Doctor Who

Up all night, binge-worthy shows to Netflix now

Back in the pre-internet, pre-cable days summers were pretty much virtual wastelands as far as television viewing goes. Sure there were a few summer replacement shows (anyone else remember The Hudson Brothers? Yes, Kate Hudson’s dad did actually have a job once) but mostly it was nothing but reruns of TV shows your dad liked. Consider this updated post a combo of those two ancient TV relics, a rerun combined with just enough info to make it seem like a brand spanking new summer replacement show, minus Kate Hudson’s dad.

Pretty much all of the shows listed below have new seasons available to stream with the exception of The Honourable Woman which will sadly not live to see another episode. The hairdo’s remain questionable in Peaky Blinders, modern technology is still scary AF in Black Mirror, Dicte tries to make nice with her dad and no one gets one bit happier in Happy Valley and that my friend is a good thing for us fans.

I have always been somewhat of a night owl, going to bed early was never part of my routine. I had older parents who stayed up late and even though I wasn’t supposed to, I often times watched the Tonight Show right along with them from the hallway where they could not see that I was still up on a school night when little girls were supposed to be in bed. That practice of staying up later than I should has never gone away. What has changed though is how very far I can push it. One of the many less than fun things about getting older is how much more your body rebels against any change in its routine. Eat a little too much between Thanksgiving and New Year’s when you are twenty-five and it is not even noticeable, do that a couple of decades later and not only is it noticeable it takes until Easter to get rid of and by then the Reese’s peanut butter eggs are out and there are Peeps bunnies and chicks everywhere and pretty much all bets are off.

Staying up all night is no longer an option for me on the regular, but sometimes when I find a series that I really, really like, I can come pretty close. These five shows are binge-worthy for various reasons, mostly because they are so addictingly good or they have Tom Hardy in the cast.

Happy Valley:  more like mega unhappy valley, despite its idyllic appearance somewhere in the Yorkshire countryside. This six episode series stars Sarah Lancashire (Ms. Foster from my very favorite episode of Doctor Who and currently seen on PBS’s Last Tango in Halifax) as Catherine Cawood, a small town divorced cop who is barely coping in the aftermath of her daughter’s suicide. Her marriage broke up, she is estranged from her son and she is raising her grandchild with a little help from her former addict sister Clare (Siobhan Fineran) or as I will always fondly remember her, O’Brien, the maid you don’t ever trust with a bar of soap from the first couple of seasons of Downton Abbey. One day on the street Catherine spots Tommy Lee Royce, the man who she believes raped her daughter and is the father of her eight-year-old grandson, Ryan. In addition to being an alleged rapist and now paroled drug dealer, Mr. Royce (played by James Norton yet another Doctor Who guest player) gets involved in the kidnapping of a local businessman’s daughter. How Catherine ties the two together while dealing with the loss of her child is what makes this series so watchable.

There are a couple of episodes of this series that are quite graphically violent, Mr. Royce is not a very nice man, and I had to fast forward or avert my eyes more than a few times. Blood and violence are not my scene and luckily there is so much more going on that I could easily get past something that in another series I would not be able to stick with. Sarah Lancashire is amazing, she is a good cop, a loving grandmother to a child her ex-husband can barely acknowledge even exists and a grieving mother whose pain is truly believable. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Black Mirror: if you have not heard about this one than I am not sure what kind of a cultural black hole you live in but you should get out of it right away and start watching this show. Take today’s modern technology and amp it up a bit, toss in a little of Twilight Zone/Tales of the Crypt-like creepiness and you pretty much get the gist of this import from Britain’s Channel 4. Each episode is a stand alone, with two series of three episodes each currently available on the old Netflix. I watched them in chronological order because that is the way I roll but you don’t have to. In fact, I almost gave up on episode one, The National Anthem, as it was that personally disturbing to me. But if I could make it through that one you can too, and the pay off is pretty amazing so hang in there.

