24 June 2024

Whatcha Watchin'?

 In my Friday post, I mentioned that we are enjoying YouTube TV. And we especially enjoyed it this past weekend, when we pretty much stayed inside, avoiding the 90-degree-Fahrenheit/humidity weather. We've been watching a lot of things we liked, so I thought I'd see also what you have been watching.*

So here are some of things we've watched/been watching recently that we really enjoy(ed).

Hacks. We are nearly finished with the third season, which makes me sad because I love this show so much. Ever since the show "Designing Women," I have really liked Jean Smart, and she is brilliant in this show as an older female comedian who wants to remain relevant. So her agent sends Ava, a much younger, very woke comedy writer as the answer. Their relationship is antagonistic, sarcastic, abusive sometimes, and well, funny. The young woman who plays Ava is really good, and for those of you who were early watchers of "Saturday Night Live," she is the daughter of Laraine Newman.

What We Do In The Shadows. Words can barely describe my love for this show, which follows a group of vampires and the familiar of one of them, living in a house in current day Staten Island, New York (or as they often refer to it, "The Isle of Staten"). There's also a movie that was made before the show which is quite funny, but the show is fabulous. Each character is perfect. And one of my favorite things in the show is that one of the secondary characters has a Golden Retriever, which all of them refer to as "The Hellhound." I don't know when/if it's returning for another season, but there are six seasons to go through anyway.

Saving Private Ryan. This is of course an "older" movie, but we decided to re-watch it on the anniversary of D-Day. And in a lot of ways, I got more out of it the second time around. It's a hard movie to watch, but it really makes you appreciate how average people who had up until then lived regular lives ended up being citizen-soldiers in what was a brutal exercise. They had to do things that most of them probably never ever considered they would have to do in the course of their lifetimes. It's also interesting how many people who are more well-known now had roles in the movie.

Son of a Critch. Mark Critch (a well-known Canadian comedian) has written this series that is a version of his childhood. Young Mark is growing up in St. John's, Newfoundland, where his father (played by the grown-up version) works at a local radio station. Mark likes school well enough, but his real dream is to be a comedian. Something that doesn't really sit well with the nuns who teach him, and that a lot of his peers just think is plain weird. It's a funny and sweet show, and especially if you have any familiarity with St. John's, attending Catholic schools, or being a "weirdo" to your classmates, you will especially appreciate Mark. Malcolm McDowell (remember him?) is pretty funny as Mark's grandfather, who lives with the family.

Abbott Elementary. OK, this is on network TV, so there's a good chance that you have at least heard of it. It's about a group of teachers in a Philadelphia public school, and we think it's hilarious. You don't need to be a teacher, or in Philadelphia to appreciate it, but I have to say, it doesn't hurt, either! The Tim was a permanent substitute for two years in one of the city public schools, teaching 5th grade, and he says that of course it's really nothing like what the show is, but it does include the types of characters you deal with, and the frustrations that come up. The characters are all good, and they are all versions of someone you know or have worked with in your life. Fun fact: Sheryl Lee Ralph, who plays Mrs. Howard, is married to a state senator here in Pennsylvania, Vincent Hughes.

Derry Girls. This show just ended its run, but it is worth finding and watching all three seasons. It's the story of a group of high schoolers coming of age in Derry during the 1990s, when The Troubles were still going strong. The characters are great, and you start to feel like you really know/knew these people (well, at least we did!). There's a lot of the typical teenage stuff, but it's so well-done, and the parents are really funny. Two of my favorite adult characters are Sister Michael, the principal of the high school who is just done with all of it, and Erin's Uncle Colm, who always starts one story but goes about 68 different directions before he finishes it. We all know or have an Uncle Colm in our lives, right? Also, Liam Neeson appears in the last season, and it's just absolutely brilliant!

The Great Pottery Throw Down. I know next to nothing about pottery, nor have I ever even attempted to try it. The Tim has some experience with it, but didn't really stick with it. Nonetheless, this is one of our favorite shows. The Tim likes seeing how/what they have to make, and I like it, as he says, "for all the wrong reasons." Basically, it's a reality show, where someone "leaves the pottery" each week, based on how they did completing the assigned projects. Here is where I admit that when something goes wrong for someone, it nearly does me in, laughing. Yes, I feel for them, and it's not like I could even get close to what they do, but it just puts me over the edge. Not just the potters, but the hosts - the one guy's hair just KILLS me, and his sport coats always look like they might burst their buttons. Anyway, I do have to say that it is interesting, because everyone gets the same assignment, but seeing how they decided to bring it to fruition is actually fascinating. Another fun fact: one of the hosts, Siobhan McSweeney, plays Sister Michael in "Derry Girls," mentioned right before this! Apparently this year, "The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down" started being broadcast, but we haven't seen that one yet.

