Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I've never been so enthusiastic about television in my entire life. When we first got t.v., we had a b&w one and one channel. There was no remote, and programming began only in the evenings. Now, t.v. is a different beast indeed. I keep discovering new things, and since I am not a binge-watcher, this is enough to keep me satisfied. I have quite a juicy crop going right now:

Les Revenants: A moody, artistic yet creepy version of events when the dead start returning to life in a small French mountain town. Not the zombie variety of un-dead, mind, but the same living and breathing person who just walks back into town with no memory of his or her own death. All this has something to do with the explosion at the local dam, I'm discovering now that I am on to Season 2. A little slow-moving, this, but entirely without high-pitched drama that delivers it straight into disturbing-but-compelling territory.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: The novel on which it is based is an energy-sappingly hefty tome, so when I found this on Netflix it solved my problem. (The problem being, I was itching to read it, but how to devote months of attention to what was probably densely-packed text?) My fretting has ceased now, especially since the one episode I did watch was satisfying and beautifully produced. The subject? Magic, in 19th century England. The two title characters are the 'chosen ones' of sorts to resolve the situation of magic not being practiced, rather, merely studied, like theology or grammar...the return of English magic, if you will.

Lark Rise to Candleford: This is the replacement to the sweet but too-short Cranford. It's the story of two neighboring English villages sometime in the 19th century. I'm only two episodes in but am charmed by the production design which is lovely, particularly the lighting. And English village life, in fact, two English villages! Of course.

Indian Summers: Season 2 is on PBS. It's 1930s India, Shimla, to be precise, and political turmoil is underway along with a lot of personal scheming and entanglements. Despite some maddening errors in casting and language, it's well-directed with convincing characters, plus it's very visually appealing.

Chef's Table: France: This too is a replacement, to the excellent A Cook Abroad which had, regrettably, only six episodes. (The best of these was chef Tony Singh's journey from Scotland to India.) Chef's Table has blown our socks off with the only episode we've watched so far, in which a chef named Alain something-or-other makes the unthinkable leap of cooking only with vegetables. In FRANCE, the brave fellow. Suffice to say, vegetables will now forever look ugly to me when I cook them myself. In fact, it is hard to say when I've seen food presented so beautifully. 

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