Shantaram – season 1

Breaking – ‘Shantaram’ Canceled By Apple TV+ After One Season

When I first read Shantaram in 2007, I felt it was my favourite book ever.

The book sequel was poor.

Still — I was psyched to watch a streaming TV adaptation on Apple TV+.

I’ve been waiting for this since 2006. Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton, and Johnny Depp were all lined up at one time or another to play Lin. 

Actually, I feel they did a very good job in adapting the novel. Though the book is better than the TV series, for sure.

Charlie Hunnam was good casting as the lead.

My favourite character in the book is Prabhu. And actor Shubham Saraf does convey the joy of that character.

Vincent Perez is good as Didier. Antonia Desplat very good as Karla Saaranen

Reviews have been mixed.

Some concede it is an ambitious mess.

I would say it was a little too slow for me.

I was sad to hear there will be no season 2.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Slow Horses – season 1

Fantastic. 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s based on the book Slow Horses (2010) by Mick Herron, which I read, as well.

The TV show has already been green-lit for 3 more seasons.

Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, the head of Slough House, is one of the most interesting characters on TV.

Slovenly, farting and apparently drunk most of the time. There’s a super experienced intelligence officer under the rumpled facade — with a lot of baggage.

Slow Horses is a spy thriller television series based on the “Slough House” series of novels by Mick Herron.  …

Slough House is an administrative purgatory for MI5 service rejects who have bungled their job but somehow have not been outright fired.

Those consigned there are known as “Slow Horses”.

They are expected to endure dull, paper pushing tasks, along with occasional mental abuse from their miserable boss, Jackson Lamb, who expects them to quit out of boredom or frustration. …


Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

11.22.63 – TV miniseries

I wasn’t much of a fan of the book.

And I’m generally dubious about anything involving time travel.

However, I did get through the TV series, charmed by Jake Epping (James Franco) and Sadie Dunhill (Sarah Gadon).

Daniel Webber was certainly crazy enough to be Lee Harvey Oswald.

The book is too long. The miniseries too long. Both would have been improved by more editing.

Still. I recommend the TV show 11.22.63.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Peripheral – season 1

Some very cool ideas.

However — as with all time travel fiction — it’s difficult to make sense of the story.

AND aside from time travel, the rest of the plot itself was not nearly clear enough for me.

… loosely based on the 2014 book of the same name written by William Gibson. …

Set roughly a decade in the future, with some new technology that has changed society in subtle ways, a VR gamer is delivered a connection to an alternate reality, as well as a dark future of her own. …

I did like the cast. All good.

Especially Chloë Grace Moretz as Flynne Fisher.

76% on Rotten Tomatoes sounds about right.

There will probably be a season 2.

I’ll probably end up watching it.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Rick Mercer – an Autobiography

Talking to Canadians: A Memoir was published Nov 2021.

It’s recommended. Very funny.

One of the best lines (by Greg Thomey) …

Heavy is the head that wears the lampshade.

I’d rank Rick Mercer the funniest Canadian of my lifetime.

He is best known for his work on the CBC Television comedy shows This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Rick Mercer Report … which ended 2018 after 15 seasons.

Mercer’s two-minute “rants”, in which he would speak directly to the camera about a current political issue are what I remember best.

Like many of Canada’s best comedians, Rick is from Newfoundland. Understand?

I downloaded the audio book from the library — ideal, as Rick is the narrator.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Rick interviewed Kyle Shewfelt. Funny.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Ink Black Heart by … Robert Galbraith


The Ink Black Heart is a crime fiction novel by the English author J. K. Rowling, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. 

It is the 6th novel in the Cormoran Strike series. …

Of the six, for me this was worst. Too long. Too slow paced. And WAY too much hateful back-and-forth text messaging.

Skip it — and hope for better with #7.

As a Kirkus reviews put it, by the time you get to page 1462 you no longer care who murdered who.

I made it about half way through before giving up.

Foolishly, the billionaire author engaged in online debate on the topic of transgender people and related civil rights. These have been criticised as transphobic by LGBT rights organisations and some feminists, but have received support from other feminists and individuals.

As a person of wealth and power, Rowling’s inevitably punching down when she engages with critics.

Rowling does a lot of charity work. Is a good person. And should simply stay quiet online — like MacKenzie Scott.

As a big fan of Rowling’s books, this one wastes too much time describing the good and bad of online fandom. Not enough on the painful but entertaining relationship between lovely Robin Ellacott and gruff, unlovable Cormoran Strike.

My best guess is that her mind was not on Robin & Cormoran while writing — but on personal grievance.

And after all this — I still don’t understand her position on those few individuals (0.1% to 0.6% of the population) born with gender identity or gender expression that does not correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

Personally, I don’t care if you are trans, from Transylvania, or choose to medically transition to another sex.

Everyone should have equal opportunity.

OF COURSE when it comes to what sport to play there should be rules. And each sport should set those to be as fair as possible to all participants.

The TV series Strike has 4 seasons as I post. It’s quite good.

Severance – season 1

I’m sure film students will be studying this TV series for decades to come.

Cinematography and design original.

The weirdly slow pace is still compelling. Literally no work actually gets done at work.

But is it worth watching?

Critics love it. Awards have been heaped on the show.

Rotten Tomatoes: “Audacious, mysterious, and bringing fresh insight into the perils of corporate drudgery.”

The cast is fantastic.

Best of the best might be Tramell Tillman as Seth Milchick.

Talk about getting creeped out by someone trying to be perfectly normal! He’s uncanny valley.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Count me in. I’ll be there for season 2.

The Devil’s Hour – great TV

Better than a Hollywood film.

This series is an example of the golden age of streaming television.

The Devil’s Hour is a British drama thriller … on Amazon Prime Video.

The Devil’s Hour tells the story of Lucy who wakes up by terrifying visions every night at exactly 3:33 AM, in the middle of the so-called devil’s hour between 3 AM and 4 AM.

Her eight-year-old son is withdrawn and emotionless.

Her mother speaks to empty chairs.

Her house is haunted by the echoes of a life that isn’t her own.

When Lucy’s name is inexplicably connected to a string of brutal murders in the area, the answers that have evaded her all these years will finally come into focus …

Cast and acting all fantastic.

Best of the best?

Perhaps Benjamin Chivers as Isaac.

Some critics complain the story is too complicated. And too slow to be resolved. Fair points.

Personally, I’m really hoping it’s renewed for season 2.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Abbott Elementary – season 1

Abbott Elementary is an American mockumentary sitcom television series created by Quinta Brunson

It stars Brunson as a second-grade teacher at Abbott Elementary, a fictional predominantly Black school in Philadelphia. …

The ensemble cast is down to earth.

It’s simple. Easy watching. But there are some great slang pop references that I feel obliged to Google.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Chloe – season 1

Not sure I can recommend this acclaimed British TV series.

It’s 94% on Rotten Tomatoes — but I found it somewhat confusing.

To be fair, however, Erin Doherty deserves all the acting awards. This is a challenging role.

A mystery about obsession, deceit, identity, and grief

A lonely twentysomething, Becky Green, becomes obsessed with the suicide of her estranged childhood friend Chloe and assumes a new identity as Sasha to investigate how Chloe died.  

Becky starts an affair with Chloe’s widowed husband, Elliot; whereas the rest of the group including Elliot’s mother disapproves of their relationship.

Becky is a confused, unreliable narrator. Her web of lies painful to watch.

And the plot sometimes strains credulity.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.