January 11th, 2021

Bridgerton: As period pieces go, this series is a good dramatic undertaking with a very good cast, quality writing and plenty of intrigue and scandal to keep everyone wondering what will happen next. At the very least, they might wonder when the next time they will see the lead black actor (Rege-Jean Page) baring his bottom in another episode. Note, as an aside, the charismatic Page is apparently being considered as a new James Bond candidate. This Netflix series is new and part of the latest releases from Shonda Rhimes, the TV wunder-executive, who seems everything she touches turns to gold. This series set in early 1800s England, begins like Hamilton, with people of many races represented, most notably at first a black Queen. Later in the series it is explained that the current King fell in love with his Queen and that this elevated everyone around her. There are multiple houses at play, in addition to the Bridgerton household, along with the Royal House, and those of other surrounding houses. Think Downton Abbey, along with a healthy dose of Upstairs, Downstairs. Pregnancies, marriages, vying for a Prince or a Duke’s affections are all part of the series. The voiceover done by Julie Andrews, is from a local Social Society newspaper that adds to the intrigue because no one seems to know who the well informed writer seems to be. It keeps one’s attention, and I have quite enjoyed it. More than I expected to be honest. But it has been a fun ride as Season 1 closes out and more seasons are to come it seems. Worth your time to see it.

The History of Swear Words. Nicolas Cage, of all people, is hosting this series of short 6-part comedy vignettes about various swear words and their use, origin and trending status. An initial thought was “how the mighty have fallen” from A-list star to Netflix documentarian. But I digress. From innocuous words like “Damn” and “Dick”, we get to more and more intense words, although starting at the top of the food chain in the series with the F%#& word. This is a comedy with supporting cast like Jim Jeffries (who’s own claim to fame C-word is NOT discussed) Sarah Silverman, Nick Offerman and other various comedians. I think that the commentary from Nikki Glaser, or Zainab Johnson are as funny as any of them. It’s fun. I laughed out loud in a couple of the episodes, mostly because I think I was caught off guard (like the “Dick” episode). The viewer may learn a thing or two, but generally it is meant to be like toilet humour for men (you laugh just because people are using words that not-too-long-ago were considered off limits: see George Carlin and The Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television). For the record, of George’s seven words, only two were discussed in the 6 episodes. I think that they missed out on a couple more colouful than Damn. Just sayin’. But it is also fun escapist time away from the news and Covid. If we needed a good laugh, today is the best time I can think of. This one is also worth your time.

Finally I am reminded back to the review of Queen’s Gambit and today in the local paper, there was an article about my step-father, the Chess Master and former champion in his youth. Chess has once again become more main stream, and this shows him during the same time when the Queen’s Gambit was taking place. For the record, he felt that the series did a very good job of showing chess, with real moves and the feeling of playing competitive chess.

https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/canadian-chess-master-ross-siemms-pleased-with-new-interest-in-the-game