Category Archives: TV Review

The Story of Late Night Review

For many of us, our day ends with a late night talk show.

The new six part CNN series, The Story of Late Night, takes viewers through the history of late night television. It started as a way to fill the air time after the primetime shows and turned into a completely new genre. Initially headlined by television legends Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson, these programs have kept the country laughing for 70+ years. While being introduced (or re-introduced, depending on your age) to these television personalities, the audience is given back stage tour to the places and people that were not in front of the camera.

I enjoyed the first episode. It was educational, but not in a stuffy or academic way. It was both a learning experience and a good laugh. One of the hosts I was surprised to learn about is Faye Emerson. My impression of the era was that men were the face of the genre, women worked behind the scenes or were part of the act. Knowing that she led her own show was a lovely surprise.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Story of Late Night airs on CNN on Sunday nights at 9PM.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Television, TV Review

Chef Boot Camp

At some point in our professional lives, it is easy to forget why we chose that job. There are two paths to take. One would be to change careers. The other is to re-discover what inspired us to join that profession in the first place.

On the new Food Network series, Chef Boot Camp, each episode focuses on three chefs who have lost their cooking mojo. The owners of the restaurants where these chefs work have reached a breaking point. Under the tutelage of Chef Cliff Brooks, they will be forced to learn new dishes and hopefully re-ignite their love of being in the kitchen. If they are not able to succeed, they may find themselves out of a job.

I find this program to be interesting. Though it is a reality show, it feels like it extends into real life because the consequences of what happens on the show extend long after the credits roll.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Chef Boot Camp airs on Food Network on Thursday at 10PM.

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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Review

*Warning: the post contains spoilers about the end of the third season. Read at your own risk if you are still catching up.

The anticipated release of a new season of a favorite television series is both exciting and nerve wracking. It has to build on the narrative of the previous seasons while opening the door to wherever the new season may go.

The 4th season of The Handmaid’s Tale premiered on Wednesday on Hulu.

The first episode starts off right where the 3rd season ended. The plane full of women and children has safely landed in Canada. In Gilead, the repercussions of June/Offred’s (Elisabeth Moss) rebellion have created a ripple effect. She has become a Moses like figure to the fugitive handmaids who are desperate for freedom. The authorities in Gilead have a different take on her actions and have deemed her to be enemy #1.

In Canada, Commander and Serena Joy Waterford (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) are in the custody of the government and bickering. Meanwhile, June/Offred’s husband, Luke Bankhole (O-T Fagbenle) and her friends who are refugees, are dealing with the consequences of her actions from another angle.

So far, the first three episodes are fantastic. It is dark, gripping, and completely intoxicating. Next Wednesday and episode 4 cannot come soon enough.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Handmaid’s Tale is available for streaming on Hulu. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Hulu, Television, TV Review

Bargain Block Review

Anyone in the world of real estate can tell you that having one long standing empty property on a street brings the value of the entire block down. Multiply that by many streets in a neighborhood and a city and that is much bigger issue to contend with.

On the new HGTV series, Bargain Block, the audience follows Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas as they bring Detroit back to life by buying run down homes, renovating them, and then selling at an affordable price.

Starts at :19

Though the format is standard for this channel and this genre, I like that Keith and Evan are giving back to the community instead of just running a business.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Bargain Block airs on HGTV on Wednesdays at 9PM.

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No Demo Reno Review

Anyone who is fan of the home renovation show knows that a major part of the process is taking the property down to the studs before rebuilding it.

The new HGTV show, No Demo Reno, is out to prove otherwise. Hosted by Jennifer Todryk (whose is known for her trademark red hair half down and half up in a bun), renovates her client’s homes without the hassle and stress that comes with demolition.

I find the premise of fixing up one’s home without completely destroying it first is interesting. But the truth is that after a couple of episodes I was bored. As much as I enjoy this type of show, it is a little too formulaic for me.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

No Demo Reno airs on Thursday Night at 8PM on HGTV.

