Saturday, September 10, 2016

I Want My Good TV

I'm a TV snob. I freely admit it.

I don't watch to kill time, or to have something on in the background, or because it's there. 

I want to pay attention - to actually think or become emotionally invested while I'm watching.

Bravo and E! will never appear on my screen. I get why people are entertained by mind-numbing pseudo-reality programming, but it's just not for me. The same goes for any "reality" dating series - I wish them all phony happiness.

I love sports. A good game will always get my attention.

But I'm on the hunt for quality scripted TV programming. And it's slim pickings these days, particular on the big networks.

So I'm reaching out to you. I'm open for suggestions. In this "golden age" of television, there's way too much fool's gold.

Here's what's currently on my radar:

- Mr. Robot (USA)

- Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

- Last Week Tonight (HBO)

- Narcos (Netflix)

That's all I've got. I'm desperate. Let me know what I'm missing!

Please tweet me @jonhein and help me build up my queue.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Summer TV Secrets

The Olympics are destined to be the top-rated program on television this summer. Big ratings. Lots of NBC crowing about the success of Rio. Get ready for it.

I won't be watching.

I'm not anti-American. I hope our guys and gals bring home bags of Gold, Silver and Bronze. I find most summer Olympic events to be a lot of hype - you blink, and they're over.

Unlike the Winter Olympics, I can see how much better shape all of these athletes are in than yours truly. That's depressing. I'd rather watch baseball, or even pre-season football.

But forget about my Olympic viewing preferences, here's a little secret about summer TV success - there's hardly anything else on worth watching, so it's not very difficult to be number one (on network television anyway).

I don't get this. We all watch TV year round, but most networks simply punt for the summer. The viewership IS there. People WILL come.

This was poised to change with the summer success of Survivor back in 2000 with roughly 50 million people tuning in for the Richard Hatch finale. No one watches during the summer, huh?

The network television landscape 16 years later? Find a reality or competition show that clicks (AGT, Bachelorette, etc.) and that's that. 40 million of us have decided to do something else with our time.

If anyone was actually working at a network during these months, I'd ask why they don't use the summer to air quirkier pilots or other shows they've invested in?

I don't mean burning off shows - I mean serving up some quality stuff that someone there once believed in. There's a good chance brilliant higher-ups might have misjudged one or two of those programs. Why not take some chances?

Well if you're not all caught up in Rio, there's still cable, Netflix and Amazon.

Here are my Top Five summer programs:

The Night Of (HBO)

When HBO gets it right, their dramas are simply the best. There are so many layers to this NYC murder mystery explored in each episode. It's slow paced, gritty, and truly fascinating. I continue to look forward to Sundays at 9 on HBO.

Mr. Robot (USA)

My favorite new show of 2015 picked up right where it left off. You must pay attention to this show. It's trippy, smart, and has characters who continue to grow multi-dimensionally. It's another slow-paced show that feels like a movie. Fine by me. Can't wait to see how things turn out for Elliot (don't hack this post).

Stranger Things (Netflix)

Believe the hype. I'm not going to spoil a thing here. Nice job, Duffer Brothers. Binge and enjoy.

All Or Nothing (Amazon)

I thought I knew what happened to the Arizona Cardinals last football season. I love Hard Knocks, and will watch anything NFL Films puts out. This show is a football fan's dream, even if you're not a Cards fan (here we go, Steelers!).

unREAL (Lifetime)

I don't watch this, but my oldest daughter Rachel swears by it. A behind-the-scenes look at a fictional dating show (as if network ones are actually real) is biting satire. I'm no reality show fan, but I do value my daughter's TV expertise.

The networks might change their summer programming minds one day, but it'll be too late. They have no one to blame but themselves.

Hope you're having a good summer. Thanks for reading.

P.S. - Following the rousing success of the Ryan Fitzpatrick Beard Challenge that Chris Carlin and I did on Loud Mouths (not shaving for 44 days), I've decided to bring back the beard. Very excited not to be shaving, but it won't be 44 days this time.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Television Prioritization

I need more TV time.

