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Avatar: The Last Airbender

In Avatar: The Last Airbender the world is filled with war and chaos as the Fire Nation tries to continue its conquest of the Earth and Water Nations. The main tool for war are benders who control the various elements of fire, water, earth and air, and only the avatar can use all of them, but he is missing. The story follows Katara and Sokka from the Southern Water tribe who find Aang, a young airbender who is also the avatar, trapped in an iceberg. Aang needs to learn to master all the elements so he can stop the Fire Nation and restore order to the world.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008) is a great animated series for all ages. There is something for everyone in the story, with fun memorable characters and fantastic fight scenes. Binge watch season 1 (2005-2006) on Hoopla today or check out seasons 1 - 3 on dvd. You can also read the comics!

And check back soon for my review of the sequel, The Legend of Korra. 

Teslafy Me

Watch this 90-minute documentary about the story of Nikola Tesla and his achievements from the early 1900s. He was overshadowed by many famous inventors in his day and was never given the recognition he deserved—to this day. He was considered the inventor that kick started the Industrial Revolution.

In Teslafy Me (2019), I learned his patents and ideas are still being used today and remain unchanged. He believed in renewable energy and that energy should be provided to the world for free. His technologies were ahead of their time. He believed in free wireless power transmission and had ideas for cell phones and internet. He was definitely a genius and we are only finding out about him today.

Watch Teslafy Me on Hoopla today. If you are interested in this subject, read or listen to books about and by Nikola Tesla on Hoopla.


Crime Scene Cleaner

This TV show is classified as a comedy, but it's much, much more than that. Heiko Schotte works with, but not for, the police, cleaning up blood and gore at the scenes of violent crimes. While he works, he becomes involved with homeowners and people visiting the places he's cleaning. Schotty, as he calls himself, doesn't get much cleaning done. Most of the episodes are Schotty and someone else just talking. It's philosophical with really thought-provoking observations on humanity and life—all with some laugh out loud moments.

There are ten 25-minute episodes in season 1. Crime Scene Cleaner (2011-2018) has some adult situations and is not for children.This series is worth a look. Start with season 1 on Hoopla. So far, Hoopla has the first two seasons of this interesting sophisticated seriesIn German with English subtitles.


Bluey (2018-)

Join Bluey, a blue heeler puppy, along with her Mum, Dad, and little sister, Bingo, for delightfully simple and charming mini adventures. Each 22-minute episode contains three separate stories, demonstrating the joys and challenges of childhood, siblings, and friends. One of the best parts of this show is the dynamics between the characters and how well the parents play and interact with their children.

Bluey's Mum is active and athletic and works a job outside the home, while her Dad stays home with the girls, often playing imaginative games together, and often both are home for family time. Bluey and Bingo appropriately represent 6-and 4-year-olds through the series, in their struggles to share and take turns, and in their sweetness, creativity, and sometimes just silliness.

Bluey (TV-Y) is perfect for little kids and grownups to enjoy and laugh along with together. Check out one of the Family Rokus with Disney+ to watch the series.

3rd Rock from the Sun

When you are looking for binge-able TV to occupy your time, don't overlook the oldies but goodies, like 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001, rated TV-PG). Enjoy the familiar, though much younger, faces of John Lithgow and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this sitcom about a group of aliens on a mission to study human behavior by posing as a not-quite average family stationed in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio.

Hilarious antics ensue as the foursome navigate how to act like a family unit, form romantic relationships, and establish a sense of self in their unfamiliar bodies.

Stream all six seasons on Hoopla or place holds on the dvds!


Mr. Mercedes. Season 1

Having read and enjoyed Mr. Mercedes, the first novel in a trilogy by Stephen King,  I was curious to see how another of Stephen King's books was adapted into a TV series.

The story begins as a madman in a stolen Mercedes plows into a crowd of job seekers, killing eight people and injuring many others.  Several months later, we meet Bill Hodges, a now retired cop turned private detective whose life is deteriorating as he is haunted by the unsolved case of the Mercedes killer.  We then meet the psychopathic killer who starts tormenting Bill with letters and emails, taunting him with the promise of another evil act violence.  Only Bill and two new, unusual allies can stop the killer before he strikes again.

The casting of the series is great, led by Brendan Gleeson as Bill.  I thought Mr. Mercedes season 1 (2017, rated TV-M) was entertaining and thrilling.  I followed it by watching Season 2 which was the story of the third book, End of Watch.  I am eagerly awaiting the release of season 3, an adaptation of the story in book 2, Finders Keepers.

Stephen King fans can follow one of the characters introduced in this series, Holly Gibney, in the excellent adaption of King's novel, The Outsider, recently released on HBO.

Get started by watching season 1 of Mr. Mercedes on Hoopla today.


The War

If you are a history buff, you will enjoy this Ken Burns production.  The War (TV-14) is a seven-part documentary miniseries about World War II.  This excellent PBS series originally aired in 2007.  It was nominated for 12 awards, with eight wins, including three Primetime Emmy awards in 2008.  The story is told through the unique perspective of four towns in the United States, and how the war forever impacts the lives of the people living there.  You will follow the journey of the people who served in the military, and the people at home awaiting their return.

Watch The War on Hoopla today.


