Top Picks: The TV series 'Deutschland 83,' Melody Gardot's album 'Currency of Man,' and more

New York Philharmonic makes a poignant music selection for its New Year's Eve concert, the app Plex lets you organize your movies, TV shows, music, and photos and streams them all to your devices, and more top picks.

Decca Records

East vs. West

Leave it to SundanceTV to make a cold-war spy series entertaining. Deutschland 83 is an eight-part series that pits East Germany against West Germany (and its US allies) in an engrossing cat-and-mouse game of spy and counterspy. The youthful German cast is appealing, and the series has a playful tongue-in-cheek script, even as the clock ticks relentlessly toward the possibility of World War III. It’s set to upbeat 1980s pop music, and has English subtitles. It’s streaming now on Hulu.

Concert for Paris

Ring in the new year with beautiful music. New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve: La Vie Parisienne will present an especially poignant selection to sound out 2015 with the New York Philharmonic and special guests performing some of France’s greatest creations – “La Vie en Rose,” Saint-Saëns’s “Carnival of the Animals,” Offenbach’s “Can-Can,” and more. Check it out on “Live from Lincoln Center” on Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. on PBS. 

Smoldering soul

“What is enough is just to remember that once/ Once I was loved.” So sings the deeply soulful chameleon Melody Gardot on her latest album, Currency of Man. The undersung Philadelphia-based artist can master almost anything, from bossa nova to jazz to cabaret. On this collection she evokes a simmering Nina Simone-style soul, with a touch of Bill Withers. She’s a singer’s singer.

Apple TV organizer

Did you snag a new Apple TV over the holidays? If so, check out Plex. The media server and library organizes your movies, TV shows, music, and photos and streams them to all your devices, much like iTunes. Plex adds artwork and details such as plot summaries, cast info, and ratings, which creates an elegant personal media library complete with playlists and search functions. The app is free from the tvOS App Store. Or check it out at 

Zero waste

Want to go greener in the new year? Get inspired by a town in Japan that has drastically reduced its waste. In Kamikatsu, residents separate their trash into more than 30 categories. By doing so, they’ve saved money and made a positive environmental impact. Check it out at

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