The Ken Burns production, The Civil War, is without a doubt the strongest of all his PBS documentaries (at least for me)--and he has had numerous outstanding efforts.The photography of the utter poverty and horrible treatment of slaves combined with battlefields filled with soldiers' bodies was unbelievable.The historian interviews were as insightful as any I ever listened to in any documentary ever. I could easily get carried away writing about the subject matter here, but great documentaries will do that, and Ken Burns and PBS are the best at it. I can only hope we as a human race can watch this and come away a different people.
Blooregard Q. Kazoo is an imaginary friend who lives with his best friend Mac, but Mac is getting older, and his parents want him to get rid of Bloo. They take Mac and Bloo to a foster home for imaginary friends, where unwanted imaginary friends are taken to be adopted by new families.
Madame Foster, the owner of the home, cuts Mac and Bloo a deal: if Mac comes every day, Bloo can stay at the home without being adopted. Thus begins the chaos of Mac coming to the home every day and interacting with the wildly creative cast of imaginary creatures and the antics that he and Bloo cause daily. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (2004, rated TV-Y7) is filled with wonder, creativity, and beautiful animation from the opening to the end credits.
Watch season 1 of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends on Hoopla today.
Pure escapism makes New Girl (2011-2018, TV-14) a perfect pandemic binge watch. Admittedly I came late to the party, but that doesn't make this sitcom any less enjoyable. The delightfully quirky Zooey Deschanel stars as the eponymous "new girl" aka Jess, a 30-something who moves into a loft apartment with three roommates found on Craigslist following a messy breakup.
Follow the zany adventures of Jess and her roommates Nick, Schmidt, and Winston (Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, and Lamorne Morris), along with Jess's best friend Cece (Hannah Simone). The chemistry of the cast is apparent, making the relationships (both platonic and not) engaging and charming to watch.
I binge watched this heartwarming and fun series in one sitting. Akko has dreamed of becoming a witch from the moment she went to a Shiny Chariot event where she witnessed the power of magic. Although she is from a non-magical family, she is inspired by Shiny Chariot's performance. Determined to make her dream come true, she attends Luna Nova Academy, a school where girls learn and develop their magical skills. It's where her adventure begins. There, Akko faces the trials of school and friendship while learning each step of the way.
Follow Akko and her friends on their fun and magical adventures as she pursues her dreams of becoming a witch in Little Witch Academia (2017, TV-Y7). Check out a Roku with Netflix to watch the series today.
A fantasy series full of magic, horror, wit, and fabulous costumes, The Magicians (2015-2020) is like Harry Potter for grown-ups. Based on the books by Lev Grossman, who borrows from other popular fantasy stories (most notably the Narnia series), this TV show revolves around a group of young people who are tested for their magical ability and offered places in Brakebills, an academy for magicians.
Adventure abounds as they discover and hone their magical skills, missteps and disasters just adding to their education. Add to this the possibility of travel to other worlds and a mysterious beast targeting the school, and you have an exciting, action filled show.
Please note that this is for adult audiences (rated TV-14)
Regular Show (2009-2017) is anything but regular. It follows two best friends a blue jay, Mordecai, and a raccoon, Rigby, who work as groundskeepers at a park together. They work at the park, but they spend most of their time trying to get out of work or slacking off whenever they can at the behest of their boss, a gumball machine named Benson. Their antics usually lead to some aspect of the park getting destroyed, leaving them to clean up the mess afterwards.
While it is unusual for a kids show to feature mainly adults, it helps with the charm of the show because they have many nods to adult items and drinks being switched for more family friendly ones. The adventures they go on are fun and the dialogue and characters are enjoyable. Look at Regular Show if you are looking for a more mature but silly animated show.
Watch season 1 of Regular Show(rated TV-PG) on Hoopla today.
Doctor Venture lives in the shadow of his father's past accomplishments in super science struggling to make new inventions. At the Venture compound with his two sons, Hank and Dean, and his bodyguard Brock, he works on inventions, even selling his father's old ones to shady parties to keep the lights on. His inadequacies are not the only trouble he must worry about: his archnemesis the Monarch, a man in a butterfly costume with a flying cocoon, tries to kill him every week.
The Venture Bros. Season 1 (2003-2004, rated TV-MA) is a wild ride looking at super scientists, villains, bureaucracy, and incompetency with old school Hanna-Barbera cartoon cameos creating a cult classic comedy worth watching. Watch it on Hoopla today.
