A Couple of Week of Books, Movies and TV 1/25/19

I was out of town last week so I didn’t do any of my normal posts. Being out of town also means my reading and viewing habits were different than normal. There won’t be a lot to report even though this covers two weeks.

TV – My son really wanted to be back at the hotel in time to watch The Passage last week I was good with that since I read the books and really liked them. It worked out that we made it in time to watch. It also turns out that I was really tired and fell asleep before the show was over. I liked what I saw before I fell asleep. I think, though, that this entire season might only be the present day story and none of the better, future, storylines. We are happy that Victoria is once again airing on PBS. My daughter is a fan of British history and I’m a fan of having Jenna Coleman on my TV.

Movies –  We took two movies on our trip, but never had the time to watch them. That was a good thing since we discovered we did not have a DVD player in the room. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a movie.

Books – I read Wrecked by Joe Ide while on vacation. My family tried to shame me for only finishing one book while on the trip. They are right that my reading has slowed down lately. Maybe I’m getting dumber as I get older. Wrecked is the latest in the IQ series. I liked it and I really like the series. It’s refreshing to have main characters in a mystery series who are not cops are professional detectives. I finished The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay yesterday. It started out strong. A couple and their kid are on vacation in a remote cabin when a group of strangers appears and tells them the world is going to end unless the choose a member of the family to sacrifice. About 2/3 of the way in it fell apart and was a struggle to finish.

On Deck  – I still have no movies from the library. Maybe that will change soon. I’m about to start a nonfiction book called What We Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia. We will see if it holds my attention. I’m not a big nonfiction reader. I plan to watch at least one episode of the new season of True Detective. My expectations are low for that one.

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My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 1/11/18

I came really close to skipping this post this week as I don’t have much to report, but I decided if I’m going to do a regular feature it should actually be regular. That being said, I’m traveling again next week so there might not be any posts at all after Sunday. Maybe I will actually blog my trip and post each night with my pictures and such. I’m sure everyone is excited about that. It will be like those fabled boring travel slideshows in blog form. Yay! OK, my week:

Movies – I mentioned four movies in my post last week as on deck. I’ve watched none of them. I did watch Super Troopers 2 Wednesday morning before work. If you liked the first one you will like this one. If you didn’t like the first one I’m not sure why you would be watching the second one. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it is a fun hour and a half. I liked the additions to the cast in this one. Rob Lowe is good as the mayor of the town. The three mounties are funny. It was a good way to be lazy on a morning off.

TV –  I’m not sure I watched anything new this week. We are at the end of the winter hiatus for most shows. This week and next is when shows return and new shows premiere. I did just remember I did watch one new show this week – Schooled. I have never watched The Goldbergs and had no reason to watch the spinoff until I heard that two of my favorite music people, Jaret Reddick and Kelly Ogden, wrote and performed the theme song. I recorded the show to hear the song and then decided to watch the full episode. I enjoyed it. I probably would like it more if I knew the character from The Goldbergs. I’m not sure I will record it and watch it regularly, but if it was on and I was home I might watch it.

Books – I finished Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly. I always enjoy his books and this one was no exception. This time he combined his longtime character Harry Bosch with a  newer character, Renee Ballard,  he introduced recently. It appears going forward the books will be a combination of the two. It makes sense. Bosch is older and retired and it is harder to realistically give him access to what he needs to solve the crimes. Ballard gives him police access and she is a good character. I like it.

On deck – We are traveling again next week so movies and TV viewing will likely go down and reading will go up. I am trying to finish Target by James Patterson before we leave so I have fresh books for the trip. The books I have set aside to take with me are Wrecked by Joe Ide, What You are Getting Wring about Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte and The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. The good news is that if I read too fast and finish them before the end of the trip or if one or more of them suck, I can easily download something else from the library. I don’t read ebooks a lot, but that they are good for travel and for emergencies when you run out of print books.

My Recent Weeks in Books, TV and Movies 1/4/19

My time away over the holidays did not have much TV and movies, but I did manage to read three books. The hope is that my reading will continue at a nice pace and my screen time doesn’t increase too much. Here’s what I watched and read.

Movies – I have not watched a new movie in a while. I’m pretty sure the only two movies I’ve watched in the last month are Elf and Miracle on 34th Street. It’s possible I had another old movie on in the background while reading at my mother-in-law’s house, but if so, I couldn’t tell you what it was. I did enjoy my regular Christmas movies.

Television – While I was away, the only time I watched TV was to watch sports or for background noise while I was reading. I have watched two new shows since I’ve been back this week. My daughter found the show Derry Girls on Netflix and liked it so much she insisted we watch it with her. I was leery, but I ended up really liking it. It’s funny and with six 30 minute episodes, it’s easy to finish quickly. I would recommend it. We also watched The Masked Singer. It is a really weird show where famous people wear elaborate costumes to hide their identity, sing in front of judges and are unmasked when they are eliminated. It isn’t something I should like, but it is oddly compelling and I think I will keep watching. The “judges” are terrible but I like Nick Cannon as the host and I like the mystery aspect and guessing who is behind the mask.

