The Latest In Television, Movies and Documentaries
Whenever I stumble onto a great television show, movie or doc, I will post it to this page. When possible, I will provide links to the best add-ons for streaming the available content. Otherwise, I will suggest you add this to your trakt.tv account for future consideration. If you don’t already have a trakt.tv account, I highly recommend you get one. It’s the best way to save a suggestion from friends, family, co-workers or social media post. With one click you can add the television show, movie or doc to your collection and it will be there waiting for you to watch when you get home. If you find something you think I should check out or if you have any questions, please drop me a line via my fb page. You don’t have to like my page or follow me on Twitter however, if you do like what you find on my site, please do me a favour and tell your friends. Last but not least, I would appreciate it if you would click on one of the banner ads to the right once in a while. You don’t have to buy or subscribe to anything. I make a few pennies from every click and it goes a long way to paying my hosting fees for this site. All the best!
Friends From College
Friends From College is a Netflix original series that follows a group of friends, all living in New York city and who have remained close friends since their days at Harvard. Each character has seeming managed to navigate through life basically unscathed. Some have experienced a measure of success while others less so. For example, there’s Sam (played by Annie Parisse ), a successful New York architect with a swanky office in Manhattan. She’s beautiful, powerful, married with two kids and money is no object. Marianne, (played by Jae Suh Park ) is a struggling actor, moving from one temp job to the next. Nick (played by Nat Faxon ), is wealthy by virtue of his family. He lives the party lifestyle, presumably as it was when he was still going to school. Max, (played by Fred Savage ), is a literary agent who represents Ethan (played by Keegan-Michael Key ), from the group of friends. Ethan is a struggling writer who has earned some praise over the years for his ability however, in order to remain current he’s been tasked with producing a series for the YA market, something he knows nothing about. Ethan is married to Lisa (played by Colbie Smulders ). Lisa is a hedge fund lawyer working for a firm she despises. Her and Ethan have been together since their final year in college. She’s the late addition to the group by way of Ethan and earned the nick name of “Freshy” from Sam. Lisa despises this nick name and struggles for acceptance in the group. She’s completely unaware that Ethan and Sam are having an affair, one that seems to have continued on and off since their were romantically linked during their school years. The description of the show I’ve painted here I realize lends itself to sounding more like a drama. Yes, it definitely has those moments however, this is first and foremost a comedy, one that has made me laugh out loud several times in each episode. The brainstorming session involving Ethan, Nat and Max is hilarious! The writing is very good and the characters are even better. They are all very relateable where ultimately, their triumphs, failures and quirks are not unlike our own. I highly recommend this Netflix series. I promise it will make you laugh.
Here’s one I’m really looking forward to! Ozark starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney is about a seemingly upper middle class family living a normal life in the burbs of Chicago. Husband, wife, two teenage kids, white picket fence, the whole nine yards. It’s the American dream. Peel back a layer and we find Marty (Jason Bateman), is an investor working for a Mexican drug cartel. Shit goes sideways leaving Marty no choice but to uproot the family and go on the run. They hide out in the Missouri Ozarks where life is not as it was in Chicago and one eye constantly looking over their shoulder. This is a departure for Jason Bateman, whose comedy we are all well familiar with. I’m looking forward to seeing him play a more dramatic role and with Laura Linney in the mix, I’m expecting a strong performance. Writers Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams, responsible for The Accountant and The Judge, should give us a gripping story full of depth and suspense. Add this to your Trakt.tv watchlist for future viewing.
