Greetings loved ones.
How you livin’? Despite the summer fun, I have been keeping my nose to the grindstone on the work front in preparation for this week – vacation! My first real no-agenda vacation in long, long time. Going for a road trip to Western Michigan, aka: The Riviera of the Midwest, followed by a wedding and some fun in the fern-lined, sun dappled shores of Lake Michigan. I CANNOT WAIT TO BE LAZY. It’s going to be awesome. I would tell you that I will be artsing and craftsing, but really, it’s more likely I will be watching Netflix. Which brings us to a the important topic of our times: What is good on TV these days?
I got together with my pal Jessica to come up with a list of highly addictive shows – perfect for that end of summer vacation, or keeping you up late this fall. Here are my top ten!
Fortitude (Amazon Prime)
Is it sci-fi? Is it a psychological thriller? Is it a dinosaur movie with hot men in snow pants? Hard to say. It is, most certainly, set in small town tundra North Poleville. I suggest watching in the winter because it will make you feel warm by comparison. Also Stanly Tucci is in it and Stanley Tucci can do no wrong, so really, you are going to need to see it.
Gilmore Girls (Netflix)
Confession; I hated Gilmore Girls the first three times I watched it. I thought the dialogue was too fast and contrived to be believable. But, then I started from the beginning, realized the characters are unapologetically not-normal, and it hooked me. Watched all five 22 episode seasons in a matter of weeks. It’s an especially good show to watch in the fall because the art department and set design will make you major nostalgic for seasonal shifts, pumpkin latte time in particular. If you watched GG in it’s prime ten years ago, you may want to go back and rewatch it with a new media chaser: the Gilmore Guys podcast. Two guys discovering and discussing every nuance of every episode, beginning to end. If you ever wondered why people listen to ESPN radio to discuss a sports game the day after they already watched, this podcast is the equivalent, but not. Oh, AND DID YOU HEAR THE NEW GILMORE GIRLS IS COMING TO NETFLIX NOVEMBER 25? Shazam! You know where my butt will be!
Victorian Kitchen Garden (Youtube)
This one is for people who need Downtown Abbey methadone. It’s a British 80s gardening documentary about what it takes to run a large house worthy of Grantham grandeur. I know what you are thinking, “Gardening documentary?” Yes y’all. Gardening documentary. There are 12 episodes following each month of the year and two follow up series. For those of us Americans who cannot get enough British TV, this show will hit the vein. In the same category as Downton Abbey Withdrawl Helpers, may I suggest Doctor Thorne.
Slow TV (Netflix)
This one came to American Netflix last week but has apparently been all the rage in Scandinavia for a while. I have only cracked the nut but I am looking forward to more. It looks wildly boring – in a good way. A seven hour train ride. People knitting. Fishing.
Silicon Valley (HBO)
The story of young and hungry tech entrepreneurs in California’s Silicon Valley. I resisted this show because I thought it would be about computer culture (not my bag) – but really it’s more of a character collective. Also, hilarious. And gross. And smart. And weirdly endearing. I find myself drawn to the most obnoxious characters because the script is nothing short of delicious. Love this show!
Dynasty (Amazon Prime)
Yes, that Dynasty. THIS SHOW IS MY JAM. Thirty years old and still kicking it! True story: I learned to read by sounding out the letters in the opening credits while watching the show with my mom. It was a national sensation back then and it still has the juice to keep you watching. It’s a drama, but also overly dramatic, but not melodramatic. I love a good soap opera script that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Scandals a plenty. It also tackled some social and current events that were button-pressing back then, but seem outdated now, which lends its own perspective and makes for an interesting watch. Oddly enough, some of the plot lines follow classic literature if you look for it. There’s some heavy visual symbolism too (I have theories about this but I’ll save for another post).
The Profit (Amazon Prime)
I can’t believe I am about to recommend a business guru show, but honestly y’all: this show is awesome. It’s a reality show following Marcus Lemonis, a successful entrepreneur who goes around to failing businesses and acts as an angel investor and give them the money to survive, on the condition that he can take control of the business for a short period of time and fix whatever he sees fit for fixing. Stuff gets ugly. Real ugly. Highly entertaining, but, more interestingly, hearing Lemonis’ perspective on what will make each business thrive or fail is fascinating. Also super helpful to a small business person like me. If you are, or have ever wanted to be, your own boss – YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS SHOW.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Are you really going to be the last person on the planet to not watch this show?
Family Tree (HBO)
If you like Christopher Guest movies like Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, you will love Family Tree. It’s a fictional docu-comedy following Chris O’Dowd as he seeks to identify is ancestral legacy. It unearths all kinds of crazy characters that can only exist inside Christopher Guest Movies, but this time it’s a TV show.
Chef’s Table (Netflix)
Another documentary show (can you tell I like reality tv?) about chefs, but holy crap, this might be the most beautifully produced show ever. The cinematography and soundtrack are second to none, and yeah, the food ain’t too shabby. It sounds like a show about food or a show about chefs, but actually it’s a show about the people and places behind world famous restaurants. Because it is so visually stunning I suggest you actually watch the show. Don’t listen to it on your laptop as you fold laundry – get a glass of wine, a good snack, turn the lights down, volume up, and play it on the largest screen in the house after the kidletts have gone to bed. This is show is grown up time!
So, that’s what I got. Know who else has great taste in binge tv? My pal Jessica from Mad In Crafts and she wrote her own list right here – check it out!
Do you have any favorites? Please share. Vacation is here and I am on the prowl for more!