I liked this show a lot, but there were a couple of episodes that really stood out from the crowd, White Bear, which is not just the name of a lake and a town in Minnesota, but the story of Victoria Skillane, a young woman who wakes up with no memory of the day before who is being pursued relentlessly by people she does not know yet alone the reason why. This episode stars Lenora Crinchlow, who any Brit-show watcher may recognize from either Doctor Who or the original Being Human. Amnesia in both movies and television as a plot device is a bit of a bete noire usually but this is beyond anything I have ever seen before on All my Children or General Hospital, like Laura totally forgetting she knew Luke and Elizabeth Taylor showing up in Port Charles, and actually made sense albeit in a way I was at first rather uncomfortable with, that is until a couple of news stories of such cruelty and brutality happened within days of my watching White Bear and I was like, yeah, I could get down with that.

My other favorite episode by far was The Entire History of You about a couple having relationship issues but with some fun modern technology ways to cope. I don’t want to say too much about this one lest I spoil it for you other than to say that Robert Downey Jr. has already optioned the movie rights for it which is so weird to me since there has already been a kinda/similar movie made and it was called The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and it was perfect, so just back off Iron Man, back off.

The Honourable Woman:  it’s like MI-5 and Looking for Mr. Goodbar got together with Not Without My Daughter and had a baby that wasn’t named Homeland. I let this one sit in my queue and stew for a couple of weeks before I decided to check it out and then ended up not getting up from my comfy furalicious bean bag chair for over three hours which was not so good for my 10,000 steps a day minimum lifestyle goal. Three episodes without moving so you know it’s gotta be good as there were no potty breaks for either me or the dog. Luckily I had my popcorn and milk duds and she had a chewable so all was good during our binge-a-thon into the murky politics of the West Bank.

These things are seriously comfy

These things are seriously comfy

The Honourable Woman (yes, that is Brit-spelling) just recently aired on Showtime and has miraculously already shown up on Netflix. I say that semi-snarkily as other Showtimes series I want to see like Master of Sex and The Affair are still not Netflix-able and that is pretty annoying. Thanks to this show I now have a new fear, that of billowing curtains in fancy restaurants and waiters with bread knives. Trust me, you will feel the same way after the opening of episode one. Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Nessa Stein, a rich British lady do-gooder with a big secret in her past and a bad habit of sleeping with the help. Some of the plot holes are big enough to drive an Escalade through like the supposed security expert guy who falls for the old my-mother-does-the-books-at-night-at-a-stone-factory-out-in-the-middle-of-bum-fuckville, let’s go there, when anyone, let alone a security expert would know that was a one-way trip to not making it to the next episode. But the cast, especially Stephen Rea as the soon to be retired MI6 Middle East chief, and the overall story more than make up for a couple of dumb turns.

Dicte: is the only non-Brit show in the whole batch and is about yet another crusading Scandinavian journalist a la Annika Bengtzon, although Dicte is set in Denmark instead of Sweden and instead of a non-helpful boyfriend Dicte has a non-helpful ex-husband. Dicte also knows how to wear the heck out of a scarf in a way that I find very intriguing since whenever I try to do something similar it just ends up looking like a big giant rat’s nest of a mess. This show is slick and produced and very American style-wise, which is a trend I have noticed in Scandinavian shows now that I have watched quite a few of them and am totally fine with that. If the woman playing Dicte looks familiar to you then you have probably seen the movie High Fidelity, where Iben Hjejle played John Cusack’s girlfriend and where I now realize my obsession with listicles probably goes back to. Thank you Nick Hornby!

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Dicte moves back to her hometown with her teen-age daughter to start a new life but also to find out some things from her troubled past. Her parents were/are Jehovah’s Witnesses and disowned her once she left the fold which was news to me as I did not know the Witnesses did the shunning thing like the Amish and Church of Scientology do.#thingsyoulearnfromDanishtvshows

Peaky Blinders:  I have to be honest and say I did not binge watch this one until I heard Tom Swoon-worthy Hardy was in series two and then you can bet your sweet ass I blew through the last couple of episodes just so I could get there. Peaky Blinders were real gangsters in Britain in the time period right after WWI and got their name by carrying razor blades in the caps so they could blind their enemies or just slice them up like so many watermelon or apples when you play Fruit Ninja on your phone or at the Big Thrill Factory.

