Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

Amy Sherman-Palladino

What We’re Watching Now


The holiday movie season is in full swing, but when the weather outside is frightful, you just might want to stay cozy and warm at home watching something on TV. And, let’s face it, these days there is so much to watch on TV, not only on the networks and cable, but also on the streaming services, that there’s something for everyone. And being able to binge watch means you don’t have to wait to find out how the story ends. So grab your remote and tune in to one of these.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Rachel Brosnahan shines in this Amazon Studios series as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a Jewish housewife who tries to help her businessman husband, Joel, who dreams of becoming a comedian. Midge bribes the owner of the Gaslight, a seedy comedy club in lower Manhattan, with her brisket, landing Joel (Michael Zegen), better spots in the club’s nightly lineup. But when Joel bombs one night, he tells Midge that he’s having an affair with his secretary. Midge gets drunk, returns to the Gaslight and knocks the audience dead with her hysterically funny (and racy) perfiormance. Seems she’s the real comic in the family. The cast, which includes Tony Shaloub as her brilliant but controlling father, and Marin Hinkle as her neurotic mother, is terrific. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been nominated for two Golden Globes, for Best Television Musical or Comedy and for Brosnahan as Best Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy.


This BBC Scottish crime drama is so atompsheric that you will want to book a trip to the island immediately. Largely based on the novels by Ann Cleeves, the series, which can be streamed on Netflix, stars Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez. A standout is Alison O’Donnell who plays Detective Sergeant Alison “Tosh” MacIntosh. Also on the force is Detective Constable Sandy Wilson played by Steven Robertson. For a small area, Shetland has more than its share of crimes and the suspects usually include longtime (and certainly memorable) residents, most well known by the police. Both Henshall and the series have won BAFTA Awards. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) appears in season three as someone who could help Perez solve a crime. And there’s a relationship triangle: Perez shares custody of his stepdaughter, Cassie, with her biological father, Duncan Hunter (Mark Bonnar). Cassie’s mother died while married to Perez. While the Scottish accents are delightful, you will want to turn on the caption function so you don’t miss any clues. 

Doc Martin

Martin Ellingham, a brilliant and famous vascular surgeon, develops haemophobia (fear of blood), forcing him to leave London and open a general practice in Portwenn, a fictional village in Cornwall. (The series, available for streaming on Netflix, is so popular that the area where the show is filmed has become a tourist destination.) Despite his blood phobia, Martin is a gifted doctor, able to diagnose even the most arcance illnesses he comes across. What he possesses in smarts, however, he lacks in social skills, regularly insulting his patients and locals with his outspoken and rude comments. Yet schoolteacher Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz), falls in love with him and their on-again, off-again romance makes for many  humorous episodes. Portwenn has more than its share of unusual characters who come up with their share of illnesses needing the doctor’s help. Performances are top notch. A U.S. verison of the show is reportedly in development.

This Is Us

Although this show currently airs on NBC, you can watch the first season on Netflix. It’s no secret that the networks have had a hard time coming up with solid hits, but This Is Us is certainly one that has been a critical success. The show centers on the Pearson family – father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and mother Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and their three children. The series  jumps back and forth between the past and present time. In present time, the three Pearson children are: Kevin (Justin Hartley), an actor who rose to fame as the lead in a TV sitcom called The Manny, which he now regrets; Kate (Chrissy Metz), battling weight issues and trying to mend her relationship with her mother; and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), a Harvard graduate and successful businessman. Rebecca was pregnant with triplets, but lost one of the babies. Randall had been left by his birthfather at a fire station and ended up in the nursery alongside the two surviving Pearson babies. Jack came up with the idea to adopt the African American baby, and after some initial doubt, Rebecca agreed. The show deals with a variety of social issues without ever becoming clichéd. And jumping between the past and the present fills in the blanks about how the family relationships evolved. A great show to watch with older children.