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Great Performances: Romeo & Juliet Review

Romeo and Juliet is one of those plays that we all know. The convergence of young love, hate, and violence come together in a potent mix that has been irresistible to audiences for centuries.

Last night, Great Performances aired a new adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Starring Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley as our iconic lovers, the play is set on a sparsely decorated theater stage.

This production is fantastic. Emphasizing the narrative and the emotions of the characters, it is one of the best re-creations I have seen in a long time. It also, in my mind, proves that one does need to clothe the actors in Elizabethan era costumes or film somewhere in Europe that looks like 16th century Italy to be true to the text.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Romeo & Juliet can be watched on the Great Performances website.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Television, TV Review, William Shakespeare

Flashback Friday: The Kitchen (2014-Present)

There is nothing like getting together with friends. Adding food into the mix can only make the experience more pleasurable.

The Food Network series, The Kitchen, has been on the air since 2014. Five celebrity chefs (Katie Lee, Alex Guarnaschelli, Sunny Anderson, Jeff Mauro, and Geoffrey Zakarian) chit chat about life as they each create a dish based on a specific theme or style of cooking.

This is one of those shows that I will watch just because I feel the need to turn the television on. I am not a foodie, so watching a straight up cooking show is not my idea must see TV. After 7 years of being on the air, there is obviously a loyal following. But I am not one of them. It’s fine a program, but it is not for me.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday: Holmes and Holmes (2016-Present)

Living with family can be hard enough sometimes. Working with them, depending on the situation, has the potential to be ten times harder

The HGTV show, Holmes and Holmes follows the Mike Holmes and his son, Mike Jr., as they rebuild their client’s homes. Sometimes joined by Mike’s daughter Sherry, the viewer follows the family as go through the sometimes arduous process of creating their customer’s ideas of housing perfection.

At the end of the day, this is just another reality home renovation program. What makes it stand out is the unique dynamic that only comes from family.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

My Grandparent’s War Review

The past has much to teach us, if we are willing to listen.

The new four part miniseries, My Grandparent’s War premiered last night on PBS. This four part series follows four prominent British actors as they learn about what their grandparents went through during World War II. In the first episode, Helena Bonham Carter explores wartime experiences of her paternal grandmother Helen Violet Bonham Carter and her maternal grandfather Eduardo Propper de Callejón. The next three episodes tell the family histories of Mark Rylance, Carey Mulligan, and Kristin Scott Thomas.

I truly enjoyed the program. If nothing else, it was just a reminder that that more things change, the more they stay the same. The generation that lived through and survived World War II will soon be gone from this Earth. It is therefore, incumbent upon us to hear their stories in whatever form we can.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

My Grandparent’s War airs on Sunday night at 8PM on PBS.

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Atlantic Crossing Review

A mother’s love for her children and a royal’s love of their country is one and the same.

The new PBS/Masterpiece historical drama, Atlantic Crossing, premiered last night. Based on a true story, it starts in 1939. Martha, the Crown Princess of Norway (Sofia Helin) is touring the United States with her husband, Olav, the Crown Prince of Norway (Tobias Santelmann). One of the events on their itinerary is having lunch with the President and First Lady, Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt (Kyle MacLachlan and Harriet Sansom Harris). FDR seems to be taken by the Princess.

A year later, Martha’s idyllic life ends World War II explodes and the Germans invade Norway. While her husband and father-in-law stay protect the nation, Martha and her children first escape to her native Sweden before traveling to the United States. Taking refuge within the walls of the White house, she start to advocate for her native land. This advocacy could be damaging in two equally important areas: her marriage and the tenuous world politics of the era.

The first episode is absolutely brilliant. Helin is perfectly cast as Martha, who could have easily been a shrinking violet, relying on the men around her. But she is smart, tough, and passionate. I wasn’t sure about the casting of MacLachlan and Sansom Harris (who also played the same role in the Netflix series Hollywood) as FDR and Eleanor. But upon seeing the full scene, the spiritual representations of these giants of American history seem to be so far pretty good.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Atlantic Crossing airs on PBS Sunday night at 9PM.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Netflix, Politics, Television, TV Review