Category Archives: TV Review

Throwback Thursday- Property Brothers: Buying + Selling (2012 to Present)

The process of preparing your home to be sold so you can buy another requires that the homeowner put their best home foot forward.

Property Brothers: Buying+ Selling has aired on HGTV since 2012. The premise of the program is that brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott step in to help the subject of each episode with the home buying process. But before the house can be sold, it requires some sort of renovation. While this renovation is being done, the homeowners are looking at potential new homes. At the end of each episode, the homeowner’s current home (post renovation) is sold and they will be moving into a new home.

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I have mixed feelings about the reality genre in general. This show, however, I like. It has enough of a high stakes drama to it, but it is not so derogatory that I feel my brain cells dying while I am watching it.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Insane Pools (2015-Present)

For some, having your standard square shaped pool on their property is just fine. But for others, they want a little more when it comes to their pool. That is where Lucas Lagoons comes in.

Since 2015, the crew at Lucas Lagoons has been creating fantastic pools for their clients on the Animal Planet show Insane Pools. This reality program follows Lucas Congdon and his staff as they meet with clients and create the pools of their client’s dreams.

This show is an interesting one for me. As a writer and a human being, I’ve always been curious about the creative process for any artist. Creating these pools requires a certain amount of artistry and talent. It’s not just digging a hole in the ground, filling it with cement and then filling it with water. It takes a creative mind to create the kinds of pools that will wow clients and keep them swimming in their pools for years to come.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (2016-Present)

For the most part, late night TV has been a boys game. Only a handful of women have been able to be successful in the genre.

Samantha Bee is one of them.

Her late night talk show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee premiered in 2016 on TBS and has been a smash hit ever since. Combining news with satire, social commentary and a biting feminist wit, Bee presents the news of the day with a perspective that I believe is sorely needed.

I am huge fan of this show. Bee is smart, inquisitive and incredibly funny. This show is the perfect antidote to the staid and sometimes scary news that tells the story of our era.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Howards End/Sanditon Review

Classic and beloved novels are easy targets for stage and screen reboots. The question that fans have to ask is if these reboots hold up to the text.

Last night, the new adaptations of Howards End and Sanditon premiered on Masterpiece.

Based on the E.M. Foster novel, Howards End is the story of the intermingling of three families in the early 20th century in England. The Wilcoxes are upper class, the Schlegels are middle class and the Basts are lower class. With a cast led by Hayley Atwell and Matthew Macfadyen, this story of cross-class differences and secrets is bound to delight audiences.

I have a confession to make: I have heard of the book, but I have never read it. That will soon be remedied. In the meantime, I was completely taken in by the first episode and as of now, I plan on completing the series.

Sanditon was started by Jane Austen just months before she died. An eleven chapter fragment of a novel, respected television writer Andrew Davies continued where Austen left off. Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) is part Elizabeth Bennet and part Catherine Morland. The daughter of a large landed gentry family from the country, Charlotte is young and eager to spread her wings.

When an offer comes her way to visit Sanditon, an up and coming seaside resort, she immediately says yes. But Sanditon is a different world than the world she grew up in. One of the people she meets is Sydney Parker (Theo James, who played the infamous Mr. Pamuk on Downton Abbey), the brooding and sometimes rude younger brother of the couple who she is staying with.

For many Austen fans, Sanditon is a what-if experience. With only eleven chapters completed, we can only guess what the completed novel would have looked like. As an adaptation, so far, I have to say that I am impressed.

Like his previous Jane Austen adaptation, Davies knows when to stick to the script and when to add a little something extra.

What I liked about the series so far is that unlike most Austen heroines, Charlotte’s main reason for going to Sanditon is not to find a husband. Most of her heroines (with the exception of Emma Woodhouse) are motivated to marry because of family pressure and/or financial needs. Charlotte goes to Sanditon to see the world and experience life outside of the family that she grew up in. She is also curious about the world and shows interest in certain subjects that would not be deemed “appropriate” for a woman of this era.

