We are all busy, so when we do get to sit down to enjoy some TV, we want to make it worth our time. Here are some recommendations that are definitely worth your time.
Netflix Shows My Family Loves Right Now
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown–Anthony Bourdain began his career as a chef, but when he published his book called Kitchen Confidential, he was surprised by its success. This book launched his career, and his latest endeavor is a show called Parts Unknown. He travels all over the world, and instead of trying to survive like Bear Grylls, Anthony immerses himself into the culture and cuisine of each place. It is wildly entertaining and educational, if not a bit crass, but the food and drink he encounters leaves one’s mouth watering. I did not think I would like a reality show such as this, but I am hooked. If you miss it on CNN, check it out on Netflix.
House of Cards–This is a Netflix original and it is horrifyingly amazing. It’s like The West Wing on steroids. House of Cards features a Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as a married couple who use their marriage for political advancement, annihilating all others in their way. It begins with a mutual respect between husband and wife, but ends each season with scenes that viewers cannot scrape from their memories. It is as disturbing as it is interesting. It is a scary and intense view of Washington D.C that we all hope is fictional. If you haven’t started this series, you must soon. The next season is coming in the spring of 2017.
Breaking Bad–I started watching Breaking Bad when it was on AMC. I used it as a way to get over the Sopranos ending, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t love anything as much as I loved James Gandolfini as a hate-to-love mob boss. I was so wrong. Breaking Bad is much better. If you can desensitize yourself to gore with the first two or three episodes, you will be so glad. The writing is intelligent, the action is jam-packed, and the final episode is better than any I have seen. Walter White is a science teacher who has been diagnosed with cancer. In order to pay for his treatment, he begins making the purest methamphetamine around. Due to the popularity of the drug, Walter White’s worth skyrockets on the streets of New Mexico, and he is responsible for the chaos and disorder that surrounds drug users while struggling to maintain the “guy down the street” reputation. It is the best show I have ever seen, and it took me three seasons to even recognize that Walter was Bryan Cranston, the adorable dad on Malcolm in the Middle.
Better Call Saul–To band-aid the giant hole left in many viewer’s hearts and DVRs once Breaking Bad was over, the writer made a successful spin-off starring many of the same characters called Better Call Saul. This spin-off follows Walter White’s lawyer’s journey to New Mexico, and actually begins in a Cinnabon in Omaha, Nebraska. Hitman Mike Ehrmantraut and Lawyer Saul Goodman return to make this prequel interesting. My husband recommends this for anyone who loved Breaking Bad.
Stranger Things–Let me start this by saying “I hate scary TV shows”. I don’t seek out anything even remotely terrifying anymore. Something about having kids got me totally uninterested in horror stories, but THIS series is worth your time. Winona Ryder revives her acting career with this show about a family trying to make sense of disappearances in town. When Winona’s character’s son becomes one of the disappeared, she knows that something supernatural was responsible. The longer her son is gone, the crazier she seems to those that aren’t privy to the knowledge of “the upside down”. The thrills are worth it, and there will be a second season. My 11-year-old could handle this series, but I would say it’s still too scary for my eight-year-old. Check out Stranger Things today!
Coming to Netflix in March
March is looking good for Netflix viewers! We can look forward to all three Jurassic Park movies, The BFG (which scores 98% on Rotten Tomatoes), Kung Fu Panda, Jack and the Beanstalk, plus the 90s show The Craft. There are many more that can be seen here on Lifehacker.
Must See Amazon Shows
My husband loves Grand Tour. One of the hosts from the 1988 BBC show called Top Gear was fired, so all of the stars left and signed with Amazon to create the new show Grand Tour. The hosts (Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May) travel around the world, set up a tent at different locations, and have a live audience present for the show investigating high performance cars. They test luxury vehicles while celebrating what makes each car awesome. They use the same track and driver to test the cars in England. They also experiment with automobiles made out of different supplies. For example one car was made out of trees while another was made out of dirt. People that enjoyed the original Top Gear, or just car lovers in general, will love this show.
Is a period drama set in the twenties and stars Christina Ricci as Zelda Fitzgerald. This series is based on the historical fiction novel Z: A Novel for Zelda Fitzgerald, and tells Zelda’s story. I have already reviewed this book in a previous post, and I still recommend this novel. The Amazon series is beautiful, but just as infuriating as the book when it comes to the silencing of Zelda’s voice and her talent. If you are a fan of the Fitzgerald’s story, definitely check this out.
This is a hilarious ABC sitcom with a moral undertone. Actors such as Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, and Tracee Ellis Ross combine with excellent child actors to make this show laugh out loud funny. Our family likes to watch it together. My oldest gets the allusions within, but my youngest two just think the kids are funny. This show tackles serious issues and societal challenges with humor. Although you’ll be holding your belly from giggling so hard, it is reminiscent of old-school TV in that it usually ends with a lesson learned by one or more of the family members. If you enjoyed The Office, 30 Rock, or Community, this is a nice replacement for that kind of humor.
I have to admit I’m one of the only people ages 25-60 that hasn’t seen this show. My friends recommend it so very highly, and Kelly has mentioned that it’s worth a watch. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t see some exasperated mama friend posting about this series. It is on NBC, and I plan to see what the fuss is all about. It seems like people that enjoyed Grey’s Anatomy and Parenthood would love this show. Every single person recommends this, and I can’t wait to experience the drama.
If you’ve had all of the TV viewing you can stand, here is some music my family loves right now.
Fans of the old Green Day, unite! They are back. Their new album is packed full of the energy of the old Green Day, combined with the melodies and lyrics that have always made them so fun. It is an album that you can listen to straight through. I think I’m on my sixth straight listen. Still Breathing, Troubled Times, and Young Blood are my favorites. Do yourself a favor, and check it out asap.
My husband’s favorite singer at this moment happens to be Sturgill Simpson. I first experienced his amazing music on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. His new album has a mixture of so many influences. It’s as psychedelic as it is brilliant. He performed his newest song, All Around You, on the Grammy’s, but my favorite version of that is on Charlie Rose which you can see here. Simpson also completed a cover of Nirvana’s In Bloom that is definitely different from the Kurt Cobain version. Simpson won a Grammy for Best Country Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. Even though this music is happening right now, it feels like he is the country artist of the future.
I have been a long time Miranda fan, but her recent heartbreak ended with some gorgeous art. This is a double album that is meant to be heard in order from the first song to the last. It is honest and creative and raw. There are songs that have hints of Johnny Cash and many songs have an edgy distortion that adds just enough grit. In this album, she makes no apologies for turning to alcohol and music to cope. It’s not politically correct, but it is real and worth the listen. My favorite songs are Ugly Lights, Pushin’ Time, Keeper of the Flame, and Dear Old Sun.
Prisoner is a great album. Adams’s voice is edgier than in his previous albums, and many songs remind me of Bruce Springsteen’s work from the eighties. His songs vacillate between love, loss, and regret. It’s haunting and it resonates like his previous albums, but his voice and writing has matured in an impressive way. Check this out if you need good music for studying, cleaning, or creating art.
That list should help entertain you as we wait for the outdoor fun of Spring. What are your media recommendations for 2017? We’d love to hear them!