The Good Doctor

ABC finally has a hit. The Good Doctor stars Freddie Highmore as Shaun Murphy, a young surgical resident who is autistic wtih savant syndrome. While his autism means his bedside manner isn’t always the best, his abilities soon make him a valued member of the staff at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Richard Schiff plays Aaron Glassman, the hospital president, who rescued Shaun from an abusive childhood and saw to his education. While he’s confident of Shaun’s skills, he worries that his protege is unhappy and needs help navigating the other aspects of his life. Shaun, however, resists his intervention, creating tension between the two. The show is based on an award-winning series from South Korea that was discovered by the actor Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-O), and first shopped to CBS before landing at ABC. Highmore has been nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance. 

Top photo: Bigstock

Gilmore Girls FanFest Takes Over Town Formerly Known as Stars Hollow


According to Gilmore Girl legend, the show’s creator Amy Sherman-Palladino got the idea from an overnight stay in Washington Depot, Connecticut, and was inspired by the friendliness of the town, the scenery, and watching a customer at the local diner pour their own coffee because the staff was busy.  Supposedly, within 24 hours, she had the show’s pilot worked out.

Now, that same town, Washington Depot (known to GG fans as Stars Hollow) put out the red carpet for the first ever Gilmore Girl Fan Fest this weekend, which drew an estimated 1,200 devotees of the series that ran for seven years on the CW Network. Though filmed mostly in California, many of the local Connecticut sights made their appearance, like the Mayflower Grace Inn, up the road; and the famous town gazebo (which is in nearby New Milford).  Fran Reilly, the town’s book store owner, nicknamed Rory Reads for the occasion, is used to fans coming in since the series took on its cult status, and that even though this isn’t the EXACT book store used in the show, it’s still very representative of Rory’s love of reading.

This first-ever fan fest went on without a hitch which is a tribute to its organizer, Jennie Whitaker, of Seeding Communications, who was the main contact, and host.  Neither the rain nor the wind of Friday and Saturday dampened the spirts of the event, said a front gate greeter, Mariah, “Everyone just had their umbrellas…they didn’t mind it.”


Sean Gunn (“Kirk”) 

Events throughout the weekend included nods to several of the favorite episodes, like the Knit-A-Thon, or regular goings on like tea at the inn, recipes from Sookie, items from the Gilmore’s Friday Night dinners, or items on Luke’s menu. On Sunday, the final day of the event, the sun finally showed, bringing the town to brilliant color, and a final meet and greet with cast members, John Cabrera (Brian) and Sean Gunn (Kirk).  It was fitting the Whitaker obtained the video that aired at the memorial service for the beloved actor Edward Herrmann, who played Richard Gilmore, and who passed in December 2014. Whitaker recorded the audience’s respectful applause to send to the family.

It was obvious with all the coffees purchased, the brisk selling of tee-shirts, and the many overnight guests, the event was an economical boost to the town and local area. The president of the Washington Business Association expressed excitement at the town playing a role in the fest, and the Town Selectman, Mark Lyon, took the stage, complemented the organizers and remarked that if everyone is as nice as the 1200 people who filled the two tents, he hoped this is held for years to come.


The “sold-out” crowd prepares for the GG finale

The finale was the show’s actual finale called, “Bon Voyage,” which was shown on the huge screen, and literally turned the event into more of a community love-fest, as attendees laughed, applauded and cried at some of the more tender scenes. Mariah tried to explain the importance of the show for her. “I was the same age as Rory, and experienced everything she did, and now I’m the same age a Lorelai, with a five year old….it’s a very special show,”  she said. The crowd was predominately women, mothers and daughters, who bonded over a very well-written show, which took place in a town that everyone wished they lived in, and for these three days, they got the chance.

One last note, just as Sherman-Palladino was inspired to do the show during a drive through the area, so did festival founder Jennie Whitaker, and her husband Marcus. “We were sitting in traffic outside of Hartford earlier this summer,” said Marcus, “looked at the distance between Washington Depot and the location of the car…the next thing I knew we were reaching out to the Town Selectman.  This town is something to treasure.”

For more information on future Gilmore Girl FanFest, visit the website. gilmoregirlsfanfest.com

Netflix is airing four new episodes of the show next month. 

Photos by MJ Hanley-Goff
Top photo: The Washington Supply Shop welcomes GG fans