This series was so well done. Set in the future, Westworld (2016-) explores a theme park inhabited by artificial hosts and the wealthy humans who vacation there. Visitors are allowed to live out their fantasies, whether good or evil. The park indulges every wish, all with no consequences, with the motto being "Live without Limits." That is, of course, until the hosts start to deviate from their expected parameters.
In my opinion, Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton steal the show from an all-star cast, including Anthony Hopkins. These two powerful actresses show such a deep scope of emotions as they slowly come to the realization of what they were created for.
This American sitcom was the best show ever on TV. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005, rated TV-PG) features the comedic happenings of the Barone family. Starring Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, and Peter Boyle, the casting is right on.
The writing was superb. I've watched all of the seasons over and over again, and I laugh so hard every time. Check out all nine seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond from the library today.
Here are a few TV shows I've enjoyed streaming on Netflix. No worries if you don't have your own subscription—borrow one of the library's Rokus to use ours!
- Virgin River: In season 1 of this contemporary romance, a nurse practitioner moves to the small California town of Virgin River. Bonus: It's based on the bestselling series by Robyn Carr (and you can read all the books via Hoopla).
- Grace and Frankie: In this adult comedy, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as friends brought together after their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. The women are forced to live together—and there are six seasons to enjoy so far.
- Dirty John: In this drama based on a chilling true story, follow a successful woman who falls for a conman. It has lots of twists and turns and stars Connie Britton and Eric Bana. So far, season 1 has been released.
In Avatar: The Last Airbender the world is filled with war and chaos as the Fire Nation tries to continue its conquest of the Earth and Water Nations. The main tool for war are benders who control the various elements of fire, water, earth and air, and only the avatar can use all of them, but he is missing. The story follows Katara and Sokka from the Southern Water tribe who find Aang, a young airbender who is also the avatar, trapped in an iceberg. Aang needs to learn to master all the elements so he can stop the Fire Nation and restore order to the world.
Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008) is a great animated series for all ages. There is something for everyone in the story, with fun memorable characters and fantastic fight scenes. Binge watch season 1 (2005-2006) on Hoopla today or check out seasons 1 - 3 on dvd. You can also read the comics!
And check back soon for my review of the sequel, The Legend of Korra.
Watch this 90-minute documentary about the story of Nikola Tesla and his achievements from the early 1900s. He was overshadowed by many famous inventors in his day and was never given the recognition he deserved—to this day. He was considered the inventor that kick started the Industrial Revolution.
In Teslafy Me (2019), I learned his patents and ideas are still being used today and remain unchanged. He believed in renewable energy and that energy should be provided to the world for free. His technologies were ahead of their time. He believed in free wireless power transmission and had ideas for cell phones and internet. He was definitely a genius and we are only finding out about him today.
This TV show is classified as a comedy, but it's much, much more than that. Heiko Schotte works with, but not for, the police, cleaning up blood and gore at the scenes of violent crimes. While he works, he becomes involved with homeowners and people visiting the places he's cleaning. Schotty, as he calls himself, doesn't get much cleaning done. Most of the episodes are Schotty and someone else just talking. It's philosophical with really thought-provoking observations on humanity and life—all with some laugh out loud moments.
There are ten 25-minute episodes in season 1. Crime Scene Cleaner (2011-2018) has some adult situations and is not for children.This series is worth a look. Start with season 1 on Hoopla. So far, Hoopla has the first two seasons of this interesting sophisticated series. In German with English subtitles.
Join Bluey, a blue heeler puppy, along with her Mum, Dad, and little sister, Bingo, for delightfully simple and charming mini adventures. Each 22-minute episode contains three separate stories, demonstrating the joys and challenges of childhood, siblings, and friends. One of the best parts of this show is the dynamics between the characters and how well the parents play and interact with their children.
Bluey's Mum is active and athletic and works a job outside the home, while her Dad stays home with the girls, often playing imaginative games together, and often both are home for family time. Bluey and Bingo appropriately represent 6-and 4-year-olds through the series, in their struggles to share and take turns, and in their sweetness, creativity, and sometimes just silliness.
Bluey (TV-Y) is perfect for little kids and grownups to enjoy and laugh along with together. Check out one of the Family Rokus with Disney+ to watch the series.
When you are looking for binge-able TV to occupy your time, don't overlook the oldies but goodies, like 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001, rated TV-PG). Enjoy the familiar, though much younger, faces of John Lithgow and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this sitcom about a group of aliens on a mission to study human behavior by posing as a not-quite average family stationed in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio.
Hilarious antics ensue as the foursome navigate how to act like a family unit, form romantic relationships, and establish a sense of self in their unfamiliar bodies.