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!
Dave Chappelle: Deep in the Heart of Texas & The Age of Spin
Dave Chappelle: Deep in the Heart of Texas & The Age of Spin were both released through Netflix on March 21/17. According to Dave, these two shows he produced himself a couple of years ago and shelved until Netflix came along and offered him $60 million for both, plus a 3rd to be shot and produced later this year. I watched both shows last night and they are HILARIOUS! They are everything we love Dave for, often covering material most comics won’t touch and does so in such a way that is both dangerous while pointing the finger at every one of us. Is it politically incorrect what he says and the topics he covers? I think a lot of people would say yes. Yet Dave goes there uninhibited. He’s often self deprecating making light of his public missteps while meeting the challenge head on to learn from his mistakes and best them. He’s on fire! Deep in the Heart of Texas is clearly the older of the two shows, shot for Austin City Limits. It’s very casual in presentation, from his attire on through to his rapport with his audience. At one point, sitting down and asking an audience member for a smoke. His bit on Ebola being the new AIDS is great! The Age of Spin is approx a year old. I say this as I saw him a year ago and some of the material in that show were covered in this stand up, obviously testing the material and refining it before committing to the show recorded in Hollywood California. Dave is a bit more polished in this stand up and his four encounters with O.J. Simpson, which he weaves throughout the preformace are gold! I don’t want to give any of the routines away. If you’re a fan of Dave or stand up, you need to watch these! If you don’t have a Netflix account, you can stream both shows via StreamHub, Specto and Exodus.
Sun Records follows the life of Sam Phillips (Chad Michael Murray), the man who invented Rock n Roll as he opens The Memphis Recording Service in 1950 and subsequently, Sun Records in 1952. This show was of particular interest to me as the cast of characters who would walk through Sam’s door and begin the greatest music revolution of the 20th century include B.B King, Howlin Wolf, Ike Turner, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins (Dustin Ingram), Jerry Lee Lewis (Christian Lees), The Man in Black Johnny Cash (Kevin Fonteyne), and of course the man would would be king, the man who Sam is attributed discovering, none other than Elvis Erin Presley (Drake Milligan). Now, I will be the first to admit the writers of this 8 part series from CMT have decided to blur the lines of fact and fiction and take certain liberties in telling the story. To which I’m not surprised after all, Rock n Roll is steeped in myth. It’s part ow what inspires the next generation of would be rockers to pick up a guitar, drumstick or mic and carry the torch. That said, sometimes truth is better than fiction and I’m wrestling with the liberties the writers and producers have taken. For example, Sam’s right hand Marion Keisker is played by Margaret Anne Florence. Now, google Marion Keisker. They look nothing a like. How about Sam’s wife, Rebecca Irene Burns, played by Jennifer Holland. Again, not even close! My point being, if you’re going to take liberties in telling this tale to esure everything is palatable right down to the cast, your telling of events becomes suspect. For example, Sam was know for his ability to let musicians be themselves in the studio and capturing the essence of their musical personality. He had a knack for pushing musicians in pursuit of their best. Not perfect, but perfect imperfection as he dubbed it. That said, there’s no way Sam told B.B King and his band how to play the blues (S01E03). No way, it didn’t happen. Was Colonel Tom Parker (Billy Gardell) as shady as he is portrayed in this series, particularly how he brokered deals with promoters and record labels? Possibly. He did invent the Memphis Mafia after all. My point here is, some of these characters are being portrayed in a light that is not nearly as interesting as the truth. The writers and producers have sacrificed this because they feel you would be better served with a syrup version of events and to that I disagree. Anyway, after all that I admit I’m invested in the series. I have to see how they portray the “Million Dollar Session.” That fateful day when Elvis happend into Sun Studios at the same time Jerry Lee Lewis was playing keys on a session with Carl Perkins. Sam calls Johnny Cash to get down to the studio and the four went on to Jam and record in what is considered a water shed moment in rock n roll history. Hopefully they get to that this season. You can stream Sun Records via StreamHub, Exodus, Bob, Specto, and ECHO streams. All the best!
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 StreamHub, Exodus, Bob, Specto, and ECHO streams. All the best!