If you liked the movie Point Break, there’s a strong possibility you’re going to like Animal Kingdom. If you liked the show Sons of Anarchy, I can almost grantee you will like Animal Kingdom The two aforementioned references are the best way for me to describe this show. Picture Point Break, if the surfing, extreme sports loving bad guys were a family with a matriarch who calls all the shots and just so happens to be played by Ellen Barkin aka. Smurf. The first season centres around teenager Joshua or “J” ( played by Finn Cole ), whose mother OD’s in the first ep. and J is sent to live with the grandmother Smurf. It’s obvious from the moment J arrives at Smurf’s house, this is not your average family. Also living casually with Smurf are her three other sons; Craig ( played by Ben Robson), Deran ( played by Jake Weary ) and Barry ( played by Scott Speedman ). There’s a fourth brother, Pope ( played by Shawn Hatosy ) whom you meet a bit later. All four brothers seem to operate on Adrenalin and a different rule book of ethics. They are all very devoted to their mother Smurf. Smurf, as mentioned, runs the show and her word is law around the house. None of these characters, J included, seem to have any real redeeming qualities. This is where my comparison to Sons of Anarchy comes in. The characters all appear to be very shallow and quite shitty human beings. The acting is okay and the plot is predictable. So, why would I recommend this to you?? The show takes place in sunny California. It’s full of action, pretty people and excess by people with no regard for a retirement plan. It’s kind of like this, if you said to me you were going to sit down and eat and entire box of chocolate chip cookies, I in no way would stop you. Have at her! However, you and I both know nothing good will come if it. This show is a guilty pleasure. It won’t take much to follow and you may or may not feel great after binge watching a pile of episodes. The show is brought to you by Bravo and you can view it via via Elysium, Specto and Exodus.
Back in the early 80’s, the CIA was involved in trafficking cocaine into the US from Latin America. It’s alleged, the drugs were used to help fund the Rebels fighting the Contra war in Nicaragua. The Reagan Administration, which was in power for those of you old enough to remember, admitted as much however, stopped short of acknowledging any real involvement citing, none of the operatives involved had any authorisation to proceed in these dealings and did so unbeknown to their department heads and the United States government. It was the CIA’s involvement in cocaine trafficking that ultimately led to the crack cocaine epidemic. How?? There was too much cocaine on the streets at a time when the U.S was in a recession (Reaganomics). Drug dealers began cutting the cocaine with baking soda to crystallise it into rock form, which they could then sell for a much cheaper price. $10 for a rock of cocaine compared to $100 for a gram. Further, crack produced an addictive high that only lasted 10 min, followed by a crash that made your body crave the drug. This is the story Snowfall intends to tell, focusing on the origin/epicentre that was LA’s Compton district. The key players in this tale are CIA operative Teddy McDonald, ( played by Carter Hudson. ), whose introduction comes after he’s sent to clean up after another CIA operative OD’s. Mexican luchador Gustavo “El Oso” Zapata ( played by Sergio Peris-Mencheta ) and Lucia Villanueva ( played by Emily Rios ). Lucia is the daughter of a crime boss who recruits Gustavo for a job that goes wrong and their lives become intermingled. Lastly, there’s Franklin Saint, (played by Damson Idris ), a young street dealer with an entrepreneurial spirit. Franklin is introduced to Villanueva’s father by coincidence and takes a gamble on a key of cocaine. What a tangled web! I watched the pilot and thought it was pretty good. The story unquestionably has legs and I intend to hang in there to see how it develops. The soundtrack for this show is killer, featuring Donny Hathaway, Run DMC, Eric B. & Rakim and more from that era. The show is brought to you by FX, and rather daring from them I might add. You can stream this via Elysium, Specto and Exodus.
I’ve started watching Genius and I must admit, I’ve become hooked on this series. Based on the best selling biography Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, and produced by The National Geographic. Employing the likes of Ron Howard, Hans Zimmer, Geoffrey Rush as Einstein and Emily Watson as Elsa Einstein, NG have spared little to no expense to ensure the story captivates its audience. The series explores Albert Einstein’s life; from his youth in academia, as a young man toiling as a patent clerk aspiring to be a great physicist, to his later years as a great mind, both a respected and feared, living in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. The series examines his theories, philosophies and his personal relationships. If you’re looking for a great series to binge watch, add Genius to your must watch list. You can stream this via Elysium, Specto and Exodus.
If you’re a fan of the film Spotlight or the Netflix series, Making a Murderer, then add The Keepers to your list of shows to binge watch. This 7 part documentary investigates the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, which took place in Baltimore Maryland in 1970. Sister Cathy Cesnik was a high school teacher at a prestigious all girls school. Young, bright, caring, loved by her students and all who knew her, she represented the new guard of the catholic church. From the start, there’s more to Sister Cathy Cesnik’s disappearance and subsequent murder then what appears on the surface. This documentary series explores the corruption within the Catholic Church and the Baltimore Police department. Well told and absolutely riveting. If you don’t have a Netflix account, you can stream this series via Stream Hub, Specto and Exodus.