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This series reminds me a bit of the BBC America series Copper in that it is dark, not so much in subject matter but as in dark-dark, like the lack of proper lighting so everyone looks the same and I just wish someone would turn on some damn lights except then I remember how horrible the haircuts are and there’s the rub. Now I know Peaky Blinders is going for the realistic period look but a large part of the problem I had with this being wholly binge-worthy was the male hair-do’s which are in my non-professional opinion are MAJOR hair-don’ts. I mean like not ever. They were so distractingly awful I could not ever forget they were there, like the Babadook, they haunted this show.

Perhaps they are historically accurate although I have seen plenty of shows or movies taking place in roughly the same time period (Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises just to name a few) and no one looked as hideous as poor Iddo Goldberg (so cute in Secret Diary of a Call Girl) or the almost too pretty for a boy Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Batman Begins). Peaky Blinders is about a family of brothers who are gangsters who get messed up with the IRA (never a good idea) while trying to be legit bookmakers and along the way get mixed up with gypsies (the Irish traveler kind like in The Riches) and communists (the Emma Goldman kind like in The Americans) and there are lots of otherwise interesting things going on but you can just never escape the hair elephant in the room. In fact, the last time I saw hair that awful it was the 1980’s and it looked something like this:

I ran alright, away from such hideousness.

 

 

More questions I want the answers to

Where did Rene Zellweger’s old face go? Because apparently she lost it. Yes there is a lot of stuff going on in the world right now, Ebola, Isis (the terrorist group, not the cute lab from Downton Abbey), the mid-term elections and the unfathomable fact that Paul Rudd is still not my husband, yet the biggest media story a couple of weeks ago was the appearance of Renee Zellweger at a Hollywood event that put the media’s knickers in a twist. Honestly the more surprising story would have been about someone in Hollywood around her age NOT messing with their face because if you are a woman over thirty, let alone forty, you have pretty much entered the Mrs. Roper/Valerie Cherish* zone of only being cast as someone’s mother or a mentally challenged landlady with a stock phrase and a track suit.

Is this the new female Doctor?

Is this the new female Doctor?

There are lots of Hollywood stars who now look more like they could be related to someone famous rather than actually being that person. Getting older is hard enough for us plebes let alone famous people who are being scrutinized like never before thanks to the internet where everyone is a critic from the safety of their own couch, most likely located in their parent’s basement. Renee Zellweger, like Meg Ryan before her, has every right to do whatever she wants to do to her appearance, no matter what the consequences. What I do have a problem with however, was her response to the all the hullabaloo in which she credits her Doctor Who-like regeneration into practically another person down to being happier and healthier.

Umm, liar, liar pants on fire. Anyone equipped with two eyes and at least one of them working knows that something other than eating a bunch of kale and thinking happy thoughts was involved in her transformation. I have to admit I have a bit of a dog in this fight as Ms. Happy Healthy Face is one of the celebs random strangers in elevators or in airports seem to think I look like (the other being Ellen Pompeo from Grey’s Anatomy but we are not talking about her today). Whether or not looking like the actress formerly known as Squinty Zellweger can be taken as a compliment depends entirely upon if that person thinks she is cute so I am going to say yes, it WAS a compliment. One I probably won’t have to worry about anymore since I am apparently not that happy or healthy and still have her old face.

 

What is the name of the cat in Gone Girl? Obviously I did not read the book or I would know the answer to this very simple question. And I could probably Google it but where is the fun in that? So I am just going to assume it was a boy kitty, and it was a ginger so I am going to call him Little Ed Sheeran in honor of Taylor Swifty’s best friend. I mean come on, have you seen what Ed Sheeran looked like as a child? He was totally adorable.