My workday begins with Howard, then Wrap Up with Gary, and concludes talking sports with Chris Carlin on Loud Mouths on SNY.

I leave my house before 5am and walk back in the door after 8pm. (I know, "waah")

I'm lucky to do what I do for a living. But it comes at a price.

I miss the early evening hours with Debbie, but my wife loves how I'm living the dream. Now I get home, eat dinner, watch TV for maybe an hour, and then hit the sack. Exciting, no?

If you're reading this, you know how much I love TV. My schedule is crunched, and catching the Penguins on their quest for the Cup makes it even tighter (Go Pens!).

I've had to prioritize. So here's what has made my recent TV cut:

Game Of Thrones (HBO)

Easily the best show on TV. Every episode has been better than the next. Howard and Robin say they're lost, well they need to pay closer attention. If not, just leave Westeros. My only disappointment is the map not changing all that much. Every subplot has gotten more intense, and thankfully they've moved away from Dorne. I catch this one live every Sunday at 9pm. If you're not watching - shame!

Silicon Valley (HBO)

I record this and watch it later in the week. Love that it's only 30 minutes, and man is it funny. The geek in me loves following the troubled saga of Pied Piper. It was the most improved comedy last season, and this season has not let up at all.

Veep (HBO)

Another half-hour show I record and watch during the week. It's slipped a bit, but still worth some belly laughs. Julia is excellent, and the supporting cast is arguably the best on TV. And just when you think they've gone too far, our "real" election reminds you that they haven't gone far enough.

Last Week Tonight (HBO)

I've professed my love for this show before. Always biting, informative and a quick half hour (see a pattern here?). John Oliver never lets up or varies his format. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I save this one for the weekend.

The Americans (FX)

Oh the places Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys will go. The disguises are still comical, but this show isn't afraid to take out anyone at anytime. The intensity has racheted up since Paige learned about what her parents "really" do and confiding in Pastor Tim. The 80's references are always a plus. This is a "catch up when I can" show.

Orphan Black (BBC America)

Didn't love last season, and the new season is building up on my DVR. I will get back to Tatiana, who deserves an Emmy for every season she does. Last season's male clones definitely slowed me down.

That's all I have room for. Before you tell me what I'm missing, some goodbyes:

The Good Wife (CBS)

I choose to remember the Florrick saga from its earlier spectacular seasons. This last one was a rush to wrap up everything, and it left out all of the little things that made The Good Wife work. Great to see Will at the end, but it reminded me of how weak Alicia's other romances were. The workplace dynamic desperately needed Kalinda, or more Cary, or something besides Diane's struggle. I loved this show early on, but when Will was gone and Kalinda soon followed, they might have had the right idea.

Banshee (Cinemax)

The best part of Banshee is how it never pretended to be anything more than what it was. Lots of action, violence, sex and a very slight degree of plausibility. Loved the opening credits and the bonus scenes at the end of each episode. Few shows had better fight scenes. Lucas Hood and crew made sure each trip to Banshee was going to be entertaining. I'll miss that Pennsylvania town.

I'm out of time to write. Back to work. Let me know what TV I'm missing!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Loud Mouths - Week 1

I've got one week in the books as co-host of Loud Mouths on SNY. We tackled the Mets starters, Jets QBs, Melo and Lebron, Letterman's beard, White Castle and so much more.

Behold the Brad Pitt and George Clooney of sports talk.

Chris Carlin is great to work with, and Sam Pepper is a fine producer in spite of him cutting anything having to do with the University of Michigan out of the broadcast.

There are other videos to peruse at SNY - just scroll down to Loud Mouths.

Thanks for tuning in!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Loud Mouths

Monday, March 21st will be my first night as permanent co-host of Loud Mouths with Chris Carlin. The two of us will be talking sports weeknights at 530pm on SNY.

Here's Bob Raissman's Daily News story (after the latest on A-Rod) about my new gig.

Two guys talking sports who shouldn't be wearing suits.

