Top Picks: 'Modern Love: The Podcast,' 'Bridge of Spies' on DVD and Blu-ray, and more

'B.B. King: The Life of Riley' on PBS explores the life of the famous blues artist, the National Geographic Channel series 'Generation X' looks at how everything from Watergate to the movie 'Reality Bites' shaped the generation, and more top picks.

Jazz debut

When a brand-new album is described as “straight ahead” – especially in jazz – we say, “lead the way!” Pianist Sullivan Fortner’s debut Aria, reminiscent of the best of old-school piano jazz, swings and delights. A savvy mix of originals and surprising standards, propelled deftly along by drums, bass, and soprano sax, makes for a sterling debut that is at once timeless and new.


King of the blues

Musician B.B. King became one of the most famous blues artists of all time. The “American Masters” special B.B. King: The Life of Riley explores his life from his childhood during segregation to his stature in the music industry. The special includes interviews with King, who died in 2015, as well as other artists inspired by his talent. “B.B. King: The Life of Riley” airs on PBS on Feb. 12 at 9 p.m.

Weekly valentines

The New York Times has teamed up with WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, to create Modern Love: The Podcast. The weekly series, based on the Times’s popular “Modern Love” column, explores real-life stories of surprise, loss, and treasures of the heart. Broadway actress Lauren Molina and Jason Alexander bring dramatic flair to the first couple of episodes. Posted each Thursday, the episodes are available at,, and on iTunes. 

Generation X explained

What place do the members of Generation X have in our world today? The new six-part National Geographic Channel series Generation X looks at how the Vietnam War, Watergate, the AIDS health crisis, and even the movie “Reality Bites” shaped the generation born between 1961 and 1981. The program premières Feb. 14 at 10 p.m. Check local listings. (Viewers should be aware that it includes some adult language.) 


Cat and mouse

Trying to catch up on Oscar nominees before the big night? Bridge of Spies, the newest film from Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, has been nominated for best picture, and Mark Rylance has been nominated for best supporting actor. The movie, based on the 1960 U-2 incident during the cold war, tells the story of an American lawyer who becomes involved in a Soviet prisoner exchange. It’s now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.