So much ginger cuteness!

So much ginger cuteness!

Anyway, whatever that cat is called in real life he is a major star in the making. Every scene Little Ed was in he stole. Forget about the missing (spoilers!) Amazing Amy, or her lousy husband Nick Dunne, or Ben Affleck showing the world his baby maker (I missed it, not a good sign Ben) and Rosamund Pike’s precise bob she supposedly cut HERSELF while hiding out at Doogie Howser’s lake house. No, what kept me on the edge of my seat nervously eating my popcorn was worrying about the safety of that poor ginger kitty who had to live with those two psychos.

Put that adorable ginger man down right now!

Run away Little Ed, run!!!

 

Why is Target always out of half the crap I need? I grew up on Target, it’s practically in my DNA to shop there. As a kid my mom went every Saturday, it’s how my Barbie got to be so very well dressed and where I blew my weekly allowance. Target is also responsible for how I found out Santa (spoilers!) was not real. We had a cedar closet in the house I grew up in and one day I went there to look for something and found a Thingmaker**. Obviously I was not supposed to find it so I did my best to forget about it until Christmas when it was one of my presents allegedly from Santa yet it still had the Target price tag on it. Hmm, I was like, what the hell? My mom saw what a BIG mistake she had made and started backtracking and telling me some lame-ass story about how the elves sometimes got really busy so Santa had to get toys from Target to make up the difference. She was essentially telling me that Santa was outsourcing way before it became fashionable for car makers and every other manufacturer in the US to do so but I wasn’t buying it. If Santa was a lie, what else were they not telling me the truth about? I had seen my birth certificate so I knew I wasn’t adopted but what about the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, were none of them real?

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As an adult this tradition of going to Target weekly (at a minimum) has continued only now I spend all my allowance on paper goods (you can never have too much IMO), pet supplies (some dogs expect Pupperoni every time they go outside to pee), and cleaning supplies (some cats are furry bulimics that don’t even try to hide their disorder). So it is really galling to me that they seem to be out of basic items on a regular basis and the problem only seems to be getting worse. I don’t know if it is a secret plot to get us all to buy their brand of products but there are somethings you can’t swap Up & Up out for. 2014 was not a particularly good year for Target, so I will cut them a little slack, but they better step up their game for 2015 or our long-term relationship may be in big trouble.

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Why can’t you buy an actual book in a book store? Believe me, I have tried. I admit I was not looking for Gone Girl, or anything by Dan Brown (nope, not ever) but the last three books I have wanted to read were nowhere to be found at a brick and mortar store. The last one I tried to find was a recent release, it had been reviewed in all the usual places and yet it was as elusive finding shorts in Minnesota in July, which is impossible because of all the coats and sweaters everywhere. I tried again yesterday to find a YA novel for a teen in my family thinking she would like it and despite its high praise from the New York Times and being turned into a movie by Dreamworks next year, nada. And telling me you can order it for me is not helpful since I can do that all by myself thank you very much. It is almost like Bernard Black owns all the bookstores in town and we all know Bernard does not really want to sell anyone a book, ever.

 

How can anyone not vote?: As someone who has been politically active since age eight, I can’t quite understand the apathy people have towards voting. Every vote does count, and every election does matter no matter how many times the man (aka the 1%) try to tell you otherwise. Whether it is your local school board election or the next president, they all matter, as the recent situation in Jefferson County Colorado proves all too well. Leave it to one looney tunes character on the school board to pass a resolution that only history based on patriotism and the benefits of free-enterprise could be taught in an AP class and all hell breaks loose. Nothing like taking a college level class and skipping over all the messy-but-true bits in order to spend more time learning how great Walmart is.

Mid-term elections have notoriously low turn-out, and it is very easy for just about anyone to be turned off because of the barrage of negative ads we are subjected to for what seems like a year in advance. I can’t even watch my local news to find out the weather or if anyone has been murdered or sexually assaulted in my work neighborhood again without keeping the mute button on for half of it and I kind of need to know these things.

