I’ve written on here before about my propensity for being years late to iconic TV shows. It’s almost always things that have been strongly recommended to me before, and it’s usually something I know is right up my alley, and I always eventually end up watching whatever it is and wondering why I didn’t watch it sooner. But I still keep doing it!
I love Westerns, but it took me 13 years to get around to watching Deadwood. I love modern Westerns and crime shows, but it took me about 5 years to get around to watching Justified. (It should feel quite flattered compared to Deadwood.)
I also love espionage thrillers and crime dramas but until recently had never gotten around to watching either The Americans or The Wire. You see where this is going. . . .
Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant, Deadwood) is unceremoniously banished back to his native Kentucky after his most recent assignment in Miami goes sideways. Let’s just say that Raylan’s quick-draw tendencies probably are a better fit for the 19th century than they are the 21st century. They also say you can’t go home again, but after his dysfunctional, hardscrabble childhood in rural Harlan County, Raylan really doesn’t want to be in Kentucky. Nonetheless, his new boss (Nick Searcy) thinks Raylan may be useful in the task force investigating his one-time coal mining coworker Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), and quite frankly, no other Marshal office wants Raylan. Complications ensue. . . .
Saddle bronc rider Stoney Burke (Jack Lord) is an up-and-coming contender on the early 1960s rodeo circuit. As the noble South Dakotan travels through the modern West on his quest to win the Golden Buckle, he has adventures (not all of which are rodeo-related), encounters a range of people, and sometimes finds himself in trouble. But he can always count on the help of his friends Ves (Warren Oates), E.J. (Bruce Dern), Cody (Robert Dowdell), and Red (Bill Hart). Actually, he can’t always count on the incorrigible scam artist Ves–it’s a good general policy to never count on Ves–but Stoney humors his childhood friend all the same, anyway.
James Herriot is a newly qualified Scottish veterinarian who is having trouble finding work during the lean 1930s. His family thinks he may have to join his father on the docks, but he finally gets an opportunity in rural Yorkshire. Upon arrival, he soon learns that his new employer–Siegfried Farnon–is a bit eccentric, to put it mildly, and that practicing veterinary medicine in a rural farming community is quite different from what he learned in the classroom.
In 1890s Oxfordshire, two neighboring towns have a bit of a love/hate relationship. The impoverished rural agricultural hamlet of Lark Rise is small and desperately poor but proud, and its residents are devoted to each other. Nearby Candleford is a larger town and more prosperous. Tension exists between the haves of Candleford and the have-nots of Lark Rise. When teenaged Laura leaves Lark Rise to work at the Candleford post office, she finds herself caught between two worlds that may have more in common than either side thinks. And everyone in both towns find themselves caught in changing times.
Vienna’s Golden Age is the heady years before WWI in which the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was a center for philosophy, science, and art. Its coffeehouses were a gathering place for some of the sharpest minds in Europe, and its opera was internationally famous. But as with any celebrated time period in history, there was also a darker side. Vienna Blood, a recent mystery series, delves into both the good and the bad of early 20th century Vienna while also serving up murders.
Our library theme for 2020 is Your Library Card, Your Ticket to the World–because with the library, you truly can travel around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Every month in 2020, we’ll be landing at a new place on the globe. In May, we’re in India.
Halloween is just a couple of days away, so it’s that time of year where all our horror movies have a healthy circulation. Still, the most horrifying thing I’ve watched recently wasn’t a slasher movie. Instead, it was a matter-of-fact HBO miniseries about the infamous 1986 Soviet nuclear accident at Chernobyl. . . .
I usually am up-to-date on my Masterpiece Theater viewing, but I missed this biopic about the Brontë sisters when it first aired a couple of years ago. Fortunately, Mary-Esther suggested it to me, and I’m glad she did! It’s a well-acted, well-made dramatization of one of the most famous literary families in history.
When I was a teenager, I discovered Georges Simenon’s delightful Maigret book series. Maigret was an ordinary man, refreshingly devoid of the quirks, tortured backstory, and “chosen one” vibe that many fictional detectives have. I honestly don’t remember which Maigret stories I read–I just remember enjoying them, so much so that I still cite them as favorites. They remind me a bit of Nordic Noir but with a decidedly less dour tone.