I don’t watch ‘an awful lot’ of TV — or maybe I do. How about you?


“TURN: Washington’s Spies” — fictionalized, but at least the models for these people actually existed…


For whatever reason, our regular commenter Barry said this over the weekend:

One thing I have learned about Brad- he watches an awful lot of television.

Sounds awful.

At which I bridled.

Moi? Watch a lot of idiot box? Never!

Or maybe sometimes…

No, I really don’t — at least, not by American standards.

But you know, I think I probably watch more of it than I used to — mainly because of Netflix, and to some extent AMC. For the first time in my life, if I feel like vegging out in front of the tube (or working out in front of it, I hasten to add), I can always find something that interests me. And that was bound to increase my screen time.

Oddly, I don’t even get AMC any more. We subscribe to a below-basic level of cable that simply ensures that we get the local broadcast stations clearly, and nothing else. (And I don’t really watch those, except for an occasional “Masterpiece” series on ETV.) But I can watch all of the AMC shows a bit later, on Netflix, and that’s generally good enough for me.

Here’s what I have watched on the tube over the past year or so. It may sound like a lot, but compared to most people’s viewing habits (with the Tube always on, with sports and “news” shows and Reality TV), it’s actually fairly contained. I’m listing everything I can recall watching, including shows I’ve lost interest in:

  • Turn: Washington’s Spies — I JUST started this, because it just arrived on Netflix. My interest increased when I realized that Abraham Woodhull, Anna Strong, Caleb Brewster and Ben Tallmadge were all real people, although this is obviously fictionalized. Don’t think the show’s been quite fair to Robert Rogers.
  • Bluebloods — Got belatedly hooked on this about a month ago. It’s now my standard show to watch while working out in the mornings. My parents have loved this show for years, and I think I probably enjoy it for the same reasons.
  • Better Call Saul — As with the last season of “Breaking Bad,” I couldn’t wait on this one, and went ahead and bought the season via iTunes. But I fell three episodes behind while abroad, and haven’t caught up. Not quite as riveting as the original series, despite having Mike Ehrmantraut.
  • “The West Wing” — Y’all already know how crazy I was about this last year, watching all seven seasons while working out in the mornings. But now it’s gone, and while I’ve watched some favorite episodes two or three times, I need to wait a while (a few years, I think) before watching it all the way through again.
  • Endeavour — Very engaging prequel to the Inspector Morse series. It’s hard to beat a well-made series set in Britain circa 1964. Guess I’ll never get over the brainwashing effects of the British Invasion. That’s when I really fell in love with that island. Also, having spent a few days in Oxford in 2011, I’m drawn toward anything set there.
  • Inspector Morse — Didn’t get very far into it. Not as engaging as either its prequel or its sequel, “Lewis” — which I haven’t watched lately only because there have been no new episodes.
  • House of Cards — The American version. I watched three or four episodes of the third season, but haven’t gotten back to it.
  • Foyle’s War — Love it. My main complains it that the war ended too quickly, owing to the British habit of two few episodes per season, and the show basically following a sort of real-time format.
  • Grantchester — Very enjoyable, while it lasted.
  • Father Brown — The original, of which “Grantchester” is a Protestant imitator. I’ve only watched two or three of these, but my wife is really into it.
  • Orange is the New Black — Only watched a couple of episodes of the most recent season, then we lost interest.
  • Outlander — Over the weekend I watched part of the first episode, because the disks were at my house. Lost interest pretty quickly. Like a slower-moving, chick-flick version of “Life on Mars,” which I loved. This Sassenach woman should have stayed in England.
  • Hawaii Five-0 — Watched a couple of episodes of both the old and the new series before and after visiting Hawaii, for the scenery. Both series are deeply flawed in different ways. The newer one, with its all-young-and-sexy cast (Kono as a hot young girl? Really?) and hyper-action, is the more ridiculous of the two, although production values are much better. But the scenery is awesome. As with the Oxford mysteries, it’s fun to get to visit faraway places that I’ve visited and enjoyed. What we need now is a good drama set in Thailand…

That’s about all I can think of.

Oh, wait! Last night, I passed on the first episode of Wolf Hall because it was on too late on a work night. But I plan to watch it tonight via PBS app on the Apple TV. I’ve really been looking forward to this one. Maybe it will spur me to go ahead and read Bring Up the Bodies, which has been awaiting me on my bookshelf…

How about y’all? What are your viewing habits, if any? How have they changed, with our liberation from the TV schedule and explosive increase in platforms and options?


