Breathing Room: What Are You Streaming?

I don’t know about you but I have the sense things are about to snowball, and I don’t mean because there’s a lot of the white stuff out on my lawn.

There’s just so much on our plates right now between trying to carry on with our lives and yet hang back in safety because the pandemic continues. Too many balls in the air which must descend and yet our hands are already full.

We could use a little breathing room before things get hairier than they already are.

With that in mind, what is it you’re streaming these days if you’re a streaming platform user?

I finally caught a movie I’ve been meaning to watch since it released in 2018 — Fast Color, directed by Julia Hart featuring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, David Strathairn, and a youngster who will surely appear in many more films, Saniyya Sidney.

It’s an allegory about Black women and our changing world. I don’t want to spoil the film. I will only say that it’s a remarkably deft work making excellent use of a lean cast, a small number of settings, and in spite of it being a story about super powers, no heavy handed excess of CGI like Marvel or DC films.

It was perfect, not too much or too little. I’m sure I will watch it again. It’s currently on Netflix and Hulu though you can rent it on many other streaming platforms.

It wasn’t like the rest of my usual viewing which runs heavily toward Asian dramas (ex. Midnight Diner), documentary series about food and culture (ex. Taco Chronicles), with the occasional historical fiction series (ex. The Cook of Castamar).

What have you watched lately, and what are planning to watch in the near future?

For those of you who don’t stream, what are you viewing these days and how?

Not certain yet what I’m going to watch tonight. It may depend on what you have to say in comments.

I do know I’m going to be eating popcorn. Somebody bought me a microwave popcorn popper; it was shipped to me without any card or gift receipt so I have no idea who to thank for this groovy silicone device which I have used every day since I got it. No more prepackaged microwave popcorn with the funky chemicals and too much plastic packaging.

In two hours I’ll whip up another batch and find something suitable for breathing room.

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104 replies
  1. Badger Robert says:

    Recently we binged on Goliath, and did Don’t Look Up. Also the Power of the Dog: no cliches there.
    Did anyone else watch The Underground Railroad?

      • ducktree says:

        Now I might need to watch DLU again (using my sister’s Netflix account), but my recollection is that the project to deflect the asteroid was carried out by a private company (Bash something or other). Kind of like Musk’s efforts to populate/pollute the cosmos with exploding Tesla products. Any one . . . Buehler?

      • Leoghann says:

        I’d lay down my life to ensure my and all other Patriots’ freedom to watch an asteroid land on the sinful librels.

  2. BobCon says:

    You mentioned Midnight Diner on Netflix — it is my new favorite.

    It’s a Japanese show (English subtitles) about a tiny latenight diner in Tokyo, the owner/cook and the mix of regulars and random customers who show up between midnight and early morning.

    A lot of the customers are on the edges of Japanese society, and it focuses on different facets of trying to be human. Shows typically follow one or two customers as they negotiate a relationship or personal challenge. The pace is relaxed and unforced, and it’s very personal and character driven.

    And the scenes of Japanese food are great.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s wonderful, isn’t it? It’s like Cheers was back on 1980s television here, but far more intimate, and the writing is really tight — an conflict with denouement inside 20-25 minutes. Each episode a tasty morsel. I really wish there was more than just these 2-3 seasons, so addictive and we never learn enough about Master’s background.

      Agree about the food. It’s been educational; for example I had no idea there was such a thing as ‘cat rice’.

        • BobCon says:

          The premise is that the owner only has one dish on the menu but he’ll make things on request if he can. A lot of them, like cat rice, have some special meaning for customers which gets revealed eventually. Tons of home style favorites.

      • BobCon says:

        Cheers is a good comparison, although obviously not a pure sitcom. Netflix lists five seasons, but calls some of them Midnight Diner and some of them Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories for some reason.

    • Troy P says:

      My wife and I loved Midnight Diner. Sad that there was only two seasons. We have since discovered Chef’s Table. Each episode focuses on a single chef. Visually, the series is wonderful, especially for the food (but not just that).

      • YinzerInExile says:

        I believe that there were more than two seasons; Netflix also has a “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories”, that I think has two or three more seasons of material. Plus, there’s a movie version (which I have unfortunately been unable to find online).

        For a very serious — but stunningly good — alternative Japanese show, try the live-action version of “Erased” on Netflix. (There are also a number of animated versions, but the live-action one is the one we watched.)

        For two completely silly Japanese alternatives, try “Samurai Gourmet” and “Kantaro: The Sweet-Toothed Salaryman”. I think that both of those are on Netflix, as well.

