• by Wes Singleton

Wes's TV Viewing

Since quarantine is now a requirement during the pandemic and movie theaters are closed for new movie viewing, I've had to shift from movies to TV. I've never had the patience to binge a show, but since I have plenty of time at home, working at home and weekends at home, I had to fill my time, so I've temporarily transformed into a TV critic until new movies come back to theaters (though I've watched a few new streaming movies too - see my other post for those reviews).

I'll give you a highlight of some of my favorite shows that I can now recommend. I've watched quite a bit, weighted toward comedies, but there is a good mixture. I just subscribed to HBO, so I'll provide more updates as I watch shows like Westworld, Insecure, Run, The Outsider and Silicon Valley, not to mention many others I have in my queue to watch.

Favorite Drama: Ozark (Netflix), Overall Grade: A-. This brilliant, superbly-acted crime drama, starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, is essentially a hillbilly Breaking Bad, but I think it exceeds the greatness of that series. The season 3 finale was quite the shocker wasn't it? Can't wait to see more of this Emmy-winning series. My favorite character is Ruth, played by the charming Emmy-winning Julia Garner, who deserves another after Season 3 (and Linney deserves one for Season 3 too).

Runner-Up: Good Girls (NBC). Overall Grade: B. This might be a bit of a surprise, though like Ozark, it's about normal people taking up crime to help their families. I first started watching Good Girls well before the pandemic hit in full force, and it has been one of my unexpectedly favorite shows. Now in its third season, this dramedy is about a group of middle-class, suburban ladies who run into some financial bad luck and turn to crime. It's charming, delightful and dark, and so well-played by Mad Men's Christina Hendrick, Retta (Parks and Recreation) and Mae Whitman (The Duff), all who have great chemistry together. The third season, while not matching the gravitas of the first two seasons, is still watchable and held together by a terrific cast.

Favorite Comedy: Superstore (NBC), Overall Grade: A. This is a tough choice. I've watched by far more comedies than dramas (the pandemic calls for laughter for escape) and there's quite a few good comedies, but I'm going with my favorite, Superstore, which is criminally underrated when it comes to awards. It's essentially The Office set in a big-box store, with a stellar ensemble cast and some truly hilarious moments ("shut up, Sandra!"). I'm sad that America Ferrera is leaving the show, but glad she'll be back for one episode in Season 6 to wrap up her character's departure, since the Coronavirus pandemic prevented filming the last episode of this season. There are also some good You Tube clips if you want some summaries of funny moments, and bloopers too.

Runner-Up: Boy, this is tough, so many good ones out there, including: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video), Dead to Me (Netflix), Barry (HBO), Schitt's Creek (Netflix/Hulu), Good Place (NBC) and Russian Doll (Netflix), but I'm going with the Netflix Ricky Gervais dark comedy After Life, about a man dealing with the loss of his wife and was recommended by an old friend (thanks, Bobby!). It's filled with so many funny-sad moments and funny looks (Gervais is a master of them), you'll be crying and laughing at the same time. Season 2 just premiered April 24 and it is better than Season 1. Overall Grade for After Life: B+.

Favorite Mini Series/Limited Series: Unorthodox (Netflix), Grade: A

Favorite Movie: Bad Education (HBO), Grade: A- (see my other post for a review)

Favorite Comedy Special: Fortune Feimster (Netflix), Grade: A

Favorite Reality Show: The Circle (Netflix), Grade: B