Category Archives: Television

Something’s afoot

You know Sherlock Holmes from novels, television and film.

image

Mr. Holmes gives us the man behind the myth — the real detective that was fictionalized some 30 years after his last case.

This Holmes is 93 years old, frail and in the early stages of what appears to be Alzheimers. Aware that his memory is fading, he returns to his country home (and his bees) to attempt to piece together the forgotten details of his final case — a failure that made him leave sleuthing for good.

But why can’t he remember that mistake?

Ian McKellen is wonderful in the title role…more human and less ticky than his predecessors, although just as brutally honest. Laura Linney’s accent comes and goes as the dour housekeeper, but Milo Parker is winning as her son Roger, who helps Holmes care for his bees and ultimately find his past.

There’s even a little something for fans of Young Sherlock Holmes, which I am…so I left the theater happy.

The sporting life

Now that Wimbledon has ended, I am suffering from my annual melancholy.

wimbledon tennisWhat did I watch before it was on ESPN for two solid weeks?

What did I talk about?

What did I obsess about on social media?

Sigh.

Luckily, this year The Open begins this Thursday at St. Andrews in Scotland.

St-Andrews-2015-British-Open-Golf-PackagesIt’s on ESPN, too. Coverage starts at 4:00am daily.

All the experts are picking 21-year old American Jordan Speith to win his third major of the year.

Yeah… I can totally obsess about that.

In 7 days…

During this fortnight that is Wimbledon, I can’t get enough tennis.

7DaysInHell-720x1066But that’s not why I loved and fervently recommend 7 Days in Hell, the hilarious mockumentary scheduled to air this Saturday night on HBO.

(I saw it early OnDemand. Gotta love OnDemand.)

Andy Samberg (SNL, Brooklyn 99) is Aaron Williams, a washed up former tennis star long removed from the game who returns for one last epic match against his bitter rival, young tennis phenom Charles Poole, played by Kit Harington (the late — or is he? — Jon Snow of Game of Thrones).

The match goes the full five sets and, since it is played at Wimbledon, does not have a tie break in the final set. So the play goes on and on — for a variety of bizarre reasons — for seven long days.

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut will be a tad jealous when they see why.  (They hold the real record for the longest match at Wimbledon, iffin you didn’t know — 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days.)

There are tons of cameos by celebrities from television, film, tennis, even the world of magic. The story is outrageous, but the documentary format is honored, so it looks right…

Even though it is gloriously wrong.

Costume comedy

Love Downton Abbey?  The ol’ upstairs/downstairs drama?

How bout with some out-and-out silliness?

image

Add Another Period (Tuesdays, Comedy Central) to your viewing /DVR schedule.

The name alone makes me happy. But the cast — including Michael Ian Black, Thomas Lennon, Jason Ritter,  Christina Hendricks and a host of others I can’t name — is game for anything, which makes the show crazy funny.

From what I can tell on Imdb.com, there are lots of great cameos planned, too, so you look forward to that.

Or, you can if you watch.

On the ball

For a sport with such small balls, golf is an unusually large target.

cu golf ballPeople who don’t watch it or understand the nuances of the game are quick to dismiss it as boring.

My mother never understood why I watched golf on TV as a young child. But if she sat with me for even 30 minutes, she would soon be ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ over some of the precision shots the pros could pull off.

And in television golf tournaments, you see a lot of golf.  The cameras jump from tee to fairway to green, so you get to see sometimes 50+ different golfers swing the club or putt every 30 seconds or less.

So, contrary to what you might think, there is a lot of action in golf.

In contrast, televised baseball and football games — America’s sports — mostly involve standing around.  A Wall Street Journal study calculated that a baseball fan will see 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action over the course of a three-hour game. And the football audience?  A paltry 11 minutes per game.

So for pure entertainment value, swing for swing, I’d put the US Open Golf Championship up against a baseball game any day. I’ve watched both, and I feel pretty good about my chances.

Armchair quarterback

One of the first things I saw on television this morning was the commercial featuring “Mr. Hyperbole” Terry Bradshaw promoting the vaccine for shingles:

Since I have had the misfortune to have shingles twice at an unusually young age, I feel like I need to speak up — to confirm that what he’s saying is true (because his style of delivery can sometimes appear false).

Shingles is a bitch, pure and simple.

You have a horrible, itchy rash on your skin, just as Terry described.  But what makes it 10 times worse is that the pain runs far deeper.  It’s like your internal organs are on fire, and your muscles ache — all at the same time.  And you have the rash to deal with, too.

Quite simply, you are miserable.

I had my first case of shingles in my 20’s on my back, which is a fairly classic presentation.  It made breathing almost impossible. In my early 40’s, it reappeared on my shin, which is so unusual, it took ER doctors two days and a ridiculous amount of testing to diagnose.  I had phantom leg pain from that case of shingles for almost two years.

I wouldn’t wish shingles on my worse enemy, so if your doctor recommends the vaccine, give it serious consideration.

Terry and I aren’t lying.

Best of binge

We all are born with certain talents or gifts.

Binge watching is one of mine.

orangeisthenewblack3-1210x738

Now, you might argue that all of us can binge watch a television show or mini-series as long as we have access on Netflix or OnDemand.

I beg to differ.

As Liam Neeson would say, “It takes a particular set of skills.”

  1. Sitting still for long periods of time. I list this first because I feel it is most important. If you are a person who needs to ‘piddle,’ — always getting up and doing something, whether it’s eating or drinking or using the bathroom or organizing your pencils — binge watching will be difficult for you. It will take you weeks to watch the new season of Orange is the New Black. A true binge watcher can do it in two days. Max.
  2. Focus (or multi-tasking while still watching TV). I give you a choice here, because I find that I use both methods during my long binge-watching sessions.  Some episodes demand my complete attention. Others offer small windows of opportunity to check email or IM with a friend (which still ‘watching’ the program.) Can you handle the singularity?
  3. Organizing your life. You cannot take two days to binge watch House of Cards or Bloodlines unless you can clear your calendar.  And that involves getting things done in the days and weeks preceding the binge watch, which is made possible–in my house, anyway–by exhaustive list making.  If it isn’t written down, it usually doesn’t get done.  And I have to get a lot of stuff done to justify a big ol’ two-day binge.
  4. Bladder control. Contrary to popular belief, bladders do not come in a variety of sizes. They are all the same — male and female, adult and child. What does vary is our muscle control and ability to ‘hold our bladder.’ Not having to get up every 30 minutes makes #1 and #2 more plausible (and will help you be more efficient at checking off line items on #3).

Best of luck with your next binge watch!