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.
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.
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.
If this series were a novel, I’d call it a page-turner. That’s how well done it is; how engrossing it is; and how much I didn’t want to stop watching it! In fact, I “gulped” down the seven episodes of this documentary series in one day.
The story revolves around the murder of a beloved nun, Sister Cathy Cesnik, who went missing 47 years ago; and whose case is still unsolved. More than a simple homicide, the plot has grown to include abuse by clergy, repressed memories, and a possible cover-up by the church and the police. While the tragedy never made headlines outside of Baltimore, the public in this close-knit town, the nun’s students, friends, family, and journalists continue to ask questions. And many of those involved continue to suffer.
For director Ryan White (The Case Against 8, Good Ol’ Freda, Serena) the story is also a personal one. His mother was raised in Baltimore; and his aunt was a former student of Sister Cathy’s at Archbishop Keough High School. “My family has close ties to not only Catholic Baltimore but the epicenter of this world.”
Abby Schaub and Gemma Hoskins
Part of that world includes Gemma Hoskins and Abby Schaub, two of the Sister’s former students, who have made it their mission to find out “who hurt Sister Cathy.” They are the lynchpins of this terrifying drama. Gemma has been described as a “bulldog.” Abby is the quiet one who does all the research. Together, they are an unstoppable force on an unrelenting search for the truth. As Gemma says, “We are not two ladies playing Clue.”
But they are responsible for helping put together the disparate parts of a puzzling mystery. In fact, Hoskins and Schaub played a large part in creating an online community for the victims of abuse and helping others come forward to share their experiences.
In this complex and ever-expanding tale, Director White captures the characters and the drama, jogging back and forth between the present and the past, intercutting interviews, photos, and archival footage. He also creates staged re-enactments that bring his subjects’ memories back to life. Shot on 16mm black-and-white film, the moments are both poignant and illuminating, often making use of just a slow pan or “push in” to enhance the drama. Other times, the scenes are full on, like when Priest Koob does his Mass of Consecration and saves a piece of communion bread for Cathy, hoping against hope she will show up. Blake Neely’s haunting music adds just the right amount of emotion to each scene, as does John Benam’s beautiful but unobtrusive camera work.
Perhaps the biggest challenge White and Executive Producer Jessica Hargrave faced was gaining the trust of their subjects, many of them abuse victims. Hargrave says, “We spent a lot of time with people without a camera, just getting to know them, showing them that we’re in it, we mean it, we want to be here, we want to support you, we want to do right by you.”
And this series does. But, as Ryan White says, “My hope is it’s not too late. The optimist in me says it isn’t, and there’s still a way to solve this murder.”
Smart and engaging, The Keepers takes us, the viewers, along for the ride and beckons us to be a part of it. You’ll be hooked from the get-go.
Summertime television programming has changed in the last few decades in ways I never expected. As I kid, I lived for the TV Guide to arrive, analyzing it like a textbook that required a report each week. I loved the articles and the back page crossword puzzle. Mostly, I loved seeing what shows were not airing as a repeat; ah, the life of a twelve-year-old. As I recently sipped on my ice tea, floating in the pool in this east coast heat, my friend’s thirteen-year-old said, “what should I binge watch next?” Keeping her age in mind, I couldn’t blurt out what I really wanted. I posed a question to her, “what did you just finish watching?” “Grey’s Anatomy,” she replied. I was please since I personally love the show. My answer was simple and well thought out, Gilmore Girls.
For anyone who missed it, well, it’s truly a lovely show. In a post 9/11 world, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore created a sweet coming of age tale experienced by both of these Gilmore Girls. Lauren Graham, more recently Parenthood fame, portrays Lorelai Gilmore, a thirty-two-year-old mom of a teenage daughter, living in a suburban town in Connecticut. She’s witty, quirky and freakishly loveable on screen. We judge her for the choices she already made and the ones she continues to live by. As Lorelai navigates the unconventional world of bringing up a daughter at such a young age, she gets a little help from her parents. As polar opposites go, her relationship with her mother could not be more different than the one she has with her own daughter. She feels deeply judged and less than loved by her mother, therefore treating her daughter more like a best friend than anything else. Emily and Richard Gilmore, portrayed by Kelly Bishop and Edward Hermann respectively are well to do socialites that vacation in Paris but only in the fall. I mean, what else is there to do at that time of year?