Hoping to enjoy ‘Wolf Hall’…


67 thoughts on “I don’t watch ‘an awful lot’ of TV — or maybe I do. How about you?

  1. Doug Ross

    I’ve pretty much given up on “regular” TV.

    I watched the Mad Men premiere last night live. I’ll fast forward through Saturday Night Live on DVR. Binge watched a lot of excellent series on Amazon – Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle were both great. I can get hooked on the weekends watching back-to-back-to-back episodes of Buying Alaska.

    Haven’t watched a single episode of Walking Dead or Downton Abbey.. neither match my interest.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Haven’t watched Downton Abbey for the last two years. Got tired of its emotional manipulation.

      Quit watching “The Walking Dead” about a season and a half ago. Same with “Mad Men.” The first one got tiresome during the confrontation with “Woodbury” and the “governor” — and the excessive exposure to Andrea during that period.

      “Mad Men” just got less and less interesting as the 60s progressed. Late 50s to early 60s was its time period, with the peak being about 1962, which The Catalog of Cool described as the Last Good Year.

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      I could not suspend my disbelief during the pilot of Mozart in the Jungle. I’m not a professional musician, but from what I know, this is pure fantasy.

      Outlander is quite good–you should have given it more of a chance.

      We watch a lot of TV shows, but none broadcast. We loved The Slap, an Australian series, and all the new quality Danish and Swedish shows–Borgen beats anything I have seen for political reality, obviously heightened, but nowhere near as much as, say, House of Cards. Another political junkie show available to stream on Netflix is Boss–about a powerful, corrupt Chicago Mayor. Much better than House of Cards, as well.

  2. Andrew

    I was really excited about TURN, but because I’m an enthusiast for the era, I’m really disappointed. The original historical work this is based on, Washington’s Spies, didn’t need the embellishment that this series adds.

    The real Woodhall didn’t marry until after the war, so no need for a love triangle. The real Captain Simcoe was a good officer, and in real ways, a political founding father of Canada and creator of some just laws.

    And Rogesr? He’s Scottish for some reason in this series. In real life, he was from New Hampshire, but by 1777, the time of this series, he was out of the war and mostly back in Britain.

    Anna Strong was ten years older than Woodhall, their relationship is unnecessary.

    The best parts of the series involve Washington and the Continental Army. Washington is very hard to portray dramatically, but it is well done. The rest is frustrating to watch.

    And there is no such thing as the Royal Army. It’s the British Army, but Royal Navy.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, the depiction of Washington as a man with natural leadership qualities is good. But not as impressive as David Morse’s Washington in “John Adams.” (There’s a series I liked well enough that I own it on DVD.)

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      And Andrew, I thought I was really into the era, until I realized how little I knew about this aspect of it. My knowledge of intelligence during the war didn’t extend beyond Nathan Hale, and Major Andre’s role in the Benedict Arnold scandal…

      Yes, the injection of sex makes good TV but doesn’t reflect reality. Espionage is more excruciatingly boring, when it isn’t terrifying (in ways that don’t make for titillating television).

      1. Andrew

        Yes, it’s like most cop shows.

        Most cops spend their days doing paper work, or patrolling and waiting for something to happen.

        That would make for terrible TV.

        1. Barry

          There was a short lived series called The Big Apple that tried to recreate some of that. It starred the dad from Married with Children who is now on that Modern Family Show.

          It was gritty and very good but only lasted 5-6 shows. They once took almost an hour of show time interviewing a witness (usually takes 5 mins of show time)

  3. Karen Pearson

    One of my favorites is “Call the Midwife” which is set in 1950’s England (London?).

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      My wife likes that one. Watched it last night, while I watched “Turn” upstairs…

      She is somewhat more likely than I am to watch something as it is broadcast. But she watches a good bit of Netflix, too…

      1. Bryan Caskey

        I kind of touched on this topic here.

        Since the weather has warmed up, I’ve made a conscious effort to be outside more and watching television less.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          I walk the dogs and then shower off the pollen, and stay indoors as much as possible. I’m already taking a double dose of antihistamines and using Nasalcort. I envy you.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            Yeah, I’m pretty lucky in that pollen has never really bothered me in any way. Since Henry has gotten better at riding his bike, I can now ride my bike with him after work around the neighborhood. Frankly, I have to ride, because I can’t keep up on foot anymore. We’re looking at getting one of those little pull-behind trailers (they look like rickshaws) to put our 8-month old daughter in.

