Friday, May 31, 2024

No Spoilers, Please!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I always seem to come late to the TV party. I don't mean the latest streaming sensation (although I'm usually late to those, too) but the long-running mainstream American TV series that have been cultural touchstones over the decades. 

Star Trek, for instance, I only started to watch when it was in syndication, when I was in college, but the adventures of Captain Kirk and the Enterprise playing in the background got me through many long study sessions.


Then, when my daughter was born I had to spend a couple of weeks in the hospital, and I discovered Mork and Mindy. The series would have ended a couple of years before that, but I'd never seen an episode, and Robin Williams' brilliant goofiness was just the thing I needed to look forward to at the end of those long days.


I  missed the entire George Clooney era on ER, which must have been at least the first five seasons, although I later became a devoted fan and never missed an episode. (I did a panel with the fabulous Eriq La Salle at Bouchercon last year! I was totally tongue-tied!)


Streaming comes into the catch-up equation now, of course, with multiple seasons of old shows now airing on the services. Until last fall, I knew nothing about Suits other than that Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex, had been in it. But when it popped up on Netflix, we got hooked and watched all nine seasons over a couple of months.




And that brings us to the latest binge, Grey's Anatomy. With all the fuss surrounding Bridgerton, I knew that Shonda Rhimes (Bridgerton's creator and producer) was producer, showrunner, and writer for Grey's Anatomy, but I had never seen an episode. I also knew the show was hugely popular and had won or been nominated for every major television award, but that was pretty much it.


Enter streaming, and we are now almost through season 5. I don't know that I'll make it all the way through, what is it now, 20 seasons? But for the time being, this is my evening 45 minutes of comfort TV. Grey has aged extremely well, I think, partly because it was groundbreaking in its day for its color-blind casting and strong character development, and partly because the hospital world exists a bit outside of time. The characters in the early seasons may have Blackberries rather than smart phones, but nothing much else has changed. 


Here's a quote from Shonda Rhimes about her concept for the series that I particularly loved and I think it it still feels so resonant: "I wanted to create a world in which you felt as if you were watching very real women. Most of the women I saw on TV didn't seem like people I actually knew. They felt like ideas of what women are. They never got to be nasty or competitive or hungry or angry. They were often just the loving wife or the nice friend. But who gets to be the bitch? Who gets to be the three-dimensional woman?"


But the big problem with coming late to such a long running show is avoiding spoilers! If I want to look up a cast member or an episode, I have to do it half-blindfolded, or I'll learn what happens to characters in episodes I haven't seen!


Reds and readers, have you come late to shows that had previously passed you by? 


Oh, and the best thing about these late discoveries, other than the ability to binge? NO commercials!!!


113 comments:

  1. Sometimes it feels like we're always discovering some new show [cable or streaming] that we somehow managed to miss when they first aired on network television . . . . it's interesting to see how some of these shows have found new life, but we tend to just watch the ones we've always loved and now get to enjoy all over again [like STAR TREK] . . . .

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  2. I didn't grow up watching much TV, so I have come very late to some of my favorite shows. Granted, many of them don't have major spoilers since I'm thinking of sitcoms like Newhart (I did know the ending of that series before I started it) and Full House or shows like Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

    The first episode of Babylon 5, still my favorite show of all time, was part way through season 4. A major episode in the show. (For those who have seen it, yes THAT episode. For those who haven't, I'm not going to spoil it.)

    On an older show, I don't worry too much about spoilers. I figure that's on me for having missed it. But if you spoil something without a couple of days of it airing, I'm going to be very bitter.

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    1. Mark, Babylon 5 was brilliant, brilliant. It's one of my favorite all time shows, too. I passed it by when it first came on because it aired at 10 pm on Sunday night. Then I caught one episode and immediately was hooked. I wish I had the cd's.
      I notice that you also mentioned Scarecrow and Mrs King. That was one of my favorite shows sometime back in the 90's. I really like actor Bruce Boxleitner.

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    2. Babylon 5 is one of the greatest shows of all-time. I watched it start to finish and have met a bunch of the cast members over the years including Bruce Boxleitner.

