After a nice long walk, we invite you to relax with a few episodes of one of the many great series on Netflix and other streaming services. Each month's shows come highly recommended by numerous BrooklineCAN members. You are invited to share your suggestions for future newsletters.
Here is the list from past newsletters.
The Black List (2013-present)
Elizabeth Keen, new FBI recruit, has her life turned upside down when Raymond Remington, a long-sought master criminal, agrees to help the FBI, but will only work with Elizabeth. A crime thriller with many unpredictable turns. Netflix
RFDS: Royal Flying Doctors Service (2021) This fictional series centers on the lives and work of the workers in the RFDS, a real service in Australia. The challenges of helping patients spread over hundreds of miles of Outback and the fabulous photography are worth watching. 8 episodes PBSPassport
Movie of the Month
Pig A truffle hunter (Nicolas Cage) who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped. Rent for $4.99 on Amazon
Chef's Table (2015-2019)
This series goes inside the lives and kitchens of some of the world's most renowned international chefs. Each episode focuses on a single chef and their unique look at their lives, talents and passion from their piece of culinary heaven. Six seasons, six episodes each. Netflix
Seaside Hotel (2014-2019)
This Danish series features a resort hotel with the same visitors returning every year. Drama revolves around both the visitors and the hotel staff. Romance, scandal and mischief all combine to make this binge-worthy. Three seasons, 20 episodes. PBS Passport
In this series, a domestic abuse victim strives to free herself and her 3-year-old daughter. At every turn, she faces obstacles: her dysfunctional parents, a bureaucratic social services system, trying to keep her job as a maid, and her own emotional needs. Ten episodes. Netflix
Movie of the Month
Official Secrets. (2019)
Based on the true story of British Intelligence whistle-blower Katherine Gun, who leaked a top-secret NASA memo exposing a joint US-UK conspiracy to force other UN countries to support the Iraq war. Netflix
Writers of the hit British tv series are hired to write a U.S. version. To their dismay, Matt LeBlanc is hired to star and the basis of the show is drastically changed. This dark comedy series displays the underbelly of tv production, Hollywood style. Five seasons. Netflix
The Indian Doctor 2010-2013
An upper caste Indian doctor and his wife think they are going to London but are placed in a Welsh mining town. The story of this mismatch, with culture and social clashes, reveals a touching human story. Excellent acting and subplots. Three short seasons. PBS Passport
Night Shift 2014-2017
An emergency room at a San Antonio hospital staff includes several veterans of the Afghanistan war. Their battlefield experience and associated trauma influence their work. Excellent acting and character development; many bloody operating room scenes. Four Seasons. Netflix
The Cook of Castamar. 2021
The Long Song
This compelling Spanish drama tells the tale of Clara, who takes a job as cook at Castamar while she tries to help her father, who has been unjustly imprisoned. She faces the challenges of being agoraphobic and of being strongly attracted to the Duke of Castamar. 12 episodes, Netflix
Mrs. Wilson. 2019
When Alison Wilson's husband dies, another woman claims to be his wife. Alison soon learns that he had even more secrets. Based on a true story. 3 episodes, PBS
To salvage her waning career, legendary comedian Deborah Vance is forced to team up with a brilliant, entitled outcast television writer. A dark, hilarious dramedy. 10 episodes, HBO
This three-part series depicts the end of slavery in Jamaica through the eyes of an indomitable enslaved woman, July, and her life serving a detestable mistress. Things get complicated with the arrival of the man who is to oversee the ending of slavery on their plantation. Some scenes are difficult to watch. 2021. PBS Passport.
After two decades away from solving crimes, a forensic psychiatrist finds herself called upon to help catch a sniper who has terrorized Melbourne and effectively shut down the city. Things get even more complicated when Jane's husband is shot and their college-age daughter leaves home, Eight hair-raising episodes. 2020. PBS Passport.
Master of None
An award-winning comedy following the personal and professional challenges that face a 30-year-old New York actor, whose trials range from the immigrant experience to what pasta he should eat for dinner. Three seasons, 25 episodes. 2015-present. Netflix.
The House of Flowers
A Mexican tv series about the de la Mora family, owners of a flower shop, and their sometimes wacky, sometimes outrageous behavior. Netflix, 13 episodes.
