Are you not entertained? Series

During 2020, I seem to have spent more time watching different series on Netflix or Amazon than watching movies. Some started out strong but fizzled. Some grabbed my attention all the way through. Have you seen any of these?

Bosch. (3/5 stars) Starring Titus Welliver. Six seasons beginning 2014. Amazon Prime Video. As a lover of film noir, there’s an echo from previous novels and films about decadent Los Angeles. LA murder detective Harry Bosch sits in his glass home hanging over the valley perched like a lone eagle high above the lights of LA as an aloof, brooding anti-hero. The first season was interesting. Harry’s love for jazz. His fatherly instincts for teenage daughter Maddie. His motley crew station colleagues. The shenanigans by the mayor and chief police. The psychotic killer and child molester. There are plenty of plot twists.  I love the clever, award-winning introduction score. Based on Michael Connelly‘s popular crime novels, it was easy to get hooked. Something happened in Season 2. I grew bored. Bosch seemed too aloof. The plot and the twists didn’t excite me. I found it hard to keep going. Now, I can’t imagine continuing. I preferred Luther, (4.5 out of 5) the London homicidal detective played by Idris Elba. Did you like Bosch or Luther?

The Witcher. Can I rate this as a guilty pleasure? It was fun to see Henry Cavill with white hair as Geralt of Rivia. The 2019 fantasy was a ridiculous romp but still entertaining. Season 2 is promised but no dates are set by Netflix. It reminded me of those fantasy books I read in high school like The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I’ll watch season two not because it’s great stuff. It tapped into my past on some emotional level like a spell cast by one of the witches. Just don’t ask me what the plot was about. It doesn’t matter. It’s the hero plot. You’ve seen it before.

Britannia (4/5). Set in A.D. 43, the Romans invaded Britain led by General Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey), who is determined to succeed where Julius Caesar failed and conquer this mythical land on the very end of the Roman Empire. Kerra (Kelly Reilly), daughter of the King of the Cantii, is forced to put her differences with archrival Queen Antedia aside in order to unite the tribes. If you saw the series Outlander (4/5), the Druids were pretty women in white gowns dancing in circles and harmonizing. In Britannia, they are a scary, pagan group of weirdos  Looking like John Malkovich with a hangover, the leader of the Druids, Veran (Mackenzie Crook) is sinister and compelling. The outcast, a trickster, and comedic relief is the character Divas played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas who bonds with the charming young heroine, Cait (Elinore Worthington). The series copies the success of Game of Thrones by pairing characters together as they move from A to B thereby giving them deeper characterizations and a chance to root or boo them. I gobbled down season one and look forward to the second season. Stylish, smart, and dark. Amazon Prime Video. 

Fosse/Verdon. (4/5) On FX. Or rent this if you can to learn about a dynamic duo featuring the symbiotic relationship between Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams)  Spanning five decades, Bob is a visionary filmmaker and one of the theater’s most influential choreographers and directors. Gwen is a leading Broadway dancer. Only Bob can create the groundbreaking musicals that allow Gwen to showcase her greatness. Only Gwen can realize the unique vision in Bob’s head. Together, they will change the face of American entertainment — at a perilous cost. If you can maneuver around the choppy back and forth narrative without getting lost, the backstory and details are informative and entertaining. I wanted to rewatch All that Jazz and Cabaret over again.

Unorthodox. 5/5  Directed by Maria Schrader. This Netflix series has only four episodes. It’s all that is needed. What a unique story and excellent acting job by Shira Haas who portrays Ester Shapiro, a Hasidic Jew in Brooklyn. She runs away from her marriage and her orthodoxy. It’s the best coming-of-age story I’ve seen in years. It’s a refreshing story regarding a culture rarely seen or experienced. Marvelous drama.

What’s the best series you’ve seen in ages this year? 

53 Comments on “Are you not entertained? Series

  1. Just finished a series on the prehistory of Great Briton and GB after the Romans. I found that interesting. Last night we watched a documentary on the contribution Afghan camel drivers made to the opening up of the desert settlements in Australia in the 1800’s. I enjoy historical presentations, particularly prehistory speculations from writings discovered and translated from those times.