I’m Dying Up Here
I watched the first episode of I’m Dying Up Here and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! This new series from Showtime featuring Jim Carrey as an executive producer on the series, depicts the life of a group of comics trying to make a name for themselves in Hollywood California during the 70’s. It should be said, this is a golden age of comedy when making it onto Johnny Carson was considered the gold standard!! And not just making it onto the greatest late night talk show in history, but being invited by the man himself to come sit on the couch and chat for a bit. That extra nod would make your career, signalling to the rest of the country, you had arrived. Of note, some of this story is based loosely on Jim Carrey’s personal experiences while he was trying to make it in the business. The story is a combination of both drama and of course, comedy. The biggest name in the show would have to be Melissa Leo, whom some of you might recognize from Homicide: Life on the Streets, Treme, Wayward Pines and movies such as Snowden, Oblivion and The Fighter, to name a few. She is a terrific actress. Melissa plays Goldie Herschlag, the proprietor of a comedy club named after her in Hollywood and where all the big names and wanna be’s congregate. Goldie is ruthless with her comic hopefuls and believes she has to be to if these up and comers are to make it in this business. Other names you might recognize include Robert Forrester as Guy Appuzzo, Richard Kind as Marty Dansak, Dylan Baker as Johnny Carson and Clark Duke from Hot Tub Time Machine, as Ron Shack. Do yourself a favour and check this series out. If you don’t have Showtime, you can stream I’m Dying Up Here via Stream Hub, Specto and Exodus.
Bosch: Season 3
Bosch is back and this season picks up where Season Two left off, with Bosch struggling to cope with the murder of his mom by a fellow officer and the subsequent cover up by his brothers in the LAPD. Season 3 finds Bosch and Detective Edgar on the trail of a possible serial killer on the Sunset Strip. Simultaneously, Bosch’s open animosity towards his brothers in the LAPD and his lone wolf approach is causing friction at the office. This is nothing new for Bosch; he’s a no nonsense homicide detective who is dedicated to getting the job done and bringing asshats to justice. Not surprisingly, this style makes few admirers along the way, opening the door for one such axe grinder to lead the homicide investigation pointing the finger in Bosch’s direction. Even Edgar is having his doubts. If you’re not familiar with this cop drama, I highly recommend you get into it. You won’t find too many plot surprises, Bosch plays like a watered down Michael Mann film. I don’t mean that to sound derogatory, this is a great cop show to binge watch, with has just enough meat and potatoes, that it won’t leave you feeling stuffed from too many plot lines. There’s great characters and good acting from Titus Welliver as Bosch, Jamie Hector as Detective Edgar and Lance Reddick as Chief Irving. Stream this drama on Stream Hub, Specto, and Exodus.
Okay, I watched the fist episode of this new and much anticipated series and I have to say, WOW, followed by WHAT? Based on the first episode, this looks like it’s going to be a very strange, graphic, explicit and violent series. For the record, I’m comfortable with all the adjectives I’ve used here however, there must be substance. Violence, profanity and sex purely for the sake of shock value is a waste of my time. I’m brighter than that and I would like to think anyone devoting an minute of their time with my site (and I thank you all), would consider themselves brighter than that as well. Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of content to watch, it’s time that is in short supply so any series that wants to hook me in for 8-12 episodes best be intelligent about it. What did I like about the first episode that will make me want to stick around for more? For starters, Ian McShane, who plays Mr. Wednesday. I’ve pretty much enjoyed everything he’s done since I first saw him in Deadwood. I think hes a great actor and one who knows how to swear effectively without sounding like a fifth grader trying to impress his buddies. Ian’s character Mr. Wednesday, is in fact the god Odin, who is on a quest to round up all the old gods currently living mundane lives throughout America. All in preparation for a coming battle with the new gods. Interesting plot and the second thing I like about this series so far. Third, I like the character Shadow Moon, played by Ricky Whittle. We first meet Shadow while he’s in prison, serving 3 yrs of a six year sentence. He’s released early after news his wife is killed in a an automobile accident. It’s while Shadow is attempting to make it home for his wife’s funeral that he comes into contact with Mr. Wednesday and is unwittingly recruited into his employ. Strange things begin to unfold around Shadow at this point. Speaking of strange, prepare yourself for the scene where a woman devours a man with her vagina. Yeah. It’s graphic as are all the scenes involving violence. To the extreme one might say. Violent, swearing vagina swallowing gods are all well and good, but as mentioned, their best be some substance in the way of plot to keep me around for the long haul. Add this series to your Trakt.tv or IMDB accounts. You can stream this series via Stream Hub, Specto, and Exodus.
Fargo: Season 3
Fargo Season 3 for me, is the most anticipated series to return to television. More so than Game of Thrones and Better Call Saul combined. Once again set in Minnesota, Season 3 will have all the accents and charm fans have grown to love. It’s part of what has helped to make this series so successful. Noah Hawley (the series creator) was able to bridge elements from the movie with season 1, then magically utilize storyline and characters from season 1 with season two and make a connection with fans in the form of familiarity. To top it off, at the series core is great acting, memorable characters and original story telling. The principal cast for Season 3 stars Ewan McGregor as Emmit Stussy; a handsome, self made man who seems to get the best breaks in life. Ray Stussy (also played by Ewan McGregor), is Emmit’s down on his luck brother. A guy who tends to play in the seedy underbelly of Minnesota. Both siblings have their skeletons in the closet and sibling rivalry is the underlining fuel that takes both Emmit and Ray down a road of misdeeds and desperation. At Emmit’s side is his girlfriend and parolee, Nikki Swango (played by Mary Elizabeth Wistead). Ray has Sy Feltz (played by Michael Stuhlbarg, who was amazing in Boardwalk Empire as Arnold Rothstein). Based on what I saw in both seasons 1 and 2, I’m confident Season 3 has the potential to set the bar for what we should expect from television drama, sprinkled with a touch of dark comedy. And, if you’ve had the opportunity to see Noah’s latest contribution to the Marvel Franchise “Legion,” you will likely share the same sentiment. One more thing, Noah has assured fans this season will be no different than the previous two and will have connections to its series past. I can’t wait! Series begins on April 19 on FX and kodi users should be able to stream it via Stream Hub, Specto, Bob and Exodus.
The Get Down
The Get Down is a 6 part, Netflix drama series revolving around the origins of Hip Hip in New York City during the late 70’s. What makes this story unique, the cast of characters mingle between real and fictitious. DJ Grand Master Flash is real, as is a New York city lawyer by the name of Ed Koch with aspirations to be mayor. The struggles of those living in the Bronx during this period is also real. A post apocalyptic landscape told in vivid detail, it’s almost too extreme to be real. And yet, by all accounts from those who were there (see Hip Hop Evolution), this was truly what life in the Bronx was like in the late 70’s. While disco was king in Manhattan, the youth of the Bronx had a different story to tell. Their’s was a story of struggle, violence and oppression. This helped to fuel their voice and write the music that would one day dominate the music charts. Telling the story is a fictional character by the name of Zeke (played by Justice Smith), a young talented poet and musician from the Bronx who lives with his aunt. A chance meeting with a character by the name of Showlin Fantastic (played by Shameik Moore), a gifted DJ mentored by DJ Grand Master Flash, the two with their friends form a group called The Fantastic Four Plus One. The story is not without it’s cheese as Zeke is in love with Regina (played by Shyrley Rodriguez), a talented singer with aspirations of becoming the next disco queen. If you can get past this part of the story, there is substance here. Regina’s uncle is played by Jimmy Smits, a south Bronx politician who desperately seeks to provide jobs, healthcare and affordably housing to his constituents. Rounding out the cast is none other than Breaking Bad’s Gustavo Fring, Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Regina’s oppressive father Pastor Ramon Cruz. As mentioned, if you can put aside the cheesy elements that make up this story, there is some good television here. Only six episodes to Season 1 and it has already been renewed for a season 2, that should be a good indication of it’s viewer strength. You can stream The Get Down via Stream Hub, Exodus, Specto. All the best!
The Breaks follows Nikki (Afton Williamson) as she, along with her boyfriend David Call) and her producer friend DeeVee (Tristan Mack Wilds), try to make it in the music business during the rise of Hip Hop in the late 80’s, early 90’s in New York City. Nikki lands a job as the assistant to Legendary Manager Barry Fouray (Wood Harris) while DeeVee persuades a local drug dealer Ahm (Antoine Harris), who is also being investigated for murder, to work together. DeeVee get’s Ahm’s demo tape into the hands of Barry and the pursuit is on to convince Ahm to sign with Barry and pursue Hip Hop full time. Rounding out the cast is Method Man, who plays DeeVee’s dad and Evan “Runkle” Handler as Juggy. So far, it’s a great story and well acted. This is to hip hop what Vinyl should have been to Rock in the 70’s, early 80’s. You can stream this show using the following add-ons; Stream Hub, Exodus, Specto. All the best!