While visiting his daughter in Amsterdam, French Detective Julien Baptiste is drawn into a missing person case that may be connected to a human trafficking gang. Intense and well-acted. PBS Passport, 6 episodes.
Set in Scotland at the end of World War 2, this melodramatic series shows the work of small-town doctors and the effects of the major change in health care with the introduction of the National Health Service. Many well-developed characters and sub-plots. Amazon Prime, 4 seasons, total of 27 episodes.
Line of Separation (PBS Passport)
The Cold War of the 60s led to a dividing line that cut a small provincial German town in half: one side governed by the Americans, the other by the Russians. The consequences as seen in the lives of the residents. Two seasons, six episodes each. English subtitles. 2015
No Second Chance (PBS Passport)
A French thriller based on a novel by Harlan Coben. Dr. Alice Lambert awakes from a coma to learn that her husband was shot dead, and her baby daughter abducted. Kidnappers demanded €1 million, and no police. Six episodes. English subtitles. 2015
The One (Netflix)
Two friends start a match-making business based on DNA samples. Rebecca Ware, the CEO, thinks they have a gold mine, until a body turns up in the Thames and other complications raise some questions. Several sub-plots, a driven female lead, make this binge-able. Eight episodes. 2021.
A dark series featuring a taciturn aboriginal detective. Filmed in the wild areas of northwestern Australia. Mesmerizing. Two seasons, six episodes each. 2018-2020. On Hoopla, a free service on the Library website.
This Danish political drama traces the rise of a strong female prime minister and includes many relatable characters and subplots. Three seasons, ten episodes each. 2012. Netflix
A student of Sigmund Freud and an Austrian detective team up to solve some of the most mysterious and deadly cases in early 1900s Vienna. Officials disapprove of their approach. Three episodes. 2019. On PBS Passport (available to GBH contributors).
A funny, heartfelt series about the Kim family and their downtown Toronto convenience store, the family's interactions with each other, and also with their multicultural community. Four seasons, 13 episodes each. (2016-2020) Netflix
Call My Agent
A French comedy/melodrama with a terrific ensemble of characters who work as agents in the film industry. They all face temperamental clients as well as personal complications. Four seasons, 6 episodes each. (2015-2020) Netflix. (English subtitles)
A five-part World War I miniseries about an English aristocrat, his unfaithful socialite wife, and his torrid affair with a young suffragette. Based on the novels of Ford Maddox Ford adapted by Tom Stoppard. Five episodes. (2013) HBO
Halt and Catch Fire
Set in the 1980s, this series depicts a fictionalized insider's view of the personal computer revolution through the eyes of a visionary, an engineer and a prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time. (4 seasons, 10 episodes each, 20014-2017)
Scott and Bailey
(Hoopla, HBOMax, and library DVDs)
Set in Manchester, this BBC series features two female detectives, one motherly, the other emotionally immature, who have varying levels of success applying their eccentric outlooks on life to their homicide cases and private lives. (5 seasons, a total of 33 episodes, 2011-2016).
In this French heist series, Assane Diop, a first-generation French-Senegalese man in contemporary Paris, is a "gentleman thief" who borrows robbery plans from a collection of stories, a gift from his father - whose undeserved fate Assane set himself to avenge in long-delayed, Count of Monte Cristo style. (Part 1, 5 episodes, 2021)
Hoopla is a free service offered on the Brookline library website.
This Is Us
is a 5-season series originally shown on NBC (2016-present). The Pearson family's generational story unfolds in emotional drama. In moments of joy and heartbreak, revelations emerge from parents Jack and Rebecca's past, while triplets Kate, Randall and Kevin discover deeper meaning in their present lives. (You'd have to pay to watch this on Amazon Prime, but you can check out the DVDs for free from the library.)
Thou shalt not kill
is an Italian crime drama series with creative and intelligent plots and an excellent cast. Each crime story seems to point to different aspects of family and social life in Italy, both positive and negative. There is also an over-arching mystery concerning the death of the lead detective, Valerie Ferro, inspector of the Squadron Omicidi of Turin. 2 seasons, PBS Passport
A note about streaming:
there are dozens of sources for streaming movies and tv shows, including. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, apple+, Amazon Prime, and PBS. Subscribing to all of them would be costly. Matthew Gilbert, the Boston Globe
tv columnist, offers a suggestion: None of the streaming services requires a long-term contract. You can subscribe for a month or two and then cancel. So, he explains, if there are shows or movies that you want to see on a particular service, just subscribe for a month or two, watch them, and then cancel.
