Has this ever happened to you? You’re scanning through the TV channels with your remote when you come to a one-hour something called “Duplicity.”
By Mitch Silver
“I like to watch.”
— Chauncey Gardiner, “Being There” by Jerzy Kosinski
Has this ever happened to you? You’re scanning through the TV channels with your remote when you come to a one-hour something called “Duplicity.” Or maybe “Deception.” And you go, “Hmm, I wonder what this is?”
If you’re like me, you press the Info button on your remote and this is what it says: “Travis has to tell Liza about Ned and the big screw-up. Jeannie runs away, but comes back for the party.” And you ask yourself, “Who the hell are Travis, Liza, Ned, and Jeannie? And what party?”
And you realize you’re so far behind the eight ball with whatever show this is that you can never catch up. So you move on to “Property Brothers” or worse, “Dancing With the Stars.”
Well, here’s the thing. I’ve done the research, and found out who Travis and Liza are. Or, anyway, who Walter White is. Was. And I’m going to share that knowledge with you. So the next time Kevin Spacey or Glenn Close goes up to collect that Emmy or Golden Globe, you’ll know what he or she is collecting it for. Because you’ve seen it and, even better, enjoyed it.
Maybe you’re tech-savvy, and you know what Hulu and Roku and Chromecast are. Or else maybe you have a granddaughter who can explain them to you. I won’t; Ken Auletta already has done that in the February 3rd New Yorker. Rather, I’d like to recommend some shows to watch, and where you can find them, on and off the beaten path.
The good thing is, the Winter Olympics has to end sometime. And when it does, a lot of your favorites will be back on. Like “The Voice,” which begins Season Six (with Shakira and Usher once again replacing Christina and CeeLo) on Monday nights on NBC. But you can find that on your own.
Have you watched “The Americans?” It stars Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings, a Washington D.C.-area homemaker who also happens to be a Russian sleeper agent. Oh, did I forget to mention the show is a period drama set right after Ronald Reagan is elected President? She’s “married,” for all outward purposes, to Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) and they do cool, Russian-mole-type stuff while their neighbor Stan, the FBI agent, unknowingly works to ferret them out. Its new season debuts Wednesday, February 26 at 10 on the FX cable channel. You can go back and binge-watch Season One on iTunes, or else on DVD.
“House of Cards,” the Kevin Spacey show also set in Washington, is exclusive to Netflix. A subscription costs $7.99 a month with the first month free, and you need broadband Internet to stream it. Its logline is, “Behind every great man is a woman with blood on her hands.” Of course, you can always watch the 1990 British version on DVD, starring Ian Richardson as “the sharp-edged Francis Urquhart, a petty politician, who schemes and backstabs his way to the top of his party.”
HBO has a terrific new entry Sunday nights at 10 that The Atlantic calls “the best show on TV.” It’s “True Detective,” and it stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as Rustin Cohle and Marty Hart, two Louisiana cops with baggage. Make that BAGGAGE. It’s on HBO (subscription required) and other platforms (ask your granddaughter what that means) on HBO GO.
What’s that you ask? Doesn’t Amazon have a streaming video service? Yes it does. Amazon Instant Video is free to customers of Amazon Prime (which isn’t free: a year costs $79, though you get free two-day shipping on merchandise). Garry Trudeau, the creator of Doonesbury, has the Amazon Original Series “Alpha House,” another Washington show (this time, thankfully, a comedy) starring John Goodman. You can watch the original three episodes for free. After that, you have to fork over the cash.
Been hoping to see more “Homeland” on Showtime? Sorry, but they’re still shooting Season 4. But if you go to your cable’s On Demand Channel, you can gorge on Seasons 1-3.
“Foyle’s War”, “Low Winter Sun”, “Broadchurch?” There’s always more to watch, whether it’s on PBS, AMC, or BBC America.