I really enjoyed the first two episodes. It is a love letter to Austen fans and contains plenty of Easter eggs if one knows where to look.

I recommend both.

Howards End and Sanditon air on PBS on Sundays nights at 8:00 and 9:00 respectively.

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Filed under Books, Downton Abbey, Feminism, Jane Austen, Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday-Kids Baking Championship (2015-Present)

Excellence in a specific area in adulthood requires years of hard work and study. Excellence in this same area as a child is something to cherish.

Kids Baking Championship has aired on Food Network since 2015. Hosted and judged by Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli, this competition reality show puts its young contestants through their paces. Judged on their dishes based on presentation, taste, and quality, at the end of the season, one contestant is named the winner.

I don’t watch this show very often, but when I do, I am impressed. The level of skill, passion, and talent that these kids have is impressive. I also appreciate that because of the age of the contestants, there is a gentler approach to the competition.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday: My Lottery Dream Home (2015-Present)

Winning the lottery can be described as wishful thinking. We often say “I will do x when I win the lottery or I will buy y when I win the lottery”. But for a lucky few that do win a significant amount of money, it can be life changing.

My Lottery Dream Home has aired on HGTV since 2015. The premise of the show is that the home buyers have won a significant amount of money playing the lottery. With their winnings, they are looking to purchase a new home. Host David Bromstad takes the home buyers to three potential new homes. At the end of each episode, a decision is made as to which house they will buy.

Watching this show is akin to wishful thinking becoming a reality. It’s as if the viewer is living vicariously through that episode’s subjects. What makes this show so curious and compelling is the question as to which home the buyers will choose.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday: Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet (2015-2019?)

Taking your pet to the veterinarian is akin to taking your child to the pediatrician. It it sometimes not easy and may force you to make a difficult decision.

Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet has been on the Animal Planet schedule since 2015. The shows follows the professional life of Dr. Jeff Young and his staff as they treat their furry and scaly patients in their Colorado Veterinarian office.

Warning: the video shows graphic imagery of surgery. Watch at your own risk if you are squeamish.

I like this program. Though it has not be confirmed if it has been renewed for another season, it is an interesting look at a professional world that few of us have an window on.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Fashion Emergency (1997-1999)

A makeover is more than changing your physical appearance. If done right, the makeover could change your life.

Fashion Emergency aired on E! from 1997-1999. Hosted by Emme, the late Leon Hall, and Brenda Cooper, the premise of the show was to do makeovers on the ordinary John and Jane Does.

At the time, Fashion Emergency was the only show of its kind on the air. It was almost captivating to see the transformation of each episode’s subjects. Looking back, I can see how rote the show became, but nevertheless, it was still interesting.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Flashback Friday-Bug Juice (1998-2001)

When we are young, summer camp is not just two months of relaxation, fun, and friends. We grow up in ways during those months that we do not expect to grow up.

Bug Juice aired on the Disney Channel from 1998-2001. It was a reality show that followed campers and their counselors during their time at summer camp.

Most reality shows are brain drains. They are mindless, dumb and cater to our worst sensibilities as human beings. But Bug Juice was different. Granted, it was aimed at the Disney Channel audience, all of whom were young kids and their parents. Among reality shows, then and now, this program actually lived up to the name of the genre. It actually told the story of the subjects without resorting to lowball dramatic tactics for the sake of ratings.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Joey (2004-2006)

When a popular television program ends, it is tempting for both fans and Hollywood producers to consider the idea of a spinoff.

In 2004, Friends went off the air after ten years on television. In the fall of that year, a spinoff debuted. Matt LeBlanc had his own show, Joey (2004-2006). In the show, Joey Tribbiani (LeBlanc) moves to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time. He moves into an apartment purchased by his sister, Gina (Drea de Matteo) and starts to build a relationship with his nephew, Michael (Paul Costanzo).

If I am, to be honest, I give this show an A for effort. The creative team did everything they could to replicate the level of television success that Friends had. But there was something missing from this show that I cannot put my finger on.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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