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Emma

Emma (1996) PG and Emma (2009)
These are my two favorite movie treatments of my favorite Jane Austen novel. In the 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow version, Mr. Knightly (Jeremy Northam) is warm and charming. Paltrow is suitably strong minded yet likeable, and the supporting characters are all well done. In the 2009 miniseries, I found Emma even more likeable yet suitably wrong-headed and the other characters equally well cast. The father seems a bit too hearty, although appropriately frettish. But no Mr. Knightly can for me match Jeremy Northram’s in the 1996 version.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency: Season 1

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency: Season 1 (2009)
Precious Ramotswe opens a detective agency in Botswana. There, with the help of her eccentric assistant, she solves problems of the heart as well as problems of theft and missing persons.

This HBO series based on the books by Alexander McCall Smith adds some characters and changes things about a few other characters, but the beauty of the African landscape is captured as is the tone of the books and the personality of the characters as portrayed in the books. A few of the later episodes are rather more dramatic than the books, but enjoyable just the same.

A Touch of Frost

A Touch of Frost (1992-Present)
In this ongoing British police procedural, Detective Jack Frost of the Denton police is rough and rumpled and reluctant to follow procedure. But he is compassionate and a good cop.

In each episode, the Denton police deal with a couple of local crimes until Jack comes in and sorts it all out. Find out more about the show on the official website.

Saving Grace. Season 1

Saving Grace. Season 1 (2007)
In this TNT television show, Holly Hunter stars as an Oklahoma City detective. She is a very strong female character. It’s good to see her skills at work – and how her personal and professional lives overlap. She has a “last chance angel” that’s trying to help her get a second chance. An intriguing and good drama.
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Heroes: Season 1

Heroes: Season 1 (2006-2007)
Heroes tells the stories of ordinary individuals from around the world who inexplicably develop superhuman abilities, and their roles in preventing disasters (usually foreseen in painted images from precognitive painters). Season 1 shows how each character learns about their ability and eventually throughout the season, shows how they connect with each other. The interesting thing about Heroes is there isn’t a main character. The series tells a story about each individual, and of course some individuals play a larger role in the fate of the future.

You can catch Heroes on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. on NBC. Also check out the official website, where you can watch episodes, find out more about the cast, and get web exclusives.

Rawhide: Season 2

Rawhide: Season 2 (1959-1960)
Somehow I missed this exciting western when it was on television in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I am glad that I did, since I now have a new western television series to watch.

This TV series is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Eric Fleming brought a lot to this series, as did his young costar Clint Eastwood, along with a very able supporting cast. Some of the stories are very fresh and creative, and even the more traditional plots are done very well. Season 2 (32 episodes) has a surprising number of stories dealing with the supernatural, with almost a Twilight Zone feel. Some of the villains are females and they are very good at being very bad.

The Office: Season 4

The Office: Season 4 (2007-2008)
When the third season ended, our favorite Dunder Mifflin branch had a few cliff hangers. What happened between Jim and Karen? What did Jan do after she got fired? And did Ryan just become Michael’s new boss? Season 4 of The Office answers all those questions plus adds new adventures that keep you wanting more.

Follow Michael Scott’s wild tangents as he helps cure the rabid and goes on a quest to find a model wife. Dwight and Angela’s relationship runs into a snag when Dwight does something unexpectedly to one of Angela’s cats. This season is short (only fourteen episodes) due to the writers’ strike. I can guarantee that after you watch this season, you’ll be singin’ “break me off a piece of that apple sauce.”

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Xena, Warrior Princess: Season 3

Xena, Warrior Princess: Season 3 (1997-1998)
Join Xena and Gabrielle (Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor) in this action-packed comedy adventure. Set in Ancient Greece, Xena decides to reform her outlaw ways by wandering the country to fight evil. Learn a bit about Greek mythology. Watch Xena come up with clever solutions by the end of each show.

During season 3, Gabrielle gives birth to a daughter, who ages quickly and soon becomes a source of contention. Follow the drama throughout the season. Also check out the musical episode in season 5 – it's hilarious.

If you like this, you’d also like Buffy – same action packed comedy adventure, but with a vampire slant (and high school kids).

The Office: Season 3

The Office: Season 3 (2006-2007)
Follow the hilarious antics in a dysfunctional office with idiotic but entertaining regional manager Michael (Steve Carell); loveable prankster Jim (John Krasinski); his fellow prankster and overqualified receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer); and the unique brownnosing Dwight (Rainn Wilson).

In Season 3, the closing of the Stamford branch gives us Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones) and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) – two great additions to the Scranton crew. A new relationship between Jim and Karen has a sad inevitability, as we know from the beginning that Jim is really in love with Pam. Dwight and Angela portray two of the stranger characters on the series, and they manage to make their relationship both hilarious and authentic.

This Emmy Award-winning show encompasses everything that’s not politically correct. The Office works as well as it does by keeping things believable and as natural as possible, even when certain comedic situations approach ludicrous territory.

 


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5ive Days to Midnight

5ive Days to Midnight (2004)

A sharp mystery! A physicist receives a file about his murder in the future. He has five days to solve his own murder before it becomes reality. Fast paced and very suspenseful, fans of The X-Files will enjoy this miniseries.

Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series

Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series (1999-2000)

If you missed this TV series when it aired, never fear! The entire 18 episodes are in one DVD set. Go back to 1980-81 and visit with the Weir family, the geeks, the freaks and the teachers of McKinley High School. Relive high school, remember everything you wanted to forget, but enjoy the terrific acting, great music and fun storylines.