Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

All Creatures Great and Small: Season 3

February 27, 2023

The third season of the beloved modern British version of James Herriot’s novels, All Creature Great and Small grows a bit darker with the specter of World War II looming overhead. It’s still a bright and cheerful show with incredible locations. There’s still sweet animal stories, but also the threat of tuberculosis worries the farmers. James and Helen begin married life. All the characters stretch their romantic wings, at least a bit. And towards the end of the season, we begin to wonder if James and Tristen will join the army. Neither has to because they are vets. But will they anyway? Innocent, and beautiful, the occasional dullness of the plot can be dismissed because the stories all come from good intentions. And points for having a warm and cozy Christmas episode to wrap up the season. 3.5 out of 5.

All Creatures Great and Small currently streams on PBS.

The Great British Baking Show: The Professionals: Season 6

February 21, 2023

Americans get their first taste of The Great British Baking Show’s spin-off, The Professionals. Starting with Season 6, this series was filmed in 2021, so lots of reference to “last year” as well as contestants, hosts, and judges being quarantined from family and friends throughout the competition.  12 pair of professional bakers team up for the win. Contestants are more stressed. Judges are more hardcore – more criticism, less excuses, as it should be – they’re professionals! Unlike the original, this took me a couple of tries to get through – not as glued to my seat as I am with the amateurs. But still, lots of fun and certainly a good fix in-between regular seasons. More than anything, I miss Noel! 3.5 out of 5.

The Great British Baking Show: The Professionals currently streams in the USA on Netflix.

Somebody Somewhere: Season 1 (take 2)

February 17, 2023

Second time around watching this pitch perfect series. Bridgett Everett and crew create a beautiful small town lost soul experience. So much connection and so much precision. Click here or on the image for the full review.


The Golden Girls: Ageless

February 3, 2023

Reelz Originals presents a new documentary, The Golden Girls: Ageless on the continuing love for Dorothy, Sofia, Blanche, and Rose. Under an hour, the show talks about the reasons we still worship this perennial favorite and all the ways fans share their love these days including a Golden Girls cruise, a new book, new merch, and even a significant place at the Comic Cons table. And not so surprising – 3 of the talking heads are gay men. So much fun realizing I’m not the only stan in the house. Narrated by Valerie Bertinelli who starred with Betty White in Hot in Cleveland, I give The Golden Girls: Ageless a 3 out of 5.

Watch The Golden Girls: Ageless on Tubi.TV for free.


Instant Dream Home

December 21, 2022

If you’re looking for an easy breezy American-made challenge show for the holiday weeks ahead, you might enjoy Netflix’ Instant Dream Home. Hosted by the hysterical and high energy actor Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black), Instant Dream Home sends a family away from their house for the day, and then does a complete renovation, inside and out. In one day! It’s crazy and who knows how much is just lipstick, but seriously it doesn’t matter. The show is so much fun. Danielle gets help from series regulars’ Paige Mobley (Project Manager), Adair Curtis (Interior Designer), Erik Curtis (Carpenter), and Nick Cutsumpas (Landscape Designer). And of course about 200 other workers making miracles happen in hours rather than months. Brooks is the perfect host, part cheerleader, part conspirator for the audience. Always in awe of the work the crafts people create. If you need a break from the insanity of the holidays, check out Instant Dream Home. 3.5 out of 5.

Instant Dream Home currently streams on Neflix.

Bros (take 2 and on Blu-ray)

December 9, 2022

Bought the blu-ray for Bros. Loved it even more the second time around. Click here or on the image below to read my updated review and updated rating!

The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls

December 1, 2022

This year in 2022, the Mitchell brothers are back for more house decorating mayhem as Hallmark releases the sequel to their 2020 film, The Christmas House. Mike’s back living in his hometown in upstate NY after his successful TV show starts filming in NYC. He’s also dating his high school crush. Brandon and his husband have adopted a second child and are living in the Pacific NW. Mike gets offered a spot on a TV competition show called, Deck Those Halls. The producers decide some brotherly competition will help the ratings. Hilarity ensues. In the end, everyone comes together for a wonderful Christmas and the family grows closer than ever. A great follow-up, possibly even sweeter than the original. 3.5 out of 5.

The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls currently streams on Hallmark Movies Now and is available on DVD from your local public library.