        We visited Japan in 2010, for a two week stay that ran from the top of the country to the middle. When we landed in Philadelphia on our way back, our path to baggage claim took us on something of a skywalk over the commuter railroad tracks at Philadelphia International Airport that lead to Center City; parked on the tracks was a train, waiting for passengers to board. The train set was probably built in the 1970s, but could have been as old as the 1950s. Our then-15-year-old son took one look at the train, and turned to us and said, “I’m homesick for Japan”. (He’s on his way back there next month, as an officer in the Navy, assigned to a ship home-ported there, so I suppose his homesickness is about to be relieved.)

      • Rayne says:

        You might want to try the Ugly Delicious series in which Korean-American chef David Chang visits other chefs and restaurants, and the two Street Food series set in Asia and Latin America. The street food restaurants are awesome, capturing the essence of entrepreneurship as well as simple genius in cooking. Makes me wish we had a street food culture here so badly.

    • gmoke says:

      Sounds like people who like this program would like the anime “Tokyo Godfathers” by the great Satoshi Kon; “Sweet Bean,” about an older woman who helps out at a dorayaki (bean paste between fluffly pancakes) shop; “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” a documentary about a renowned sushi chef; and, of course, “Tampopo,” the original noodle Eastern, by another great, Juzo Itami, who, it seems, was killed by the yakuza because he kept on ridiculing them in his films.

  3. Duke says:

    Only Murders in the Building – Hulu.
    After that? My wife enjoys the TV more than I and time with her is time well lived. Both Steve Martin and Martin Short provide quality distraction for the moment.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m about half way through OMitB. I’m not certain but it’s not quite working for me. I’ll try to pick it up again in another month.

      • Artemesia says:

        we sort of hit a bump early with OMITB. but went back to it and it improves as it moves along. I assume the ending is a set up for the next series. Gomez and Martin are so fun to watch — I could use less Martin Short.

  4. Peterr says:

    I don’t do streaming, but that could be in my future as Google Fiber is shutting down their television cable operation.

    In the meantime, I find myself migrating to the Food Network and Cooking Channel when I need breathing room.

    • Rayne says:

      Used to watch Food Network all the time when the kids were little. I don’t know why but Iron Chef — the original Japanese version — was my son’s favorite. IIRC it aired on Sunday evenings so I had his dinner done, got him in and out of the tub and prepped for bed just so he could watch it uninterrupted. If he could watch it he’d go right to bed, no hassles.

      I guess we grew out of Food Network.

      • Peterr says:

        Ditto for my son.

        Years later, when he was in high school and heading for college, he said “Dad, I need you to write down the recipes for my favorite foods, so I can cook them in college.” In retrospect, Iron Chef taught him (and me) to look at the fridge and say “I can come up with something for dinner.”

        And with apologies to Hiroyuki Sakai, Trout Ice Cream is *not* in that cookbook.

  5. Tech Support says:

    Series Finale of The Expanse was last night. One of the finest examples of serious SF on television, like, ever. So if you’re one of those folks who hates to wait for stuff, the maximal binge window has just opened.

  6. Jenny says:

    Thanks Rayne. I popped a bag of popcorn today to watch the series “The Fall” on PBS. Layered creepy riveting investigative thriller.

    • Rayne says:

      Ooooh…I quit that one when it first released on Netflix (IIRC, about 2018). Love Gillian Anderson but she was a little too restrained. Jamie Dornan is dishy to watch but I can’t get past the underlying premise of the series which is basically fridging women. But I know so many people who loved that series for the psychodrama.

      • Jenny says:

        Yep, I wanted to quit; however kept being pulled back in to see what happens next. After that, need something light and upbeat.

  7. Raven Eye says:

    Vera. Though this season her DS sidekick is given some really stupid lines that a sergeant would never speak — the explainer lines for new viewers, I guess. I also like Shetland.

    I’m thinking of taking another look at Hamish MacBeth (1995-97). A bit quirky, but…

    Y’all intrigued me about Midnight Diner.

    • YinzerInExile says:

      If you liked “Shetland” (which we loved; just finished the most recent season, and are delighted to hear that there will be at least one more), you might try “Hinterland”. It’s set in Wales. A good deal darker than Shetland, but very well done.

      Also in the British police procedural genre, “Collateral” was excellent, and “Line of Duty” was terrific.

      And of course, there’s “Broadchurch”, which was unbelievably good . . . .

      • Raven Eye says:

        Totally agree about “Hinterland”.

        I was clued about there being a next series for “Shetland” by an internet acquaintance in Scotland and when the final episode of the current season rolled by I could see that this was probably a two-season deal. I do enjoy the “six-pack” seasons so common on TV shows from the Commonwealth — I subscribe to both BritBox and Acorn.

