Denise; Mykal-Michelle Harris as Santamonica Johnson; and Ethan Childress as Johan Johnson.”
I like it

Stumptown ABC (premiered 9/25/19; RENEWED)
A few too many car chases, but we liked it enough to continue.
Written by Jason Richman (Detroit 1-8-7) and Ruben Fleischer and starring Adrian Martinez (No Activity), Michael Ealy (Secrets and Lies, Being Mary Jane, Being Human), Camryn Manheim (The Practice)with TBD to replace Mark Webber (Green Room), and Cobie Smulders (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.Avengers, How I Met Your Mother).
It “is inspired by the graphic novels published by Oni Press. It follows Dex Parios, a strong, assertive, and unapologetically sharp-witted Army veteran working as a P.I. in Portland, Oregon. With a complicated personal history and only herself to rely on, she solves other people’s messes with a blind eye toward her own….Ealy will play Miles Hoffman, a detective with the Portland Police Department who is looking for escaped convict Samuel Kane—who’s probably going to pay a visit to Grey McConnell (Webber) any day now. Jake Johnson (New Girl) will co-star as Dex’s best friend and has an unrequited crush on her. He’s been renovating an old-fashioned brew pub into a modern-sleek mixology joint and has hired Dex’s brother as his sole employee… Smulders plays Dex, a whip-smart, hard-luck heroine you can’t help but get behind. Once a decorated Military Intelligence officer overseas, Dex is now back home in Portland, Oregon, unable to hold down a steady job, spinning her wheels, running up gambling debts, waiting for trouble to catch up with her—and so it does… Manheim will play Lieutenant Roberta Volk, Hoffman’s (Ealy) superior officer on the Portland Police Department, who has a no-nonsense, big-city vibe. Her path crosses with Dex when she supervises Hoffman’s investigation into a kidnapping case….Martinez will play Tookie.”
Very formulaic, but we mostly like it; RENEWED

Evil CBS (premiered 9/26/19; RENEWED)
My mom and I watched the first Episode through about halfway, and she was exasperated: “Why is it all so dark? I can’t see anything!” She gave up. I finished it,and it did get better, but…
Episode 1 focused on darkness. Episode 2 is about miracles (or fake ones) and probably isn’t so “dark” in either manner. So, I’ll encourage her to try it again.
Great cast and good writing.
From the team of Robert King (writer, exec producer), Michelle King (writer, exec producer), Liz Glotzer (exec producer), it claims to be a “battle between science and religion focused on a skeptical clinical psychologist, Kristen Bouchard, who joins a priest-in-training, David Acosta, and a blue-collar contractor, Ben, to investigate supposed miracles, demonic possessions and other extraordinary occurrences to see if there’s a scientific explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work.”
Starring: Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show, Blue Bloods) as Ben, “a carpenter who was recruited for David’s team early on, Ben has a deep skepticism about all things supernatural. He is a genius at uncovering the organic reasons behind reported ‘hauntings,’ but there may be things outside his understanding that will rattle his belief system”; Katja Herbers (Westworld) as Bouchard, the psychologist; and, Michael Colter (The Good Wife/Fight, Luke Cage) as the junior priest “tasked by the Church to assess unexplained phenomena to see if there is a supernatural or scientific explanation.” Probably too horror-like for us.
We reluctantly continue; RENEWED

The Brokenwood Mysteries (was Acorn; now DVD) 5 SEASONS released; RENEWED for SEASON 6
Another very well-written and -acted UK detective series. This one is set in New Zealand, which is new, for us. Reminds us very much of the BBC‘s beloved Midsomer Murders.
Starring: Neill Rea as Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd, Fern Sutherland as Detective Kristin Sims, Pana Hema Taylor as Jared Morehu, Shepherd’s Maori neighbour, Nic Sampson as Detective Constable Sam Breen and Cristina Ionda as a very dry-witted Dr. Gina Kadinsky, medical examiner.
We really like this

Pearson (SUITS spin-off; fka Second CityUSA (premiered 6/17/19; CANCELED)
We like it mildly ad mostly for Torres, who makes history with this series as the first Afro-Latina to produce, star in and head her own series.
Gina Torres stars as Jessica Pearson, (from SUITS), that “will chronicle both Jessica’s professional and personal life, she will be seen wearing more casual clothes than in Suits…[T]here are no Suits characters crossing over on the first season of Pearson.”
Pearson’s erstwhile lover, for whom she supposedly moved to Chicago, is again played by D.B. Woodside, only appeared briefly, then is shuffled off to Florida “for a case” Also starring Simon Kassianides, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Morgan Spector, Bethany Joy Lenz, Chantel Riley, Isabel Arraiza and Eli Goree.
We like it a little; CANCELED 

Reef Break ABC (13 Episodes; premiered 6/19/19)
This says it is a “summer crime drama” and “a sexy, action-packed drama.” So far, it lives up to the hype, and we love the star, Poppy Montgomery (Unforgettable) as “Cat Chambers, a tdhief-turned-fixer for the governor of a stunning and seductive
Pacific Island paradise. Impulsive, reckless and irresistible, Cat’s less-than-perfect past gives her an instinctive gift for understanding crime and criminals as she becomes enmeshed in fast-paced, high-octane adventures and island intrigue….[Chaim] Desmond will play Jake Wyatt, a detective on the island who knows his way around a life-or-death scenario. After a one-night stand as strangers, Wyatt and Cat…suddenly are working on a case together—a scenario he’s not quite prepared to handle.” Also starring Ray Stevenson (Black Sails, Dexter, Divergent, Insurgent), who “plays Jake. A man’s man, a bit down on his luck at the moment, Jake Elliot prefers the beach bum lifestyle, even if he is a federal agent. Preferring to lay low near the water, Jake is rarely at the office. He’s got a history with Cat, and the two aren’t completely emotionally done with each other.”
Ken Sanzel will write as well as serve as showrunner.
We like this

Endeavor BBC/PBS Masterpiece/Amazon Prime (SEASON 6 released 1/29/19 and premiered on PBS in our area 6/16/19; RENEWED through SEASON 8)
We really like this show! A ’60’s era British detective/crime-solving series that my mom and I have been enjoying on Amazon Prime and plan to finish by watching recordings from PBS. We finished SEASONS 3 and 4, now (late October, 2017) and, except for the vocal music (‘way too much opera and classical /religious choral music for my taste, which wants NONE of that), believe this is one of the best series of its type around. Barrington Pheloung writes the other music, which is beautiful (and not vocal).
Apparently, a closely-guarded secret from his peers and friends is Detective Morse’s first name, which is “Endeavor.” This series is a prequel to the beloved (but one we haven’t watched, yet) Inspector Morse series; both are set primarily in Oxford, England.
Starring Shaun Evans as young Endeavour Morse, who is beginning his career as a Detective Constable with the Oxford City Police CID, the series has a great supporting and co-starring cast, including Roger Allam, Anton Lesser, Jack Lasky and Sean Rigby on the police force, with recurring roles/frequent appearances by Caroline O’Neill, Sara Vickers, Abigail Thaw and Shvorne Marks. Pilot episode aired in 2012. SEASON 6 will appear in mid-2019.
Enjoy this a lot; KEEPING and watched; RENEWED for SEASON 7

*Younger TV LAND (returned 6/12/19 for SEASON 6; RENEWED)
I got hooked on this by watching all the previous episodes on-demand, and now eagerly await its return. I LOVE Sutton Foster, so even though the premise is ridiculous and Hilary Duff is predictably awful, I watch.
But, SEASONS 4 & 5 kept getting better, partly because some of the characters are now in on the secret (true age of Foster‘s character, Liza—early 40s vs. the purported mid-twenties) and some of their reactions are excellent.
OFF THE RAILS at the end of Episode 1 for SEASON 5, though: I have no idea how they’re going to walk this back or forward. NO SPOILERS, here. Still puzzled by where this can go after watching Episode 2. Hmmmmm.
They figured it out, and SEASON 6 is great.
Also starring Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann, Molly Bernard and Charles Michael Davis; and, featuring guest stars: “Laura Benanti, Phoebe Dynevor, Michael Urie, and recurring cast member, Chris Tardio, … [with] Nicole Ari Parker (Empire), [who] will play Maggie’s (Mazar) love interest; novelist and screenwriter, Michael Cunningham, (The Hours); novelist, Meg Wolitzer (The Wife); and, actresses, Becky Ann Baker (Girls), Willa Fitzgerald (Dare Me) and Beth Leavel.”
Most people won’t like this, but I somehow do; RENEWED through SEASON 7

The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco ITV/BritBox (SEASON 1, 8 Episodes, aired 7/25 – 9/16/18; can pay; RENEWED for SEASON 2 EXTRA to watch on Amazon Prime, but we won’t; got DVD; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
A fabulous cast, good stories (but somewhat DARKER), and excellent chemistry among the newd and returning cast members. LOVED this!
This series is based on the original show, The Bletchley Circle (which we LOVED), adding 4 stories across 8 Episodes and relocating to San Francisco a few years after the other Episodes left off.
Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Jean (Julie Graham) are “investigating a friend’s murder in the Bay Area three years after the events” of ending of the first series.
It is BritBox’s first original series, with four two-hour episodes. “The original series centered on a group of female WWII code-breakers who reunite in the 1950s to track down a serial killer.”
Chanelle Peloso, Crystal Balint and Ben Cotton are great
We LOVED this; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*Call the Midwife PBS (12/25/18 special for SEASON 8; returned 3/31/19; RENEWED through SEASON 11)
Strong returns for each SEASON, but not many new storylines. Even so, these writers tackle difficult issues quite well: South African apartheid, alcoholism, sexism, extra-marital affairs, classism, poverty, domestic violence, racism, prejudice, gossip, Travelers (“Gypsies”), dementia, Thalidomide’s birth defects, birth control pills, prostitution, lesbianism and homosexuality (when illegal and abhorred), adoption, infertility, late-in-life romance, Down’s Syndrome; and, a lot about communal living, especially among those in religious organization’s challenges, e.g., nuns and renouncing vows, following orders, being “called.”
Each year’s “Christmas” opener involves the real-time actual year (SEASON 6’s was of the 1962-63 “Big Freeze” in Britain and its impact on their neighborhood and people). Scary, funny, sad, interesting.
8-episode run for SEASON 7 in the USA starts in early April, 2018; same pattern for 4 more years, SEASONS 8 – 11.
Lost several favorite characters in SEASON 6 and, now, 7. Sorry to see them go.
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASONS 8 – 11

*When Calls the Heart Hallmark (Christmas Episode 12/25/18; RENEWED for SEASONS 6 & 7; returned 2/24/19 for SEASON 5, but stopped 3/17 and reshot due to Lori Loughlin‘s criminality and removal; resumed for special, two-night “event”  5/5 & 6/19)
Erin Krakow is good as the lead character, Elizabeth Thatcher, a rich young woman who left her safe, city family life to become a Canadian prairie teacher in a one-room school house, with an adorable Daniel Lessing as her Canadian Mountie/ love interest/now dead husband (SEASON 5). Yes; hers is one of my alternate reality jobs.
Chris McNally (Supernatural) and Kevin McGarry (Heartland) will be in the cast for SEASON 6: McNally will play Lucas Bouchard, a charming gambler and saloon owner who is hiding more than a card up his sleeve. McGarry is Nathan Grant, the epitome of the strong, silent type and takes all his responsibilities to heart as the new Mountie in town.”

When calls the heart

Lori Loughlin has been AXED due to her indictments for criminal behaviors (March, 2019) and they’re going to reshoot the remainder of SEASON 5’s Episodes to eliminate her, somehow. On hiatus as of mid-March, pending those new versions). She played her typically maternal and saccharine character, and also, the Mayor, the best friend/ cafe owner/ widow/ adoptive mother/ landlady. Other characters are also “stock” and mostly two-dimensional, but I blame the Hallmark Channel‘s writers (Janette Oke and Derek Thompson, most recently, but there are 18+!) more than I fault the actors.
Also has Chelah Horsdal and many others from the Hallmark stock character stables.
The show is very sappy, predictable, silly and overly sentimental, with many stereotypes and tropes, but I still watch.
SPOILER ALERT: Jack (Daniel Lessing) is killed off right after they get married at the end of SEASON 4, leaving Elizabeth pregnant (of course, since the film of the same name stars the character who is Elizabeth and Jack’s granddaughter).
Keeping; SEASONS 5 & 6, RENEWED

*Burden of Truth CW (premiered 6/2/19 for SEASON 2;  RENEWED for SEASON 3)
We had the final 4 Episodes of SEASON 1 waiting to be watched and we kept postponing: not a good sign. I finally watched them alone; not great, but did get somewhat better.
SEASON 2 started out disappointingly banal. Not very optimistic, but already renewed for SEASON 3!?!
Yet another legal drama, but this one was produced in Canada and features “a big-city lawyer who returns to her hometown to take on what she thinks is a simple case, only to *find herself in a fight for justice for a group of sick girls.”
Stars Kristin Kreuk(Smallville), Peter Mooney, Alex Carter and Benjamin Ayres.
Story is weird. Some characters are good, some merely stereotypes. Not sure about the likability of either the story or the stars. I watched the last several Episodes alone and found it all very uneven and not very satisfying.
Very uneven; RENEWED for SEASON 3

*Blood & Treasure CBS (5/21/19, 2-hour premiere; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
I like a lot of this, but it’s very derivative (as expected).
“A brilliant antiquities expert ]Matt Barr] and a cunning art thief [NOW known to be played by Sofia Pernas (The Brave)] team up to catch a ruthless terrorist who funds his attacks through stolen treasure. As they crisscross the globe hunting their target, they unexpectedly find themselves at the center of a 2,000-year-old battle for the cradle of civilization.”
Didn’t these just get canceled (The Librarians meets Hooten & the Lady)? Amazingly, this was renewed. 
Also starring: Katia Winter, Michael James Shaw, James Callis.
Only I like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Inbetween NBC (premiered 5/29/19; CANCELED)
(Not to be confused with Mr. Inbetween or The Inbetweeners, which already premiered.)
We liked this, but it was a bit gory, and we didn’t like where it seems to be going. So, not sure, yet (after Episode 1).
“Cassie Bishop was born with a gift, though she may call it a curse. She can see and communicate with the dead, helping them with their unresolved problems … whether she likes it or not. When her longtime friend Det. Tom Hackett and his new partner, former FBI Agent, Damien Asante, need help solving a darkly puzzling murder, Cassie agrees to use her abilities. Despite her reluctance, she may have found a way to keep her demons at bay, all while solving some of the city’s most challenging cases.”
Writer/executive producer is from two shows we have loved [Moira Kirland (Castle, Madam Secretary)], so we have high hopes for this one, even though there have already been at least a half-dozen shows with this premise.
Starring: Justin Cornwell, Harriet Dyer, Anne-Marie Johnson, Cindy Luna, Chad James Buchanan, Paul Blackthorne.
It got better, but CANCELED

Shakespeare & Hathaway PBS (premiered week of May 5, 2019; SEASON 2 premiered 9/4/19, 2019; RENEWED for SEASON 3 & 4)
Kind of silly and trite, but we like it all right.
Luella Shakespeare (Jo Joyner), “ex-hair dresser/people-person turned private investigator trainee,” and Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton), a “hardboiled private investigator,”  are “an oddball couple of private detectives investigate crime in Stratford-upon-Avon….Unfortunately for Frank, going through life out of shape and low on cash is no way to run a business. Lu hires Frank to spy on her fiancé, whom she thinks is having an affair. Fortunately for Lu, it turns out her soon-to-be husband is not cheating on her. The bad news, however, is that he’s not who she thinks he is, and he ends up murdered about an hour after the ‘I do’s.’ With Lu needing a new challenge after she helps Frank solve the murder, the two join forces and form an unlikely detective duo in Stratford-upon-Avon, where low-life criminals seem to go for high crime drama.”
Shakespeare-Hathaway-headed-to-public-television-in-2019-1
We like British detective shows (much more interesting and less violent than those in the USA, for sure). This one is a little silly, but we like it.
Already has two SEASONS in the can. We like it; RENEWED for SEASON 3 & 4.

*The Bold Type Freeform (premieres 1/23/20 for SEASON 4)
This show gets better each Episode. Feminist, smart, funny, poignant, realistic, diverse and important topics, characters and issues. Kudos to Freeform!
Mom and I watched most of Episode 1 when it first aired and didn’t like this show at all. Took it off our list and off this review site as well. BUT, with the dearth of shows to watch without Mom in the summer of 2017, I picked up with Episode 2 On Demand and was surprised by the good writing and acting (neither present in Episode 1 to any extent) and kept going to the end of SEASON 1.
Excellent and continuously improving acting and writing, and Episodes 1 & 2 of SEASON 2 were great. The writers are capably covering complicated and interesting topics without overly simplifying or resolving facilely (rare on any TV show these days). In addition to great depiction of female mentoring and friendships, this show delved into inherited breast cancer (the BRCA gene), rape and sexual assault injustices, office relationships/romances, bisexuality and sexuality, gender inequality and identity, political topics, career moves, drinking, bed bugs, financial difficulties, immigration/deportation, religious and class differences, interpersonal competitions and more.
Starring Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee (liked her on Chasing Life) and Meghann Fahy as the three millennial leads, with mentoring roles played by Melora Hardin and Stephen Conrad Moore; romance/friendship roles played by Sam(uel) Page, Matt Ward, Nikohl Boosheri, Dan Jeannotte.
Any writers who correctly reference/quote the late, great Nora Ephron in TWO Episodes get my vote!
KEEPING; RENEWED for SEASON 4

F.B.I.: Most Wanted CBS  (“planted pilot” aired as an Episode in F.B.I.‘s SEASON 1—Spring, 2019—and then premieres 1/7/20)
We liked this spinoff for F.B.I. that is “centered around the division of the FBI tasked with tracking and capturing the notorious criminals on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.”
Written by Dick Wolf and Rene Balcer (Law & Order, The Council) and directed by Fred Berner (Law & Order), this follows Wolf’s Chicago series’ franchise playbook.
Julian McMahon (Marvel’s Runaways) “will play Jess LaCroix, an ‘agent’s agent’ who’s at the top of his game and oversees the team from the FBI’s Most Wanted Unit, which is assigned the most extreme and egregious cases.” Also starring: Kellan Lutz (The Legend Of Hercules, The Expendables 3), Roxy Sternberg (Mars, Emerald City), Alana de la Garza (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders) and the fabulous Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider, Game of Thrones)—all grown up, now—who “will play Lynn Khanna, a cowboy boot-wearing FBI analyst from a conservative Dallas family. She is a master of data-mining and social engineering with a sharp, earthy sense of humor. Lynn is tough, playful and young in years but an old soul at heart….De la Garza will play A.S.A.C. (Assistant Special Agent in Charge) Isobel Castile, Fugitive Squad Supervisor, polished and focused West Point graduate with a brief stint in Silicon Valley. She’s a rising star who shuns politics and is a guided missile in the field….Sternberg will play FBI Agent Sheryll Barnes, an ex-NYPD detective with elevated street smarts….Lutz will play FBI Agent Crosby—an Army intel vet Jess has taken under his wing, communications whiz.” Nathaniel Arcand (Cold Pursuit) “will play Agent Clinton Skye, Mohawk Nation, Jess’ brother-in-law, a marksman with a law degree.”
We watch the original, so I guess we’ll give this a try as well.
Cautiously optimistic; we like it, so far

*A Discovery of Witches AMC & BBC (simulcast and premiered in the USA , 4/7/19; RENEWED for SEASON 2 & 3)
I like the actors and story, but the music and ambiance are so overblown, it is difficult to enjoy it. Also, the talking is hard to understand (poor audio balance). Will continue, but disappointed.
I read and liked all three books and the encyclopedia that accompanied the series AND the 4th book related to the same series by Deborah HarknessA Discovery of Witches, and was disappointed that the TV series (now getting three SEASONS) was only on paid channels we do not get (Sundance Now, Shudder, AMC streaming, and the UK’s SKY). BUT, it was so popular they brought it to cable!
A Discovery of Witches is a modern-day love story set in a world where witches, vampires and demons secretly live and work alongside humans, hidden in plain sight. Season 1 follows Diana [Teresa Palmer], a young scholar at Oxford who is a descendant of the Salem witches. When she accidentally unlocks an enchanted manuscript, she is compelled to embrace the magic in her blood and enters a forbidden romance with charming 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew (Matthew Goode). In the second season, Matthew and Diana are hiding in time in the fascinating and treacherous world of Elizabethan London , where they must find a powerful witch teacher to help Diana control her magic and search for the elusive Book of Life. Owen Teale, Alex Kingston, Lindsay Duncan, Valarie Pettifor, Edward Bluemel, Aiysha Hart, Trevor Eve, Malin Buska and Gregg Chillin also will return for Season 2.” Sounds as if each SEASON is based on one of the volumes of the 3-book series.
Will continue, but tentatively

Gone WGN (premiered 2/27/19; RENEWAL status unknown as of 11/15/19)
We watched because Chris Noth (Law & Order, Sex & the City) and stayed because of the others and the plots. We like this. This series actually began and aired in 2018-2019 in Europe, then WGN bought and aired it in 2019. Not sure about SEASON 2, yet (as of 11/15/19).
Noth is back in law enforcement, this time as an FBI agent, with Danny Pino (Magnum P.I.) as his partner. They are in this limited series based on One Kick by Chelsea Cain. They will work with a layperson played by Leven Rambin (True Detective), who was abducted as a child, “on a task force devoted to missing-person cases….Gone follows the story of Kit ‘Kick’ Lannigan (Rambin), survivor of a highly publicized child-abduction case, and 20-year veteran Fran; RENEWAL status unknown as of 11/15/19 Novak (Noth), the FBI agent who rescued her. Years later, he recruits her to join a special task force dedicated to solving abductions and missing persons cases. Paired with former Army intelligence officer, John Bishop (Pino), Lannigan uses her intuitive wit and martial arts skills to solve cases and bring victims home. Tracie Thoms and Andy Mientus co-star….{c]reated and written by Matt Lopez (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).”
Usually “happy” endings, so not too dark.
We like this a lot

*Good Girls NBC (premieres 1/6/20 for SEASON 3)
The writers of this show seem to believe that ANYONE can be a murderer, drug dealer, sociopath, thief, accomplice to other crimes, if desperate/angry enough. Very pessimistic view of humans, right? Compelling, though. Very good acting.
SEASON 2 started off rough (too much violence). Not liking it so much, now. We’ll see.
Starring one of my faves since she was a teen actor, Mae Whitman, with two new to me: Christina Hendricks and Retta, with co-stars, Manny Montana, Izzy Stannard, Matthew Lillard, and Reno Wilson, and features many other strong performances.
Lauren Stamile (Complications, American Horror Story, Blindspot, Chicago Fire) joins for SEASON 2 to “play Gretchen Zorada, a confident, intelligent and pedigreed defense attorney working on Manny’s (Manny Montana) case.”
“When sisters, Beth and Annie, and their best friend, Ruby, become fed up with playing by the rules and not getting the respect they deserve, they band together to take control of their lives—by holding up a local grocery store. Beth’s the perfect wife and mother, but her used-car-dealing, cheating husband has sent her family into financial ruin; Ruby is happily married to a policeman but can’t afford the medical bills and experimental drugs to help her daughter; and Annie, a single mom, is caught in a nasty custody battle with her ex. In desperate need of money, the women plan the heist expecting to ease their financial burdens. But new to the game of crime, they get pulled in deeper than they ever imagined—and the only way out of this will be together.”
Strangely compelling, but getting too violent; Not sure about SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3

Frankie Drake Mysteries DVD/CBC/Ovation [SEASON 1 released early 2019; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 (premieres in Canada 7/27/19) & 3]
These are excellent!  Many actors are from other CBC shows we have liked, and the stars are fabulous: Lauren Lee Smith (The Listener) is Frankie, and Chantal Riley (soon to be on Pearson) is her partner, Trudy,  and, Wendy Crewson is a hoot as Frankie’s mother. We like how they insert real people and events along with the fictional (notably. recurring appearances by a young Ernest Hemingway, who DID write for the Toronto newspaper before going to paris!). Fantastic hats, costumes, set designs, props, also. We can forgive some lazy anachronisms regarding ways of talking, hair and make-up colors, and general attitudes, because these are fun!
“Set in stylish 1920s Toronto, [FDM] follows the female-only agency Drake Private Detectives, led by the eponymous Frankie Drake and ,her partner Trudy Clarke. Incorporating a brand of justice that doesn’t always follow the law, Frankie and Trudy investigate mysteries and crimes that either the police refuse to take on, or that their clients cannot take to the police at all. Against a backdrop of social change, radical politics and jazz music, the series is immersed in both the real Toronto of the 1920s and the world of mystery and suspense conjured by creators, Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci.”
We like these a lot