Hip Hop Evolution
Hip Hop Evolution is a 4 x 1hr documentary series for Netflix and HBO by none other than Banger Films. That’s right, the same people responsible for Flight 666, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, Super Duper Alice Cooper and Metal Evolution, are the same guys to bring you this incredibly in depth and entertaining documentary, tracing the origins and evolution of Hip Hop. This really should be no surprise to fans of alternative music as Metal and Hip Hop have gone hand in hand since day one. Now granted, there’s no way to cover all of Hip Hop in just four hours. What Banger Films does is to focus on the emergence of Hip Hop culture out of New York in the early 70’s to it’s origins of modern Rap/Hip Hop emerging out of LA in the late 80’s, early 90’s. Even the novice fan of the genre can tell you by the end of the 4 part series, there is still so much ground that can and should be covered. Banger films for its part, leaves little doubt as to who we should pay homage to at the alter of Hip Hop. Shadrach Kabango is both a critically acclaimed Canadian Hip Hop artist and your host throughout this documentary series. He clearly knows a thing or two about the genre. His knowledge and approachable demeanour serve him well as he goes toe to toe with some of the heavy weights of this art form. If you’re interested in watching this documentary (and I hope I have sold it enough to you that you would be), Exodus was the only add-on that I was able to find an SD stream. Please try other sources and report back to me if you have success else where as this is a doc I would watch again. wait!! Found it on StreamHub!! 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; StreamHub, Exodus,Bob, 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; StreamHub, Exodus, Bob, Specto. All the best!
Crashing is a very funny new comedy from HBO starring Pete Holmes as a wanna be comedian in New York City. The series begins with Pete coming home early one afternoon to discover his wife is having an affair, subsequently turning his life upside down. Fortunately, Pete befriends veteran comedians Artie Lang and T.J Miller, who both serve to help nurture and comfort Pete during his life crisis, much like swimming lessons from your dad who’s idea is to toss you into the deep end and say “SWIM!” Pete’s brand of comedy is actually pretty funny. He’s deeply religious and has had few life experiences, which adds to the comedy of the show and the awkwardness of Pete’s character when in ep. 2 he does coke with Gina Gershon. Brilliantly funny. Anyway, you can stream this show using the following add-ons; StreamHub, Exodus, Bob, Specto. All the best!
I was searching for something to watch last night and stumbled onto this thriller, The Invitation starring Logan Marshall Green from Quarry, a series I recently recommended (scroll down). The Invitation is about a group of friends and an ex-husband (Logan) who are invited to a dinner party to meet Eden (played by Tammy Blanchard) who returns after a two year absence with a new husband and new outlook on life. As the movie progresses, we learn from Eden’s ex-husband Will (Logan), the two had a troubled past that appears to be precipitated by the death of their son Ty. I say precipitated here as it’s not entirely clear if Eden suffers from depression prior to Ty’s death and if it had anything to do with it. We observe Eden exhibiting strange behaviour between her and her new husband David (played by Michiel Huisman) which includes the pair admitting to joining a cult. However, as the film progresses we also observe Will exhibiting paranoia that increasingly casts doubt on Will’s suspicions of both Eden and David. Will begins to question the actions of Eden and David including suggesting they had something to do with one of the missing guests Choi. When Choi shows up unexpectedly, Will is very embarrassed and it begins to look more like Will is unstable. This is when the film takes an unexpected detour! Absolutely, worth watching! The film has been called a horror film but I thought it was just a great thriller. You can watch this on; StreamHub, Exodus, Bob, Specto, Alluc and Cold As Ice
My good friend Carlo recommended Cardinal to me and I’m just now getting caught up. For the record, Carlo was the one who recommended Stranger Things before the entire planet got on board so his recommendations are to be taken seriously. I’ve marathoned the first four episodes and so far, I really like it. Neither the plot or the characters are going to surprise anyone. We’ve all seen the brooding cop with the low gravelly voice, often misunderstood by his coworkers but deep down, we know this cops got a heart of gold and stands by his work. That’s detective Cardinal in a nutshell. He’s secretly being investigated by a small task force with his new partner Lise, a tough, no nonsense french Canadian smokeshow providing all the information. It’s believed Cardinal is taking bribes from the head of a drug ring in exchange for inside information. So far, it’s not looking good for Cardinal and I want to believe he’s innocent. At the heart of the story, Cardinal is on the trail of a serial killer in Northern Ontario. As the story goes, Cardinal has always maintained the death of young Katie Pine was at the hands of a predator. He believed so vehemently on it, it nearly cost him his career. It’s not until Katie’s body is discovered do we learn Cardinal is right. Thus begins the pursuit of the predator in Northern Ontario. I recommend you check it out on the following add-ons; StreamHub, Exodus, Bob, Specto, Lucky TV, and TV Times
Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water is somewhat of a modern day Western starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster and Chris Pine. The story takes place in rural Texas where two brothers take on the Texas Midland Bank in a string of robberies. The goal is to pay off the reverse mortgage that will forfeit the family ranch if not paid off by the end of the week. Jeff Bridges plays a near retired Texas Ranger hot on their tail. The story may be a little predictable however, the acting is great and the story keeps your attention. I really enjoyed it anyway. Check it out on the following add-ons, Specto, StreamHub, Alluc, Exodus and 1080p Movies
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 StreamHub. All the best!