        Adds (on further reflection):
        — “Manhunt” 1 and 2. Martin Clunes is a far more versatile actor than many Americans realize.
        — “Detectorists” and “Don’t Forget the Driver”

      • Artemesia says:

        I prefer police procedurals that address a new puzzle each time or two rather than the same story over a several show arc. Watching Pie in the Sky at the moment; the crappy 20 year old visual quality is balanced by the charm of the chef/detective. We have used up most of the single murder type shows e.g. Brokenwood Mysteries, Midsomer Murders, Endeavour, Morse etc. Always looking for more. We have pretty much watched every series we could find.

        And everyone has seen this but if you haven’t — The Good Place is fantastic — the Trolley Episode is one of the two or three all time best episodes on a series ever and the finale is quite touching. We stopped watching near the end of the first season and our daughter encouraged us to return and was so right — it just gets better and better. Hated to see it end; appreciated they knew when to quit.

    • Old Antarctic Explorer says:

      Ditto on Shetland. Loved it. While looking Shetland up in Wikipedia, or somewhere, I ran into “The Shetland Bus”. Not a book/movie/TV series, but it should be. It’s about the Norwegian fisherman and others who came over to Shetland when the Nazis invaded Norway and were recruited by British Intelligence to go back for raids and intelligence all through the war. Apparently lots of Norwegian genes in Shetland and vice versa! (The Bus refers to a “service” they ran exfiltrating refugees on the run from the Nazis to England).

      • Raven Eye says:

        When I got my DNA results the Scottish/Scandinavian influence was very strong — my grandfather came from Dundee. The Scandinavian influence (Viking and normal exchange across the North Sea) all over Scotland and and the rest of the British Isles goes back centuries.

  8. rosalind says:

    the MHz channel (aka Nordic Noir) has gotten me through Covid confinement. It’s an add-on to my cable package, also available as an app.

    i use it as Travel P0rn. i moved to a smaller town in WA State using the justification that I can just jump on a plane to visit friends & family. And then Covid said ha! so, now I get my travel fix for now through MHz. some reccs:

    Norway: “Twin”, starring the big red-head galoot from Game of Thrones set in absolutely gorgeous Lofeten Islands.

    Switzerland: “Banking District”, female heroine navigating a family bank scandal, juicy insider stuff on how Swiss Banking operates.

    Lebanon: “Awake”, woman awakens from 10-year coma caused by roadside bomb.

    Armenia: “Wataha” aka “The Border”, Border Patrol scandal, murder mystery

    Sweden: “Spring Tide”, murder mystery involving homeless ex-cop and the daughter of his former partner.

    France: “A French Village”, multi-season series covering life in a small French Village during WWII German occupation. Gutting, searing performances.

    Germany: “Crime Scene Cleaners”, and for a palate cleanser: Schotty, the football (soccer) mad crime scene cleaner. Each episode he’s at a different crime scene. Funny and philosophical. Really.

      • rosalind says:

        and sooo many more i could recommend. gotta like subtitles. just finished a 3-part b&w Gaelic neonoir set in the West Coast of Ireland and a frothy French show about a female coroner starring Julie Depardieu (daughter of…)

        just started a French time travel/thriller called “Wonderland”, cause ain’t gonna be able to get on a plane myself for another long while…

        *sigh*

        • Peterr says:

          When I was an exchange student in (West) Germany, I went to go see “The Spy Who Loved Me” which was shown in English with German subtitles The subtitles were hilarious, as they completely skipped over the English language sexual innuendos.

        • rosalind says:

          ha! on the post-college backpack through europe trip my friend and i went to see “harold & maude” in munich, english w/subtitles. we got self-conscious being the only ones laughing, only to have the audience laugh a few beats later. we found ourselves holding our laughs until the audience caught up.

        • Rayne says:

          Once you overcome the one inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” — Bong Joon-ho, director of Parasite, Okja, Snowpiercer, Mother, The Host.

          I love foreign movies and series. So many are better than what we’ve produced in the US. I haven’t watched as much European material of late, been on a tear through K-dramas lately. I did enjoy Call My Agent (French) and a historical zombie flick, La Révolution (French), the latter of which je le regrette there has not been a second season produced.

          One of the recent Netflix originals I think represents the future of movies is Space Sweepers (2021), a space opera which is an amazing thrill ride, jam-packed with content. It’s a Korean production, but it has an international cast which speaks their own language. Subtitles are handy but it’s so engrossing you don’t even realize you’re watching subtitles only part of the time, bouncing back and forth across Korean, Chinese, French, English, more. This is what film should be like: more intersectional and integrated characters from across and out of this world.