*Documentary Now! IFC (returned On Demand 2/9/19; premiered 2/20/19 for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
I doubt if we’ll watch any of these together, and I won’t watch most, BUT I did an entire blog post reviewing Wild, Wild Country, the documentary about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, last April (2018), so seeing Michael Keaton and Owen Wilson in a parody of that documentary was VERY fun, and sad, both.
Now in its third SEASON on IFC, this Episode was entitled “Batsh*t Valley.’ It was described as this series’ “version of a story about a reclusive spiritual community, in the vein of Wild, Wild Country and The Source Family. Wilson is set to star as the leader of this secluded group in the woodlands of Oregon, with Keaton playing the FBI agent bent on investigating and exposing the truth behind the entire operation. Necar Zadegan will also star in the episode [NCIS: New Orleans; as a Ma Anand Sheila-type character], written by Seth Meyers and directed by Alex Buono.” This will be the fourth Episode of the new SEASON.
This was good enough that I may go back and watch some others somewhere, if they’re available. Looking forward to the Stephen Sondheim-based Episode, also: “Six new Sondheim-ian songs were written for the send up of Original Cast Album: Company, the 1970 D. A. Pennebaker documentary about the grueling overnight cast recording of Stephen Sondheim’s hit musical.”
This SEASON also includes parodies of …”bowling doc, League of Ordinary Gentlemen, and Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present. Guests include Cate Blanchett, Michael C. Hall…Tim Robinson, Bobby Moynihan, Natasha Lyonne, John Mulaney….Richard Kind, Renee Elise Goldsberry, James Urbaniak, and Paula Pell.”
FMI: https://www.indiewire.com/2018/10/documentary-now-michael-keaton-owen-wilson-wild-wild-country-1202011119/
I liked two and may watch more; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*You was on Lifetime, now on Netflix (RENEWED for SEASON 2; which premieres 12/26/19)
Embarrassed to say I checked this show out of curiosity and got hooked; watching the entire series On Demand. Will follow it to Netflix, for sure, but on my own.
You was “developed by Sera Gamble & Greg Berlanti based on the book by Caroline Kepnes.”  It involves multiple murders, stalking, obsession, narcissism, misogyny, bookstore, writing, female competitions, overbearing parents, class wars: not very uplifting.
SEASON 2 moves from NYC to LA, and is “loosely based on the author’s second book in the series, Hidden Bodies.
Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting Of Hill House) will be the new stalking victim, opposite stalker/murderer, Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl) in this “psychological thriller.”
Pedretti will play Love Quinn, an aspiring chef working as a produce manager in a high-end grocery store. Love is uninterested in the world of social media, branding and self-promotion, focused instead on leading an interesting life. She is also tending to a deep grief—and when she meets Joe Goldberg (Badgley), she senses a shared knowledge of profound, life-changing loss.”
Also adding Chris D’Elia (Undateable and Whitney), Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham), James Scully (Heathers), Marielle Scott, Charles Barnett (Russian Doll, Chicago Fire), Melanie Field (Heathers), Magda Apanowicz (Continuum), and Jenna Ortega (Jane the Virgin). D’Elia will play Henderson, a designer-hoodie, black Ray-Bans, expensive sneakers-wearing famous comedian with a ‘hard-life-lessons, man-of-the-people’ thing working for him.” Taylor plays Will, who “deals with unsavory sorts as part of his job, but is himself a thoughtful, personable, and highly intelligent guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer. That is, until he gets trapped in a bad situation….Scully will play Forty Quinn, Love’s (Pedretti) beloved brother, Forty is confident, opinionated and privileged—at his best, a charming buddy; at his worst, a razor-sharp bully. He’s been working a 12-step program with all the sincerity (and smugness) he’s got, relying heavily on his sister for support and attention. But it never takes much of a shove for him to fall back off the wagon….Scott will play Lucy, an edgy-chic literary agent with a deadpan wit and a sense of humor about her own LA-ness. Her career-driven nature is balanced by her earthy partner, Sunrise and their toddler. … Ortega is Ellie, a teenager who grew up fast in the big city, Ellie likes to act and appear older than her years. Secretly living with minimal supervision or nurturing in her life, she must take care of herself and isn’t afraid to get into murky waters to make a little cash. This includes working cons on the adults around her, including Joe Goldberg….Barnett will play Gabe, Love’s (Pedretti) oldest friend and closest confidant. He’s a successful acupuncturist and psychedelics aficionado living L.A. life to the fullest….Field will play Sunrise, a stay-at-home mommy blogger who raises a toddler with her partner, Lucy, in their gorgeous Venice Beach home. A New Age wellness aficionado who’s monetized her interests with a popular Instagram, she’s the cheerleader of her friend circle. Apanowicz will portray Sandy, a woman from Joe’s past with an infectious smile and restless spirit. She has been beaten up by life….Ambyr Childers plays Candace, Joe’s ex-girlfriend. It really did not end well. He thought she was dead. Turns out, not so much. She’s alive, and feeling less than forgiving. She appeared in four episodes in Season 1″ and is returning for SEASON 2, somehow. Also coming in for SEASON 2 is Adwin Brown (Heathers, The Fosters, Adam Ruins Everything, Scorpion, The Middle, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine), to play “A ‘true West Coaster’ who’s a mix of both meditation and stress, Calvin manages a high-end grocery store, and although he feels his life is more together than most, working at an unconventional store for some unconventional bosses tests him.”
I find it more disturbing and fascinating than “thrilling,.” Very well-acted and -directed and it seems to have been written by someone who understands narcissistic, violent, misogynistic obsession all too well.
Will keep watching, reluctantly

C.B. Strike HBO and DVD (which is the way we watch; DVD of SEASONS 1, 2, 3 all one one available; 3 SEASONS on HBO; RENEWED for SEASON 4, but airs in the UK, first)
Tom Burke plays the title character in this J.K. Rowling-as-Robert Galbraith-inspired British detective series, featuring an ex-military cop and currently recovering, wounded P.I., and his new assistant with their cases. Well-acted, well-shot, and interesting.
Has three SEASONS out on HBO; we watched and liked SEASONS 1, 2 & 3 on DVD from our library.
We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 4

Station 19 ABC (midseason premiere; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
We like this enough to keep watching, but it is very trite and way too much happens in the dark, which is frustrating even if realistic. SEASON 2 was better, and SEASON 3 promises to have more “crossovers” with Grey’s Anatomy, which I like.
Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood) is set to star as a firefighter in another Grey’sedatomy‘s spinoff, set in “a Seattle firehouse. The newest Shonda Rhimes series will center around the firefighters’ life-and-death situations at work and their personal lives.”
We like the cross-overs with Grey’s Anatomy, though.
Good enough; Episodes’ stories/quality are uneven; RENEWED for SEASON 3

Manifest NBC (premieres 1/6/20 for SEASON 2)
We were intrigued by both of the first three Episodes of this series and look forward to more!
“When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible. From Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke comes an emotionally rich, unexpected journey into a world grounded in hope, heart and destiny.”
Starring: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur.
Displaced in time and wondering how to adjust? I can relate.
We like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Orville FOX (returned 12/30/18 for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3, but on HULU)
We were right to be worried that Seth MacFarlane & Co. would be guilty of trying too hard and that the show would be awkward, unfunny, terrible, but, somehow, endearing. The first twenty minutes or so weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible, either. SEASON 1 limped along and we stuck with it, with uneven payoffs, in our opinions. SEASON 2 started off horribly, though. We accidentally missed the entire first 20 minutes, and we didn’t mind at all because this was a BORING and ridiculous Episode, especially for a returning SEASON premiere. However, each Episode got better. Now, we’re hooked.
We liked Adrianne Palicki in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and were glad to see her in this show, albeit in a similar role. Always glad to see Victor Garber, too, however briefly.
Besides these two, the show has quite a cast: Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle), Scott Grimes (ER), Peter Macon (Shameless), J Lee (Family Guy), Halston Sage (Crisis)
The premise: “Set 300 years in the future, the hour-long dramedy follows the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship, in Earth’s interstellar Fleet. Facing cosmic challenges from without and within, this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.”
Not sure we’ll stick with this.
Series was RENEWED, but SEASON 1 was reduced by 1 Episode, which will be added to fall, 2018, SEASON 2’s run.
KEEPING; RENEWED for SEASON 3 on HULU

The Good Fight CBS Access (CBS is running SEASON 1 for cable viewers, now; DVDs for past 2 SEASONS; RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4)
We loved The Good Wife and were sad that this new spinoff was pay-per-view for a few years. Delighted to find the DVDs at our local library! Returning/continuing are: Cush Jumbo, Christine Baranski, Gary Cole, Carrie Preston, Sarah Steele, Matthew Perry, and some others who pop up occasionally. 
Added newly: Bernadette Peters, Paul Guilfoyle, Justin Bartha, Delroy Lindo, Rose Leslie, Erica Tazel, Nyambi Nyambi, Louis Gossett, Jr., and so many more greats who are regulars or guest/recurring stars.
The writing and directing are stellar  (but not consistently done by the same people).
Added the wonderful Audra MacDonald and Michael Sheen (Masters Of Sex) in SEASON 2. For SEASON 3, Sheen plays “charismatic Machiavellian Roland Blum, who’s more interested in winning than following the law. The character is based on Roy Cohn, or his more recent iteration Roger Stone, King said, describing  Blum is a Satan in the law firm.”
This is fabulous! RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4

The Kominsky Method Netflix (released 11/16/18; returned 10/25/10 for SEASON 2)
This is fun. Kind of depressing, but so well-done. Totally worth it, if you like stories about Hollywood folks, elderly male issues and a great friendship, father-daughter relationships, acting. Co-created by Chuck Lorre, but we don’t like most of his latest shows (The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men). We enjoyed most of this and look forward to SEASON 2. The story “follows an aging actor who now makes his living in Hollywood as an acting coach.”
Starring: Michael Douglas, Lisa Edelstein, Nancy Travis, Sarah Baker and Alan Arkin; SEASON 2 is adding Jane Seymour, Jacqueline Bisset and Paul Reiser.
Seymour will play Madelyn who is described as a seventy-something, well-to-do woman whom Norman (Alan Arkin) had a mad love affair with in the ’60s before he met his wife. After fifty years, the two reunite and start it again. Bisset steps into the role of Gabrielle, who is Mindy’s (Sarah Baker) mom and Sandy’s (Michael Douglas) French ex-wife who delights in still being able to push the buttons of her ex-husband. Rounding out the trio is Reiser, who plays a sixty-something high school teacher who gets romantically involved with Mindy.”
We like it; even better for SEASON 2

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Amazon Prime (SEASON 1 available 11/29/17; SEASON 2 released 12/5/18; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
SEASON 2 is off to a great start. SEASOn 1 won 2 Golden Globes and is up for other awards.
This is an unsurprisingly delightful (coming from Daniel and Amy Sherman-Palladino of The Gilmore Girls, among other shows of theirs that I like) period piece, circa 1962 (Lenny Bruce’s stand-up era) that features a kick-ass, funny, smart, young Jewish wife & mother who accidentally becomes a stand-up comic after her pathetic, cheating husband aspires to have his own stand-up career and fails miserably, then leaves her for another woman.
“Set in early 1960s Manhattan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a 60-minute dramedy that centers on Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a sunny, energetic, sharp, Jewish girl who had her life mapped out for herself: go to college, find a husband, have kids, and throw the best Yom Kippur dinners in town. Soon enough, she finds herself exactly where she had hoped to be, living happily with her husband and two children in the Upper West Side. A woman of her time, Midge is a cheerleader wife to a man who dreams of a stand-up comedy career, but her perfect life is turned upside down when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman. Completely unprepared, Midge is left with no choice but to reevaluate what to do with her life. When she accidentally stumbles onto the stage at a comedy club, she soon discovers her own comedic skills and decides to use this newfound talent to help her rebuild a different life for herself.”
Starring the fabulous, award-winning Rachel Brosnahan in the title role as “Midge” (Miriam) and Michael Zegen as her awful husband. Also featuring Luke Kirby as the infamous Lenny Bruce, and the inimitable Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s unsupportive father and Marin Hinkle (doing double-duty as the principle of Speechless‘ high school, too) as her frosty mother. With Alex Borstein as her staunchest supporter/new agent,
Gaining Zachary Levi for SEASON 2.
Intelligent, funny, poignant and interesting.

We watched all of SEASON 1 and eagerly await SEASON 2.
Loving SEASON 2; RENEWED  SEASON 3

The Bodyguard Netflix (released 10/24/18; already RENEWED for SEASON 2)
We found this to be sadly compelling and very well -acted and -written. This is another 6-part BBC miniseries (one not to be confused with the Whitney Houston film) that “centers on David Budd, a bodyguard played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) assigned to protect Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes)” (Durrells of Corfu, which I love).
We finished, but the questions were not all answered. AND, even though they killed off/captured several key characters, it has been renewed for SEASON 2!?!!

The Bodyguard
image from BBC One, Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes from The Bodyguard
We like it; already RENEWED for SEASON 2

*black-ish ABC (RENEWED and premiered 9/24/19 for SEASON 6)
SEASON 5 started off with stupid plots and subplots that did not capture my interest at all. Not feeling it this year. We’ll see. This show has had great acting (sometimes), excellent storylines that are relevant and important (and very informative without being heavy-handed), especially for African-Americans (but not only), and funny bits that aren’t usually too silly.
The writers have tackled postpartum depression, incarceration, Type II (Adult Onset) diabetes, divorce, bullying, class issues/homelessness/charity/poverty, marital issues, sibling rivalry, workplace harassment, racism, sexism and so much more, fitting each or more than one topic into a 30-minute segment that features a family that has children from age 19+ to an infant and one set of divorced grandparents who live in “the backyard”
I understand why the actors and writers (Kenya Barris, Peter Saji) have won so many awards.
Starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Jenifer Lewis, Lawrence Fishburne, , and the kids (Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin and the infant).
Okay and  RENEWED for SEASON 6

Supergirl CW (RENEWED and premiered 10/6/19 for SEASON 5)
Supergirl got an updated and more practical costume: leggings! https://morgan-magazine.com/2019/07/16/supergirl-getting-costume-pants-for-season-5-on-the-cw/

For SEASON 3, Supergirl seemed depressed, angry and unwilling to play nicely as Kara Danvers so much. In SEASON 4, she’s driven and a bit “over the top” with “work,” but finally seems grown up and is mentoring another reporter who reminds her of her younger self. So, good on Melissa Benoist and the writers for finally showing her acting her age! For SEASON 5, however, Lena Luther’s character has gone bad. Damn. Now we aren’t liking the show, again.
“The CW DC Crossover” with three consecutive December nights of sequential Episodes of Supergirl, Arrow and Flash—3rd year of that—Elseworlds, was confusing, but we got into it and liked it. Definitely paved the way for next year’s, also.

Some explanations of “The CW DC Crossover’s” most recent outcomes, and what’s coming (perhaps):
and
and

Crisis on Infinite Earths, one of the most important superhero comics of all time, has officially been announced as the subject of the 2019 Arrowverse crossover.
However, Arrow was CANCELED for 2019-20.
Still, for 2019-20, “it will be a five-part event featuring The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and the latest addition to the Arrowverse, the Ruby Rose-headlined Batwoman….[and] split across two quarters, with the first three parts airing in December before wrapping things up after a winter break with the final two episodes in January.”
Also for SEASON 4, we are without Odette Annable, Emma Tremblay, Jeremy Jordan, Carl Lumbly, Floriana Lima and Chris Wood, but David Harewood appeared in Episode 1 and may recur. Chyler Leigh, Mehcad Brooks, Katie McGrath, Brenda Strong, Lynda Carter and Jesse Rath are continuing, along with some new ‘bad guys,” Rhonda Mitra and Robert Baker, with a thinly-disguised anti-immigration (anti-alien) storyline this year (like many other shows we watch… mhhh).
Nicole Maines—the first trans actor as a superhero in a TV series—and Rhona Mitra and Sam Witwer are also joining. Bruce Boxleitner is set to some in as Vice-President Baker. Can Bruce sing?
Another newbie: look for Azie Tesfai (Jane The Virgin, The Kominsky Method) for SEASONS 4 & 5 “as Kelly Olsen, the sister of …[James] Olsen…. Kelly is an intelligent and insightful woman who spent time in the military in order to pay for medical school. She’s recently discharged from the military and is currently finishing her training as a psychiatrist. She’s got a large heart and cares deeply about others.”
Jon Cryer is coming on as the iconic villain, Lex Luthor, in SEASON 4 as well. Stay tuned!
Also, another CW three-night cross-over event is happening again this year, with the finale of it on Supergirl (12/11/18), sandwiching in Arrow (12/10/18) and starting with Flash (12/9/18) (which we’ll watch only for this event) in order to introduce viewers to Batwoman, Lois Lane and their version of Gotham City. Tyler Hoechlin will again be this DC-verse’s Superman (he’s appeared on Supergirl a couple of times already); Ruby Rose will be Batwoman; Elizabeth Tulloch (Grimm) will be Lois Lane. LaMonica Garrett is also joining, as “The Monitor, a cosmic character with a singular spot in the eight-decade publication history of DC Comics. In April 1985, The Monitor was introduced as a powerful entity at the center of ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’…The Monitor, also known as Mar Novu, was created by writer, Marv Wolfman, and artist, George Pérez.”
Jessica Meraz (Major Crimes) “will play Menagerie/Pamela Ferrer. An iconic DC villain and a member of Manchester Black’s “Elite,” Menagerie is a jewel thief who doesn’t mind hurting people.”
BTW: We liked the first cross-over, with only Flash & Supergirl, in 2016, because it was a musical, but last year’s (2017) was BORING (alternate, Nazi-infested Earth with too much violence and an overload of dystopian elements). 2018’s proved to be midway between, interest-wise.
If you’re a die-hard DC/Batman fan, read this: What’s Up With Batman? and more DC TV info, link here
Not great for SEASON 5

The Rookie ABC (RENEWED and premiered 9/29/19 for SEASON 2)
We like this, but SEASON 2 seems kind of without focus. Not really new rookies any more…We’ll see.
One of our favorite (but, of course, short-lived) shows, starring Hayley Atwell, was Conviction. Its co-creator is directing this new series! Liz Friedlander is also the Executive Producer of the ABC pilot of the crime dramedy, which stars one of our all-time favorite dramedy actors, Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle), as John Nolan, “the oldest newbie on the LAPD … inspired by a true story. Nolan “cast[s] aside his comfortable, small town life and move[s] to LA to pursue his dream of being a cop….[S]urrounded by rookies 20 years his junior, Nolan must navigate the dangerous, humorous, and unpredictable world of a ‘young’ cop, determined to make his second shot at life count.” We like this a lot, but many do not. We think our taste is not “typical,” so it will likely get canceled. But, until then, we intend to enjoy it.
Fillion plays a complicated, realistic, good-hearted, courageous, intelligent, unmacho middle-aged new cop, which is refreshing, with some others who are somewhat 2-D (so far), but whom we hope will expand as we go along.
The cast as several new to us: Afton Williamson as Fillion‘s Training Officer (but she left due to sexual harassment and racism!); Melissa O’Neil as his co-trainee and love interest (so far); Mercedes Mason as the Captain (SEASON 1 only); and, Alyssa Diaz as another TO with Titus Makin, Jr., as another rookie. Richard T. Jones (whom we always like) as the Sergeant-in-Charge and Eric Winter (whom we also like) as another TO, with Mircea Monroe as his drug-addicted, homeless ex? wife who may recur, are the rest of the main characters (so far).
We like it for SEASON 2

Madam Secretary CBS (RENEWED and premiered 10/6/19 for short, FINAL SEASON 6)
This is one of our favorite shows and we’ll miss it when it’s gone, especially in the tRump era. Great writing, cast, situations, characters. Amazingly timely.
Starring: Tea Leoni, Tim Daly, many more.
A Barbara Hall production and she writes many Episodes.
LOVE and will miss THIS!

God Friended Me CBS (RENEWED and premiered 9/29/19 for SEASON 2)
SEASON 2 is off to an odd start, but it’s getting better.
Joe Morton (Scandal, many more), again? Wow!
Great production and creative team, led by Greg Berlanti.
Touched by an Angel, Heaven Can Wait,  etc.: been there, done that, but, doing it again with social media.
Brandon Micheal Hall is very charming; supporting cast also good.
“Questions of faith, existence and science are explored in this humorous, uplifting series about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he is ‘friended’ by God on social media. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.”
With Adam Goldberg, Violett Beane, Suraj Sharma, Javicia Leslie, Erica Stemple.
Very sweet; RENEWED for SEASON 2 

NCIS New Orleans CBS (RENEWED and premiered 9/24/19 for SEASON 6)
Still liking this in SEASON 6, especially Scott Bakula‘s character.Necar Zadegan, is staying, although will no longer lead the team (Pride took one of two offered promotions, but she got demoted so he returned to his former position).
But, why is Pride’s mental health an issue again? BORING.
Also starring: Lucas Black, CCH Pounder, Vanessa Ferlito, Rob Kerkovich, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell.
KEEPING for SEASON 6

*The Good Place NBC (RENEWED and premiered 9/26/19 for final SEASON 4)
These writers lost their ways for SEASON 2 and still haven’t found it for SEASON 3. We watched the first two Episodes and couldn’t even finish Episode 3. There is more hamming than acting, but some of the actors do well with terrible scripts;  actual actors are wasted in this show.  VERY BORING and STUPID, still. Too bad: we do love Kristen Bell! I watch(ed) SEASONS 3 & 4’s Episodes alone, now, and don’t like them, much.
The writers do tackle existential and cosmological questions head-on, though, which is probably the reason I keep watching. Check out this article about that: https://www.indiewire.com/2019/01/the-good-place-explained-michael-schur-season-3-1202025660
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ted Danson (CSI: Cyber), Manny Jacinto (The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story), William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden
We haven’t both continued; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*Grey’s Anatomy ABC (RENEWED and premiered 9/26/19 for SEASON 16; then, MAY be ENDING in 2020; see other parts of this post for SPINOFFs news)
I am a long-time fan of this show, especially, Ellen Pompeo. Spawned its 3rd and 4th spin-offs for 2018!
Plenty to keep one’s interest, if you like these characters and this kind of drama, which I do (Mom stopped watching this years ago: “Too much sex” was her reason.). Excellent character arcs for Alex Kare (Justin Chambers) and his new wife, Camilla Luddington as Jo Wilson, Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson), Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone).
Jake Borelli (the other half of the gay male couple–s7-1ee below) is going to be continuing for SEASON 16.
Alex Landi is this series’ first gay male surgeon, Dr. Nico Kim. Better late than never! The series has been groundbreaking with featuring and starring lesbians, bisexuals and questioning women, and some trans characters floated around, but no gay males, up until SEASON 15 (2018-19).
Love the anti-homophobia storylines and the actions/discussions the show inspires, especially for parents of LGBT kids and for everyone about bullying. Excellent PSAs built right into the show.
Very strong return for each SEASON, and I always enjoy it, even though some key characters keep leaving/being asked to leave.
Sara Ramirez (played bisexual Dr. Callie Torres here for 10 seasons) may return at some point before the end. We’ll see.
Happy to keep Chris Carmack (Nashville) as the newest orthopedic surgeon with an attitude, Greg Germann, and Kim Raver as regulars for SEASON 16 (just had Owen’s baby!).
KEEPING for SEASONS 16 & 17; then, ENDING

F.B.I. CBS (RENEWED and premiered  9/24/19 for SEASON 2 and getting a spinoff; see above)
We appreciate this, which fulfills its mandate:  “a scripted drama about the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
The spin-off aired its pilot as an Episode in SEASON 1 and is having its own Episodes in 2019-20: F.B.I.: Most Wanted.
First Unit Director for this FBI branch was played by Connie Nielsen, then Sela Ward, now De La Garza: that role is not keeping its actors! Not much for them to do, we suspect.
Stars: Alana De La Garza (Forever), Jeremy Sisto, Missy Peregrym, Ebonee Noel, Zeeko Zaki, with Milena Govich (Law & Order) joining as a  director/co-executive producer for SEASON 2.
Going to keep; RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Resident FOX (returned 9/24/19 for SEASON 3)
Killing off characters is not the only way to have drama, FYI, writers, but we don’t miss them on this show.
Jane Leeves (Frasier)may be leaving? But, her character “is an orthopedic surgeon and foil for Bruce Greenwood‘s CEO.”
Manish Dayal, Emily van Camp (Revenge, Everwood) and Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife and Gilmore Girls) star in yet another medical drama series. How could we need any more of these? Yet, we LOVE this one!
“This medical drama follows the relationship between a senior resident and a young doctor at a hospital.”
Strong characters and interesting plots. We’re hooked.

KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 3

*Ozark Netflix (SEASONS 1 & 2 available; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Did not enjoy SEASON 2 much. Watched it all, though there were dozens of murders and it was much darker. I’m reluctant to return to it.
SEASON 1 was odd, dark, violent and disturbing, but strangely sweet and compelling. My favorite aspects are the stories, scenes and interactions with the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, where I spent some of the happiest times of my childhood and adolescence, 1963 – 1970, at Camp Hawthorn (near Kaiser, Missouri) and Camp Sabra (which is what Camp Hawthorn became when it merged with Camp Wah-Kon-Dah), on the Staenberg Peninsula, which both share lakefront activities because of the Lake of the Ozarks. I canoed on, swam in, water skied on, sailed on, camped beside and enjoyed that lake so much that it was a delight to see it in this series, even when the storylines are tragic and the characters are horrendous and unlikable.
Who exactly are the “good” and who are the “bad” guys, anyway?
Starring Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and some I don’t know so well, the story is about criminals, mostly, and how this one family becomes them and deals with them, both.
Definitely rated “R.”
Not for everyone, but I sort of like it; RENEWED for SEASON 3

9-1-1 FOX (RENEWED and premiered 9/24/19 for SEASON 3)
For SEASON 3, keeping Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer), but what is up with her character’s brother?
An Emergency Response drama created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.
Starring Angela Bassett and Peter Krause, with ZERO on-screen chemistry, but whose characters are married, now.
The writers seem to be trying too hard to set up the most bizarre and objectionable characters and rescue situations as possible, but we are underwhelmed and not all that interested during and fast-forward through many scenarios.
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 3

NCIS CBS (RENEWED and premiered 9/24/19 for SEASON 17)
We are glad to have Cote de Pablo (Ziva) back for a few Episodes.
We are fans of this show, so far, but…If it weren’t for Mark Harmon
We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 17

Chicago Med NBC (RENEWED and premiered 9/25/19 for SEASON 5)
Colin Donnell leaves before SEASON 5, but will occasionally guest star. Glad to see him and his mentally ill partners/exes and dad gone, also.
Too many love triangles. A bit too much soap opera-esque-ness in these nighttime medical shows: how do they have so much time on their hands?
We LOVE Oliver Platt, and the rest of the cast are good, with interesting (but largely implausible) stories.
Starring: Molly BernardColby LewisNick Gehlfuss, Torrey DeVitto, Rachel DiPillo, Brian Tee, S. Epatha Merkerson, Yaya DaCosta, Marlyne Barrett.
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 5

Blue Bloods CBS (RENEWED and premiered 9/27/19 for SEASON 10)
My mom LOVES this show and watches re-runs for fun, mostly because she loves Tom Selleck as the family patriarch and Chief of Police. It’s grown on me.
MORE STORY! Less angst!
Glad to see Lorraine Braco.
Definitely staying tuned, if only to see what these writers are up to this year.
Also starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, Len Cariou, Sami Gayle, Marisa Ramirez and Vanessa Ray.

