I am tempted to call what follows “reviews for the slothful.” First, they come from me… arguably the most sedentary individual of my generation without a wheelchair.
Secondly, although I know most editors expect primarily show business commentary from this TV veteran with a resume, including producing something like 400 hours of prime-time television dramas over a 50-year period, I am (as previously indicated) somewhat slow to get around to things.
Take Borgen, for example. It has been out for a while. I am mid-way through season two of this Danish drama and I find myself belatedly commending it to your attention for the very first time.
Better late than never.
It is on Netflix and it is, to the parliamentary system of government, what West Wing was to politics in the U.S. of A. (or at least what we all like to think politics in the U.S. of A. used to be).
I am also crazy about Dead to Me. I understand there will be a post pandemic third season (again on Netflix) and I cannot wait to see it. Christina Applegate may just be the best female lead to hit your television screen since Sharon Gless (and most of you know of my heavy bias toward that multi-Emmy Award Winner).
While alluding to La Gless, let me disclose that we were just co-occupying New York City…. fully expecting to find a ghost town and rather amazed that old NYC is alive and well… not yet fully recouped… but on the road to becoming (again) its former self.
Without theatre, Sharon and I visited with friends and such celebrity pals as Renee Taylor, Lee Grant, and Brenda Vaccaro. We missed Tyne Daly who had only recently closed her New York apartment to relocate on the West Coast, to be much closer to her three daughters and her grandchildren.
We dined al fresco and enjoyed one of the best weeks of Big Apple weather I can remember, all the while alerting our friends to tune into Amazon Prime and our 30-year-old wonder, The Trials of Rosie O’Neill. Watching it all these years later, I do not think I have ever been prouder of something I have done, and I now spend a fair amount of my time commending its viewing to anyone who will listen. Try it. It is a very good show (even if I do say so myself—again).
I write this piece while on the road returning by car from NYC to my home on Fisher Island, just off the coast of Miami’s famed South Beach. It is something like day six of the driving trip and a rainy day in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where I have stopped for a day or three, and so have decided to dash this column off in between chapters of the delightful novel I am now reading.
Once again, I am behind the times. Published in 2016, I am only now getting around to A Gentleman from Moscow; the best book (by far) I have read in the more than 10 years that have passed since reading Water for Elephants. The latter made a pretty poor movie, and the Moscow book will likewise not be an easy adaptation. Still, with the right cast I would stand in line to be among the first to see it.
Readers of these notes of mine know I am far from a voracious reader. I am, however, a passionate one and I revel in realizing, within a very few pages, that I am in the hands of a professional who knows writing and how to tell a story. And if on top of that the author writes passages that are quotable…. Well, there is little that compares to that…. Especially when the passage touches something with which the reader can identify; something that brings to the fore an idea you know you have had, but just never really expressed before.
As a former somebody… and only recently someone accepting the title of “has been” … I particularly sparked to this paragraph about the “Confederacy of the humbled:”
…a close-knit brotherhood whose members travel with no outward markings, but who know each other at a glance. For having fallen suddenly from grace, those in the Confederacy share a certain perspective. Knowing beauty, influence, fame, and privilege to be borrowed rather than bestowed, they are not easily impressed. They are not quick to envy or take offense. They certainly do not scour the papers in search of their own names. They remain committed to living among their peers, but they greet adulation with caution, ambition with sympathy and condescension with an inward smile.
I am not going to top that piece of writing and so will simply adjourn until next time…. Maybe from the Carolinas, Georgia or (most likely) my warm Island off the coast of Miami Beach.
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And since Barney is reviewing books, I may as well include his back cover review of my own “BOOK OF STORY RHYMES – Tales of Unpredictable People and the Baggage They Carry”.
“Dena Stewart’s Book of Story Rhymes is a delight. I started smiling on page one, knowing I was in the hands of an author graced with wit and style.” Barney Rosenzweig, Emmy Award winning producer, and author of Cagney & Lacey…and Me