TV Shows I Am Watching And Loving

This was originally posted to my Medium Blog.

As you know, I love nothing more than to sit back on the sofa and absorb a great TV series. Right now I am really enjoying three programs and wanted to share them with you. Please comment if you have heard of them or want to check them out.

Zac comes across some cute Koalas who are sadly vulnerable.

I guess you wouldn’t think of most Hollywood stars as climate change enthusiasts. Often they are known for lifestyles which celebrate excess and encourage travelling around pointlessly. However, I always knew that Zac Efron was educated and tuned in and now he has proven he has a consciousness when it comes to the planet.

Down To Earth – With Zac Efron (Netflix)

The first series was filmed before Covid lockdowns and explores different ecosystems around the world and their vulnerabilities. With his environmentally minded mate, Darin Olien, Zac has explored issues such as conservation, food and pollution.

In the new series, Zac had been stuck in Australia due to Covid restrictions and so made the most of it by investigating various ecological developments there. For example, he discussed the Aboriginal way of maintaining and respecting the wildlife and landscapes. They also saw how Tasmanian Devils are being looked after and bred successfully in a large nature reserve.

Fascinating Findings

The main reason I like this, as an environmental blogger, is that he is very honest about what he sees and his colleague, who is a Vegan and eco-expert, keeps the reporting realistic with shortcomings and all. They try to use less carbon with a hybrid vehicle this time and weigh up each relevant environmental issue carefully, in a fun and friendly way.

I have learned lots about better ways to make clean water, as exemplified in Paris, why food miles are a massive problem and how important rotational crop and livestock can be for the maintaining of soil, which locks in carbon and underpins food chains.

The White Lotus (Now TV/ Sky)

When I first watched this programme in 2021, it was all about an expensive hotel in Hawaii. A bunch of quirky guests lived out their awkward holidays totether, with dramatic and hilarious scenarios. One of the highlights was the appearance of Jennifer Coolidge who is renowned for playing Stifler’s mum in American Pie.

Well, season two sees a whole new cast arrive at a swish hotel in Sicily. Funnily, the only returning characters are Jennifer’s ‘Tanya’ and John Gries’ ‘Greg’. Their continuation in the show is the icing on the cake of what continues to be an exceptionally good drama-comedy.

Two couples are on holiday together but with some antagonism; one girlfriend seemingly jealous of the other couple’s closeness. An elderly man, his TV producer son and grandson are there together with a series of issues that are challenging and funny in equal measures.

I totally recommend watching the premier season but feel that the second one is even better.

Wednesday (Netflix)

Noticing that an Addams Family spin-off had popped up on Netflix as the number one show, I was initially worried that it may be a let down. Soon it was a no brainer that I would have to check it out and find out for myself.

I am glad that I did!

First of all, it stars Jenna Ortega who was impressive as a younger sister in YOU and appeared in the recently brilliant ‘Scream’ movie. Secondly, Christina Ricci was listed as a character (bringing that vital link to the original films in which she acted as Wednesday Addams) and Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) plays the smiley yet stern school headmistress. The final thing that drew me in was the fact that Tim Burton had taken on the directing role.

Anyway, after some misdemeanours at her previous schools, Wednesday has been placed by her mum (Catherine Zeta-Jones) into the renowned ‘Nevermore Academy’ for outcasts, much to her disapproval. It does seem that finally Wednesday may have met her match at this college and the series watched her push her own boundaries as she tried her hardest not to become her own mother, who was a legendary Nevermore graduate.

I am well into this series but have not yet got to the end. It is amusing, freaky and very entertaining. Tim Burton has found his feet again with this popular series.

Read, Watch, Listen Again

Every now and then I love to share what I am currently reading and enjoying as well as something I am watching and listening to. As November looms, it may feel like the right time to snuggle up on the sofa with a good book or TV show. You may want a new podcast to zone into when you are going for a run or, like me, whilst having a bath. Or maybe you need something to send you to sleep.

If you missed my October instalment, it is here. Last time I mentioned the funny paramedic TV series, Bloods, as well as a very nostalgic book, The Former Boy Wonder. I also spoke about the Dragoncast podcast which accompanies House of the Dragon.

Read: Normal People by Sally Rooney

I am incredibly late to the party with this one. Having seen the BBC series, I wondered whether I would appreciate the book as much. It was a lot to live up to.

