Some of us watched a lot of television in 2016. We are in the middle of another Golden Age of Television with choices beyond the networks including cable, premium, and streaming services. We polled the library staff to see what they loved in 2016. Criteria included watched a season in 2016, we own the series in our collection (Main or Woods), and you love it! Our diversity really shows in this wonderful list:
Staff Favorite Television 2016
new shows we watched or older shows we discovered
(find these in our DVD collections at the Main Library and Woods Branch)
American Horror Story
Big Bang Theory
Better Call Saul *
The Crown (coming soon on DVD)
The Disappearance (French)
Game of Thrones
Scott & Bailey
The Walking Dead
* more than one vote
The short-series (mini-series) The Night Manager based on the John LeCarre novel comes to DVD this week starrinddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, and Russell Tovey From AMC,
This short, thrilling series presents Jonathon Pine as the night manager for a hotel in Cairo. Conflict unfolds as Pine develops a relationship with the girlfriend of a local gangster through whom she has acquired information on an illegal arms dealer, Richard Roper. Due to her knowledge, the woman is murdered. Pine, fearing of his life, leaves Cairo and takes refuge at a secluded hotel in Switzerland. For two years Pine works at the hotel before Roper arrives and incites Pine’s need for revenge. Enlisted by British Intelligence, Pine spies on Roper, and story the spirals into conspiracy and betrayal.
Find The Night Manager in our library catalog.
DVDs continue to be our #2 most circulated item and television series help keep that number very healthy. Here is a sampling of some recent television on DVD including releases from the U.S., Britain, and Ireland,
Archer, Season 6
Doctor Blake Mysteries, Season 1
Doctor Who. Series 9
Fargo, Season 2
Grace and Frankie, Season 1
Hannibal, Season 3
Last Kingdom, Season 1
Leftovers, Season 2
Luther, Season 4
Manhattan, Season 2
Mr. Robot, Season 1
Peaky Blinders, Season 2
Place to Call Home, Season 3
Silk, Season 2
The Americans, Season 3
The Fall, Season 2
TURN, Season 2
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 1
VEEP, Season 4
If you see a series you’d like, you can always call us and have it held for you:
Main Library Reference Desk: 203-256-3160
Fairfield Woods Reference Desk: 203-255-7308
From The Wire creator, David Simon comes a 6-part mini-series, Show Me a Hero based on former New York Times reporter Lisa Belkin’s nonfiction book. From Rotten Tomatoes who clocks the series at a 97% rating,
A bitter dispute over federally mandated public housing divides Yonkers, N.Y., in the late 1980s in this six-part miniseries.
Find Show Me a Hero in our library catalog.
French filmmaker Bruno Dumont’s latest film, Li’l Quinquin was originally released as a 4-part mini-series. From Kino distributor,
French auteur Bruno Dumont, best known for uncompromising and austere dramas, proves with the comedy Li’l Quinquin that he is capable of shifting gears without conceding his signature style. This absurdist, metaphysical murder mystery opens with the discovery of human body parts stuffed inside a cow – a literal bete humaine – on the outskirts of the English Channel in northern France. The bumbling and mumbling Captain Van der Weyden (played by Bernard Pruvost) is assigned to investigate the crime, but he has to contend with a young prankster, the mischievous Quinquin (Alane Delhaye), as he proceeds to investigate the case. Dubbed an “epic farce” by the New York Film Festival, Li’l Quinquin has been compared to Twin Peaks and True Detective. But simply speaking, Li’l Quinquin is “a wonderfully weird and unexpectedly hilarious” (Scott Foundas, Variety) masterwork from one of the most important contemporary French directors.
Find Li’l Quinquin on DVD in the library catalog.
Adapted from Hilary Mantel’s best-selling Booker Prize-winning novels: Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, BBC and PBS Masterpiece release the mini-series Wolf Hall on DVD. From PBS,
A historical drama for a modern audience, Wolf Hall tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night)—a blacksmith’s son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster, and deftly picks his way through a court where ‘man is wolf to man.’ Damian Lewis (Homeland) is King Henry VIII, haunted by his brother’s premature death and obsessed with protecting the Tudor dynasty by securing his succession with a male heir to the throne. The cast also includes Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) as the future queen Anne Boleyn.
Told from Cromwell’s perspective, Wolf Hall follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this accomplished power broker who must serve king and country while dealing with deadly political intrigue, Henry VIII’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn, and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.
