What I’ve been (binge) listening to…

So I finished Shittown in a few days this week.  The only impediment to a total binge listen was, oh yeah, that pesky job of mine.  Anyway, Shittown is from the people behind Serial although there is a different narrator/reporter.  I’m glad because I don’t think Sarah Koenig wouldn’t have been as effective for this story.

I can’t even cover it all here because there are so many twists and turns but I urge you to listen.


The podcast is 7 segments of about an hour or less.  This true story starts out with a random email to the reporter a few years ago from a named John B. McLemore.  John wants the reporter and PBS to investigate an alleged murder in the small Alabama town of Woodstock where he lives, which he believes was covered up because the perpetrator was from a wealthy family.  Throughout the podcast, John refers to Woodstock as “Shittown” and “this shittown” and various other expletives that only increased my enjoyment of it, especially given John’s Southern accent.

Ironically, the reporter goes to Shittown to investigate, and it turns out the victim didn’t die, but was injured, and there was a thorough police investigation in which no charges were filed.  At the end of the second episode, it appears the podcast will take a turn to look at police and governmental corruption in Shittown, when the reporter learns that John killed himself by drinking cyanide.

The podcast then addresses what happens as a result of John’s unexpected death.  Unfortunately, he didn’t leave a will and was “unbanked”.  Cousins from Florida are the next of kin and there’s a dispute between them and a friend of John’s named Tyler Goodson as to belongings on John’s property, as well as the care and custody of John’s mother, who has dementia.



What I’ve been (binge) listening to…

What I’m watching…

I decided to check out a few network premieres this week so I wanted to share my thoughts with you.  Those of you who follow me regularly know I detest network shows because they’re sanitized claptrap, unlike the brave stuff HBO and other cable networks are doing.  There is definitely claptrap but I liked the three shows I watched (so far):

1.Designated Survivor.  I’ll watch pretty much anything with Kiefer Sutherland.  Even when 24 went off the rails in its later seasons, he kept the show watchable.  I was ready to give up on Designated Survivor after the first 40 minutes, but the last few minutes left me wanting more.  I’m not sure I’ll stick with this long-term, but it is due to be dvr’ed this week.  There’s definitely claptrap potential with this show, so I’ll be closely monitoring.  I will say that I can’t stand the actress who plays the first lady.  Also, the show is treading dangerously close to “Homeland” territory with the annoying kids.  B+

2.Lethal Weapon.  Look, the only reason I watched this is because I really like Damon Wayans.  I have to say I was pretty impressed, probably due to low expectations.  The show itself looks pretty, and the two lead actors have a great rapport.  There’s also claptrap potential here, plus the formula of the show may get old quickly.  B+

3.Pitch.  I would have loved this pilot, if the last 60 seconds were omitted.  Claptrap alert, claptrap alert!  If this show was on cable, it wouldn’t include a dead dad to keep our attention.  There was so much to love about this pilot and it definitely has potential.  The lead actress and Mark-Paul Gosselaar are terrific.  A-

4.Gomorrah.  I think we’re towards the end of the first season being aired in the USA on Sundance.  It’s getting really good now.  I believe the last segment will air on Wednesday.  I then have to look for the second season somewhere.  My guess is that Daniele’s brother will team up with Ciro to go after Conte, since he doesn’t know that Ciro was the one responsible for his brother’s death.  I think he believes that Gennaro gave the order, and Ciro simply followed the order and had Daniele carry it out.  We’ll see.

5.Mr. Robot.  I have nothing to say about the season finale except that I have no earthly idea what is going on.  I’ll still continue to watch though.  Sam Esmail is a genius.

DVR alert:  Poldark tonight at 8 on PBS;  Shameless back on Showtime 10/2;  Class Divide on HBO on 10/3

Netflix alert:  Longmire Season 5 – now!

What I’m watching…

A British invasion on July 4th weekend…

So I’m catching up on two veddy British shows this weekend.  The first is “The Tunnel” with Stannis Baratheon, I mean Stephen Dillane, and a French actress who I don’t know.  PBS has only aired two episodes of the first season so far but it’s intriguing.  It’s a particularly timely series given the Brexit vote last week.

