My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 2/7/19

I’m back to spending a lot of time alone, so I’m back to watching more TV and reading a little bit more. I still need to work on balancing my time between screen and books, but after my day at work, it’s much easier to veg out in front of the TV than focus on a book. On to the review…

Movies – We watched Tag this week. It is based on a Wall Street Journal article about a group of guys who have been playing a game of Tag for years. In the movie, Ed Helms, Hannibal Burress, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner are childhood friends who have been playing for 30 years. Renner’s character has never been tagged and the movie revolves around the others using his wedding as a chance to finally get him. It will never be nominated for an award, but it was fun and I would recommend it.

TV – I still didn’t watch anything new again this week. It was still a catch-up week for me. I watched multiple episodes of A Million Little Things and Suits. I stayed current on Grey’s Anatomy. We caught up on New Amsterdam and The Resident and now I have their storylines all mixed together and I can’t remember what story matches which doctor show. I was happy that A Million Little Things was renewed this week. I really like it. So far the only show I watch and care about that has not been renewed is All American. I don’t get how Dynasty was renewed and this one is still awaiting its fate. The big TV news this week was that Modern Family will end after next season. It’s probably past time for that to happen. I wonder if they will consider a spin-off like they did with The Middle before opting against it.

Books – I finished three books this week:

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina – The Newbery winner about a young girl who is dealing with being the poor kid at a private school and also her grandfather’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. It is a very good book aimed at upper elementary and middle school readers.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – The Printz winner about a high school girl who is a poet writing about her life living with a very religious mother, first love and reading her poetry aloud for the first time. I listened to the audio read by the author who is a former National Slam champion. If you can, do the audio for this one. It is very good and only three discs if you are old like me and use CD’s still.

Damsel by Elana Arnold – Ama is a damsel who is rescued from a dragon by the prince. She has no memory of anything before this and is told that this is the way of life. The damsel is rescued, marries the prince, has a son and then that son rescues a damsel and the circle continues. Ama resists not having a choice in life. It was good, but I hope the author didn’t think the end was a shock. I saw it coming almost from the beginning. This was a Printz Honor book.

On Deck – I’m reading On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. I have Mid90’s and Halloween on DVD from the library. Odds are my wife won’t want to watch them. Maybe this is the week I finally watch True Detective.

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My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 2/1/19

It’s another light week for me in terms of things on the screen, but I did finally watch a movie. You would think with so little to report screen-wise, I would have more to report in reading. I have no idea what I’m doing with my time.

Movies – I was about to say that I didn’t watch a movie again this week, but then I remembered that we got The Hate U Give from Redbox last Friday. My daughter and I both loved the book and wanted to see the movie before she went back to school so we decided to splurge and spend the $1.89 instead of waiting for the free DVD from the library. I thought they did a really good job with the adaptation. My daughter was mad that she thought they made the relationship between Starr and Khalil more than just friends because we wouldn’t believe she cared so much if they were just friends. I would highly recommend it.

TV – This is where all of my time has gone. I haven’t watched anything new this week, but I’ve watched a lot of TV. With our trip away and with my daughter being home, I am way behind on the shows I record and watch alone. I’ve spent this week catching up on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, All American and the random sit-coms I watch. Suits also returned this week so I watched an episode of that as well. I still need to watch several episodes of A Million Little Things, Vikings and Manifest and I still need to start the new season of True Detective.

Books – I finished the nonfiction book What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte. It was interesting, especially if you are from or have spent time in Appalachia. It was also interesting in that she had a lot of bad things to say about JD Vance and Hillbilly Elegy and linked him to people who were involved in eugenics. The Youth Media Awards were announced Monday morning at the ALA Midwinter Conference. I now have a lot of books from that list checked out from the library. I did finish one of them, The Unwanted by Don Brown. It is a graphic novel about the Syrian refugees and won an award. I was underwhelmed. The art was not fantastic and the text was OK, but not great. I’m not sure why it won an award.

On Deck – I still have no movies from the library. I did record Tag when it was on HBO last week, but I don’t know when I will have time to watch it. TV will still be filled with catch up. Maybe I will get to the first episode of True Detective this week. I’m almost finished reading the Newbery winner, Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina and almost finished with the audio of the Printz Award winner, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo and have a big pile of other award winners waiting so I will have a lot of books to talk about next week.

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.

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.

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.