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    3. Another Babylon 5 fan here! I had cable TV, including a SPACE SCI-FI channlel.
      I watched the new animated reboot on the flight to Singapore in April. Has anyone else seen it?
      It was ok, but sad since 1/2 the cast had passed away, so other voice actors had to be used.

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    4. Grace, I saw it. It was less a reboot than a kind of What If set in the B5 universe. It was okay but not as good as the original series.

      Regarding the voice cast, J. Michael Straczynski checked with the remaining cast members before they went ahead with casting new voices for those actors who have passed away. I'm just glad they got Peter Jurasik to come back as Londo because he's pretty much retired from acting these days.

      The supposed reboot/reimagination is the series Straczynski is working on that was supposed to air on The CW (in the US) before they got bought out by that even worse Nextstar media conglomerate.

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    5. Oh, ok. Agajn no cable TV so no access to CW or whenever the planned reboot ends up being shown.

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    6. Deborah, you must put aside everything immediately and watch all five seasons, the movies, the spinoffs, read the books and comics and listen to every episode of The Babylon Podcast. That way you will no longer be adrift in a world gone mad where you haven't already done this. LOL

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    7. I originally watched Scarecrow because of Bruce Boxleitner being in it. But I quickly got hooked on it because of how fun it is. And I love the episode that Peter Jurasik was in on that show.

      Yes, I did watch the animated movie. It had some good moments, but it was so weird watching the characters animated. I get why they did it. They had to. But it was still very weird. And it is so sad how many of the cast has passed beyond the rim.

      The only actor I've met is Claudia Christian. But I did get to meet The Great Maker himself, JMS, when he published his autobiography. I went to a signing for that.

      As to the potential reboot, I don't know how I feel about it. Love the idea of more Babylon 5. But I love the original so much, I'm not sure I'd give it a fair chance. If it ever some together, we'll see what I think then.

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    8. Mark, JMS has a new book that came out earlier this year called THE GLASS BOX. I haven't read it yet but I plan to. From Babylon 5 I've met: JMS, Bruce Boxleitner, Bill Mumy (twice), Claudia Christian, Stephen Jackson (who played the Pak'ma'ra ambassador), Tracy Scoggins and Tony Dow (he directed some episodes and did other behind the scenes work on the show).

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  3. I gave up cable TV 10 years ago and cancelled Netflix 7 years ago so I have the end of long-running series that I used to watch.

    But I have done 1-3 free trials of several streaming channels such as Disney+ (which includes HULU in Canada), and APPLE+ TV to binge watch Only Murders In The Building and Slow Horses, respectively.

    And yes, it's sometimes hard to avoid see spoilers on social media! I have a 50% discount on this year's annual subscription to Paramount+ . When I was away in Seattle-Singapore-Vancouver, I missed watching 4 of the newest episodes of ST:Discovery. It has been hard to avoid seeing the various analyses & spoilers online & on social media!

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    1. Oh yes Grace! Slow Horses is so worth getting a subscription for isn’t it? Gary Oldman is nearly unrecognizable and his character is complex (and funny!). One of my Top 5 favorite shows for sure!

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    2. I had read all the Slough House books before the show started in 2022. I was wary about a TV adaptation but have been pleasantly surprised. Looking forward to seeing Season 4, date TBD.

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    3. I am very interested in your comments, Grace. I have read all the Slough House books and have been heartsick that the show is on a streaming service to which I don't subscribe. We've been pretty disciplined about NOT adding any more services, so I have been thinking about whether there is any service I am willing to drop for a few months. I figure whenever we sample Apple+ I can finally catch Ted Lasso, too, which everyone seems to love.

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    4. SUSAN: I think you could still get a 7-day free trial of Apple+ TV.

      But I have been lucky to get free 3-month trials of Apple+ TV twice! So I binge watched all 3 seasons of Slow Horses for free. The offers was sent from my cell phone provider (Virgin Mobile Canada), and from my grocery points card (PC Optimum/Loblaws).

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    5. Grace, we didn't realize ST Discovery was back! I guess we will have to sign up for Paramount again temporarily!

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    6. We watched the first season of Slow Horses, which I loved, but I've never been able to get Rick back to it. Maybe too "British" for him, but I'll keep trying...

