Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, January 9, 2023

Reader Questions about Television Viewing - Comfort Shows, Binge Watching, and the SWNE Ethos

 

A few reader questions for the community:


Hey Muffy,  how are you?  I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday.  I have a reader question.  I have a library of comfort shows that I put on to fall asleep to every night, and I am looking to add some new shows into my rotation.  What shows do other people on SWNE watch to doze off?  Thank you!

 

To my fellow readers, I am looking for BritBox or Acorn shows to binge watch.  What have been the best shows of 2022, or earlier?

 

Dear Muffy,  thank you for the great posts.  Here is a question for readers that might be better for January than right now...  What movie best captures the soul of SWNE (the blog or the place)?   

 

     

  

52 comments:

  1. Shows on BritBox that may fit the bill include Escape to the Country and Gardener's World.

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  2. Seconding Escape the the Country for Britbox/comfort. Would also like to add the elegiac, dreaminess of Brideshead Revisited.

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  3. MIDSOMER MURDERS seem the most obvious choice, but for me they really do fit the bill. I also love them on Sunday mornings when I'm having my coffee and don't want (or need) to start the day with the inevitable harshness of the news.

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    1. MIDSOMER MURDERS indeed - especially the John Nettles years.

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  4. Lately it seems that EVERYTHING on the television is an irritating assault on your senses. I go to sleep with a book.

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    1. Show me you didn't read the post without saying you didn't read the post.

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    2. @ Anon 3:40 PM Yes, agreed. No TV here. I sleep better after a chapter or two of a great book.

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  5. I agree on Midsomer Murders. I'd add, as very comforting, Doc Martin and All Creatures Great and Small. However, none of those make me sleepy. A meaningless blow out football game does!

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  6. This Farming Life. I believe it's on Britbox now. There are several seasons.

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  7. Father Brown Mysteries

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    1. Yes. And Sister Boniface is cute. I like going back and forth looking at/ comparing some of the episodes of Father Brown to the 70s version.

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  8. Agreed with others: Escape to the Country, Midsomer (that John Nettles inspires confidence I tell ya), the new All Creatures, a new one for me: Escape to the Chateau, and for falling asleep: either Allo! Allo!, Frasier, or Fawlty Towers. I will suggest a rather unorthodox option in the hopes of finding fellow fans: Father Ted. - hrplo

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  9. British fun & comfort: To the Manor Born, and, of course, Keeping Up Appearances, as well as Fawlty Towers.

    U.S. fun and comfort: the Bob Newhart shows, both Chicago and Vermont. I'm partial to the VT series which includes Stephanie and Michael as preposterous preppy types (sort of.)

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  10. A program that we recently discovered and enjoy is 'Pie in the Sky', a wonderful British show from the mid- to late-90s (five seasons, I believe), about a detective who is trying to retire to be the chef at his restaurant called Pie in the Sky. Each episode covers a crime mystery and a parallel plot involving complications at the restaurant. The acting is superb, especially the two leads (Richard Griffiths, Maggie Steed) and you'll want to rush to the kitchen and make one of those delicious-looking savory pies!

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  11. Jeeves and Wooster (PBS early 1990s) or, if watching a film, A Summer Place.

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  12. Another vote for Escape To The Country here. Also, To The Manor Born is pure comfort.

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  13. The wonderful Gemma Jones in the 1976 British series "The Duchess of Duke Street" is on Britbox as is the 1974 "Upstairs, Downstairs", For a laugh and look back to things from that side of the Atlantic, my husband bought me the complete "WKRP in Cincinnati" box set for Christmas.

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  14. Truth be told, any of these shows that have been suggested are so lovely that the stories keep me awake. Here are just a few of my favorites: Cranford, Buds of May, Lark Rise to Candleford, Seaside Hotel (Danish with subtitles), Madame Blanc, Queens of Mystery, Lovejoy, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Monarch of the Glen.

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  15. For a classic movie, I'd recommend Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House

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    1. That is a terrific choice. If we are venturing into movies, I suggest A Room With a View, Chocolat, and Enchanted April. If we include older PBS, the Peter Wimsey shows are comfortable, but they are thoughtful enough that they will not lull you to sleep.

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    2. "On them second floor lintels between the lally columns, do you want we should rabbet them or not?" - hrplo

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  16. I Claudius starring Derek Jacobi (1976?), The Durrells of Corfu, any of the original Inspector Morse programs, Butterflies (1978-1982) by Carla Laine among others. The original All Creatures Great and Small (late 1970s?). There are so many. Well written series are, like a good book, always fun to revisit. You rediscover things you had forgotten and, at the same time, find new, previously missed details.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  17. I've always enjoyed "Upstairs, Downstairs", "As Time Goes By" and "Pride and Prejudice" (the 1995 BBC version) and will watch those time and time again. As for US series, reruns of "Frasier" and "Seinfeld" always keep me laughing; "The Bob Newhart" (Vermont) makes me smile, too, and made me appreciate the state. Movies that I watch over and over again are "Out of Africa", "Babettes Gæstebud" (Babette's Feast), "The Sound of Music", "Kukuška" (The Cuckoo), and "South Pacific" are firm favourites.

