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Binging

I've been working so much of late that I have fallen way behind in my reading (sob) and my filmgoing (the only movie I've managed to catch in the last month was WONDER WOMAN, and it wasn't even playing at my own theatre), but there's usually time for an hour or two of television at night.

FARGO and BETTER CALL SAUL both had excellent seasons, as usual, but ended way too soon. This year's Emmy nominations will be announced next week, and I'd be surprised if both of those shows were not well represented.

After those two favorites wound up, however, Parris and I found ourselves wandering in the wilds of Netflix and Amazon and Hulu in search of more great drama... and stumbling on two other series that are, alas, unlikely to get much Emmy attention, though they both deserve some.

The second season of THE LAST KINGDOM, based on Bernard Cornwell's Saxon series, was just as good as the first. The show could benefit from a bigger budget, honestly, but for all the Uhtred fans out there (and I count myself as one), this is a pretty faithful adaptation of the books, and the writing and acting are fine. I hope there will be a season three.

The other show we stumbled on was GOOD GIRLS REVOLT, which dramatizes the struggle of the women at NEWSWEEK... er, "NEWS OF THE WEEK"... fighting for the chance to be reporters instead of simply researchers in 1969. I thought it was excellent. The actresses in the leading roles were all terrific, and the male characters were pretty nuanced as well; the show portrayed the sexism of the times, and the indignities the women were forced to put up with, without falling into the trap of painting all the men as monsters and assholes. Good writing and good acting, and hey, I loved the music and the clothes as well (what can I say? I'm the guy who wrote THE ARMAGEDDON RAG). Aside from its feminist themes, which were front and center, GOOD GIRLS REVOLT also struck me as the best show about journalism since LOU GRANT. And I like shows about journalism. Wish there were more of them. It's a pity GOOD GIRLS REVOLT won't be back. It was just getting started, and then it was over. Guess I'll just need to read the book.

Anyway, if you're looking for something good to binge on until season 7 of GAME OF THRONES hits the tube, check out those two.

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( 82 comments )
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Tanmay Kulkarni
Jul. 8th, 2017 05:56 pm (UTC)
Hi George,

Did you hear that Netflix is creating a show on The Witcher fantasy series by Polish writer Andrejz Sapkowski ( I hope I didn't butcher his name)?

Have you read the Witcher books? Probably not I guess, as I haven't heard you mention them so far. The books are really good, and The Witcher is an extremely popular video game franchise too.

What do you think about it?

Edited at 2017-07-08 05:58 pm (UTC)
grrm
Jul. 8th, 2017 08:08 pm (UTC)
I've read one Witcher book, and enjoyed it quite a lot.

I should probably read more, but... so many books, so little time...
Witcher - One Read - starkdad - Jul. 10th, 2017 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spankingfemme - Jul. 8th, 2017 09:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cat_o_love - Jul. 9th, 2017 10:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - charley_ryan - Jul. 10th, 2017 01:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Black Sails - starkdad - Jul. 10th, 2017 09:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Anubhav Tripathi
Jul. 8th, 2017 06:05 pm (UTC)
You haven't been watching american gods?
grrm
Jul. 8th, 2017 08:08 pm (UTC)
Of course. AMERICAN GODS is great. Only eight episodes, though... I wanted more...
(no subject) - Arlo Banta - Jul. 9th, 2017 02:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - patsthlm - Jul. 9th, 2017 10:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aarondayne - Jul. 10th, 2017 09:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Alan Dants
Jul. 8th, 2017 06:14 pm (UTC)
Destiny is all
I have really enjoyed The Last Kingdom, and I am glad you have as well George! I look forward to reading the books very soon as well. I'm sad it got canceled, but Marco Polo on Netflix is excellent too. The acting in Better Call Saul is just top-notch all the way around, and it was nice to see things coming together at the end- I suspect there will be one more season and that's it?
Matteo Barbagallo
Jul. 8th, 2017 06:52 pm (UTC)
Something more
Hi George,

Have you had a look at American Gods? I have to say the adaptation it's as great as the novel itself. Plus, talking about the new season of Game of Thrones, I hope you have read my email about the upcoming "academic" announcement that we will make soon.

Edited at 2017-07-08 07:53 pm (UTC)
spankingfemme
Jul. 8th, 2017 07:19 pm (UTC)
Did you ever get a chance to check out Westworld or the Leftovers? Leftovers just finished and was an interesting look at the perceptions of religion and faith and the context of faith that I found interesting. Westworld I found personally better with the concept of attaining sentience and what point are you considered to be human. I'm huge into psychological delves though.

I haven't seen any of the shows you named! (I only watch a show or two a week though, so I have to be picky... I still have shows from LAST April on my DVR! LOL! ;) That said, I adored the movie Fargo, and plan to catch up on the show at some point on DVD. Have you seen previews for Knightfall on History channel? That's a show I want to check out. I loved Vikings, so hoping the same quality comes through.