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    7. DEBS: I liked Seasons 2 and 3 of Slow Horses even more than the first season.
      Can't wait to see how they adapt the fourth book, Spook Street. It will be great to see Jonathan Pryce have a more prominent role (if they are faithful to the book),

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    8. I have been listening to Slough House audiobooks and really enjoying them, although...there is something pathetic about being constantly put down, underestimated and used.

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  4. From Diana: Often I come late to many new trends, including television shows. Growing up, I watched RERUNS of Bewitched, Lost In Space, Adam-12, among many more shows that were produced BEFORE I was born. I remember meeting the kid from Lost In Space who was already grown up when I was a child. I was surprised that the kid was now a grown up! I did not know about Facebook until a few years after it was set up. I try to stay current though it does not always happen.

    Love what Shonda said and it reminded me in a way of the Dove commercial about using real people. Started watching Bridgerton a few weeks into the first season. I was on the top of HARRY WILD the Irish mystery on Acorn TV because I follow Jane Seymour on social media. And what about books? Sometimes I discover a novel by a new to me author years after the first publication.

    At mystery conferences, I get to discover new books by debut authors.

    Apologies for going off the topic here since this was about television shows and this post reminded me of missing other things like new books or new trends.

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  5. Remember when popular but canceled shows "went into syndication?" As a kid, I lived for watching the old westerns and original Star Trek while eating supper.

    I'm woefully behind on most of the hit shows these days. Still haven't seen Grey's Anatomy or any of the Star Treks beyond Next Generation.

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    1. Paramount+ will allow you to catch up on all the Star Trek series you've missed.

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    2. Annette, you will especially enjoy this story. The woman we bought our farm from in 2008 was a Rifleman junkie! She was actually the real estate agent we were working with, and we had to wait to meet with her until Rifleman was over every afternoon, because she'd watch with her 11-year old stepson after school. Or her husband.

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    3. ANNETTE: I watched Star Trek TOS (The Original Series) on reruns in the late afternoons before supper when I was in grade school.

      Like Jay says, Paramount+ has all the Star Trek series. It's the only subscription service that I currently have an annual plan since I am a lifelong Trekkie and wanted to watch all the new shows. That being said, last night was the series finale of Star Trek: Discovery and we will have a lull of several months before new seasons of Lower Decks & Strange New Worlds will go on air.

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    4. Any another Star Trek fan, But now a streamer too. Now that Discovery has finished it's run, I will be doing a marathon this weekend.

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    5. Grace, the finale of Discovery was okay but left me wishing there'd been more to the ending. I did like that one reveal they did with a certain character though.

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    6. JAY: i have lukewarm feeling about Discovery's series finale. Too bad the series regulars had no speaking parts

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    7. Looking forward to Strange New Worlds. So good!

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    8. DEBS: Anson Mount posted on IG that they finished filming Season 3. Air date TBD. Hoping for early 2025. And the cast will go back to Toronto in April 2024 to start filming Season 4 of SNW.

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    9. Grace, because of scheduling issues with the actresses who played Detmer and Owo, that's why they weren't in most of Season 5. But particularly in the case of Detmer, they did her dirty all series long. She should've had more screen and story time.

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    10. JAY: No, i knew why Detmer & Owo were missing for the second half of season 5. Same with Doug Jones being busy promoting another movie. My comment above was referring to the coda ending they tacked on.
      They made the effort to bring back Bryce, Detmer & Owo to film that scene. Just plenty of hugs & smiles & no lines for the secondary bridge crew! A wasted opportnity imho.

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    12. From Diana: Grew up watching Star Trek without captions then I got to watch The Next Generation with captions. My family loved Star Trek.

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  6. I have often come late to the party on shows that I then followed to the end. What was frustrating was that reruns always cut a few seconds off of the programs just before commercials. Missing those few seconds meant losing some of the important action or story. The way that shows are streamed, I think it doesn't happen any more.
    Castle was a show I started late. I only ever watched Big Valley in reruns. I don't care about spoilers. Knowing the end doesn't usually ruin the story.
    I did see the original Star Trek. I had a date to watch it once a week at the Student Union. These days, I hardly ever watch TV.

