My Week in Books, TV and Movies 11/16/18

Another slow week for me. I’m almost positive I will not make my goal of 100 books read this year.There was a lull in movies from the library and nothing exciting on TV. I’m sure all of this makes you very excited to read the rest of the post.

Books – I finally finished one of my book club books, Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas. Ilgunas writes about his quest to pay off his student loans and lead a debt free life. Part of this involves living in a van while going to grad school at Duke. It was an interesting story and it made me want to go on adventures, but I hated the author. I hated him more when I got the audio and listened to him read it. I would have cared more about his quest if he wasn’t such a dick about it. I also read Brave by  Svetlana Chmakova. I really like her books

TV – I didn’t watch anything new this week, so I will talk about the new series All American and a storyline I hope the resolve soon. The basic premise of the show is that a football player from Crenshaw is recruited to play at Beverly Hills High. He ends up having to live with the coach and his family in order to play. From the very beginning there are hints that the coach might actually be his dad. The coach’s daughter is attracted to him as well. So, now we have the story of possible accidental incest. A CW high school show really doesn’t need an accidental incest storyline. This show doesn’t need the intrigue. It’s fine as it is with the high school drama and conflict between his two worlds.

Movies – I did not watch any new movies this week. I did watch Lean on Me with Morgan Freeman while I was off for a snow day yesterday.

On Deck – I’m reading The Reckoning by John Grisham and continuing to read The Sparrow. I’m hoping to have Eighth Grade and The Spy Who Dumped Me over Thanksgiving.


My Week in Books, TV and Movies 11/9/18

I considered skipping this one this week because there’s not much to report. I’m not really sure what I’ve done with my week.

Books – I’m working my way through The Sparrow by Mary Doria Rusell for my work book club and Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas for my personal book club. I really like The Sparrow so far and I don’t hate Walden on Wheels. It’s been slow going, though, for a few reasons. Reading two books at the same time always slows me down. Reading because I have to, even if I like the book, slows me down. After work my mind is usually in a place where I need passive TV watching, not reading. I don’t think I will make my goal of 100 books read this year.

TV – We spent a good portion of our TV time watching CB Strike. It is a really good adaptation of the books. I was surprised my wife liked it as she tends to not like the slower, character based mysteries. The other big TV event of the week was Andrew Lincoln’s last episode of the Walking Dead. Rick Grimes has been the main character of the show since the beginning.  The news that the episode was also the last for now for Lauren Cohan means there are now only two original cast members left on the show. I still like it and I think the loss of Rick and the time jump could reinvigorate the story telling.

Movies – We watched Oceans 8. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I slept through part of it. That’s just what we do. I fall asleep during movies and my wife falls asleep during basketball games. It will never change. The difference is I try to wake her up so she won’t miss the game and if she falls asleep during a TV show or movie I pause it and ask if she wants to watch it later and she just keeps watching and lets me sleep. I’m not sure which one is better.

On Deck – I have a feeling I will still be reading these two books next week. I do have Brave by Svetlana Chmakova as a possible graphic novel break to make me feel better about my reading accomplishments. I have no movies right now, so that spot might be empty next week. I will watch TV. I’m not sure I will watch anything worth writing about.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 10/27/18

Last week was a down week for movies and one book took over most of my reading. This week had more movies, but once again, one book took over most of my reading for another reason.

Books: I spent a good portion of the week re-reading The Troop by Nick Cutter for my book club at work. I rarely re-read a book and now I’ve done it two months in a row for work. It really slows me down. The new book I’ve been reading, Space Opera by Catherynne M Valente has also slowed me down. I love the premise and when the author gets to writing about the actual plot I like the book. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen enough. Too much of the book is her desperately trying to be Douglas Addams. She isn’t. I’ve still got over 100 pages to go, but I think I’m done. I need to move on to better things.

