What are you watching? Readers recommend 'Occupied,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'

Monitor TV and movie fans share what they've been watching lately.

John P. Johnson/HBO
'Silicon Valley'

WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING?  Write and tell us at whatareyouwatching@csmonitor.com.

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

Courtesy of Adrian Rogers/Mammoth Screen for BBC and Masterpiece
'Poldark'

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.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.