Lorelei was only 16 when she gave birth to her daughter, Rory, who is now that age. Rory, played by Alexis Bledel, is silly and smart at the same time, with a sharp tongue and a bright smile. She compliments everything that Lorelai is and isn’t. We watch her struggle with boundaries, entering adulthood and staying true to herself, with her mother being her true best friend. Rory and Lorelai apologize to one another more than any two people I have ever seen, but then again, it’s good to acknowledge fault whenever possible, I guess.
The breakout star in all this is Lorelai’s friend; the lovingly clumsy, Sookie St. James, portrayed by non-other than Melissa McCarthy. It’s wonderful too witness the much younger version of such a comedic genius. The cast hits a cloyingly sweet note and is definitely rated G, safe for all ages. Despite this show’s sugary nature, it still made us feel warm and fuzzy for a successful seven seasons.
Gilmore Girls can bow be streamed and binge watched on Netflix. I hope my friend’s daughter takes my advice and indulges in this lovable story. Netflix recently announced that fans receive another installment of this highly popular show. The cast has committed to another, albeit shorter season, streaming this November, post election day of course. The gang is back, nearly ten years later. In an act of sheer humility, Melissa McCarthy has also signed on to recreate her supporting role. Thanks, Melissa, for showing Hollywood how it’s done, despite your the level of popularity and fame! Hat’s off to you Sookie!!
Start watching past episodes now and by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you will all be ready for Gilmore Girls, circa 2016.
As the countdown continues to the eagerly anticipated second season of Netflix’s critically acclaimed streaming series Daredevil, let’s take a moment to appreciate one of the secrets to the show’s success; it’s knockout cast. Here’s what they’ve done before (and since!) bringing the grittier side of the Marvel Universe to life.
Charlie Cox Before mesmerizing us as Matt Murdock, Charlie Cox unsuccessfully pursued Lady Mary on Downton Abbey (above),played Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice, got romantic in Casanova, got entangled with gangsters in Boardwalk Empire, and formed a romantic triangle with Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. He’s next scheduled to appear in the vampire action/horror movie Eat Local.
Vincent D’Onofrio His take on Wilson “The Kingpin Fisk was absolutely revelatory, but of course he’s had a very long and varied career before that. He first really came to public attention as the mentally disturbed Gomer Pyle in Full Metal Jacket. This was followed by memorable turns in such films as Mystic Pizza, JFK, Feeling Minnesota, Men in Black, The Newton Boys, Steal This Movie, The Cell, Thumbsucker, and most recently Jurassic World. Not to mention his many, many years as Bobby Goren on Law and Order: Criminal Intent (above).He will be seen next in the tv series Emerald City as the Wizard, and has also been cast in Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven.
Deborah Ann Woll She may be Karen Page on Daredevil, but to many Deborah will always be Jessica the baby vamp sired by Bill on True Blood (above). Deborah also played Paul Dano’s former flame in Ruby Sparks and starred opposite Bruce Willis in Catch .44.
Elden Henson Before he stole our hearts as Matt’s best friend and legal partner Foggy Nelson, Elden was stealing the scenes in the 90’s teen romantic comedy She’s All That as Laney Bogg’s smart, chubby best guy friend. Elden would later be part of such films as Cast Away with Tom Hank. O with Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles, and Josh Hartnett. Lords of Dogtown with Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch, and most recently the role of Pollux in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1&2 (above).
Toby Leonard Moore Chilling as Fisk’s right hand man Wesley, Moore’s played bad guys before such as Russian thug Victor in John Wick. He can currently be seen on the Showtime series Billions as point man to crusading D.A. Chuck Rhodes (above, right, with Paul Giamatti).
Eyelet Zurer Israeli actress Ayelet made quite an impression as beautiful gallery owner Vanessa who becomes Wilson Fisk’s love interest. Before she stealing D’Onofrio’s heart though, she played wife to Mossad agent Avner Kaufman (Eric Bana) in Munich, a terrorist in Vantage Point, love interest to Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons, and biological mother to Superman in Man of Steel. She’s set to play the role of Naomi in the latest remake of Ben Hur (above)alongside Jack Huston in the title role and Toby Kebbel as Massala.