Books – I read three books over the break. Iron Flower by Laurie Forrest is the sequel to The Black Witch. I loved The Black Witch. Iron Flower was OK but really felt like 500 pages of set up for a third book. I hate that. Elevation by Stephen King was a Christmas gift I knew nothing about it and was surprised when I saw how small it was. It is a weird little story of a man who is losing weight(but not mass) and his life in Castle Rock. I liked it even though it was not what I expected from King. I also got The Outsider by King for Christmas. It is the normal big, 500 page King book. There is a murder of a kid and a respected baseball coach is arrested. There is plenty of witness and DNA evidence that he did it, but also witnesses and evidence that prove he was in a different city when the murder occurred. Midway through the book, a character from the Mr. Mercedes series shows up and becomes part of the story. I really enjoyed this one.

On Deck – I’m reading Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly. I think Connelly is one of the best mystery authors around these days. I love his books. I got four movies all at once from the library: Mission Impossible: Fallout, Equalizer 2, Smallfoot, and The House With a Clock in the Wall. I think we will end up only watching the first two. I’m really happy about the return of Brooklyn 99 this week and will be trying the new comedy Fam as well. We will probably also watch America’s Got Talent: Champions. I like a lot of the acts who are returning and I think Terry Crews will be very good as the host.

 

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 12/14/18

This has been a little more productive than other weeks in viewing and reading. I’m still too close to missing my 100 books goal. I need to read a lot on my Christmas vacation. Is it OK to ignore my family and read more?

Books – I finished Holy Ghost by John Sandford, the latest in the Virgil Flowers series. This is the 11th book in the Flowers series and there are even more Lucas Davenport books, but the quality has stayed very high. I really like the main characters and Sandford did a good job with the side characters in this one. I also like that it really is a mystery. It wasn’t until late in the book that the killer was revealed. I like a good thriller, but it’s fun to read a good mystery now and then.

TV – Nothing new on TV this week, so I will talk about how much I’ve liked this season of Survivor. I was leery of the David vs Goliath theme. Sometimes these themed versions don’t go well. This time they have a strong cast and some very entertaining tribal councils. I have no idea who is going to make it to the end and I would be OK with most of who is left in the game. I can see several of this cast being on the short list for any seasons with returning players.

Movies – We watched two movies this week. The first was Hotel Artemis, which was not exactly what I was expecting going in and was a little boring.  I stopped paying close attention early and I’m pretty sure I slept through a good portion of it. We also finally watched Crazy Rich Asians. I’ve been a fan of Constance Wu for a while now, so it’s no surprise that I loved her in this. It’s just as good as everyone said it was. Even my wife, the “I only like movies with explosions” person, like it.

On Deck – I’m reading On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden, a hefty graphic novel that is taking me longer than expected. TV is wrapping up until after the holidays, but I have shows saved up to watch with my daughter. The Survivor finale is Wednesday, so she has to get caught up on that so we can watch. For movies, we have The Meg and Dog Days, two movies I don’t care about but my wife might like.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 12/7/18

My reading has picked up, but my movie watching has pretty much stopped. I’m not sure why. Here’s the recap of my week.

Books – I gave up on Little Heaven by Nick Cutter. I just couldn’t get in to it and I didn’t want to waste a lot of time on a book I wasn’t enjoying.  Here is what I did finish:

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillipps – I listened to this one. I enjoy listening to memoirs read by the person who wrote them. I’ve always liked her and I enjoyed hearing her story.

French Exit by Patrick DeWitt – It was a weird little book about a rich woman and her son losing their money and moving to Paris. It also includes a cat inhabited by the soul of her dead husband. I did like it, but it was weird.

Home After Dark by David Small – A very good graphic novel about a boy in the 50’s abandoned by his parents.

Sabrina by Nick Drnasco – Weird. I finished but didn’t really like it.

TV – We watched the first episode of Nghtfliers on Syfy. We didn’t like it. It was a little boring and we didn’t care enough to go further. As I mentioned in my TV 2018 post, we’ve been watching the new season of Lethal Weapon and enjoying it. I hope it can survive the departure of Damon Wayans. It can be good without him. Having the Lethal Weapon name without Murtaugh and Riggs will be unfortunate, but it could be a good show.

Movies – I don’t think I watched a movie this week. That’s odd. I will use this space to say that I am ready and willing to take Kevin Hart’s place as the host of the Oscars.

On Deck – I have four movies from the library: Black KKKlansman, The Meg, Crazy Rich Asians, and Hotel Artemis. I’m sure we will watch at least one of them.  I’m about to start reading Holy Ghost by John Sandford. I love his books. TV will just be a continuation of catching up on shows we’ve DVR’ed.

