What are you watching?

60

Like so many others, I binged The Queen’s Gambit in record time, which is notable: I almost didn’t watch  it at all because I know nothing about chess and thought I’d find it boring. Turns out this show—about self-destructive, orphaned prodigy Beth Harmon—is deeply satisfying even if, like me, you are chess-illiterate. Anya Taylor-Joy is fantastic as Harmon: her face is one of the most expressive I’ve seen on an actress in a long time. And Marielle Heller is so good as Beth’s vulnerable but also opportunistic adoptive mother. If you haven’t watched it yet, I’m jealous.

Despite the fact that it has plot holes the size of Nebraska, and that Nicole Kidman’s fairy princess wig is deeply distracting, I am quite enjoying HBO’s The Undoing, which stars Kidman and Hugh Grant as an Upper East Side couple whose life is turned upside-down by a scandalous murder. If life was fair, HBO would make all of the episodes available to stream immediately, but alas, we are made to wait.

Flesh and Blood is a British import about a 70 year-old woman (the luminous Francesca Annis) with three highly flawed adult children who do not approve of her new beau, played by Stephen Rea (remember him from The Crying Game?) who they suspect is up to no good. It’s smart, well-written, and just suspenseful enough to keep me pretty engaged.

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60 Thoughts on What are you watching?
    Sara
    17 Nov 2020
    4:44pm

    I may be way late to the game on this but I recently started watching Offspring on Netflix as recommended by a friend. LOVE IT!

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    shanti
    17 Nov 2020
    6:27pm

    Currently watching The Undoing. Eagerly waiting for Big Sky (based on the novels of CJ Box to start). New season of Bull and Southern Charm on Bravo. For some reason have started rewatching old episodes of Cagney & Lacey. That show is ripe for a reboot!

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    Mamavalveeta03
    16 Nov 2020
    3:42pm

    A big YES to everything you said about “The Queen’s Gambit” and the expressive face of actor Anya Taylor-Joy. My husband and I remarked the very same thing! Loved it. And my biggie has been”The Crown,” of which I’m thrilled that there are 10 episodes this season (doesn’t it seem like there were only 6 in previous seasons?). I’m loving Emma Corrin as the young Diana. She truly captures her mannerisms. The other thing I’m looking forward to watching? Blitheringly stupid “feel good” made-for-Netflix Holiday movies with the worst acting on TV. There’s something innocent and refreshing about these as an antidote to Trump.

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    Stephanie
    16 Nov 2020
    3:42pm

    I just started Homeland and, wow, I’m hooked. Do other people know about this series?!? (Just kidding — I know I’m the last person in North America to see it.) Clare Danes is just so compelling to watch. Loved The Queen’s Gambit and the clothes therein. Right now also watching Lodge 49 on Hulu, which is sort of Thomas Pynchon meets The Big Lebowski and is only interesting to watch if you’re at least two glasses of wine in.

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    Mary
    16 Nov 2020
    2:57pm

    I’m really enjoying “The Sinner!” Season 3 is out and so far, it’s just as thrilling as the first two seasons.

    Also really enjoyed “Dead to Me.”

    My daughter begged me to watch “Stranger Things” with her. I was not exactly looking forward to it as I loathe any sort of science fiction or fantasy (including Harry Potter). But I was pleasantly surprised – it’s great!

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    Coralee
    16 Nov 2020
    3:05pm

    I see you also enjoy British shows so I am recommending Back to Life.
    A show with great characters which is darkly comedic. It came out in 2019. Has been renewed for a second season, sadly not out yet.
    Synopsis:
    Miri Matteson has just returned home to Hythe, Kent, after serving an 18-year prison sentence. As Miri attempts to rebuild her life, she forms a friendship with Billy, who cares for the elderly woman next door.
    If you haven’t seen it yet enjoy!

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      Cynthia
      17 Nov 2020
      9:27am

      SO good – with the fantastic Daisy Haggard!!

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    Susanna
    16 Nov 2020
    3:32pm

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I watched “Emily in Paris.” Total froth, but I needed that. I also found “The Vow” quite compelling. And I just started watching “The Good Place” for the first time. It always amazes me when people are out of shows to watch. I can never keep up.

