Pearls & Vodka

What I’m Watching…

Truth be told, I listen and read a lot more than I watch. My husband would probably say he wishes I wanted to go to the movies more often. That being said, it’s rare that I really sit down and watch a show for my own personal enjoyment. I feel like when our television is on nowadays we are watching “Chuck the Truck” or “Chuggington,” or some children’s movie that we have seen 7 million times. And while those shows are super entertaining to my 21-month-old son, they are honestly just mind-numbing to me. That being said, I read a lot of transcripts for shows and listen to even more of them than that.

I thought in the spirit of sharing what I am reading and listening to earlier today, I’d share the television shows I’m loving. I noticed as I was writing this blog tonight that I seem to be watching a lot more of the non-cable shows and utilizing the streaming platforms on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix a lot more. Which is fine by me, I’m tired of the cable company jacking my bill up every time the wind blows. But that’s another blog for another day.

The Handmaid’s Tale, a Hulu Original.

The American television series was created by Bruce Miller and is based on the 1985 novel by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale won eight Emmy awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. The storyline is set in the near future where human fertility rates have drastically decreased because of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental pollution. During this time period, a totalitarian government takes over after another Civil War called the Gilead. Society is now organized by new social classes and is established by a power-hungry, military hierarchy. Women are no longer allowed to work, own property, handle money or read. The few remaining fertile women are called “handmaids” in reference to a Biblical story that is misinterpreted. The handmaids are then assigned to the homes of the ruling elite where they are raped in rituals to conceive children for the men and their wives. The storyline closely follows Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss, who works for one of the Gilead commanders. She is under constant scrutiny and some of the strictest rules, one misstep can lead to brutal punishment for her. Offred actually remembers her life before their current society where she was married and had a little girl. She follows the rules in hopes of one day being reunited with her daughter.

Some great lines from the show are:

“A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays in the maze.” 

“Better never means better for everyone…it always means worse, for some.”
“Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.”

The Man in the High Castle, an Amazon Prime Original [2]

The Man in the High Castle is an alternative American history show loosely based on the 1962 novel by Philip K. Dick. The series is set in 1962 and the alternate history storyline is that the Axis powers have won World War II. In the series, they have divided the United States into two parts, the Greater Nazi Reich and the Japanese Pacific States. The entire show follows a set of characters who continually intertwine after exposure to some propaganda films that show a vastly different version of history than they are living in.

Ozark, a Netflix Original [3]

Ozark is an American crime drama thriller, starring Jason Bateman. Bateman plays a financial planner named Marty Byrde, and his wife is played by Laura Linney who is a real estate agent named Wendy. The Byrde family suddenly moves from a suburb of Chicago to a resort town in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. They are forced to relocate because of a money laundering scheme that didn’t go as planned and there is a Mexican drug lord demanding money from Marty.

Some great lines from the show are:
“Money is not peace of mind. Money is not happiness. Money is, at its essence, the measure of a man’s choices.”
“And if I want to put all $7,945,400 into a hot tub, get buck naked and play Scrooge McDuck, that is 100% my business.”

Catastrophe, on Amazon Prime [4]

Catastrophe is a British sitcom about a couple who gets together after the woman becomes pregnant following a brief affair that occurred while he was traveling in the UK on business. The show was named after the quote from Zorba the Greek, “I’m a man, so I married. Wife, children, house, everything. The full catastrophe.” The late Carrie Fisher was a part of the cast until her untimely death. What started out as purely comedic, has become more serious throughout the third season, but the banter and hysterical laughs are still there.

The Americans, an FX original [5]

The Americans is an American period drama set in the early 80s during the Cold War. It is the story of two KGB officers posing as Americans named Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings. They live in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC with their children Paige and Henry. Their neighbor, Stan, is an FBI agent who is working counterintelligence. The show is a fictional piece created by Joe Weinberg, who is a former CIA agent. The storyline focuses on the Jennings’ marriage, along with their two American-born children. The whole premise Weinberg said was that sometimes marriage and children can feel like life and death, and for Elizabeth and Phillip, it really is.

As I’ve blogged about before, I am a huge fan of This is Us. I’m not sure yet how Jack Pearson died, though I have my conspiracy theories. But the plots in their family are so addicting and I love every single character and their storyline. I also still love Scandal though I think it’s a good year to end it. First of all, Americans are burnt out on Presidential insanity because of our reality, but also Shonda Rhimes has an issue sometimes of not letting good things go to pasture, aka Grey’s Anatomy going on season 2528.

[1] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/22/a-cunning-adaptation-of-the-handmaids-tale

[2]http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/television/2015/11/_the_man_in_the_high_castle_is_the_second_best_show_amazon_has_ever_made.html

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/arts/television/review-ozark-netflix-laura-linney-jason-bateman.html

[4] https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/04/catastrophe-season-three-review-marriage/524592/

[5] https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-cruel-irony-of-the-americans

Photo Credit: Unsplash