The Queen's Gambit
This seven-part series on Netflix tells the coming-of-age story of Beth, an orphan. It dramatically portrays her development from a withdrawn loner to a vibrant, confident chess champion.
Flesh and Blood
In this four-part series from PBS, a widow with three adult children falls for a charming doctor, marries and decides to sell her family home. Her long-term neighbor and her children raise objections, with terrible consequences.
A classic murder mystery on HBO. Life begins to unravel for a New York therapist when she discovers that her husband has been unfaithful. His lover is murdered, and he is charged with the crime. Did he do it? Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant star. Six episodes.
Astronauts representing five nations must learn to become a unit to survive a three-year journey to Mars. Many people associated with the mission - in space and back on Earth - experience, adjust to, and live with disabilities while striving to meet the personal and professional responsibilities that matter to them most. 1 season,10 episodes. Netflix
Last Tango in Halifax
A British comedy/drama series, this is a story of second chances. A sixty-something couple meet by accident (literally), pursue a romance, and wed. Their daughters and extended family add complications. Wonderful cast. 5 seasons, total of 24 episodes. PBS and Netflix
Emily in Paris
Emily is sent to Paris to add "an American aspect" to a new branch of her company. A light comedy, panned by some critics, but it is very enjoyable and binge-able, and you do get to explore Paris! 10 episodes. Netflix
Sinatra: All or Nothing at All.
This two-part series traces Frank Sinatra's career in his own words and those of his closest associates. Whether or not you are a Sinatra fan, this series is worth watching for its review of U.S. history during tumultuous times. Each episode is about 2 hours long. (2015)
For those looking for an escape from current news, there is nothing like a Turkish soap opera for bingeing! A secret marriage unites two families - one wealthy and traditional, the other bankrupt and modern - and is threatened by the resulting conflicts. 105 episodes! (2005)
(2017) In this British series, Doctor Foster discovers that her husband has been cheating on her. After that, things get disturbingly complicated! (2 seasons, total of 10 episodes)
(2017) This compelling British police procedural takes us through three seasons as the police investigate the disappearance of an 11-year-old boy. In a small town in southwestern England. (Total of 24 episodes)
(2019) A wealthy family is looted by an unscrupulous accountant and they have no place to live except a motel in the tiny town they had bought as a joke. Over the course of this addictive comedy series, the parents and adult son and daughter learn to be a caring loving family. (5 seasons on Netflix, 6th season not there yet, 13 episodes per season)
Da 5 Bloods
, a Spike Lee movie. 2020.
Four African American veterans return to Vietnam decades after the war to find their squad leader's remains - -and a stash of buried gold. 2 hours, 35 minutes. (Netflix)
Finally, we can see this award-winning phenomenon! This show was filmed during a Broadway performance with the original cast. (Disney)
A wonderful Israeli television drama series about a fictional Jewish family living in Geula, Jerusalem. Great characters and realistic settings. Very addictive. Two seasons, a total of 24 episodes. (Netflix)
The English Game
This series was developed by Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, and it has the same wonderful qualities of script, acting, and cinematography. It's the story of how football grew in England from a pastime for gentlemen and miners to a world-wide sport. Six episodes. (Netflix)
Love Is In The Air -
Toprak, who lost her baby, is hired as a wet nurse for wealthy Yusuf's motherless son. Yusuf is attracted to Toprak, but also to her scheming sister. His mother despises both women. This Turkish series offers a host of scheming and devious characters. Sure to keep you watching "just one more" episode.110 episodes. (2010)
American Son -
Time passes and tension mounts in a Florida police station as an estranged interracial couple awaits news of their missing teenage son. This movie confronts today's major issue. (2019)
From now on, this column may offer suggestions for movies and TV series on a variety of platforms. Two good sources of free movies are Hoopla and Kayak, both available on the Brookline Library website. PBS Passport offers all PBS shows in complete seasons, and requires membership in (and contributions) to PBS. Two other sources of series and movies are HBO and Amazon Prime, and these both require subscriptions. If you have suggestion for other sources for streaming movies and TV shows, please send them to the firstname.lastname@example.org.