I had a great time with Chris on previous Loud Mouths guest spots. The man knows his sports and certainly has his opinions, and our conversations feel like we're sitting at a sports bar giving our two cents. I can't wait to do this every night of the week.

Howard in the morning. Carlin in the evening. I'm a lucky guy.

Hope you can tune in (check your TV provider for channel info; it's channel 60 on Cablevision).

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscar, Oscar, Oscar

Right after tonight's Michigan/Wisconsin hoops game (Go Blue!), the Heins will tune in for the Academy Awards, which aren't exactly bursting with excitement this year.

Can't wait to see what Chris Rock is going to do, but after that, it's all about the picks.

Last year, I nailed 'em all except for Best Picture, where I flip-flopped from Birdman to Boyhood. Still stings. This year, I think I learned my lesson.

For the "big six" categories:

Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara - Carol
Rachel McAdams - Spotlight
Alicia Vikander - The Danish GIrl
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs

Might as well start with the toughest category of the night. JJL is always great, Rooney Mara held her own with Cate, Rachel McAdams was also pretty good in True Detective, and Kate Winslet can do anything. Excellent performances all around, but Vikander is the one who shines above all others (she really stands out in Ex Machina). I thought The Danish Girl dragged quite a bit (pun not intended), but Vikander more than held her own during Eddie Redmayne's transformation. She will punch the Oscar winning ticket that I'm sure Eddie expected. If Winslet takes this, it could be an interesting night.

Christian Bale - The Big Short
Tom Hardy - The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight
Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone - Creed

Rocky...Rocky...Rocky.  This is Hollywood, people. Bale was quirky and fabulous as always, Hardy continues to be underrated and not appreciated, Ruffalo was stellar, and Rylance gets lost in the shuffle. This category goes the sappy route, and Stallone's story is too good for Oscar to pass up. And by the way, he is VERY good in Creed.

Cate Blanchett - Carol
Brie Larson - Room
Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years
Saorise Ronan - Brooklyn

Very strange when Jennifer Lawrence comes up fifth in an Oscar category, but she does here. Charlotte Rampling is a stellar actress, but she's not winning this Oscar. Cate Blanchett is too good these days - quickly drifting into Streep territory. Saorise just picked the wrong year - this one belongs to Brie. And how can the kid in Room not be nominated? That's just wrong.

Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
Matt Damon - The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl

Matt Damon is always solid and The Martian is entertaining, but not Academy Award worthy. I love Bryan Cranston, and he's great in Trumbo. He's got Emmys. Eddie Redmayne got his win - not gonna happen again this year. Fassbender will get one down the road, but his Steve Jobs felt like an Emmy winner, not an Oscar winner. Leo is too tempting for Hollywood to resist, and he's paid his dues with other projects. Slam dunk.

Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
Adam McKay - The Big Short
George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson - Room

This one kills me. McCarthy and Abrahamson have much to be proud of, but they are 4th and 5th in this horse race. McKay did a great job making financial material interesting and deserves kudos, but not an Oscar. George Miller DESERVES this Oscar. All of those practical effects in Mad Max: Fury Road are nothing short of amazing. He's in his 70's. Hollywood should eat this up. But they won't. I think Leo fever plus Inarritu's recent success and acclaim will bring him a second Oscar. I wouldn't mind being wrong here.

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Let's narrow this down quickly. Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian, Room - all good films, thanks for playing. The Big Short tells one heck of a tale, but it ain't Best Picture. Mad Max: Fury Road was an incredible ride, but there's no way it's taking home the big prize.

That leaves The Revenant and Spotlight. The Revenant is getting its acting and directing Oscars, and it doesn't need (or deserve) this one. I know Hollywood loves this movie and it's got so much buzz that it's tough to resist, but I'm holding back.

Spotlight had it all - excellent screenplay, direction and very fine acting. Plus a story that could have been portrayed in a completely different way, and it wasn't. It is the best movie I saw this past year, and I think it will win Best Picture. I also thought Boyhood would carry the day last year.

My Big Six:

Remember, the best man/woman/film doesn't always win (or even get nominated). This is Hollywood after all.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Fast Food Maniac update

I'm behind on my TV, but I've got a good reason.

