Thursday Thirteen: TV Shows I Wish I had Time to Blog

The Thursday Thirteen is a meme-type post invented by PartTimeMonster. It’s a freestyle feature. Just blog about 13 things and make them into a coherent list, is the game. I think of it as a Top Ten Tuesday and a weekend coffee post rolled into one, only published on Thursday. And why 13? Because Diana, iconoclast that she is, thinks of 13 as a lucky number. She even made us a graphic:

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Here are 13 TV shows I’d blog if I had the time to do it. I’m behind on some of them, but I love them all.

1. Hell on Wheels (AMC). A former Mississippi plantation owner goes west after the war on a quest for revenge and becomes an important player in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It’s as gritty and violent as a basic cable tv show can be, but the violence is never gratuitous. The cast is stellar and the writers make the most of them. This is one of those shows I just don’t miss.

bwempire2. Boardwalk Empire (HBO). Prohibition-era gangsters. Steve Buscemi. That’s all I really need to say about it. I’ve followed this show from the beginning, and it’s my favorite HBO offering since Deadwood. I’m eager to see how this final season turns out, and trying to figure out where I’m going to get my gangster fix once it’s done.

3. Da Vinci’s Demons (STARZ). Follows the intrigues and adventures of Leonardo Da Vinci and Lorenzo di Medici. The production isn’t as good as most of the other shows on the list, but the acting is fantastic and the stories are interesting. I binged on the latest season a couple of weeks ago, and I want more already. If you have STARZ and you haven’t checked out their original programming, they’re definitely worth a look.

4. Justified (FX). Crime drama based on Elmore Leonard characters set in Harlan County, Kentucky. This is another one I’ve followed from the beginning. Its quality is uneven, but Timothy Olyphant and and Walton Goggins more than make up for that. I’m looking forward to the final season and hoping for an appropriate ending. It has the best theme music on television:

5. Sons of Anarchy (FX). All about the family and criminal drama of a gun-running outlaw motorcycle club from northern California. It’s set in the same continuity as The Shield, which makes it even more interesting. Its only weaknesses are that Charlie Hunnam has never really been convincing as Jax Teller, and it’s not the same show without Ron Perlman. The final season is shaping up to be a barn-burner. I’m hoping we get another show set in the same continuity once it’s done.

6. The Walking Dead (AMC). I missed the second half of the last season, so I’m behind. Sometimes TWD is my favorite show. Sometimes I wonder why I’m still watching. It’s definitely bloggable, though, and it’s been more good that bad so far. I’m looking forward to the new season and I am trying to find the time to get caught up.musketeers

7.  Musketeers (BBC). A standard action-adventure drama about Dumas’ Musketeers, with Peter Capaldi as Richelieu. It’s sometimes funny and sometimes tense, but there’s always a sword fight brewing. If you enjoy character-driven action/adventure, this one is for you. They also have cool pistols.

8. House of Cards (Netflix). Kevin Spacey is a Congressman. A ruthless and powerful Congressman. He doesn’t get on well with the President. He has an equally ruthless and powerful wife (Robin Wright). Based on a BBC miniseries with the same title. I’ve only seen the first season because I don’t have a subscription to Netflix. If you’re in the same boat as me with Internet subscription services, this is the best show you’ve never seen. I’m hoping to pay my sister a visit at some point and binge on the latest season.

9. Orphan Black (BBC). A sci-fi show about clones, all played by Tatiana Maslany, who does an awesome job with the character acting. I missed the second season, but I’m hoping to catch up before the third one airs next year.

10. Turn: Washington’s Spies (AMC). I’ve only seen a couple of episodes, but I was so impressed I put it near the top of my “to watch” list. AMC really does know drama. I’m interested to see how this one plays with the wider audience, and I hope it survives. I’m already thinking of it as a too-good-to miss program.

11. Penny Dreadful (Showtime). This is another one I missed entirely, but Diana reviewed every episode here and she sold me. This is another one I need to catch up on if I ever get the blogs far enough ahead to take a television weekend.

blacksails12. Black Sails (STARZ). I started the first season couple of weeks ago because, strangely, I was out of free things to watch. It’s a pirate drama featuring a few of Stevenson’s Treasure Island characters, some historic pirates, and a well-armed Spanish treasure galleon for them to hunt. Acting and production are superb. I’m hoping STARZ doesn’t cancel it.

13. Gotham (Fox). Crime drama focusing on the origins of well-known supervillains from the DC Universe. I watched the first episode out of curiosity. It’s too early to give an opinion for certain, but it looks like a show I could get hooked on and the early reviews are positive.

Honorable mentions: Ripper Street (BBC), The Americans (AMC), Masters of Sex (Showtime), Ray Donovan (Showtime), Vikings (The History Channel)

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From the Blogroll: #Music #Blogs You’ll Want to Read

I keep seeing #socialsaturday on various social media. I have no idea what it means, but I decided to spend a little while being social today by spending a little time on a few of the blogs I have on my blogroll. I’m glad I did, because, that half an hour got me three posts I liked enough to comment on, and every one of them includes music videos.

Pieces with substantial word counts and music videos are one of my favorite types of blog post. I like to listen to the music while I read the post. So here are three of those, and you’ll have to check them out to see what musical goodies they offer.

Peace, Love, & Great Country Music has a few words to say about the philosophy of country music and current state of that genre. It’s a though-provoking post, and since it connects with some things I’ve been thinking about, I was happy to find it.

Marie has another awesome memoir at Wildly Surmising. This one is the tale of a college trip to Europe, and how the throwing away of bras allowed two groups of girls from different parts of the U.S. to get to know one another and become friends. If you’re looking for a post reads like a story and is made of awesome, this one is for you.

Vinyl Connection delves into the history of double and triple live albums. It’s a very nice post if you’re interested in the history of music recording, and I learned something I did not know by reading it.

Now for some music of my own. “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” might just be my all-time favorite song. It speaks to my cultural roots and my humanity at the same time, and that is something I do not say of many songs. It’s about mortality and loss, but it’s also about faith and hope and solidarity. It reminds me that life is brief, and we’re all in this together. So we’d be wise to look out for one another and make the most of our time.

The lyrics evolved from a turn-of-the-century Christian hymn. I’ve always heard that the contemporary musical arrangement is the work of A.P. Carter. Here are three very different versions; I hope you find one you like.

Richie Havens solo which includes a verse I’d never heard until today. The video is a memorial to people who were killed during the Civil Rights Era, and it is quite powerful.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band from the late 80s with Johnny Cash and two dozen other country and bluegrass luminaries. The album of the same name is on my all-time top five list, and I listen to volume 2 more than any other CD I own.

Ganstagrass. I’m including this one because they’re one of my favorite current bands, and because it’s so different yet still so good.

Weekend best wishes to all.