Leave the World Behind. This movie came out last year, and I remembered reading about it, but didn't go out of my way to see it. Then The Tim said let's watch it, so we gave it a shot. And well, wow. It's unsettling and mysterious, and creepy, and makes you a bit uncomfortable in your own skin, especially if you are a white person. It definitely makes you realize how a massive cyberattack could literally turn the world upside down. I'm not a fan of Julia Roberts, but I have to say she was really good in this movie. It's one of those things I kept watching because I just had to see what happened, even if at the end, I wasn't sure ... And let me tell you, the next time I'm sitting on a beach and see a tanker ship in the distance, I'm keeping my eyes on that sucker!

Bodkin. This one just started. It's about a group of three people, two who are working on a popular U.S. true-crime podcast, and one an investigative reporter from London who is assigned to help them after one of her stories causes a whistleblower to commit suicide. They visit a small Irish town, where three people mysteriously disappeared years ago after a Samhain celebration. But things and people turn out to be much more complicated than expected, and it seems like maybe the story they are chasing is connected to something else more sinister. It's mysterious, and funny in parts, and I have a feeling that even if I suspect where it's headed, I could be terribly wrong.

Now, those last two are produced by the Obamas production company. Which we didn't realize until we started watching. But it just begged the question we always ask ourselves once again, which is: Why aren't we friends with the Obamas? They seem cool, and like they would be fun. They both seem to have good senses of humor. But do they ever call us to get together and do something? Nooooo. Oh well, I guess they are busier than we ever are. And they might not feel like hanging out with two older people, who knows? 😂

Anyway, let me know if you have watched any of these and what you thought about them. Also feel free to make recommendations, we always like hearing about shows and movies that others have tried.

Note: If you are one of those people who "don't own a TV" or "never ever watch it," feel free to say so. But please just say that. There's no need to annoy me with extra commentary about the moral superiority of not watching TV. Thanks.


Kim in Oregon said...

I'm eager to see Bodkin (I think we've seen most everything else you've seen!). The final two seasons of Pottery Throwdown aren't availably anywhere in the US, I don't think, which saddens me. I'll check out YouTubeTV for them though. We watched the Canadian one and Tim (the potter in the family) liked it a lot. I found it a bit not british enough.

KSD said...

Love "Abbott," "What We Do in the Shadows" kind of lost me in Season 2, "Saving Private Ryan" is a tough, tough but necessary watch.

Briton is a fan of "Hacks" --- I always think "Designing Women" when I see Jean Smart. He has just started "Derry Girls" and is enjoying it.

If y'all become friends with the Obama's and don't invite me to a potluck, we will need to have a word.

Araignee said...

I loved Derry Girls, Bodkin, Leave the World Behind and Hacks. Right now I'm catching up with the new seasons of House of Dragons and Dr. Who. I just finished Bridgerton (ho hum) but I LOVED the Queen Charlotte spin off. I liked The Tourist, Eric and Ripley but I had to be in the mood to watch them. They are pretty dark.

Nance said...

I watched Hacks, but on Max (now I sound like Dr. Seuss!). Love that show. Jean Smart is fantastic. And thanks for that info on Ava being Laraine Newman's daughter; I had no idea, but now I can see it.

Thanks to YouTubeTV, I can record and binge watch Abbot Elementary on my own time since it's not Rick's kind of show. As a teacher, I can appreciate so much of what it deals with--the lack of funds, the banter in the lounge, the principal being out of touch, etc.

I really tried to get into What We Do...but it was too campy for me. I appreciated the premise (and a few of the characters, like the guy who sucked the life out of people by being boring), but I couldn't stick with it.

As far as not owning a TV--sigh. I love being entertained. And taken places and shown things I wouldn't ordinarily go and see via documentaries and films. It's not just game shows and soap operas for the soft-minded.

Kym said...

LOVE Hacks. And What We Do in the Shadows (BAT!). And Abbott Elementary. And Derry Girls. And I have Bodkin on my list of things-to-watch. I've watched Saving Private Ryan . . . and it's very good but also very hard. I've also read and watched Leave the World Behind, and I was totally creeped out by both versions of the story. I think I might like the pottery show -- but haven't tried it. If you have YouTube TV, you might like a British game show called Taskmaster. It's . . . an acquired taste, and some seasons are better than others. But it is good, silly fun . . .

karen said...

we really enjoyed bodkin and hope there is a season two.

Roslyn said...

I grew up in Newfoundland and was a teenager in the 80's when the show is set. I remember a lot of the events that Mark Critch talks about in his book. I also remember hearing his Dad on the radio and seeing the house he lived in right next to the VOCM radio station. My husband went to the same high school at the time Mark was there. It's like a step back in time seeing the show.

I'll have to try to find Derry Girls to watch and What we do in the Shadows - both sound interesting to me.