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  2. I can’t see all of the videos as they are not permissable in the UK. I really did like the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance. I’ve been rewtching Modern Family too.

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    • Ha! I haven’t heard of any of these. I will check them out. Looking for something not so dark — I tend to veer to period dramas. Comedies thought, don’t seem to make me laugh much. What does that say about me? Why so serious? Ha!

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  3. There’s a couple here I’d like to see. Fosse/Verdon has been on my watch list for ages and I keep hearing great things about it, so really must get on with it. Cabaret is one of my favourite movies and musical scores. Bosch sounds interesting, if only because you mention Film Noir. I’m in! Had a go at watching Britannia, but probably too soon after GoT, and we also had The Last Kingdom being aired at about the same time (the Bernard Cornwell adaptation of his books). I couldn’t get on with it/either unfortunately and gave up. My expectations were perhaps running too high by this point. Unorthodox looked good and I saw that it was highly recommended a little while back. I must admit I’m avoiding anything that’s too challenging right now so am actively searching out films and TV that are set pre 50s (not saying that war is necessarily better than we have currently but at least we know the outcome!). Absolutely loved Hollywood (maybe on Netflix? Can’t remember). Had a go at Lovecraft Country, but don’t think it drew me in enough to go back. I’m not a fan of HP Lovecraft, although I don’t think this was a prerequisite for enjoying/watching the programme. And just started on Ratched which I’m enjoying. Sarah Paulson is great and, whilst not a horror fan, have delved into American Horror Story a couple of times. Ratched, I’m sure, will have some grim watching, but if it’s done in a pretty frock I can forgive most things!

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    • I was wondering about Ratched, but I can’t handle horror –susense, thrillers, action, sure — but I’m such a scardy cat. I’m trying to find something smart and interesting and funny. That was The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel–gosh, it’s marvelous. Oh, if you haven’t seen Feud with Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford — that’s wonderful stuff.

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      • Well, two episodes into Ratched and I’m able to handle it so far. Hopefully it’s nothing more than suspense/thriller type stuff! Mrs Maisel – oh my gosh! that’s absolutely my favourite programme ever. And I watched Feud. That was tremendous! Both actors were amazing in that. In my ongoing search for period dramas (one of your comments above about avoiding too dark things I can totally identify with) I’m now entering foreign language territory. I started watching Charité, which is German with English subtitles. Set in a hospital in the 1880s after unification and at the time Wilhelm becomes Kaiser. I quite enjoyed it and am look forward to watching more. I’m also on the final season of Victoria, which I’m dragging out as I don’t want it to end….It’s great to be reminded of all the good TV that’s out there!

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        • The Magnificent Medici I’m going to watch next. I hear it’s excellent. Did you see Alias Grace or The Handmaid’s Tale? I love Margaret Atwood. 🙂

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          • I had to look up the one about Medici to see if I had seen it – I haven’t. I was getting it confused with da Vinci’s Demons!!! That’s going on my watchlist! I’m not a massive Atwood fan, I must be honest. However, I’ve just had a look at Alias Grace and that looks really interesting so may have to seek that one out!

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  4. Yes, sadly, I can only see two of the five videos. Isn’t that rather short sighted on somebody’s part ? After all, any publicity is good publicity.

    (I could only see the Netflix ones, incidentally)

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    • I rent a lot from Amazon since Netflix has limited choices. I’m always looking out for what my English friends are watching. A movie on Netflix you might like since it’s set in WW2. It’s charming: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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  5. AH yes … we watch The Witcher … will check out Britannia. Thanks for the heads up Cindy.
    The Britannia Trailer can be located You Tube.

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  6. I have only tried Luther – although Idris Elba is compelling I found the rest of it very unpleasant. Clicking on the arrow on these videos takes you to You Tube where you can do a search. Our favourite Netflix series currently has been the Finnish Deadwind.

