Including reading a lot of books (I read 217 in 2020), I also watch a lot of television series. I don’t love all of them. These are the ones I actually liked with a short intro/look into why.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND WATCHING THESE SHOWS. I really do. I’d watch them all over again for the first time if I could.
James May in Japan
I will watch anything by this man, but his series visiting Japan was superlative. He’s witty, he delves deep into the culture, talks about what it’s like to live there, observations as a foreigner, the food.. it’s truly amazing.
James May: Oh Cook!
Okay it was a little bit LESS interesting as a subject matter than him in Japan, but it was still a fantastic show because he’s so darn funny. I liked watching him fumble through the recipes, give tips, talk to the crew in the background, etc. It’s so unpretentious and well done.
Spelling the Dream
The fight for children to become THE speller and winner of the Bee. The work they put into reaching the top is incredible. I can’t even pronounce some of these words they’re spelling.
Attenborough’s Planet Earth
Earth. All about Earth and its various aspects. If this doesn’t give you pause to the awe and wonder of the world, and to re-think your choices on whether or not you’re ruining the only home we have as well as hurting the rest of the species living on it, I do not know what will.
It’s an Apple TV set of shows this one, but I loved the first episode so much where it talks about living in a greenhouse, in a Nature House that I was hooked until the end. Truly a marvel of different ways to live. The third episode about using bamboo being built and grown as a house, is also a mind-blowing episode for me. In 5 years, you have the materials required to build a whole home, instead of decades-growing a tree for wood, or fossil fuels for concrete. It’s so well done.
The Queen’s Gambit
Okay, it’s a show about chess. It sounds boring, BUT IT ISN’T. It’s such a strong show, with great deep characters, interesting looks into why chess is so fascinating for people along with strategies, and of course, a feminist twist of how a young girl managed to rise through the world to find her own. I love her background as a character, the entire journey was thrilling and I don’t want it to end.
Emily in Paris
The plot itself is horrid, but the (French) fashion (not hers) and the French-ness of it (however clichéd-but-not-so), is an interesting watch for anyone missing France.
Grace & Frankie
This is a show that I didn’t think I’d like, about two older women who have their lives turned upside down as their husbands turn out to be in love with each other. It’s FANTASTIC. What a great look into aging as a woman, as a man, being older in society in general, and I am in love with the characters. They all have such an interesting background, twist, and I have tried so hard to get everyone to watch it because once you see one episode, you’re hooked. Also, the fashion. It’s how I got inspired for my upcycling pieces.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Set in the 1950s-1960s, the costumes are FANTASTIC. I love the looks, the colours, and most of all the character Midge Maisel. I won’t give it away but she’s such a great actress/character, as a comedian trying to make it in NYC. It’s… beyond witty, smart and interesting in how it looks at the way women and men were treated and perceived in society.
Why Women Kill
Another fantastic set of characters with the most brilliant actors I have ever seen. Lucy Liu is FAB for me, but so is Ginnifer Goodwin, and the whole cast and crew. I love how it centers around one house and women from various decades in the same house. I won’t give it away but the ending episode is so damn satisfying.
7 Days Out
Each episode shows about what it takes to take it from start to end, I obviously loved Chanel’s show the best as an episode, but the rest of them were incredibly well thought out mini documentaries – I had no idea!
The story behind Madame C. J. Walker, FIRST self-made woman millionaire in the U.S. She is…. my role model. My total badass, never give up icon, and the acting is superlative in this.
Fear City: New York vs The Mafia
From episode one, you’re sucked in. I have an affinity for watching Mafia-related things, as it scares and thrills me at the same time. I wouldn’t ever want to be anywhere in this world though. Caution – lots of blood/explicit gore and language.
Love on the Spectrum
It’s not what I expected in such a good way, talking about how people on the Down’s Syndrome spectrum are trying to find love. It’s so.. SWEET. I mean, it made me both sad and happy at the same time. I wanted to know what happened, I’d love to watch Season 2 immediately if they tell me how it ended.
A great look into a child growing and learning from birth to age 5. I have learned so much more about my son in the process, and each video is both adorable and infuriating because I can remember exactly the times he drove me insane because of his attitudes/actions, when in fact, he was just learning about his world. (I feel a teeny bit bad now.)
