Winter 2019/2020 TV Diary

Before we get full force into the new mid-season shows I thought I would do a roundup of the things I’ve been watching over the past few months.

The Great British Baking Show

Hi, it’s me the last person on the planet to watch this show and tell you how wonderful The Great British Baking Show is. I think literally every person I know told me I had to watch this show because I love to bake. I don’t watch too much reality television including cooking shows aside from an occasional episode of Chopped on an airplane or in a hotel, so I just ignored everyone for a very long time. I finally broke down and decided to start watching because I needed a show I could download from Netflix to my iPad to watch on a cross country flight. I thought this show would make great plane fare. It did and as it turns out great fare any time. I love how good natured the show is. I don’t care for all the false bravado and meanness that Americans seem to think needs to go into all their competition shows. I love how the other contestants will try and help each other out instead of someone else’s mishaps just being a way to make sure they get to move ahead in the competition. Aside from usually one or two people at the beginning who generally get kicked out fairly quickly each season I like all the contestants on this show and quickly get sad when any of them has to leave. Plus everything sounds so delicious. Even though I like to bake I would never make it on this show because I don’t like to get that complicated and I definitely don’t do decorations.

Schitt’s Creek

I just finished a binge watch of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix in time to watch the final season on PopTV. I hadn’t watched it up to this point because it didn’t seem like something I would be interested in. I was never a big fan of the movies like Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind and Best in Show that Eugene Levy helped write and star in as he does this show. Plus I have never cared for the one character that Chris Elliot plays in everything he stars in, so I just discounted this show. Then with the lead up to the new season I just kept seeing people raving about it and decided to finally give it a try. Chris Elliot still does nothing for me, but I can overlook him because the rest of the show is great. Man this show does an incredible job of threading a crazy needle of somehow both writing a show full of characters that are to a large degree caricatures while also creating a show with the biggest heart and the most amazing little emotional moments. There are so many moments that are just little gestures or looks that the characters give that just melt my heart. It’s crazy how much real sentiment these characters can convey without saying a word when their characters are so over the top unrealistic. David and Patrick’s relationship of course is the best. I also love David’s friendship with Stevie. I adore how Patrick and Stevie sometimes gang up on David to make fun of his particular crazy, but nothing about it seems mean spirited. I think my favorite part of the whole show so far is the pointing gesture and thumbs up Stevie gives to David at the end of the scene that starts at 1:26 in this video. (Sorry I couldn’t find the scene on it’s own or get the YouTube video to start at the right time stamp when embedding it.)  I never expected to like this show as much as I do. Now I’m already sad that it’s almost over.

Soundtrack

Soundtrack is a super gimmicky show on Netflix. Each episode involves the characters breaking out into elaborate lip syncs to pop songs to express their feelings. Each episode is about an hour long and I felt like it would have been a much stronger show if they had made it a 45 minute show and cut out the terrible (and I really mean terrible) lip syncing numbers. They didn’t add anything to the story and did I mention that no one on this show can actually lip sync well? It’s a shame because I actually did mostly enjoy the rest of the show which followed several characters back in forth in present day and the past when two of the characters met and fell in love. Which characters the show focuses on changes in each episode. It’s not a bad watch, but I would recommend just saving yourself some time and fast forwarding through all the lip syncing scenes.

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings is an anthology series on Netflix with episodes based on Dolly Parton songs. Some of them were better than others. They’re all super saccharine and even less offensive than a Hallmark movie. I’m not sure I would say any of them are particularly good, but I felt compelled to watch them all anyway.

Home for Christmas

I started watching Home for Christmas on Netflix thinking it was a Christmas movie, but it turns out it was actually a 6 episode tv series in Norwegian no less. We realized pretty quickly it was dubbed in English so changed the settings to get subtitles instead because I refuse to watch things that are dubbed. It was an enjoyable little rom-com series about a nurse named Johanne whose family is obsessed with her finding a boyfriend so she lies and says she’s dating someone and will bring him home for Christmas. Now she only has a few weeks to find someone to fill the role. I’m not sure I loved the way they chose to end it, but overall I found it a very pleasant show to watch. You can save it for next Christmas or just watch it as a winter treat. I don’t feel like it’s so over the top Christmasy that you couldn’t enjoy it at other times of year.

Spinning Out

If you can get over the terrible American accent the lead, who is actually British, is doing then Spinning Out is a very enjoyable show. The tagline says it’s The Cutting Edge meets I, Tonya and I would say it’s pretty accurate. Kat is a former singles figure skater who had a terrible fall during a competition that has left her spooked and unable to compete or even pass the test to become a coach. Now she has one last chance to save her skating career by trying her hand at pairs skating with rich, playboy Justin. Her younger sister Serena is also an up and coming skater. Both Kat and her mother played by January Jones are bipolar which adds another layer to the show. I’m only 3 or 4 episodes in at this point, but I really like it so far.

Succession

I never watched Succession when it started because I heard how every character on it is unlikable, which is not something I like in a tv show. It’s why I quit watching Scandal pretty early on in its run. But everyone seemed so obsessed with it after the second season, even critics who normally share my distaste of shows that only feature abhorrent people, that I decided to give it a try. I’ve only seen two episodes so far. Everyone is terrible, and I’m not yet hooked. I might give it a few more episodes, but I’m not sure this show is for me.

Dare Me

Dare Me is a new show on USA based on a YA novel by Megan Abbott. I’ve read some of her stuff and not loved a lot of it. I haven’t read this particular book, but the tv adaptation has the same trappings of the things I don’t generally care for in her books. It’s about a high school cheerleading squad whose former captain is at odds with the new coach. You know there’s a murder that happens at some point, but you don’t really know who is involved yet. It’s all a lot of drama and terrible people. There have been two episodes so far. I don’t love it and can see it falling by the wayside as shows I’m more interested in start to come back in the next few weeks.

 

 

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