Vondie Curtis-Hall It was Vondie’s performance that made us feel the pain of Ben Urich’s loss. Not surprising considering the career he’s had that began with a cameo in Coming to America. He starred as Dr. Dennis Hancock on Chicago Hope and was featured in such films as Eve’s Bayou, Romeo + Juliet, Heaven’s Prisoners, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Cymbeline. He also wrote, directed, and performed in the cult black comedy-drama Gridlock’d. His most recent work includes a guest appearance on Rosewood, and the upcoming Breaking Brooklyn (above).
Rosario Dawson The stunning Rosario has now appeared on two Netflix streaming series (Daredevil and Jessica Jones) as Claire Temple nurse to superheroes but the actress/singer has been a leading lady of Hollywood for a long, long time. She made her debut in the controversial indie film Kids and went on to do He Got Game, Sidewalks of New York, 25th Hour, Sin City, Unstoppable, Trance, and Gimme Shelter. She’s currently filming the thriller Unforgettable (above)alongside Kathryn Heigl and Cheryl Ladd.
Bob Gunston Wilson’s slimeball lawyer Leland Owsly has one of the longest resumes in Hollywood with credits going back to 1981. He’s best known for his work playing the corrupt warden in The Shawshank Redemption, General Harker in Glory, and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in Argo (above).
And now to look at some new names who will be appearing in Season 2…
Jon Bernthal Currently best known for playing Shane on The Walking Dead, Bernthal will be joining the cast of Daredevil as Frank Castle aka The Punisher. He’s also been in The Wolf of Wall Street and Sicario. Bernthal will be appearing in the upcoming Ben Affleck thriller The Accountant.
Elodie Yung French-Cambodian actress Elodie will be playing Matt’s infamous Greek assassin love interest Electra ( above, who was hinted at in Season 1.) While she’s been a star in her native France for many years, her first major role in a English language film was Lisbeth Salander’s love interest Miriam Wu in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She then went on to play ninja Jinx in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and goddess Hathor in Gods of Egypt.
Stephen Rider is set to play crusading D.A Blake Tower in the second season. Notable work in the past includes The Great Debaters, Safe House, and The Butler (above).
Daredevil’s Season 2 is available March 18, 2016, on Netflix.
Here at Woman Around Town, we’re all about helping you take on the world. We’re here to help you find your passion, and turn it into a long-lasting career. But, what if you’re not the type who works well under a boss? You’ve got itchy feet, and a notebook full of creative ideas. What if you’re the type of person who wants to work for herself? Today, we’re looking at five popular business ideas for women. Ready? Let’s take a look.
Start a tech company
The tech industry is in good health right now. Venture capitalists are throwing millions of dollars at creative and inventive startups. Just look at the likes of Facebook, Netflix, and Google. These companies are thriving, and we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible. Unfortunately, the tech world is still dominated by men, but here’s an interesting statistic. Companies with women on the board or in the boss’ chair consistently outperform those with just men. Start a tech company, and there’s no reason you can’t leapfrog the biggest players.
Open a restaurant
Restaurants need three things in order to thrive. Number one, a fantastic chef. If that’s you, then it’s time to come up with a wonderful menu, and unique dishes. If you’re the brains behind the operation, then your first job is finding the best possible chef. Number two, a great location. Wait for the perfect premises to come on the market, and snap up that dream location. Number three, a winning concept. In other words, find something that sets you apart from others in the area. Don’t forget about all the intricacies of setting up shop either. You’ll need to work with a supplier such as Restaurant Source, and set a strict budget.
We know plenty of entrepreneurial women who love to pass on their advice and wisdom. One smart (and lucrative) way to do this is through parenting blogs. A large amount of these mom-blogs and advice columns have sprung up over the last five years. They make money by selling advertising, and capitalizing on affiliate sales. You can do a similar thing, and it’s a wonderful way to keep busy if you’re on maternity leave.
Everyone loves a great party, but imagine if attending events was your job. There’s no bigger thrill than hosting a successful party. When everything comes together, and people have a great time, it leaves you with a smile on your face. This option is only for the very meticulous, and organized individuals. There are plenty of to-do lists and jobs to get sorted. It’s exhausting, but it’s a lot of fun. Start by offering to organize your friends’ events, and build your contacts from there.
There’s a huge demand for writing and editorial services online right now. Companies all over the planet are producing content to help promote their businesses. By offering your services, you can make a small fortune working freelance. You could even become a full time author.
That’s all for now, folks! Have I missed any other fantastic business opportunities? Let me know.
Contributed posts are advertisements written by third parties who have paid Woman Around Town for publication.