new and noteworthy tv: 3/27-4/2

Have been investigating the Amazon Prime offerings for both half hour shows that are good for watching at the gym (Transparent, Catastrophe, One Mississippi, Fleabag, and now Bored to Death) as well as hour longs to keep in the queue after I take care of The Wire (which will take a bit).

  • Bones/Grimm (Fox/NBC) Series Finales, Tuesday/Friday, 9/8pm – Two series that I abandoned are wrapping their runs but I’ll remember the early years fondly.
  • Rebel (BET) Series Premiere, Tuesday, 10pm – John Singleton directs this look at a PI dealing with dirty cops and personal drama.
  • Harlots (Hulu) Series Premiere, Wednesday – 18th century London brothel owner and mother has some tough and courtly battles ahead, some initial positive buzz.
  • Imaginary Mary (ABC) Series Premiere, Wednesday, 8:30 – Jenna Elfman returns to comedy in a role that has her in a new relationship that somehow triggers the return of an imaginary friend, not all that promising but perhaps a look.
  • Nobodies (TVL) Series Premiere, Wednesday, 10pm – Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone bring a Groundlings created series of a three trying to get a script made in Hollywood, a preview of the first had some potential but I was a little bit over the awkward misfits making things worse for selves.
  • 13 Reasons Why (Net) Series Premiere, Friday – This look back at a girl who commits suicide through audio tapes she’s left has some initial positive talk though sounds like there might be some inconsistency in the full run.
  • Academy of Country Music Awards (CBS) Sunday, 8pm – Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley host.

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation. Times noted are typically PST.

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new and noteworthy tv: 3/20-3/26

Not a lot new happening here so I can pay attention the Americans, Humans, and Legion.

  • Shots Fired (Fox) Series Premiere, Wednesday, 8pm – I haven’t heard much but looks like mildly positive possibilities for this Dept of Justice investigation drama into small town shooting murders and police involved shootings with the lens of white and African American.
  • Grace & Frankie (Net) Season Premiere, Friday – This isn’t a great show but there’s enough going on with the great cast that it’s entertaining.
  • Ingobernable (Net) Series Premiere, Friday – No word yet on this Mexican political drama about president and first lady.

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation. Times noted are typically PST.

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new and noteworthy tv: 3/13-3/19

And just like that I’m behind on television again… Still need to check out Feud and the new seasons of The Americans and Underground plus keeping up on shows I’m digging like Humans and Legion though somehow it’s easier to watch junky tv like giving Catch another shot.

  • Adam Carolla and Friends Build Stuff Live (Spike) Series Premiere, Tuesday, 10pm – Sounds like it’s a talk show where he talks and then helps famous friends build stuff.
  • Trial & Error (NBC) Series Premiere, Tuesday, 10/10:30pm – This seems to spoof the true crime documentaries with John Lithgow as defendant, rumor has it this isn’t amazing but the top notch cast might make it worth watching.
  • Snatch (Crackle) Series Premiere, Thursday – Apparently it’s loosely based on the flick, a group of small time con artists end up in the sights of big time criminals after they find a truck o’ gold, not that promising.
  • Marvel’s Iron Fist (Net) Series Premiere, Friday – The latest in the Netflix Marvel universe is unfortunately getting no good buzz.
  • You Are Wanted (Am) Series Premiere, Friday – A German release this drama tells the story of a hotel manager whose identity is stolen things start to get dicey.
  • Truth and Lies: The Family Manson (ABC) Friday, 9pm – More about the family.

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation. Times noted are typically PST.

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prime television

I finally broke down and signed up for Amazon Prime, not for the shipping but for the tv. Being old enough to remember the idea that most tv is free unless you want to throw down for ‘premium’ cable I’m now viscerally opposed to the nickel and dime feeling that I’m supposed to subscribe to everything to watch good tv. I still can’t bring myself to pay for beyond basic+ cable so I miss out on the quality from HBO, Showtime, and apparently even channels like Spike (darn that Ink Master). Then people keep talking about great shows on Amazon, Hulu, and now even CBS All Access with the introduction of The Good Wife spin-off The Good Fight. Don’t even get me started on other random subscription services.

I’ve been a long subscriber of Netflix, getting on board when this took over from my video rental service and staying when I relinquished the availability of all videos in the dvd delivery service and moved just to streaming. My rationale at the time was that there was enough available on streaming to keep me occupied and that I wasn’t watching enough movies to keep the rentals going. This was before the introduction of things like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards made their original content buzzworthy,  but when that came out followed by others it just sealed the fate of my keeping the service.

To supplement I’ve been renting the occasional movie on Amazon but with the a la carte pricing the cost of seasons of tv just seemed daunting. I recently finished watching Mad Men (streaming on Netflix) and I decided I had waited long enough to watch the show that was so highly regarded, The Wire.

So I could throw down for an HBO or HBO Now subscription but as long as I’m not too put out by missing the current seasons Amazon seemed to offer more bang for the buck. For $99/yr (bringing monthly down to $8.25/mo) you get the old catalog of HBO shows (not the currents), you get a handful of free movies, and you get some additional services including of course free shipping. So now that I’m in I’ve also added their original series. Have Bosch, Catastrophe, Fleabag, One Mississippi, and Transparent along with those yet to come sealed my forever fate? And what else should I be watching?

