It was with great delight that I read Disney was producing a streaming series based on the Mysterious Benedict Society, a series of novels we read as a family after we finished the Harry Potter books. It’s the story of four gifted children with different skills who come together to solve a mystery. We started it during my stint in chemotherapy, so I have memories of falling asleep on the bed as Jen or Finn read their chapter, lulled peacefully into oblivion by the gentle story and the sound of their voices. The series is excellent so far. Although several of the adult cast were not who I saw in my head, I like them more and more. They’re doing a great job with production design and story, and I hope it maintains its quality until the end of this series.
Another new favorite: Clarkson’s Farm, on Amazon Prime. Most people write off Jeremy Clarkson as a blowhard English television presenter (and to be fair he’s said his share of stupid and racist things) but, as with Howard Stern, I think he’s mellowed and matured as he’s aged. The new series began filming in 2019, right before COVID, showing how he took over management of his huge farm in rural England. As with a lot of his best work on Top Gear, it’s less about poking fun at the subject and more about skewering himself—here showing his audience just how hard farming is, and just how little he knows about any of it, even though he’s owned one for over ten years. It’s a wonderful window into rural England—and fun to watch.