We cannot travel right now, so let's get away to France in these two movies! Or time travel to 1743 Scotland!
The African Doctor
2016. Happily escaping a dictator, a Congolese doctor transplants his family in a small French village in Brittany. Culture shock sets in for everyone! 1 hr, 33 min. (English subtitles)
10 Jours en Or
2012. When a carefree bachelor (a traveling salesman) is unexpectedly left in charge of a young boy, the two embark on a road trip that will change both of their lives. 1hr, 36 min. (English subtitles)
. Even if you don't usually like shows that involve time travel, this well-done series should be an exception. Claire is on a second honeymoon in post World War II Scotland when she goes out for a walk and comes upon a circle of large stones. She hears a buzzing sound, touches one of the stones and finds herself in 1743 Scotland. Three seasons, (42 episodes) Seasons 4-6 available on Starz.
These two series take place in Berlin during vastly different times.
. This 4-episode series, set in the present, follows Esty as she leaves a New York Hasidim community and seeks a new life in Berlin. Be sure to watch the added feature about how the series was made.
. Now in its third season, this series is set in 1929. Detective Gereon Rath, newly assigned to the Berlin vice squad, came back from World War I with post-traumatic stress disorder and a morphine habit. He finds help from an aspiring cop, Charlotte Ritter, who works as a police typist (and sex worker after hours). (In German with subtitles).
Black Money Love
A Turkish series with 164 episodes, this addictive crime melodrama features beautiful people, misguided heroines, betrayal on a grand scale. Omer and Elif meet when his fiancee and her father are found together murdered. Great ensemble cast and many plot surprises.
Laughter is a great tension-reliever. Here is a link to suggestions for comedy shows you can stream https://www.nytimes.com/article/best-sitcoms-streaming.html?referringSource=articleShare
. Not all of these shows are on Netflix.
From Ty Burr of the Boston Globe "On a related note, we may all be about to spend an inordinate amount of time at home, so we're fortunate, I guess, that video on-demand has advanced to the point where it feels like every movie ever made is there for the streaming." Remember you can view previous recommendation from this column at http://www.brooklinecan.org/netflix.html
"The Bonfire of Destiny"
On a spring day in 1897 in Paris, socialites organize a grand charity bazaar, where a shocking tragedy unfolds. Satisfyingly complicated plot. 8 episodes
Five children go out to play in the woods. Jesse, a boy of about 5, disappears and is never found. Twenty years later, police find the boy's DNA at a murder scene. The other four friends work together to find out, Is Jesse still alive? This 10-episode thriller will keep you enthralled, sometimes scared, through a series of false leads. (2016)
This series is very highly recommended by several BrooklineCAN members. The Boston Globe's
Mathew Gilbert rates it as one of 2019's top ten. He wrote, "Based on a true story, this strongly acted eight-episode procedural miniseries takes us inside a justice system that utterly fails rape victims. It's about a series of rapes in Washington and Colorado, and the dynamic detectives - played by Merritt Wever and Toni Collette - who join forces to investigate them."
This series is very highly recommended by several BrooklineCAN members. The Boston Globe's
Mathew Gilbert rates it as one of 2019's top ten. He wrote, "Based on a true story, this strongly acted eight-episode procedural miniseries takes us inside a justice system that utterly fails rape victims. It's about a series of rapes in Washington and Colorado, and the dynamic detectives - played by Merritt Wever and Toni Collette - who join forces to investigate them
The Spy. (2019)
This is truly binge-worthy!! In the 1960s, Israeli clerk-turned-secret agent Eli Cohen goes deep undercover inside Syria on a perilous, years-long mission to spy for Mossad and infiltrates Syria's top leadership. Sacha Baron Cohen and Noah Emmerich star in this thriller inspired by true events.(6 episodes)
Our recommendation for this month is another spell-binding Turkish series, "Intersection." Naz who is a pediatrician loses her baby during pregnancy. Even though her husband wants another baby, she refuses to go through the same thing all over again. She goes to Italy for a conference and meets Ali Nejat there. Thus begins a melodrama with great love, ruthless greed, and betrayal. 3 seasons, total of 31 episodes. In Turkish with subtitles. (2016)
It's the 1920s and Spain has gotten its first national telephone company, located in Madrid. For four young women who get jobs there, its more than just work. It represents progress that is being made at the time as women are gaining more equality with men. This exciting, romantic drama series follows the ladies, known as "cable girls", who feel attached in different ways -- to their families, their partners, their memories, and to each other. Four seasons, 32 episodes. In Spanish with subtitles. (Be sure to begin with the first season) 2017-2019.
