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While there’s plenty to like about HBO’s Silicon Valley – the playful teasing of the ultraliberal, ultrahipster denizens of the San Francisco Bay Area; the perfect representation of the people who run the tech industry; the creepy-if-adorable quirks of introverted coders – what really stands out is the character Jared, played by Zach Woods. Jared is originally cast as a lovable loser who evolves into the backbone of the company Pied Piper. He’s sort of a doormat with a mysterious, dark history that he alludes to through hilarious non sequiturs that are also really heartbreaking. It would be easy to credit the writers alone for creating such an enjoyable character, but Woods’s performance is impeccable, making Jared a delight to watch.
– Shana Lee, San Diego
My latest binge is Occupied, a political thriller that aired on TV2 in Norway. On the show, the idealist Green Party prime minister of Norway stops all oil and gas production in the North Sea. Enraged, the European Union calls on Russia to do the dirty work of forcefully retaking the oil platforms. Stunned and desperate politicians must now try to save their nation as Russia takes the opportunity to spread its brute-force tentacles into Norwegian society, prompting clashes with a groundswell of citizen fighters. “Occupied” is my kind of show because I like to see politicians try to squirm out of the messes they make.
– Phil Cobb, San Antonio
I have been watching the Seven Network’s A Place to Call Home and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Setting is important to me. Both of these stories feature places I’d like to be – a beautiful countryside and New York City. Both are all about the women. One is soapy, in a good way, and the other is sharp and funny. And the capper is the music in “Mrs. Maisel.” It makes me happy.
– Karen Burke West, Round Rock, Texas
I have been watching the BBC’s Poldark and Death Comes to Pemberley; the Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart; Netflix’s Good Morning Call, 3%, and Cable Girls; and Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Mozart in the Jungle. What ties all these shows together and what I like about them is a sense of place and world-building with great acting. I like the characters and their stories.
– Keira Gillett, Palm Bay, Fla.