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      Liz
      16 Nov 2020
      5:36pm

      My husband and I enjoyed Emily in Paris, and I was kind of shocked by how passionately people hated it! I mean, yeah, it’s silly and full of easy stereotypes, but I actually liked the supporting characters (to me, Emily was the weakest link). Plus, I just loved the escapism. I was lucky enough to go to the Musee des Arts Forains the one time I visited Paris, and it was so exciting to see it used for one of the party scenes because it was my favorite part of the trip. Oh, and that Lucas Bravo is cute! I almost never have movie star crushes.

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    Elisa
    16 Nov 2020
    3:38pm

    I concur about Ted Lasso, Last Tango, Borgen and Nicole Kidman’s face. I liked a comedy called Lovesick, about a guy in Scotland that gets an STD and has to call everyone he’s ever slept with, Rosehaven, another comedy on Acorn about two friends who move to his hometown in Tasmania, The Restaurant, about a restaurant in Stockholm and the people who own it and work there–spans from the end of WWII to the 70’s and The Nest, on Acorn about a couple who have a shady surrogate…Thanks for the suggestions! This community always provides.

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      rachel in berkeley
      16 Nov 2020
      9:06pm

      I’ve been obsessed with Lovesick. Reminds me of a year I spent in England and all of the big emotional ups and downs of being in one’s 20s. Plus, so, so funny. The title is so vanilla and meaningless that it’s an easy Netflix box to scroll past.

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        Liz
        16 Nov 2020
        10:26pm

        The original title for Lovesick was Scrotal Recall, which is why I started watching it.

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    liz
    16 Nov 2020
    4:48pm

    Anyone watching I’m Sorry on Netflix? It’s a little bawdy and not very PC – a bit like Larry David.

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      Kim France
      17 Nov 2020
      10:08am

      I LOVE I’m sorry!

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    patricia blaettler
    17 Nov 2020
    12:24pm

    I just finished the second season of Undercover on Netflix. It’s set in Belgium and dubbed into English which makes it a little quirky, but hubby (former cop) and I both liked it.
    Undercover agent(s) embed into small communities to befriend and take down devious criminals.

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    Penelope Dunckel
    17 Nov 2020
    1:37pm

    Binged QUEEN’S GAMBIT
    Enjoyed FLESH & BLOOD

    WANTED on Netflix is fantastic!!

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    MaryAlice
    16 Nov 2020
    11:59am

    At the beginning of quarantine we binge watch Babylon Berlin on Netflix- set in 1920’s Berlin, incredible production values, fascinating story, a young woman who becomes Berlin’s first female homicide detective – HIGHLY recommend. Super stylish.

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      mieke
      17 Nov 2020
      11:18am

      there is at least one album of music from it as well.

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    Mimi A.
    16 Nov 2020
    12:00pm

    Gee, Kim. Are you hiding in my bedroom, where I watch TV? Loved “The Queen’s Gambit.” It isn’t perfect, but even its flaws are interesting. Also liked “Flesh & Blood.” If you enjoyed that, check out “The Good Liar,” a movie starring Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan. Make sure you hang around for some very satisfying plot twists. “Last Tango in Halifax” should be watched from the beginning, imo. Impatient as I am, I wait till all episodes are available before diving into a series, so I won’t start the “The Undoing” yet. But the novel on which it’s based, “You Should Have Known,” was a fast, nasty read. I’ve seen all the seasons of Marcella and think it holds up. The last season was violent, but good. The series blends crime stories with Marcella’s psychological unravelling. “Their Finest,” streamable on Amazon or HBO, is a wonderful, romantic female empowerment tale set in England during WWII. Everyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it. “Tehran,” a subtitled Israeli political thriller centered on a female Mossad agent on a mission in Iran gives off “Homeland” vibes. On Apple TV+. And “I’m Sorry,” a 1/2 hour Netflix comedy, is a balm for “Catastrophe” fans. It’s clever ‘n raunchy.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      16 Nov 2020
      3:52pm

      Loved “Catastrophe” so I’ll check it out! Thanks! Also, check out “This Way Up” on Hulu with Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan from “Catastrophe,” about a young woman who’s had what’s referred to as a “nervous breakdown” and her relationships post-rehab. The scene near the beginning of her teaching English to immigrants had me laughing out loud!