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    1. JUDY: I hear you. I went from being a TV junkie to hardly watching any TV shows now. Even during the pandemic, I did not binge watch. Two bouts of long COVID meant my concentration was shot, and I could not watch even a single episode.

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    2. Judy, I'd forgotten about the reruns cutting the ends of shows. AND you had even more commercials. So annoying. As many audio books as you listen too, I don't know how you'd work in much TV! We don't actually watch that much, usually about an hour at night while we eat dinner. (That's another topic!) But that's my "comfort hour" and I really look forward to it every day.

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  7. I was such an ER fan, and watched every show live. Same with West wing. I feel like there's a show that we caught up on it's been out but I don't remember what it was. And since I'm hanging with a grandbaby this morning, that's where my whole brain is, rightly so!

    I remember looking at Gray's anatomy but I didn't get hooked, even though I usually live hospital shows. I think I'll give it another try!

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    1. Edith: Watch it just for the character of Cristina Yang portrayed by Sandra Oh. Epic.

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    3. Revising my comment since I included a spoiler!

      I watched the early years of ER, including when George Clooney was on. But I stopped watching when lead Anthony Edwards left.

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    4. I also loved Chicago Hope and St Elsewhere.

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    5. Edith, another really good thing about Grey's Anatomy was the music! They helped promote tons of new artists, especially women with the background themes, and play-off songs.

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    6. Oh, my goodness, Amanda, Sandra Oh was just brilliant. When I was doing a little research for this piece (half blindfolded, lol!) I read that as the series went on, the writers tried to give her less and less dialogue because she could convey so much with just her expressions. If I had to choose favorite characters it would be between her Christina and Chandra Wilson's fabulous Dr. Miranda Bailey, but I'd say that Christina and Meredith's relationship was definitely the lynchpin of the show.

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    7. And, Karen, yes, the music is fabulous. We keep having to look things up. And also there is every actor you have ever seen on TV! Lots of Googling!

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    8. There used to be a lot of shows that you could identify by the theme music. Henry Mancini started out composing for early tv shows such as Peter Gunn before he became well known for his movie soundtracks.

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  8. I came to Grey's Anatomy during the pandemic, steamed it and LOVED it. Cristina and Meredith are epic women on the small screen. The first ten seasons are the best, in my view because of their friendship and intertwined lives. Confession: I've watched those ten seasons a second time just to see their relationship unfold (without being distracted by the medical storylines). So good.

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    1. From Diana: I have heard good things about Grey’s Anatomy tv series. I’ll see if my streaming videos get that series so I can watch it. I finally got to watch New Amsterdam because there is a Deaf doctor on the series.

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  9. I loved both ER and Grey's Anatomy. I was watching GA while our daughter was in med school so that was fun. I watch so little TV that I'm behind in almost everything!

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    1. Lucy, I've always wondered what med students thought of Grey's Anatomy (if they watched it). Any comments from you daughter about GA?

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    2. Yes, I'd love to know that, too! I read that on ER they condensed time, but on GA they stretched it out, trying to give a sense of how long their days really were.

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    3. Way too late for the party, but re: med students and Gray’s Anatomy: a number of nursing students in my daughter’s class (including her) were inspired by watching Grey’s Anatomy when growing up. Elisabeth

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  10. Deborah: George Clooney's time on ER was indeed the first five seasons. While his movie career took off during that time and people thought he would try to get out of his contract, he said that he'd signed a five year deal and he would honor it.

    I can't comment on Grey's Anatomy though.

    Thanks to streaming I've been able to watch a bunch of series I never watched before. Some well known shows and some that are perhaps lesser known. You might be surprised to learn that I've been working on watching the Canadian show Heartland (I'm on Season 11 so far) and the PBS show The Vicar of Dibley. And the Australian cop drama Blue Heelers.

    But since I have access to Peacock, Paramount+, Freevee, Disney+, Tubi and other free streamers, I've been watching a bunch of new-to-me shows as well as a ton of rewatches as well.