            The only thing that really bothers me is the mosquitoes, but last year I tried out the mosquito spray service. Amazing. It really does work.

            1. Norm Ivey

              We have pretty bad mosquito situation in our neighborhood, but I won’t spray because I would lose my fireflies as well. I soak myself in bug spray ( they leave my bride alone), and we have a bat house with 40 or so residents that I pretend helps somewhat.

              1. Bryan Caskey

                We still get loads of fireflies, so if that’s all that’s holding you back, I wouldn’t worry about that.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Norm, I find that fireflies are pretty sturdy — as long as you’ve got a good mechanic like Kaylee.

              … speaking of shows I WISH were still being made…

            3. Norm Ivey

              It’s not the only reason I am reluctant. I’m just not a big fan of pumping chemicals into natural areas. Besides, if I sprayed, what would my bats eat?

        2. Brad Warthen

          A big amen to that, Kathryn. I had everything pretty much under control with Dymista (on top of my usual regiment of double-adult dose of Zyrtec, Singulair and such). Then over the weekend, I got overwhelmed. Yesterday, I was thinking I might have to do a course of prednisone. But I’m better today, as long as I take an additional over-the-counter antihistamine/decongestant every three or four hours.

          I’m sitting in a meeting right now that’s coming up on three hours. I started it off with two shots of espresso in a grande soy latte (Starbucks owed me a freebie), but the little white pill I took 80 minutes ago has overwhelmed that…

  4. Norm Ivey

    There’s a definite thread tying all of the things you watch together. I like history and politics, but tend to prefer them in book form or as documentaries. I have more confidence that I’m getting accurate and deeper information. I did like the John Adams series, though.

    I watch nothing in real time except sports, and I mostly limit my sports viewing to playoffs with a few Gamecock games thrown in here and there.

    I DVR several shows, but don’t always watch them–Gotham, Modern Family, Nova, Daily Show and the News Hour. We’ll sometimes have HGTV or Food Network on while preparing dinner, and we usually pick out a movie to watch together on the weekend (We saw Wild with Reese Witherspoon this weekend because she (my bride) had read the book recently. It was good enough that I am going to read the book as well.)

    I have a mental list of shows to binge on–Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones–but don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not having seen them. I tried House of Cards, but just didn’t care for it. I want characters to be likable in some way. I couldn’t stand any of them.

    I’ve given up my Netflix account because I use Amazon more often. I watch lots of documentaries, and tend to binge watch topics–most recently docs about food production. I hesitate to admit it, but I’ve seen every episode of Glee. (My bride wanted to watch it, and I found it to be a guilty pleasure.) Brew Dogs (on Esquire channel) is one of my favorites right now, and one of very few series I’ve actually purchased rather than rented. The ONLY series I’ve ever owned on DVD was Planet Earth. I sold it recently because I can get it on Amazon whenever I want.

    If I had to estimate hours, I’d guess about 10-15 hours a week most weeks. More during the holidays and summer because I have more time.

        1. Doug Ross

          I don’t know, Norm… there’s something about finding a new craft brewery that enhances the experience over just drinking out of the bottle. I was lucky enough to come across a tiny brewery in Homer, Alaska where they served sample flights of very generous size. The entire brewery and drinking room was is a space the 1/3 the size of River Rat, Conquest, or Swamp Cabbage. Bald eagles flying overhead, tables made out of old beer barrels… being THERE was a major part of the experience.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      My wife shares Norm’s dislike of fictionalized history. But I find that I learn a great deal from it. I find that I have a pretty good filter for the bogus stuff, and can come away from an historical novel with a good sense of what was real about it, which is almost always born out by my reading of ACTUAL history later.

      If I err, it’s on the side of disbelief, believing that certain details were fiction when they were not. I can’t think of an instance in which I mistakenly believed, based on fiction, that something really happened in history when it did not.

      For instance, I knew that the main naval actions that Jack Aubrey engaged in in “Master and Commander” were based upon Lord Cochrane’s experiences in his first command. But I was stunned when I found out how many of the really great dramatic details were NOT made up by O’Brian, but actually happened. His account of the encounter between the fictional Sophie and Cacafuego had a lot in it that seemed too cool to be real. But it actually happened exactly like that in the battle between the Speedy and the Gamo, right down to the last man aboard the Speedy being the brig’s surgeon, and the captain calling to him in Spanish, at the critical moment in the battle, to send “fifty more men” — one of history’s most stunning bluffs, because it worked…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, one problem is that the movie stole from a number of the books, and then made up the rest. It was a good flick; don’t get me wrong. But it would have no place in a faithful rendering of the series.

