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.

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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.

Tater Takes on Several Topics

I thought about writing a long post on some of these, but never had the time nor the energy for it, so here are short thoughts on a few topics.

Religion – A lot of people from my hometown have been posting angrily about people complaining about prayer at the high school football game. Apparently, the prayer comes over the PA system which means it is school sponsored. There have been several comments saying the people should leave if they don’t like it. Leave the school, leave the town, leave the country. They scream freedom of religion. They feel persecuted. Same as they do when someone says Happy Holidays and Starbucks changes their holiday cups. But they have no problem with telling others if they don’t share their religion they don’t belong and should leave the country. Freedom of religion applies to all religions, not just your religion or the religion of the majority. Keep praying – just not in a way that is school sponsored or makes others feel they are being forced to pray your way.

Robot Sex – I saw an article recently about a proposed robot brothel. People were not happy about it. Today I see that Houston has banned the proposed robot brothel. I am here in defense of robot sex. It seems in a world where sexual assault is “boys being boys” and we have a major human trafficking issue, we should embrace anything that will take some of these guys away from actual humans. I propose more sex robots. Get these men away from the human women they are abusing and get them in the robot brothels. It won’t fix the problems. We need to change out culture and the way we are raising our sons. We need leaders who care more about people than they do about power. We need a society that is as disgusted by a culture of abuse as they are by the thought of sex with a robot.

More TV – I will end with my less serious TV babble. I watched the two new CBS sitcoms, The Neighborhood and Happy Together. I have the same opinion on both – with a lesser cast I would write them off a bad shows destined for cancellation. With the casts, though, they have a chance to overcome a mediocre pilot and become decent shows. They just need to focus more on expanding the story past the general premise(white family moves in to a black neighborhood/famous pop star moves in with ordinary couple) and they might be OK. Also – a word on Lethal Weapon. Last season, it was revealed that the stars did not like each other, The show fired the guy who played Riggs. Now they guy who plays Murtaugh says he’s quitting. Seems like if he was a decent person he would have quit last season instead of pushing for the other guy to be fired. Why get him fired if you planned on leaving anyway? Dick move Damon Wayans, Sr.

It’s Another TV Post

Most of the new shows have aired and the schedules are pretty much the same as last week, so I won’t be doing a full “What’s on Tonight” post anymore. Otherwise, it would be all I posted all season long. Instead, I will so a short write-up on the days a new show airs.

There are two premieres tonight. Both comedies on CBS at 8 and 8:30. The first is The Neighborhood – a comedy about a white family moving in to an all black neighborhood. It has had a few decent reviews, but I probably wouldn’t watch if it didn’t have such a good cast. I feel like Max Greenfield and Cedric the Entertainer might be able to make a shaky premise funny. The second is Happy Together – a comedy about a famous pop star moving in with his accountant and his wife. It is loosely based on Harry Styles living in a producer’s attic for two years. It’s had bad reviews and I likely wouldn’t watch if not for the cast. I really like Damon Wayans Jr and Amber Stevens West so I’m hoping it will be better than I’m expecting.

I did watch a couple of new shows over the weekend. FBI was decent for what it is – a procedural from Dick Wolf. A decent cast and nothing glaringly terrible. I will watch with  my wife, but wouldn’t cafe if I missed an episode. The Cool Kids is the first new show I’ve watched that I will declare as terrible and not worth your time. It is set in a retirement community and has a great  cast – Vicki Lawrence, Martin Mull, David Allen Grier and Leslie Jordan – but it was really bad. Sometimes I can watch a bad pilot and see potential. Even with the great cast, I see no potential here. It seems they think they can sustain an entire show off the “people like sassy old people’ premise. It’s not enough.