Before I get into my recommendation for this show let me ask, do you like the tv series Fargo? Tell me you said yes, because the creator of that series (Noah Hawley) is responsible for Legion. You are now ahead of the game as I was completely unaware Noah had anything to do with this until after I watched the first episode. I was so surprised at how good it was I immediately went to the web for further recon while simultaneously queuing up ep. 2. Legion is the latest franchise from Marvel comics produced for television and brought to you by FX. The series follows David Haller (played by Dan Stevens) aka Legion. Now, in the comic universe David/Legion, is the son of Professor Xavier (unbeknownst to Professor X by the way). As you might imagine, David is a very powerful mutant with extraordinary powers of telepathy. David has spent his entire childhood and young adult life in and out of institutions believing he suffers from schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. It’s not until he meets Sydney Barrett (Syd Barrett for the Pink Floyd fans in the house) that David begin to believe there’s more to his mental and emotional state then the doctors have let on. Syd helps David come to the realization that he is in fact, a very powerful mutant that government agencies want to control or destroy. The story is told from the classic comic book era with fashions right out of the late 60’s combined with current and futuristic technologies. We’re talking about mutants and super powers after all and anything is possible within that relm. Do yourself a favour and check this series out. You can stream this show using the following add-ons; Stream Hub, Exodus, Specto. All the best!
Gimme Danger is the first full length documentary to articulate the rise and fall of Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Boasting photo’s, footage and unprecedented access to all band members (both Ron and Scott Asheton died in 2009 and 2014 respectively), director Jim Jarmusch promises to deliver on what he describes as “the greatest rock band ever!”. That’s a bold statement. Even if you’re not a fan of The Stooges or terribly familiar with their catalog, provided you haven’t lived on Mars for the past 40 years you must be at least remotely familiar with their contribution to Rock, and/or familiar with the tales of their exploits. In my younger days, I read Danny Sugarman’s, Wonderland Avenue where he documents how The Doors considered carrying on after the passing of Jim Morrison with Iggy Pop as their front man. If a fraction of the stories told in that book and within the hallows of Rock lore regarding Iggy Pop are true, this documentary promises to be nothing less than a plane ride cursing @ 25 000 ft… with the cockpit missing…and it’s on fire. Add this to your Trakt.tv account.
Update: I finally got to see this doc last night courtesy of Specto and it was well worth the wait! Jim Jarmusch did an incredible job of telling the story of The Stooges with what little footage exists, both of the band in their prime and of the principal members. I was surprised to discover all of the primary members of the band have passed on with the exception of Iggy Pop and James Williamson. For his part, Iggy provides the bulk of the material for this doc. He’s reserved about some of his exploits and drug use during this time. He doesn’t get into too much detail regarding his relationship with David Bowie apart from admitting he didn’t know what deals he was signing at this time and doesn’t appear to be too fond of Tony Defries. What Iggy does make abundantly clear is, The Stooges were a response to what Iggy felt was the over commercialization of popular music. Iggy feels that much of what came out of that 5yr summer of love period (late 60’s to early 70’s) was manufactured and packaged by suits and record execs. who wouldn’t know what real music and real art was if it walked up to them and slapped them in the face. No one was doing what The Stooges were doing back then save for maybe the MC5’s, a band they hung out with and toured extensively. The market was ripe for a band like The Stooges to come along when they did. The were ahead of their time. The music they made and the impression they left on the music industry is still being felt today. In addition to Specto, you can find this doc on Exodus, Alluc and Velocity. All the best!
Black Mirror is the latest series I’ve marathoned. At only six episodes for it’s latest season (III for those in the know), it was easy enough to do. Heralded as “the Twilight Zone” for the digital age, the analogy is spot on. The themes of each episode often centre around new technology, or technology that is in the not too distant future and projects the consequences of it’s impact on our society. The first episode of Season III was written by Rashida Jones and is a brilliant story entitled “Nosedive” about a dystopian society where our success and happiness is predicated on our social media ranking. Episode III titled “Shut Up and Dance,” and written by series creator Chralie Brooker follows a kid who is blackmailed by unknown internet voices who capture video of him masturbating through his webcam. The out come of this story is will catch you off guard! The series originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK and now picked up for 12 episodes by Netflix, is well worth your valuable TV time. You can find Black Mirror on Specto, DandyMedia, Meta and try using MetalliQ.