Blue Bloods

KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 10

Chicago P.D. NBC (RENEWED and premiered 9/25/19 for SEASON 7)
Jon Seda is leaving this show before SEASON 7, but will occasionally guest star.
Anne Heche‘s character is also leaving. Already killed off 2 others. Sheesh!  We like this show less and less.
Nicki Micheaux (Good Trouble) and Alexis Louder (Harriet) join in 2019. “Louder will play Jasmine Price, the composed, bright, hopeful, impressive daughter of Ray Price (Wendell Pierce). A rising political star on the wings of her successful father…” Micheaux plays “Alicia Price, the wife of Ray Price ….She’s a very intelligent and graceful wife and mother. She’s at times steely, measured and dutiful to her husband.”
Disappointed that so many ON THE FORCE are doing so many bad things.
Starring: Jason Beghe, Marina Squerciati, Jesse Lee Soffer, Jon Seda, Patrick Fleuger, Laroyce Hawkins, Amy Morton, Tracy Spiridakos
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 7

Chicago Fire NBC (RENEWED and premiered 9/25/19 for SEASON 8)
Getting a full 22 Episodes for SEASON 4. Ode of my CHANGES conversations between authors‘ guests, poet performer, James Gordon, has recurring minor roles on this and Chicago PD!)
Losing one or more main characters is tricky, but they handled it all right.
A new partner in the ambo is a recurring theme; we miss Brett!
Starring: Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney, Eamonn Walker, David Eigenberg, Joe Minoso, Kara Killmer, Yuriy Sardarov, Cristian Stolte, Miranda Rae Mayo, Gary Cole; added Annie AlonzehSteven Boyer, Austin PeckJordan Belfi (American Curious) .
KEEPING, and okay for now; RENEWED for SEASON 8

Bull CBS (RENEWED and premiered 9/23/19 for SEASON 4)
We LOVED this show and its great cast, but now that we know why Eliza Dushku (and probably Jill Flint as well) haven’t returned, and how disgustingly Weatherly, Moonves, Caron and CBS have ROUTINELY behaved toward women, we feel conflicted about watching. AND, even though it was RENEWED for SEASON 4, it lost Spielberg and its other producers. Interestingly, the SEASON 4 opener was all about Bull’s needing to apologize, beg, be humble…. Hmmmm.
Stars: Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (The Night Shift), Geneva Carr (Law & Order: SVU), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio. 
Very good writing and acting all around, with the “right side” usually prevailing, often in a Perry Mason “gotcha” moment during the trial. We like that.
KEEPING for SEASON 4

The Good Doctor ABC (RENEWED and premiered 9/23/19 for SEASON 3)
I had thought I was kind of bored with autistic savant characters (they’re EVERYWHERE, now, aren’t they?), but this series is excellent, despite the trite trope. Each Episode is somewhat Royal Pains-like (improvising in restaurants; chest tubes with ball-point pens types of “surgeries”), but we like it.
SEASONS 2 and 3 had strong starts, despite constant casting shifts.
Not liking Sharon Leal‘s character (but she did great in it).
Starring Freddie Highmore as Shawn Murphy, and including a couple of familiar faces [Richard Schiff (The West Wing) and Hill Harper (Covert Affairs, CSI: NY)].  Also, Antonia Thomas as Dr. Claire Browne, Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Neil Melendez, Tamlyn Tomita as Allegra Aoki, Christina Chang as Dr. Audrey Lim, Fiona Gubelman as Dr. Morgan Reznick, Will Yun Lee as Dr. Alex Park, Paige Spara as Lea Dilallo, and
We really like this one; KEEPING and Good  for SEASON 3

New Amsterdam NBC (RENEWED for SEASON 3; premiered 9/24/19 for SEASON 2)
We liked this show better each week, first year, but SEASON 2 seems to have taken several steps backward, in our view. especially since it had “calmed down” a bit before last year’s finale.
Dear Writers: you do not have to provide an emergency every 2 minutes or kill key characters off to keep our attention. Please, as your character reminded the lead, SLOW DOWN! And, stop killing off characters we like!
“Inspired by Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in America, this unique medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director [Ryan Eggold, recently killed off in The Blacklist and star of its short-lived spinoff] who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care. How can he help? Well, the doctors and staff have heard this before. Not taking ‘no’ for an answer, Dr. Goodwin must disrupt the status quo and prove he will stop at nothing to breathe new life into this understaffed, underfunded and underappreciated hospital—the only one in the world capable of treating Ebola patients, prisoners from Rikers and the President of the United States under one roof—and return it to the glory that put it on the map.”
Also starring: Freema Agyeman, Janet Montgomery, Jocko Sims, Anupam Kher, Tyler Labine, with Margo Bingham and Sendhil Ramamurthy (Reverie, Heroes, Heroes Reborn, Covert Affairs) coming on soon.
We wish it were more like Red Band Society and less like Bedlam.
We like it; RENEWED and KEEPING for SEASONS 2 & 3

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Amazon Prime (SEASON 1 released 8/31/18; RENEWED for SEASONS 2—11/1/19 released— & 3 [no release date, yet])
John Krasinski (How I Met Your Mother) does all right as the newest Jack Ryan  (but we liked Chris Pine better, and who can forget Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck or Alec Baldwin, all of whom have had a turn playing this iconic role?), as do the other cast members, with the lousy script they were given.
But, Mom is a long-time reader and fan of both the Jack Ryan books and films and was very put off and confused by how out-of-context most of this new series seemed to all the rest that have already been made/written. I’ve only seen a few films and never read any of the books, but I agree.
Also, in trying to modernize it (original was set in the 1970s-80s), they set Ryan and the CIA in yet another tired plot of Middle-Eastern-men-as-villains, with car bombs, deception, revenge-seeking for events from 30+ years ago and more recent hostility, etc., polus, “interrogation” scenes, which we hate.
We watched all 8 Episodes, and some are all right, but VERY dark and violent.
Starring: John Krasinski, Timothy Hutton (he gets around!)
Too much violence and not enough script; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3

Midsomer Murders [must get DVDs; used to be on both PBS and Netflix (Newest SEASON returns in 2020; SEASONS 1 – 17 released already; the others are on DVDs, through SEASON 25/19—ITV counts SEASONS differently)]
During this lull in summer TV, my mom and I found Midsomer Murders on Netflix and have been enjoying its being less bloody and violent than USA detective shows, and its quirkiness. PBS started airing SEASON 13 this past month as well (September, 2018).
We believe the writers hate women (most culprits have been female so far, and we’re 12 SEASONS in), the English countryside’s small towns (not-so-subtle digs at how “quaint” and “backward” they are), special interests/social clubs (which contain obsessive people willing to kill over orchids, fishing rights, rare books, bike racing, golf, choir competitions and whatever), and marriage (marriages and other relationships on this series mostly suck–the couples are so mean to one another!). Every one of these small towns has way too many crimes and murderers per capita and a lot of drunkards, liars, adulterers and thieves. Also, most Episodes have some kind of fete (festival), and these are hilarious.
We also like to play: “Who is that actor?” (now 15-20 years older from the Episodes we’re watching) and “Where else have we seen him/her before or since? (mostly since). <a href=”http://IMDB.com&#8221; rel=”noopener”
Or, check here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Midsomer_Murders_characters
target=”_blank”>http://IMDB.com is so good for answering those questions, usually. The series is based on the books by Caroline Graham, “featured 251 deaths, 222 of which were murders.”
Starring Bergerac‘s John Nettles as the the lead detective, DCI Barnaby, for the first 13 SEASONS, and Jane Wymark and Laura Howard (also for 13 SEASONS) as the wife and adult daughter of Barnaby, as regulars. An ever-changing roster of supporting and Episodic characters fills out the roster nicely each Episode. Seasons are generally from 4 – 8 Episodes long, but each Episode is about 90 – 100 minutes (basically, = 2 night-time hour-long slots, with commercials, we think, originally).
Turns out we can get the DVDs for SEASONS 18 – 25 at our local library, and plan to do so during the next hiatus of TV after we’re done with Netflix‘s offerings.
Warming: In 2011, producer/creator, “Brian True-May, caused controversy when he said the television series ‘was the last bastion of Englishness because it did not have actors from ethnic minorities….We’re the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.’ The 61-year-old was suspended for his comments” and was forced to step down at the end of that year’s Episodes.
True-May banned swearing, violence and sex scenes from the show but his idyllic formula does not stop challenging storylines, or other elements of diversity which do not involve ethnicity. ‘If it’s incest, blackmail, lesbianism, homosexuality … terrific, put it in, because people can believe that people can murder for any of those reasons,’ he told the Radio Times. “A study in 2006 found that Midsomer Murders was ‘strikingly unpopular’ with minorities.”
We wondered about the lack of non-Caucasians…
The weather is also atypical of southern England and more like southern France or Spain (hardly ever rains, hardly ever very cold). or they arranged to film each Episode in any season but winter.
Liking these, but some scripts are dull

Carter WGN (10-Episode series premiered 8/14/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2, which airs in Jan, 2020)
We like Jerry O’Connell, usually, so we tried this. We have watched 2 Episodes, and it’s not great, but getting better, sort of. It’s a police procedural in which a TV actor returns to his small Canadian town and people make him a police consultant, convinced he knows more than he actually does from having played a detective on TV in a successful series. We also like a lot of the CBC‘s series, so this boded well.
However, the writing is mostly terrible. They make O’Connell’s character too buffoonish and everyone else is drawn 2-dimensionally and stereotypically. The first two plots, though, had some twists so maybe it’s not hopeless.
UPDATE: By Episode 5, it’s gotten a lot better. Glad to see it.
Help for SEASON 2: Andy Berman (Psych, Rosewood) is joining as showrunner and Executive Producer. We liked both of those shows, so that should be great!
Also starring: Sydney Tamiia Poitier (yes; Sidney’s daughter!), Kristian Bruun, Joanne Boland, Sherry Miller, John Bourgeois, Vijay Gill, Matt Baram, Dave Leigh.
We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Private Eyes ION (premiered 5/29/19 for SEASON 3, but 2nd half of the SEASON is MIA…delayed)
Canadian TV can make some great shows, and we like this one (formerly entitled The Code). “Private Eyes is an investigative drama series featuring two strong and forever competing characters. Ex-pro hockey player, Matt Shade (Jason Priestley), irrevocably changes his life when he decides to team up with fierce P.I., Angie Everett (Cindy Sampson) to form an unlikely investigative powerhouse. Angie may find Shade naïve in the way that he sees the world, but his passion and heart brings something special to her one-woman business. Shade sees working with Angie as an opportunity to redeem himself, yet he’s partnering with a woman who fundamentally believes that people don’t change. If he’s the unstoppable force, she’s the immovable object. They’ll challenge each other on every level.”

Private Eyes: Already had 2 SEASONS that aired in Canada.

Also starring: Jordyn Negri, Barry Flatman, Cleo Bennet, Kurtis Mazhari (of The Listener and Blindspot).
For unknown reasons, this SEASON stopped in late August and then resumed in early February); a split SEASON, like Suits.
Predictable, but sweet & worthwhile; RENEWED for SEASON 3

*Cable Girls (Las Chicas del Cable) Netflix (4 SEASONS, so far; SEASON 4 released 9/7/19)
An excellent 1928-31, Spain-based somewhat true account of the beginnings of the telephone company, trade unions and the precursors to the Spanish Civil War from the telephone operators’ and other women’s points of view. Excellent writing, acting, plots and subplots that include bisexuality, transgender identity and domestic violence, women’s rights’ issues as well as the usual infidelities, class wars, crimes, lies and substance abuse/drinking problems.
Warning: DUBBED (Spanish to English), very well, and also offers subtitles if you prefer or can’t turn them off.
SEASON 3 returned about 5 months after SEASON 2; SEASON 3 about 6 months later. I enjoy this, but it’s very disturbing, in parts.  Still well-written, acted,and interesting.
Starring: Blanca Suárez, Yon González, Ana Fernández, Maggie Civantos, Nadia de Santiago, Martiño Rivas, Ana Polvorosa, Sergio Mur.
I like this, but Mom doesn’t.


On **Mom’s list, only, and she’s keeping them (YAYs for her):

**Law and Order—SVU NBC (returned 9/26/19 for SEASON 21 [longest-running drama on network TV!])
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED.

**Hawaii 5-0 CBS (RENEWED and premiered 9/27/d9)
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED

**Saturday Night Live (SNL) NBC (returned 9/30/19 for SEASON million)
Mom is keeping this on her list, but I am bored with it; RENEWEDS

**NCIS: Los Angeles CBS (RENEWED and premiered 9/29/19 for SEASON 11)
David James Elliot and Catherine Bell from JAG are reprising their roles on this in 2019-20! Mom is thrilled, since she watched every Episode of that great show.
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED for SEASON 11

**Criminal Minds CBS (returned 1/3/19 for SEASON 14; RENEWED for final SEASON 15)
Mom is keeping this on her list, but bored with it; RENEWED

2019-20 PREMIERES/RETURNS (some not yet reviewed/watched as of 11/1/19, Updated for 11/15/19)

Some PREMIERES/RETURNS are still unknown for 2019-20, so I give the known first/return air dates. I/we plan to watch the shows listed, below (UPDATED 11/15/19).

LINK to premiere dates, renewals and cancellations for 2019-20: https://renewcanceltv.com/tv-show-premiere-dates-2019-guide/

Or, use this link for a frequently updated 2019-20, schedule: http://www.thefutoncritic.com/guided/winter-2019-grid/
UPDATED 11/15/19.

Also, try https://nextseasontv.com/tv-show-premiere-dates-2018-19/ for release dates.


2019-20 Planned Viewing 

Lincoln Rhyme, Bone Collector NBC (premieres 1/10/20)
The Bone Collector 
was already a book and a film; now it’s a series, starring Russell Hornsby (The Hate U Give, Proven Innocent)Arielle Kebbel (Midnight, Texas), Ramses Jimenez (Fear the Walking Dead)Brooke Lyons (Life Sentence), Roslyn Ruff (Divorce), Tate Ellington (The Brave), and Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos).
Based on 1997 book series by Jeffery Deaver and the 1999 film (with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie), this “follows Lincoln Rhyme, a retired genius forensic criminologist left paralyzed after an accident on the job. When a harrowing case brings him back to the force, Rhyme partners up with an ambitious young detective, Amelia Sachs, to take down some of the most dangerous criminals in the U.S….Imperioli will play Rick Sellitto, an NYPD detective and Lincoln’s partner….Kebbel’s Amelia Sachs is extremely bright and can hold her own in any situation. The character’s last name matches that in the books. In the movie, it was changed to Amelia ‘Donaghy’….Jimenez will play Eric Ortiz, an NYPD detective and Sellitto’s (Imperioli) new partner. Lyons portrays Kate, an invaluable addition to the investigative team….Ellington will play Felix, who is part of the CSI team and quick to speak his mind…. Ruff is Claire, Lincoln’s caregiver.” It will be scripted by VJ Boyd and Mark Biancull(S.W.A.T.) and directed by Seth Gordon (The GoldbergsSchooled, The Good DoctorSneaky Pete, Marry Me).
Sounds familiar, but I did not see the film and never read the books.
May try this

The Mind, Explained Netflix (docuseries with 20-minute Episodes; SEASON 1 released 9/12/19; RENEWED and released 9/26/19 for SEASON 2)
“Memory. Dreams. Anxiety. Psychedelics. Mindfulness. The billionaire boom. Athleisure as fashion. The lure of cults.” These and other topics “about culture and social trend” are purportedly explained by various non- and actual experts in each Episode.
For the Mindfulness Episode, “‘Although the true nature of the mind can’t be described directly, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try to develop some theoretical understanding about it.’ – Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. The Joy of Living.”
Emma Stone narrates.
I may watch; Mom won’t.

The ABC Murders  Amazon Prime (released 2/1/19)
Agatha Christie‘s Hercule Poirot is revived yet again, with John Malkovich in the main role. Never have liked him, but these are great stories, so we might watch.
Maybe

Russian Doll Netflix (8 Episodes, released 2/1/19; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
This is a dramedy from Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black) and Amy Poehler; “Lyonne plays a woman who gets caught in a time loop, repeatedly going to the same party and dying every night, only to wake up the next morning unharmed.”
Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, Elizabeth Ashley, Charlie Barnett.
We’ll try it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

2019 MusiCares Person of the Year CBS (happened 2/8/19, but did not air; can’t find when/where, as of 5/319)
Dolly Parton will be this year’s recipient. This should have aired the same weekend as The Grammy’s, which aired 2/10/19. She will be its first country-music artist to be so honored. We’ll be delighted to watch this tribute to an extremely generous, intelligent, talented woman. We’ve watched several of these annual events, and they’re excellent. Many great singers participating.
Should be great, if we can find it

*Lorena Amazon Prime (4-Part Docuseries; released 2/15/19)
I remember this all too well, but a new take on it would be welcomed.
“Lorena Bobbitt became a household name in 1993 when she cut off her then-husband’s penis with a kitchen knife while he slept. Her shocking attack—and the fact that her trial was televised—made her an overnight news sensation….Lorena offers a powerful portrait of a woman pushed to the brink—and a nation wholly unprepared to deal with its epidemic of domestic abuse. The docuseries provides a helpful historical overview of what services and legal recourse were available to abused women at the time, or more accurately, the lack thereof. Hopefully the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements will encourage Bobbitt skeptics to view the case through a new lens, and encourage all of us to do more for the millions of women who continue to be affected by domestic abuse.”
I may watch; Mom won’t

The Coroner CBC, then Amazon (released, but not free; winter, 2019)
This is the newest CBC legal/medical drama, and stars Roger Cross (Dark Matter) and Serinda Swan. “The series, which will shoot in Toronto, centers on a newly appointed coroner investigating suspicious deaths in Toronto….Inspired by M.R. Hall’s best-selling book series, Coroner centers on a newly appointed coroner investigating suspicious deaths in Toronto.” Serinda Swan (Inhumans) fills the title role of “Jenny Cooper, a brave, determined yet vulnerable coroner driven by an intense desire for the truth. A former ER doctor and recently widowed mother, the passing of her beloved husband has unlocked a primal connection to death, tied to a secret in her past that is only now coming to the surface. She loves her son more than life itself and strives to support him while also trying to take care of herself.”
We do like a lot of CBC’s (Canadian Broadcasting Company) TV series, but this adds to an already ridiculously high number of medical/legal dramas. How many ways can people find bodies killed in how many ways? We’ve already seen dozens of repeated body discovery scenarios and similar murder methods across the many shows we watch/have watched.
We’ll try it 

Heartstrings Netflix (8 Episodes, releases November, 2019)
“Told as an anthology series, each of the eight episodes will be based on one of [Dolly] Parton’s songs, showcasing the stories, memories, and inspirations behind her most beloved numbers. But there will be new music scoring each episode, along with more classic hits, and the genres of each entry will span love stories, westerns, and revenge comedies.”
Probably sappy, but we’ll try it

Northern Rescue Netflix (available 3/18/19; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
What is it with newly dead wives as the plotline? Here’s another one, starring William Baldwin as the widower, with Michele Nolden as the departed wife. Their two children  are played by Amalia Williamson and Taylor Thorne. This one is darker and more realistic, but the benevolent sister-in-law, played by Kathleen Robertson, helps them out.
May be watching; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Good Omens Amazon Prime (released 5/31/19)
If you are a fan of any or all of these: Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett. who are the co-authors of this limited series (based on Gaiman’s 1990 novel); actors, Michael Sheen and David Tennant (who star as an angel and a demon who team up to prevent the arrival of the Antichrist and global apocalypse; Frances McDormand (as the voice of God), Jon Hamm, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brian Cox; director, Douglas Mackinnon (Doctor Who, Sherlock), as we are, try this!
We’ll watch 

What/If Netflix (premiered 5/24/19)
Here is a trailer for this “upcoming anthology thriller series” (not to be confused with a series on network TV with the same name (see above).   https://deadline.com/2019/04/what-if-renee-zellweger-social-thriller-netflix-premiere-date-teaser-1202600097/ , giving film star, Renée Zellweger (botched facelift and all), her first TV series, but at Netflix. “Each season, the show will depict a different morality tale and delve into ‘the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things….Anne [Zellweger] is a venture capitalist who makes a lucrative, ethically perilous proposition to a financially strapped newlywed couple. Anne is magnetically charismatic, seductive, charming, even vulnerable when it serves her purpose…[b]ut she’s also a virtuoso of deception with a cauldron of destructive secrets, including a deeply buried metaphorical deal with the devil that set the course for her life back when she was still just a girl herself.’” Writer, Mike Kelley (Revenge), is creating and writing the series. He certainly knows how to write morally compromised/questionably ethical/seductive characters who are also charming! Cast includes Dave Annabelle (Brothers and Sisters, Red Band Society,), Louis Hurthum (Westworld),  Samantha Ware (Glee), Juan Castano, Keith Powers (The New Edition Story, Famous in Love) and Saamer Usmani (Reign). “Ware will play Angela, Castano will portray Marcos, Powers is Todd and Usmani will play Avery….Also starring: Tyler Ross (The Killing)Derek Smith (Grey’s Anatomy), Nana Ghana (White Rabbit), Monique Kim (Looks That Kill) and Marissa Cuevas (Midnight, Texas).
We’ll try it

The Hunt Amazon (10 Episodes, available May, 2019)
(Not to be confused with a 2019 feature film with the same title, starring Emma Roberts and Amy Madigan). Being created by David Weil (Moonfall), who will write and executive produce. Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Jack & Bobby, Fury, Noah and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters) is starring, as “Jonah Heidelbaum, who, when his grandmother is slain by a mysterious intruder in their apartment, sets out to track the culprit—only to find himself swept up in the mysterious organization known as The Hunt, a group of justice-seeking individuals dedicated to rooting out the Nazi murderers living in the U.S. under assumed identities. Based on an original idea, drawing from real-life events,”
Also starring Al Pacino as one of “a diverse band of Nazi Hunters living in 1977 New York City. ‘The Hunters,’ as they’re known, have discovered that hundreds of high-ranking Nazi officials are living among us and conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. The eclectic team of Hunters will set out on a bloody quest to bring the Nazis to justice and thwart their new genocidal plans….”
“Jerrika Hinton (Grey’s Anatomy) is poised play Millie Malone, a gutsy FBI agent who’s marginalized in the Bureau because of her race and gender.Lena Olin (Alias) will play a Nazi.”
Also starring Dylan Baker, Greg AustinCatherine TateTiffany BooneSaul Rubinek, Kate Mulvany, James Le Gros, Ebony Obsidian, Caleb Emery, Henry Hunter Hall, Jeannie Berlin and Carol Kane. Ebony Obsidian (If Beale Street Could Talk) as Carol Hawthorne, Jonah’s neighbor and romantic interest. Caleb Emery (Little) and Henry Hunter Hall (When They See Us) will play Jonah’s best friends, Arthur ‘Bootyhole’ McGuigan and Sherman ‘Cheeks’ Johnson, respectively. James Le Gros (Drugstore Cowboy) plays veteran FBI agent, Detective Grimbsy, who is also Millie’s (Hinton) boss at the New York bureau. Berlin (The Night Of) [plays] Jonah’s grandmother.”
Sounds frightening but compelling and horribly timely.
We may watch.