          To do it right, you’d have to reboot, and start with “Master and Commander,” which starts with future friends Aubrey and Maturin meeting on the same night that Aubrey receives news of his promotion to his first command. There’s more than enough for a feature film in that first book. I mean, if Peter Jackson can get three interminable movies out of “The Hobbit,” someone can make this into a riveting film between two and three hours.

          Then, the next year, out with “Post Captain.” Then, a year later, “HMS Surprise,” and so forth.

          The casting will have to be better. Russell Crowe was good for the hard side of Jack Aubrey, but not the endearing doofus side (the ashore side) of his character. Similarly, Paul Bettany captured the soft side of Maturin, the lubberly liberal who prefers science to war, but completely missed on the cold-blooded, reptilian side of him — the hard-eyed realist (except where his own addictions were concerned) and master intelligence agent. James D’Arcy was excellent as Pullings, but there wasn’t enough of him. The best bit of casting was probably David Threlfall as Preserved Killick. Get all the main characters as well as he embodied Killick, and you’d have a series of masterpieces…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            The film was VERY loosely based on The Far Side of the World, the 10th book in the series. Here’s how loosely…

            The Surprise is indeed assigned to follow a ship that is heading to the Pacific, via the Horn, to prey on British whalers. But it was an American man-of-war, not a French privateer. Hollywood just couldn’t bring itself to make a film in which the adversaries were American.

            There was no climactic battle. Aubrey comes upon the Americans shipwrecked in the South Seas, and claiming that the war is over. When Aubrey and a few of his men get stranded on the island themselves when another storm blows the Surprise far out to sea, a battle of nerves ensues between the Brits and the less-well-equipped, but far-more-numerous, Americans, one that is bound to turn violent…

            What happens, in other words, is far more interesting than the Hollywood version…

            1. Norm Ivey

              The Surprise is indeed assigned to follow a ship that is heading to the Pacific, via the Horn, to prey on British whalers. But it was an American man-of-war, not a French privateer. Hollywood just couldn’t bring itself to make a film in which the adversaries were American.

              This is why I’m not a big fan of historical fiction.

          2. M.Prince

            Swashbuckling tales can make for good entertainment. Several years ago I binge read the genre for about 2 years: O’Brian, Forrester (the prototype), Alexander Kent (delivers but gets tiresomely formulaic), Dudley Pope (kind of like Kent), Richard Woodman (as solid as O’Brian in my opinion) as well as some older non-fiction (Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast, Exquemelin’s Pirates of Panama, Melville’s White Jacket, etc). All could be made into good movies or series. But why do they have to be for the big screen? ITV’s/A&E’s Hornblower series showed that it can be handled quite well on the small screen. (Richard Lindsay was outstanding as Sir Edward Pellew.)

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Small screen is fine, as long as each novel gets its due in terms of screen time.

              In fact, for O’Brian, I’d say the best format would be the British format, in which each novel could be a separate “series,” or as we call them, “season.” A short British season of between three and six hour-long episodes would be a proper treatment for each novel.

              Anything less, and all you’d have is a swashbuckler. So much of the appeal of O’Brian is character development. Another big virtue is the detailed description of ordinary, everyday shipboard life.

              For instance, the formal dinner — either in the captain’s quarters, or with the captain visiting the gunroom — tends to be a lengthy, complex affair. There’s the long, tedious beginning, when everyone is too stiff because of the presence of the captain, and no one can speak unless he speaks to them, and the captain is straining to keep conversation going, and various things about the characters of the officers (and occasionally ladies or other civilians) are being revealed under the social microscope… and then gradually, as the decanter goes ’round (“The bottle stands by you, sir!”) things loosen up, and questionable stories are told, and the singing gets started, and you find out whether the dinner is a success or not. One of those dinners could be an entire episode, and it could be a very entertaining one.

              Or a long chase, lasting days, ending in violence or letdown — to do justice to one of those would require a full hour, to get a sense of what it was really like.

              Otherwise, you just have a run-of-the-mill action show…

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Perfect examples of a British series doing justice to a novel — both of the Alec Guinness series based on le Carre novels, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “Smiley’s People.”

              Each was six episodes, and just right. One episode, for instance, dealt almost entirely with Ricki Tarr’s story, told in flashback, about Irina and the grand secret she revealed. That was just the right pace.