One more week until more Thrones! Yay! *does a jig!* =D
grrm
Jul. 8th, 2017 08:09 pm (UTC)
Love WESTWORLD. I've posted about it before.
Stranger Things? - Matteo Barbagallo - Jul. 8th, 2017 08:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spankingfemme - Jul. 8th, 2017 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
jaemi_z_h
Jul. 8th, 2017 07:22 pm (UTC)
newsroom
What did you think to Newsroom? I started off liking it but then it kind of turned into Dawson's Creek; nobody talks like that! Also if you've got time check out Chance on HULU,a psychological thriller with Hugh Laurie playing a psychiatrist who gets drawn into a bunch of shady drama by a patient who coincidentally happens to be attractive... we've all done it! Well, I have....
sdschaffer
Jul. 9th, 2017 03:46 pm (UTC)
Re: newsroom
THE NEWSROOM was Aaron Sorkin at his worst, alas. All his worst tendencies crammed into two seasons of unconvincing dialogue and characterization.
Joe Jenisch
Jul. 8th, 2017 08:30 pm (UTC)
Twin Peaks season 3 is great.
livejournal
Jul. 8th, 2017 09:38 pm (UTC)
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Patrick Cornelius
Jul. 8th, 2017 09:38 pm (UTC)
Leftovers
Hi George! Did you watch the Leftovers? I found it incredibly deep and rewarding character-driven storytelling. The sic-fi premise was almost irrelevant, as it was a classic example of "the human heart in conflict with itself." Reminded me of the main reason I love your books as well. I know you're an HBO guy, so obviously aware of it, but in case you haven't binged it, I highly recommend it for phenomenal writing, acting, etc.
werthead
Jul. 8th, 2017 10:05 pm (UTC)
Back in the 1990s we had a sitcom in the UK set in a newsroom called DROP THE DEAD DONKEY. They decided to make it ultra-topical, so they wrote a rough outline at the start of the week, wrote the final script on Thursday night and recorded it on Friday to air on Monday. So we had a scripted (and often very funny) comedy series airing every week which was talking about stories that were still brand new.

The writers were insane and I'm not sure anyone would be brave enough to try that now (and even being 4 days behind the news might feel too old these days). But it worked really well at the time.
milkforfree
Jul. 8th, 2017 10:30 pm (UTC)
You don't seem to have expressed an opinion on Rick and Morty, so let me hazard that recommendation. Wonderfully funny, and it features some of the smartest moments of any show I can recall.
andaman23
Jul. 8th, 2017 11:10 pm (UTC)
Gomorrah
I cannot recommend enough the Italian series GOMORRAH, based of the movie and novel of the same name, and of course, organized crime group in Napoli. The show is entering it's third season this fall, but the first two are some of the best episodes on TV since SOPRANOS. Writing, acting, direction, cinematography is all top notch.

On a side note, I was watching REBECCA the other day and started to imagine Laurence Olivia in a role in ASOIAF, and got me thinking, in some AU, where you could have any actor from say 1930-1980 in any stage of their career in an adaptation of the series, who would be your dream cast? And directors? Imagine what Ford would've done with the Battle of Blackwater Bay, or Catharine Denevue as Margaery Tyrell. There are many a great possibility in there, would be amazing to hear your thoughts!
grrm
Jul. 9th, 2017 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Gomorrah
we have been TIVOing GOMORRAH, but haven't gotten around to watching it yet.
RE: Re: Gomorrah - Christopher Morris - Jul. 11th, 2017 05:03 am (UTC) - Expand
David Levin
Jul. 8th, 2017 11:20 pm (UTC)
Another good show to check out is I'm Dying up Here on Showtime. It's about early 1970s aspiring comics. Very well done time piece. And hilarious as you get to know the characters. Kind of makes you miss the simpler time before the internet and cell phones.
Curtis A. DeBaun IV
Jul. 9th, 2017 12:12 am (UTC)
Too many shows....too little time. My wife and I are finishing up our annual Game of Thrones binge before the new season. After finishing that, I will be looking for something new to watch. I started Vikings, it looks promising. One I recently really got into was AMC's Into The Badlands. The last season of House of Cards was good as well. I have a feeling after watching CNN'S episode of the 90's tomorrow (focusing on television of the 90's), I will probably have an itch to go back and re-watch some of my favorite 90's shows.
Travis Snodgrass
Jul. 10th, 2017 01:11 pm (UTC)
Hey...
I know you.
blewandowski
Jul. 9th, 2017 01:04 am (UTC)
Sci Fi Shows
Hi George, this is my first time using livejournal. I have read some of your older posts about your thoughts about Star Trek and I was wondering if you are going to watch the upcoming series Star Trek Discovery on CBS? Right now I am binging the 2004 Battlestar Galactica for my sci-fi fix.
insurrbution
Jul. 9th, 2017 01:33 am (UTC)
Some Suggestions
Hey there George, I've some recommendations for ya.

- Vikings, History Channel
- The Man in High Castle, Amazon
- Longmire, Netflix
- Hell on Wheels, AMC [finished]
- Turn, AMC [final season airing]
- House of Cards, Netflix
- The Crown, Netflix

And for books.....