        • Leoghann says:

          Space Sweepers is almost in a class by itself. It’s just really good–exciting and fun.

          A number of years ago, a friend got me into reading some Korean short fiction. Fortunately, some excellent translations are available for Korean lit. But most of their serious writers of fiction adopt an almost surreal style of narrative. Once I got my head wrapped around it, it was enjoyable, and very deep. At first, it was like when I first encountered Walter Mosley.

        • Rayne says:

          Much of the Korean content streaming now is adapted from comics and graphic novels (manwha, like Japanese manga). I was rather surprised Space Sweepers was NOT one of those adaptations. It just feels like a comic one would want adapted.

          Much of the Korean fiction I’m “reading” these days is manwha since there’s quite a bit available in English through sites like Naver’s Webtoons. Agree that there’s quite a bit of surrealism, also magical realism in their work.

        • Nigel says:

          Some recommended Kdrama on Netflix
          Hot Stove Leave – better and funnier than any US baseball dramas.
          My Mister – great performances from Parasite’s Lee Sun-kyun, and the scarily talented singer/songwriter/actress IU.
          Stranger – Korean detective drama
          Be Melodramatic – underrated and brilliant.

  9. arbusto says:

    Was looking forward to Wheel of Time on Prime. Based on the popular 17 book(100,000+- pages with massive character count). The first series was eight episodes(about 1/2 of the first book), released weekly instead of Primes past practice of dumping all at once. If they keep that schedule it’ll be a 34 year series. Reminds me of the 2021 Dune movie cutting the plot of the first book in half and deciding just last month to do a squeal to finish the plot. Money uber alles I guess,

    • Rayne says:

      I have heard good things about Wheel of Time. And maybe Amazon Prime wants to use WoT as an experiment in long weekly series. Seems like it would be a really good candidate for that format.

    • madwand says:

      Very much enjoyed the first 8 of WOT, good fx and character development, plus first rate acting by Rosamund Pike and a bunch of newcomers for me, but maybe not for other aficionados of streaming tv.

  10. notjonathon says:

    Old-fashioned (with a modern health twist) popcorn person here. Popped in a pot, bathed in olive oil, so no need for butter. Pour into bowl, salt lightly and toss.

    • Rayne says:

      I use 1 scant teaspoon each rice bran oil and olive oil in my microwave popper. I have one of those Great Northern Popcorn Original stainless steel stove top poppers, too, with the stirrer built into the lid; olive oil doesn’t handle heat well enough to use in one of those, so only rice bran oil in that.

      And tonight’s batch will probably call for sriracha butter because it’s just so damned cold again here. LOL

      • chester says:

        avocado oil is supposed to have a very high smoke point. I have been using it rather than olive oil regularly in many dishes.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for the pointer – or reminder, in my case. I’ve forgotten a refrigerated bottle of avocado oil which I could be using for popcorn.

  11. Leoghann says:

    I haven’t had network television for ten years or so, and find myself watching things on Netflix or Prime for awhile, and then not turning the TV on for days or weeks. Of late, I’ve been watching In the Dark, several episodes at a time, then a movie or short series. I watched Don’t Look Up a couple of weeks ago. Before that, I watched “Brand New Cherry Flavor,” which is a trip. I rewatched “Safe” with a friend, after he was infuriated about the end of “Dexter,” and an attack of nostalgia moved me to watch “Tales of the City” again for the Nth time. A good review in the Daily Beast has convinced me to at least start “Archive 81” on Netflix tonight.

    I also listen to music for several hours a day; doing without that would endanger my sanity.

    • MB says:

      Brand New Cherry Flavor was an interesting watch. Catherine Keener did a good job playing the role of the occult-cat lady-villain. Not great art, but it held my attention until the last episode. A little too cheeky to qualify as straight horror-genre show, it had all the elements of one. And everybody wanted to exact revenge on everyone else, silly humans…

    • Donna says:

      Wes Anderson movies: Isle of Dogs, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, Sing…..just all around fun stuff.

      (I am in self imposed quarantine. Omicron sucks)

  12. Kenster42 says:

    My wife and I just binge watched both seasons of The Great on Hulu. Fantastic. Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult are outstanding and for a comedy it doesn’t pull any punches around the treacherous nature of becoming and staying a Russian Royal in the 1700’s. Highly recommend.