              I loved the opening of “Tinker, Tailor” — the gradual, wordless assembling of Toby Esterhase, Roy Bland, Percy Alleline and Bill Hayden for a routine meeting. Various little things about the characters are revealed, up to the moment when Percy says, “Let’s begin…” and the story starts to unfold.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            Point taken. Yet there is a fair amount of stuff blowing up. Canons, guns, swords, and all that stuff works. And I’m sure Russell Crowe could take his shirt off at some point, you know, for the gals.

            I mean, we had the three Pirate movies with Johnny Depp doing his weird drunk Keith Richards impression.

            Throw me a frickin’ bone, here.

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              The Pirate movies were for kids. The F&F for older kids. M&C for “mature audiences”—as is the Lawrence Welk Show?

      1. Norm Ivey

        It’s not so much a dislike; it’s more a concern that I will believe as fact something that is not so. I expect films “based on a true story” to be inaccurate. I sort expect a story based on history to be a little more accurate. I can’t fact check everything.

      2. scout

        I think Guy Gavriel Kay fictionalizes history best. His works I think are technically called historical fantasy because he does include some fantastical elements. He changes the names; you have to do some research to discover who it’s really about, but his research and attention to detail is very good. He does clashes of cultures well. He has covered Constantinople at the time of the building of Hagia Sofia and the tensions between the eastern and western churches. He has covered King Alfred the great in England and the conflict between the Viking, Celtic, and Anglo Saxon cultures; he has some based on the culture in Spain around the 10th century I think; and some most recently about early China, internal politics and clashes with cultures on their periphery as they expanded. They all work on their own as very good stories without realizing the historical connections, but it’s kind of cool to make to connections after the fact.

        I like historical movies; even when they are inaccurate they tend to make me look up what actually happened. I find I reimagine the actual history with the actors from the movie and later I may think it was actually in the movie, but at least I know what really happened.

  5. Dave Crockett

    My wife and I waded through the entire series of “The Tudors” a couple of years ago. She is the bigger Anglophile, and can probably recite the entire line of succession in Britain. Me, not so much. It had a couple of hot moments, interspersed with beheadings. Not sure I’d watch it again.

    We’ve also probably watched every British detective show ever made. We didn’t even remember that we’d watched the inspiration for House of Cards until we looked it up and (re)watched the first episode set in London. We, too, bailed on Downton Abbey two seasons back. And I’m afraid our longtime affection for Dr. Who is waning with his latest transmogrification. Tom Baker was THE Dr. Who for us…

    1. Norm Ivey

      My eldest daughter is s big Dr. Who fan. Now that’s a show it take take a year just to binge watch….

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      I have the same objection to “The Tudors” as I do to the new “Five-0” and “Turn” combined, and then some.

      To me, it was soft-core porn. And I base that on having watched only the first episode or so.

      Basically, in this version of history, everyone in the 15th century, male and female, looked like swimsuit models, and they ran around naked a lot.

      I watched the first episode of “Marco Polo,” and it was just the same. Like history as envisioned by Hugh Hefner.

      Speaking of which — I’ve tried watching both “Game of Thrones” (more softcore) and “Gotham” an episode at a time on iTunes. But after two each, it’s just not worth $3.99 an episode to me… Last I saw, Bran was still in a coma…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Of course, I also dislike the OPPOSITE kind of historical fiction — which I once described in a column as… well, I can’t find exactly what I said at the moment. But it was with regard to the film Elizabeth, and I complained that its view of history was something like “in the past, everybody was ugly, dirty and disfigured, and obsessed way too much about religion.”

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Basically, the view of people who lived in the past as dirty and benighted, which is something you get from people who don’t look around at the present with much penetration…

      2. Kathryn Fenner

        We watched through Anne Boleyn’s execution–yes, soft core porn, plus extreme violence. I am way too familiar with Henry VIII and his wives to buy any of it.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I haven’t seen that. But I found the scene in which she sang the above-linked song (sorry, I couldn’t find actual VIDEO of her singing it) was the most riveting in the film…

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    I failed to disclose this above…. I did see the Duke game Saturday night (I say “Duke game” with no other qualifier, because the other team might as well have stayed home, for all the good it did them to be there).

    But that was an outlier, and not descriptive of my habits.

    We had had dinner at my parents’ house, because my brother was in town with his kids (his wife was spending Passover with relatives in Canada), and everybody else in my family is a normal American and watches sports.

    Normally, I wouldn’t watch any NCAA tournament games unless I had filled out a bracket, which I haven’t done in years. And that’s the ONLY basketball you would ever find me watching. I will occasionally snooze in front of a baseball game on a weekend afternoon in the summer. And I might watch the World Series if I can talk myself into caring about which team wins.

