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December 22, 2021

More Top Picks From Me And Mom

Our first list has 25 shows and here's another couple hundred hours of television we've curated for you.

My commitment to finding something homegrown to watch uncovered a real beauty. So, just in time for your Holiday binge-watching, here’s an updated list of (now 42) recommended (and not recommended) TV series to stream from me and my Mom.

It seems to me that, despite the pandemic, TV and streaming television production has been in high gear. Perhaps that’s because, based on how much we’ve been consuming, I’m surprised we haven’t run out of worthy ideas that suit our mutual taste in scripted drama.

There have been very few days in the past 21 months that we haven’t watched a show online together.

With the popularity of streaming services, content options this coming year will only be limited by your budget. Emerging FAST TV channels (Free Ad-supported Streaming Television) will further increase your viewing options, without any additional financial burden.

I have noticed that my Mom and I still watch only a small percentage of Canadian shows. As a Canadian content creator, I feel guilty about this; and victimized. I believe the platform algorithms of international services (even if they’re provided by Canadian telecommunications companies) don’t support the discoverability of Canadian content.

This result is not exclusively due to a diabolical plan by foreign content producers, but is also a by-product of a lack of promotional budgets awarded to Canadian production companies by Canadian broadcasters and Canadian funding models.

That’s why I’ve been pleased to see some decent hype behind upcoming releases of Canadian comedy shows such as “Son Of A Critch” (Project 10 Productions) and “Run the Burbs” (Pier 21 Films).

Even when watching on CBC Gem, there are plenty of international productions that get top billing. I had been using CBC Gem as a FAST channel, but the user-interface is poorly developed and so annoying I upgraded to the premium service. Nonetheless, making the effort on my own to discover something awesome and Canadian did lead us to CBC Gem and our top fave in this latest bundle of shows that we’ve watched since May 2021.

The ordered rankings below are based on a combination of reactions to the shows from me and my Mom.

Our Legend for the List: Muah, Yah, Meh, Nah

17. The Great S2 (Nah)

While we both enjoyed the first season, we didn’t even finish this follow-up. Its campiness became too contrived for me, and the budget must have been gruesomely severed like the many heads.

16. Lupin S2 (Nah)

We had the same reaction to S2 of Lupin. It was remarkably unbelievable, and I had felt mildly so about the first season. But, unlike The Great, we at least finished it.

15. D.P. (Meh)

I enjoyed this sometimes silly, often poignant drama. I would have put it higher on the list, but Mom was Meh about her viewing experience.

14. Maid (Meh)

We had a flipped reaction to this series, which I expected to really like. I didn’t finish it, but Mom said it ended well. The writing and acting were too uneven early on for me. But, I trust Mom, so it gets the nod.

13. Billions (Meh)

Mom didn’t like this one as much as I did. Unfortunately, the worst scenes were typically the episode finale scenes featuring the two male leads (both of whom I really enjoy). For some reason, their two-handers were overacted, unlike most of the rest of their work.

12. Endeavour (Yah)

Not the grittiest British crime drama, but definitely worth a look. A well-cast prequel to Morse and not always predictable. 

11. The Investigation (Yah)

We’ve only just started this one, but I expect it to not disappoint. I hadn’t realized when I picked it that it was based on the true story about the journalist murdered in a homemade submarine in 2017, (that shouldn't be a spoiler, btw).

10. Call My Agent (Yah)

We keep going back to this series when we’re stumped on what to watch next. It’s still fun and a great change of pace from our usually dark selections.

9. Top of the Lake (Yah)

I easily forgave Elisabeth Moss’ bad Australian accent because her acting was, otherwise, exquisite. The storyline was iffy, and the other acting wasn’t as magnificent. But, Jane Campion’s directing is very unusual, in a good way.

8. The Wire (Yah)

Another fall-back series when we can’t figure out the next series to jump into. I don’t agree universally that it’s aged as well as many fans seem to think it has. But, can’t go wrong with it really.

7. C.B. Strike (Yah)

It stays on the list even though I just discovered it was based on the novels written by J.K. Rowling under her pseudonym. It would have been challenging for me to enjoy it knowing its creator is doubling down on their anti-trans sentiments.

6. Search Party (Muah)

This was a really fun discovery. Mom and I rarely pick comedy, but we both enjoyed this and I even laughed out loud! We’ll definitely head back for another season.

5. Station Eleven (Muah)

We’ve just started this and I’m already screaming in my head, “finally, a show that has me wondering WTF is going on!”. I find this reaction to TV and movies rare, even if I really like the work. Mom often finds our shows confusing to follow and has already required several debriefs after the first few episodes. But, she likes it and it’s worth it.

4. Reservation Dogs (Muah)

We both really loved this series. I was disappointed to learn, after the fact, that there is some backlash to the show from within BIPOC communities. I’m not yet sure what direction to take on it, and will keep reading about it to better understand. I hope there’s a resolution, as S2 is in pre-production.

3. Succession S3 (Muah)

I don’t mind repeating that I initially didn’t like this series, but we stuck it out in our original viewing. So, when S3 was dropped (my Mom likes to use that term) I was worried it would deteriorate in quality. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, in my opinion, S3 was the best of them.

2. Squid Game (Muah)

This was ridiculous, well-crafted, high-intensity violent viewing that I looked forward to every evening. I’m begging S2 to build on that.

1. Sort Of (Muah)

This is homegrown Canadian content that makes me proud, even though I had nothing to do with it. It works on all levels: the writing is next level; the balance between funny and poignant is masterfully attained; the sensibilities are unique and, at the same time, accessible; and in addition to Bilal Baig being a stellar lead and series creator, I have rarely seen a series so well-cast across the board. A thing of beauty.

For the other 25 shows we reviewed for you last Spring, you can read about them and our other top fave HERE.

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