A rich Irish girl who is antisocial and oozes confidence alongside an intelligent yet rugged guy who has met his match. Hiding the fact that he is attracted to his mother’s employer’s daughter, we witness the intriguing story or Marianne and Connel unfold.

The book is amazing! I found it weird that Sally doesn’t use speech marks but soon got used to that style. I can absolutely see why people rave about her writing. It is fascinating how she shapes a story in short chapters which are insightful, captivating and built around social challenges.

Watch: The Watcher on Netflix

When I first came across the advert for this I was instantly attracted because of Jennifer Coolidge, who recently appeared in The White Lotus. Later on I found out that Ryan Murphy had scripted this series based on real life events. I had to watch it for those reasons.

When a couple moved out of New York to the suburbs and bought a dream home, they quickly found themselves freaked out by the neighbours and some unusual occurrences. A letter arrived which was threatening and overshadowing, signed by someone who called themselves ‘The Watcher’.

I am half way through and loving the mix of scares, comedy and general weirdness. I cannot predict who The Watcher is but I am having fun trying to identify this menacing character.

Listen to: Calm

I have been using the Calm app for quite some time as a way to ease myself to sleep at night. I heard about it from a friend and have found it full of so many soundscapes, stories and relaxation pieces.

Sometimes I play some light piano music or raindrop sounds while I sleep. Other times I hear great sleep stories told by brilliant readers like Tamara Levitt or celebrities like Kate Winslet and Harry Styles. I suggest trying a free trial and seeing what you think. OK so it isn’t quite a podcast but it is a fantastic resource for those of us who struggle to get to sleep.

I take a nap a few times a week while listening to one of the half an hour nap stories.

Putting It Together

I hope your Autumn started well. It is incredibly warm in England which is worrying as it is meant to be cool by now. Climate change is definitely messing with our weather. So my way of distracting myself is keeping busy with books, TV shows and podcasts. I would love to know your thoughts on those I suggested. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Read, Watch, Listen (October)

It has been a short while since I last wrote one of these posts and so I now have plenty of things to talk about. As Autumn draws in, sitting by the TV or on a sofa, curled up with a good book sounds good. If not, maybe hooking up with a good podcast is your kind of thing.

Today I am happy to discuss a book, a TV show and a podcast that are all really satisfying. I hope that you will consider checking one of them out or recommending your own newly found gems in the comments below.

Reading – The Former Boy Wonder by Robert Graham

This book is really interesting as it is about a slightly washed out music journalist who has daddy issues. It starts off with his parents split and the infrequent visits of his light entertainment father and then jumps around in time a bit.

The author’s way with words is great and some of the nostalgia is very relatable. The main character, Peter, goes to Uni in Manchester and falls madly in love with Sanchia, who fades in and out of the story in an enigmatic way. A lot of the book is during his middle age, when Lucy is Peter’s wife. She was his university housemate and played second fiddle to Sanchia during those college years.

When an old friend invites him to a party at the house where he first met Sanchia, he isn’t sure whether to tell Lucy. Delving back into the friendship group of his early twenties presents emotional conversations and lovely recollections. The story is really reminiscent and warm.

I would say check this book out if you can as rarely has a modern story got such heart as well as stacks of throwback details. For me, the memories felt relatable and cosy, taking me back to my own Uni days in the 1990s.

Watching – Bloods Season 2, Part 2

I may have mentioned this before but I love this comedy which is available on Sky Or NOW TV. Starring Jane Horrocks (as Wendy) of Absolutely Fabulous fame, it is a laugh along show about paramedics and some of the funny circumstances they find themselves in. Lucy Punch (Motherland) is also onboard as a quirky boss who is secretly infatuated with one of the ambulance crew.

My friends and I agree that the comedy has got wittier and the writing sharper in this second series. Samson Kayo is Wendy’s crew mate and their relationship is funny and fractured at times. All of the characters have great comic timing and brilliant onscreen chemistry.

Listening – Dragoncast Podcast

I used to watch ThroneCast which was a discussion show that came on every week after each fresh episode of Game of Thrones. Jamie East used to give detailed explanations of some of the Westeros history and rivalries.

Now I have discovered his brilliant podcast and it is the perfect companion to each episode of House of the Dragon. With special guests and forensic unpicking of the key events, this podcast is very entertaining and helpful. Check out Dragoncast if you get the chance (available on Spotify, Apple etc).

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest recommendations. Please consider following my blog for similar articles about books, TV, podcasts and the environment. You can also read my summer choice in Read, Watch, Listen 4.