    I had sort of wanted to watch the Lady Gamecocks last night, but forgot. I would have had to go over to my parents’ house to do so, but I forgot. I was so miserable with the allergies by that time, from the Easter Egg hunt at my son’s house, that I wasn’t on top of my game.

    (To be clear, I thoroughly enjoyed the gathering of the Warthen and Herring clans, as always. The symptoms didn’t hit me until about 10 minutes before we left, and then hit like a ton of bricks…)

  7. bud

    I’m the only person on earth that will readily admits to watching a lot of TV. Probably too much. I like sports, reality TV, political shows (even Fox News on occasion) and the occasional sitcom. The Big Bang Theory is especially funny. Don’t watch too many dramatic series but did enjoy the last 10 episodes of Breaking Bad. The Bates Motel has it’s moments as does Better Call Saul. Did not like Dexter or the Sapranos. Nor was I huge fan of House of Cards, barely made it through the first episode. The West Wing was ok. Never watched Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire or most of the other big name series. I thought the mini-series was the way to go rather than drag these dramas out over many years. Even the best get tedious after a while. Even Breaking Bad got long-winded but ended with an extraordinary flurry. Probably the best series ending of any TV show in history.

  8. Doug T

    Ya’ll watch a lot of TV. A Chef’s Life and 10 minutes of Morning Joe while dressing for work. Other than that there’s nothing that holds my interest.

      1. Barry

        “Watch” is a strong term for it- just another way to say “it’s on, but I am not paying it much attention)

        and I’m in the same boat. Clearly the posters on here watch 300%+ more television than I do.

        My children watch maybe an hour of television a week – if that much.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I like this description from the NYT:

      Cromwell is the guy who gets things done, often without your knowing it. He’s quiet, sheathed, nocturnal. A watcher, gathering all available data for purposes not yet determined. And yet, over the course of this handsome, dark-grained, faithful adaptation, events tear a hole in his mask of anonymity, and we see that not only does he suffer but, better than anyone he serves or opposes, he also grasps the consequences of his own actions, good or bad. And in the tortured moral landscape of “Wolf Hall,” that may be enough to make him a hero….

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        That review’s one quibble:

        Credulity check: At a time when simply having the Tyndale Bible in your possession was a capital crime, isn’t it hard to believe that Cromwell would have the book sent straight to his house? And then talk about it so freely in front of his wife? Those would have been burning offenses for everyone concerned. (In the novel, Cromwell at least keeps the Bible in a locked chest.)…

        I, too, was bothered by that scene. It seemed infected, anachronistically, with modernism. A man today expresses himself freely at his dining room table. Back then, he did not — especially not in front of children and servants. When he encourages his daughter to admire the Testament, it’s as though he is encouraging his child to play with a viper., and he is far too cavalier about it…

  9. scout

    We do watch a lot of tv. I am completely unaware of when anything comes on anymore though. My husband manages recording stuff and we just watch whatever has built up the biggest backlog.

    We watch Madame Secretary, Big Bang theory, modern family, the middle, law and order svu , the daily show, meet the press, this week, downtown abbey, house of cards, game of thrones.

    He watches more than I do. Shows that I am peripherally aware of because I’m usually in the room but not paying close attention are Gotham, the blacklist, better call Saul, falling skies, person of interest.

    We’ve only just started getting into Netflix. Bletchley circle is very good.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You know what? I left something off my list. I do frequently turn on reruns of “Big Bang Theory” right when I get home in the evening, if I just want to sit for a moment before thinking about dinner or anything.

      So that should have been on my list.

      And that is ONE thing that I watch as it’s broadcast, although we’re talking reruns — on WACH-Fox…

    2. Norm Ivey

      I so wanted to like The Middle because it’s such a knockoff of Malcolm in the Middle. It just doesn’t work as well. I think what made Malcolm so good was the chemistry between all of the actors. It was easy to believe they were a real family.

    3. Kathryn Fenner

      The second series of Bletchley Circle is markedly inferior, though.
      We just started Hinterlands–a detective cop series set in western Wales. Love the accents, and the scenery is amazing!

  10. Barry

    I should have said “you watch more (a lot) television that I do”

    I couldn’t name more than about 4 current tv shows- and I don’t watch any of them.

    I do watch a few old comedies on Me-TV and I do watch good, older movies on TCM (mainly on Friday or Saturday night with my wife as we prefer old movies these days).

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