Command and Control
Command and Control is another great documentary I’m looking forward to. In 1980, two 21 year old air force officers were working on a Titan II rocket (which was 3 times more powerful than that of the nuclear bombs used in WWII) when one of the officers accidentally dropped a socket wrench which bounced off the floor and punctured the rocket, spewing rocket fuel into the silo. What follows is a nightmare cover up that came very close to erasing 10 million people from the face of this earth. The documentary explores that cover up and similar instances where the US came uncomfortably close to an accidental nuclear nightmare.
Update: I just watched this doc on Exodus and thought it was very good. The frightening reality of the number of nuclear war heads that exist in the U.S and the potential for disaster is made abundantly clear during this doc. The doc is not framed in conspiracy. It presents the facts as they unfolded in 1980 and in the events that led up to that date. The doc interviews everyone that was there, from the guys on the ground, up to the Director of Nuclear Energy and the Secretary of State. If you’re not up for a heavy dose of reality, steer clear of this doc. If however, you enjoy a doc that shows you what’s behind the curtain and let’s you marinate on what it reveals, you’ll enjoy this one! All the best!
The Mick is a new comedy for Fox. The Red Band trailer above has a few expletives in it that I didn’t hear in the pilot, nor do I think they’ll make it to prime time however, the television world is a changing! The Mick seems to be an updated, more adult version of Uncle Buck featuring Kaitlin Olson (Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as aunt Mackenzie (aka. Micky); a complete train wreck who somehow is left to look after her niece and two nephews after her sister and wealthy brother-in-law are forced to leave the country on the lamb from the FBI. Comedy ensues. Hey, I watched the pilot and laughed at some of the jokes. I admit, it was low hanging fruit but a chuckle is a chuckle and I’ll give ep. 02 a try. Check it out on the following add-ons, Specto, Alluc, Exodus and TV Times
Update: I watched ep. 2 and once again I chuckled, in particular, when Micky and Alba go out for a night of dancing all high on goofballs. As mentioned, low hanging fruit. That’s a win in my books! I’ll give ep. 3 a shot and why not?!
Miss Sharon Jones
Miss Sharon Jones is a documentary following the late soul singer’s life and success, which didn’t arrive until she was in her 40’s. Miss Jones was a corrections officer at Rikers Island and a security officer for an armored truck, all the while tearing it up with her band The Dap Kings by night, who by the way were the backing band for Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black album. Miss Jones earned fans around the globe as a soul/R&B powerhouse. The documentary follows her career and her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in 2013.
Update:I watched this on Friday via Exodus and loved it! There’s a scene when Sharon goes home after her surgery and sings at her church. Needing comfort and support from her friends and her faith, Sharon puts everything she has into her song. It’s very moving as she is moved and exhausted from the performance. Miss Jones will be missed but we have her music to remind us of her immense talent. You can stream this on Specto, 1 Channel and The Royal We
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.
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years
I’m a rabid Beatles fan and for me, you can never say enough about the band that changed popular music forever. This film by award winning director Ron Howard and still Richie Cunningham in my books, covers The Beatles from 1962 up until they stopped touring in 1966. There’s plenty of behind the scenes footage of the Fab Four preparing for shows as well as live stuff that showcases what a finely tuned live performance band these guys really were. There’s interviews with authors, musicians and celebrities describing what it was like to see The Beatles at that time and what the band meant to them. There’s also current interviews from the two remaining Beatles (Paul and Ringo), both beginning to look the statesmen in their 70’s after all. There’s also interviews unearthed from the archives with Gorge and John. If you didn’t know, this Documentary is available now via Phoenix->One242415->New Releases. It’s well worth your time, check it out
In A Valley of Violence
The Magnificent Seven is weak! This is the Western I want to see! Starring Ethan Hawk and John Travolta, this is the story of a town that picks a fight with the wrong drifter. It’s all fun and games until you shoot a mans dog, then may god have mercy on your soul. Does the plot sound a little familiar? Well it should cause this is a classic western tale and I can’t wait to see it!
**UPDATE: Nov. 6** I watched A Valley of Violence last night using Exodus and I really enjoyed it! If you like your westerns smothered in spaghetti, then this is right up your alley. From the Theme song and the graphics, all the way down to the plot, this movie pays homage to the classics that paved the way for the genre. Ethan Hawk is great as the drifter and John Travolta plays a salty plainsman caught between a rock and a hard place. Much like country and western music, there’s nothing in the plot that will surprise you. It’s obvious to a fault, which plays to its charm. I even got misty when the dog died. I hope you give it a chance.
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.