800 Words

I enjoy watching the TV series, 800 Words, which has both comedy and drama.  The recently widowed George tries raising his two teenagers while starting over in New Zealand.  There is plenty for family audiences to enjoy as George often begins an episode posing a dilemma, but by the end of the show discovers something about himself and being a father.  It is also filled with plenty of sunshine and beach scenery because they live in a beautiful seaside town and George likes surfing, or at least he tries.  Also, there are several beautiful single women vying for Georges attention.  What's not to like?

Binge watch 800 Words (2015-2018) on Hoopla. The complete series (3 seasons) is available.



Impractical Jokers

Four lifelong friends compete against one another to see how they can embarrass each other.  If you refuse to do what the others tell you to say, then you lose.  If you lose the most, you have a punishment you must do.

The premise is simple, but the execution is hilarious.  They place the group in real life situations where the public has no idea what is going on, leading to fun and embarrassing interactions.  It is always a treat to see what they are going to have to do next and who is going to be the "big loser" at the end.

Binge watch Season 1 (2011-2012) of Impractical Jokers on Hoopla, then continue on to Seasons 2 and 3.

Scott & Bailey. The Complete Series (2011-2016)

Do you love British crime TV?  Watch it from more of a female perspective with Scott and Bailey (TV-14).  Set in Manchester, UK, this police procedural follows the story of two strong female detectives as they solve crime while also dealing with office politics and personal problems.  Not only are the cases they are faced with fascinating, but the continuing backstory is also gripping.

Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones make a formidable and entertaining partnership as detectives Scott and Bailey, who will have you rooting for them through their various trials and tribulations.  To give the show grittiness and doses of reality the writers of this series sought advice from a former Manchester police detective.

The entire show (seasons 1-5) is available to watch instantly on Hoopla.

Detectorists

Why would someone create a show about amateur metal detectorists? I put aside my doubts and tuned in. These two oddball Englishmen travel all over the countryside hoping to uncover buried Saxon treasures! But it's a cutthroat hobby—who would have thought? I was hooked after the first episode of Detectorists. Share the lives, loves, and detecting ambitions of Andy and Lance. You never know what you will uncover.

Binge the whole series on Hoopla! The complete series (2014-2017) is available to watch instantly.


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So Weird. The Complete Series (1999-2001)

I have been finding that Disney+ is a great way to relive favorite shows of your childhood.  My latest binge was So Weird (TV-Y7), about Fiona, a teenager, on the road with a band for which her mom (Mackenzie Phillips) is the lead singer.  Fiona is drawn to everything strange and unusual, which she constantly stumbles upon, revealing more and more about her father's unexplained car accident when she was a baby.

While revolving around many supernatural occurrences, older kids and their families can enjoy this family adventure/mystery series together.  So Weird originally aired on The Disney Channel in the late 90s, but you can now stream the entire series on Disney+ via the library's Family Roku devices.

Derry Girls. Seasons 1 and 2

Set in 1990s Londonderry (Derry), Ireland, during the conflict between Northern Ireland and Ireland, Derry Girls (2018-) follows the lives of four teenage girls.  This Irish sitcom includes a mix of teenage angst and modern political climate.

One of the girls' male Protestant cousins comes from London to live with them.  He is the sedate, responsible one who keeps getting dragged into the girls' antics.  The teens attend an all-girls Catholic school, which provides raucous and hilarious scenarios.

The first two seasons are available to stream on Netflix, which you can access by borrowing one of our Rokus.  English subtitles are available for those who have trouble understanding the Irish accents.  Rated TV-MA (includes swearing).



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Lobby Baby

In his 2019 comedy special, Seth Meyers provides plenty of heart with his humor.  Named after the infamous incident of his wife giving birth in the lobby of their apartment building, Lobby Baby (TV-MA) features funny anecdotes mostly about family, relationships, and life.  If politics aren't your thing, Netflix even built in an option to skip over the political comedy.

Former head writer of Saturday Night Live and current host of Late Night with Seth Meyers, Meyers provides sweet and charming stories throughout this hour-long standup routine.  Check out one of our Rokus with Netflix to watch this special.

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The Witcher. Season 1

​Are you looking for something to fill the void after the disappointing final season of Game of Thrones?  The Witcher, a friend of humanity, is here to slay monsters, collect coin, and reignite our excitement in fantasy TV shows.

In The Witcher (2019, TV-MA), Geralt of Rivea is no ordinary man. Subjected to a deadly trial as a child, he became a Witcher, a mutant hunter used to rid the world of scum.  After accidentally invoking an ancient custom at a wedding, he finds his destiny tied with Cirilla, the young princess of Cintra.  After her kingdom is attacked, she must find Geralt to understand her future and her power. Follow Geralt as he tries to slay monsters, navigate relationships, play politics, and find Cirilla.

Henry Cavill is phenomenal as Geralt.  It was the role he was born to play.  The fighting choreography is stellar and will have you wanting to watch it over and over.  The monsters are unique and disgusting and don't hold back.  Be prepared to have the song, "Toss a Coin to Your Witcher" stuck in your head for an eternity.

I have a few small complaints: the writing can be cheesy at times but the actors do their best with what they are given.  In addition, because two of the main characters live extended lives, the timeline skips around and can be confusing.  Despite these flaws, I recommend this to any fantasy lover looking for a show that doesn't pull its punches.

To watch The Witcher. Season 1 check out one of the Rokus for access to Netflix.

 If you enjoy the TV series, check out the books by Andrzej Sapkowski.  And if you enjoy playing video games, look for Witcher III: The Wild Hunt for PS4 and Xbox One.