In college I was an exit poller for NBC News and I was an election judge until my early retirement a couple of years back. It actually hurts both my head and my heart to tell you how ill-informed the average Joe and Jane Q Public are about government and voting and how the whole process works. It’s like nobody paid attention in school and slept in late on Saturdays so they missed every episode of Schoolhouse Rock which explained it all to you in three minutes with a catchy tune to boot.

 

 

 * You have seen The Comeback right? the first season is available on Amazon Prime for no extra monies and the second season will air soon on HBO. Check it out, you won’t regret it

** Back in the 70s dangerous toys were all the rage. Thingmakers had metal plates that heated up to like a billion degrees; Clackers were two glass balls on a string that sometimes chipped shards of glass into people’s faces or eyes; Jarts, sharp metal lawn darts that were not only dangerous but lethal as well. Why even something as simple as a kid’s chemistry set back then could blow someone’s hand off and no I am not exaggerating as it happened to a kid in my neighborhood when I was ten. Of course I was at summer camp when it occurred but believe me I heard all the gory details when I came home and there were loads of them.

If you have fond memories of glass shards in your face or being impaled by a Jart, or perhaps even losing a limb to a child’s chemistry set, then you would probably enjoy this toy exhibit at the Minnesota History Center where you could relive all the pain and the glory as well as see some of the non-lethal but more boring toys like Pokey & Gumby and Cootie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stream the night away–in a posh hotel

Sometimes after a long, hard day of advertising (and they happen way more often than Melrose Place ever led me to believe), I just want to come home and watch something that requires no complicated thinking or thought processing whatsoever on my part. Mindless escapism with a sense of style is what I am looking for and luckily Netflix comes through for me with plenty of options every time. (A show like Mad Men, while entertaining to some, is just too close to reality for me despite it taking place in the 60’s, although no one has ever been run over by a lawnmower or killed themselves at any of the agencies I have worked at, even if they considered it for a quick minute.)

One of my dream jobs has always been to work at a super chic luxury hotel. The type of hotel that caters to heads of state from places with so many consonants in their names I can’t spell them let alone pronounce them properly and twenty-something internet billionaires. In order to do this I would definitely need to step up my sartorial game though as it has become far too lazy from working in the agency world forever where pretty much anything goes wardrobe-wise and my preference for over-priced casual wear has gotten out of hand. For this job I will need to dress exclusively in Prada (Chanel would be just too casual, sorry Karl!), rock a cat-eye like Kate Moss and get a much more professional hairdo, a super sleek blunt-cut bob so awesome even Anna Wintour herself would be jealous of it. Everyone else at the hotel will be simultaneously jealous and impressed by my ability to do the seemingly impossible such as finding discreet high-class escorts (male or female) at the drop of a hat, while securing tables at the hottest new restaurants and scoring tickets to those impossible to get sold-out Broadway shows. Did I mention I will need to relocate as well as get a new wardrobe and haircut for this job?

That bob will be mine, minus the bangs. I have spent a year growing those suckers out!

That bob will be mine, minus the bangs. I have spent a year growing those suckers out!

Hotel Babylon: actually this might even be an even better location than NYC for my fantasy job as this show is set in London, my favoritest city on Earth. Hotel Babylon is based on a book that I have never read by Imogen Edwards-Jones (hyphenated names = posh in the UK) and ran on the BBC for four seasons. For the first two seasons the hotel is run by a tough as nails career woman with a bad marriage (natch) named Rebecca Mitchell (Tamzin Outhwaite in real life, forever Melanie Owen from EastEnders* to me). The other various hotel employees all have their own personal baggage (pun intended) and include a stereotypical catty gay guy receptionist named Ben, another receptionist Anna Thornton-Wilton whose fake hyphenated name is as fake as her accent, Rebecca’s right hand man with a secret criminal past Charlie, and Tony the jaded but ever so efficient concierge. I am pretty sure Tony has my dream job, but not my dream outfit since he wears a uniform and that is a big fat NO in my book, unless it’s Prada, and even then I would have to think about it.