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    1. Jay, George lived here in Cincinnati as a kid; his dad Nick was a beloved news anchor here for decades, and where George got his practical and down-to-earth attitude. He refuses to wear makeup onscreen, for instance.

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    2. Love knowing that about Clooney. A real stand up guy.

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  11. We don’t watch much of episodic tv anymore except PBS – but we skipped Bridgerton. Neither of us really likes the Jane Eyre-type productions, but we both loved Downtown. On Network tv it is down to The Rookie, though neither of us likes the relationship- she is too young and dippy, but tape it anyway. We just enjoyed all of Clarkson’s Farm – don’t think it is a spoiler, but so good to see them evolve into farmers, and after dessert, we head off the The Chelsea Show to see the flowers and how horrible is Monty’s suit!
    As always, we can repeat Morse, now Lewis, and of course Vera. For some reason, that murder is always a comfort. So too is anything that includes Judi Dench or Maggie Smith – no nagging required to watch either! However, in spite of him knowing what is going on, he claims he doesn’t watch Coronation Street. Obviously he is secretly watching it on the downstairs tv…

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    1. We love The Rookie, too, and whenever we take a break from GA we will probably catch up on that first. We didn't like Bailey at first either but I've kind of got used to her and they are funny together.

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    2. Why does Monty wear that suit at Chelsea? I thought it was an overall!

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  12. This whole streaming concept still feels miraculous to me, having grown up when if you missed a show, you might never get another chance. I've rewatched favorite series, which seem new again after so much time. I also discovered WEST WING, right when I most needed to see sanity in the White House. I wondered how I'd missed it, and a friend reminded me, "You were teaching then." Right, six classes a day, all that grading . . . I missed much (but it was fun and I loved it). ;-)

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  13. Friday Night Lights. Never saw it when it was originally airing, but last summer we were desperate for SOMETHING to watch and my sister suggested it. FYI, I'm not a big fan of football, but it's really not necessary! The other series I recommend to anyone who will listen is Longmire. Cowboys (again, not a big fan). Just watch it! And the books are incredible! Wish so much they had extended the series, but at least I can read the books.

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    1. I loved watching LONGMIRE. Had read the Craig Johnson books for years. When the show ended, that's when I cancelled my Netflix!

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    2. I still have not watched Friday Night Lights, but the young couple next door named their little boy Riggins, which I understand is in honor of a character in that show.

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    3. I watched Friday Night Lights and Longmire when they aired originally AND I have them both on DVD. I did a rewatch of Friday Night Lights a couple years ago and I'm currently doing a rewatch of Longmire through Peacock.

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  14. Oh, another new show that I binge-watched on a recent flight was TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY. I think it was recommended by several JRW commenters.
    Jodie Foster as Chief Liz Danvers & Kali Reis as Trooper Evangeline Navarro were fantastic.
    The show was filmed in Iceland instead of remote Alaska.

    Creepy & scarier than shows I would normally watch but it certainly made the hours fly by on that 15 hour long-haul flight back to Vancouver!

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    1. My enduring love of Jodie Foster means I do want to see TRUE DETECTIVE: NIGHT COUNTRY. But I don't have MAX or HBO, so I'll have to wait to see it for now.

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    2. I also don't have HBO MAX at home so I thought I was out of luck. It is definitely worth watching. Only 6 episodes so you can easily binge it.

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    3. My daughter loved True Detective: Night Country, but I haven't been in the mood for scary.

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    4. DEBS: Paranormal and indigenous folklore added a lot of scary components to the season's plot. I am glad that I was shrieking internally & not disturbing my airplane seat mates!

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  15. I love it when I start watching a series that I had never watched before (or thought it wouldn't be right for me), and I can binge it! That includes, notably, The Office US (I listen to the Office Ladies podcast each week as I watch--currently near the end of season 9), The Good Place, Schitt's Creek (start with season 2, then catch up on season 1 at the end), and Gilmore Girls.

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  16. The Middle with Patricia Heaton is a favorite I can upon several seasons in. I like to watch all the old episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond too.

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  17. A few months ago. I started watching Bull, on Amazon Prime. One of my sisters introduced me to it. I’m on Season 5 now, and I love it. I gave up cable a long time ago, and I use streaming services now.

