What I'm Watching: Early 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020


I always say that I don't watch a lot of TV, but it's possible that I watch a lot of TV? It's weird because I'm always doing something else; I never just stop & sit & focus on what I'm watching. I'm always multi-tasking, always doing two or three things at once, & so, as a result, I can really only watch shows that don't require a ton of attention... which means I watch a lot of bad TV. Or at least extremely basic TV.

But you know what? One of my new year's resolutions was not to be ashamed anymore of my guilty pleasures or to feel pressured to like the pop culture phenomenons that everyone else seems to love - which includes "deep" TV shows. Here are the very not-deep shows I've been watching lately, each of them as entertaining as the last.

Virgin River
My friend Rebecca introduced me to this Netflix original while we were in Florida together, & I took to it right away: Traumatized nurse practitioner relocates to the smallest of small towns & hits it off with the good-looking bar owner who just happens to have a girlfriend.

It stars Alexandra Breckenridge as main character Melinda Monroe & Martin Henderson, formerly of Grey's Anatomy, as the rugged Jack - rounded out by a stellar cast of quirky characters who really bring small-town life to, well, life.

The Bachelor
Yeah, yeah, by now everyone knows that I love The Bachelor. I've written about it at length, which is not embarrassing at all. I even listen to recap podcasts & participate in Facebook groups about the show, which is even more not-embarrassing.

Real-talk? Pilot Pete's season of The Bachelor has been shit so far. All of these women are young & trashy & immature & appear to be driven solely by Instagram fame, so the show isn't giving me the warm fuzzies that my guilty pleasure show usually does. But you know I'm gonna keep watching.

Chicago Med
I've written about this one before while gushing about my love of medical dramas. Part of Dick Wolf's Chicago franchise, Chicago Med chronicles the day-to-day lives of the ER doctors & nurses at a hospital of the same name - & you can enjoy it even if you don't watch any of the other Chicago shows.

My favorite characters include Will Halstead, doc with a conscience, & skilled nurse April Sexton, played by former America's Next Top Model finalist Yaya DaCosta. Oh, yeah, & S. Epatha Merkerson, formerly of the SVU franchise, has a lead role, too - unsurprising, given her existing Dick Wolf connections!

Stumptown
I didn't think I'd like this one, based on the previews, but I like Cobie Smulders enough to try - & it turned out to be a delightful, not-taking-itself-too-seriously crime drama about Dex Parios, a slightly messy PI with military-related PTSD.

Other characters include her brother Ansel, who has Down syndrome & is trying to convince his sister to let him be more adult; her best friend Grey, a bar owner & reformed car thief played by the ever-adorable Jake Johnson; & Miles, the smoldering detective Dex partners with in more ways than one.

Manifest
I love an unbelievable sci-fi-lite drama, & this one is the version du jour. A plane full of people disappears off the map... only to reappear years later, with everyone still on it, the same age as they were when they disappeared & with absolutely no sense of having been gone longer than the length of a regular flight.

But then the passengers start experiencing some serious weirdness, hearing what they dub "callings" that urge them to take specific actions - most of which save other people's lives in mysterious & inexplicable ways. Now, to complicate things, a government entity is coming after the survivors.

You
I love You. Is there anything creepier than You? I am so freaked out by You. All jokes aside, though, this show is hella unsettling, & I have to watch the second season slowly because when I binged the first season, I started having truly insane nightmares.

If you're somehow living under a rock & not yet familiar, You stars the beautiful, mysterious Penn Badgley as Joe, a bookstore employee who becomes unhealthily obsessed - to put it mildly - with a customer; in season two, he's started over in a new city, but, well, it's the same thing all over again. And it is deeply unsettling.

9-1-1
Could this show be any more far-fetched? Alas, probably not - but because I love me some trashy TV, I'm truly enamored of this one. Whenever a new ep pops up on Hulu, it's the first thing I watch! Starring Angela Bassett & Jennifer Love Hewitt as first responders, it's full of juicy, unbelievable drama.

9-1-1 covers aspects of criminal & medical emergencies not typically seen in crime or medical dramas: It's just the emergency part, starting with 9-1-1 operators taking calls & ending with first paramedics and/or police on the scene. A collapsing hotel? Check. A helicopter crash following a mid-air engagement? Check. A devastating, flood-inducing monsoon at an amusement park? Check.

So tell me: What are you watching? What do I need to watch next? Hit me with your best recs!

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