Tales of the City Netflix (10 Episodes released 6/7/19)
I saw the first iteration of Armistead Maupin‘s Tales of the City (based on his award-winning LGBT stories) years ago—1990s).  As a sequel more than a reboot, there is a 10-Episode revival coming to Netflix (trailer here: https://movizark.com/2019/04/10/tales-of-the-city-netflix-unveils-1st-trailer-of-the-armistead-maupin-series-adaption-check-it-out/), thatfinds Laura Linney’s Mary Ann— in full-tilt midlife crisis mode—returning home to her daughter, Shawna  (Ellen Page), and ex-husband, Brian (Paul Gross), in San Francisco, 20 years after leaving them behind to pursue her career….[This series will] feature new ‘joys and complications… for the residents of 28 Barbary Lane’… Mrs. Madrigal’s tenants, both old and new, will be entangled in delicious new adventures and ever-expanding possibilities for love.'”

armistead-maupine28099s-tales-of-the-city
The cast also includes Tales vets Olympia Dukakis (Anna, one of TV’s earliest trans characters), Barbara Garrick (DeDe), as well as Zosia Mamet (Girls, Mad Men, United States of Tara, Parenthood), Murray Bartlett (Looking) and Charlie Barnett (Chicago Fire).
I doubt if Mom will watch, but I will

The Little Mermaid LIVE! ABC (premieres 11/5/19)
Starring: Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) the first POC to play Ariel, causing quite a SPLASH! Queen Latifah as Ursula; Shaggy (of “It Wasn’t Me” fame) as Sebastian;
This “TV musical will feature songs from both the animated film and the Broadway musical, all originally composed by Alan Menken. Additionally, Howard Ashman‘s dialogue from the film will be featured and Glenn Slater, the lyricist for the Broadway show, will contribute. This live TV musical will be directed by Hamish Hamilton and produced by Katy MullanDavid JammyRaj Kapoor, and Ian Stewart.”
We might watch

Indebted (fka Uninsured) NBC (premieres 2/6/20)
Written by and exec produced along with Dan Levy (The Goldbergs, The Awesomes, Schooled). Starring Steven Weber (NCIS: New Orleans, many others), Fran Drescher (The Nanny), Adam Pally (Happy Endings, The Mindy Project, Making History), Abby Elliot (Happy Endings, Saturday Night Live, Odd Mom Out), Jessy Hodges (Barry, Graves, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce), and Amer Padha-Chatel (Beecham House, Year of the Rabbit). “Indebted centers around young parents, Dave and Rebecca, who end up having to take care of Dave’s parents [Weber and Drescher] who have mishandled their finances and need help to pay down a sizable debt. The project is expected to touch upon social issues as the title refers to the fact that the family has no insurance….Pally’s Dave is a natural hype man with a good heart. Elliott’s Rebecca is a supermom who longs for the kind of order she never can achieve in a chaotic household…. Hodges will play Joanna, Dave’s edgy younger sister. Chadha-Patel is Aram, Dave’s business partner who is fast talking and always trying to make a deal.”
How is this a “comedy”? I guess the way all other dark topics can be made funny… But, this writer is NOT one of our faves.
Doubt if we’ll watch

Deputy Fox (premieres 1/2/20)
Why ANOTHER hour-long police procedural? This one is from producer/director, David Ayer (Bright) and writer, Will Beall (Gangster Squad, Castle, Training Day).
Stars Stephen Dorff (True Detective), Yara Martinez  (The Tick, Bull), Siena Goines (Grey’s Anatomy)Bex Taylor-Klaus (Dumplin’, Hellfest), Shane Paul McGhie (What Men Want), and Brian Van Holt (The Bridge).
The “Peter Principle”- themed show “centers on Deputy Bill Hollister, a career [police officer] who’s very comfortable kicking down doors and utterly lost in a staff meeting. But when the LA County Sheriff drops dead, Bill becomes acting sheriff of Los Angeles County, in charge of 10,000 sworn deputies policing a modern Wild West. The ensemble procedural has the full cooperation of the LA Sheriff’s Department….Martinez will play Hollister’s wife, Dr. Paula Reyes, a trauma surgeon. Strong-willed yet sensitive, she’s a good match for her husband…. Goines will play Deputy Rachel Quinn. Practical, meticulous and a workaholic, this clever detective pieces together details overlooked by others, and does so quickly. Taylor-Klaus is Deputy Breanna Bishop. Smartly dressed and sarcastic, this ‘quietly badass’ driver is in charge of newly appointed Sheriff Hollister’s security detail. McGhie portrays Deputy Joseph Blair. Bright-eyed and buzz-cut, this whippet-slender young man is the son of Hollister’s old partner….Van Holt will play Deputy Cade Walker. A former Marine who served in Afghanistan and is eight years sober, Cade works MAJORS—‘the Delta Force of the LASD.’ He’s tough, with a highly developed gallows humor.”
Trailer here: https://movizark.com/2019/05/15/deputy-trailer-stephen-dorff-leads-foxs-latest-police-drama-series-check-it-out/
We did love Castle, so we may try this.

9-1-1: LONESTAR Fox (premieres 1/19 & 1/20/20)
This is a spin-off and is from 9-1-1 co-creators, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear. This series “follows a sophisticated New York cop (Rob Lowe) who, along with his son, re-locates to Austin, and must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in his own life. Lowe will serve as co-executive producer on the series.”
I have mixed feelings about this; we may try it, though.

Pine Gap Netflix (6 Episodes; released 12/7/18)
Created by Felicity Packard and Greg Haddrick, directed by Matt King.
At top-secret U.S.-Australian joint defense facility, Pine Gap, fissures appear in the critical alliance as spies work with, and against, each other.”
Starring: Parker Sawyers, Jacqueline Mckenzie, Steve Toussaint, Tess Haubrich, Stephen Curry, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Mark Leonard Winter 
We’ll try it. 

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman Netflix (SEASON 1 released in mid-2018; SEASON 2 for 2019)
We want to see but haven’t watched any of these 6 (soon to be 12) interviews, yet. For SEASON 1, Letterman talked with President Barack Obama, George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern.
We’ll get to it eventually

Terriers Netflix (only one, 13-episode season)
A “surfy SoCal Sherlock Holmes tone” to a comedic crime series about pair of friends who “solve crimes in a fictional-ish Southern California coastal town.”
Starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James .
Could be good

*Seeing Allred Netflix (documentary; available 2/9/18)
About one of my all-time heroines, attorney, feminist, women’s rights advocate and all-around brilliant writer and leader, Gloria Allred.

“Women’s rights attorney, Gloria Allred, takes on two of the biggest adversaries of her career — Bill Cosby and Donald Trump — as sexual violence allegations grip the nation and keep her in the spotlight.”
I will watch this soon!

Collateral (miniseries) Netflix (released 3/9/18)
Directed by S.J. Clarkson. “Investigating the murder of a pizza delivery man, a London detective (Carey Mulligan) uncovers a tangled conspiracy involving drug dealers, smugglers, and spies.”
We like a lot of the BBC & Australian TV detective shows, particularly the ones with strong female characters.
We’ll put it on our list

*Jane (Documentary) National Geographic (premiered 3/12/18)
This documentary of Jane Goodall goes well with the docuseries on Dian Fossey, right? “Using a trove of unseen footage, Jane tells the story of Jane Goodall’s early explorations, focusing on her groundbreaking field work, her relationship with cameraman and husband, Hugo van Lawick, and the chimpanzees that she studied.”
I’ll probably watch this

Requiem Netflix (6-part series released 3/23/18)
Another British detective series (which we usually like); this one is set in both 1994 and 2014 or so, focusing on an adult musician who is now in her twenties and may be the grown-up version of a missing toddler from a small Welsh town. The series “encompasses elements of both the supernatural and thriller genres.”
Stars Lydia Wilson as the cellist and Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey) as the detective and Joel Fry as the cellist’s best friend, with James Frecheville, Sian Reese-Williams, Claire Rushbrook, Richard Harrington.
Requiem is…written and created by Kris Mrksa and directed by Mahalia Belo.”
Could be interesting

A Little Help with Carol Burnett Netflix (released 5/4/18)
Carol Burnett, at the age of 85 (one year my mom’s junior), has created and is starring in a new series, “joined by a group of the most honest and unfiltered people in the world—a gaggle of straight-talking, entertaining five- to nine-year-old kids. These very opinionated ‘experts’ weigh-in on a variety of relatable and humorous dilemmas brought in by everyday adults. Each episode will feature a celebrity contributor brave enough to bring in their own dilemma for the kids to comment on in front of a live audience.”
We love her and will try this

800 Words (ran for 3 SEASONS. Released originally in 2015-16. Aired on PBS in 2019 and now is on streaming services)


Cast of 800 Words

Self-named a “sweet, refreshing family drama.” It “follows Australian widower, George Turner’s (Erik Thomson), impulsive decision to start afresh in the New Zealand coastal town of Weld, where he spent his summer vacations as a child. He quits his job as a popular 800-word columnist for a Sydney newspaper… [and]… buys a house online in a remote seaside town in New Zealand. He then has to break the news to his two teenage kids, Shay and Arlo (Melina Vidler, Benson Jack Anthony), who just lost their mom and now face an even more uncertain future….The Aussie invaders quickly become the center of attention in this small town populated by weird and wonderful locals.” Co-Created by Maxine Fleming and James Griffin ( We seem to like many of the shows produced/aired on ACORN (Australian), and this one looks good, also. We can get it on Netflix or Amazon Prime. This aired on our local PBS station, but we missed it.

Northern Rescue Netflix (released winter, 2019; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
This is “a heartwarming family drama starring William Baldwin (Dirty Sexy Money, Too Old To Die Young) [as John West] and Kathleen Robertson (Murder in the First, Bates Motel) [as his sister-in-law, Charlotte]. After the death of his wife, Sarah, John (Baldwin), a Search & Rescue [SAR] officer, packs up his three children [Amalia Williamson, Spencer MacPherson (DeGrassi: Next Class) and Taylor Thorne (Odd Squad)] and moves from their hectic urban life to a small northern town, where they all struggle with their new surroundings, new friends, and accepting Sarah’s death.” Also featuring: Michelle Nolden (Saving Hope) as Sarah West, John’s wife (in flashbacks); Michael Xavier (Bitten) as Paul Simmons, a volunteer member of the SAR team; and Peter MacNeill (Call Me Fitz) as Harry, John’s retired SAR commander.
We may try  it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Council of Dads NBC (premieres 3/?/20)
A pilot developed years ago didn’t make it this far. We’ll see what happens with this. Inspired by Bruce Feiler’s memoir, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness and the Men Who Could Be Me, which is “the story of Scott Perry, who assembles a unique group of carefully chosen male friends to help his family adjust to a new normal after receiving a potentially terminal diagnosis….[It] chronicles the real-life experiences of bestselling author, Feiler (Walking the Bible), who, in 2008, was diagnosed with rare, life-threatening cancer. Fearing what the absence of a father figure would do to the lives of his young twin daughters, he looked at his male fiends and realized that there was no one person perfectly suited for the job. So he formed a ‘Council of Dads,’ which consisted of six of his closest friends who agreed to help him raise his daughters. Each had his area of expertise: homework dad, outdoors dad, etc., so the girls knew who to turn to for a specific issue when their mother’s help was not enough. Feiler’s story has a happy ending—he made a full recovery and the Council was never fully activated.”
Starring Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead and Colony) as Perry’s wife, Robin, “an OB/GYN, the mother/stepmother to four children ranging in age from 7 to 21 – and she’s pregnant.” Michele Weaver (Love Is…) will play Luly Perry, a child whom Scott had before he met Robin. “A talented writer, she is focused on her future and waiting to hear if she’ll get an important internship at a prominent New York publication.” Blue Chapman will play J.J. Perry. “A sweet child, he is adored by his family and has a wonderful relationship with his parents.” J. August Richards (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) will play Dr. Oliver Post, “an esteemed oncologist and surgeon who is Scott’s doctor and part of the council.” Clive Standen “plays Anthony Lavelle. One of Scott’s oldest friends, Anthony is a chef and wears his heart on his sleeve.” Also starring: Michael O’Neill (Jack Ryan), Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why), Emjay Anthony (Chef) and Thalia Tran. “O’Neill will play Larry Malvern, a calming presence who is used to being in charge. Silver will portray Evan, a smart, caring young man with a great sense of humor who has been taking care of his sick mother. Anthony portrays Theo Perry, Scott’s son, who thinks the world is against him and that he can’t do anything.  Tran is Charlotte Perry, Robin and Scott’s daughter.”
We’ll try it.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist NBC (premieres 1/7/20 & resumes 2/16/20)
This is a “musical dramedy” from Austin Winsberg (Jake in Progress) and Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, and WAS to be directed by Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks, The Office9JKL), but got handed over to Richard Shepard (Ugly Betty) since Feig was overcommitted.  It claims to be “What Women Want meets La La Land…. [If she has an aneurysm, add Eli Stone]…[and] follows a whip-smart but socially awkward [woman] in her late 20s who is suddenly able to hear the innermost thoughts of people around her as songs and even big musical numbers that they perform just for her. With this new ability at her disposal, she is able to use her ‘gift’ to not only help herself understand people in her life, but also to help others around her.”
Jane Levy (Suburgatory, What/If, Castle Rock, Don’t Breathe) is to be Zoey.  Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), John Clarence Stewart (Luke Cage), Carmen Cusack (Sorry for Your Loss), and Alex Newell (Glee) will co-star. “Stewart will portray Simon, a marketing exec at Zoey’s tech company….Astin will play, Max. Zoey’s co-worker and best friend, who is funny and has an indie vibe. Newell is Mo, Zoey’s neighbor, who is easygoing, open-minded and cool….Cusack will play Joan, a female tech pioneer who runs a tight ship at Zoey’s office.” Andrew Leeds (Bones, Cristela) “will play David, a lawyer and Zoey’s older, more self-assured and ‘normal’ brother.” Adding Mary Steenburgen as Zoey’s mother and Peter Gallagher (The O.C., Covert Affairs) as Zoey’s father (and they can sing WELL) make it even better! Sounds silly but fun.
We’ll try it.

Katy Keene The CW (premieres 2/6/20)
Spin-off from Riverdale, it “follows four Archie Comics characters…centered around the budding fashionista in New York City…This musical dramedy chronicles the origins and struggles of four aspiring artists trying to make it on Broadway, on the runway and in the recording studio.”
Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) will star as Katy; singer/songwriter, Josie McCoy [who began on and is now leaving Riverdale], will be played by Ashleigh Murray. Also adding Zane Holtz (Hunter Killer, From Dusk Till Dawn) and Katherine LaNasa (Imposters, Satisfaction): “Holtz will star as Ko Kelly, a boxer with two goals in life: to fight a welterweight championship in Madison Square Garden and to marry his longtime girlfriend, Katy Keene. Born and raised in Queens, Ko is a humble, protective, salt-of-the-earth guy who makes ends meet as a personal trainer and a bouncer. LaNasa is set to portray Gloria Grandbilt, a legendary personal shopper at the luxury department store Lacy’s, which caters to the rich and famous. Always impeccably dressed and the queen of her domain, she demands a level of excellence from her ‘girls,’ young assistants that few can provide.”
Maggie Kiley will direct.
More info and a trailer, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ryc9o-10ZQ and  https://movizark.com/2019/05/18/cw-reveals-full-synopses-for-batwoman-nancy-drew-and-katy-keene/
We may try this, if only to gawk

*Genius National Geographic (SEASON 2 returned 4/24/18, about PABLO PICASSO)
“Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, is the topic for SEASON 3, to premiere early in 2020. “Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks, will exec produce and showrun…[with co-EPs,] Franklin collaborator, Clive Davis, and Atlantic Records chair and CEO, Craig Kallman….[SEASON 3] will cover the ‘Respect’ singer’s iconic career, how her work changed music and the world, her time as a gospel prodigy, and her civil rights activism. Many of her biggest hits, such as ‘I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)’ and ‘Chain of Fools,’ will be included in the project, as will her renditions of ‘I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,’ ‘Freeway of Love,’ and ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.’…Franklin received 18 Grammys, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and countless other awards and accolades throughout her nearly-six-decade career. Her records have sold over 75 million copies worldwide, and she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She died August 16, 2018, of advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76.” Look for this in early 2020. No casting news, yet. FMI: https://womenandhollywood.com/aretha-franklin-to-be-subject-of-genius-season-3-suzan-lori-parks-will-showrun/
SEASON 2 starred Antonio Banderas as the adult Picasso. I wasn’t captivated and stopped watching after Episode 1, though; haven’t gone back to it.
SEASON 1 of this bio-pic series was based on the life and work of Albert Einstein. Only I watched these, but I really enjoyed each Episode.
Flipped back and forth between college-aged (Johnny Flynn) and professorial-/World War II-aged Einstein (Geoffrey Rush). Also starred the great Emily Watson as his second wife for a while, then stayed with the older versions for the last few Episodes. Spoiler: ends with Einstein’s death and its aftermath.
Directed by Ron Howard (yes, that one). http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/genius/ has trailers and more info.
Divided into 10 “Chapters,” with each episode’s airing more than once per week.
Mary Shelley, the author of many novels and the person credited with creating science-fiction as a genre with her incredible Frankenstein, MAY or MAY NOT be the subject of SEASON 4. See NEWS, above. Stay tuned!
Excellently done; SEASON 3, RENEWED

*Greenhouse Academy Netflix (no release date, yet, for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
A teen-focused, sci-fi, somewhat soap-opera-y half-hour show that I somehow like enough to keep watching. Elite boarding schools have an odd appeal, don’t they?
Starts with a tragedy that is NOT what it seems, as we find out, slowly. Bad guys vs. good guys, but no heroes, yet. It’s always about money, too, which is trite.
Not a lot of info in SEASON 1, but SEASON 2 is more revealing.
Starring:Ariel Mortman, Finn Roberts, B J Mitchell, Chris O’Neal, Dallas Hart, Leo Cruz, Alex Woods, Grace van Dien, Brooke Osmond. Jessica Amlee, Jedckie Sanders. Benjamin Papac, Max Miller. Cinthya Carmona, Sophie Cardona (“students” are all in their 20s, but playing high schoolers). 
Dana Melanie
(Wild Nights With Emily) and Rafael Cebrian (Narcos) are joining for SEASON 3: Melanie is to replace Aviv Buchler as Emma Geller; Cebrian will be playing a new character, Enzo.
Somewhat predictable, but fun; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*The Crown Netflix (RENEWED for SEASONS 3 – 6; SEASONS 3 & 4 release dates both in November, starting 11/17/19, back-to-back)
For SEASON 3, it is to be set about 20+ years past SEASON 1 (1947 – 1955) and about 10+ years past SEASON 2 (up to about 1965), and gets an entirely new cast of main characters for SEASONS 3 & 4, and again for SEASONS 5 & 6!
The Crown season 3 will pick up sometime in the 1970s, reportedly spanning Queen Elizabeth II’s reign from about 1971 to 1979. No release date has yet been announced.” But, look for SEASONS 3 & $ early in 2019, apparently, on NETFLIX.
We will miss the young- to – early middle-aged Queen Elizabeth II, as played so well by Claire Foy, and the younger version of Princess Margaret, strutted so delightfully by Vanessa Kirby.
But, how excited are we to get Helena Bonham Carter as the older and even more scandalous Princess Margaret? And, an odd choice: Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall, Hannibal, Sex Education) as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (FYI: “Thatcher served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, making her Britain’s longest-serving PM of the 20th century”!).
Curious to see how Olivia Colman takes over for Claire Foy as Elizabeth. When interviewed, she claimed NOT to be intending to “copy” Foy‘s performances.
MORE CASTING NEWS (9/13/18), here! For great side-by-side comparison photos and more info: https://www.eonline.com/news/948927/the-crown-season-3-cast-meet-the-new-additions-taking-over-the-royal-roles#photo-920393
—-Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country) will be a grown Prince Charles.
—-Marion Bailey (Allied) replaces Eileen Atkins as the older Queen M
other, Mary
.
—-Jason Watkins is playing Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
—-Erin Doherty (Call the Midwife) will play Princess Anne.
—-Tobias Menzies (Outlander) will play the middle-aged Prince Phillip (replacing Matt Smith, whom I didn’t much like in that role, anyway).
—-Ben Daniels (The Exorcist) will play Antony Armstrong-Jones, the middle-aged version of the husband of Princess Margaret.
—-Helena Bonham Carter will play a middle-aged Princess Margaret
Gillian Anderson will play Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in SEASON 4.
Still no word on who will play the young adult versions of Prince Charles‘ other siblings.
Deserved every award it got and then some. Have watched all of SEASONS 1 & 2 already and LOVED it. I don’t know much about the relationship between Elizabeth and Philip, nor their friends and family, so it’s all news, to me.
Princess Diana arrives in SEASON 4, played by newcomer, Emma Corrin.
This series is so well-written, acted, and produced I can’t say enough good things about it. The scenes make me laugh, cry and get goosebumps. After watching SEASON 1, I was inspired to watch THREE documentaries about the Royal Family! Watched (premiered 2/10/19), PBSMargaret, The Rebel Princess and got even more info. She had a sad life, I think.
John Lithgow (as Prime Minister Winston Churchill) was and Clare Foy were outstanding, as were all the rest of the cast and writing. Truly remarkable.
Mom wasn’t interested, but I keep her posted on how great it is.
If you like this and don’t know much about Queen Elizabeth II‘s reign or the concomitant history, watch In her Own Words: Queen Elizabeth, also on PBS and online. Aired in late May, 2017, so available any time. Another good doc was Princes of the Palace, about all of them since Prince Phillip, which aired in September, 2017, and is available online as well.
Watched and LOVED SEASONS 1 & 2. SEASONS 3 – 6 RENEWED, and recast every 2 SEASONS

*Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (RENEWED for SEASON 6—returned 5/10/19; & RENEWED for final SEASON 7)
I only half-watch (while coloring). It’s gotten increasingly implausible, more violent, and sillier (without humor) in the last three seasons, but, somehow, I still watch to see how it all goes.
I certainly liked the child clairvoyant, the time travel aspects, the tech inventions and the romances more than the fighting and displays of temper and testosterone.
In casting and character news, Deke Shaw, who plays Jeff Ward (Jemma [Elizabeth Henstridge] and Fitz’s [Iain De Caestecker] grandson), is going to be a “regular,” joining other regulars, Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Henry Simmons, and Natalia Cordova-Buckley.
Trailer and more info for SEASON 6 here: https://movizark.com/2019/01/29/marvels-agents-of-s-h-i-e-l-d-season-6-first-intense-trailer-teases-coulsons-return-check-it-out/
Probably not worth your time; RENEWED for SEASONS 6 & final 7

The Blacklist NBC (RENEWED and premiered 10/18/19 for SEASON 7)
Now that we (and others) know Reddington is/isn’t Lizzie’s father, Liz has a half-sister, her mother isn’t dead… What?
The new relationship between Lizzie and Reddington /not-Reddington is intriguing, though, and we like the nuances and mysteries. Great performances by all.
Okay for SEASON 7

*Young Sheldon CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 4 and premiered 9/26/19 for 3)
This show improves yearly. I never watched The Big Bang Theory, so I wasn’t going to watch this. However, having seen the star, Iain Armitage, in Big Little Lies and being amazed at how good he was, and then I saw him be excellent in a movie, I decided to try it. Didn’t like it much, at first, but it really grew on me. Somewhat silly and often goes for the laugh, but5sometimes, really hits the mark.
“It’s 1989 and 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper has skipped four grades to start high school along with his less-intellectual older brother. As he struggles to be understood by his family, classmates and neighbours, his mother arms him with the best tool she can come up with: reminding bullies his dad is the football coach and his brother is on the team. His twin sister doesn’t share his exceptional mind, but she has a much clearer vision of what life has in store for the young genius. Jim Parsons, who plays the adult version of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, narrates.”
Also in this cast: Zoe Perry. Lance Barber. Montana Jordan. Raegan Revord. Jim Parsons (narrator, only). Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, Matt Hobby
Okay for 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*Full Frontal with Samantha Bee TBS (ongoing and RENEWED 5or SEASON 4)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: Christmas on I.C.E.
TBS (premiered 12/19/18)
Not the White House correspondents’ Dinner, 2nd Edition
(1st one was in 2017) TBS (premieres 4/27/19, and serving hamberders): “‘I promised myself I’d never do another one of these,’ Bee says in a new promo for the event (watch it HERE), ‘but someone’s gotta roast that motherfcker and if they won’t do it, I will.’”
I loved Samantha Bee on The Daily Show and awaited her new individual show with great anticipation. I have mostly not been disappointed, but I haven’t been watching as regularly, either: TOO MUCH of #45.
Bee is funny, insightful, appropriately outraged and very bold, extremely feminist and “in-your-face,” but since I agree with her POV, this all works great, for me. I laugh out loud and sigh with relief at many of her “bits.”
Finally: a feminist’s POV delivered with wit and humor about this horrible election season! Yeah! And, more coming, I’m sure.

Full Frontal

Strong return fo.
SEASON 2, but I AM SO SICK OF this administration and all rethuglicans!
Definitely keeping and glad it was RENEWED for SEASON 4

Shetland BBC One/Netflix/BritBox (First 3 SEASONS on Netflix; SEASON 4 DVD came out 10/2/18, but no longer on Netflix —snapped up by BritBox, which we won’t pay to watch; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
The accents of the actors on this show are often very difficult for us midwestern-USA listeners to understand, but the show is a great “who done it” format with very little gore/violence on screen and lots of excellent writing (best handling of female colleague’s sexual assault by a male colleague I’ve ever seen on TV or film), characterizations and situations (similar to DCI Banks, which we also loved). We watched SEASONS 1, 2 & 3 on Netflix now (summer programming isn’t so great on regular TV). We plan to watch it on BBC America, if it runs here, or resume when the rest comes onto Netflix.
“DI [Detective Inspector] Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) and his team (mostly, Alison O’Donnell, Steven Robertson) investigate crimes within the close-knit island community of Shetland.”
Like DCI Banks, the series started with a double Episode pilot, then each season had/has 3 or 4 double Episodes.
The setting is supposedly on one or more of the Shetland archipelago of islands as part of northeastern Scotland, but is actually filmed mostly in Scotland itself. Still, beautiful scenery of many coastal lays.