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      kimbersam
      16 Nov 2020
      1:20pm

      Tried to watch “Tehran” (it got great reviews) but failed because it was filmed with “shaky cam” for verisimilitude (?), so I was nauseous within a few minutes. Dramamine works sometimes, but not on this occasion.

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    Liz
    16 Nov 2020
    12:01pm

    I needed this post, as I’ve run out of shows. I liked the Queen’s Gambit (in a weird way, it reminded me of a darker Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), and The Undoing, despite its flaws, is my tv show sweet spot of rich people embroiled in scandal.

    My guilty pleasure show is King of the Hill on Hulu. I watched it bck in the day but went back to it after finding out Pamela Adlon plays Bobby Hill, and it is funnier now. It feels relevant in the age of Trump, where 1/3 of the country seems to be made up of Dale Gribbles.

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      Lori in Toronto
      16 Nov 2020
      4:15pm

      Same with King of the Hill! It’s generally sweet, but you’re totally right about the Dale Gribbleization of America 🙂

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      Jennifer
      16 Nov 2020
      9:28pm

      King of the Hill has also been my end-of-day indulgence for the last month. It’s one of my favorite shows, and I think Bobby Hill is one of the all-time great characters. Besides KotH, I went through a huge Barefoot Contessa binge on Hulu during the darkest early days of the pandemic. Ina is truly a balm.

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    cw
    16 Nov 2020
    12:08pm

    The Gulf, Mystery Road––series one and two and The Time of Our Lives. All on Acorn. Season 8 of The Great British Baking whatever on Netflix. There She Goes––seasons one and two on Britbox. Now that the election is over and decided for 99% of the population I find myself reading more. I finally took the time to figure out how to download library books to my Kindle which makes all the difference.

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    Gemma
    16 Nov 2020
    12:17pm

    I’ve been mining through PBS Passport to unearth new things to watch. It’s been fun to watch old Masterpiece Mysteries. I’m also enjoying Antiques Roadshow’s vintage episodes — they show old episodes with new 2020 appraisal updates and it’s fun to guess if the appraisals went up or down.

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    Arawa
    16 Nov 2020
    12:27pm

    I was disappointed with the ending of Flesh and Blood. I’ve been bingeing on Line of Duty. The Danish series Dicte was enjoyable. I also finally got to watch Parasite.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      16 Nov 2020
      3:57pm

      Have to admit, I was too. It left me wondering if they’re planning on a Season 2?

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    Lynn in Tucson
    16 Nov 2020
    12:29pm

    Can’t recommend Ted Lasso highly enough. Not only does it have two strong female characters that it doesn’t pit against one another, it’s just unrelentingly _kind_. It is an antidote for our times.

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      Lori in Toronto
      16 Nov 2020
      4:18pm

      Absolutely adore Ted Lasso. And yes, it’s a freaking delight to see strong women who aren’t set up as “competition” with each other.
      I cried a few times, and laughed a lot. Can’t wait for the next 2 seasons.

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      Jen
      16 Nov 2020
      3:00pm

      I came here to recommend Ted Lasso as well. It’s so utterly delightful and unexpectedly funny. I REALLY worried at first that it was a “let’s make fun of dumb hicks” show and gosh, how wonderful that they didn’t go for that low-hanging fruit.

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    Sue
    16 Nov 2020
    12:50pm

    While waiting for The Crown to come back (we just watched the first 3 seasons but didn’t time it quite right), we started watching Borgen on Netflix, which is older but great. (A Danish political drama about Denmark’s first female prime minister.) We’re about halfway through the first season, and it’s really well done, and you can’t always tell where things are going, which I like. Netflix will show you the dubbed version first, but after a couple of episodes, we went back to the Danish original with subtitles! We also liked Mystery Road as well as Jack Irish on Acorn–too many conspiracies, but surprisingly funny for something noir-ish.

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      MaryAlice
      16 Nov 2020
      7:20pm

      I am watching Borgen, start to finish, for the second time. It’s that good.

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    kb
    16 Nov 2020
    1:00pm

    If you enjoyed watching Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen’s Gambit, seek out the 2020 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, with Taylor-Joy in the starring role. Also with Bill Nighy!! This Emma is a delightful rendition of the original novel, and even takes some clues from Clueless, as well.

