What I’m Watching: From Kayla

Today’s (incredibly long) post is brought to you by Kayla, Jo’s “other” daughter. I’m the one who lives farther from home than I would like, sews a little, and knits and crochets a lot. I work full time as Family and Consumer Sciences teacher to middle and high school students and go to grad school as well. I also serve as Mom’s resident houseplant and television consultant.

I recently had far too much time to “research” my role as television consultant. I’ve been in bed since Thursday with influenza, entirely missing Christmas. Today (Tuesday) I thought I felt better and started dusting house plants but wore myself out before I even got to the African violets. I’m at least well enough to sit upright and write a guest post. Earlier in this bout I could only lay down and watch TV.

Although I am quite sick of it now, I generally love television. I think it is actually that I love needlework and need something to do at the same time. Every time I talk to Mom I have a new suggestion for to her to watch (or to not waste her time with) and she has asked me for a guest blog post because she thinks many of you seem to have similar tastes.

I don’t like gratuitous sex and violence (although I make an exception for Peaky Blinders-on Netflix), I like most any period piece, and I love anything WWII related. Although I’m not an Anglophile, most of my suggestions come via BBC because American primetime is generally too “saucy” for my liking. I also can’t figure out how so many conventionally good looking people exist in a single show. I really need to connect to characters to enjoy a show. They need to be believable.

I hope the New Year is finding you healthy and happy, but if not, settle in with this list of great television shows to keep you company.


On Youtube:
I’m not much of a sweet eater, but I love watching SweetAmbsCookies on Youtube. Her videos are so relaxing! My students who are slime-makers say they like to watch slime videos because they are so “satisfying” and I get a similar feeling watching cookie decorating.
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Living with the Amish is a docuseries of British kids who spend time with different Amish families. It was interesting to learn more about the different orders. I also appreciated that the Amish people are shown as the good kind people that I know instead of the strange caricatures portrayed in most media. I found the first family especially endearing because the husband reminds me of my brother-in-law Craig.

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Wartime Farm is one of my favorite series ever. Two archaeologists and a historian spend a year running a farm in Britain is if it was during WWII. I absolutely love learning about the WWII homefront. Ruth Goodman is awesome and is in several more Farm series. I liked Victorian Farm because it is similar to when I worked at Living History Farms as a historical interpreter. Today I started Edwardian Farm.

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On Netflix:
My favorite series that we have watched as a couple is Peaky Blinders. It is about a family gang in Birmingham, England in the 1920’s. It is much more violent than anything else I watch. The main character is definitely an anti-hero and is not kind to anyone. The plot, characters, soundtrack; everything is just so well done I can’t resist.

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Spencer and I have really enjoyed The Crown, which is a drama series based on the early rule of Queen Elizabeth II. It is amazing to see how much the world has changed just during her rule. The latest season overlaps more with American events so that has been especially interesting.

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Broadchurch is our favorite crime series. I used to love Law and Order SVU until it all became “ripped from the headlines.” Braodchurch takes place in modern times in a small English town.  Each season of Broadchurch focuses on a single crime which makes more sense than a single episode. It also allows the complexity of the characters to come through. Ellie tops my list of favorite female fictional characters.

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Land Girls and Bomb Girls are series on the WWII homefront. Bomb Girls is based in a munitions factory in Canada and Land Girls on a farm in England. They are a bit lighter than other series I have watched but I have enjoyed them very much. The same franchise does Cable Girls, but it is based in Madrid and I can’t keep up with the Spanish.

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On Amazon Prime:Home Fires is one of my favorite series ever. It is a little too sweet, more in the vein of Bomb Girls and Land Girls, but I still love it. It is wholesome while still being suspenseful and interesting. The knitwear is to die for. I found the vintage patterns for many of the sweaters on the show and nearly convinced myself that I could pull off a 1940’s wardrobe. Here’s a wardrobe sudoku I made using the sweaters.

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I love, love, love, Grantchester. It is a Masterpiece series like Downton Abbey but I can’t figure out why it didn’t get the same buzz. Grantchester is about a (young, attractive) vicar who helps his detective friend solve crimes. I haven’t swooned over a fictional character like him since my 8-year-old heart fell in love with Laurie (aka Christian Bale) in Little Women. His “special friend” Amanda has excellent 50’s costuming.

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Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you are in good health and have no time to make use of this list…well at least not enough time to watch as much television as I’ve had.  Life on the couch gets old after a bit!

Please chime in with other suggestions.  I still have a bit more of couch time to do before I’m feeling all the way better.  Influenza is the worst!

