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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, June 3

Quality Television

I keep saying the same thing about our leisure time television viewing: There’s too much quality stuff and too little time to see it.  In the old days, we had the three major networks—ABC, NBC, and CBS.  Then, more and more networks got into the act.  And now we have at least twenty that are watch-worthy.  I tune in CBS far more often than the other two.  Why?  Because the best hour-long dramas are there—Madam Secretary, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Bull, and Criminal Minds.  And the best two comedies, The Big Bang Theory and Mom.

Two of the best dramatic series can be found on FX, The Americans and Fargo.  The critically acclaimed Better Call Saul is on AMC.

I’ve watched
The Americans from the beginning and I’m just as confused now as I was after the first episode. There are almost too many plot lines to keep track of, especially those set in Russia with Russian dialogue and English subtitles.  I love Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as the spy couple, love their many different disguises by alternating head and facial hair styles.  It’s odd to be rooting for Russian spies, but they’re just such nice people.  That’s what so surprised me when Sweet Keri killed the Russian woman who, in WWII, had been forced by the Nazis to execute and bury in a large trench the young Russian men in her village.  Even more surprising, when she also killed the husband, who had nothing to do with his wife’s acts in the war, knew nothing about them.  The next season will probably be the last, since the end of the Cold War would be the end of their spying.  Will their FBI friend and neighbor Stan (Noah Emmerich) ever learn their true identities?  Will they and daughter Paige relocate to Russia or will they decide to stay in America, where they’ve lived for most of their adult lives.  We’ll see.

One of the oddest but best series on television is the Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul.  I call it odd because it’s using many of the same character as those in Breaking Bad, but they’re all so different, some even risen from their graves.  Saul (Bob Odenkirk), who was a true lawyer sleazebag in Breaking Bad, is now the sympathetic but still strange lawyer Jimmy McGill in Saul.  The two nasty drug dealers, Hector Salamanca and Gus Fring, both die in Breaking Bad but are resurrected and larger than life in Saul. Mike Ehrmantraub (Jonathan Banks) was a drug partner of Walter’s in Breaking and is now back in Saul as a much more sympathetic character.  Odd, yes, but very watchable and surprising.  [Ah, ha!  I've been informed that Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad.  Why did I not know that?  Why didn't I do better research?  I now understand why Hector and Gus are alive in Saul but I'd still prefer that Jimmy not turn into Saul later in his career, the sleazy one we had in Breaking Bad.]

Then there’s probably the best show of all for the last three seasons, Fargo, the very funny, very bloody, very interesting creation of Noah Hawley.  Each season is a self-contained ten episodes set in the Minnesota we first saw in the Coen brothers’ hilarious Fargo, the movie.  And if you’re looking for pure evil embodied in anything on television, look no further than V. M. Varga (David Thewles), the crooked-toothed, soft-spoken, anorexic villain who takes over the company of Emmit Stussy (Ewen McGregor), killing and intimidating anyone who gets in his way.

As I’ve said before, just too much quality viewing on the tube and too little time to view it. 

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