What Amanda’s Watching
Now that Awards season is over, Amanda finally has more time to sit in front of her television and catch up on the approximately 8416 programs available for her viewing pleasure. Here is some of what I’m watching on the small screen, spring edition. Now if someone would just move the cat out of the way….
L.A. to Vegas (FOX) - There aren’t a whole lot of really funny sitcoms on TV these days. This show, about the people who work for and fly on low-budget Jackpot airlines, makes me laugh consistently. It’s wacky and kind of sweet and stars Dylan McDermott as an egotistic pilot, with guest appearances by Dermot Mulroney! And if you get that Dylan/Dermot reference, you need to be watching this show.
Alias Grace (Netflix) - Remember the days of the miniseries when a TV show ended when it was supposed to instead of adding on seasons that drifted from the source material? I’m talking to you “Leftovers” and “Big Little Lies.” I was in the mood to watch something that promised to tell its story in six episodes. “Alias Grace” is based on a novel by Margaret Atwood about a notorious 1843 Canadian murder, and the poor, young housemaid who may or may not have done it. The acting is excellent and Grace’s story is very compelling. Note to Netflix: Spend more money on your makeup people. I needed subtitles to tell 30-year-old Grace from teenage Grace.
Top Gear (BBC America) and The Grand Tour (Amazon Prime) - Car shows are not exactly must-see TV for Amanda, but they are for Derek, so I thought I would give one of the 200 car shows he watches a chance. If you don’t know the story, “Top Gear” is a ridiculously popular British car show that in 2015 fired host Jeremy Clarkson after a “fracas” with a producer. His “co-presenters” Richard Hammond and James May left with him and they started a rival show, “The Grand Tour.” Meanwhile, over at “Top Gear” they did what any British car show would do and hired Joey from “Friends” to host. Ratings sunk so Matt LeBlanc’s co-host also got the sack, or quit, who knows. Both shows involve the hosts driving a variety of cars in a variety of places and then making celebrity guests drive a variety of not-as-nice cars in not-as-nice places. Both shows are entertaining, but I prefer “The Grand Tour” because the hosts do have a nice fracas-free chemistry.
Young Sheldon (CBS) - This “Big Bang Theory” spinoff isn’t the funniest or smartest comedy on TV, but it is the best cast. Iain Armitage plays the younger version of Big Bang’s socially awkward smartypants, Sheldon Cooper. But this show isn’t really about Sheldon, it’s about Sheldon’s family, and I love every one of them. Don’t watch this show to see a 9-year-old’s hijinks in high school. Watch for the sassy sister, sweet dad and underachieving brother. Watch for the loving, smart mom and the straight-talking grandmother.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon). Rachel Brosnahan plays the title role of Miriam “Midge” Maisel, young Jewish housewife in the 1950s, who moves in back with her parents and pursues stand-up comedy after she’s dumped by her husband. Brosnahan is exceptionally sharp and funny. Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”) is terrific as Midge’s father and Alex Borstein is razor sharp as her agent. It’s already won a bunch of awards. Season two airs later this year.
Good Girls (NBC) - I”m only two episodes in to this female-driven crime show and I’m kind of hooked. It stars Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Retta (“Parks and Recreation”) and Mae Whitman as three women who get into big trouble after they rob a grocery store. I love the chemistry of the three leads but I’m a tad concerned that the plot might get a bit out of control.
Queer Eye (Netflix) - This reboot of Bravo’s landmark reality show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” (2003-2007) stays very true to the original. The new lifestyle experts, all gay men, rescue one hapless man per episode, improving his home, look, wardrobe, attitude and cooking skills. I loved the original series and was very hesitant to give this Atlanta-based Fab Five a chance. Derek convinced me otherwise and I must say, I’m really enjoying this version. While not as groundbreaking, it’s fun, emotional and the Fab Five does great work.