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  7. I loved ‘Luther’, and also enjoyed ‘Fosse/Verdon’. I haven’t seen any of the Amazon ones, as I would have to watch them on my PC. I can recommend all of the series of the BBC production ‘Harlots’. Excellent period detail and location filming. (Lots of sex in it though!)
    Foe a lighter watch, you might like to try to find this short series. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Us_(British_TV_series)
    Excellent cast, and lovely European location filming.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

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  8. I watched Bosch each season as it came out. I am a Connelly fan and while the TV is updated 20 years from the novels, I still enjoyed them. Mrs Maisel is so great! I have watched it twice and I keep waiting for the new season.
    I am a fan of UK TV series. I subscribe to ACORN and really enjoy shows like Vera and Midsomer Mystery. While my local PBS station has them on, they don’t have an intermission, too long for me to go without a pit stop. Watching them on ACORN I can pause them when I need to, and when I doze off I can always rewind to where I fell asleep.
    My favorite is Murdoch Mysteries. Good acting, good plots, nice scenery, turn of the century, 19 to 20th, Toronto with new police procedures being tried out, and with characters like Tesla, Houdini, Emma Goldman coming into the plots. And it is light mystery.

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  9. 1 dont watch these kinds of shows, but can reccomend 2 new movies i think you would like. my salinger years is the devil wore prada of tthe publishing world. lots of things to recommend it but also a lot of things that werent so good. falling us a wnderful film written directted and starring vigo mortenson. speaking of actors who direct, i should have mentioned the remarkable ida lupino, and also that unlikeable sean penn, who directed three excellent movies. and how did we overlook the charismatic and prolific jack nicholson?

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    • Hi Bill, I’ve got your suggestion ‘The Glorias’ in my queue. I will add My Salinger Years. I love Vigo Mortenson, so I’d be happy to watch ‘Falling’ even though the reviews for it are mediocre.
      From a previous conversation, I bought a bio on Ida Lupino because I’d like to get to know her before I post about her. And yes, Sean Penn is director — I like the rapscallion a lot.
      Jack has directed? I did not know. I liked The Two Jakes. Never saw Drive, He Said or Going South…
      Have you seen Sophia Coppola’s newest with Bill Murray ‘On the Rocks’? Feels like another ‘Lost in Translation’ but I don’t know. She’s more miss than hit for me. But because I love her father so much, I keep rooting for her. Her films always have a moment of brilliance in them.

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      • Falling s anything but mediocre. one of the be films of the year, i s sure to win a supportting nomination for Lance Hendrickson and alhough vigo is deserving for wriing acting and directing, he will probably be passed over becaue he is an outsider. Cant stand Sophia Coppola’s directing, and her father, like scorsese, ran out of ideas fairly quickly after an impressive first decade.

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  10. Falling s anything but mediocre. one of the be films of the year, i s sure to win a supportting nomination for Lance Hendrickson and alhough vigo is deserving for wriing acting and directing, he will probably be passed over becaue he is an outsider. Cant stand Sophia Coppola’s directing, and her father, like scorsese, ran out of ideas fairly quickly after an impressive first decade.

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      • i saw on the rocks. just a little worse than second rate woody allen. mildly entertaining if you pay scant attention but watch carefully and it is a mess.

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        • Ohhhh — I haven’t seen it, but had high hopes. I was somewhat interested in the sci-fi, George Clooney, film (speaking of actors/directors) called ‘The Midnight Sky’. Clooney is hit and miss with me.

          I really want to see David Fincher’s ‘Mank’.
          Lee Isaac Chung’s ‘Minari’.
          I dislike Frances McDormand but wonder if ‘Nomadland’ is good.
          Not much else out there that has me wondering….

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          • i havent heard of any of these. never did like fincher and dont know. who chung is. i dont mind mcdormand. i liked chastain in ava and got an extra boost when she kicjed the ass of an actor i discovered and cast as lenny in of mice and men.i have been watching a lot of mediocre british movies from the 40s, 50s and 60s that never got much of a release in the states so i havent see them before. every one in a while i find a gem, but you have to wade through a lot of crap to find them.

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        • I suppose you did not bother with ‘Rebecca’? It’s such a great classic for me, I don’t know if I can watch the remake. Why mess with perfection?

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          • you think i loved rebecca? i hated her. one of hitchcock’s, or should i say selznicks’s, worst pictures.

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