19 thoughts on “What I’m Watching: From Kayla”

  1. Janelle Wallinger

    I Love Peaky Blinders! I actually think you and I talked about it when I was at the Quilt retreat at West Union. I also love Broadchurch! You and I could definitely watch tv together! I hope you are soon feeling better! As a high school English teacher – I KNOW how often it happens we get sick on break. Rest up and feel better!!

  2. Dear Kayla, I feel your pain of being sick over Christmas! Three years ago we received a plate of homemade goodies from a family on Christmas Eve. We each ate several pieces, and went to bed. At 5:30am, I woke with a start, and thought, “Am I going to…??” and headed for the bathroom. My husband woke up two hours later and did the same thing. We had food poisoning from that plate of homemade goodies. Christmas was a day late that year.
    Sadly, the same thing happened this Christmas too. Except my husband didn’t eat any of the homemade chocolates, just me. And I woke up at 8:30am thinking, “I don’t feel so good…” Yep, another Christmas spent in the bathroom. So my new Resolution is, Don’t Eat Homemade Chocolates on Christmas Eve!!
    Thank you for your fun tv post! The shows look good. I can’t stand the blood and gore and “saucy” words either. Take care, and I hope you feel better soon!

  3. On public television and Netflix, inspector George Gently. English detectives, and shows the cultural changes going on with women in law enforcement. I know there’s another good on but I forgot the name!

  4. Have you tried Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime? It’s a 2015 BBC miniseries available on Acorn TV. My daughter thought they were fun and the clothing was amazing. She loved Bletchley Circle and said this would appeal to any if its fans.

  5. I like a few of the shows you mentioned, so I think you would like Midsummer’s Murders.
    It a great detective show by BBC. Check it out on Netflix

  6. I loved Home Fires but the TV series ended with a number of cliff hangers which weren’t resolved. I understand it will continue in book form but don’t know if that’s available yet.

  7. Hope your feeling better. Have you tried Call the midwife, there’s also a series called Victoria about the young Queen Victoria. There’s a modern female detective series called Vera which shows the beautiful county Northumberland in all its glory. Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch is well worth a view.

  8. I suggest Father Brown. It is a priest in a small British parish that solves mysteries/murders. Takes place in the 50’s.

  9. Thanks for the great post Kayla!! We had talked about this at retreat. I could remember some of the shows but not all of them. Now , I have a great list, in print! Hope that you are feeling better.

  10. Kayla, what a great post! Have you watched Call the Midwife? The history is great…living through issues of the 50s and 60s.

  11. Here are a few suggestions – only the first is WW11 based.

    “Foyle’s War” is set in Hastings, a small town on the south coast of England, during WW11. It is a detective series ad features some very good actors.

    “The Sweet Makers” has had a couple of series here in the UK. Four modern confectioners re-create sweets (candies) of various eras. I have seen the Tudor and Victorian series.

    “The Murdoch Mysteries” are a UK/Canadian co-production that I have enjoyed.

    “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” is an Australian series set in the 1920’s in Australia.

    I am afraid that I find “Peaky Blinders” too violent and so does my husband!

    Hope you feel much better soon.

  12. Sorry to hear you got the flu bug. What a way to start your Christmas break. Well at least you won’t be using your sick days. Hope you feel better soon and can get a little enjoyment from your break from school.

  13. Kayla,

    I read your post and then went back and took notes on it. I just discovered Amazon Prime and watched all the historical and documentary shows while sewing. Your list will give me an entire new world of detective shows and historical fiction to enjoy.

    So sorry to hear you had the flu (the worst!) over Christmas. Auuugh! I remember when I was sick at Christmas-time; it was 42 years ago when I was on my honeymoon in Washington, D.C. My new husband of only 4 days took a tour of Arlington National Cemetery on Christmas Day (without me as I was too sick to leave the hotel room), and he loved it because he and the honor guards were the only living people there. I am sending good wishes to help you get better.

    Thanks for the post!

  14. I absolutely loved “Foyle’s War” and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries!” I also loved the Poirot series on Netflix. I hope you’re feeling better.

  15. Kayla, I think I am in agreement with you on the period pieces except for Pinky Blinders. I just don’t think it would be my cup of tea. I love all the British shows. I do have a problem however, with BBC. BBC seems to cancel most good shows that we get attached to here in the states to move onto another production. Crimson Fields being one of those. Good job on the review of choices out there other than regular tv which it seems like I have little in common with anymore.
    Glad to hear you are getting better. I too was sick during Christmas. My furbaby even has bronchitis. I wish everyone a safe, blessed and healthier next year!

  16. Hi Kayla! Great post! We have no television, so I can’t offer any shows, but I can wish that you are on your way to feeling 100% fine and dandy! Happy New Year! -Jean

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