    DebRo

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  18. Like you, Debs, I was confined to rest when that dang horse crashed me into a fence and broke my ribs, about ten years ago. And that's when bingeing started for me, with Mad Men. I'd been reading about it on Tom & Lorenzo (formerly Project Rungay), where they dissected plot and the meanings of costume and set decisions of every episode. We'd never had cable, but finally Mad Men was available on Netflix. Since my mother worked in an (insurance company) office in the 1950-60's, I well remember the clothes, and by the time I started working in an office with all men, nothing had changed significantly from that depicted in the show. And of course I grew up with or owned many of the same accoutrements as the show depicted: furniture and decor, hairstyles, art, etc.

    I may have to rewatch it, come to think of it. It had lots of flaws, but was brilliant, in many of the same ways as Grey's Anatomy and ER, and completely original.

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    1. That's another one I haven't seen, but I'd be fascinated just for the clothes and the sets. Maybe we will put that on our list.

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    2. From Diana: Watched Mad Men and thought Jon Hamm and John Slattery reminded me of Darrin and his boss from Bewitched.

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  19. My husband and I recently completed our first time through NEW TRICKS. We really aren't usually binge watchers, preferring to limit ourselves to one or two episodes of any given show in a week. So with that being a long running series, it took us a few years to work our way through it.

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    1. Aw, I loved New Tricks. What a gem.

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    2. Susan, If you liked New Tricks you would probably like Pie in the Sky another older show with likable characters and humor. MARJORIE

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    3. Oh my gosh, I LOVED Pie in the Sky. I have all the episodes saved from when it played on PBS. Another absolute gem!

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    4. From Diana: I loved New Tricks. When one of my favorite authors on her blog mentioned watching New Tricks with her father, I started watching it and I think it is on Britbox. I also love AS TIME GOES BY with Geoffrey Palmer and Judi Dench.

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    5. I’ve watched As Time goes by more than once and have enjoyed it every time. I also liked the episodes they made a number of years later. Both the acting and the writing were just as good and they updated characters’ lives.

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    6. Thanks for these recommendations, Marjorie!

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  20. Star Trek: TNG got me through a lot of college hangouts. Like Mark, I didn't watch a lot of TV. For me, streaming has more allowed me to revisit favorites from my youth. I haven't really had the desire to watch something I passed on originally.

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  21. Yes! We joined Britbox because we love British 'who done it' shows. We stumbled upon VERA adapted from the British mystery writer Ann Cleeves. I highly recommend it. The main actress (Vera) is wonderful, brilliant, and sassy!
    Also on Britbox, I can recommend Father Brown, Sister Boniface, and I especially recommend McDonald & Dodds which is filmed in Bath, Eng.

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    1. I really hope McDonald & Dobbs has another season. That's a great show.

      Have you seen Holding? Another good Brit show about an underdog.

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    2. I like McDonald and Dodds, too, but haven't heard of Holding.

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    3. The new season of McDonald and Dodds is available! I just watched the first episode a couple of days ago.

      DebRo

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    4. From Diana: Love all of the above. I also love HARRY WILD, set in Ireland, It is on Acorn TV.

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  22. I house sit from time to time which allows me to watch channels that we don't get. That is how I got into Manifest. I enjoyed the puzzle until it began to get very weird. Other shows that I missed working the swing shift, and love now are Brother Cadfel, Merlin, and all of the Morse saga beginning with Endeavor. I really loved the Prisoner when it was first released, along with the Avengers. I wish I could find both of these shows somewhere to indulge my 'summer viewing'.

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    1. I can't remember if we watched all of Manifest. I think it got incomprehenively weird. We were big Lost fans, however, although I think it really lost the plot towards the end.

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  23. Yes, I have never seen Grey's Anatomy, either! We missed CALL MY AGENT (the French version) when it first came out--now we absolutely love it. And someone I just talked to is watching all the West wings again--oh, my agent. I think that would be so much fun!

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    1. The West Wing was SO good--same creative team as ER, I think. Not sure I could watch it now or if it would just make me feel depressed over a time when there was some sanity in politics...

