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Randy Schiff


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If you seek cerebral and unsettling mystery, travel to provincial New Zealand to binge-watch Top of the Lake. After its sublime 2013 season, Top of the Lake returned for a second season in 2017. Title: Top of the Lake Year it began: 2013 Where it can be seen: BBC; Sundance; Amazon Who’s in it: Elisabeth Moss; Peter Mullan; Holly Hunter; Jacqueline Joe; David …

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If you seek high-quality comedy with the cinematic power of drama, then binge-watch “Atlanta.” Anchored by the bold vision of creator, co-writer and star Donald Glover, “Atlanta” offers uniquely riveting television. Title: Atlanta Year it began: 2016 Where it can be seen: FX; Amazon; Hulu Who’s in it: Donald Glover; Brian Tyree Henry; Zazie Beetz; Kei…

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If you have questions about the universe, then satisfy your curiosity by binge-watching Through the Wormhole. With excellent visuals and interviews, and with Morgan Freeman as your guide, Through the Wormhole offers lively scientific programming. Title: Through the Wormhole Year it began: 2010 Where it can be seen: Science Channel; Amazon; Hulu Who’s in it: M…

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If you love slapstick and seek surreal sitcom fun, then binge-watch Get a Life. Starring Chris Elliott as a psychotic paperboy, Get a Life reaches comic heights—or should I say depths?—that few shows have attained. Title: Get a Life Year it began: 1990 Where it can be seen: Amazon; DVD Who’s in it: Chris Elliott; Robin Riker; Bob Elliott; Elinor Donoghue;…

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If you are looking for a thrilling law-enforcement show that features paranormal phenomena, shadowy conspiracies, and lots of scientific investigation, then get ready to binge-watch Fringe. It really is out of this world. Title: Fringe Year it began: 2008 Where it can be seen: Fox; Amazon Who’s in it: Anna Torv; John Noble; Joshua Jackson; Lance Reddick; Jasi…

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FICTION Origin By Dan Brown Doubleday 456 pages. $29.95 Exploring the competitive tensions between religion and science, Dan Brown’s “Origin” is a mystery that will appeal to readers looking for thoughtfulness and thrills. Brown tells the tale of Edmond Kirsch, a brash computer scientist and atheist activist who thinks his recent discovery about humani…

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If you yearn to see sumptuous sites while learning about ancient civilizations, then join Bettany Hughes as she explores the “Ancient World.” Hughes’ intelligence and enthusiasm enliven these beautifully filmed documentaries. Title: “The Ancient World with Bettany Hughes” Year it began: 2002 Where it can be seen: Amazon; Channel4.com; DVD Who’s in i…

If you yearn for science fiction that is both dark and surreal, then binge-watch Max Headroom. Offering both 1980s nostalgia and a vision of networked corporate power that feels uncannily contemporary, Max Headroom is a unique cyberpunk gem. Title: Max Headroom Year it began: 1987 Where it can be seen: Amazon; DVD Who’s in it: Matt Frewer; Amanda Pays; Chris …

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If you just can’t get enough of King Arthur stories, then binge-watch Camelot. Presenting Arthurian legend for the era of big-budget cable network fare, Camelot offers a gripping, racy take on this timeless British myth. Title: Camelot Year it began: 2011 Where it can be seen: STARZ; Amazon; Hulu; DVD Who’s in it: Joseph Fiennes; Eva Green; Jamie Campbell B…

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Dolls can be terrifying. Linked with childhood, when we were more willing to see life in inanimate things, malevolent dolls make us fear that evil can lurk anywhere. Demons are also terrifying—for they are malicious, powerful monsters. “Annabelle: Creation” uses both dolls and demons to frighten us. With impressive sets, capable directing and some strong performan…

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“13 Minutes” is a powerful film based on Georg Elser’s failed 1939 attempt to assassinate Hitler. The German film takes its title from a fateful fact: Hitler left 13 minutes before the bomb painstakingly built and planted by Elser exploded at Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller, killing eight bystanders. With stunning cinematography, exquisite performances and sparing u…

TV

If you seek courtly intrigue in a sumptuously staged medieval England, then binge-watch "White Queen." With stirring performances and fine cinematography, "White Queen" powerfully portrays political scheming and noble life during the Wars of the Roses. Title: "White Queen" Year it began: 2013 Where it can be seen: Amazon; Starz; DirecTV Who’s in it: Rebecca F…

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If you seek supremely silly sketch comedy, then binge-watch the BBC’s wonderfully wacky “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” This is British comedy so bizarre and bodacious it will make you spill both your tea and crumpets. Title: "Monty Python’s Flying Circus" Year it began: 1969 Where it can be seen: Amazon; Netflix; iTunes; Seeso Who’s in it: Graham C…

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At a time when some worry about where America is going, it’s wise to learn more about where we’ve been. If you want a beautifully filmed look at the social and military origins of the United States, then binge-watch PBS’s “Liberty!” Title: “Liberty!” Year it began: 1997 Where it can be seen: PBS, DVD Who’s in it: Philip Bosco, Peter Donaldson, V…

TV

If you can’t get enough of vampires and demons, then dim the lights and binge-watch the otherworldly world of “Angel.” Starring David Boreanaz, this spin-off of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” features all the furious fights but with a darker atmosphere. Title: Angel Year it began: 1999 Where it can be seen: Amazon; Hulu Who’s in it: David Boreanaz; Char…