Why hello Mr.Nelson, come on in.

Why hello sir, come on in.

Hotel Babylon is like a modern, much more stylish version of The Love Boat, with new guests and new stories for each episode. Most of the guest stars I wouldn’t recognize if they came to my front door trying to get me to read the Watchtower. Sadly this happens kinda regularly with a Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses down the road. A congregation Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson himself is rumored to be a member of and while I might open the door for him I still would not read the Watchtower. Not ever. And while I might not know these guest stars faces their names are certainly familiar because I do read the Daily Mail every day (I know it’s bad but it’s fun bad) and I always think to myself, who ARE these people? And then there they are, in the Daily Mail! This show is trashy good fun (just like the Daily Mail) with a posh British accent (definitely NOT like the Daily Mail). Amazon Instant** since Netflix must have lost the rights to this one back in July when Outrageous Fortune disappeared and my life changed forever because of it.

Grand Hotel: lots of critics and regular people like to compare this to Downton Abbey but I think that is a a major diss because this series from Spain is way more fun. While there is the same sort of Upstairs/Downstairs vibe going on and it takes place in roughly the same time period, the romance between the rich girl whose family owns the hotel, Alicia Alarcon, and Julio Olmedo/Espinosa/Molins (he has a lot of aliases), the waiter, is the centerpiece of this series rather than a side note like the relationship between Downton’s Lady Sybil (poor dead Sybil) and Branson her chauffeur turned husband turned widower. Mama Alarcon and her evil henchman Don Diego will do ANYTHING to hold onto the Grand Hotel, they are kind of a lot like the Borgias in that way. Add in some craziness that would not be out-of-place on a daytime soap like a faked pregnancy (hello Beyoncé!), some baby swapping, illegitimate children crawling out of the woodwork, a serial killer and a bromance rivaling that of Joey and Chandler from Friends between Julio and fellow waiter Andreas, and this show kicks Downton’s proverbial British ass.

The Grand Hotel even has some real people show up as guests like Agatha Christie (who also shows up in an episode of Doctor Who, but that episode features giant bee people and is even too weird for me and I am a fan), as well as Harry Houdini who even performs one of his daring escapes. Interestingly enough, everyone who works or lives at this hotel seems to have above average hearing abilities, like whatever the ear equivalent of 20/20 eyesight is these people have it and thankfully they use their super human abilities at every opportunity in hallways and doorways all over the place or else we would never know what was going on.

After watching all 42 of the episodes available on Netflix I have now picked up some basic Spanish beyond counting to ten and writing no basura on my recycling box at work so the cleaning staff does not throw it away. All that valuable second language knowledge is going to go to waste real soon if Netflix does not get the remaining episodes like yesterday. Not to mention that season three ended with an explosive cliff hanger and I need to know what happened por favor!!

* Pretty much every actor in the UK has either been on Doctor Who or EastEnders or both. It must be some sort of a rite of passage like a spiral perm or a goth phase, not that I ever experienced either of those. Well, maybe just the one.

**good news people, apparently my Netflix search skills suck because guess what showed up as a recommend show for me, on Netflix? Why Hotel Babylon of course!

 

Jane Eyre the world’s most famous au pair

Jane Eyre teeJane Eyre is without a doubt one of my all-time favorite novels. I loved the book so much I even bought the shirt.

I am not sure why I identified with Jane Eyre as much as I did as a child since I did not go to boarding school, I wasn’t an orphan and did not have a very mean aunt or awful cousins. Yet somehow I figured out that if I had lived back in the Bronte era I was fairly certain I would have been a governess and probably would have been as easy mark for an older dude in breeches with an estate and a crazy wife locked up in an attic.

