What are they watching? Familiar faces on P.E.I. share favourite TV shows

We asked some notable Island residents what’s been on their TV screens lately, as COVID-19 eliminates most holiday socializing.

The Queen's Gambit and a number of crime shows are among the top choices

The Queen's Gambit was a popular choice among a few of the people surveyed by CBC. (Ken Woroner/Netflix © 2020)

It's a question that often comes up during our "new normal" virtual social gatherings: "What are you watching on TV?"

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are staying inside their homes much more than usual, and that often means buttering the popcorn, curling up under a blanket and watching a favourite guilty pleasure.

We asked some notable Island residents what's been on their TV screens lately.

Marion Dowling, Health PEI's chief of nursing, is hoping for some free time soon to watch Christmas classics. (Ken Linton/CBC)

Marion Dowling

Dowling, the chief of nursing at Health PEI, says she has not had a lot of time to watch TV lately. Understandable — she's been busy updating Islanders and keeping them safe from COVID-19. 

But when she gets the chance, she enjoys watching shows like The Worst Witch and Odd Squad with her husband and kids

"My favourite holiday movie is White Christmas and we are hoping over the holiday break to watch some more great classics as a family," Dowling said.

Jeff Lantz, P.E.I.'s chief provincial court judge, enjoyed the miniseries The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

Jeff Lantz

Lantz was recently appointed as the new chief judge of the provincial court of Prince Edward Island, so legal dramas have always been a favourite, and he's just starting to watch Your Honor.

But here's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

His wife, Shelley Lea-Lantz, says the judge is sometimes guilty of bailing on shows before they end, but The Undoing was one miniseries that kept him engaged.

The verdict?

"Best show we have seen in a while," she said. "Keeps you guessing till the last."

Jenene Wooldridge says she liked how The Queen's Gambit portrayed 'being a brilliant woman in a male-dominated field.' (Buffie Boily)

Jenene Wooldridge 

Wooldridge, a Mi'kmaq leader and executive director of L'nuey, had The Queen's Gambit at the top of her list.

It's no coincidence that she likes strong female characters.

"Centred around chess, this series was able to incorporate incredible stories about grief, trauma, addiction, and being a brilliant woman in a male-dominated field," she said.

"I enjoyed how she paid no attention to the social conventions that expected her to shrink herself in order to fit into a man's world."

Wooldridge also gave two thumbs up to documentaries Becoming, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage and The Social Dilemma.

RCMP Chief Supt. Jennifer Ebert says children's shows with lightness and positivity are often on the TV in her home. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Jennifer Ebert

She may be the commanding officer of the RCMP on P.E.I., but who has command of the remote?

"Like many Island families, our house has adjusted to parenting in a pandemic," she said. 

"We try to focus on lightness, positivity and learning moments, and as we have a Grade 2 student in our house, it has been Storybots and Top Chef Junior."

Islanders coach and GM Jim Hulton says momentum is a key factor in any series for him. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Jim Hulton

Hockey Night in Canada won't be back on until next month, but the coach and general manager of the Charlottetown Islanders says he's also a big fan of crime shows.

"My wife and I are currently deep into The Blacklist," he said.

"As a family, we thoroughly enjoyed watching The Last Dance documentary."

Tamara Steele, president of the Black Cultural Society on P.E.I., likes some magic in her viewing menu. (Oniel Kuku)

Tamara Steele

Steele, president of the Black Cultural Society on P.E.I., says she loves shows that have elements of fantasy or magic.

"I just finished Locke & Key, which I loved, and just started a show called Raising Dion, which I have high hopes for. They are both based on comic books and definitely fulfill my craving for magic."

Adam Brazier says he's watched Oh, Hello on Broadway four times already. (Submitted by Adam Brazier)

Adam Brazier

The Confederations Centre of the Arts and other theatres have been among the places most affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Brazier, the artistic director, says his family probably been watching too much TV during the pandemic, and they all have their favourites.

He says his two boys enjoy Nailed It and The Who Was Show.

His wife is into Unsolved Mysteries and documentaries about murder — which, he jokes, he's noticed for a while and is "starting to get concerned" about.

Brazier likes the cooking show Somebody Feed Phil, but his favourite has been Oh, Hello on Broadway. He's watched it four times already.

"I'm having a secret friendship with John Mulaney and Nick Kroll. It's a secret because they are currently unaware of this friendship."

Tessa Mossey says she likes to quote Moira Rose from Schitt's Creek. (davidleyes@2015)

Tessa Mossey

What does an actor watch on TV? Mossey, who has appeared in miniseries Shadow Hunters and The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, says The Crown is "amazing" and Sex Education covers some "really important topics," but she can't get enough of the comedy Schitt's Creek.

"We're always quoting Moira at our house," she said.

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown reserves Friday and Saturday nights for TV watching. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Philip Brown

The mayor of Charlottetown says when he parks himself in front of the TV, it's usually to watch the news. 

"I leave Friday or Saturday nights for Netflix movies," he said.

One classic he enjoyed recently was Easy Rider, the 1969 movie starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson.

CBC hosts Louise Martin, Mitch Cormier and Matt Rainnie have different tastes in their TV viewing. (CBC)

CBC hosts Louise Martin, Mitch Cormier and Matt Rainnie

Martin, the host of CBC News: Compass, is on TV herself weeknights from 6-7 p.m. delivering the news. But even she needs an escape from "the realities of what is happening around us."

Martin, who was born in Scotland, loved the history in Netflix's The Crown, "even if they took some creative liberties!"

Cormier, the host of Island Morning, found The Queen's Gambit entertaining.

"In a year with precious few live sports, who would have thought we would cheer on chess like it was the playoffs? Brilliant photography, incredible acting and a story about singular obsession and the toll it exacts played out on a field of 64 squares."

Cormier, renowned in CBC circles for his cooking prowess, also recommends Season 2 of David Chang's Ugly Delicious.

Rainnie, the host of Mainstreet P.E.I., has some cred in this department — he used to do movie reviews for CBC — so take heed.

"The biggest surprise for me was a show called Ted Lasso, which on the surface looks like a broad sports comedy. Beneath that surface though is a story that values optimism, friendship and big-heartedness. The main character quotes Walt Whitman's 'Be curious, not judgmental,' which is a great thought to help guide the day."


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