  13. i0sam0i says:

    Made the unfortunate mistake of watching Brazen last night on Netflix (trying to please the better half…).
    14 Peaks is a nice documentary on Netflix about a Nepalese climber being the first to summit all 14 peaks over 8000m in 1 climbing season.
    Haven’t really come across a riveting tv series for a while. Midnight diner sounds like a good watch as well as being able to relive Japan trips from the past and going off the main routes to find the local spots.
    Some good suggestions above that will have to go onto the watch list.

    • adambulldog says:

      14 Peaks is awesome. If an American had been shooting for that accomplishment he (or she) would have been on the news every night here in the USA. Also great is The Alpinist.

      I like to watch all the climbing movies on Netflix or Prime. Also ultrarunning vids on youtube. Triumph of the human spirit, as a theme, is so much more appealing than the much more common theme of man’s inhumanity to man.

  14. Chirrut Imwe says:

    We rewatched both seasons of the Mandalorian this week, and I enjoyed it more than the first time. I am disappointed with the production quality of the Book of Boba Fett, but the story is growing on me.

    We also watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs last evening, although it has been out awhile. Not your typical Coen Brothers fare, but we enjoyed it. Great acting and storytelling. I especially liked Tom Waits – one of my heroes.

    And I enjoyed watching New England get its butt kicked tonight.

    Our Stir Crazy popcorn maker finally gave up the ghost after many years of weekly use, so I got Mrs. Imwe a similar popcorn maker for Christmas.

  15. Troutwaxer says:

    We’ve been watching Centaur World, which is very silly, but fun. Rewatched Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Unfortunately, it has NOT aged well – the scene with Zoot is particularly difficult. Buckaroo Banzai, however, is still very watchable.

    • Legonaut says:

      Outstanding before-they-were-famous casting in BB. John Lithgow will always be Dr. Emilio Lizardo for me, no matter what outstanding work he’s done since.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        They should do a wide-screen re-release of that movie, with a good advertising campaign. Audiences today are much more genre savy, (which BB really rewards) and I don’t know about you, but I’d kill to see it again on a big screen.

        As for John Lithgow, I first saw him as Roberta Muldoon in World According to Garp, but he’s amazing in everything he plays, and it was also the first time I ever saw Jeff Goldblum in a movie.

      • Dopey-o says:

        Loved Buckaroo Banzai, bought the comic. I still have a t- shirt from the Seattle Velodrome era. The front had the Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems logo, and the back read “Laugh While You Can Monkey Boy!”

        Message apparently meant to be read by competitors as we zoomed by. Not that many of them noticed…

        But the ultimate binge-fuel has to be Bosch: 15 crime novels, sliced and diced, one right after another.

      • Leoghann says:

        I went to see Buckaroo Banzai four times while it was still in theaters. Since the early Seventies, I have celebrated my birthday by watching a movie I love. For 20 years, it was King of Hearts. Then, for another decade, Bagdad Cafe. Since then, it’s been BB. One thing that’s never mentioned is that the humor is in graduations of subtlety, so there are funny things for kids, others for teenagers, and more for adults.

        And you’re right about Bosch. I was fully prepared to be badly disappointed, but the writing and direction is spot on and very accurate. Welliver doesn’t match Connelly’s physical description of Harry, but he absolutely becomes the character. It’s excellent.

        • vvv says:

          Bosch is excellent, as are the novels. (Michael Connelly, and if you are a reader look for John Connally’s “Charlie Parker” series.)

          I’m doing Altered Carbon and the Penny Dreadful about LA right now – entertaining sci-fi and … whatever that Penny Dreadful is – good fun.

          Lucifer kinda jumped the shark for me …

          I hate super hero movies, but Jessica Jones and Luke Cage were good, the former better than the latter.

          My daughter is raving about the latest Dexter, so that’s coming up for me.

          Looking forward to Pinky Blinders’ return.

          Do look for “The Harder They Fall” – it’s really good.

          I’ll add that the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mini-series is worthy, as is (somebody mentioned) the various Wallendars.

          And look for Lupin (Netflix).

          And Picard, and also Evil on Paramount +.

          Finally, still liking The Black List.

  16. Marinela says:

    OT, Imagine Dragons coming to Target Center MN Feb 27.
    Never been to ID live concert, except with covid situation not a good timing. Anyway, I have about a month to decide.

    I’ve been listening to ID to decompress lately. Love their music.

    Dan Reynolds Thinks Jesus Would’ve Been A Democrat
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoivntcoanA

    Thanks to ID, Sebastian Gorka got booted from utube.

    • Rayne says:

      Do come back and tell us what you think of ID’s concert if you go. They’re one of a few I’ve attend if I could go to an outdoor venue.

      • Marinela says:

        Sure thing.

        Also impressed of their messaging when they take up a cause to support.
        Democrats could learn a thing or two about messaging from ID.