TV – I don’t have anything new to report about actual shows. I’m still watching the same stuff I have been watching. I haven’t given up on any new shows yet. My big TV thing is that my DVR is already close to 50% full and the season has just begun. I have several shows my daughter wants me to save for her. Until she watches them or decides she no longer cares, I will struggle with DVR space. Basketball season starting also means more time I will be watching something other than shows on my DVR. The space issue will make me really think about which shows I really need to keep recording, Maybe it’s time to finally admit I don’t care about those last 5 episodes of Westworld I still haven’t watched.

Movies – We watched two movies this week: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Uncle Drew. I slept a lot during Jurassic World and didn’t feel the need to re-watch later. I actually really liked Uncle Drew. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’s a nice, funny sports movie and I’m a sucker for a decent sports movie. The NBA guys were better than I expected them to be.

On Deck  – The TV series reboot of Heathers is finally airing. I don’t know how I feel about it, but I will give it a try. We have Solo on DVD and at some point this weekend I need to find time alone to watch Hereditary. I have three new books to choose from. I think I will start with Lu by Jason Reynolds.

Tater Fixes Some New TV Shows

I’ve been watching a few new TV shows this season. I like the ones I’ve kept watching, but I don’t love any of them. Here’s my ideas for making some of them better.

Magnum PI – I have no issue with them making Higgins a woman. I think the woman playing Higgins is really good. The thing I don’t like is how much they seem to be going for the “will they, won’t they” thing with Magnum and Higgins. So much so that Rick and TC are barely in the show and it’s the Magnum and Higgins show. If Higgins is going to help with the cases, make her a member of the team, not the only person working with Magnum and let them be friends and nothing more. Also – maybe cut down on the narration.

New Amsterdam – Less is more. Stop adding complicated back stories for the characters. It’s OK for them to just be a doctor and not have a long-lost kid, cancer or a possible drug addiction. Make the main guy more likable. I think they think he is, but really he’s a jerk who convinced his wife to give up her dream to start a family and then left to take a job that breaks their agreement.  Add to that the fact that he refuses to take his cancer seriously and, thus, risks leaving her to raise their unborn baby alone, it makes him hard to like. It might be too late to fix all of that.

A Million Little Things – Same as above. I like all of the actors. They are really good, but there are too many little plot twists in too short a time. Now it looks like we add a possible pregnancy to the mix, I think you can do a show about friends dealing with friendship after a tragedy without adding secret affairs, possible pregnancies and yet another character with cancer refusing treatment. The only story that feels real is the guy who hates his job and wants to quit to follow his dream of making a movie.

Murphy Brown – The biggest mistake they made was bringing the Murphy Brown show back with the main group intact. I think it would be better with some fresh perspective. I think it would have been a better show had they focused it on her son’s show as the lone liberal voice on a conservative network. Have Miles as his producer and Murphy as a contributor. Maybe add in a possible relationship between the son and one of the more moderate conservatives at the network to give Murphy a consistent foil. Frank and Corky are occasional guest stars.

All American – It works fine as a high school drama and with the main character dealing with life in Beverly Hills and his ties back home in Crenshaw. We didn’t really need to add a mystery connection between his mom and the coach. If the coach is going to end up being his dad, tell us now so you can drop the possible relationship between him and the coach’s daughter. We don’t need an accidental incest story line here. If he’s not the dad, also clear it up now anyway so we don’t wonder if there will be accidental incest. Then just focus on the high school drama. It’s enough.

I will probably keep watching these shows. I just wish they were a little better.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 10/19/18

This will not be the most exciting of weeks in review. Usually, when I have an off week I at least read books or watch a movie. This week, those were as off as my writing schedule was. I’m pretty sure I will also have trouble filling my “What’s Good in Tater Town” post on Sunday.

Books: I actually did read this week. I started Lethal White by Robert Galbraith(JK Rowling) and I’ve read almost 500 pages of it. It is over 600 pages, though, so it will be a few more days before I finish it. I really like this series. Even when the majority of the book is more about the characters lives than the mystery, it is still very good. I can’t wait to watch the show to see what they did with the characters.