The Christmas House

November 30, 2022

The 2000 Hallmark holiday film The Christmas House focused on two brothers, one straight and one gay. Although the straight brother’s storyline had more prominence, the gay brother and his husband were featured sweetly, successfully, and naturally romantic. The focus of the film was on the family bringing back their holiday house decorating tradition and the straight brother running into his high school crush who’s now divorced with a son of her own. This is a sweet, happy, formulaic (in a good way) Hallmark film where the gay couple is already settled down, and hoping to start a family soon. Robert Buckley plays straight brother Mike, with Jonathan Bennett as gay brother Brandon, the Mitchell brothers. Ana Ayora and Brad Harder play the brothers’ love interest and husband respectively with Sharon Lawrence and Treat Williams as the parents. A whole lot of holiday in this frothy and sweet story of a family enjoying decorating insanity. 3.5 out of 5.

Hulu and Netflix beat Hallmark to the punch with a lead lesbian romantic character (The Happiest Season) in 2020 and a gay one (Single All the Way) in 2021, but this year on December 1, Hallmark will finally release its first film with a gay male character in the lead. The film stars openly gay actor Jonathan Bennett who like Luke Macfarlane (Bros) has had a very successful career playing hetero lead characters in rom-com’s while being out. Kudos to Bennett and his acting journey.

The Christmas House currently streams on Amazon Prime, Hallmark Movies Now, and The Hallmark Channel.

The Great British Baking Show: Holidays

November 23, 2022

Americans get one old and one new episode for The Great British Baking Show: Holidays. The New Year’s show that aired at the beginning of the new year in the U.K. is added to the holiday celebrity edition for a two-pack of 2022 GBBS holiday magic. First up, the day after Christmas and the celebrity bakers are using leftovers to make delicious treats. Joining the fun this year are four members of the cast of It’s a Sin: Olly Alexander, Lydia West, Shaun Dooley, and Nathaniel Curtis. First, if you haven’t seen It’s a Sin, run to HBO Max and watch it right away. It’s an amazing mini-series from Russell T. Davies about the AIDS crisis in London during the 1980’s. Absolutely must-see. In the baking tent, these four cast members came to bake for Paul and Prue. They did an amazing job. The entire hour was so much fun. Makes me want to have dinner with these four.

Next up is the New Year’s Day celebration from earlier this year – all the way back to January 1. Former bakers came back to the tent including Kim-Joy Hewlett, Jon Jenkins, Rowan Williams, and “patisserie queen” Hermine. All four of them provided a great episode filled with amazing bakes. My favorite won. That’s all I’m going to say. This special’s gotten tighter and better each year. I would say 5 out of 5 for the celebs. 4 out of 5 for the returning contestants. Just because there’s only a small amount of competition. 4 out of 5 over all.

Members of the cast of It’s a Sin square off on The Great British Baking Show: Holidays which currently streams on Netflix in the USA.


The Great British Baking Show: Collection 10

November 21, 2022

Another season of The Great British Baking Show (original U.K. title: The Great British Bake-Off) dropped once a week culminating in the finale episode released last Friday, 11/18. For those of you new to Reel Charlie, GBBS is my all-time favorite competition show. I have never seen a consistent group of contestants year after year who support each other, play fair, and cheer each other on as much as I have on GBBS. It’s remarkable to watch and a blueprint for how we should all live our lives. This year I cried like a baby at the end of the semi-finals last week, and the finale the following week. Not to get too arm chair psychologist, but for those of us disinterested or not allowed to play sports, GBBS is my Super Bowl, it’s my World Series. I get so excited when a new “collection” (Netflix name for a season) drops. This year was no exception. I was immediately drawn into the cast, and the judges and hosts never seem to be phoning it in. Along with Paul, Prue, Noel, and Matt the tent welcomed Abdul, Janusz, Maxy, Sandro, Syabira, Carole, Dawn, James, Maisam, Rebs, and Will. I quickly came out for Janucz, Maxy, and Syabira. No spoiler alerts here. Just telling you who my favorites were from nearly the start. I also love the melting pot of people, their backgrounds and life stories. It makes for really good DEI as an extension of everyday life and entertainment. The 12 contestants represent England in 2022. Beautiful. As I mentioned, I sobbed and sobbed when they announced the winner. And as usual for GBBS, the other two runners-up, congratulated and were visibly thrilled for the winner. Seeing all the contestants back for the winner announcement with their family and friends always chokes me up. 5 out of 5 for this amazing slice of modern life and the kindest competition show ever created.

The Great British Baking Show currently streams on Netflix.

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