Great murder mystery show, if you can understand what they’re saying; RENEWED for SEASON 5

Grace & Frankie Netflix (SEASON 5 released 1/18/19; RENEWED for SEASONS 6—Jan, 2020, releases— and final 7)
The writing has deteriorated even worse for SEASONS 3, 4, 5, but we keep watching. The acting is worse, also, for every actor except Jane Fonda, who manages to have a character and not a caricature more than the rest. Bad directing, bad writing, terrible hamming/performing rather than acting, especially by the men. Still ZERO chemistry between ANY of the couples on this show, hetero or homo. Poor casting?
My mom and I watch, but we are constantly disappointed and disgusted.
We saw Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda on talk shows often and we do respect them as actors. However, each of their characters has become a 2-D version of its original concept, and the characters of all the gay men, including Martin Sheen ‘s and Sam Waterston‘s, are always pathetic stereotypes.
Robert (Sheen) and Sol (Waterson) are wooden and unbelievable as passionate lovers.
Lily Tomlin is still performing a hippie character trope.
Jane Fonda is the only one of the four who actually inhabits a realistic version of a character via acting, and I think she gets the best storylines.
Brooklyn Decker and June Diane Raphael are given, as Sheen‘s and Fonda‘s adult daughters, mostly comedy bits and one-liners to enact, and they are not getting the sisterly relationship in any believable way.
Baron Vaughn and Ethan Embry (Tomlin‘s and Waterston‘s adult sons) are not given that much to do, and even that is more slapstick than acting.
Most of the supporting characters are written as stereotypes of whatever group they are purported to belong to by ethnicity, age, job or other status, which is sloppy and lazy writing and disappointing for the talents of these actors. We hoped these actors would get to do more than mug, crack jokes and be cardboard cutouts.
Ernie Hudson returned as Lily‘s lover, Jacob, but then was gone, and is coming back for SEASON 6. Peter Gallagher is the best of the bunch, but his lines are so trite. They sometimes have great guest stars as female friends, but, again, these, the people in the offices, and the gay friends are all 2-D stereotypes and wasted in this show.
This show could be SO MUCH BETTER! But, the writing usually trivializes what few actual issues there are, going for silly and getting sillier, even though the topics are significant.
For example,
—Why do Sol and Robert’s arguments make them sound as if they’re 14-year-old girls?
— Why trivialize/parody the dying, strokes, heart attacks, losses, dementia, knee problems, muggings, burglaries, robberies and other crimes committed against senior citizens while parodying real concerns about home owners having loaded guns on site or need to be put into assisted living?
—How could women raising several children deal with husbands who won’t grow up besides divorcing them?
—How do couples who based their entire relationship on lifetimes of duplicity, dishonesty, and other problems that do not disappear once they are discussed form positive relationships?
—Does none of these characters have a distinct moral compass? They all lie to each other.
—Good to raise the issues senior citizens deal with in relationships and sexuality (vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, shyness/awkwardness (newly dating after being married for decades), lack of interest, but why not show more respect, even in a comedy?
–How do/can addicts “make amends” when they’ve lied, stolen, destroyed property and relationships/trust for many years and still can’t be readily trusted?
—Do children ever “get over” sibling rivalry? Do in-laws ever get along? How do jealousy and competition and affect adult relationships?
—How could adults deal effectively and respectfully with children’s phobias and anxieties rather than patronizing or minimizing?
Wish the writers would tackle these and other issues head-on rather than with one-liners and sit-com scenarios. The actors would then actually have something to do and the viewers would probably be feeling that their time had been well-spent instead of wasted.
CONTINUING, but frequently disappointed; RENEWED; getting DVD for SEASON 6

Big Little Lies HBO and DVD (SEASON 1 premiered 2/19/17; SEASON 2 premiered 6/9/19; we’ll get it later in 2019, on DVD)
Won many awards already (Golden Globes, SAG). Trailer for SEASON 2 here: https://deadline.com/2019/04/hbo-season-2-teaser-big-little-lies-1202595647/ 
“The apparently perfect lives of three [really, five] mothers of first-graders unravel to the point of murder.”
As if it didn’t win enough awards for SEASON 1, Meryl Streep is joining the SEASON 2 cast! “Streep will play Mary Louise Wright, the mother of Perry Wright, the abusive creep played by Alexander Skarsgard in the first season.” And, Perry may not exactly be dead, according to other reports I’ve read! Also gains Douglas Smith for this one as well as a new director, Andrea Arnold. Need to get this one on DVD since we don’t get HBO, but it’s very worth waiting for!
FMI and some spoilers: https://soundbooks.org/2018/01/24/whoa-big-little-lies-season-2-will-star-meryl-streep/
Starring the amazingly talented Shailene Woodley, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, with husbands played by Alexander Skarsgard, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Adam Scott,. The kids are headlined by the ever-present Iain Armitage (Young Sheldon, now) as the much-maligned Ziggy, with Darby Camp and Ivy George as the other featured first-graders with Kathryn Newton and an older sibling of Camp.
Won lots of and was nominated for even more Emmys for 2017.
Excellent writing, acting, directing and overall production. BUT, very depressing/distressing stories, with a lot of graphic violence, frequent and oddly dysfunctional sex and destructive verbal and physical behaviors among the characters. Almost none is likable, and all are pathetic in some way, but compelling.
David E. Kelley, Barbara Hall, Liane Moriarty are responsible: how could it be bad?
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 2; we have to get it on DVD

The Heart Guy (aka Doctor, Doctor) ACORN TV (SEASONS 1 – 3 on DVD)
Surprisingly and increasingly engaging 10-Episode/SEASON Australian-made dramedy starring some actors I’ve seen in other Australian series and BBC shows.
Story is plausible and interesting, even if some of the characters are very broadly drawn. “A rising heart surgeon’s life takes a turn he never expected and soon everything comes crashing down. He soon finds himself a former big city doctor turned small town doctor. It could be the worst year of his life or just what the doctor ordered.”
Diverse cast starring and featuring: Rodger Corser (McCleod’s Daughters, Home and Away) as Hugh Knight, Nicole da Silva (All Saints, Home and Away) as Charlie, Ryan Johnson (Fairly Legal, Home and Away, All Saints) as Matt Knight, Hayley McElhinney as Penny, Tina Bursill (All Saints, Home and Away) as Meryl Knight, Steve Bisley as Jim Knight, Shalom Brune-Franklin as Aoife, Belinda Bromilow as Betty, Matt Castley as Ajax, Winta McGrath as Floyd.
We don’t subscribe to ACORN, so we get the DVDs from our public library. I can’t find anywhere to watch this online without paying for ACORN, so far.
Enjoying this a lot; Watching/ed SEASONS 1 –  3 on DVD

*The Split BBC (SEASON 1 aired in 2018; SEASON 2 premieres in 2019-20)
“Set in the messy world of London’s high-end divorce circuit, the legal-world series follows modern marriages and the legacy of divorce.”
Starring: Nicola Walker, Annabel Scholey, Fiona Button, Deborah Findlay, Stephen Mangan, Rudi Dharmalingam and Barry Atsma, with Donna Air and Ben Bailey coming in for SEASON 2.
I really like Nicola Walker and this is the third show I’ve seen her in. Mom won’t watch, but I like it.
Great acting 

Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries Acorn, first; then we’ll search (4 Episodes for SEASON 1 began airing 4/29/19)
This spinoff of the original Australian series (see above)  “will feature Peregrine as the niece of the original Miss Phryne Fisher—evoking the same spirit, sense of social conscience and love of fashion as her famous aunt….In 1964, when the famous aunt she never knew, Phryne Fisher, goes missing over the highlands of New Guinea, the gorgeously reckless Peregrine Fisher (Geraldine Hakewill, Wanted) inherits a windfall. Peregrine sets out to become a world-class private detective in her own right with the unerring guidance of The Adventuresses’ Club, a group of exceptional women of which her celebrated aunt was a member. A natural rule breaker, Peregrine is fearless, fun, and charmingly down-to-earth, as well as having a keen INSTINCT for solving crimes. With newfound wealth and The Adventuresses to hone her rough edges and become THE FAMILY she’s never had, Peregrine is unstoppable. The series co-stars Joel Jackson (Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door, Deadline Gallipoli) as smart, ambitious cop, Detective James Steed, and Catherine McClements (Wentworth) as Birdie, an ex-member of WW2 Special Forces and head of The Adventuresses.”
Hope to find this soon

*Anne with an ‘E’ Netflix (SEASON 2 became available 7/6/18; RENEWED for SEASON 3 and premieres 1/3/20)
SEASON 2 continued with a slightly older Anne and edgier storylines, tackling racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, classism, grifters and many other topics I don’t remember being prominent or featured at all in the original books. The TV series is based a great series of middle-grade books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, which “follow[s] Anne (Amybeth McNulty), an outsider who, against all odds, fights for love, acceptance, and her place in the world. Season 2 adds new characters and continues to explore themes of identity, prejudice, feminism, bullying, gender parity and empowerment. Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson, Corrine Koslo, Dalila Bela, Aymeric Jett Montaz, Lucas Zumann and Kyla Matthews return for Season 2, along with newcomers, Dalmar Abuzeid (Sebastian Lacroix) and Cory Grüter-Andrew (Cole MacKenzie).
I loved these books as a kid and the series is great. Glad it got RENEWED for SEASON 2.
Loved SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3

The Great British Baking Show [Bake-Off]  [was/is PBS (SEASON 5 premiered 6/22/18; Season 8 released on Netflix 9/7/18; SEASON 9 released 11/9/18, and PBS keep releasing SEASONS that are older, I believe); RENEWED in the UK on its origin channel, 4, through 2021, SEASON 12]
This is the ONLY “reality” contest/show we watch, and were sad when the American version of the show, The Great American Baking Show, was derailed and removed from broadcasting mid-season in 2017 by the bad behavior of one judge, Johnny Luzzini. So, we were delighted to have it back with SEASON 5, which hadn’t been aired before, with its original presenters, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, and judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Makes us hungry, but very informative, interesting, fun.
We can smell what they bake, sometimes, we swear!
Also, catch the Master Classes when they appear (some in August, based on desserts made in their previous classes: great actual lessons for baking their ways!
The newest version has Prue Leith, Paul Hollywood as judges and Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding (newly blond, as of September, 2018) as EmCees.
Definitely KEEPING 

*Unforgotten PBS (RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4 and coming to ABC; available for SEASON 3 premiered 4/7/19 on PBS)
Unforgotten is yet another British-based detective series brought over to the USA years after being broadcast in its native land (2015, for this one) that my mom and I often enjoy. But, she bailed after the first Episode. I am devoted.
The main characters are DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) who investigate historic cold cases with their team. Each SEASON lasts 6 Episodes (two cases per SEASON).
The series will continue to air on PBS until ABC gets it for SEASON 4 and perhaps beyond.
Walker appeared in a similar role but was mostly the object of her former partner’s hallucinations, since she was murdered at the beginning of that mini-series (River, which we also liked a lot), so it is good to see her alive and well in this one. We’ve watched so many of these BBC shows, now, that we recognize many of the other actors, even minor ones, and each one is very well-directed and performing, with a great script.

‎Also starring/featuring: Trevor Eve, Bernard Hill, Ruth Sheen, Tom Courtenay, Gemma Jones, Brian Bovell, Cheri Lunghi, Hannah Gordon, ‎Claire Goose, Tamzin Malleson, Peter Egan, and Frances Tomelty. Chris Lang created/wrote it.
Extremely well-written, acted and intriguing; RENEWED for SEASON 4

Hanna Amazon (8 Episodes for SEASON 1 released 3/9/19; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
“This TV adaptation of the 2011 thriller centers on a teen girl [Miles] who was raised by an assassin. Kinnaman will play Hanna’s father, Erik. He is a battle-tested solider who trains Hanna to survive the remote and dangerous forests of Poland. Meanwhile, Enos will portray Marissa—an ambitious CIA agent who’s racing the clock to track down Hanna.”
If this isn’t too violent, we’ll like it. The film was interesting, and we loved Enos in The Catch.
Starring: Esme Creed-MilesJoel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon) and Mireille Enos (The Catch)
Sounds possible; RENEWED for SEASON 2

No Premiere Dates Set, Yet; Probably Airing in 2020 (UPDATED 11/15/19)

From Riches (fka Broke, Riches to Rags) CBS (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
This likely-to-fail comedy comes from Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin) and Alex Herschlag (Will & Grace), BUT it is starring Pauley Perrette (NCIS), along with Izzy Diaz(Telenovela), and Natasha Leggero (Another Period). So, maybe…
It “centers on two siblings who are forced to reconnect when an outrageously wealthy trust fund baby (played by Jaime Camil, Jane the Virgin) is cut off by his father, and he and his wife [Leggero] move into her estranged sister’s [Perrette] Reseda condo.”
Alex Herschlag will write it, and it will be directed by Victor Gonzalez.
Perrette’s Jackie is a tough, sharp-witted, loving but struggling single mom with a 9-year-old son. The manager of a bar, Jackie is feisty, not easily cowed, sometimes hot-headed, the kind of woman who knows her way around a tool box and an acetylene torch. She’s not thrilled when her snobby rich sister and husband suddenly show up on her doorstep, but she comes to remember how much she loves her sister-in-law and learns to appreciate them both in her life….Leggero’s Elizabeth is Jackie’s refined and slightly snobby older sister who married the wonderful and wealthy Miguel and moved to Mexico City. However, she and her husband have burned through Miguel’s trust fund and now, without money or prospects, the two have landed on Jackie’s doorstep, in need of a place to live. Despite the slightly elitist mentality, Elizabeth is a loving woman who hasn’t entirely forgotten her humble roots….Diaz will play Luis, a fastidious, impeccably dressed man with an impressive memory, and the ability to do just about anything well. He is Miguel’s (Camil) assistant, driver and friend who will be forever loyal to Miguel.”
Yet another contrived “in-laws with adult children/relatives in the same housing unit” faux comedy. Doubt if we’ll watch, but we do love Pauley
Not optimistic

neXt Fox (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
Written by Manny Coto (24: Legacy co-creator/executive producer), is “a propulsive, fact-based thriller grounded in the latest A.I. research. It features a brilliant but paranoid former tech CEO who joins a Homeland Cybersecurity Agent and her team to stop a terrifying A.I. outbreak that threatens us all.”
Starring: John Slattery (Mad Men) as “Paul Leblanc [who]  is extremely intelligent. People think he may be a sociopath but he’s really just a narcissist with money instead of social graces”; Jason Butler Harner (Ozark) as “Ted LeBlanc, Paul’s somewhat narrow-minded younger brother, who is a corporate executive at a tech company“; and, Michael Mosley (Seven Seconds, Ozark) as “CM, a Southern ex-con hacker with a genius IQ who works at the FBI cybercrime division.” Also starring: Fernanda Andrade, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Aaron Moten, Gerardo Celasco; and, Eve Harlow (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Heroes Reborn), who “will play Gina. Easy to offend, a bit of a nerd and ultra woke, she works at the FBI cybercrime division….Cappuccino will play Abby. A smart college who is somewhat estranged from her father, Paul, and has learned how to live without him in her life.” Sounds too crisis-ridden, for me, but Mom might like it.
Probably for Mom

Filthy Rich Fox (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
From Tate Taylor (writer, exec producer), and three exec producers: John Norris, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. It is a “southern gothic dramedy [that] revolves around two strong, sharp women who will go to any lengths to protect their loved ones and get their due. When the wealthy CEO of the world’s largest Christian network dies in a plane crash, his wife and adult children are stunned to discover he has grown, illegitimate kids who also are in his will. When the steel azalea matriarch of the family tries to pay them to go away, these newly legitimized heirs have very different ideas and insist on not only staying in town but becoming part of the family empire. Based on the New Zealand series.”
Starring: Kim Cattrall, Aubrey Dollar, Corey Cott, Mark L. Young, Benjamin Levy Aguilar, Gerald McRaney, Steve Harris, Melia Kreiling. Cattrall plays the new widow, Margaret Monroe. “Dollar plays Margaret’s daughter, Rose Monroe, a sarcastic but kind-hearted clothing designer who yearns to be real and find her own voice apart from her family. Cott plays her brother, Eric Monroe. Married with two kids, he’s the Senior VP of Operations at the conservative Christian Sunshine Network, which was created by his powerhouse parents. Aguilar plays Antonio Rivera, a tattooed, up-and-coming boxer and single dad who finds himself wondering if a life with his new family in New Orleans might be the best thing for his toddler. Young plays Jason Conley, an attractive, loyal young man who runs a weed business at a ranch in Colorado….McRaney, who is a Southerner himself, hailing from Mississippi, will play Eugene Monroe. An extremely southern, charming, charismatic man, he is Margaret’s (Cattrall) husband, one half of the Christian powerhouse couple that runs the Sunshine Network….Harris will play Franklin Lee, the Monroe family lawyer and a suit at the Sunshine Network. Kreiling will portray Ginger Sweet, a beautiful and fierce woman with business savvy, who grew up dirt poor in Vegas.”
May be tolerable, may not

Surveillance CBS (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
Missing Sophia Bush (Chicago P.D., One Tree Hill)? She’s coming back to star in this “spy thriller drama” with Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, 24, Reverie) and Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), as well as Rafael Acloque (24: Legacy) and Matt Reeves (Batman).
Coming from writer, David C. White (Sons of Liberty), and director, Patricia Riggen (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), the series is described as being “centered around the head of communications for the NSA (Bush), a charming operative who finds her loyalties torn between protecting the government’s secrets and her own.”
Also starring Catalina Sandino Moreno  (The Affair, Salvage) as “Natalie, who oversees all active operations at the NSA, the first woman to do so—and she’s excellent at her job. She is fiercely loyal to Maddy (Bush), her close colleague and longtime friend, and the two are like sisters….Modine will play Man in a Red Tie, a high level and mysterious government operative whose identity and true mission is shrouded in secrecy….Haysbert will play Barry, the NSA Deputy Director, a father figure to Maddy and her longtime mentor.”
We’ll try it.

Patty’s Auto Fox (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
This comes from Elizabeth Banks (producer/ director/ actor) and Darlene Hunt (writer/producer/actor), “inspired by Patrice Banks’ Girls Auto Clinic, an all-female auto repair shop in Pennsylvania. It centers on the ins and outs these women face on the job.”
Carra Patterson (The Arrangement, Instinct, Bloodline and Elementary) will play Patty, with Sarah Levy (Schitt’s Creek), Paola Lázaro (Lethal Weapon), Jonathan Sadowski (Young & Hungry), and Joanna Adler (American Crime Story: Versace, The Sinner, Orange is the New Black and Devious Maids) to co-star. “Patterson’s Patty Stewart grew up poor, raised by a single mother. She’s now the respected, intimidating owner of Patty’s Auto, and she has made it her mission to empower her female employees. Levy will play Jenna. Vulnerable and insecure, she is a service technician who is the most likely employee to be caught crying while working under a car. In the throes of a divorce, she strives to keep her two young sons on the straight and narrow. Lázaro portrays Liza, a service technician from Puerto Rico who works hard and parties harder. She gets asked out a lot by male customers, but Liza’s ‘perfect man’ is a woman. Adler will play Chyna, Patty’s former shop teacher and mentor, and now the forewoman of Patty’s Auto. She teaches free car care workshops to the community and is a practical jokester who gets emotional when she talks about cars and her husband of 18 years, Jimmy….Sadowski will play Bill, the crass, tough owner of the Muffler Men auto repair shop across the street from Patty’s Auto. Despite his fierce competition with Patty, the two are more alike than different and are therefore drawn to each other.”
Could be fun. We’ll try it.

Outmatched (fka Geniuses) Fox (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
From Lon Zimmet (LA to Vegas), creator/executive producer, this probable silliness “harkens back to one of Fox’s signature comedy series, Malcolm In the Middle. The…family comedy is about a blue-collar couple in South Jersey trying to get by and raise four kids, three of whom just happen to be certified geniuses.”
Starring Jason Biggs, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Oakley Bull, Jack Stanton and Maggie Lawson.
Young Sheldon times 3? Why? It’s probably trite and not worthwhile, but we may try it once.
Sounds awful…

Tommy (fka Nancy) CBS (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
Yet another police drama (WHY?), from writer, Paul Attanasio (Homicide: Life on the Street and Bull), and director, Kate Dennis.
Starring Edie Falco (The Menendez Murders, A Land of Steady Habits, Nurse Jackie and The Sopranos) as Abigail ‘Tommy’ Thomas, and co-starring Michael Cheras (Patriot), Russell G. Jones  (The Americans), Adelaide Clemens (Rectify), Joseph Lyle Taylor (Sneaky Pete), David Fierro (The Knick), and Olivia Lucy Phillip  (Frozen). “With a New Yorker’s gift for being tough and sarcastic while remaining likable, Tommy—as she likes to be called— loves being a cop more than anything and is a former high-ranking NYPD officer who’s just been hired as the first female Chief of Police for the LAPD. In her new role, Tommy uses her unflinching honesty and hardball tactics to navigate the social, political and national security issues that converge with enforcing the law….Chernus will play Ken. Rumpled, insecure, smart, wry and a little self-deprecating, Ken is the speechwriter for L.A.’s incoming and first female Chief of Police. His job is to channel his boss’ inner life and get it all on paper, which is put to the test immediately when tasked to write her swearing-in speech without ever having met her…. Jones will play Looper. Phlegmatic but sharp as a tack, Looper is the Chief of Staff, whose job is to keep the trains running while the new Chief of Police performs the political aspects of the job. Part of Tommy’s inner team, Looper proves to be instinctual and insightful, a good cop with good instincts and the ability to keep his mouth shut….Clemens will play Blake. As the Press Secretary for the chief of police, she focuses less on substance than on how things look. Polished, confident whip-smart and hard-working, Blake worked as Press Secretary for the previous chief of police, whom she tolerated in exchange for ample appreciation of her efforts. By comparison, she’s uneasy with the new chief, who doesn’t know her—or, as far as she can tell, like her….Fierro’s Buddy is the brilliant, manipulative mayor of Los Angeles, who becomes a rival for power with the city’s first female police chief. Taylor will portray Dudik, Buddy’s deputy, Treat ‘The Dude’ Dudik, the somewhat dim, brutal, blindly loyal fixer who always returns to his master’s side for another kick….Phillip will portray Kate. She’s Tommy’s daughter, who seems to be everything her mother is not: soft where her mother is hard, quiet where she is commanding; deep down, however, she’s just as stubborn. A school psychologist who is married to an engineer and the mother of 8-year-old, Luna, Kate lives in L.A. and is estranged from her mother, whom she resents for putting her career before her child.”
Sounds like a female-centric, funnier Blue Bloods.
We may try it.

*Twenties BET (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
By the creator of The Chi (Showtime), Lena Waithe, something we probably won’t like. “The comedy follows a trio of women: Hatti [Gibbs], who is queer and black, and her two straight BFFs…, Marie (Elmore) and Nia (Graham), who spend most of their days talking shit and chasing their dreams. It’s a show about friendship, finding love, and messing everything up along the way….She’s a lesbian who always falls for straight women. Out of cash and desperate for a break, Hattie interviews with Ida B. (Brown), a successful African-American television writer/producer who calls her out on some shady tweets she made some years prior. But when Ida B. offers Hattie a job as a writer’s PA, Hattie may finally have her foot planted firmly on the ladder of Hollywood success.”
Probably wretchedly stereotypical and trite (as if it’s enough to describe a character by giving sexual orientation and gender? NOT).
Starring: Jonica T. Gibbs, Christina Elmore, Gabrielle Graham, Sophina Brown. 
I may watch one Episode. Mom won’t

The Gilded Age HBO (midseason premiere date not set, yet; we wait for DVDs)
Not sure if Julian Fellowes‘ newest period drama is for you, AND it just got moved to a pay station, but if you loved Downton Abbey, this will help you decide: Michael Engler, “who directed multiple episodes of Downton Abbey, including the two-hour series finale, is set to direct the opening two-hour episode of Fellowes’ 10-episode series,” and “also will serve as executive producer with Fellowes and former Downton EP, Gareth Neame.” Fellowes is the creator and writer: “The Gilded Age is a sweeping fictional epic of the millionaire titans of New York City in the 1880s—a period of immense social upheaval, of huge fortunes made and lost, and of palaces that spanned the length of Fifth Avenue. In the series, Marian Brook is the wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family who will embark on infiltrating the wealthy neighboring family dominated by ruthless railroad tycoon, George Russell, his rakish and available son, Larry, and his ambitious wife, Bertha, whose ‘new money’ is a barrier to acceptance by the Astor and Vanderbilt set. Marian is about to experience a whole new world springing up right outside her front door.” Look for this later in 2019d
No stars attached, yet, and no cast listed at all, but how bad could it be?
We’ll try it when it’s on DVD

MotherFatherSon BBC Two (DVD or Netflix, for us) (8 Episodes; early 2019 premiered, but not in USA, yet) 
Richard Gere
is onTV for his 1st major roles, on BBC Two for 2 miniseries. First up is this one, created and written by Tom Rob Smith (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story). “[T]he drama follows Max (Gere), a charismatic, self-made American businessman with media outlets in London and around the world.” Co-starring will be: Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders) as “Kathryn, a British heiress who has been estranged from Max following the breakdown of their marriage some years before”; Billy Howle (Dunkirk) as their 30-year-old son, Caden, “who runs Max’s U.K. newspaper and is primed to follow in his father’s footsteps as one of the most powerful men in the world.” The main premise revolves around “Caden’s self-destructive lifestyle.” When that “spirals out of control, the devastating consequences threaten the future of the family, its empire, and a country on the brink of change.” Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley), Sinéad Cusack (Call the Midwife) and Paul Ready (The Terror) are also starring. James Kent will direct; producers are Sharon Bloom and Lisa Osborne, with executive producers, Tom Rob Smith, Alan Poul, Hilary Salmon and Elizabeth Kilgarriff. Could be good, but may not be our cup of tea. Wayward 30-somethings are tedious, for us, and even Richard Gere may not rescue this tired trope (very Rupert Murdoch-ish, eh?).
When we can find it, we’ll try it. 

Cavendish CBC (then Netflix or Amazon?) (premiered summer, 2019)
A comedy from the Canadian creators of Picnicface, comedy troupe founders, Mark Little and Andrew Bush, along with Garry Campbell (Kim’s Convenience). “Bush and Little star as two bickering brothers who return to their PEI hometown to take care of their grumpy and ailing father, only to collide with the eccentric townsfolk and their even stranger superstitions.”
Probably not our thing, but many will like it. We may try it. Canadian and British sit coms are VERY hit-or-miss with us,; most USA sit coms are definite misses.
May try it

Ongoing Shows, DVDs Completed, or Films/Specials We Like(d) and Have Watched (UPDATED 11/15/19; look for them on DVD, streaming, On Demand, or on premium channels/repeat airings).