Find Wolf Hall in our library catalog.
Join us for two library program events in June, The World of Wolf Hall: Two Women, One King with our resident historian, Dr. Mona Garcia:
Register for Part 1.
Register for Part 2.
Danish television focused on the government and media? Are you serious? Yes, we are. Borgen is one of the best television shows released in any country in the past five years. Based on historical facts, Borgen begins with the election of the first female Prime Minister. Featuring powerhouse performances from Sidse Babett Knudsen as Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg Christensen and featuring Pilou Asbæk as spin doctor Kasper Juul, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as news anchor Katrine Fønsmark, Mikael Birkkjær as Birgitte’s husband Phillip Christensen and Søren Malling as Torben Friis, editor-in-chief for TV1 News, Borgen has you on the edge of your seat. You’re certain to finish Borgen wishing our political system worked a little more like Denmark’s – who knew politicians and political parties could actually work towards common good? Inspiring, exciting, full of intrigue and suspense, Borgen is sure to please anyone interested in contemporary international politics and the media’s role in our society. Oh, and it just happens to be author Stephen King’s favorite television series.
Find Borgen in our library catalog.
Enter the post-WWII world of Grantchester, a bucolic village in England pairing a detective and a vicar who solve murders. From PBS,
Set in the English countryside’s most idyllic village, Grantchester follows two unlikely allies as they solve a series of cases that reveal the dark side of early 1950s England.
Handsome, young vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) shares his spiritual duties with a love of jazz, complicated relationships with women, and an enthusiasm for amateur sleuthing. When the concern of a parishioner compels him to dig deeper into a grisly suicide, he gets on the nerve of a tired, local law enforcement officer—Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green). Fortunately, the cleric and the cop bond over their war service, their love of a good pub, and their competitive instincts—in this case, for backgammon.
Grantchester is based on the acclaimed novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, which was called “the coziest of cozy murder mysteries” by the New York Times Book Review. Runcie styled Sidney after his late father, Lord Runcie, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s. Like Sidney, the elder Runcie was a war hero before he entered the ministry, and he was a compassionate and amiable parish priest. Unfortunately, he never took up crime-solving. Grantchester corrects that oversight.
The series stars James Norton (Chambers), who recently appeared on MASTERPIECE’s Death Comes to Pemberley as the underdog defense lawyer, and was also seen as the psychopathic villain in Happy Valley. Co-star Robson Green (Keating) is already revered for a number of MASTERPIECE starring roles, including the seductive hero opposite Francesca Annis in the runaway hit Reckless. Also featured are Morven Christie (Case Histories) as Amanda Kendall, Sidney’s first love and soul mate; Tessa Peake-Jones (Poirot) as Mrs. Maguire, the vicar’s morally judgmental landlady; Al Weaver (Sherlock) as Leonard Finch, the church’s new assistant curate; and German actress Pheline Roggan as Hildegard Staunton, the strikingly beautiful widow of the series’ first victim.
Find Grantchester at both locations in our library catalog.
Before Claire Danes starred in the outstanding Homeland. Before Jared Leto won the Oscar last year for Dallas Buyers Club, there was My So-Called Life. The series debuted in 1994. It lasted only one season. 20 years later it’s considered a modern classic paving the way for more realistic portrayals of teenagers in television. From Wikipedia,
It was the first teen drama that didn’t feel like an after-school special. No one ever learned a very important lesson or uttered the phrase ‘I love you, Dad.’ Angela acted like a real 15-year-old, with all the crying jags and Buffalo Tom concerts that implies. What’s even more impressive is that anyone who watched the show back in the ’90s, when angst and Manic Panic felt totally of the moment, can now enjoy it on a very different level. Suddenly, Angela’s parents are relatable.
Find My So-Called Life at both library locations in our catalog.
Every mean snowstorm has its silver lining. Not only did we get spared yesterday from 30+” of snow, Downton Abbey‘s fifth season was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Yes, you can binge watch the entire season before it airs on PBS. That’s a full 3 1/2 weeks before the final episode airs on February 22, 2015 and more than a month before the extra holiday episode airs on PBS March 1, 2015. So Downtonians take note – your favorite public library has you covered for all your British Costume Drama binge watching. Just be careful what you say around Violet. She might stab you with her retort!
Find Downton Abbey Season 5 on DVD and Blu-ray in both library locations.