If you’re like Amanda, you’re watching about 70 different TV series right now, mini, maxi, drama, comedy, reality and docu. Like Amanda, you also might be confusing characters. Does every drama have a bearded, bad-boy bartender love interest? And how many of you are waiting for a spouse to catch up with you so you can watch the next episode of Ozark or Succession together? Maybe it’s time for a little non-commitment TV, something you can turn on, watch and cross off your to-do list, let’s call it an anti-bingeathon.
Step one of course, is to play catch up. Still haven’t seen Amanda’s favorite movie of 2019, The Farewell? It’s on Amazon Prime or if you don’t have Prime, you can watch it for 99 cents. Love the comedy of Jim Gaffigan or the more adult humor of Sebastian Maniscalo? Hit IMDB.com to see if you’re caught up on all their comedy specials. Speaking of IMDB, it’s a great way to discover movies and TV shows featuring your favorite actors that you might have missed the first time around. Helpful hint: Not all undiscovered content is good content. Plug your pick into rottentomatoes.com for further guidance. That way, if you’re a George Clooney fan, you can avoid The Men who Stare at Goats.
Here are a few suggestions for your anti-bingeathon.
If there was a theme for life right now it might be the title of Jerry Seinfeld’s first original stand-up special since 1998 - 23 Hours to Kill (Netflix). Seinfeld isn’t referring to how much time we have to watch TV these days, but his special provides a great way to kill at least one hour. The comic is in rare form, moving around the stage in a much more commanding way than we’re used to. He sticks to familiar subject matter, relationships, restaurants, texting etc. It’s comfort comedy at its best.
I loved the 2019 documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, (Netflix). The legendary singer provides a charming and honest narrative to this story of her extraordinarily successful career, detailing her childhood in Arizona, her days as a barefoot folk-rock singer, and ultimately, one of the most successful pop singers of all time. Ronstadt explored a dizzying array of music genres until Parkinson’s Disease forced her to give up singing. Growing up, I was a huge fan and played several of her albums constantly, and I still am amazed by the power of that voice.
You may want to watch more than one episode of Amy Schumer Learns to Cook, especially since the Food Network is airing two half-hour shows back-to-back on Monday nights. Leave it to Schumer to bring some adult humor to a cooking show as she and her husband, Chris Fischer (an actual chef), cook together in quarantine. Watching them fight about fennel is almost as cute as their infant son Gene, who makes an occasional appearance.
I’ve mentioned Magic for Humans before, and I am excited that the third season has made it to Netflix. Charismatic magician Justin Willman ponders the human experience while blowing the minds of every person he meets with the most amazing close-up magic you’ll ever see. It’s the perfect half-hour of getaway TV and very family-friendly.
For a bit of old-fashioned Hollywood glamour and mystery, check out Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind. This HBO documentary examines the life and tragic death of the movie star as recalled by her daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner and others. The documentary devotes a significant amount of time to Wood’s death. Gregson Wagner sits down with her stepfather Robert Wagner in an attempt to basically erase any doubt about his part in her drowning. For me, it was the stories from costars and photos from on and off the movie set that made this worth watching.
Blow the Man Down on Amazon reminded me of the Oscar-winning movie “Fargo,” but with a bit less gore and with New England accents. The atmospheric 2019 Independent film tells the story of two sisters who get involved in murder and slightly sinister occurrences in a Maine fishing village. The “man” in the title is ironic since the movie is dominated by women. That’s refreshing, but not quite enough to make up for the lack of character development and unanswered questions. Still, it’s a very diverting 90 minutes, and oh those accents!