  17. skua says:

    Watched Some Like It Hot, black and white!, 1959, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, stereotypes galore, prohibition hearses and funeral parlor parties, gold-digging women, Italian mafiosa hits, high farce crossdressing, idle male mllionaires with yatches, pushy punks and then an ending that blows away The Sixth Sense’s.
    Things in that movie seemed to go missing for the next 40?, 50? years. Or may I just missed all the “live and let live” movies.

  18. Pete T says:

    I suppose binging the old episodes of The Durrells in Corfu from PBS Masterpiece Theater counts. Anyway it was entertaining and it was neat to research the fates of the real people which were not as rosy as one might have assumed from the series.

  19. Laura says:

    We seek out international series on Netflix and enjoyed these along with a few American series thrown in:
    Bonus Family – a Swedish drama about blended families – really enjoyed it.
    Chestnut Man – Danish crime series
    Borgen – Danish politcs – watched it years ago but I believe it is still on Netflix
    Travelers – sci fi
    Wanted – an Australian version of Thelma and Louise
    Never Have I Ever – a teen show about a family from India
    True Story – for once I didn’t see the twist at the end coming!!!

    Movies we enjoyed:
    The Lost Daughter – worth watching for Olivia Colman’s performance
    Wind River – disturbing plot line with look at Native American life – opened my eyes to the number of missing uncounted Native American women
    Kodachrome – Ed Harris Jason Sudekis Elizabeth Olsen

    • Rayne says:

      Borgen is on my list, I will have to bump it up! I love nordic crime series – they’re much more realistically ambivalent and dark in a way which isn’t noir. Thanks for the recommendations!

      • gmoke says:

        I especially liked the scene where two politicians talk politics while bicycling side by side to the parliament, or “people’s assembly.”

      • Nigel says:

        Borgen is sadly politics, rather than Nordic noir.
        And the parties are a bewildering array of Moderates, Moderate Centrists, Centrist Moderates, Democratic Moderates, Moderate Democrats… etc.

        Fun, though.

  20. posaune says:

    Not exactly streaming, but the Sumo Grand Championship is broadcast on NHK from Tokyo this week (15-day tournament ends Sun 1/23). Fabulous! Yokosuna Terunofuji is 6-1 currently. The championship is held every two months. There are interesting background pieces on the culture of the Sumo stable. Programming on NHK covers a range of topics. NHK news is the only broadcast I can tolerate.

  21. posaune says:

    We finally subscribed to the Met, so at this point comparing the various performances of:
    – Mozart Titus & Cosi
    – Dvorak Rusalka (Ondine myth) can be seen as a metaphor on the emergence of Czechoslovakia.
    Other:
    – Wallender
    – Spies of Warsaw
    – Charite

    • Rayne says:

      Wallender is on my miles-long list, too.

      Debated about a Met subscription, but I’m not certain I would watch religiously enough to get full value. I’ve been catching Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s free concerts; this past week they had an excellent program. I’m waiting for it to appear in their DSO Replay gallery but they’ve shared other past free concerts to enjoy. Check out https://livefromorchestrahall.vhx.tv/browse

      • posaune says:

        Thanks for the DSO link, Rayne. I’m so old, I remember when they had Antal Dorati and Sixten Ehrling. Fond Memories or Ford Auditorium.

    • Artemesia says:

      During the first year and a half of COVID, the MET streamed a different opera every day for free. I watched them all — sometimes twice. And when I had watched them the first time, I listened to them the second time while I did other stuff. If you love opera having these things on tap is worth the fee they now charge to belong.

      • Rayne says:

        Berlin Philharmonic as well, so worth it. They’re still offering some free concerts through their Digital Concert Hall — the The National Youth Orchestra of Germany and the Federal Youth Ballet with Ravel and Strauss begins in about 15-20 min, IIRC.

  22. coral says:

    So many great recommendations here!
    My favs:
    MHZ – Spiral (gritty French crime)
    Sundance – The Bureau (French espionage)
    Apple TV+ – Dickinson (comedy with magic realism /feminists twists about Emily Dickinson)
    Netflix
    – Call My Agent (French comedy)
    – Fauda (grisly Israeli espionage)
    -Resurrection (13th century Turkish tribe fighting to establish what becomes Ottoman Empire) literally hundreds of episodes in 5 seasons, lots of bloody sword fighting (vs. Mongols, Knights Templars, other tribes), political intrigue, well-written with strong women, interesting family conflicts, and lots of treachery. If you can stand the gore, it’s quite compelling. Husband & I are well into season 3.

