Strong Coffee to Red Wine has focused on wine and food now for two years. Recently, I added travel as a pillar of focus. And today I announce the fourth pillar, Joie de Vie. That means “joy of life” in French, but it is also part of the English vernacular as well. This Joie de Vie is the culmination of everyone and thing in my life. It is my glass half full mindset. And the humor with which I cope with life. It is what I do to relax, inspire, and learn. It is also the poignant moments in my life because, without them, I could not define my joy. Past posts that fit this category include: Today, I start with something simple but fun some favorites on my binge list.
For me, TV is a form of entertainment and an education platform. I learn best watching and listening. Ever since we cut the Xfinity cord, I can’t say that I watch less TV, but I definitely watch TV differently. I am finally all about binge watching. And there are a few reasons why I love it so much.
The Benefit of the Binge
1) I get frustrated when a show leaves me hanging for weeks on end. I like resolution in my entertainment not cliffhangers. Now I can watch an entire season in a matter of days or weeks.
2) Because Netflix and Amazon Prime have been around long enough that they are making better original programming that competes aggressively with the broadcast and cable networks. Additionally, they are importing great shows from other countries. The world of entertainment and documentary education has expanded exponentially, both figuratively and literally.
3) You binge on your own schedule. And I love that aspect. Some weeks there is just no time and others there is all the time in the world.
Now I realize that you may have been on this bandwagon for a while. I am just glad that I have finally caught the bug. So here are some of the shows I have watched that you may enjoy. I promise I won’t spoil anything.
Binge on Great Documentaries and Docu-series
Salt Fat Acid Heat – Netflix
I love, love, love this show. It is a show about cooking – not a cooking show. There are only four episodes. Each one about the four elements of cooking in the title. Think of it more as a documentary on how these for elements play into the way we cook. It is beautifully photographed, educational and above all entertaining and interesting. Samin Nosrat is the host and executive producer of the series. Her award-winning book on which the series is based was awarded the 2018 James Beard Award for General Cookbook of the Year. This binge took all of two evenings.
Grand Designs – Netflix
And speaking of international imports. This British television import is a must for all HGTV lovers. Apparently, this is Britain’s favorite home design show. Grand Designs features the craziest renovations, ultra-modern new builds, historically accurate new builds and so much more. This show is not House Hunters International or Property Brothers. These episodes can take a year or more to film and follow the ups and downs, the absurd and brutal reality of exorbitant budgets gone awry. Not to mention, timelines shot to hell and back, and relationships crushed by the process. After I plowed through all 17 episodes, I tried Grand Designs Australia. I did not connect to their version of the show and gave up after a few episodes, but you may like that one as well.
Chasing Coral – Netflix
The temperature of our oceans is rising. The ph of the water (9th-grade science class) is changing (more acidic), and the fragile lives of corals all over the world are dying and fast. Divers, photographers, and scientists are followed around the globe exposing this frightening change in the earth’s atmosphere and environment and the impact that these changes affect our lives. This is what science-based programming is all about. It is stunning and sad all wrapped into about 90 minutes.
Binge on Entertainment Comedies and Dramas
Ozark – Netflix
When my sister told me about this show, she said it was dark. She likes dark. Me? Not so much, so I did not investigate further. When she heard that it was canceled after the first season, she was really disappointed. Then out of nowhere, the second season was announced, and conversely, she was thrilled. It came up in a conversation again.
All she then told me was, it was about money laundering, and it starred Laura Linney and Jason Bateman. In my mind, Laura Linney can do no wrong, and Jason Bateman, I like but think of him as a comedic actor. What the heck I gave it a go and could not stop watching after episode one. And the actress who plays “Ruth” should win an Emmy for her performance. Actually, this series is chock full of compelling, strong female characters brilliantly performed making for any number of award-winning opportunities.
Gary joined me on this one so this binge took a while since we would max out at two episodes a night. But we just finished Season 2. OH. My. God. ! Is it dark? Yes, on so many levels. It is even filmed “dark” with a muted bluish cast over every scene. I am shocked I love it and hope that season three is in the works. Gary recently said, “I think I understand money laundering now, but I NEVER want to go into that business.” Duh.
Sneaky Pete – Amazon Prime
This American crime drama took me a while to see. It was not until season two came out that I gave it a go. But once I started, I could not stop. Yep, this is a “Crap!, it’s 4:00 am, I have to get to bed,” kind of show.
This is a story about a con man on the run. I will leave it at that other than to say be warned as it can get a bit bloody but it is not gratuitous. It really fits with the drama. Giovanni Ribisi is the star of this drama. And he blows it out of the park. You will also recognize Brian Cranston, Margo Martindale and Peter Gerety. I was thrilled to see that it was renewed for a third season. I have to say this is probably one of my faves for the year.
Insatiable – Netflix
Now, I know this one will be controversial and certainly will not be a show for everyone. It is an 11% on rottentomatoes.com; there was a petition to get it canceled before it ever released, and has been called Netflix’s worst original series. But it definitely has a cult following and has been renewed for a second season.
It is rude, crude, way over the top, ludicrous and so much more. But it is also absurd satire, and that is why it works. Stereotypes run rampant in this show about a high school girl out for revenge for being bullied. And they leave no institution or population free from the most extreme representation of their stereotypes. If you are easily offended, stay very far away from this show. But if you like the extreme satire of Mel Brooks movies like Blazing Saddles, Christopher Guest movies like Best in Show, Del Shore movies like Sordid Lives or juvenile caricatures like Saved! or But I’m a Cheerleader, then this series may be for you. And there are actors you may recognize including Dallas Roberts, Alyssa Milano, Christopher Gorman, and Beverly D’Angelo.
Just laugh and take it in for what it is: An over the top satire.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Amazon Prime
Now, this show must be on your radar after winning so many Primetime Emmy Awards this past year including Outstanding Comedy, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. But if it is not, you need to give it a go. It is an American period (the 1950s) comedy-drama about a housewife who decides to become a comedian. It is smart and funny and did I mention hilarious.
You may recognize a few in supporting roles, but Rachel Brosnahan nails it with her first major comedic role.
Get or Give: Amazon Prime
That is all for now.