- Are you a fan of King Arthur? I know we discussed Cornwell's Warlord Trilogy a few year's back. You also can't go wrong with Le Morte d'Arthur, as well as Howard Pyle's "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" (there are some cheesy covers out there). Finally, there is also "A Brief History of King Arthur" by Mike Ashley

- some of Ken Follett's books, especially Pillars of the Earth and its sequel, World Without end. A third one is coming later this year.

- Foundation Trilogy by Asimov

- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

- The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan [Book 1 is called a Theft of Swords]
ADragonDemands
Jul. 9th, 2017 02:04 am (UTC)
Not fond of Uhtred
I watch Last Kingdom but frankly I'm not fond of Uhtred. It's like someone made a TV series about Robert Baratheon...including all the stubborn, cheating on his wife parts. He's a good soldier but he does some downright unpleasant things. I'm kind of rooting for the king, who is allegedly the more "annoying" character, because at least he believes in England as a concept.

In speculative moments I vaguely think of this series when wondering what stories from TWOIAF set in the pre-Targaryen era would be like - back when there really were "Seven Kingdoms" and they act independently.
demonicnuisance
Jul. 9th, 2017 02:22 am (UTC)
Love Uhtred son of Uhtred...... another good show on Netflix is 13 reasons it really hits the nail on the head in regards to the bullying issue also based on a book. I have 4 kids so it's an important issue to me.
anons991
Jul. 9th, 2017 04:56 am (UTC)
Hello, Mr. Martin!
Just curious, did you ever watch drama Black Sails? I think it was a great series(though they took some characters of Treasure Island and it's not a very good part).

Edited at 2017-07-09 03:50 pm (UTC)
charley_ryan
Jul. 10th, 2017 02:02 am (UTC)
I rec'ed "Black Sails", too. :-D It was the perfect mix of brilliant writing, amazing acting and gorgeous scenery. And Tom Hopper from BS is gonna be in this upcoming season of "Game Of Thrones", too, I believe.
Bernhard Vienna
Jul. 9th, 2017 06:11 am (UTC)
The Americans?
How do you like The Americans?

I cannot get the last season here and it's killing me...
Logan Wright
Jul. 9th, 2017 06:13 am (UTC)
If you get a chance, the new season of TWIN PEAKS is out of this world. David Lynch has really run wild with his imagination, and the cinematography is simply amazing.
flake_sake
Jul. 9th, 2017 06:49 am (UTC)
I'm so with you on Good Girls Revolt! I loved that little gem of a show! I wish it would have been continued. It had only just started plotwise.
cat_o_love
Jul. 9th, 2017 10:41 am (UTC)
The Good Girls Revolt thing, thanks for the advice - just finished season 1. What I liked is that the women here are not shown as perfect victims, but are extremely flawed, often even ugly and acting senseless. I like it when it's real like that.
grrm
Jul. 9th, 2017 11:06 pm (UTC)
Agreed. Sadly, season one will be the only season.
(no subject) - cat_o_love - Jul. 10th, 2017 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Jul. 12th, 2017 01:51 am (UTC) - Expand
mekelan
Jul. 9th, 2017 11:02 am (UTC)
All hail the almighty arseling! Though we only have the first season of the show in my neck of the woods' Netflix yet, I too was pleasantly surprised by almost everything on that show, even if it could indeed benefit massively from some increased production values.
Mattia Costantini
Jul. 9th, 2017 01:12 pm (UTC)
Dear George, thank you for everything you've written.

Well, I love Better Call Saul and Fargo too (haven't watched Fargo S3 yet)

Westworld is a great show, can't wait for season 2. Didn't start "The Last Kingdom" yet, but will.
Did you watch "Black Sails"? Pretty good show in my opinion.

With this being said, I've to say that I prefer reading than watching tv shows.

Now: feel free not to answer my question, and if you want to delete my comment feel free to it, this is YOUR blog.
I'm not going to ask you about when TWOW will come out, I know it's hard, like really really hard, you've got a lot of things to cover, and people don't understand how hard writing a book like this is.
I'm 17 and I really admire you, "A song of ice and fire" is my favorite book saga, right now I'm reading the first Harry Potter book (really relaxing book) and after HP saga I'll start Wild Cards series.
I'm sorry but... I don't like "Game of Thrones", I know that the show is the show and your books are your books, but I don't like it.
Please, tell me that TWOW will diverge from the show in terms of storylines...
grrm
Jul. 9th, 2017 11:10 pm (UTC)
WINDS will be different in some ways, but will parallel the show in others. At this point, there are probably a dozen characters who are dead on the show but alive in the books, so it would be impossible for the two to remain the same. (Also, of course, there are characters in the books who have never even existed on the show, like Victarion Greyjoy, Jon Connington, Penny, Arianne Martell... )
(no subject) - Justin McCain - Jul. 10th, 2017 02:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Dan Jobson - Jul. 10th, 2017 03:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Mattia Costantini - Jul. 11th, 2017 12:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
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