On this New Year’s Eve I share with you the most bingeworthy series my husband and I watched on Netflix in 2022. Try some on the long winter evenings but there may be enough here for a whole year.

Our hands-down favorite was the Korean series Extraordinary Attorney Wu, about an autistic lawyer who has a thing for whales. Sixteen episodes and we can’t wait for more. It’s worth the strain of trying to speed-read subtitles.

We were morbidly fascinated by disaster docuseries. Aftershock: Everest and the Nepal Earthquake; Thai Cave Rescue; The Volcano (not a series), as well as human/corporate disasters like Trainwreck: Woodstock 99 and FIFA Uncovered (we watched that one instead of the World Cup—sorry, soccer fans.)

Royalty entranced us. The latest season of The Crown, however, was much more entertaining than Harry and Meghan (yawn). We enjoyed The Empress, about 19th century Empress Elizabeth of Austria.

As I was preparing to travel to Japan we sought out Japanese series, partly to help me revive my language skills. The series that worked best that way for me was Old Enough, about toddlers given responsibility to run complicated errands, because I could understand kid language. The freedom and expectations laid on small kids were astonishing–an interesting view of both safety and standards in Japanese society. We loved Midnight Diner, set in a tiny, old-style restaurant bar in Tokyo. Not so warm-hearted was Giri/Haji, a yakuza crime drama.

In another part of the world, Finding Ola will give you a taste of Egyptian middle-class culture.

European noir-ish crime and political dramas always intrigue us. The revival of the Borgen series on the rise and fall of a female politician in Norway was gratifying—the latest season is Borgen: Power and Glory. We were pleased to find the Trapped series renewed, though it is now called Entrapped: a moody murder mystery set in Iceland brings back a pair of troubled and lovable police detectives.

For good old American crime we finally discovered Better Call Saul, watched five seasons and can’t wait for season six. Somehow we never were able to get very far in Breaking Bad, for which this is a prequel. I am a Michael Connelly fan so I’ll check out any cinematic version of his books. The Lincoln Lawyer series is quite watchable. For more surreal mayhem try the German series Kleo.

Speaking of surreal, Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind, has been translated to a strange and wonderful docuseries on the revival of scientific and therapeutic interest in mushrooms, LSD, and other mind-altering substances.

The integrity of some of our favorite comedians has been called into question but two remain who are both entertaining and relevant: Hannah Gadsby (LGBTQ, neurodivergent) and Trevor Noah. Watch anything by them.

Finally, here is a series you should not bingewatch. Save it for bedtime and watch until you get sleepy. It’s called Moving Art—nature and indigenous peoples, filmed beautifully, one region per episode, presented without narration. Sweet dreams!

What are your recent favorite binges? Share!

Happy New Year!

Private screenings 2019

One of my favorite features of modern life is the privilege of watching almost any movie on demand (with a slight delay from the release date) in the comfort of our own living room, with headphones for sound quality and subtitles so that my hearing-impaired husband and I can understand every word uttered. Private screenings used to be the privilege of the rich. Nyah nyah na nyah nyah.

For some time we have been sharing our list of favorite movies each Christmas with our friends, and now I do it on this blog. Continue reading

Our 2018 movie list

Vic and I watch a lot of movies and series on Netflix and now, thanks to pirating our son’s account, a few on Amazon Prime. For the last number of years we’ve been sending out a list of our favorites to friends as part of our year-end letter. Now I do it on this blog.

I see that our list this year is shorter than usual. That may be because we watched less and read more; we wasted a lot of time on series that were ultimately unsatisfying (more about that later); or because Netflix keeps making it harder to track our personal viewing and ratings, so I might be missing some things here. Nevertheless, some patterns emerge. We mostly enjoyed biopics and reality-based movies. This year we majored in race and minored in World War II and horses. And we binge-watched some really good series. Continue reading

Our latest Best Flix List

We watch lots of movies at home and every year we rate them and send our list of favorites in a year-end letter to friends. Last year I didn’t write a year-end letter and this year we didn’t watch as many movies. So I decided to combine our list for the two years. Oh, and because I write this blog I’m thinking of giving up the Christmas letter altogether. So, friends near and far, this is for you.

The Best Movies Vic and Nancy Watched at Home in 2016–17
Continue reading