    • Rayne says:

      Is that Turkish series ‘Resurrection: Ertugrul’ (2014), in Turkic, ‘Diriliş: Ertuğrul’? I’ll check it out if it is. Turkish TV is incredibly intense; even the romantic stuff is compelling. Kurt Seyit ve Şura (2014) was so good but unfortunately it’s no longer streaming anywhere.

    • rosalind says:

      ah, Spiral. i admit i crack myself up imitating the many ways the lead character says “Gilou!”. i went from “Spiral” straight into “A French Village” and got introduced to a whole new side of Thierry Godard’s acting.

  23. PeterS says:

    Seemingly little known, but I recommend Rita, on Netflix (“Independent, outspoken and adored by her students, schoolteacher Rita fares less well with adults in this comedy-drama from Denmark”). Subtitled, obviously.

  24. observiter says:

    “Citizen K” about the (former) Russian oligarch Khodorkovsky, Putin, Russia. Disturbing, fascinating. (How did they get the footage?)

  25. chester says:

    Britbox and Acorn I access through roku are replete with non-US items. Brokenwood- Columbo-ish detective with partners in New Zealand is great. Thriving theater in the Southern Hemisphere.

  26. barb says:

    If you like British detectives/procedurals with strong women leads, Happy Valley (doing another season soon), Unforgotten (which just had it’s last episode a short while ago), Traces, No Offence, and the OG, Prime Suspect (not the remix version).

  27. Mgallopavo says:

    I read Penn Jillette’s Op-Ed on Bob Saget.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/15/opinion/bob-saget-comedy.html

    I was drawn to the theme of mutual trust. Jillette draws on experiences from the 2005 film, The Aristocrats. News to me. I then read the linked A.O. Scott review.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/29/movies/a-filthy-theme-and-variations.html

    I then watched the film on YouTube.

    I laughed. Hard. Beyond cathartic laughter, it was affecting to find such a great deal of humanity limned in so many ways, not least by the aging faces of the participants. And at the end, after running through the not always recognized/remembered cast is a cameo that I was almost anticipating.

  28. KP says:

    I don’t have anything other than the internet connection. I do enjoy Perimeter Institute, Royal Institution, World Science Festival, SLAC, and the many wonderful educational lectures and discussions. I enjoy a wide variety of standup philosophers :P
    History documentaries and lectures. I still prefer to read, and though I have had a long love affair with literature, I still prefer nonfiction.
    ooohhhh … the Dust ‘channel’ on Youtube — amazing amazing science fiction short films. (just click ‘skip ad’ when they come on)
    Realized I still have dvds to watch that have been off in a corner since my wife died. Lotta stuff just isn’t

  29. holdingsteady says:

    Wow, this thread will keep me in TV for quite awhile! My husband and I have been watching quite a bit and sometimes are at a loss as to what to watch, so I’ll compile this into a list, thanks!!

    I’ll just mention a couple:
    Giri/Haji (means Duty/Shame) – Japanese detective is assigned to London to track down his brother who is involved with the Japanese ‘mafia’. Very likable detective and sidekick characters and a good plot

    The Guardian runs a column recommending movies that they call underrated and worth watching , so recently I watched ‘Blue Jay’, and enjoyed it – a sort of romantic comedy with some wistful melancholy and very good performances.

    I’ve got a lot of catching up to do on the European detective dramas, have really enjoyed those but seem to have fallen behind! We wanted to watch Vera in order from Episode 1 but the seasons are spread over so many streaming platforms it was tough to find the right one and I couldn’t get BritBox to work… time to try again ! Definitely will check out Midnight Diner and the MHz channel is news to me, will check that out!

    In the older movie genre, when in the right mood, have recently enjoyed It Happened One Night, The Thin Man (bought some Nick and Nora glasses :))), All About Eve… love the days when it was all about the dialog.

    Thanks again!

  30. mospeck says:

    bocachicagal, War of the Worlds, and Cincinnati Kid — the last since right now it sure looks a lot like no limit poker with a sky that is softly humming. vlad, you know your mentor he tried it way back and with no luck, but now maybe things go smoother for you since you can take that pair of deuces and bluff the aces up. Expect you won’t have to take poison like the last guy, but then there are portents like those two broken tigers on fire in the night that flicker their souls to the wind
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjKajpMoUxM

  31. Mutaman says:

    Spartacus on the Starz network:

    More sex than The Sopranos
    More violence than the Sopranos
    John Hanna is just as good a heavy as Vincent Curatola
    The show invents its own language
    Lucy Lawless

  32. Arthur 6 string says:

    The Bureau is an extraordinary 7-season French series about the DGSE (the French CIA or MI6) and a star agent’s work.
    Yes to “A French Village”, “The Fall”, “The Chestnut Man”

    An exceptional documentary is “The Painter and The Thief.”
    On Hulu, The Summer of Soul is excellent on the star-studded Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969. Sorry I missed this NYC extravaganza with Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Gladys Knight, The Staple Singers, and more.