Okay, I’m three episodes into this series completely hooked! If I’m being honest, I was sold from the trailer. Quarry follows Mac Conway, aka “Quarry,” a US vet returning from Viet Nam in 72 after 2 tours. We quickly learn Mac saw his fare share of the shit over there in Nam. Coupled with problems at home, lack of acceptance from society for his military service and the inability to find a job leads Mac into the path of a bad guy by the name of “The Broker.” Corruption and murder send Mac down an even darker path as he struggles to get his life together as a civilian. He’s your classic anti-hero. You want to root for him but each turn he takes you cringe at the inevitable direction. The story takes place in Mississippi, the year is 1972 (the creators seem to have look and feel down) and all the actors you will vaguely recognize from other shows such as Jamie Hector from Bosch, Peter Mullan and Dewey Crowe himself Damon Herriman from Justified, (he’s really good in this). The show is from Cinemax and you can find it on Specto, Exodus and Lucky TV.
High Maintenance has been around for a bit. It started out as an indie web series and was officially picked up by HBO for the latest season. I love this show! I’m four ep. in and completely addicted. The series follows a weed dealer as he couriers his pot deliveries to his various clients (who come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds), around New York city. But it’s not just about that. It’s about the people and the lives they all seem to intersect with. It’s funny, it’s sentimental, it’s great storytelling and I encourage you to give it a chance and check it out. Add it to your Trakt.tv account. It’s currently streaming on Exodus, Velocity and The Royal We.
Atlanta follows two cousins who get swept up in Atlanta’s rap scene. Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles is about to break it big with his cousin and manager Earn at his side when a shooting occurs. Earn is played by Donald Glover, who is also the writer and creator of this series. I watched the first episode and liked it a lot. FX has already renewed it for a second season. You can stream it via via 1 Channel, Exodus, Velocity and iStream
A Class of Their Own
The following is a list of my all time favourite tv shows. They represent a combination of great script writing, great story telling, great cast, great acting and memorable characters. If you have yet to see any of the television shows on the following list, I highly recommend you commence binge watching immediately! ;)’ All the best!
There are many scenes I could have selected here to demonstrate the quality of Fargo currently a two season (with a third in the wings) television series brought to you by Netflix. This scene from S01, is a memorable one featuring Billy Bob Thorton as a hit man paying a visit to his “contracts” after he strikes up an unlikely deal with an unlikely character by the name of Lester Nygaard (played by Martin Freeman). The chain of events set in motion will keep you riveted to each episode in that, “let’s just watch one more episode” sort of way, even though it’s midnight and you have to be up early for work in the morning. The cast for Season 1 includes Keith Carradine, Bob Odenkirk, Key and Peele, Oliver Platt and Colin Hanks. Season 2, which is arguably better than S01, features an equally stellar cast including Ted Danson, Patrick Wilson, Bokeem Woodbine, Kieran Culkin, Jeffrey Donovan and Nick Offerman, who provides some exceptional comic relief throughout this season. Kristen Dunst is the female lead in S02 and it’s perhaps, her best role to date. S3 is set to be released in 2017 and I will be making a point of re-watching S02 and possibly S01. Get caught up on S01 & S02 of Fargo and the need to review both seasons will become crystal clear to you too!
If you’re a fan of The Wire and you’ve not seen Treme, then you should be kind of ashamed of yourself. Treme is every bit as good as The Wire, and with good reason. Treme consists of the same writing team (Eric Ellis Overmyer, and David Simon) who are not only responsible for The Wire, they have worked on other classics such as Homicide: Life on the Street, Boardwalk Empire, The Affair and Bosch just to name a few. Treme takes place in New Orleans post hurricane Katrina. It delves into the lives and politics of all those effected, from the homicide detective (Lt. Terry Colson played by David Morse), to the street musician (Antoine Batiste played by Wendell Pierce), to the chiefs of the native tribes (Albert Lambreaux played by Clarke Peters), to the people who came to help and never left (Annie Lucia Micarelli, Sonny Michiel Huisman), and on and on. This series is so good and so deep. It starts off slow through the first 6 or 7 episodes introducing you to some of the characters and the issues that effected New Orleans in wake of the Hurricane. The series reaches an unmistakable crescendo in season 1 and by the time you get there, you will be so hooked on the characters, the music, the dialogue, this series! Other actors featured in this fantastic series include John Goodman, Steve Zahn, Kim Dickens, Rob Brown and a veritable who’s who of the music industry from Elvis Costello, to Steve Earle, Dr. John and many more. Watch it, you won’t regret a single episode!