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new and noteworthy tv: 3/6-3/12

I feel like we’ve had a little bit of a break from new TV so I’m ready to dive back in to at least the Americans!

  • The Bachelor: The Women Tell All (ABC) Monday, 9pm – Clearly there is always more to say.
  • The Americans (FX) Season Premiere, Tuesday, 10pm – Yes please, as noted one of my fave shows.
  • The Partner (CNBC) Series Premiere, Tuesday, 10pm – The dude from The Profit is looking for a… partner and will select from a batch of ten.
  • People Icons (ABC) Series Premiere, Tuesday, 10pm – Iconic celebrity love stories.
  • Underground (WGN) Season Premiere, Wednesday, 10pm – I ended up sticking with and digging this tale of the Macon 7 slave escapees and interested to see what a new season will bring.
  • Kicking & Screaming (Fox) Series Premiere, Thursday, 9pm – Pampered folks are paired with actual survivalists to give it a go.
  • The Catch (ABC) Season Premiere, Thursday, 10pm – This turn the tables con couple wasn’t great but somehow I stuck with it, surprised that it’s returning but I’ve heard they’re refining it a bit and we’ll see where things go.
  • Buddy Thunderstruck (Net) Series Premiere, Friday – A stop motion adventure of a truck driving dog named Buddy and his ferret mechanic (I don’t always list all the animated fare but a dog named Buddy!).
  • Hand of God (Am) Season Premiere, Friday – I’ve yet to dive into this one.
  • Love (Net) Season Premiere, Friday – I can’t say I recommend this misfit couple in the making but it’s one of those shows that I was somehow compelled to keep watching.
  • American Crime (ABC) Season Premiere, Sunday, 10pm – A return of much of the excellent cast in a new take that starts with a Mexican immigrant heading to farmland and getting caught up in more social issues, I dropped this S1 but have heard enough good buzz to check it out.

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation. Times noted are typically PST.

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procrastinator’s picks – must see movies of 2016

And after a little extra delay, without further ado…

  1. Moonlight – So everyone has heard of this one by now and yes it’s good, the three sections combine to tell the story of a boy to man poignantly dealing with themes of identity, sexuality, race…
  2. Manchester by the Sea – Yep it’s a bummer and yep it’s worth watching, following Casey Affleck’s broken character as he returns home to care for his nephew.
  3. 20th Century Women – This one gets my coming of age vote for this year as Annette Bening turns to those around her to help raise her son, with a nice vibe set in ’79.
  4. Deadpool – I most enjoy Marvel when it’s good story, good action, and a good dose of humor and this one does just that, leaning heavy into the humor category, fun.
  5. Hell or High Water – Getting to know the bank robber brothers and the lawmen who follow them as things go down a path that they can’t return from, it’s hard to pick someone to root against.
  6. Hunt for the Wilderpeople – I wasn’t sure what I was getting into on this odd New Zealand boy and his foster father on the run from the law in the wilderness is oddly fun and touching.
  7. La La Land – I have noted this as the most overrated film of 2016, and while I was truly put off by the casting of non song and dance peeps in the leads, as well as a few other things, this still made an enjoyable escape via homage to musicals, though something like Sing Street was almost more fun.
  8. The Nice Guys – This buddy crime thriller flick has enough heart and humor to make the ride with Gosling and Crowe on their continued failures as they try to solve the crime that is of course more complicated without killing themselves or each other a bunch of fun.
  9. Arrival – As long as I don’t think too much about the plot of this film, I really appreciate the film-making and the slant on communication and humanity through a slightly new take on alien invasion (though yes big on aliens), it kept me engaged and intrigued.
  10. Nocturnal Animals – Ok I just watched this so that might be swaying me but I feel like this movie would be worth watching just for the visuals alone, though Ford also did a nice job weaving together the present ‘success,’ the naive past, with the fictional noir.

Order as always might be someone subjective and I have missed a few of the more talked about films this year (Lion, Fences, Hidden Figures, Paterson…) so no telling is those would make my personal list. For a gander at what other films critics are talking about check out Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.

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new and noteworthy tv: 2/27-3/5

As I await the Oscars I struggle with catching up on movies vs catching up on tv. I’ll have to commit to getting my overdue top movie list done this week : )

  • When We Rise (ABC) Miniseries Premiere, Monday, 9pm – In this four-parter LGBTQ civil rights are dramatically chronicled from the ’70s to the present with some mixed reviews.
  • Taken (NBC) Series Premiere, Monday, 10pm – A prequel to the Liam Neeson film franchise where we learn about the young CIA operative, which I’ll check out but can’t imagine being good.
  • National Treasure (Hulu) Miniseries Premiere, Wednesday – Don’t confuse this latest British drama about a comedian accused of rape in the ’70s with the amazing Nic Cage flick.
  • Chicago Justice (NBC) Series Premiere, Wednesday, 9pm – Another break out in the Dick Wolf Chicago series.
  • Time After Time (ABC) Series Premiere, Sunday, 9pm – H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper travel to modern days, why do I feel like I’ve seen this series, oh right it was a movie.
  • The Arrangement (E!) Series Premiere, Sunday, 10pm – Struggling actress is cast as a spouse in what could loosely be a Tom Cruise dramatic biography.
  • Feud (Fx) Series Premiere, 10pm – Ryan Murphy’s latest starring Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis, I wouldn’t miss checking this out.