Not your typical style + decor show, and I don’t care what the fashion pundits said, I LOVED IT. I loved a peek into Jenna Lyons’ head, the way she puts things together from a room to an outfit, all of her mini style tips. Truly an interesting show, less on the American drama of things not finishing on time, etc, and more on the decoration & styling which I love. Plus, they’re FUNNY.
Get a Room with Carson & Thom
I love home decor, so this is a great show for me. I adore these two together, they make me laugh and turn out fab rooms with such good ideas and tips.
The September Issue
A behind the scenes look of how Vogue Magazine comes together. I learned a lot, it’s a truly great documentary on the fashion magazine and Anna Wintour (badass).
First Monday in May
A behind the scenes look at the Met Gala, also with Anna Wintour coincidentally enough. I loved seeing the thought process, the details, the organization, the scheduling, it all makes your head SPIN. The final end result was spectacular.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
I loved all 5 seasons, even the controversial Japanese one at the end. It’s fantastic. I love how they talk to each person, they lift them up emotionally, mentally, and address issues like race, homophobia… it’s truly a fantastic show on culture, fashion and home decor – I have also learned so much from this show.
I normally hate dry period dramas. Actually, any period drama makes me yawn to be honest with you. I tried watching that famous one everyone swooned over Downton Abbey and couldn’t get through the first episode. THIS ONE? Is TOTALLY different. It has a black Queen for one thing, a great look into race and culture in many ways, modern dance, modern costumes made for the period with twists. I loved it. I watched it twice.
Dash & Lily
It’s a good fluffy watch. If you aren’t into super saccharine sweet things, do not watch this. It’s really SWEET. Of course, it has a lot of great points, but it veers more young adult than adult, and seems very… superficial at times, which is fine, as that’s the distraction I needed.
Another fantastic show with the idea of what it could have been like in Hollywood, had they embraced actors of different races, allowed those who were gay to be themselves openly… it’s truly mind-blowingly good. I LOVED the last episode and cannot wait for the second season.
Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives
A good fluffy reality TV show. I liked it mostly because of any cultural glimpses I got into India and their society, it’s a lot, and very much unlike American society (you know, like Real Housewives). They tried to stir up drama but it wasn’t done well, and was too transparent but I just liked their clothing and a glimpse into another life.
Some of it was definitely staged, but I liked seeing how matchmakers work, what they think about, how they find matches and so on. I wished I knew what happened to the people at the end. I also liked seeing inside their homes, who they were as people, it was a good show for me.
The Chef Show
Okay this is a “real” chef show with Roy Choi helping quietly in the background as actor Jon Favreau (a good cook!) learns different recipes and talks about the history/items they’re cooking. A well done one.
All 5 seasons are incredible. The work, the artistry that goes into making food, it’s enough to make you weep with respect at what they do and how much they love cooking and doing it. My favourite episode by far, was the Buddhist nun Jeong Kwan. Her episode profoundly changed the way I looked at food / nature.
Kings of Pastry
The fight to become an Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF) is no joke. Supremely sexist however, because they kept saying how it’s un truc d’homme (a man’s thing) to make it to the top of this game and earn your MOF collar. Eye roll. Still, the work that goes into making the pastries to get that collar is enough to make your head hurt.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
A documentary on sushi, and the sushi master Jiro. How can you not watch this if you love sushi? It’s so interesting!
Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
He’s not AS foul-mouthed in this show, but you can see how passionate and in love he is with his craft as a chef. I love how they make him do weird tasks to get certain ingredients, and the cook off at the end is fun, but I mostly like watching and learning about the various food cultures.
There are more of course, but those above are recent ones. I also like, forever and always in no particular order:
- Sherlock (BBC)
- Mr. Monk
- The Mentalist
- This is Us – ongoing and a fantastic drama series that never fails to make me ugly cry
- Top Chef – I love cooking competitions
- Schitt’s Creek – another hilarious series but you need to make it past to Season 2 before it steals your heart
- Game of Thrones – Obviously. Dragons, queens, intrigue and power? Sign me up. I didn’t watch the last season to preserve my sanity
I am sure I have more, but this is a good start.
What I couldn’t watch
- The Crown: Remember when I said I hate period dramas? This is one. I know it’s interesting but it’s boring, nothing like Bridgerton, just following a young Queen Elizabeth from the start.
- New Girl: I couldn’t get through it, I slogged up until Season 2 but then gave up