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      Rae
      16 Nov 2020
      5:41pm

      Yes! Anya Taylor-Joy was wonderful in Emma. As was Johnny Flynn and Chummy. There was not nearly enough of the wonderful Bill Nighy. If anyone needs a movie recommendation and also needs more Bill Nighy, I highly recommend About Time for a light but moving watch.

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      rachel in berkeley
      16 Nov 2020
      9:08pm

      And with Johnny Flynn from Lovesick (see post above. 😉

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    JeanneK
    16 Nov 2020
    10:30am

    Glad you’re on the mend! Loved The Queen’s Gambit, too. We are watching The Mandalorian, Roadkill on PBS, and are ready to dive into the Crown.

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    Tahe Z
    16 Nov 2020
    10:53am

    We don’t have HBO so doubt we will get to see the Hugh Grant/Nicole Kidman series. 🙁 Speaking of wigs, I saw a fun clip of Anya Taylor-Joy from the The Queen’s Gambit being fitted for her red wigs on Instagram. Just started watching the Crown and have been distracted by Diana’s wigs. Too stiff and weird! Still, the show is so good. I also recommend Rebecca (have yet to see the original!). The sets are gorgeous and her 1930s attire is so chic even while she’s working as a lady’s assistant. By the way, you were missed, Kim! Glad you took time for yourself to get better.

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    HickfromStyx
    16 Nov 2020
    11:03am

    I am watching the comedy series “In the Long Run” with Idris Elba. Lead character Agnes (Madeline Appiah) has some gorgeous 80s outfits (striped blouse and coordinating skirt my favorite). The Thatcher years in the UK were tough, not unlike life today.

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    Katrina
    16 Nov 2020
    11:50am

    The Crown is back! I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the show because I think the characterizations and story telling choices don’t do the fantastic performances and mouthwatering production values justice. However, the reviews for the new season are a lot more positive, so I’m cautiously optimistic this season won’t devolve into a hate-watch. Plus, who can resist now that Diana has been introduced?

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    Cola
    16 Nov 2020
    11:53am

    Wait! Nicole’s hair is a wig? I knew her face wasn’t exactly her own, but her hair too? Now I don’t feel so bad about my own curly locks not measuring up.

    I love the outfits in The Queens Gambit and am wishing for Beth’s vintage 1960s selvage Levi’s and the fabulous coat she wore in Moscow. And maybe one or two of her dresses.

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    Caroline
    16 Nov 2020
    7:56am

    Glad your feeling better Kim!
    As soon as I watch this season of the Crown I’m totally going to watch all of these.
    If you haven’t seen “A very English scandal” I highly recommend. It came out a lifetime ago (2018) but is so entertaining. I much prefer the older Hugh Grant. It’s a true story and I was sad when it was done.
    And of course Derry Girls. But I’m guessing you’ve seen that!

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    Eloise
    16 Nov 2020
    9:19am

    Welcome back – you were missed! I recommend Dogs of Berlin if you like gritty murder mysteries and political intrigue – a bit violent – and dubbed – but so good. Almost done with the first season of The West Wing (no idea what took so long but so good – not sure I could handle it if the election went the other way). The Queen’s Gambit is up next.

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      Dana
      16 Nov 2020
      9:46am

      Korean dramas (Crash Landing On You is so good) and Dash &Lily (A holiday YA love story set in NY with really great characters). I haven’t started Queens Gambit yet but it’s next.

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        liz
        16 Nov 2020
        10:44am

        Loved Dash & Lily for Xmas in Manhattan scenes.

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    Laurajeanorama
    16 Nov 2020
    9:24am

    Watched all of The Queen’s Gambit yesterday; I hardly ever binge anything but it’s just so good I couldn’t stop. The acting and cinematography are great and the production design is flat out amazing.

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    y.k.
    16 Nov 2020
    9:37am

    You were missed.

    off topic here, but from the promos of The Undoing, I was SO distracted by Nicole Kidman’s preternaturally unlined face. Of course, she’s beautiful, but I couldn’t help but be .. insulted. Hugh Grant is not much older and he looks craggy and attractive. I know I know. she’s not to blame& movie land is not fair etc etc. But it’s all depressing.

    anyway, I saw Booksmart recently and it makes me hopeful about the future.

