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 3

Every couple of weeks I like to share a sample of what I am currently finding entertaining. I have enjoyed reviewing books and TV shows in the past and now like to include something podcast related too. Here are three new suggestions that I’d like to recommend.

What I am reading

Currently I am enjoying several books and the one I am most engrossed by is ‘Apples Never Fall’ by Liane Moriarty. As usual, her books never give too much away at the beginning. She is brilliant at dropping us into a story and then, like a stone in a puddle, the ripples take us on an exciting journey.

With this book a young woman arrives at a house in a shocked state. The owners are an elderly couple who used to own a tennis academy. They take her in, believing they must know her but when they realise they don’t, they are already invested in her story.

We already know from the introduction that the old woman had kids and they are worried about her, so there is plenty of intrigue from the beginning. I am not even half way through but am totally hooked on this book.

What I am watching

Stranger Things Season Four has arrived after a long wait and so far it has lived up to expectations. If you have never watched this brilliant 1980s based sci-fi drama before, where have you been? It is a combination of comedy and horror, especially this season. I won’t give out any spoilers but suffice to say the song ‘Running up that hill’ by Kate Bush has featured heavily and is now at Number 2 in the UK pop charts as a result.

Winona Ryder leads a cast which includes some rapidly growing up kids and Lily Allen’s husband, David Harbour. Elle (Millie Bobby Brown) has a link to The Upside Down, a strange parallel world where horrible monsters seem to live. The town of Hawkins has a weird connection to this upside down world too and people keep getting either dragged into it or killed by it.

This is way too complex for me to sum up in a few sentences but my favourite thing about Stranger Things is the 1980s nostalgia which takes me back to my own childhood. Check it out soon and make sure you start from Season One.

What I am listening to

I love listening to this podcast all about Bees. It is hosted by the very funny Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous) and the talented Esther Coles. Although QueenBees podcast began as an homage to all things Bee, they now discuss lots of other related subjects such as making wax candles from bee products and gardening tips.

This fun and educational podcast is really just two best friends chatting about anything and everything, whilst hanging around beehives. Needless to say, I absolutely love it!

Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestions for a TV show, podcast and book. My last set of reviews is here and if you want to check out future recommendations please consider following my blog.

Read, Watch, Listen 2

A few weeks ago I decided to review a book, a TV show and a podcast in the same blog post and was happy with the outcome. So this week I have once again put together my three current sources of entertainment.

Each of these is worth checking out. I am half way through the book and the TV series. With the podcast, I am catching up on episodes and currently listening to all of the new episodes as they are published.

What I am reading

Currently I am making my way through ‘Different Class’ by Joanne Harris. It follows on from the brilliant ‘Gentlemen and Players’ which really got me rooted in these school- based dramas.

I really love this story as it builds so cleverly, with alternating chapters by two key characters. Joanne’s writing is always so brilliant and the way she creates a backstory for the latin teacher and new super head is nothing short of superb.

Let’s say the new headteacher is younger and used to be in Roy Straightly’s class. As we flick back and forth, we discover events that suggest that there is so much more to be said. Full of intrigue and skilful mastery of words, this book is totally immersive.

What I am watching

Last week I noticed that Imogen Poots was in a new sci-fi series on Amazon Prime Video. ‘Outer Range’ seemed really intriguing as it is set on a ranch in the USA and costars Josh Brolin as the cowboy patriarch (Royal) who I recall from the Kate Winslet movie, Labour Day.

A black hole has been discovered on landowner Royal’s land. A violent event leads to an investigation which is muddled by a battle for one section of land that seems to hold more value than it suggests. Meanwhile Autumn (Poots) wanted to camp in his field whilst poking her nose into local goings on.

The black hole seems to be a place to deposit bodies but can we be sure they won’t come back? When one does reappear it causes a whole load of contraversy.

What I am listening to

When I was growing up, I loved watching the hilarious ‘Big Breakfast’ programme every morning on Channel 4. Presented by Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin, it was a magazine show with great guests, funny sketches and crazy alien puppets called Zig and Zag.

Ever since, I have remained a firm fan of Gaby Roslin and so I was pleased to see her begin a podcast where she chats with famous people from all sorts of backgrounds. Starting with her friendly and fun Kate Winslet episode, I have started working my way through her previous series.

I seem to remember Gaby interviewing Kate in 1995 when she was promoting Sense and Sensibility. Gaby mentions this in the episode and The fact that Kate came on this podcast (after all her interviews are rare) shows her high regard for Roslin as a broadcaster. The banter between them is funny and honest.

Other highlights include a chat with Judi Dench, Alicia Silverstone and Jill Halfpenny. I also found Sebastian Croft from Heartstopper really interesting. There are so many cool people on it and I am yet to check out Jim Broadbent and many others.

Thank you for taking the time to read my current suggestions. If you want to check out my previous recommendations please click here. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and may consider following my blog for more of the same.