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation. Times noted are typically PST.

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spa de da

I have a tradition that on my birthday I take the day off and get a spa treatment, assuming it’s possible. It’s just a nice way to always do something a little special. So this year whilst searching for a new place to go I realized I had hit most of the hot spots in San Francisco but was having trouble recollecting so I thought I’d start sharing them (a handy way to keep track).

This year’s pick was a return visit to a spot I hadn’t hit in longer than I can recall:

  • Spa: SenSpa (SF-Presidio)
  • Service: Muscle Refresher Swedish Massage
  • Cost: 90 min $215 ($2.39/min)
  • Amenities: It doesn’t look like much from the outside, just another Presidio building, but they’ve done a nice job on the interior. The recent addition is their ‘cafe’ which is an eating space inside with a few pre-prepared options from The Plant as well as a few wine options. The facilities mostly consist of locker rooms with a steam room and all the standard: robe (though I’d prefer they didn’t sew the pockets shut)/slippers, brushes/dryers, lotions and shampoos. Otherwise they’ve got a few areas for restful sitting, included snacks (nuts, dates and the like) and of course water and tea.

And for the record as I recall throughout the years the following have been hits: Earthbody (SF-Hayes), Nob Hill Spa (SF-Nob Hill), Remede Spa (SF-Soma), Bliss Spa (SF-Soma), Spa Vitale (SF-Embarcadero), Cavallo Point Healing Arts Center & Spa (Sausalito), The I Spa San Francisco (SF-Soma), Burke Williams Day Spa (SF-Downtown), The Ritz-Carlton (Half Moon Bay), International Orange (SF – Fillmore), Kabuki Springs & Spa (SF-Japantown).

What should be next on the list?

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new and noteworthy tv: 2/20-2/26

A little more roll-out of nothing much I’m interested in which is good as I’m just getting rolling on The Wire.

  • The Breaks (VH1) Series Premiere, Monday, 9pm – A series continuing on after the cable movie of the same name following three friends and their hip hop dreams.
  • Sun Records (CMT) Series Premiere, Thursday, 10pm – Limited series based on the musical Million Dollar Quartet in the early years of rock’n’roll.
  • My Brother, My Brother, and Me (Seeso) Series Premiere, Thursday – Based on their podcast of more comedy than advice advice.
  • The Blacklist: Redemption (NBC) Series Premiere, Thursday, 10pm – I’ll check out this Blacklist spinoff but not sure if having dropped the original I’ll be as engaged, though theoretically it doesn’t have most annoying Elizabeth.
  • Patriot (Am) Series Premiere, Friday – Following intelligence officer in pipelines and nuclear deals, reportedly it’s a dramedy.
  • Ultimate Beastmaster (Net) Series Premiere, Friday – A new physical obstacle course style competition, globally.
  • The 89th Annual Academy Awards (ABC) Sunday, 5:30pm – I am torn on my Oscar pool, should I vote for LaLa Land or not…

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation. Times noted are typically PST.

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new and noteworthy tv: 2/13-2/19

Finally wrapped up Mad Men (excellent) and moved on to The Wire, plus I recently bit the bullet on Amazon Prime so I’m diving in.

  • Humans (AMC) Season Premiere, Monday, 10pm – I quite enjoyed this slant on some ‘synths’ gaining consciousness stepping out of their place as tools of human society and intrigued to see where they and their human counterparts go.
  • The Mindy Project (Hulu) Season Premiere, Tuesday – I haven’t been up to date since this moved to hulu but I’m sure she’s still wacky.
  • Doubt (CBS) Series Premiere, Wednesday, 10pm – This latest legal drama looks to be a bit on the soapy side but intrigued to see Katherine Heigl and Laverne Cox in fresh roles.
  • Hacking the Wild (Sci) Series Premiere, Wednesday, 10pm – Using everyday technology and science to make it through the wilderness.
  • The Good Fight (CBS/AA) Series Premiere, Sunday, 8pm – As a big Good Wife fan I’m excited to see what this spin-off will bring but irritated because I’m not willing to pay $6/month for the CBS streaming service to watch it, though I may watch the first episode airing on CBS to see how irritated I’ll be.
  • The Paley Center Salutes NBC’s 90th Anniversary (NBC) Sunday, 8pm – Star studded look.
  • Big Little Lies/Crashing (HBO) Series Premiere, Sunday, 9/10:30pm – This book adaptation brought by David E. Kelley with all-star cast Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley as mothers of seven-year-olds is getting mostly positive buzz though no word on the latest comedy about a comedian.

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation. Times noted are typically PST.

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