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      Lisa Pearce
      16 Nov 2020
      10:22am

      I found Nicole’s face hard to look at – I hate critiquing another woman’s looks, but the amount of Botox and/or filler in her upper lip makes her most emotional scenes almost comedic to watch. Why, oh why doesn’t she see this? I didn’t realize the hair was a wig – interesting ! I LOVED The Queen’s Gambit and it made me wistful for a missed career in costume and set design. Such a great, great show.

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        Kelly Rose
        16 Nov 2020
        11:10am

        I second your comments! I had no idea that Kidman was wearing a wig. Also, I certainly don’t shun a little filler, but I agree that hers is a bit distracting. She’s still lovely.

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    Jenny
    16 Nov 2020
    9:42am

    Last Tango in Halifax — loved it. I didn’t love Queen’s Gambit, but it might be because the main character is a dead ringer for my ex’s mistress (and about the same age). I thought Marielle Heller was perfection in her role. My boyfriend and I are deeply engaged in The Last Dance, a 10 part documentary about Michael Jordan. Neither of us are huge basketball fans, but it’s superb story telling and social history.

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    Jen
    16 Nov 2020
    9:53am

    Kim (and others), I have a strange question about The Queen’s Gambit (which was actually a favorite book of mine when I was a teenager!). Our son is into chess and we thought of trying to watch it with him. He’s 15 but quite innocent for his age, and still can get freaked out by certain things (in movies especially). Do you think all the pill-popping would be too intense?

    Otherwise, we (just the grownups in the house) just started watching Marcella–yet another Brit cop series which, so far, is quite weird. Fairly intriguingly so, though also a bit unbelievable. Almost reminds me a bit of long-lost fave Damages with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. Anyway, if anyone has stayed with it over multiple seasons, I’d be curious how it holds up– but no spoilers, please!

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      Mamavalveeta03
      16 Nov 2020
      4:08pm

      I’d watch “The Queen’s Gambit” with your son and allow for a few snack or bathroom break casual discussions about what was going on with her drug and alcohol abuse. I always found that watching controversial topics with my girls was a great way to find out what they were thinking as well as bringing up difficult subjects in a more natural way.

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      Bobby
      16 Nov 2020
      10:20am

      Marcella really holds up for the first two seasons, the third one works also, it’s just a little too dark, but a good watch. Also, it gets weirder

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    Donna
    16 Nov 2020
    10:08am

    You found the wig more distracting than her upper lip? 🙂

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      Bobby
      16 Nov 2020
      10:24am

      Whatever she’s done to her upper lip I find considerably distracting. She sort of pushes it out in this odd way, can’t tell if it’s a character choice or a cosmetic one, but it takes me out of the scene right away, my husband actually pointed it out. I have to add, the show got lots of bad reviews, but I’m loving it.

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    amy
    16 Nov 2020
    10:11am

    my friend did all the tailoring for the Undoing and I am SO SO proud!!!
    Agree about the plot holes but the clothes fit FABULOUSLY!

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      Bobby
      16 Nov 2020
      10:18am

      You should be, the costumes are gorgeous and very well fitted!

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    Carrie P
    16 Nov 2020
    10:15am

    Welcome back! I too absolutely loved the Queen’s Gambit and am thoroughly enjoying The Undoing. Also watching season three of Riviera now that it’s back (I’m a sucker for anything shows centred around fine art) and just started I May Destroy You. Recent movies recs: Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Rebecca (either version), which lead me to re-watch The Scapegoat (also based on a book by du Maurier) starring Matthew Rhys from The Americans. And for those times when I really need it I watch a pre-recorded Lifetime/Hallmark holiday movies. Super corny but also comforting.

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      D.Morgendorffer
      16 Nov 2020
      12:39pm

      Hey, if you want add to your comforting list, try Netflix’s Holly Star. The main character is a down-on-her-luck puppeteer back home in her picturesque, New England small town. The flashback scenes are all done with puppets, which is fun.

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        Carrie P
        16 Nov 2020
        4:32pm

        Will do — looks good 🙂 thanks!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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