  33. Traveller says:

    This fine listing of things to watch seems to be tending towards films, shows, series we might not be aware of…and in keeping with this spirit, let me happily recommend the….horror/supernatural genre`d…30 Coins or, in Spanish which is where this originates from, 30 monedas, which kind of works hard on the philosophical question of why is there evil in this world of ours?

    This eight part series takes place largely in a small Spanish village…it is visually lush and endlessly inventive. I can also recommend this on the simple fact that the series ends well…it makes sense, there is no frantic effort to draw together possible Disparate strands of the story…. it is simply perfectly well done and…everything is as it should be for a compete and perfect ending. (which is exceedingly rare!)

    Apparently, as of September 2021, there is a second season be filmed in that this has become somewhat of a cult classic.

    Here is a link to the trailer

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOAxchyLZ00

    There may be a dubbed version…I recommend the subtitled one.

    Best Wishes, Traveller….(this is on HBOmax, and possibly Hulu also)

  34. Callyn says:

    I always feel deficient reading the comments. That being said, the two new hour long episodes of South Park on Paramount Plus are wonderful. Cartman is a 30 year old rabbi. What more do I need to say? And thank you everyone for providing some excellent suggestions. Perhaps my world will get bigger lol.

  35. Eileen says:

    My suggestions:

    Line of Duty (think it’s on prime and hulu) gripping British cop drama.
    Sex Education – Netflix. Hilarious esp first 2 seasons.
    The Other Two – this a ridiculously funny comedy that was on Comedy Central for the first season and HBO Max for 2nd season. That’s how funny it is. HBO picked it up.

    Can’t believe no one has mentioned Yellowjackets!

    • Callyn says:

      I took your suggestion on The Other Two. Oh my God – two minutes in – hilarious. This is a awesome recommendation.

  36. Savage Librarian says:

    Some detective/police procedurals I’ve enjoyed:

    Rose and Maloney – They work old cases, rectifying miscarriages of justice.

    Scott & Bailey – Two women working murder cases.

    Murphy’s Law – I especially liked the episode when Murphy tries to comfort someone by telling her, “Don’t worry. I’m a shit magnet. Bad stuff naturally finds me.”

  37. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    Haven’t had a TV since 2005. Do watch a lot of YouTube clips. My favorite Bollywood actress, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, never fails to entertain me.
    Here is a sampling of her clips from 1999-2010:
    Aishwarya Rai with Salman Khan in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)
    https://youtu.be/YLsIl0G0qlM
    Aishwarya Rai with Shah Rukh Khan in Devdas (2002)
    https://youtu.be/zzJE78-dlcA
    Aishwarya Rai with Arjun Rampul in Dil Ka Rishta (2003):
    https://youtu.be/HGVFyaO2qWE
    Aishwarya Rai with Martin Henderson in Bride & Prejudice (2004)
    https://youtu.be/AoWdk9CB-mU
    Aishwarya Rai with Abhishek Bachchan (her soon-to-be hubby) in Guru (2007)
    https://youtu.be/9JDSGhhiOwI
    Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with Hrithik Roshan in Jodha Akbar (2008):
    https://youtu.be/ve4IQMlTMuY
    Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with Akshay Kumar in Action Replayy (2010)
    https://youtu.be/qcucgNV7Cmc

  38. sd says:

    These are all on Netflix

    French Series
    Black Spot – French Twin Peaks
    The Forest – French crime

    Australian Series
    Glitch – dead come back to life in Australia and look normal…, but aren’t zombies
    Secret City – Australian thriller
    Wanted – thriller

    Scandinavian Series
    Trapped – Icelandic crime
    Katla – Icelandic horror
    Equinox – Danish? horror
    Occupied – Norway under Russian rule
    Deadwind – Finnish crime
    Elves – Danish horror
    Borderliner – Norwegian crime

    US series
    Ozark – you will definitely change your mind about the characters over time…
    Queen of the South
    The Sinner
    Yellowjackets – current
    Peacemaker – current – vulgar and demented
    GLOW – women’s wrestling comedy – sounds nuts, but very good
    Community – community college comedy. Bear with the first few episodes as they get their feet under them

    British
    Bletchley Circle
    Line of Duty

    Amazon Prime
    Man in the High Castle
    Bosch
    Expanse
    Truth Seekers

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