Because of this deep affection for all things Jane Eyre, not to mention other similar gothic-style novels (some even written by other Brontes), I have pretty much seen every adaptation of this creepy classic. Key word is pretty much. The book was first filmed in 1934 and the resulting film was so bad it took another (almost) ten years to give the story the cast and the crew it needed to make something memorable.

Jane Eyre 1943: this version has an all-star cast, Orson Welles as Mr. Rochester back when Welles was still kind of hot and years before he ballooned up and became the Gallo wine spokesperson of my childhood. “We will sell no wine before its time” or something like that was the slogan. Joan Fontaine, who many thought was far too pretty to play plain Jane but nonetheless pulled it off. A very young, very lovely Elizabeth Taylor as Jane’s sweet-but-doomed Lowood school friend Helen Burns, and Agnes Moorehead, who went on to play Endora the worst mother-in-law a guy in advertising could ever hope for on Bewitched. Black and white in all its glory, this one crops up on TCM and PBS occasionally and is totally worth a look.

Jane Eyre 1983: this was a BBC mini series which means it probably aired on PBS back in the day and I probably saw it but I totally don’t remember it. Since I remember most things I have ever seen on Masterpiece Theater but not this I am going to say it was not very good and not worth looking for, although if you were to look for it you could find it on Amazon Instant. It starred Timothy Dalton before he became James Bond for a bit and well after he became the president of Gallifrey (home planet of the one and only Doctor Who).

Jane Eyre 1996: Meh. William Hurt gets to be Mr. Rochester for this nineties version and that is not a Martha Stewart good thing. His leading man career was in a downward spiral and this film didn’t help. Charlotte Gainsbourg seemed like she would be a good Jane but I don’t think she was and the whole thing was such a bore by the time the crazy wife set fire to the place I didn’t much care about them or Thornfield Hall or even sweet Adele.

Jane Eyre 2006: This is my favorite adaptation so not only do I remember seeing it on Masterpiece Theater but I have loved it ever since. Ruth Wilson (that would be the one, the only, Ms. Alice Morgan from Luther) nails it as Jane, and while she is certainly cuter than we are supposed to imagine our heroine to be,  I think Wilson has a quirky enough look and acting demeanor to pull it off. Toby Stephens plays Mr. Rochester in this version which is a bit steamier and sexier than the others. Works for me. Fun fact: Toby Stephens, is none other than the Dowager Countess (of Downton Abbey) herself Maggie Smith’s son. 

Jane Eyre 2011: the most recent, but am sure not last, filmed version stars Michael Fassbender as the misunderstood Mr. Rochester and Mia Wasikowska as Miss Jane. I waffle back and forth about Fassy, is he attractive? Is he kinda scary? Both of which I guess are a perfect fit for a character as prickly as Mr. Rochester. Wasikowska is probably the closest in age to the character of Jane Eyre and that in itself might have been what made me stop from completely liking this as much as I should have. It is beautifully shot and it has Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax. Judi Dench is like the acting equivalent of the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. But Mia just seemed so much younger than Fassy that I kept waiting for Chris Hansen from Dateline’s To Catch a Predator series to show up. And that was before I had seen Shame.   

Jane Eyre has also been a play (which I have seen, Guthrie Theater) and a musical (allegedly on Broadway, but didn’t last long)  and if they turned it into an amusement park I would book a trip there tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

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More Netflix streaming goodies, and I checked, they are still there*

Luther: Oh Idris Elba, I first fell for you in a big way when you were that nasty but so very attractive drug-dealing bastard Stringer Bell on The Wire. Then you played a kinda shady world weary detective named John Luther with your REAL British accent and I was like putty in your hands. This show could have been awful and I would not have cared but it’s actually really good and Idris is really pretty. I don’t care for the actress who plays his wife, she was not nice on Torchwood and no one messes with Captain Jack Harness and gets away with it in my book. Series one focuses on Alice Morgan, who not only killed her parents but the family dog as well. (really, Alice, really?) She later develops a massive crush on John Luther which plays out into series three. Alice kind of makes the Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction seem meek and unassuming. I love her. (more…)