Welcome to week two of my weekly tv guide! There will be some repeats from last week because I’m still watching some of the same shows, but I’ve added a few new ones to my rotation as well as a couple of movies.
Downton Abbey: A New Era (Prime): I was so excited when I saw this movie was now free on Prime. I had every intention of watching it in two installments, since lately I have trouble focusing on anything longer than an hour. But I was sucked in immediately and before I knew it, an hour had passed, and I didn’t want to stop. This movie takes place in two settings. When Violet, the Dowager Countess is left a villa in the South of France by a gentlemen from her past for “mysterious” reasons, she leaves it to her late granddaughter Sybil’s daughter Sybbie. Branson and his new wife Lily, along with Lily’s mother, Robert and Cora, Edith and her husband, and Mr. Carson go to check it out while the rest of the family and downstairs staff stay at Downton to oversee a movie being filmed on the premises! I missed these characters so much and absolutely loved this movie. It was nice to see Mary and Edith getting along. I’m a sucker for sibling stories as I’m one of three sisters myself. Mary has matured a lot and despite attention from the very good looking and charming movie producer, she remained loyal to her husband Henry, who I hoped would make an appearance because I crush hard on Matthew Goode. Why is he too busy to do these movies??? There were definitely some sad moments, particularly regarding Violet and a health scare for Cora, but this was generally an upbeat movie. I was thrilled to see HEAs for Barrow, Mr. Moseley and Ms. Baxter, and Mrs. Patmore especially. Given the way it ended, I do not have high hopes for another movie, but one can hope!
Animal Kingdom (Prime): I’m a few episodes into the final season. This show is hard to watch because the brothers are so messed up emotionally, yet I can’t help myself. Although I miss Ellen Barkin as Smurf, seeing the character portrayed as a young mother is difficult, especially the way she treats her daughter Julia and basically drives her to addiction. I’m determined to see this through to the end, but it might take me a while.
Extraordinary Attorney Woo (Netflix): I’m a huge fan of k-dramas and have many recommendations to share if anyone is interested. This one is about an autistic attorney who works in Korean Big Law. Each episode focuses on a different case and of course, there is a romance. Attorney Woo is absolutely adorable and charming and the slow-burn romance with a paralegal at the firm is delightful. It’s sad to watch how others treat her, but also heartwarming to see how quickly everyone warms to her. The episodes are all over an hour and I split them in half because I can only handle thirty minutes of sub-titles before I get a headache.
The Umbrella Academy (Netflix): I’m several episodes into the third season now. I’m not sure I love the twist with the Sparrow Academy, but I like the way Klaus is bonding with his father, who probably regrets his decision to go back in time and adopt different children given the way they bully (and drug) him. Oops I just watched another episode and Klaus was accidentally shot with an arrow by Diego’s son!
The White Lotus (HBO Max): I’m officially hooked! I am one episode behind what’s now available. I’m dying to know who’s going to die! I’m particularly intrigued by the Harper/Ethan/Daphne/Cameron storyline. Watching Valentina flirt with Isabella is cringe, but I also feel bad for her. I don’t quite trust Quentin and wonder what his angle is with Tanya.
Manifest (Netflix): I finished the first half of the final season. I loved it! Angelina is like the Phoenix. Will she ever die?! And I’m so sad about Zeke. I assume his heroic death will pave the way for an eventual reunion between Michaela and Jared. Now I have to wait until next year to watch the final episodes. Boo!
The Sex Lives of College Girls (HBO Max): Still loving this delightful show! I even used it as a pop culture reference for my WIP. I hope it’s still around when the book comes out in 2024!!
Fleishman is in Trouble (Hulu): This is definitely my favorite show right now. It’s absolutely riveting. Jesse Eisenberg is amazing. Yay for Jewish representation! Is the book as good? Better? If you read it and recommend, let me know!
Dead to Me (Netflix): I’ll admit that I’m having trouble watching this season due to the cancer twist. It might take me a while to get through it.
Love Actually Diane Sawyer Reunion (Hulu): This was so fun! It made me cry. My only complaint was the absence of Colin Firth and very little attention paid to his story with the Portuguese woman (“just in cases”) because it was my favorite. But Hugh Grant is a pisser. So funny! I loved seeing all the TikTok dances inspired by this movie. Diane Sawyer looks amazing. I was also happy they mentioned the lack of diversity and that Richard Curtis expressed remorse about it.
The Noel Diary (Netflix): I thought the first three quarters of this was amazing! I enjoyed watching the mystery of Rachel’s mother unfold. I also loved that Jacob was an author. The chemistry between Jacob and Rachel was on fire. (Justin Hartley is hot! I also watch Selling Sunset and want to believe there is more to the story than what Chrishell tells about him ending their marriage so coldly.) Back to the movie: It was heartwarming and sad at times. At first, I felt like Jacob forgave his father too quickly, but after seeing his side of the story and proof of the letters he sent his son, I was happy with the fast reconciliation. I didn’t like that Jacob made Rachel stay in the car the entire time he talked to his father. It was the middle of winter! She could have frozen to death, but I let it go. I thought it was funny that Jacob joked at the first hotel that if this were a romcom, there’d only be one room left. And then at the second hotel, there was only one room left!
In my opinion, the movie fell apart a bit at the end. The resolution was thrown together and a bit anticlimactic. I had issues with Rachel’s treatment of both Jacob and her fiancée. First, she cheated emotionally and then physically, and she never really expressed much remorse for either. And then she tells Jacob she doesn’t love him only to show up at his house with a smile as if nothing happened. I gotta say, the rushed ending ruined it for me a bit.
Firefly Lane (Netflix): I’ve only watched the first episode of the second season. This show is so riveting. I already hate Charlotte. I really hope she doesn’t end up with Johnnie! But for all I know (after watching just one episode), he died in the car crash…
A Fabled Holiday (Hallmark): This movie did not follow the predictable Hallmark movie formula and I loved that about it! There was a speculative twist in this friends-to-lovers romance where the characters are actually living in a fictional town from a children’s book they all read as kids. I’m a big fan of both Brooke D’Orsey and Ryan Paevey. She played a struggling author who owned a book shop which, of course, I loved. I might actually watch this one again.
That’s all for this week. Comment below if you watch any of these shows too!