TV: I watched a lot of T this week. Generally, it was new episodes of shows I already watch. I did watch two new shows this week. One, The Conners, was not really new, just Roseanne without Roseanne. I thought Roseanne and her terrible acting was the worst part of the revival of Roseanne, so I expected this to be better, and it was. You take out a terrible actress and person and give more screen time to Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman and Sara Gilbert it makes for a much better show. With decent writing, this show could be what people hoped the revival would be in the first place. I also watched The Kids are Alright. It was alright. I might give it another episode or two, but I don’t think it is one I will stick with. I think I might do a post soon in which I write about how I would fix some of the new shows.

Movies:  I did not watch a movie this week. If I did, I don’t remember it. I hope I didn’t I’d hate to think I forgot about watching a movie.

On Deck: I have the new Jurassic World movie, Uncle Drew and Hereditary from the library. I know my wife will only watch Jurassic World. I have no idea when I will have a chance to watch the others. I think we are done with new TV shows until midseason shows appear. I hope to finish Lethal White soon since it is overdue. I have no idea what I will read next. I guess it depends on what I get from the library this week.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 10/12/18

It’s been an off week for me. I worked Sunday, off on Monday for the holiday, had an all day training at a different branch yesterday, I’m now the only person home and today I work with a very short staff and then I can finally relax. It was a short week, but not a great week. I need this weekend. I keep pretending like I’m going to go to a movie or actually leave the house, but I know I will spend all of my time on the couch reading or watching TV. OK, enough rambling – on to the review

Books – I read Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith. Smith is one of my favorite YA authors. If you haven’t read his books, go get Grasshopper Jungle or Winger now. Rabbit is more along the lines of Grasshopper. It’s weird(humans on a spaceship full of malfunctioning robots), but funny. I wasn’t sure about it at first and  thought it might be one of his first ones that disappointed me, but after the first couple of chapters I really liked it.

TV – First some TV news – New Amsterdam and FBI have both received full season orders, so that is a good sign as far as renewals go. I don’t think anything has been canceled yet. I think the only new show I watched this week was All American, a CW drama about a football player from Crenshaw who moves to Beverly Hills to play for Beverly Hills High. It will be my new “high school drama” show now that Riverdale has lost me.

Movies – We watched Deadpool 2. If you liked the first one, you will like this one. If you didn’t like the first one, don’t bother. I hope they do make an X Force movie next. That would be fun. I still wish Deadpool would make an Avengers appearance.

On Deck – I started Lethal White, the next book in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith(JK Rowling) but I’ve always listened to them, so I might stop and wait for the audio. I don’t think I will watch a movie this week and TV will be catching up on DVR’ed shows.  There are a couple of new sitcoms I might try next week.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 10/5/18

Back to my normal posting schedule now that most of the TV premieres are over. One note before I start the review – ABC comedies Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless come back tonight. Both are very good.

Books: I finally read a book that made me want to keep reading. One of Us by Craig DiLouie. It takes place in the 80’s in a world where kids have been born with mutations and pushed in to homes where they become wards of the state and treated poorly. The kids start developing powers the government wants to use. Eventually, something happens at one home and town that pushes the tension between the “normals” and the “creepers” toward violence. It is very good. I also read Essex County by Jeff Lemire and Orange:Future by Ichigo Takano. Both graphic novels(one manga) and both also very good.

TV: I’ve posted a lot about TV lately. You can go back and look at those posts to get more detail on what I’ve watched. I did finish Mr Mercedes season 1 on DVD. It was one of the better Stephen King adaptations I’ve seen.  As far as the new shows go – Single Parents is the only new comedy I will definitely continue watching. New dramas – hard to judge based on one episode. The only ones I’ve watched twice are Magnum and New Amsterdam. I still like both.

Movies: We watched two movies this week. American Animals is the story of the theft from the special collections area of the Transylvania University library by four students. I was interested in this one because I once lived in Lexington. It was an interesting story with clips of the real guys talking about it. I liked it. We also watched the gender flipped remake of Overboard. I liked it a lot more than I expected. Eugenio Derbez was really good in the lead role. I was also pleasantly surprised that they had the Spanish speaking characters actually speak Spanish and used subtitles instead of pretending they would always speak English.

On Deck: We are watching Deadpool 2 tomorrow. I’ve started Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith.