TV Diary

Britain’s Best Home Cook

If you’re lamenting the fact that you’re all out of Great British Baking Show episodes have I got the show for you. There are two seasons of this show on Hulu. It is very much in the vein of the Great British Baking Show though it involves both baking and cooking. Mary Berry is even one of the judges! It has the same sort of gentle rhythms of the Great British Baking Show with watching pleasant British people cook and be encouraging and helpful to each other. There are three rounds. In the first one, the Ultimate, the cooks have to cook their ultimate of something that they get to plan and practice ahead of time. In the rustle up round they get presented an ingredient that they have to use as the highlight of their dish on the fly. Then the final round, the eliminator, only the cooks who have not done well enough in the first rounds participate. It’s a little bit like the technical challenge in GBBS in that they’re given a recipe and whoever cooks it least well is eliminated. A woman named Claudia Winkleman is the host and I like her more than all of the hosts that have ever been on GBBS. They made some changes in the show between seasons 1 and 2. Most of them were for the better, though I liked the original parameters of the rustle up round better.

The Queen’s Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit is a quick 7 episode series on Netflix based on the book of the same name. It’s about an orphaned girl in the 1950s and 1960s who is taught to play chess by the janitor at her orphanage and turns out to be a real prodigy. She also deals with addiction issues that were created by pills given to her during her time in the orphanage. It’s a really engaging show that I liked a whole lot even though there are long sequences of people playing chess which I know next to nothing about. It has a lot of real fashion porn too. Once she starts getting money from winning chess tournaments and ups her wardrobe I want like everything she is wearing. My book club has decided to read the book this is based on for our next meeting, so I’ll be curious to see how they compare to each other.

Dash and Lily

This was a cute Netflix Christmas show based on a YA novel. Dash and Lily are teenagers that are both alone for Christmas for various reasons. She decides to leave a diary with dares in it for someone to find in the Strand Bookstore. You just have to go with the hand wavey part that would result in a teenage boy being the one to pick this book out and take up the challenge. They then correspond with each other back and forth through the book and encourage each other to grow and expand their horizons. It’s exactly the kind of show I’m looking for this time of year.

Over Christmas

Over Christmas is a 3 episode German show on Netflix about a guy who moved out of his small town to pursue a music career in Berlin, but it’s not going as well as he had hoped. Now he’s returned home for Christmas where he discovers that his brother is dating his ex-girlfriend and his parents have been keeping a big secret from him. He also winds up connecting with his brother’s high school girlfriend so it’s a rom com too. Given how much of a jerk he is at the end, things probably get resolved a bit too quickly and neatly but overall I enjoyed it and would recommend watching if you like this kind of thing and don’t mind subtitles.

How to with John Wilson

It’s hard to figure out how to describe this HBO comedy show. The six season first season just finished and I really liked it. John Wilson tackles a different topic in each episode including things like scaffolding, how to split a check, how to make small talk, and how to make the perfect risotto. You never see his face, but the whole thing is dry voiceover over footage, mostly of New York City, that is created in a dry, humorous way. The last episode which was obviously mid-filming when the pandemic hit took a whole different turn because of that which made it really interesting. I’ve never watched the show Nathan for You, but I’ve heard other people compare this show to that so maybe that bit of info will mean something to you and help you decide if this show is for you.

Deaf U

I thought this show about students at Gallaudet University would be more akin to shows like Last Chance U and Cheer, but it was not anywhere near as good as those shows. Those other shows brought you into a culture in a way that helped you understand it more and felt like a realistic look into the lives of the kids they were following. Deaf U was more sensationalistic. It was like look at deaf college kids. They drink and have sex too! There were a lot of conversations that felt like they were very set up for the camera too as people would just walk up to each other and jump right into these huge issues without any preamble. I could be wrong, but it seems like the filmmakers found out about these things and then told the kids to talk about them on camera. It felt very forced at times. It also gave me very little information that would help me understand deaf culture of life at Gallaudet. There was a little bit about “deaf elites”, but even that wasn’t explored that much. There was nothing about Gallaudet as school. There were no scenes inside the classroom or talk about what makes Gallaudet different from other universities or why someone would want to go there. It was a very disappointing show.

Doom Patrol

Since Doom Patrol moved from DC Universe to HBO Max and it stars my tv boyfriend Matt Bomer I decided to give it a chance. Unfortunately most of the time his pretty, pretty face is covered in bandages. What is even the point? There were some things I liked about it, but by the end of the first season it had a hard time keeping my interest. The episodes were too long and the first season was three episodes too long. I’m not sure I’m going to bother with the second season or any additional seasons that are made beyond that.

B Positive

B Positive is the newest Chuck Lorre sitcom on CBS this season. It stars Thomas Middleditch as a sort of schlubby guy who is recently divorced and has just found out that he needs a kidney transplant. Annaleigh Ashford plays the high school acquaintance he runs into at a wedding who drunkenly promises him a kidney. For reasons she actually agrees to go through with it which means he has to help keep her clean from drugs and alcohol for three months so she can actually donate it. There’s a lot of side characters too with Sarah Rue as his ex-wife, a teenage daughter, the people he sees at dialysis, and the people in the old folks home where Annaleigh Ashford’s character works. It’s not a great show, but I like those actors and it keeps me entertained enough. I doubt it’s going to see longer than this season. I’m not really sure how the premise goes on longer than that.

Truth Seekers

This is a Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy horror show along the lines with what they’ve done previously in movies. Simon Pegg is only in about 1 minute of every episode as Nick Frost’s boss at an internet company called Smyle. Nick Frost plays a network installer/repair person for the company. There always seem to be some sort of horror mystery involved in whatever job they’re on and eventually it ties into a larger story. It was fine. If you like other Pegg/Frost projects you’ll probably like this well enough.

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