*I apologize for the delay in posting. I should have written this before New Year’s Eve.
Loki: Tom Hiddleston shines once more as Loki, the complicated immortal who has become much more than the standard antagonist. Forced into new circumstances, he goes on a journey that forever changes him.
Ordinary Joe: This new NBC series is the story of one man and three distinct life paths before him. Told concurrently and using different colors for each decision, is is a reminder of how one choice can affect the rest of our lives.
The Book of Boba Fett: This latest entry into the Star Wars universe from DisneyPlus just premiered on December 29th. Though only two episodes have been released, it is already asking questions that are begging for answers.
Behind Her Eyes: Based on the book by Sarah Pinborough, this six part Netflix series about a married man’s affair with his secretary has a delicious ending that is jaw dropping and completely out of left field. Few endings have wowed me as this did.
When we travel, we do more than step out of our comfortable bubbles. We see the world from another perspective and perhaps learn from that perspective.
The new Masterpiece/PBS series, Around the World in 80 Days, is an eight-episode miniseries based on the Jules Vernebook of the same name. The program stars David Tennant as Phileas Fogg, Ibrahim Koma as Passepartout, and Leonie Benesch as Abigail “Fix” Fortescue. Their goal (as explained by the title), is to travel to different parts of the globe and return to England within 80 days of their departure date.
To be clear, I have not read the book. I have heard of it, but it has yet to be on my TBR list. This review is based solely on the television program.
The problem is that whatever it is that should hook me in is missing. Maybe it’s because I’m not really a fan of Verne or his books. Or maybe it’s that I was just bored.
Do I recommend it? No.
Around the World in 80 Days airs on PBS on Sunday nights at 8PM.
When we watch home renovation shows, it appears that the process is quick and easy with very little stress. The truth is that it is a process that is time consuming, expensive, and riddled with potential problems.
This Old House has been part of the PBS schedule since 1979. The OG of this genre of television, it was originally hosted by Bob Vila. The program follows the craftspeople as they rebuild a house that appears to be past its prime. Unlike other shows of this nature, it is informational and takes multiple episodes, if not an entire season to give the building new life.
While other reality shows that also focus on property restoration are flashy and Hollywood-ized, This Old House is down to earth. It may come off as boring, but I would wager that someone who is interested in this topic would the show fascinating.
We all know the basic narrative of a biography. The subject was born on x date, accomplished certain things, and died on y date. Once this skeleton is in place, it is up to the writer(s) or creative team to ensure that whoever this person is, they are brought to life in full color, flaws and all.
American Masters has been on the PBS schedule since 1986. This long-running and award-winning documentary series tells the story of American artists, writers, actors, dancers, filmmakers, etc. What these people have in common is that they have left a lasting cultural mark on our nation.
I enjoy this series. It goes beyond the surface, revealing the real person behind the icon. In doing so, the viewer not only gets to know the subject, but perhaps also changes their opinion about whom they have perceived them to be.
Rita Moreno is more than an icon. She is a trailblazer who opened the door for non-POC performers to not only have a career, but to play roles than were more than the servant or the background character. She also dealt with mental illness and lived to tell the tale.
Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It premiered a couple of weeks ago on the PBS series American Masters. The documentary follows her life and career from her early days playing “ethnic” characters to her current status as one of the most respected performers in Hollywood. Best known for her role as Anita in 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story, it was one of the first (if not the first) fully fleshed out Latino characters on the big screen. Up until that point, Latinx performers either had to hide who they were (a la Rita Hayworth) or play a stereotypical characters ( e.g. Carmen Miranda).
While I was not surprised that she was sexually assaulted. Then, as now, women are still seen as sex objects to be used and thrown away when our usefulness outside of the bedroom has vanished. What I was surprised is that she has lived with mental health problems for decades and survived a suicide attempt. I found her honesty to be refreshing and comforting. It was as if she was saying “I did it, you can too”.
If I could, I would send an invite to watch this film to anyone whose life is complicated by mental illness. If it provides one person at least a brief respite from the mess in our heads and the push to ask for help, I would be satisfied.
Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It is available for streamingon the PBS website.
When someone dies, it may appear that everything they knew was lost when they passed. But if we look closely enough, what they left behind speaks to us as much as the person themselves.
Secrets of the Dead has been on the PBS schedule since 2000. In this documentary series, each episode examines one person or moment in history using the known facts and the objects that stand in for the subject. Part scientific/archeological study and part true-life story, this program is ideal combination of educational and entertaining.
I find this series to be fascinating. It balances the history and the drama to present as much as a complete story as possible. Bringing these people and these worlds back to life, the audience is treated to a compelling drama and a time in history in which they may not have not had all of the facts.
I love this series. Schama obviously knows and loves this subject, but does not present it in a way that boring or academic. It is vibrant, alive, and relatable to our time. Regardless of faith or knowledge of the topic, the viewer (at least I did) will learn without realizing it.
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.
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.