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  18. We still use the Jesse Stone movies to drift off, among others, The music by Jeff Beal is haunting, with a little Brahms thown in as well, and there is very little shouting or shooting. The Jeff Beal scores can also be had on CD if the light from the TV bothers you falling asleep

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    1. Yes, The Jesse Stone series becomes pretty soporific after a while!

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  19. "Detectorists", "The Vicar of Dibley", "Hamish MacBeth", "My Uncle Silas"; and the film "Local Hero" (1983). And oddly enough, 1978's "Animal House" has quite a rich vein of Prep/Ivy early-60's nostalgia, for those who were there.

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    1. Local Hero is a favorite especially due to the haunting Mark Knopfler soundtrack.

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    2. The tweed ain't bad either.

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    3. I had to do a 'Find in Page' as I was struggling to see any mention of Detectorists! It's the definitive comfort, binge watch. Everything about it is just perfect; the plots, the actors, the music, the scenery, the activities. I've recently revisited all three series and it just gets better with each watch. It's the kind of show you want to carry around in your pocket and pass to everyone you meet. Same goes for the film you have mentioned, Local Hero. An equally perfect film and soundtrack which just makes you wish you were there.

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  20. TV shows are well Covered. I might add the original Law and Order is a personal favorite for late nights by the fire.
    Interesting Movies set in New England IMO: Dead Poets Society, Mona Lisa Smile, The Romantics?, Moonrise Kingdom,
    Movies that capture the spirit of this blog (or maybe I’m off base): The Post, Metropolitan?, The Queen, The Iron Lady, The Darkest Hour, Father of the Bride

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    1. There was a time that you could turn on the TV at any hour and find an episode of Law & Order. I appreciated that when spending the longest two days of my life in the hospital after my appendectomy.

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  21. As Times Go By, Doc Martin, All Creatures Great and Small- both the original and the new current version.

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  22. I enjoyed the first season of Clarkson's Farm on Amazon Prime Video. I'm excited for the second season. It's about an English automotive journalist's experience running his "new" farm in the Cotswalds. It's surprisingly funny and engaging.

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  23. Indeed, my wife and I re currently enjoying the recent version (Season Two) of All Creatures. . . Great stuff as Cary Grant might have said.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  24. Two series I haven't seen mentioned are To Serve Them All My Days, an early '80s show about a Welsh coal miner's son who becomes a teacher at an exclusive English public school (this would fall under the "comfortable" category), and Line of Duty, a multi-season cop show that is anything but comfortable but lends itself well to binge-watching.

    As far as movies that reflect the ethos, I'd recommend the Whit Stillman trilogy Metropolitan, Barcelona, and Last Days of Disco. More NYC focused than New England but a fine social commentary on the WASP and preppy ethos.

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    1. Thanks for the reminder about To Serve Them All My Days! I've now requested the DVD series from our inter-library system.

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    2. I always found Diner almost foundational to the Stillman trilogy. There are an awful lot of great movies that capture that era. Some are on the zany end like the Doris Day movies, some are perplexing, like breakfast at Tiffany's, and some are down the middle, like Mystic Pizza.. However, they are so entertaining it would be hard to nod off to one.

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    3. Love Diner!! "Excuse me -- Earl -- does that include the Maryland Fried Chicken?"

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  25. I have been using the (now in its 12 series) Death in Paradise to fall asleep for over a year now. It's lighthearted, predictable, and has a likable cast and broader story. I've also enjoyed Shakespeare and Hathaway (BritBox) and Grantchester (PBS). I do miss Foyle's War on Acorn but decided it would be prudent to only subscribe to one British streaming service at a time.

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    1. I love Death in Paradise (only on cold, rainy, snowy days though...🤔😌 )

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  26. Poirot, Lord Peter Wimsey, Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes, Jeeves and Wooster, I Claudius...hmmm...seems like a pattern here.

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  27. All these wonderful shows. I'll add Shetland. (I know DI Perez retired (Douglas Henshall left the show) but I still like to go back through the earlier seasons.)

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    1. I agree! I already miss Douglas Henshall and Shetland, but true to the show, ended DI Perez' tenure with a lot of heart and class.

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  28. To the British comedy series mentioned here, I would add "Are you Being Served?"

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  29. Another vote for Local Hero and both the original and new All Creatures Great and Small, and Last Tango in Halifax. A lovely film from the coast of Maine is The Whales of August.

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  30. As Time Goes By, One Foot In The Grave, Ballykissangel, Escape to the Country, George Clark's Amazing Spaces are all favorites here. Two series' that I really recommend that were on Acorn (not sure if they still are as we don't currently have a subscription) are The Level and The Loch (or Loch Ness, can't remember which it is called in the US) , both very good mystery watching. And of course, Doc Martin!

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  31. Dectectorists is all you really need. Utter perfection.

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  32. Love anything with Nick and Nora in it. The Thin Man Series

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  33. "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" makes me yearn for the 1920's that I never knew. Also "Mapp & Lucia" 1985 version (not the 2014).

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  34. You may find you sleep better without a screen in your bedroom. Moreover, is it not doing the maker/director/actors a disservice to use their work as a sleeping aid (haha...)? Narrative should be enlightening rather than sleep inducing! :)

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  35. A great show on Netflix that fits the bill is called Still Game (Scottish Show). Easy watching at its finest.

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