This month we have two suggestions. "Charite at War" is a fact-based German series about how the staff of a hospital in Berlin experienced the last years of the war. Six episodes. 2019
"Planet Earth" is an 11-episode BBC series beautifully filmed and narrated by David Attenborough. A poignant reminder of what we might be losing. 2006. Also available on DVD through the Brookline Library
Two suggestions to get you through the summer!
Ladybird. A Turkish series based on a beloved, classic 1920's novel, this family saga will keep you watching "just one more...." 72 episodes.
Tales of the City. A sequel to Armistead Maupin's earlier tales of gay life in San Francisco, this is an almost x-rated series with fabulous acting. (Laura Linney, Ellen Page, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Garber ) 10 episodes.
"Jack Taylor," an Irish crime drama, follows an alcoholic Irish cop (Taylor) who loses his job because of the drink and stumbles into work as a Private Investigator. Jack is a womanizer but the show has no misogyny, unlike some American shows. The plots for each episode are seriously action packed, fully fleshed out and varied. 2010 (9 episodes)
Set in post-war Port Said, this melodrama from Egypt portrays the love story of Kariman and Farid, both unhappily married. Fleeing her abusive husband who has kidnapped her infant daughter, Kariman finds help from Farid and other new friends who accept her untruthful explanations. Many rich subplots and well-developed characters. In Arabic with subtitles. 30 episodes. (2018)
Here is a real binge-worthy series. "Grand Hotel"
features lust, betrayals, evil characters you will love to hate, scheming villains, a twisting plot, and beautiful lovers, all in a sumptuous hotel in turn-of-the-20th-century Spain. In Spanish with subtitles, 66 (!) episodes.
This month's recommendation will keep you bingeing 'way past bedtime! After another terrorist attack in London, handsome, heroic Sgt. Budd is assigned to guard Home Secretary Julia Montague. Sparks fly! (6 episodes)
The Kominsky Method
Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin star as old friends in this series. An acting teacher/sometime actor and his longtime agent face the vicissitudes of old age with humor, bewilderment and love. 8 episodes.
(Note: Dear reader, Amazon, Hulu, and other sources of bingeing are available. Should we sample some of those in this newsletter? Let us know email@example.com
This month we suggest "Wanted,"
an Australian series. While waiting at a bus stop, accountant Chelsea and cashier Lola (unacquainted) witness a criminal exchange gone wrong and are kidnapped by one of the perpetrators. Follow their exciting, complicated adventures as the two try to evade first their captors and then the law. Great scenery of Australia. Two seasons, 6 episodes each. Third season coming in December
An addictive Korean series that traces the saga of the resistance to the Japanese conquest of Chosen in the early 1900s. A love story forms the basis of this beautifully filmed drama that exposes the dynamics of international politics, personal histories, and cultural differences. In Korean with subtitles.
Forsaking London for the rustic landscapes of Wales, a police detective with a troubled soul finds himself in a place with disturbing secrets. 2015. In English but you'll need subtitles. Three seasons. Total of 21 episodes.
is a Norwegian series based in the near future that seems eerily familiar. With a failing economy, the Norwegian prime minister signs an agreement with Russia that results in a gradual invasion. International political intrigue, resistance, and human passions abound! Two seasons, total of 18 episodes. English subtitles.
Experience life in Turkey in this month's recommendation. Winter Sun
offers a tale of family life, intrigue, mistaken identity, passion and an opportunity to observe everyday life among families from two different social classes. Addictive! English subtitles. Fifty (yes 50!) episodes.
The Time In Between
This is the story of a dressmaker, Sira, who flees the turmoil of Madrid prior to the Civil War to join her lover in Tangier, where inadvertently she becomes part of an espionage scheme. (2013, 17 episodes, Spanish with English subtitles.)