 

Tater’s Best in TV 2018

This is mostly going to be about the Fall 2018 season. I don’t think I could remember back to the early part of the year. By best I mean what I most enjoy. A lot of these will not be critically acclaimed shows.

Best New Comedy – I’m watching three new comedies this season. Two will likely get a second season, one will not. One that will is my favorite new comedy, Single Parents. It has a very good ensemble cast and it has gotten better as it has become more of an ensemble and not an attempt at making Taran Killam a lead. If anyone should be the lead it is Leighton Meester. She is very good. Even the kids are good in this one, and I usually am annoyed by the precocious kids in sitcoms.

Best New Drama – There are actually several that we are watching and enjoying. This was a hard one as my two finalists are very different shows. I’m going to go with my first instinct and go with All American. It is a high school drama about a kid from Crenshaw moving to Beverly Hills to play football. It is based on a true story. As with Single Parents, there is not a weak point in the cast. I like the storylines and they are doing a good job of balancing the Crenshaw and Beverly Hills stories. The only weak part is the whole “is Spencer the coach’s son?” story. The faster they move away from that the better.

Best Revamp of a Current Show – Until the last week, I would have given this to The Connors. It is a much better show now that Roseanne is gone. She was the worst part of the Roseanne reboot.  We have been watching the new season of Lethal Weapon lately and it is very good. I thought the show was done when Clayne Crawford was fired and they killed Riggs off, but Seann William Scott’s new character is very good and different enough not to make it look like they are just trying to replicate the Riggs character. Then there was the news that Damon Wayans might quit and we would also not have Murtaugh. That might kill the show, but I don’t think it should.  It could become a very good ensemble show with Scott, Michelle Mitchenor’s Detective Bailey, her new “Riggs-like” partner, Kevin Rahm who is very good as the captain and a new partner for Scott. It can still be very good. I should call FOX.

Most Disappointing Revival – Murphy Brown is just not that good. The characters are caricatures of themselves. The stories are mediocre. The writing is bad. It’s just a mess. A better show – focus on Jake McDermott as Avery Brown. Bring in a good cast as his Wolf Network colleagues. Move Miles over to produce the show. Make Murphy and her crew recurring characters. It might still be mediocre, but it would be better than what we have right now.

Most Disappointing Second Season – I might be the only one who feels this way. I haven’t read any reviews, so I don’t know. I did not like season 2 of Westworld and ended up deleting half the season without watching it. I was just bored.

Long Running Shows I Still Love – Grey’s Anatomy and Survivor. I think Grey’s has done a good job of lightening the mood this season and finding the right mix of old and new characters. Survivor has been really good this season. I love the show even when it has a mediocre cast, but a good cast like this season really makes the show a must watch for me. I will be a sad day when Survivor finally ends its run.

Best in Streaming – I only have Netflix and I don’t watch much there, so I don’t have a lot to work with here. I loved the second season of American Vandal and I’m not happy with the news that they have canceled the show.  There are only a handful of Netflix originals I watch regularly. I’m now down to Thirteen Reasons Why and Dear White People. I guess I should finally watch some of the others.

That’s all of the categories I can think of at the moment. Any categories I missed? Any shows you think should be included? Tell me in the comments.

My Recent Books, TV and Movies

It has been a couple of weeks since my last one, so I don’t remember what I’ve read and watched in the interim. Some of these may be repeats since I’m too lazy to go back to look.

Books – My reading has really slowed down lately. I don’t know why. Am I watching so much TV that I don’t find the time to read? Are the books I’m choosing just not that good? Is my down mood lately affecting my ability to focus on reading? A combination of the three? Probably that one. Anyway, here is a list of what I’ve read recently:

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – A cute graphic novel love story and an easy read.

The Reckoning by John Grisham – Interesting story. Not quite what I was expecting from him.

Crush(Awkward #3) by Svetlana Chmakova – I’ve liked every book in the series.

I’m currently reading Little Heaven by Nick Cutter and listening to This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillipps.

TV – I have nothing new to talk about. I’ve watched a lot of TV, but it’s all been new episodes of shows I’m already watching. Midseason shows will start to premiere soon after Christmas so I will have some new TV stuff to talk about. In the meantime, you can read my Christmas viewing musts here.

Movies – We watched The Spy Who Dumped Me over Thanksgiving week. It was pretty good. I’ve always liked Mila Kunis, so liking this movie was not a shock. I watched Sorry to Bother You and Eight Grade this week. Both good movies. Sorry To Bother You went in an unexpected direction. Eighth Grade was almost painful to watch but was really good. I can relate to being the weird, shy kid.

Hopefully, my reading will pick up in December and I will make it through the pile of books I have at home. We will watch some Christmas shows when my daughter is home from college. I have Skyscraper and Black KKKlansman on DVD right now.