Omar Comin! At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m adding The Wire to my must watch list. There’s a reason this series ends up on so many “Greatest Television Shows” of all time list. In many ways, this series reinvented the serial drama. Based loosely on writer/Creator David Simons 12 yr stint as a writer with the Baltimore Sun, this series explores the lives of those involved in the Baltimore drug trade. From addict to low lever corner dealer, all the way on up to the politicians who orchestrate the war on drugs. The criminals in this story aren’t always on the streets slinging drugs. Corruption exists at all levels of the political circle. Each season typically explores a specific aspect of the drug trade. Season II takes place primarily in the ports of Baltimore and may be a bit slow for some. Season IV is all about the kids and it’s perhaps one of the best seasons of television I can remember. To add to the authenticity of this series, Simons based many of the characters on real life individuals. Simons drew upon their mannerisms and actions as well as depicting events that actually took place. Both real cops and criminals were hired to play roles within this series to further the authenticity. It’s just a great story from season to season. It’s what all great dramas aspire to be and well worth binge watching.
Occasionally, a comedy series comes along where you find yourself laughing out loud and uncontrollably with every episode. The kind of series that leaves you craving the next episode, as you would if you slowly ate a Cadbury chocolate bar one square at a time. Case in point, Californication starring David Duchovny as Hank Moody; a gifted writer who’s early success led to excess and poor choices. Many, poor choices. Hank relocates to California in an attempt to repair his relationship with both his daughter and his ex-wife Karen (played by Natascha McElhone) whom Hank continues to pine for. Hank for his part, is witty, charming, very smart, has the best come-backs and is not unlike a 15yr old trapped in a 40 something body. Hank has a difficult time saying no to a good time, especially when alcohol, drugs and women are involved. Better yet when all three are on the table, which is often the case with Hank. Charlie Runkle (played by Evan Handler), Hank’s agent and best friend along with Charlie’s wife Marcy aka “Cokey Smurf” on the count of her minor cocaine addiction (played by Pamela Adlon) are two of the funniest characters throughout this series. Season two is a standout with Lew Ashby (played by Canadian Callum Keith Rennie,) a famous rock producer who when paired with Hank Moody, are like a couple of sailors on shore leave. Season 3 is also a stand out with Rick Springfield playing a down and out version of himself. Lastly, Rob Low plays a recurring character by the name of Eddie Nero, whom I’m convinced is based on Brad Pitt. Way too funny!! Even in it’s final season, I was marginally tired of Hanks relentless pursuit of Karen in spite of his self sabotage. I promise this series will make you laugh snot bubbles out your nose!
The name of this show should not deter you from binge watching this very funny series. Created by Jenji Kohan, whom some of you might recognize from that other super hit Orange is the New Black. Weeds, follows the life of Nancy Botwin (played by Mary-Louise Parker), a suburban house wife from California who is suddenly left to support herself and her two children after her husband dies suddenly, leaving the family little to nothing for their future. In order to maintain her upper middle class lifestyle, Nancy turns to selling pot. As the series progresses, Nancy begins to draw in anyone within her inner circle to the ups and downs of becoming a pot dealer. Comedy ensues. While Nancy Botwin’s life choices and poor decision making can get a little old, there’s stand out comedic performances from Kevin Nealon who plays Doug Wilson, a narcissistic accountant who’s decision making when paired next to Nancy’s, makes you cringe for the inevitable train wreck that is bound to occur. There’s also Justin Kirk who plays uncle Andy, a heart of gold kind of guy and also somewhat narcissistic who despite finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, always comes out smelling like a rose. Both Doug Wilson and Andy Botwin never get old throughout this series. Much like with the series Breaking Bad, the moral note (if there really is one), nothing good ever comes from selling drugs. Let this series serve as a lesson to us all…just kidding.
If you’re a fan of great television, then Breaking Bad has to be top of your list.