Rejoice: Holiday Television Binge Season is Upon Us

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With Halloween firmly in our rearview mirror, the holiday season now stretches out before us. That means family, friends, parties, presents, food, and more food. But it also means cold weather, perhaps snow, and the need to find something to do that is indoors, near a fireplace, and not too far from the kitchen that is overflowing with leftovers. I am, of course, talking about your television.

More specifically, I’m talking about the loads of binge possibilities on that television that will get you primed and ready for the turn of the calendar to 2017. New seasons of our favorites are set to launch, and you need to get caught up. Because nothing says I’m hip, in the know, and game for some great conversation at the upcoming office Christmas party like being able to dissect the last season of Sherlock.

Sherlock, Season 4 (January 1)

If you haven’t been watching the BBC/PBS contemporary version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s supremely successful observational detective Sherlock Holmes, don’t worry. No judgment here. But if you don’t take the time between now and New Year’s Day to get caught up on the series the judgment will be harsh, and deserved.

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President Bartlet, A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You

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Maybe you haven’t heard, but next week America elects a new president. And also, maybe you hadn’t heard, but the final choices our nation of 320 million people came up with don’t exactly excite the masses. Yes, it’s hard to believe that a process that takes three years, several billion dollars, a questionable media, slippery donors, and hollow promises to cut your taxes, raise your wages, lower crime, and increase college graduation rates, while achieving peace and tranquility around the world, doesn’t result in our brightest and most honorable leaders stepping forward.

That’s why we have television, which has turned out many a bright and honorable leader of the free world. As well as the occasional much more truer to real life incarnation than we’d like to admit.

So in no particular order, and because we want to make the American president fun again (hats are coming), here are the best, and the not so best, Presidents of the United States that television has given us.

 

Jed Bartlet – The West Wing

Of course the dean of television presidents is the former two-term governor of New Hampshire, Nobel Laureate in Economics, and knower or all things historical and trivial, Josiah Edward Bartlet (Martin Sheen: Apocalypse Now, Grace and Frankie).

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Television and Halloween Go Hand in Hand

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After the much talked about angst-ridden premiere of The Walking Dead, expect to see to a rise in Negan and Lucille Halloween costumes this weekend. But please, be safe, and perhaps invest in some plastic barbed wire so that Lucille isn’t quite so deadly.

Of course zombies have a been a Halloween costume staple for years, with Michonne, Rick, and Daryl rivaling the zombie in the last few years. But again, go with a replica crossbow or samurai sword for safety’s sake. Unless of course you see someone dressed as Carl for Halloween. At that point, all bets are off.

One upping the folks at AMC is the PR machine that is HBO, with their release of officially licensed Game of Thrones Halloween merchandise. You can get a White Walker mask, because as the calendar tells us, winter is coming. There is also little shoulder dragon that you can purchase to really make your Daenerys Targaryen costume pop. There are also dragon egg canisters to dress up your home for the Halloween party that you’ll be hosting.

For a mere $110 you can get a Jon Snow gambeson (the defensive padded jacket he wears).

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The Good, The Bad, and The Meh

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Things I Like

The week began with word that Amazon has renewed its longest running original series, Bosch, for a fourth season. Season 3 doesn’t drop on Amazon until sometime in 2017 (February and March have been the calendar timing of the first two seasons) so to already have an order for a fourth season while the third is still in production is great news for fans and cast alike.

For those of us that love the jazz-devoted L.A. homicide detective who is governed by one simple principle – “Everybody counts, or nobody counts” – the hope is that with the brains behind the show knowing that the work won’t be ending anytime soon, a raised bar of freedom and creativity will follow.

Michael Connelly’s 21st Harry Bosch novel, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, is set for U.S. release on November 1 (we lucky people living in the UK can already get it), so there is an ample amount of material to for Titus Welliver (Lost, Sons of Anarchy, The Good Wife) to sink his teeth into for many years to come.

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For Great New Television, Head to Westworld Young Man

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If you haven’t yet had a chance, stop what you’re doing and watch Westworld. Both the film from 1973 and the new HBO series that is based on that film. The film will give you an added appreciation for the genius of Michael Crichton, as he wrote and directed Westworld years before he’d become the creative force behind the Jurassic Park franchise (clearly he suffered a bad Pirates of the Caribbean experience in his youth). You’ll also appreciate the seamless transition between the mustaches of the early 1970s and the mustaches of the 19th century in the western United States.

The new series on HBO, in contrast, helps to underscore the tidal shift in where originality and creative courage can be found in Hollywood. There was a time, not that long ago, when movies were for the sophisticates, and television was more pedestrian, for lack of a better word. Stories were neatly wrapped up in 30 or 60 minutes, and then you’d get another one the next week. For greater character exploration and a story with depth, you had to go to the movies.

Of course that isn’t the case anymore.

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