The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2001-2008 on BBC; now on DVD; 23 Episodes; 7 SEASONS)
“The aristocratic Inspector Thomas Lynley [Nathaniel Parker] and the down-to-earth Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers [Sharon Small] join forces to investigate a series of murders. Their working relationship is challenged by their respective lots in life—Lynley is an earl, while Havers comes from a working-class background. The characters and some of the storylines are based on the novels by Elizabeth George.”
Also starring and recurring roles played by: Lesley Vicarage, Adam Godley, and many other now-familiar faces.
We liked this a lot

Janet King DVD/Acorn (3 SEASONS)
We got all three SEASONS from our library and watched them happily. Marta Dusseldorp, the star of this, was also the star of A Place to Call Home, which we love. This is an Australian urban legal drama, and very well done. Recommended.
We liked this

Case Histories Amazon Prime (2 SEASONS)
We love Jason Isaacs and the rest of the cast and stories are great. HOWEVER, the Edinburgh-Scottish accents can be very difficult for us midwestern USA folks to understand. Each Episode is in two parts or all one part, depending on your viewing stream. ” based on the Jackson Brodie novel series by Kate Atkinson….[Also starring] Amanda Abbington, Zawe Ashton, Millie Innes. Former soldier and policeman, Jackson Brodie, becomes a private investigator.”
We liked this

Republic of Doyle Netflix (available for all 6 SEASONS—2010-2014— in 2016)
“The sleepy port city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, is changing. While an influx of oil has flooded its coffers, it’s also brought to the surface the corruption—where there’s cash, there’s trash, after all. And doing his part to clean things up is private eye, Jake Doyle, who, with the help of his dad and partner at the Doyle P.I. Firm, takes on all cases—with the odd homicide thrown in just to keep things interesting.”
Somewhat fun, but too many trite tropes and chase scenes, with several obnoxious characters, including the star,/co-writer, Allan Hawco, who is not nearly as adorable as he thinks he is. But, after one SEASON, he grew on us and we keep watching. The father -son relationship is dysfunctional (rather, Malachy, is played by Sean McGinley), and his “relationship” with his ex-wife is downright pathological. Best character is the step-mother of the star, played by Lynda Boyd. Co-starring Krystin Pellerin and Marthe Bernard.
CBC gave it a lot of years and it won awards: it gets better, but is uneven.
We sort of like it and it grows on us

Lewis (was BBC; now DVD) 8 SEASONS
Another very well-written and -acted British detective series, and this one stars Kevin Whately, the co-star of Inspector Morse—which we haven’t watched, yet, because we are continuing first with Morse’s prequels in Endeavor—as DI Lewis, who previously was Morse’s (Endeavor’s) DS, and now he is Hathaway’s DI (James Hathaway, played well by Laurence Fox, who is much like the character of Endeavor, interestingly). For the last several SEASONS, Lewis is semi-retired, and Hathaway becomes a DI to DS Maddox (Griffith).

LewisDVD2
Great characters, not very bloody stories, excellent music by the recently deceased and much-missed composer, Barrington Phelong, who wrote the music for all three series and many more.
Starring/featuring: Clare Holman, Rebecca Front, Angela Griffith.
We really liked this

Scott & Bailey (was BBC; now DVD) 5 SEASONS
Another very well-written and -acted British detective series, and this one has many strong female characters in leading roles! It is a “series following two officers who work in a Manchester police unit specialising in murder cases.” Produced contemporaneously, more or less, with 2011-16. Written by the great Sally Wainwright (The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, Last Tango in Halifax, Gentleman Jack, Happy Valley).
Starring/featuring: Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp, Amelia Bullmore, Tony Mooney, Nicholas Gleaves. 
We really like this

The Last Laugh Netflix (released 12/10/18)
This grew on  us slowly. We did like it, especially the singing.
“When retired talent manager Al Hart is reunited with his first client, Buddy Green, a comic who quit show business 50 years ago, he convinces Buddy to escape their retirement community and hit the road for a cross-country comedy tour.”
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Andie McDowell, Chevy Chase
A TRAILER HERE: https://movizark.com/2018/12/30/the-last-laugh-trailer-chevy-chase-and-richard-dreyfuss-lead-this-netflix-comedy-check-it-out/
We liked this a lot 

*Magical Land of Oz PBS (released 8/28/19)
This is “a three-part series about Australia’s magical wildlife.”I spent 3 magical weeks Down Under over 20 years ago… Loved it.
Very fascinating. Loved this!

*Downton Abbey film (in theatres only as of 9/13/19) PBS (unknown air date)
Missing the 20th-century Brits in Downton Abbey?  This much-anticipated sequel film to its 6-year series’ run airs in early fall, 2019! Updates and a preview, here, June 2 – 9, 2019 (air date varies locally), on PBS: https://www.willowandthatch.com/downton-abbey-returns-pbs-2019-special/?fbclid=IwAR0vDQvB0Qe-YT0-OmvXh9F5zWXnbyZKiMJqivAq_U5UlSy88rBCrlqREis
*The best lines and fun came from/for Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton. The rest, meh.
The original principal cast, including Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, and Penelope Wilton, are set to return, to “reprise their upstairs/ downstairs roles.” AND, they’re going to be joined by new additions, Imelda Stanton, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, David Haig, Tuppence Middleton, Kate Phillips, and Stephen Campbell Moore.
PLUS, expect a visit by (actors playing) King George V and Queen “May” (Victoria Mary Teck), Queen Elizabeth II’s grandparents (it’s set in 1927)! Apparently, the royal visit is the device by which all the cast are reprising their roles and it’s the main event. Sounds silly, but many will like it. 
Here are trailers: https://deadline.com/2018/12/downton-abbey-movie-teaser-trailer-first-look-video-1202520195/ and https://www.indiewire.com/2019/04/downton-abbey-full-trailer-plotline-returning-characters-1202055633/
and https://rogersmovienation.com/2019/05/21/preview-at-last-an-actual-complete-trailer-for-downton-abbey-the-movie/
Somewhat fun, but also, dull

The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special with Celine Dion CBS (aired 5/21/19)
We really enjoy a lot of the shorter segments (how talented is James Corden?), and the first Special, with Sir Paul McCartney, was fabulous.
This one was sillier, but fun. Vegas, right?
Weird, but fun

*Fosse/Verdon  FX  (8 Episodes; premiered 4/9/19)
We were excited about this Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon bio, but what an awful man. I fast-forward through most of it and Mom quit after about 20 minutes.
Starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, from Lin-Manuel Miranda & Thomas Kail (Hamilton) and Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen). BUT, after Episode 1 (which we didn’t even finish), we were disappointed. We thought we’d try more, but it’s so DARK (literally as well as metaphorically) that we haven’t gone back to it.
“Based on Fosse, the biography written by Sam Wasson, the limited series tells the story of the singular romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. He was a visionary filmmaker and one of theater’s most influential choreographers and directors; she was the greatest Broadway dancer of all time….Nicole Fosse, daughter of Fosse and Verdon, is Co-Executive Producer.”
(You can watch one of their classic dance numbers HERE, https://deadline.com/2018/07/bob-fosse-gwen-verdon-fx-limited-series-michelle-williams-sam-rockwell-star-lin-manuel-miranda-thomas-kail-steven-levinson-1202432819/.)
“Together they changed the face of American entertainment—at a perilous cost. Featuring Fosse’s choreography, the series explores the hidden corners of show business, the price of pursuing greatness, and the suffering inflicted in the name of art.”
In case you don’t know, Bob Fosse and later, he in collaboration with his wife, Gwen Verdon, originated a tight, sinewy style of choreography made famous by Ben Vereen, Joel Grey, Anne Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth and others in award-winning shows Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Chicago, Pippin, Cabaret, Sweet Charity‘s that was imitated in multiple shows after that. All That Jazz, an autobiographical film that Fosse wrote and directed, was completed during his first heart attack (starring the late Roy Scheider), but he died from another attack soon after the film’s release, at the young age of 60. A true original and genius of dance.
Cast includes: Norbert Leo Butz, Margaret Qualley, Aya Cash, Nate Corddry, Susan Misner, Bianca Marroquin, Kelli Barrett, Evan Handler, Rick Holmes, Paul Reiser, Ethan Slater and Byron Jennings.
Well-done, but awful story

*Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons
ONE NIGHT ONLY! 5/22/19 was the LIVE special on ABC, but they’re re-airing it from the recording due to popularity.
They did an OKAY job, but the story was silly.
This was a tribute to two of Norman Lear‘s most iconic shows, “forty-eight years after Archie Bunker first sat in his armchair and yelled at ‘Meathead’ [Rob Reiner‘s role] to get his feet off the coffee table…,
“Hosted by legendary producer, Norman Lear, and Jimmy Kimmel, the tribute will star Woody Harrelson as the curmudgeonly Bunker and Marisa Tomei as his wife, Edith—originally played by Carol O’Connor and Jean Stapleton. Jamie Foxx will take on Sherman Hensley’s role as George Jefferson, alongside Wanda Sykes as Louise ‘Weezy’ Jefferson [Isabel Sanford‘s role]. The show also stars Ellie Kemper as Gloria Stivic [Sally Struthers‘ role] and Will Ferrell as Tom Willis [Franklin Cover‘s role]. It will be directed by Cheers’ co-creator, James Irrows.” Kerry Washington (Scandal) “will play Helen Willis, the character who was one half of the first interracial couple featured on American primetime TV.” Justina Machado, .Jovan Adepo, Anthony Anderson, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jackée Harry, Ike Barinholtz, Sean Hayes and Amber Stevens West are joining as well. “Ike Barinholtz will re-create the role of Mike ‘Meathead’ Stivic, Sean Hayes will play Mr. Lorenzo, Amber Stevens West is set to play Jenny Willis Jefferson…Jovan Adepo will re-enact the role of Lionel Jefferson, Anthony Anderson joins as Uncle Henry, Stephen Tobolowsky is set to play Mr. Bentley, and Jackée Harry will play Diane Stockwell….and Justina Machado is Florence Johnston.”
Not as good as promised.
I saw all the original Episodes, so I watched.

Emilio & Gloria Estefan: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song PBS (premiered 5/3/19)
These annual Gershwin Prize award shows are some of our favorites because they highlight the songs of great songwriters with stellar performances throughout, along with biographical info about the recipient(s). This one was moving, amazing, and fabulous! 
Felicitaciones
 to the newest and unique recipients (first Latinx and first couple) to be given this great honor, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, winners of over 25 Grammys and other awards and currently the topics of the  popular, multiple Tony-Award-winning Broadway and national touring musical, On Your Feet! “Previous winners include Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Paul McCartney and Smokey Robinson…” This all-star tribute concert occurred/was taped in March, 2019.
FYI: Gloria Estefan is only the second woman (Carole King was the first) and the first WOC to be a recipient!
Definitely watch this!

*Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind HBO (aired 7/16/18; got the DVD)
This was funny (laugh-out-loud funny!), poignant, amazing, sad. A documentary on the life and work of one of our most precious geniuses, gone too soon, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.
BTW: one of my best friend’s mothers died of the same disease that caused Robin Williams to commit suicide, and he was not wrong. It’s a slow horrible, debilitating dementia and physical atrophying illness—Lewy Body Disease—that no one survives or recovers from. Her last years were bedridden, mostly unable to communicate with any logic or make sense of anything, not recognizing anyone or any place, barely able to eat or talk. That was what he was facing. Understand suicide in that circumstance, for sure.
Fascinating, but somewhat sad

*Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul CBS (premiered 3/10/19)
Proved that Aretha Franklin has gone but NEVER will be forgotten, as evidenced by this fabulous line-up for her tribute in 2019: Tyler Perry will host, and performers include Janelle Monae, Alicia Keys, John Legend, kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Patti LaBelle, Alessia Cara, Jennifer Hudson, Common, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R., SZA, Chloe X Halle, BeBe Winans, Yolanda Adams and Shirley Caesar. This will be filmed January 13th at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and air later in 2019. “Franklin, who died in August at age 76, earned 18 Grammy wins and 44 nominations throughout her career.”

This was quite moving, and fabulous!

*Motown Celebration: A Grammy Celebration CBS (premiered 4/21/19)
Just what it sounds like. Great!
I watched this in bits. Fun! 

Love, Gilda  CNN (aired 1/1/19 and will air again and online)
If you ever were a fan of the late Gilda Radner (gone too soon, from ovarian cancer, in her 40s), Saturday Night Live (especially its earliest years), great comedy, and her collaborators/legacy comedians (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Chevy Chase, Martin Short, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Lorraine Newman, Jane Curtin, Melissa McCarthy, the late John Belushi and John Candy, and so many more), then you will love this documentary about her life based on her own notes, her autobiography, interviews, home movies, and other clips/shots. It is extremely well-done, mostly chronological, and hilarious (and, sad).
We loved this

Rent FOX (aired 1/27/19, 7:00-10:00 PM ET, NOT live/PT, tape-delayed)
The NOT-live musical production of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Rent, was NOT shown live because one of the stars (Brennin Hunt, Roger) broke his leg and they had no understudies! So, we all saw the dress rehearsal, which was taped.
Brandon Victor Dixon (Tom Collins, “the computer scientist who returns to New York after being expelled from MIT”), Vanessa Hudgens (Maureen Johnson,” the outgoing performance artist who’s not afraid to take on the establishment”), Kiersey Clemons (Joanne Jefferson, “Maureen’s girlfriend and an Ivy League-educated lawyer”), Brennin Hunt (Roger Davis, “a struggling musician and Mark’s roommate and best friend”), Valentina (Angel Dumont Schunard, “a young drag queen and street percussionist who embraces life and lives it to its fullest”), Mario (Benjamin Coffin III, “Mark and Roger’s former roommate-turned-landlord, who is after their rent”), Tinashe (Mimi Marquez, “the dancer who struggles with addiction”), Keala Settle (who will perform “Seasons of Love” and in the ensemble) , and Jordan Fisher (Mark Cohen, “an aspiring filmmaker, who serves as the show’s narrator, while filming the lives of his friends”).
Billed as: “a re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, and set in New York City’s gritty East Village, Rent tells the unforgettable story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of great social and political turmoil. Winner of four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, writer/composer Jonathan Larson’s tour de force continues to offer an inspiring message of hope and friendship.” Producer is Marc Platt (Grease: Live, La La Land, Wicked), and the estate of the late writer/composer Jonathan Larson, will executive-produce. This will be our third version (first film, first live filming of the play already viewed) to watch, but we like this show a lot, sad as it is.
We watched, but were not impressed

 

*Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew PBS (premiered 9/23/18; NOT the same as the series on Netflix, now in its 2nd SEASON)
This is another adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s series of books, into a trio of TV movies written by Susan Coyne. This one picks up the plot with in a later time in her life than the Netflix series (so far, anyway; it’s in SEASON 2). It’s also not in a series format. We missed the first two parts of this trio:
——Anne of Green Gables (premiered 11/16), which “tells the story of Anne Shirley, a precocious young girl taken from an orphanage and placed in the care of the uptight Marilla Cuthbert and her brother, Matthew. The conservative Marilla has a profound effect on the adventurous Anne and creates a journey of learning and personal engagement”; and
——Anne of Green Gables: Good Stars (premiered 11/17), which picked up the story a bit later. “When Anne Shirley turns 13, she faces complex issues with her friends, inspirational adults and Marilla and Matthew. At the same time, she begins a friendship with Gilbert Blythe that emotionally escalates to disrupt the status quo of her peaceful world. Her free-spirited nature is challenged by her perceived need to become sensible, and her journey toward this goal is fraught with confusion and more than a few unfortunate—albeit, amusing—mishaps”), but they can be watched online and elsewhere.
Starring: Ella Ballentine, Martin Sheen, Sara Botsford, Drew Haytaoglu.
“Anne arrives in Charlottetown to attend accelerated classes, and she continues to work toward her dream of being a school teacher. Anne finds herself facing choices for her future, stirrings of romance, and tragedy unlike anything she’s ever known….Through the influence of a spirited new teacher, Miss Stacy (Natalie Lisinska), Anne (Ella Ballentine) steps up her ability at scholarship and competes for the few spaces available at a teacher’s college. When Anne leaves for Queen’s College, Matthew and Marilla (Martin Sheen and Sara Botsford) feel a sudden emptiness in their lives. Anne moves to Charlottetown and is overwhelmed by her new surroundings, difficult classes at teacher’s college, and a deepening romance with Gilbert (Drew Haytaoglu). At the same time, Matthew and Marilla deal with health and financial difficulties that jeopardize their lives at Green Gables.”
I’m interested in how these two adaptations differ. Loved these books as a child!
I watched the last two: very well-acted and -written

*Grey’s Anatomy: B-Team ABC.com only (available January, 2018)
Grey’s Anatomy‘s 2017-18 Interns got their own show (sort of) and you do NOT have to pay to watch it, but it’s only viewable online and only has 6 Episodes; each one is about 2 minutes long.
“[A]vailable to stream now” http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy-b-team/episode-guide/season-01/01-episode-one “with all six episodes focusing on Grey Sloan Memorial’s newbies docs as the navigate their way through their first day as surgeons. Starring in the digital series are Sophia Taylor Ali as Dahlia Qadri, Jake Borelli as Levi Schmitt, Alex Blue Davis as Casey Parker, Jaicy Elliot as Taryn Helm, Rushi Kota as Vik Roy and Jeanine Mason as Sam Bello.”
FMI: http://www.eonline.com/news/905683/grey-s-anatomy-s-new-interns-are-getting-their-own-show?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-tvnews&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_tvnews
Kind of like previews or vignettes more than Episodes, but fun, if you’re a fan of Grey’s.

A Place to Call Home ACORN (then DVD and Amazon; already has 5 SEASONS on DVD; SEASON 6—its final—aired on ACORN in late 2018; DVD released 4/23/19)
Medical, social class and religious persecution drama set in rural Australia, post-World War II, with strong female characters, especially in the lead roles. Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp) is fabulous as “a nurse returning to 1950s Australia after 20 years in Europe. A convert to Judaism, Sarah emerged from the horrors of World War II strong, principled, and defiant—a thoroughly modern woman still bearing the weight of the past. On the ship home, Sarah meets the wealthy Bligh family. She quickly charms dashing widower, George (Brett Climo, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga) and his spirited daughter, Anna (Abby Earl, The Great Mint Swindle). Less pleased is his mother (award-winning actress Noni Hazlehurst, Little Fish), particularly after Sarah witnesses a desperate act by George’s son, James (David Berry, Home and Away). As Sarah settles into life in her new town, Mrs. Bligh does everything she can to maintain her iron grip on her family-and keep Sarah out of it. A thoroughly addictive drama brimming with secrets, passion, romance, and intrigue, A Place to Call Home explores the ties that hold families together and the betrayals that can tear them apart.”
Also starring Sara Wiseman and Craig Hall.
Saying-goodbye-to-Ash-Park-768x512
“The 10-Episode final season will take the Blighs and all the residents of Inverness into 1960.”  Here is a ink to a great interview and info about this show: https://tellyspotting.kera.org/2018/08/30/as-we-begin-our-final-stay-at-ash-park-a-qa-with-sara-wiseman-and-craig-hall-of-a-place-to-call-home/
We LOVE this and SEASON 5 was excellent!

The Doctor Blake Mysteries Netflix (on PBS and other online outlets; also, DVDs through SEASON 5 available)
Star Craig McLachlan has been accused and was investigated for sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on set. He got blackballed for bad behavior (spring, 2018) and is OUT for the final film, The Blake Mysteries: A New Beginning, which aired on 11/30/19 in the UK and we’re trying to get it on DVD in 2019. This is featuring his new wife, instead.
The Doctor Blake Mysteries is an original, period murder mystery series, starring one of Australia’s favourite, most versatile actors, Craig McLachlan, as the maverick town doctor, Lucien Blake. A risk-taker, he is impulsive and not afraid to upset the status quo. Dr. Lucien Blake left Ballarat as a young man. But now, he finds himself returning, to take over his dead father’s medical practice. And one of the unwanted duties his father left him is the on-call role of police surgeon. Set in the old gothic gold rush town of Ballarat in 1959. The wealth that built its grand architecture long gone-but not the mysteries, murder and deceit that linger beneath the surface of its faded glory.”
Also starring Joel Tobeck, Nadine Garner, Rick Donald.
SEASON 1 aired in 2013. SEASON 2, with another 10 episodes, aired in 2014 and SEASON 3 aired in 2015. SEASONS 1- 5 are out on DVD as of late 2018.
We like this, and too bad about the star


RECOMMENDED but discontinued/canceled/ already Shown/Ended for now;
Can Catch Again (On Demand or online)

Some of these, above and below, we’re still watching. They could be available On Demand or online, but we’re not sure when/if they are returning

For PBS special productions (Great Performances of filmed live plays, concerts, more), stream them online: http://www.pbs.org

*The Pinkertons Netflix (one SEASON only, from 2016-17)
Martha MacIsaac (FABULOUS!), Jacob Blair and occasionally, Angus McFadyen, with a lot of others with marvelous acting chops guest star or appear repeatedly in this post-Civil War-era depiction of some of the actual cases and people involved with The Pinkerton Detective Agency in Kansas City, Missouri. Mom doesn’t like period pieces, much so I watched the first 22 Episodes (divided into 2 “SEASONS”). Hoping for another one or two SEASONS!
Great acting, verisimilitude, politics and humor along with serious early CSI work, filmed well.
Excellent series; wish for another SEASON!

41st Annual Kennedy Center Honor PBS (aired 12/26/18 and repeatedly after that)
This year’s host was Gloria Estefan and the honorees were: Cher; composer, Philip Glass; Reba McEntire; jazz great, Wayne Shorter; and, the creators of Hamilton—writer and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda; director, Thomas Kail; choreographer, Andy Blankenbuehler; and, music director, Alex Lacamoire. These awards “recognize artists who have made enduring and indelible marks on the culture.”
Great mix of live performances, bio-clips, interviews and tributes. Well worth watching.
Fabulous!

A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway (Musical Special) NBC (premiered 10/29/18 )
THIS WAS WONDERFUL! I had to explain context for my mom, who’s never seen the production, but so much fun! Highly recommended! Two of our favorite performers, the original Wicked stars, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, “reunite to host and perform during this NBC special. Performing alongside the pair of Tony winners will be pop star and Broadway alum Ariana Grande, … the a cappella group, Pentatonix, the current Broadway cast of the musical (led by Jessica Vosk and Amanda Jane Cooper), Adam Lambert, and Ledisi.”
Highly recommended!

*Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Netflix and DVD (3 SEASONS already released and 3 planned films, for 2019 and beyond, and a more modern spin-off; see below)
The spin-off version begins airing on Acorn TV 4/29/19 and is set in the 1960s.
The first of 3 planned movies with the original cast, still set in the post-war, 1920s, Australia, Miss Fisher and The Crypt of Tears, will release in 2019! It “follows the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher on a Middle Eastern adventure IN SEARCH OF an ancient treasure. The film features several series regulars, including Nathan Page as Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Prudence and Ashleigh Cummings as her loyal assistant and maid, Dorothy ‘Dot’ Collins.”
Another excellent, feminist, fun detective series from Australia with a female protagonist, Miss Fisher, played so well by Essie Davis, and a male counterpart (Nathan Page). Great supporting cast, especially her side-kicks, fun music and interesting plots.

Set in the twenties, so Mom won’t watch it. I really like the series and look forward to the spin-off and films. The writers promise more “Fashion, feminism and fun” from all of the next additions.Visit their Facebook page for more info!
Worth your time

American Masters on PBS: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, PBS (out on DVD/VOD 4/24/18; premiered 5/18/18)
THIS WAS FASCINATING and very sad, as well. If you have an interest, it’s very well done, with amazing film and still photos from many decades of Lamarr‘s life, interviews with her children and granddaughter and many others as well as Lamarr herself.
Here are some clips: http://www.pbs.org/video/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-trailer-alebky/
I have a particular connection to Ms. Lamarr because one of my former partner’s mothers and aunt were her friends—three young women who were beautiful, talented, Jewish Austrians and Holocaust survivors. After they all had escaped from Austria and made their way to Los Angeles during Hitler’s rise in the late 1930s, these three appeared in two movies together (my partner’s relatives had very minor roles). They were also friends with another fellow Jewish Austrian, Johnny Weismuller, known for his roles as Tarzan.
Hedy Lamarr was the original wild child. Her scandalous nude appearance in the 1933 Czech film, Ecstasy, made her infamous at the age of 17. She married a prominent Austrian businessman who became a weapons dealer to the Nazis. Lamarr, who was born Jewish, fled her husband in the middle of the night, boarding a boat for America with nothing to her name except a single designer gown. On board, she dazzled MGM boss, Louis B. Mayer, and convinced him to offer her one of the best contracts in Hollywood. As a movie star, she was considered by many to be ‘the most beautiful woman in the world.’ Songs were written about her beauty. Snow White [Disney’s original animated version] was modeled on her iconic look. She married six times and had affairs with everyone from Howard Hughes to Spencer Tracy.”
We liked this a lot

The Late Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke– 3rd Primetime Special CBS (aired 4/23/18) AND the one with Paul McCartney (aired 8/20/18)
We LOVE these scenes and were glad to watch even the ones we’d already seen on James Corden‘s show. Then, we were rewarded by a funny opening scene that turned into a hip-hop number AND a brand-new “Broadway Crosswalk” musical excerpts set with great guests!
Guess we weren’t the only ones who liked seeing Sir Paul McCartney in a James Corden‘s Carpool Karaoke segment! Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool was a full-length, primetime special that CBS aired 8/20/18. You can find it on YouTube or online, elsewhere. Sir Paul is also featured on a September edition of 60 Minutes, so catch that as well.
In other Carpool Karaoke news: SEASON 2 will feature many pairings, “including Jamie Foxx, who appears in the first episode with daughter, Corinne; Jason Sudeikis (both from Shazam), jamming with the Muppets; Matthew McConaughey” (can he sing or rap?!) with Snoop Dogg; and, “Rashida Jones and dad, Quincy,” on Apple TV and later, YouTube.
So fun!

*Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart (Documentary) PBS (Premiered 1/19/18)
I’ve watched about half of this: it is FANTASTIC! Worthwhile, every moment!
“Award-winning filmmaker, Tracy Heather Strain, examines the activism and art of Lorraine Hansberry beyond her best-known play, “A Raisin in the Sun.” The film features interviews with Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte, and Louis Gossett Jr., narration by award-winning actress, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and the voice of Tony Award-winning actress, Anika Noni Rose, as Hansberry. The result is a timely and revealing portrait of an activist and artist whose popular recognition has, until now, remained long overdue.” (Press materials)
FANTASTIC! Worthwhile, every moment!

*Mozart in the Jungle Amazon Prime (SEASONS 1 – 4 available; CANCELED after SEASON 4)
Magical realism meets drug-addled, drunk and driven musicians and other artists in this odd romp through classical and other orchestral experiences; I have been enjoying it a lot. Funny thing: I avoided watching it for a while because I thought it was set in South America or Africa and would be weird; then, I realized Bernadette Peters stars in it AND then found out there is no “jungle” except for New York City.
Starring some fabulous characters, even if most are not actually musicians (or not that good) IRL: Gael García Bernal, Lola Kirke, Saffron Burrows, Debra Monk and a host of others (many actually playing the musical instruments or dancing, some not); and featuring Bernadette Peters, Malcolm McDowell, Dermot Mulroney, Jason Schwartzman, Gretchen Mol, Wallace Shawn, the great Joshua Bell (violinist/Concert Master), and many others you may recognize.
“Love, money, ambition and music intertwine in Mozart in the Jungle, a half-hour comedic drama that looks at finding yourself and finding love while conquering New York City. A brash new maestro, Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal), stirs up the New York Symphony as young oboist, Hailey (Lola Kirke) hopes for her big chance.”
Great fun and music, both; CANCELED after SEASON 4

Vexed Netflix (2 SEASONS)
This British detective series is trite, but cute and somewhat interesting. Can be funny enough to laugh out loud. Strong characters, good plots. Weird, though, that we never see or meet anyone else from their police station: no DCI (Detective Chief Inspector), no other colleagues (except occasionally, in the background).
Starring: Toby Stephens and Lucy Punch (SEASON 1) and Toby Stephens and Miranda Raison (SEASON 2)

Toby Stephens and Miranda Raison, stars of SEASON 2 of Vexed

Somewhat trite, but cute; 2 SEASONS

Fearless Amazon (premiered/available 10/27/17, but only has one SEASON)
We like British mysteries/crime dramas a lot. Here is another new one.
“The series follows human rights lawyer, Emma Banville (Helen McCrory) as she tries to overturn the conviction of killer, Kevin Russell (Sam Swainsbury). Russell was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old schoolgirl, but after serving 14 years of his sentence he still adamantly maintains his innocence. As Emma begins her investigations into the original case, led by DCS Olivia Greenwood, (Wunmi Mosaku), she is immediately met with a negative backlash from the public and press who wish to keep Russell behind bars. As she delves deeper into the case and stumbles upon a possible conspiracy, Emma finds her own personal life under the spotlight.”
We have watched all the Episodes, but just found out it won’t have a SEASON 2.
Is strange, but interesting; only has one SEASON)

*Little Women (PBS) (premiered 5/13/18; 3-part mini-series)
Great acting, and, of course, excellent stories and writing. Glad they did it, but it seems unnecessary. The one glaring “off” note was some of the music, which was very modern.
From writer, Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife), and director, Vanessa Caswill (Thirteen), this adaptation of Louis May Alcott‘s classic looks interesting.
Starring: Angela Lansbury, Michael Gambon, Emily Watson, Maya Hawke, Willa Fitzgerald, Annes Elwy, Kathryn Newton and Jonah Hauer-King.
It was all right; good for newbies

American Film Institute (AFI) Lifetime Achievement Awards TNT (6/21/18 first aired)
We watched George Clooney get kudos, tributes and honors he richly deserves from the American Film Institute (AFI) Lifetime Achievement awards ceremony and it was WONDERFUL, It aired here on TNT June 21, 2018, and is often repeated or available online after that.
What a mensch! So many wonderful Hollywood folks came out to say great things about him and showcase his generosity, humor, wit and talent. Read about it and watch excerpts here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/george-clooney-honored-afis-life-achievement-award-1118272
WE LOVED THIS

*Madiba BET (mini-series aired mid-February, 2017)
A FANTASTIC, original mini-series (from BET’s press release, April 2016) “BET partners with executive producers, Lance Samuels, Kweku Mandela and Daniel Iron for an original production that focuses on the story of Nelson Mandela, the globally beloved humanitarian, as well as the many other leaders of the African National Congress — Oliver Tambo (Orlando Jones) and Walter Sisulu (David Harewood) — who fought alongside Mandela in the multi-racial, multi-national movement that led to the end of South African apartheid. Academy Award(R) nominee Laurence Fishburne completely transforms in the lead role, under the direction of Kevin Hooks (Passenger 57, Prison Break), who also serves as Executive Producer.”
Very moving, informative, inspiring. Sad and important, both, that we’re still fighting these fights.
Learned a lot from this.

*When We Rise ABC (5-part miniseries, started airing 2/27, with the two-hour series premiere, then aired the rest, every night through 3/3/17, but it will also be available via ABC On Demand and probably online as well; May have another season!).
This is/was my era. I know people whose names are on the AIDS quilt: dead friends and loved ones, friends’ partners and relatives. I am bisexual and was a reproductive rights, pro-ERA, feminist activist for many of these interlocking movements. These are my people. I remember these arguments, coalitions’ building and falling apart, feminists divided by homophobia, race-baiting among the GLBT and feminist communities: searching for safety among women only to find myself rejected as a bisexual; searching for camaraderie among the gay men only to find the misogynistic, hateful attitudes to be unworkable; wishing for cis-gender and heteronormative people, especially those with money and power, to wake up and grow up (still waiting for most of them).
This series is excellent! Each episode is so moving, well-done, informative and true-to-life that it ought to be required viewing for all politicians, GLBT people and their families, friends, allies and detractors, and the rest of the USA population. A lot of this series’ scenes have moved me to tears.
“Written and created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black…chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today.”
Starring Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel Griffiths, Ivory Aquino, Carrie Preston, Michael K. Williams, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg.
The extra hour within this series which aired before Night III, has interviews with some of the actual people this series is based upon, real footage of their meetings, speeches, marches, encounters, photographs of the original activists and their work. Extremely inspiring.
YOU MUST WATCH ALL OF THIS; TBD for SEASON 2

Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors (aired 11/30/16 on NBC)
See top of this post for news about the 2019 MusicCares Award for Parton and the airing of that show!
Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love is a sequel to the fun 2015 film based on her memoirs and recently released as a children’s book, Coat of Many Colors.
We were somewhat mystified and disappointed at the role the adult Dolly Parton gave herself in this sequel biopic, of one fall of her childhood at age 9: why would she have the local business owner (played by Parton’s real-life younger sister, Stella Parton), call her out as a prostitute? The child-aged Dolly says things like: “I want to look just like you when I grow up!” and the adult Dolly, known as “The Painted Lady” in the film, responds: “Maybe you will!” big smile. Very bizarre. The Painted Lady is a benefactor whose money is considered “dirty” and taken away by the store owner from child Dolly, but she keeps appearing throughout the film. Unclear as to why.
Which begs the question I’ve long had: why would anyone do to themselves what Dolly Parton has done (all the plastic surgery, wigs, false eyelashes, excessive dieting, garish make-up and clothes, for decades), and refuse to age gracefully? Dolly Parton is an inspiration and role model for many singers/songwriters and business owners, and she does consider herself an advocate for women. So, why does she refuse to look like a ordinary person?
Alyvia Alyn Lind, who plays young Dolly, reprised her role from the film last year and did a splendid job most of the time, but she could have been directed better. Some of the scene in which she has to speak more than a line or two are very stilted and artificial. The shorter interactions and her singing/playing guitar scenes are the best parts. Jennifer Nettles and Kelli Berglund, playing the eldest daughter, were excellent and well cast as Dolly’s mom and oldest sister. Mary Lane Haskell reprised her role as the school teacher, Miss Moody, who I hope is true-to-life and lived long enough to see how successful Dolly Parton became.
WARNING: This film has a very strong mystical, grandiose/romantic, heavy-handed Christian /Christmas messages which the adult Dolly definitely still believes in and wants everyone to know. There are appearances of visions, prayers, Baptisms, magic, God, blessings, angels and the like in her life and in this and the former film. If you believe in all that or like watching films like this, you’ll love it. We are not so fond (raised Jewish and practicing Buddhist, here).
may return in 2017

Top of the Lake Sundance (China Girl, SEASON 2, aired in fall, 2017; SEASON 3 discussed)
Stars Elizabeth Moss [2017 EMMY winner for The Handmaid’s Tale] as a New Zealand detective recovering from her own traumas while attempting to rebuild her life. Apparently, this premiered in 2013 with 7 Episodes, so this is its second season, but it is new to us. Good and bad reviews; excellent cast. Can’t find where to watch SEASON 1, so we’re starting here. (SEASON 1 is set in a remote mountain town in New Zealand.)
Mostly, having watched to the bitter end (which SUCKED, BTW), we have to say: there is not one functional and/or likable character in the entire bunch of misfits, criminals, tragic victims and struggling teens and adults. Most of the situations are awful. There are gratuitous nudity, active simulated sex, symptoms of mental illness, several incidents of violence and other horrific examples of humanity in almost every scene. Some of the scenes (especially those of the porn-watchers/prostitute-users in the cafe) are so terrible we couldn’t stand to listen to the dialog, however realistic.
Beautiful settings, though, since they shot on location and not near LA, as most shows do.
Also stars: Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Peter Mullan, Thomas M. Wright, Gwendoline Christie, David Dencik and Ewen Leslie.
[SPOILER ALERTS, from now on]
SEASON 2 is set near Sydney, Australia, and centers on finding the murderers of “Cinnamon,” found dead and floating in the lake stuffed into a suitcase. The local police call the case “China Girl,” even though she is from Thailand.
Robin Griffin (Moss) leads the investigation with an unstable constable accompanying her and apparently spying on her for their boss, with whom she is having an extra-marital affair and pregnancy, which becomes part of the story in odd ways).
Episode 1 (SEASON 2) was unnecessarily confusing, presenting viewers with many unlikeable characters, awful situations, dysfunctional families and no discernable plot. Nicole Kidman appears in a couple of scenes and more in later Episodes. There is an adoptive child/parent reuniting as a subplot that involves several of the characters through until the end in sordid and strange ways.
Excellent acting and probably realistic, but WHY? Horrible plots, situations and characters don’t make for “good” TV, IMHO.
Didn’t love it. Not sure who would, but we did finish it

*Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist National Geographic (3-part docuseries; Premiered 12/6/17)
“Culled from over 40 hours of rare archival footage, this three-part special allows the pioneer researcher to narrate her own tale, with excerpts from Dian Fossey‘s writings read by Sigourney Weaver (who previously portrayed Fossey [in the biopic film,] Gorillas in the Mist).”
I am watching this, but it is SO SAD! What a treasure Fossey was.

*PSYCH USA (12/7/17, first film premiered; 2nd film releases in late 2019)
This silly but endearing show returned to the network that created it, USA, and NOT just for one “Holiday movie,” 12/7/17, as previously announced: the producer is planning at least two, possibly a total of 6 full-length PSYCH movies, as a “series,” 2017-2019.
In this one (and probably more( they sing, again! So fun.
“…[F]eaturing fake psychic detective, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), the team reunited once again… when the two-hour special premiered 2017 (December). Psych creator, Steve Franks, who co-wrote the movie with Roday, is directing. Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), Juliet (Maggie Lawson), Henry (Corbin Bernsen), and Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) also returned for the movie, which picks up three years after the series finale.”
Psych: The Movie 2 releases in late 2019, to show this story: “Santa Barbara Police Chief Carlton Lassiter (Omundson), ambushed on the job and left for dead. In a vintage Psych-style Hitchcockian nod, he begins to see impossible happenings around his recovery clinic. Shawn (Roday) and Gus (Hill) return to Lassie’s side in Santa Barbara and are forced to navigate the personal, the professional, and possibly the supernatural. Separated from their new lives in San Francisco, our heroes find themselves unwelcome in their old stomping grounds as they secretly untangle a twisted case without the benefit of the police, their loved ones, or the quality sourdough bakeries of the Bay Area. What they uncover will change the course of their relationships forever.”

Silly, but fun

Great Performances, “She Loves Me” PBS (aired 10/20/17 and other dates and online)
A multiple Tony Award-winning revival of Jerry Bock‘s and Sheldon Harnick‘s cute musical play whose book (by Joe Masteroff) is a mix of You’ve Got Mail, The Shop Around the Corner and a few others like it.
Excellent vocals and acting, adorable choreography (by Warren Carlyle), great sets and amazing costumes.


Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi in She Loves Me, image from Playbill

Starring Laura Benanti (who knew she had such an amazing voice as a high soprano after seeing her sing alto/low soprano in Nashville?) and Jane Krakowski (always wonderful), singing and dancing. (Mom and I thought Jane was about 10 years too old for this part, but she pulled it off) as the female leads, with the charming Zachary Levi and Gavin Creel as their co-workers and respective love interests. Including very strong and fun performances from each of the minor characters and the entire ensemble. Delightful!
We love having Broadway LIVE in our home!

Falsettos on LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER PBS (aired 10/27/17, and online after that; go to http://www.pbs.org/show/lincoln-center/ for a preview trailer)
This is a “rock opera,” sort of: like Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell, there is almost no dialogue; all is sung. Amazing talent in this production! The story is strange and sad, but so well-acted and sung.
We love getting LIVE (recorded live) Broadway in our own home (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) for free (for the price of cable TV, that is)! In case you don’t know, “Falsettos is a musical with a book by James Lapine and William Finn, and music and lyrics by Finn. The musical consists of March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, the last two installments in one trio of one-act Off-Broadway musicals….which tell the story of a gay man named Marvin, his lover Whizzer, Marvin’s wife, Trina, and their extended family, from the early ‘80s through the early days of the AIDS crisis.” (from Wikipedia and the PBS show page, which is also the the source of the image, below)

Starring Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells, who each was amazing! Bring tissues for the ending.
Strange but excellent

*Godless Netflix (available November, 2017; 7 Episodes)
Great cast: Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, Sam Waterston, and many more great actors. But, it’s a WESTERN…!? Gruesome, violent, sad, but somehow, compelling.
I watched and mostly liked this

The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special CBS (premiered 12/3/17)
The Carol Burnett Show turns 50 and to celebrate the momentous occasion, CBS will honor the groundbreaking comedy series with …[this] one-night event, which will film at the series’ original soundstage at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, will feature: Burnett, original cast members, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner; costume designer, Bob Mackie; and a slew of special guests, including Kristin Chenoweth, Jane Lynch, Bernadette Peters, Maya Rudolph, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Bill Hader, Jay Leno, Jim Carrey and Martin Short.”
My mom is a big fan and a contemporary of Burnett. We LOVED this! Highly recommended, despite some very cheesy parts and unnecessary banter with “new” comedians.
Mom said she missed Harvey Korman and Tim Conway (Korman died in 2008; Conway is ill; both were regulars on the original show).
Definitely LOVED this

*The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross PBS (started airing in October, 2013; re-aired July, 2017; gets repeated often and available online http://www.pbs.org)
The wonderful historian, himself African-American, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the narrator and principal investigator/researcher for this amazing series, which chunks the history of African-Americans into hundreds of years, at first, then dozens, then just a few decades by the end (4 Episodes, 75 minutes each; 6 hours, total).
The series “guides viewers on a journey across two continents to explore the transition of African-Americans. The series encompasses five centuries of events, visits key sites, and engages in debates with historians and eyewitnesses like school integration pioneers, Ruby Bridges and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former Black Panther, Kathleen Neal Cleaver and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.”
I’m into documentaries like this

Jesus Christ Superstar NBC (premiered LIVE on Easter Sunday, 4/1/18)
A Broadway-filmed “live” (at filming time) showing of Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS)! If you’ve never seen it, it’s very worth it, when done well. It’s brilliant. JCS was one of the first “rock operas” of the 1960s-1970s. It has almost no dialogue and many amazing songs. Much more serious and politicized/satirical than Godspell, and not the same angle at all on the story of Jesus’ rise and fall, this one is told from Judas’ POV.
Amazing sets and lighting design, especially for the closing scenes. Our highest praise is for the staging.
Some of Camille Moore‘s choreography was good, some silly and/or derivative of other (not this) shows, some moves and configurations were interesting; none was great.
Some of the singers are NOT Broadway experienced and were difficult to hear or understand, even with microphones. Some were not on key too much of the time. Maybe they’ve been too reliant on post-production recording software to tune them up?
David Leveaux‘s direction was not great, either. Many actors were poorly situated or coached for the camera angles and lyrics. Some seemed to miss the points of their characters at key moments in their songs. Some were not well-directed or couldn’t act as well as they sang (or couldn’t do either aspect well), so some were poorly cast and it seemed more for their celebrity than their talent or suitability for this venue and these roles.
I’ve seen the first JCS film multiple times and the play produced in a variety of theatres. My opinion is both as a fan and as a professional. My mom had never seen it, anywhere, and is not a professional, but we agreed on all of these points.
Brandon Victor Dixon was the best and most experienced (Hamilton, for one), but even his songs were not great, some of the time. Sara Bareilles was one of the better ones, singing and acting, but poorly cast (there was zero chemistry between her and Legend). John Legend as Jesus was mediocre (and we’re being generous) at best; not at all up to the part, its subtleties or vocals.
Alice Cooper as King Herod was a sensation for casting, but barely audible, uninteresting and mostly flash with no substance (great costume, though). Jin Ha and Norm Lewis were not vocally capable of their demanding parts. Ben Daniels was a better actor than singer, as Pilate.
Overall, though, well-produced and fun/interesting/sad to watch. Worth your time, especially if you’ve never seen the play or the film (Mom was a newbie).

Mostly great and worth watching


Shows we/I NAYed: OFF OUR LIST
(but I sometimes “check in”)

*This is Us NBC (RENEWED for SEASONS 4 – 6, despite being AWFUL; premiered 9/24/19 for SEASON 4)
Won multiple Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG awards, we do not understand why we disliked this show enough to avoid watching it and finally ditched it in SEASON 2 after 1.5 Episodes and haven’t watched SEASON 3 at all, together. I watched a couple and was convinced we were right.
The scripts have increasingly SUCKED. Acting is all right and even good, but we hate the characters and the story!  We continued to be underwhelmed and frustrated by the immaturity and selfishness of these characters, especially Kate and Kevin. Also, very annoying the ways they keep jumping timelines and storylines without much info or warning: CONFUSING.
The choice to spend a “lot of time in Vietnam” for SEASON 3 to give more of Jack’s backstory clinched it, for us. We already lived through that.
Starring Mandy Moore (Red Band Society), Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes and Gilmore Girls), Justin Hartley (Revenge), Sterling K. Brown (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Chrissy Metz (American Horror Story), Susan Kelechi Watson (Louie), Chris Sullivan (The Knick), and Ron Cephas Jones (Mr. Robot) only in flashbacks, now. Gaining Goran Višnjić (Timeless and ER) in Beth’s (Mandy Moore) flashbacks, but that won’t save this drek.
We were originally surprised by the quality of the acting and the story’s twists and turns and unexpected pathos in SEASON 1 and looked forward to more. But, by early in SEASON 2, we were OUT. The triplets are excessively juvenile and neurotic in “present” time; the flashbacks are deliberately incomplete and frustrating (but the actors who play them as younger selves are well-cast and excellent).
The main characters have younger and teenage versions of their characters played out in several Episodes throughout the series. Starting 2/19/19, Randall’s wife, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), will get her younger father, Abe Clarke (Carl Lumbly, of Supergirl and Alias), and two younger selves [Rachel Naomi Hilson (Rise, Madam Secretary, Law and Order SVU, The Americans, The Affair, Elementary, The Slap) and Akira Akbar (Grey’s Anatomy)], with Phylicia Rashad as Carol, Beth’s mother, and Goran Višnjić (Timeless) as Vincent, a teacher of Beth.
I also professionally take strong issue with MANY writing decisions:
—1) the depiction of the difficulties in the relationship between Mom and daughter, blaming the daughter’s weight problem, self-esteem and immaturity on the Mom. That is trite, misogynistic and misleading. Plenty of people have talented, beautiful parents and do not become obese, emotional wrecks. PLUS, how could this girl gain weight, lose weight, gain weight and blame it on OTHERS? Ridiculous.
—2) Mandy Moore plays an odd version of this character, one who is much too agreeable, saintly, “nice” and tolerant, canonizing and taking inappropriate responsibility for “curing” her lying, alcoholic, weak husband to an extreme I find cloying and horrifying. Writers’ faults, I know, but, still…
—3) The parents came from dysfunctional families/bad parents and managed to become decent parents (mostly). So, why are their adult children so screwed up? The death of a parent, especially when they’re already seniors in high school, while tragic, is NOT a sufficient trauma to cause each of their many neuroses and such atrocious self-absorption/selfishness.
One highlight: Justin Hartley plays a “bad actor” very well, which is not easy at all.

this-is-us-2016

Milo Ventimiglia was/is amazing and so was/is Sterling K. Brown (from my home town, Olivette, in St. Louis County, Missouri, USA!), in very emotionally demanding roles. Always like Mandy Moore, and were pleased with two new actors for us, Chrissy Metz and Susan Kelechi Watson. at first. But, now…
Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a Time, House) is becoming a recurring character for SEASON 4.
OFF OUR LIST by early in SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASONS 4 – 6, anyway

*Pose FX (Returned 6/11/19 for SEASON 2: RENEWED for SEASON 3)
There is a lot to like about this show, due to its talented actors, costumes, research and 1980s feel of it all. And, the great Patti Lupone joins for SEASON 2. Plus, Ryan Murphy recently revealed that there “will be a time jump from season one. It will go from the ’80s to 1990. Specifically, the first episode will take place the day that Madonna’s Vogue was released—which is very appropriate for the show about the ball and vogueing culture of New York in the ’80s and ’90s.” Maybe more kitsch and less angst?  More details, here:
https://deadline.com/2019/03/pose-paleyfest-fx-ryan-murphy-mj-rodriguez-billy-porter-indya-moore-janet-mock-our-lady-j-steven-canals-dominique-jackson-patti-lupone-lgbtq-1202581451/
But, it was very depressing/disturbing on so many levels, and deciding to include a young and obnoxious Donald Trump-type as a seemingly unimportant character (after Episode 1, only) seems gratuitous and gross.
The dancers are excellent and I appreciate the verisimilitude that propelled the designs of the mid-1980s sets, costumes, music and interactions and which also drove the writing and stories.
As a cis-gender (mostly) senior female, even though bisexual, I’m a Jewish, Buddhist, white woman, so I’m not the target demographic for this show. I’m glad it exists and I hope it makes its mark with those who need to know about this era.
The acting and directing are very uneven; I believe they sacrificed in order to hire many transgender individuals as actors, which is fine, but some of them are AWFUL. Plenty of typical actors are awful in many series, though, so it’s unfair to hold this one to higher standards, isn’t it?
Ongoingly, and not solely due to performances from these cast members, directions from the director and stories from these writers, I sincerely am offended by the caricatures some “drag queens” make of the women, especially “mothers,” whom they claim to depict—however famous—and dislike intensely the campy, exaggerated ways that many of them walk, talk, dress, accessorize and handle themselves in relationships. I don’t know any women-born-women like that, except stereotypical Hollywood types, so why do so many transsexuals and transvestites choose these tropes to imitate? Why is this “glamorous”?
I also do not “get” the passion for the Ball culture. It eludes me completely.
Ryan Murphy’s newest show will delve into New York City’s drag ball culture, with a stellar cast of five up-and-coming transgender actresses in series regular roles.
Pose makes history for featuring the largest cast of transgender actors as series regulars on any scripted series. FX Networks, which produced other Murphy hits, Feud: Bette and Joan, American Crime Story, and American Horror Story,…cast MJ Rodriguez (Luke Cage), Indya Moore (Saturday Church), fashion model and ball scene fixture, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar (Mr. Robot), and Angelica Ross (from the Emmy-nominated Her Story).
“All five are out, transgender women, and will be playing authentic transgender characters. Billy Porter, a Tony Award winner for Broadway’s Kinky Boots, rounds out the cast.” Set in the 1980s, Pose looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world. Murphy co-created the show with Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals.”
Mostly well done; not a keeper for me: RENEWED for SEASON 3

*Will & Grace NBC (midseason premiere and RENEWED for final SEASON 11)
David Schwimmer (Friends) as Noah Broader, a “cantankerous, divorced writer, and a love interest for Grace” (Debra Messing). and Molly Shannon is returning as Valerie Bassett, their crazy, stalker neighbor; Matt Bomer (White Collar) is returning as “a smooth-talking, self-satisfied TV news anchor” who is Will’s (Eric McCormack) suitor, McCoy Whitman, for SEASON 10. Additional guest stars (could only help) include Alec Baldwin (already returned), Chelsea Handler, Minnie Driver and Mary McCormack (returning).
After all the hype and the adorable trailers this crew did for the 2016 election, we were psyched. Inevitable, I suppose, for us to be very disappointed, then? A few good jokes, but mostly insipid, and WE HATE LAUGH TRACKS! Mom could only watch one Episode; I watched the rest alone, but didn’t like any of it, much.
We kept saying: “They’re too old for these jokes and situations.”
The writers decided to freeze them as characters, so no one improved, no one matured (other than aging physically), and they’re all in bad shape, psychologically.
Kind of sad, really.
They also all tried too hard to make the show “the same, but current” instead of letting the characters AGE and allowing the new versions of these characters to be lucky to be alive and interacting in current contexts. This show is the worst kind of time warp.
It might be cute or funny, in one’s thirties or younger, to be rootless/homeless, almost friendless, without a primary relationship that is satisfying, and fixated on inappropriate/unavailable partners, with sarcastic/negative banter with the friends one does have. But, in one’s forties and fifties, it’s pathetic, in our opinion.
Jack as a gay “slut” is disturbing when you think that he has an adult son by now (where was his son, by the way?).
Karen as a drunk republican is not only not funny, but her sexually assaulting Grace in homage to Trump was offensive and hurtful to all women and definitely not at all humorous.
Will and Grace’s relationship as each other’s haven/fall-back is all right, I suppose, but I wish they’d respect each other more, if they intend to remain non-sexual life partners.
Sean Hayes, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack and Megan Mullally star.
DON’T BOTHER.
OFF OUR LIST; RENEWED for SEASON 11