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    2. Seasons 5-7 had the same general creative team that was behind ER. But Seasons 1-4 were pretty much run by Aaron Sorkin who created the show before he got forced out by NBC.

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    3. I prefer the Sorkin seasons.
      The Republicans have always been the way there are today. Previously not so outrageous and obvious about it.

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  24. My husband and I have binge watched MASH, Cheers, Frasier, The West Wing, The Carol Burnett Show, and now we are binging ER. All were and are well written and well acted. It got us through the Pandemic too.
    Atlanta

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    1. I have been seriously tempted to rewatch MASH after reading (listening to) Kristin Hannah's THE WOMEN. It would mean so much more now that I really understand the context.

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    2. If you want Vietnam war (and you do) watch Tour of Duty. No holds barred gritty.

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  25. Hub and I found The Office during the pandemic. It truly kept us grounded during that first year.

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  26. Has anyone watched Northern Exposure or Picket Fences? They are both quirky series that I watched and enjoyed when they were originally shown. They focus more on the towns and different characters living there.
    The basic premise of Northern Exposure is a doctor who signs up to serve in a town to help pay off his student loans. He is from NY and thinks he is going to be assigned to a city with the same amenities available and, instead, winds up in a small remote town in Alaska. He is not happy. The residents are not happy with him and his attitude either. The characters and actors who played them are very good. Most of them were not well known at the time except for John Cullom who had appeared in many broadway shows.
    Picket Fences was produced by David E Kelley who produced many outstanding TV series including some of the episodes of LA Law another favorite of mine.
    LA Law was responsible for the beginning careers of a number of actors who are well known now.
    It focuses on a law firm in Los Angeles, the lawyers and their clients. A number of the episodes deal with the legal aspects of real social issues. It is well written and well acted and also has some light aspects to many of the cases in which the lawyers are involved.
    I don’t know if these shows are available on any networks, but they are all on disc and your library may have them available for borrowing.

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    1. I know my husband watched Northern Exposure in the day and really liked it.

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    2. I loved NORTHERN EXPOSURE. Remember the episode with the broken wine bottle? That one stuck! I think of it whenever I see expensive wine on store shelves. Hah.
      Did you ever see MEN IN TREES, also set in Alaska.

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    3. I don’t remember that particular episode of Northern Exposure. As I mentioned, John Cullom appeared in a lot of Broadway shows and he was also a good singer. I kept hoping he would sing, but I think he only sang once.
      If you liked Northern Exposure you would also like Picket Fences. Two of the actors who appeared in that were well known character actors Ray Walston ((My Favorite Martian) and Fyvush Finkel

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    4. Northern Exposure was another filmed “elsewhere” …in a small town in Eastern WA. Cannot remember which one, but in the day a group of us traveled from Seattle to drink in the bar featured in the show. Elisabeth

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  27. We loved Friday Night Lights - as noted above, no need to be into football to love that show. Connie Britton is a marvel.

    We're also big fans of Vera and Shetland on Brit Box, and last summer loved The Diplomat on Netflix. When it was over, we cottoned onto Madam Secretary, which has many seasons on Netflix. They are very different shows about women working in international diplomacy. I hear a second season of The Diplomat is coming (a good thing, the cliffhanger at the end of season one was epic). Madame Secretary is a bit less of an adrenaline rush, but is quite addictive.

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    1. I've been interested in both of those. Thanks for the recs!

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  28. How about the original Avengers with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee? I recently read that there may be a new version of it coming out. I’m not sure it could be better than the original. It was never the same after Diana Rigg left.

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  29. From Diana: This reminds me of the old days before everything got captions. I usually had to wait for the movie to come out on video before I could see a movie with captions. Almost all of the television shows have captions - CBS was the last holdout - last tv channel to get captions.

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    1. We watch everything with close captions, Diana!

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    2. So do we! I turned it on to help my husband with his hearing issues, and found it helps both of us with accents, too.

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  30. I watched both Longmire and Downton Abbey two years ago. I like to look on the bright side. It's so much easier to binge when you can start at episode 1 and take it through to the end - I have watched Blue Bloods since the beginning - it kills me to wait for each week. I'm an instant gratification kind of woman.

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