Books. Bakes. Battlestar Galactica. (Recent Work and Upcoming Funtimes)

Hello! It’s been a while. One big reason is that it’s now gardening season and I spend every spare minute doing dirt-based outdoor therapy in my yard. I’m having a lot of fun with it, while also dodging a massive brood of dazed cicadas, who are truly one of evolution’s weirder tangents. (By the way, if you want pics of the garden or clues about other things I’m thinking about, I post images of my beautiful flower babies on my Instagram stories frequently. Day to day, you can usually find me there or on Bluesky. I’m pretty much off Twitter, and though I post on Threads occasionally, I do not like Threads; there, I said it! Almost everything about the design and user experience of Threads is irritating to me; of course, if you love it, I’m glad for you.). 

Anyway! I’ve also managed to do some work this year. And here are a few links and thoughts about those recent pieces, plus an update on what’s to come. (Cylon foreshadowing: I have a plan!)

First up, for Vanity Fair, I compiled a list of fantastic shows that probably got lost in the shuffle during the cicada-like proliferation of TV in the past decade. Line of Duty is the centerpiece of the list, and I have so much more I could say about that excellent drama. But instead I’ll point you to this interview that 5AM StoryTalk writer/creator Cole Haddon did with Jed Mercurio, the man behind Line of Duty, Bodyguard and many other compelling programs.

Arthur Hastings of Line of Duty: Incredible representation for irritable Irish Catholics who yell “Mother of God!” all the time! Especially when so many of the people around them do not live up to their stated ethical codes!

In the interview, Mercurio talks about being the working-class son of immigrants, and that gets at something I think about a lot:

Continue reading Books. Bakes. Battlestar Galactica. (Recent Work and Upcoming Funtimes)

The Top TV Shows of 2020

I love reading critics’s end-of-year lists and, because I’m a nerd, I also enjoy making lists of things I should check out (at this point, my Things to Watch Google Doc is one of history’s greatest epics). It’s weird how other critics’ lists are correct and the lists I post annually are also perfectly correct.

But my lists are the most right!  

Before I get to the core of this post, I want to mention that I’m moderating a Better Off Ted reunion for charity on Dec. 27. Stop by if you care to — it should be fun! (Of course, for Veridian employees, this event is a mandatory training session.)

All right, as usual, you could make a pretty good Top 10 list of things I have only seen part of or have not seen at all. Not sure if you were aware of this fact, but there is a lot of #content out there. 

So this list, especially given how often quarantine brain derailed me this year, is not comprehensive. I’m sure, in the next week or two, I’ll watch more things I wish I’d included. Regardless, I’m glad for the existence of all these shows — and movies, documentaries, multi-part documentaries, films-that-are-probably-not-TV, TV-that-might-be-movies and documentary-scripted hybrids, plus unicorns that are also 10-hour films, etc.

Two omissions from these lists that were still important parts of my 2020 viewing experience: The Great British Baking Show (which goes by the nickname GBBO in its original habitat) and the Great Canadian Baking Show. I’d like to unburden myself a bit regarding both of those programs. A bit later in this post, I delve into how what’s good about them relates to key aspects of my favorite scripted programs of 2020. Skip ahead to the lists if you don’t want to wade through this part! 

Continue reading The Top TV Shows of 2020