Chesapeake Shores Hallmark (returned late August, 2019, for SEASON 4)
Meghan Ory, Jesse Metcalfe, Barbara Niven, Treat Williams

Chesapeake Shores

This has gotten more insipid and unwatchable as we go. We start an Episode, then find other things to watch before we reluctantly return to finish it, days later. The Hallmark movies’ and series’ writers make everything so predictable, yet illogical; the writing is so heavy-handed; worst of all, the characters are depicted as being emotionally adolescent regardless of their biological ages. Also, HORRIBLY fake Irish-American accents. Tragic.
We like all the lead actors, but the age differences between “generations” defy reality.
Also, the grandmother and the mother look too much alike and are NOT supposed to be related, whereas the five siblings look NOTHING alike nor do they resemble either of their parents all that much. Terrible casting.
The storyline also gets less believable as they go along.
Why, Treat Williams? Why, Barbara Niven? Why?
KEEPING, but liking even less for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*Absentia Amazon Prime (was first on Sony AXN) (10 Episodes each year; ENDED for SEASON 1; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 —Available 6/14/19—& 3).
This was very dark, depressing, scary and NOT FOR US. We lasted through 1 Episode, but that is IT for us.
Stana Katic (loved her in Castle) plays an FBI agent (Emily Byrne) returned from being presumed dead. “’While hunting one of Boston’s most notorious serial killers, Agent Byrne disappears without a trace and is declared dead,’ Deadline summarizes. ‘Six years later, Emily is found in a cabin in the woods, barely alive, and with no memory of the years she was missing. Returning home to learn her husband (Patrick Heusinger, Casual) has remarried and her son is being raised by another woman, she soon finds herself implicated in a new series of murders.’…In season two, after tracking down and killing her abductor, Emily struggles to define her new normal as a mother and a survivor of six years of physical and mental torture. Even while she rebuilds her relationship with her son, Emily still cannot shake the darkness of her past. She enlists Boston police detective, Tommy Gibbs (Angel Bonanni), in a secret investigation of her mysterious history. When the case turns deadly, she risks everything to uncover the truth and protect her family.”
OFF OUR LIST; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3

*Charmed The CW (premiered 10/11/19 for SEASON 2)
We really liked the updates/modernizations, but after 4 Episodes, we’re UNcharmed. The storylines are confusing, the production values make many key scenes too dark to see what is happening, and there is way too much whining. Mom stopped watching. I fast-forward and mostly don’t care.
“After the tragic death of their mother, three sisters in a college town are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy….Hargrove plays Parker. President of the Phi Delta Upsilon fraternity. Parker is the quintessential upper-class pretty boy with a wild streak and a sensitive side. His charm and confidence catch Maggie’s (Jeffery) eye when he defends her from a rude customer at her waitressing job.”
My mom watched every Episode and loved the original. I guess we’ll try this.
Starring: Madeleine Mantock, Melonie Diaz, Sara Jeffrey, Rupert Evans, Ser’Darius Blain, Charlie Gillespie, Ellen Tamaki, Nick Hargrove.
We liked the updates, but not the plots, characters or directing; got even worse for SEASON 2

*Project Blue Book History (premiered 1/8/19; 10 Episodes; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
I was a fan of the original and best sci-fi shows: The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The X Files, but not the remakes. I am a sci-fi writer (http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners) and fan/avid reader from age 8. I SHOULD have been the “target demographic” for this show, right?
It barely kept my interest. It tries to be a cross between The Americans, The X Files, and who knows what else, but it fails in all areas, IMO. It was BORING, confusing, trite and not very interesting even in the “weird” parts. Based on actual events doesn’t cut it if the writers make the events DULL However, enough people like it that it got renewed!
Dr. J. Allen Hynek is a brilliant college professor who is recruited by the Air Force to spearhead a clandestine operation into unsolved cases. Each episode will draw from actual files and will blend UFO theories with authentic historical events to chronicle the most mysterious, top-secret phenomena of the ‘50s and ‘60s….based on the true, top-secret investigations into unidentified flying objects and related phenomena conducted by the U.S. Air Force from 1952-69.”
Starring: Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), Neal McDonough, Michael Harney, Laura Mennell and Ksenia Solo.
Barely kept my interest; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*Roswell, New Mexico THE CW (premieres 1/15/20 for SEASON 2)
I was VERY EXCITED about this (I am such a GEEK!): Roswell is back! Updated stories and aged characters! But, with each Episode (I’m about halfway through SEASON 1), it gets worse. Probably not keeping. Too violent, too dark, “evil” alien story; very much NOT like the original.
Jeanine Mason is in a lead role; lucky for her, I hope. The original series launched many careers: writing (Kevin Kelly Brown); producing (Jason Katims) and, acting (Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl, Brendon Fehr, Majandra Delfino and Nick Wechsler). But so far, not so great.
“Based on the Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: he’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance.”
Not Mom’s cup of tea.
Amber Midthunder (Legion) who has already appeared in several Season 1 Episodes as Rosa Ortecho, the murdered sister of Liz (Jeanine Mason), has been “brought back to life” and will join as a regular in SEASON 2.
I am very disappointed, and probably stopping; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*Black Mirror Netflix (SEASONS 1 – 4 available after 1/5/18; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
This British version of an updated Twilight Zone-ish series is very unsettling (I’ve only watched two episodes, but those were so disturbing I may not return any time soon). However, they are well-written, well-acted and “realistic,” as far as they can be while venturing into odd and futuristic territory. Recommended if you like bizarre, weird, unnerving and challenging. I know my mom won’t like it, so I watch when she’s not around.
I recognize some of the actors from other BBC series (Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, New Tricks and others), so that is fun.
VERY DARK. I have watched about 12 episodes, then stopped. Many are truly awful, dystopian, nightmarish depictions of our future.
It’s now in its 4th season, so if you can stomach it, there are many episodes to watch!
Stopped watching, too nauseated; RENEWED for SEASON 5

Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix (returned for final SEASON 3, which released in June, 2019); NEWS: Serial Box is bringing some episodic content featuring this character and a few other Marvel Universe shows to paying customers in 2019-20.
Season 2 of JJ was not as good as SEASON 1, but we do like some of the backstories it included and the featuring of minor characters, despite the “looking backward” feel to it. And, the acting is STELLAR!
However, we stopped midway through SEASON 3 and can’t seem to go on: creepy violence and Trish is off the rails. Sigh.
Disappointingly, the spin-offs and “cousins” of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, like Marvel’s Luke Cage, was awful and short-lived (some were renewed for SEASON 2 on Netflix, but no SEASON 3).
We mute all the fighting (wishing we could fast-forward!).
Can’t seem to continue watching for final SEASON 3, then having podcasts (!?!)


NEWS/RUMORS/WHATEVER

(Thanks to and most quotes, below, from: Women & Hollywood, http://TVShowsCancelled.com/ and Deadline and http://www.indiewire.com).

This got too unwieldy. Removed all notices, for now, 11/15/19.

 

#MacArthur Foundation 26 Newest Fellows 2019: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

#MacArthur Foundation 26 Newest Fellows 2019: #Scientists, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists, More

“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential.”

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $125,000/year for 5 years to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!

“From addressing the consequences of climate change to furthering our understanding of human behavior to fusing forms of artistic expression, this year’s 26 extraordinary MacArthur Fellows demonstrate the power of individual creativity to reframe old problems, spur reflection, create new knowledge, and better the world for everyone. They give us reason for hope, and they inspire us all to follow our own creative instincts,” — MacArthur President John Palfrey.

2019 McaRTHUR fELLOWS

For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/

Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the second time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows outnumber the male-appearing Fellows: 11 seeming males, 15 seeming females. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations (but still too many are from the coasts) for quite a while. You can check out the stats on their site any time.

Again, very cool!

My fave recipient this year: cartoonist and activist, Lynda Barry. Love her work (“Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” and many other writings/graphic contributions)!

Favorite recipient’s displayed quote…
Ocean Vuong: “Language, like people, can be perpetually in flux. Words are, in a sense, bodies moving from one space to another. Our very cells, too, are always moving. They are just overflowing, and dying, and being reborn. What is seemingly so static is actually constantly in motion. Literature, then, is movement—but it is also the measure of movement in our species’ thinking and feeling. To participate in that great migration, as a writer, is the ultimate gift.”

You can view ALL recipients of this Genius Grant (all Fellows): https://www.macfound.org/fellows/search/all

#DoYou10Q? Rosh Hashona through Yom Kippur, September 29 – October 10 (#Jewish New Year High Holidays), Read, Respond, Review, Forecast

#DoYou10Q? Rosh Hashona through Yom Kippur, September 29 – October 10
(#Jewish New Year High Holidays), Read, Respond, Review, Forecast

It’s not too late, and you don’t have to be Jewish or celebrate #Jewish High Holy Days (Rosh Hashona, Jewish New Year’s, and Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement”) to want to spend some time considering your life and your goals/accomplishments each year. I was raised Jewish, but I am a practicing #Buddhist.

 

Do You 10Q any dates

It’s free! http://doyou10Q.com and #DoYou10Q are the connection points.

Check out any local Partners with 10Q: http://doyou10q.com/partners: Reach out to Josh Kanter, Reboot’s outreach and partnership manager, at josh @ rebooters DOT net or (go to the site for his phone number (in the USA)].<

You can respond to all 10 Questions from September 29 through October 10, online, and have them put into the “vault” for yourself for next year’s reflections.

10Q: “Reflect. React. Renew. Life’s Biggest Questions. Answered By You.”

The title and all the info, below, come from the 10Q site. Visit! Sign up! Do it!
http://doyou10q.com/

“Answer one question per day [or more than one per day, if you have some to catch up on] in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q. When you’re finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping.

“One year later, the ‘vault’ will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection.

“Want to keep them secret? Perfect. Want to share them, either anonymously or with attribution, with the wider 10Q community? You can do that, too.

“Next year, the whole process begins again. And the year after that, and the year after that.

“Do you 10Q? You should. If you have, already, enter the “giveaway” by sharing one or more experiences and using the hashtag, as directed:


Click here to get your 10Q on.

10Q begins September 29, 2019, and goes for 10+ days
http://doyou10q.com/


Here are my responses to some of the 11 questions (same questions each year), from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014:

2018

-1) Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My Answer:

2017-2018 was the first full year of my life, since I was 12, that I haven’t worked for money in any type of job. This was not on purpose (I applied for dozens), and if it weren’t for the generosity of my mother (who has let me live with her since I suffered a TBI in 2014) and my son (who has given me money several times in the last year) as well as my having taken early Social Security and being eligible for some (a vert low but useful amount of money for) Food Stamps (SNAP), I don’t know what I would have done. I am grateful for all of that.

But, for over 19 months, now, I’ve had no health insurance except for dental. I will soon need new glasses that I cannot afford. I pay (with my son’s help) for acupuncture and Chinese herbs for my physical ailments. Otherwise, I see a Western medical doctor for only one visit each year so that I can qualify for my prescription medications. For that visit, I applied for and got the fees waived due to my low income. Grateful for that option as well. Fortunately, my three prescriptions are not the extremely costly variety, because I also have to pay for those myself.

I keep trying to get work, but due to many factors, such as: employers’ ageism and/or their preference for hiring someone who will “stay a while”; my extensive experience (which intimidates many potential employers who have a lot less than I do); the dearth of appropriate jobs for my skill set and education where I live; my physical limitations; and, my mission-based choosiness, I have not succeeded in being hired even when it’s “down to the finalists,” which has occurred several times.

Meanwhile, I’ve earned a grand total of less than $50 this year for book sales and editing/proofreading gigs.

I’ve been wondering when/if I’ll ever earn money as a wage worker again (I am now 64)?

We’ll see. I pray for all those who are in even worse situations, who have no family to fall back on, no Social Security, no SNAP(Food Stamps), no hope.

May all beings have shelter, food, comfort, meaningful work, and physical safety.

-4) Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My Answer:

 

The failures, travesties, horrors, lies, greed and malfeasance as well as outright criminality of the current Republican party and particularly the Trump administration are staggeringly disheartening, frightening and disgusting. Having lived through Nixon/Watergate and all of Vietnam, Bill Clinton, both Bushes and Reagan, I thought I’d seen the worst of USA politics. I was so wrong!

I’ve never been so ashamed to be a citizen of this country nor a member of the human species as I have this year.

This year (and many more to come) are consequentially tragic for so many; merely awful, for me and so many others.

-11) What are your predictions for the coming year?

My answers are in plain type; actual outcomes are in bold type:

 

For me personally:
1) My son and his wife will purchase a home and move into it which has space for me to live, when I’m ready, which will “solidify” my “next phase” living plans;
NOT YET
2) I will find meaningful and lucrative work and/or keep writing and start earning more money from that;
NOPE
3) I will complete a mini-retreat at least once/year, somehow, starting in November, 2018;
Did manage a 9-day retreat this past May – June!  Yay! Am also doing more regular 1/2-day and multiple-hour meditation sessions on “weekdays,” since I’m not working, still. 
4) My relationship with my spiritual teacher will continue to be on a positive footing;
YES!
5) I will make at least one new and significant friend and possibly start an intimate relationship in the next 12 months;
Rekindled a long-distance friendship this summer with a dharma friend that is very fun, challenging, beneficial to us both and wonderful to have. No intimate relationships, though.
6) My health will continue to improve and/or stabilize at a good level.
Yes, but still very overweight.

For our country/the world:
1) Dems will get a majority in all parts of the government so that Trump and his family members (except for Tiffany and Barron), Pence, McConnell, Ryan, and many others will join their already-sentenced criminal comrades to be indicted, plead guilty, be sentenced, impeached, removed, and we will have the movement toward having a special election in 2020 for a new administration;
IT IS HAPPENING! Voted many GOP Reps out at all levels, and many resignations gave Dems the House and many new seats in the Senate (but voter suppression/voting machine fraud/Republican shenanigans, including gerrymandering, moving and removing polling places, giving wrong dates for polling, collection and not counting absentee ballots, etc., gave the criminals the Senate majority).
#Impeachment proceedings began yesterday (9/24/19)! YAY!
Indict, imprison, remove them ALL! 

2) All the horrible policies, decisions and edicts enacted by the previous administration will be removed, rolled back, ended, fixed;
PLEASE! 
3) All the children will be found and returned to their families who are currently illegally detained and/or sold/”adopted” away from their families;
PLEASE! 
4) Melania Trump will divorce Donald Sr.;
NOT YET.
5) Elizabeth Warren, Sally Yates, Kamala Harris and many other great female leaders will rise to the top of government offices;
Two are running for President for 2020! 
6) The newest Supreme Court Justices will include great judges who will replace Kennedy, Scalia’s illegal replacement appointee, and Thomas (who will be impeached as well) so that RBG can retire with dignity;
IMPEACH Kavanaugh and Thomas, remove Gorsuch, and we’ll be golden! 
7) New election and electoral college (ABOLISHED) rules and laws will be put into place so we never have another situation like the one we have had in/since 2016 (ending voter suppression, gerrymandering, closing polls, arbitrary ID laws, etc., that disproportionately disfavor minorities);
Stacey Abrams is ON IT! 
8) The USA will come “on board” for climate change, arms reduction, ending ALL armed conflicts and becoming a beacon of peace, again.
Thanks to Greta Thunberg, things are moving in the right direction in some areas! 

One can hope….

2017

-1) Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My Answer:

This has been a very strange year, professionally.

—I went back to work as a teacher for the first time in many decades just before the new year started, but was mistreated, disrespected, slandered, libeled and driven out of the job within 6 months. Even though I felt somewhat satisfied as a teacher (reaching students no one else had been able to reach, helping several complete their G.E.D.s, and moving others along who had been stalled,) and a teacher trainer (my co-teacher had never had education to be a teacher; she had been a vet, so she had said that she learned a lot from me), the attendance dwindled so much that we often only had 1 or 2 students for weeks at after Jan. 2., It was a complete waste of my time and skills to be there. I was relieved to be “laid off” in mid-February, 2017.

—Despite much effort, many applications and several interviews, I still haven’t [as of September, 2018] found a good place to put my skills, experience, knowledge and expertise to use. Why is that?

—I also haven’t finished my fourth Volume in my sci-fi series even though it has been more than 3/4 finished for over [two years]. My urge to write has flown.

—I stopped doing my online conversational talk show about one year ago as well, due to technical problems (not mine; YouTube’s) that took more than a month to resolve. By the time I could return to it, I didn’t want to do that any longer, either.

I feel guilty, as if I’m wasting my life. I have so much to offer and nowhere to offer it.

What to do with myself, professionally, is the burning question of my 64th year on this planet. Hope I can figure that out.

-4) Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My Answer:

The stolen election (third one Republicans have stolen in my lifetime, that I know of) and its aftermath has impacted the entire planet adversely. I am appalled, disgusted, afraid and angry almost constantly because of all that. The worst-ever nominees and accepted Cabinet members and judges; the worst-ever Congress and Senate: cowards, liars, criminals and sociopaths are running our country into the ground and all its resources and the safety of the planet are at stake.

We need help. I wish the aliens of my series from the Many Worlds Collective would come NOW and save us all from ourselves. http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners for inspiration, hope and consolation.

-11) What are your predictions for the coming year?

My Answer:

#45 will resign to avoid impeachment but will NOT avoid criminal prosecution; as he leaves, he will take his whole damned criminal family, that moronic, lying, bigoted VP and most of his cabinet and other appointees with him.

The entire country will rise up to avoid having the lying, disgusting Paul Ryan or any other UNELECTED President to take office, so the USA will have a special election, paper ballots only, and Bernie Sanders will be elected.

We can dream, can’t we?

2016

–Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My Answer:

I had an up-close-and-personal experience with the American judicial and jury system and I was very disappointed and discouraged from it all. From the attorneys to the judges, the jurors to the laws: all crap, and not in favor of actual justice for the plaintiff, ever, as far as I could tell.
I was severely injured (and still recovering) in a trip-and-fall in a restaurant that was clearly liable and negligent, causing there to be obstacles in the path of a patron which a patron could not easily see. The jury actually agreed on that. However, due to archaic laws, lobbying by the insurance greedies and other mistakes in jurisprudence (which disallowed anyone from actually informing the jury how the “awards” they intended to go to me would be apportioned or the fact the restaurant owner would not pay a dime due to his having insurance), I got nothing, my lawyer was out $30K, and I owe many thousands of dollars to family and friends. I am grateful to all who have helped and continue to help me, but resentful and angry at the unfair outcome of my two+ years of misery.
I am an educated, white, older woman with intelligent and supportive friends and family. I can only shudder to imagine how this “justice” system grinds up those without support or resources and other people who are already on the short end of every stick.
USA justice isn’t.

–Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My Answer:

The Marriage Equality Act’s being confirmed as the law of the USA by the Supreme Court was a giant step in the right direction for equal rights for all individuals regardless of sexual orientation. As a bisexual woman who eschewed marriage for many reasons, inequality being among them, I am glad to see people who want to get married being able to do.

2015

Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My Answer:

I was able to reconnect with my meditation practice in March & May and again in early Sept. through instruction and connection with my spiritual teacher, Lama Drimed, after many false starts, attempts, painful absences and confusions as well as hurt feelings on my part.

So happy about all that!

Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My Answer:

The upholding of Marriage Equality laws and the enforcing of them across the USA and in other countries feels like a giant victory.

Looser laws, releasing noncriminals from prison when their only “crime” is possession of marijuana, and eventual legalization of marijuana/cannabis use across the USA and other countries also seem imminent, due to the vast success (economic and social) of those places in which it is already legal and those changes have already occurred; another set of great victories.

I appreciate the egalitarians’ winning. I appreciate common sense’s prevailing. I appreciate nondiscrimination’s being enforced. Feels right and good.

Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? “Spiritual” can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.

My Answer:

Due to a TBI [Traumatic Brain Injury] in April, 2014, I went from not being able to meditate for almost one year (after meditating consistently for over 42 years) to restoring my practice, slowly, bit by bit. Very grateful to my spiritual teacher, sangha and good fortune that this has been possible.

Returning to my practice is like coming home.

How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?

My Answer:

My meditation teacher reminded me that meditation practice in our tradition comes from our heart center, not our brain area. The Tibetans use a term that means “heart-mind” when talking about the mind.

My wish to improve myself and my practice is to keep it centered in my heart. “Meditation: it’s not what you think.”

2014

Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My Answer:

Many science discoveries: proof of the multiverse, ability to teleport particles, invention of pre-tractor beam technology, getting paralyzed rats and others to walk, moving limbs and other things with just the mind: so much!

Very exciting, and all goes into research I use for The Spanners Series books!

What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?

My Answer:

Fear getting more unhealthy instead of more healthy over the next several years. Fear not getting my full meditation practice/brain function restored. Fear being unconnected to community/friends, no lover, no one close to me where I live.
Plan to keep exercising, eating better, reaching out to Buddhist and other groups (writers, Jews, work) to make friends.
Plan to stay in touch with my teacher.

What are your predictions for 2015?

My Answer:

Movement toward reducing and ending full-impact football, hockey, etc. (headers in soccer, e.g.), in youth and college sports.

More states’ legalizing marijuana.

More states’ ratifying gay marriage.

Proof of alien life on other planets.

How do you want to 10Q? It’s up to you!

15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains

Still true for many, but I am fine, now.

Sally Ember, Ed.D.

What are the #effects of #concussions on #meditators’ #brains? Many doctors and patients now agree that #meditation helps relieve pain and stress. Therefore, meditation is recommended post-concussion for many with injured brains.

However, I haven’t found anything for my problem: my concussion makes it impossible or difficult/painful for me to meditate.What happens to those who are already long-time meditators (such as I am; 42 years), post-concussion?

It’s fewer than four weeks since my injuries. I still have a lot of trouble and need to take much more time than usual to think clearly enough and to write well enough (neither up to former standards) to put this post together. Forgive its clumsiness, please.

Let me explain, first: the type of meditation I currently do is advanced. This means that the meditation techniques take years to learn. Practice is not just for twenty minutes a day or relegated to…

View original post 1,260 more words

#Ebooks #Smashwords 11th Annual Summer/Winter Sale for 10 More Days! #Free, 50 – 75% off! 7/1—7/31/19

#Ebooks #Smashwords 11th Annual Summer/Winter Sale for 10 More Days!
#Free, 50 – 75% off! 7/1—7/31/19

logoAuthorsDen
The Spanners Series first three Volumes of utopian science-fiction/romance by Sally Ember, Ed.D. are on sale NOW! Proud member of Clean Indie Reads #CR4U and Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network #FSFnet

The Spanners Series‘ cover art and logo by WillowRaven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Smashwords is having its 11th Annual Summer/Winter Sale and The Spanners Series‘ ebooks in every format (reader’s choice) are on sale!
free (Volume I)
only $2.00 (Volume II) COUPON CODE for Volume II, good on Smashwords, only, 7/1–7/31/19: TL98M
only $1.00 (Volume III) COUPON CODE for Volume III, good on Smashwords, only, 7/1–7/31/19: DK23V

(usually $3.99 each for ebooks) for the the month of July, 2019! See below for links and more info.

And, go browse on Smashwords for other great discounts and sales for the month of July, 2019! https://www.smashwords.com/shelves/promos/1/any/any

Whether you’re sweating, freezing, rained or snowed on or anywhere in between, there is still time to READ!
Give ebooks for gifts for birthdays, graduations, holidays, anniversaries, vacations: any time!

The paperbacks of all three Volumes are in the Kindle Match/Kindle Matchbook program at Amazon!
See below for links, details and coupon codes (on Smashwords, only) for each of the Volumes.

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This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Chief Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions.

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?

Volume I, This Changes Everything:
Ebooks are PERMAFREE on Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
and Amazon: http://www.amzn.com/B00HFELTG8 

These paperbacks are in the Kindle Match program on Amazon. This means that if you purchase both the ebook and its paperback counterpart (in this case, download Volume I for free), you get a discount for the total package. Vol I Amazon link: http://www.amzn.com/B00HFELTG8

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This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II, The Spanners Series

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?

Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever:
EBOOKS now $2.00, 50% off the regular price of $3.99, using COUPON CODE TL98M on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice).

These paperbacks are in the Kindle Match/Kindle Matchbook program on Amazon. This means that if you purchase both the ebook and its paperback counterpart, you get a discount for the total package. Vol II Amazon link:: http://www.amzn.com/B00KU5Q7KC

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This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Vol. III, The Spanners Series

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III of The Spanners Series. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change:
EBOOKS now $1.00, 75% off the regular price of $3.99, using COUPON CODE DK23V on Smashwords, any ebook format (reader’s choice).

These paperbacks are in the Kindle Match/Kindle Matchbook program on Amazon. This means that if you purchase both the ebook and its paperback counterpart, you get a discount for the total package. Vol III Amazon link:: http://www.amzn.com/B0177Z1KRM

3 paperbacks
The Spanners Series‘ three paperbacks.


Print editions and ebooks published under Timult Books

logo Timult Books


REVIEWERS: Ask for FREE Ebook coupon codes for Volumes II and III on Smashwords any time: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com


For more information about Sally Ember, Ed.D., her bio, books, blog, video talk show (CHANGES conversations between authors), guest blog posts and guidelines, links to author interviews, book trailers and more: http://www.sallyember.com