The show begins with a woman’s body discovered positioned exactly at the midpoint of the  Channel Tunnel between Britain and France.  When the police attempt to move the body, they realize it is cut cleanly in half at the midsection.  The top half is a British politician and the bottom half is a prostitute.  The perpetrator communicates with the police via a trashy journalist.  He or she is using the murder as a symbol of five European issues to be addressed.  The first is inequality before the law, i.e. that politicians and prostitutes are not considered equal before the law.  The second has something to do with society abandoning its elderly because they are a drain on society.  The second episode ended with the killing of at least 14 senior citizens at a nursing home via poison.

This is the kind of show everyone should be watching for its useful social commentary.  Unfortunately, I’m probably the only nerd stateside watching it.

The second show is “Thirteen” on BBC America.  I’ve just started it but it’s about a 26 year old woman who escapes her captor after 13 years of imprisonment in a basement.  She is reunited with her family but her younger sister is skeptical of her identity.  DNA supposedly confirms that this woman is the missing girl but something’s sketchy.

Just learned that Idris Elba will be on Discovery Channel Monday night starting at 7 pm EST.  Don’t care what it is but I’ll be watching.  Idris v. fireworks?  No contest!



A British invasion on July 4th weekend…

What I’ve been watching this summer…

Sorry folks, I’ve been on hiatus for a while enjoying the great outdoors.  Remember when summer was a tv wasteland and we had to wait until September for decent television?  Certainly not the case anymore.  Here’s what I’ve been watching this summer, in no particular order:

1.Mr. Robot – How did I just find out about this show?  As I type I am on episode 8.  I think the finale is coming up this week.  I’ll be honest the lead actor is not my favorite, probably b/c he’s not your typical leading man (um, bug eyes?), but he definitely fits the loner hacker profile.  It’s great to see Christian Slater again and the premise of the show is intriguing.  I was really rooting for Shayla to survive and get rid of Darlene instead but no such luck.  I’m curious to see how the show wraps up the season.  There are a lot of dry funny moments such as when Eliott decides to be “normal” and get a girlfriend, join a gym, and go to Starbucks.  Question, how did Evil Corp. decide to name itself Evil Corp.?  I didn’t catch that part.

2.Poldark – I won’t lie, Ross Poldark with his tricorn hat was the draw for me.  I was thrilled when he and Demelza got together.  I love PBS for their willingness to put on shows that may not get a ton of eyeballs but I think this one did pretty well.

3.Show me a Hero – I”ve only watched the first segment but so far, so good.  It’s very Wire-esque and I’ll watch anything David Simon is involved in (except Treme, which just didn’t do it for me).  I have to say the first segment was a bit slow but I get he has to develop all of the characters separately before bringing them together for the big clash.  The guy who plays the mayor is phenomenal.

4.Hard Knocks – Not a football fan at all, but I love this show.  I played a lot of sports growing up and I think it’s just watching people at the height of athletic competition that’s fun.  JJ Watt could be the finest athletic specimen I’ve ever seen.  I’d definitely pick the Texans defense if I was in a fantasy football league.

5.Ballers – Look at that another football show.  This was my favorite of the summer.  The Rock is such a likable guy and certainly easy on the eyes.  I’ve liked his sidekick in a lot of other stuff I’ve seen him in, and I thought they made a great team comedically.  It was the perfect summer show – not too heavy, beautiful scenery and cars, and the one show that actually had good things happen to the characters.  I especially enjoyed the episode where Spencer made amends with the player he injured and had him throw out the first pitch.  So glad it will be back for another season!

6.True Detective/Rectify – I don’t have anything new to say about TD that hasn’t already been said – disappointing season, Colin Farrell was amazing, and Vince Vaughan was horrific.  I broke up with Rectify early on this season – it just got too boring for me.  I stuck with it in the first two seasons but I just couldn’t take it anymore.  The woman who plays Amantha is cloying and I just couldn’t watch it anymore.

7.Magic Mike XXL – OK not a tv show but I wanted to mention that we saw this on a girls’ night out and it was a lot of fun.  I have to say I thought this one was way more outrageous than the first one (see Channing Tatum, drill) and we laughed hysterically.  I’m embarassed to say I clapped at the end and my friends laughed at me.

I’m gearing up for Homeland, TWD, The Good Wife, and all the fall shows so until next time, thanks for reading!

What I’ve been watching this summer…