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May 10, 2021

Top Picks From Me And Mom

My Mom and I spent a year curating hundreds of hours of television to create this list of recommendations for you.

If you don’t agree with my top picks, take it up with my Mom.

We spent more than a year curating this list for you of the most essentialTV series to stream, or not to be in a hurry to stream.

Since she lives alone, from the start of the pandemic we decided to watch a show every day. We’ll continue to do so, with the only days we miss being the rare occasions that our schedules are too jammed, or we’re “seeing” each other for other reasons. Like on Mother’s Day.

More than twenty-four different series have solidified the surprisingly similar taste we have in television. (FWIW: there are many exceptional shows that we didn’t watch together, usually because one of us had already seen them).

Despite the predominantly sinister, tragic and heavy themes to our choices, our daily trip to “the theatre” has been, for me, about what exceptional TV can do to inspire and enrich the connection you have with the people you love.  

TV brings us together, makes us wonder, laugh and cry, and sometimes requires that we explain teasers, flashbacks, split-screen bumpers and other television mechanisms to our 82 yro viewing companions, who are also reading closed captioning and sometimes have difficulty following along.

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

Rankings are based on a combination of reactions to the shows from me and my Mom.

24. The Flight Attendant

Amped up production values and splashy editing. Nah.

23. Behind Her Eyes

Stunning set design; chilling mystery to start. Nah.

22. Bosch

Cop show. Didn’t finish all seasons. Meh.

21. Who Is America?

I’m not a fan of pranks or making fun of people. I had to be in the right mindset to even give it a shot. Mom is not on board with finishing. Too relevant to entirely miss. Yah. 

20. Rake

I’m still uncertain if the main character is a satire, or just a stale Aussie male archetype. It’s fun for a while. Didn’t finish all seasons. Meh.

19. Mare of Easttown

To be fair, we’re only three episodes in. It’s good enough for a look, but not worthy of the hype. Meh.

18. The Sopranos

Both Mom and I resisted this show for all of these years because of what we each feel is the romanticization of life in the mafia. No doubt- it’s exceptionally well-written and performed. We get it- it was a critical juncture in the history of scripted TV. Didn’t finish all seasons. Yah.

17. Enlightened

We both enjoyed this as a change of pace. It was aspirational and cute. Finished all seasons. Yah.

16. Lupin

This was entertaining. Too far-fetched for me to completely commit. Yah.

15. Call My Agent

The acting made the farcical scripts work. I loved how they weaved real celebrities into the narratives. Didn’t finish all seasons, yet. Yah.

14. The Plot Against America

Well-crafted, intense and thought-provoking. Yah.

13. Unorthodox

Incredible acting and powerful story. Yah. 

12. Wormwood

The only docudrama in our repertoire. Compelling story, extremely well-directed. Yah.

11. Succession

I started this on my own and stopped because I was really annoyed by the characters. But, we gave it a closer look together and it was worth it. Yah.

10. Detectorists

Subtle, sweet, funny and loveable British treasure. Good find. Finished all seasons. Yah. 

09. Schitt’s Creek

Another one of the few comedies we chose, (remember- our tastes are dark and sinister). Canada proud, eh! Didn’t finish all seasons, yet. Yah.

08. The Great

Took us both a couple of episodes to commit. An outstanding visual achievement with some uneven acting/directing. Yah.

07. Treme

We started this series, left, and returned to finish all seasons. The uneven acting was entirely forgivable because of the legendary artists featured. The dedication to the music was impressive, unless you don’t like Jazz. Yah.

06. Angels In America

I was blown away with how they made a stage play work in this fashion on TV. Devastating and powerful stories and truths. I wept on numerous occasions. Muah.

05. It’s a Sin

We didn’t watch this series back-to-back with #6, (I don’t recommend you do either). It was another heart-wrenching narrative on one of the most compelling social, political and health issues of our lives. More uncontrollable weeping. Muah.

04. Ozark

We both just really enjoyed this. It was the first series we finished together during the pandemic. So, I do wonder if I would feel the same now, after having watched so much other outstanding TV since then. Muah.

03. Cardinal

I made my Mom watch this because it’s Canadian. I had no idea what to expect. The lead acting and the production values elevated this to a must-watch in my books. Muah.

02. Mindhunter

My Mom talks about this series more than most of the others. There wasn’t a day I didn’t look forward to the next episode. Muah.

01. I May Destroy You

I didn’t know until after finishing the series that Michaela Coel was given full creative license on producing this masterpiece. This may be why it is some of the best television I’ve ever watched. Muah.

It’s going to be at least (a few more months? Ugh) before pandemic restrictions are lifted. If you have any suggestions for series for us to watch, I’d love to hear from you.

My Mom keeps telling me how much it has meant to her that I’ve made time every day to “go to the theatre” with her. Truth is, it’s been one of my cherished silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADDENDUM: (New series added)

19.B Years and Years

We forgot about this one initially, so that has to be taken into account in its overall ranking. But, it was actually a well-crafted narrative on contemporary issues, with solid acting. Yah.

(PHOTO CREDITS: 1980s and not so long ago)

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