Fast Food Maniac was released on Groundhog Day, and folks seem to be enjoying what I wrote, which is nice.

In printed form
I did some book signings at WORD in Jersey City, Barnes & Noble in Tribeca, and Book Revue in Huntington, Long Island. It was nice to see that bookstores do still exist, and I should do a better job supporting the indies. Thanks to everyone who came out in the cold metro NY area weather.

Looking presidential at Book Revue.

Robin mentioned my book on the air right before the show took a vacation break, but I have a feeling now that my audio book is out, that won't be the last time you'll hear about it on the Stern show.

Fast Food Maniac has been a #1 New Release in a bunch of Amazon categories including Humor: Cooking and Travel Dining Reference. There are a ridiculous amount of categories on Amazon. Amazon also chose the book as one of the Best of the Month for February, which is very cool.

I also made the cover of Explore LI in Newsday (Long Island's newspaper) and Men's Journal wrote a nice piece. There are some more articles coming that I look forward to reading.

Not the most flattering shot, but gets the job done.
So what's next? I'm really not sure. I will be returning to MLB Now this Friday and will work fast food into a conversation about Spring Training.

I don't have any other signings scheduled, but if I take a trip and there's enough interest, I'm happy to create one on the fly. Hoping for Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, or other towns that I frequent and love.

For those who have been generous enough to buy the book, thank you. For those who haven't, what are you waiting for? If you would like to purchase a signed copy, please email me at and we'll get it done.

I'm anxious to hear what you thought of Fast Food Maniac. It was fun writing those reviews and making all those lists. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

TV Thoughts - 1/24/16

If it snows two feet in one day, a lot of television gets watched.


Billions (SHOWTIME)

It seems that everyone working on this show has received or been nominated for an Emmy. With that kind of pedigree, expectations are set super high.

Mix in financial market manipulation in Manhattan, and you've got a lot of explaining to do right from the get go. There's no Margot Robbie in a bathtub, but at least Maggie Siff sports some high-heeled boots.

I've been a fan of the writing of Brian Koppelman and David Levien since Rounders in the late 90's. They're edgy, smart and you know a twist is always coming.

As for the acting, I would watch Giamatti and Lewis read a NYC deli menu (which would actually work on this show). I wonder how Tara left Jax in Charming and ended up with the Manhattan DA plus the gal from Children's Hospital is married to Axe, but I can get past that.

I'm two episodes in and enjoyed the second ep more than the first. The chess board has been set. The show is too smart for its own good at times and relies on cliches that aren't necessary. Just give me Giamatti and Lewis trying to outsmart each other with the DA's wife caught in the middle. The other characters are colorful, but more screen time for them means less for the big three.

Justice department versus hedge fund king with Manhattan as the backdrop - stay focused and I'm on board for Billions.

Angie Tribeca (TBS)

The Naked Gun. Sledge Hammer! I've always been a fan of police satire, the dumber the better.

On the recommendation of my good friend JD Harmeyer who shares my love for Python/Zucker Brothers humor, I checked out this new TBS comedy created by Steve Carrell and his wife Nancy.

This is no Naked Gun, but it is funny. And stupid. A lot of the gags are hit or miss, but it's non-stop absurdist jokes.

Rashida Jones does a fine job in the lead role. Other characters have silly names and are not as funny, with the exception of the canine partner of one of the detectives. That dog is a star.

There are tons of special guest stars and cameos, and I love the spirit of the show. Angie Tribeca is no Frank Drebin, but she holds her own in this first go-round.


History of the Eagles (SHOWTIME)

RIP Glenn Frey. After watching this documentary a second time, I still can't believe he's gone.

Love or hate the Eagles, this is one excellent rock doc. The footage, interviews and candidness are all there for you to marvel at.

Glenn Frey calling the shots. Don Henley rolling right along. Bernie Leadon wanting to stay mellow. Randy Meisner not wanting to hit that high note. Don Felder getting bounced. Joe Walsh getting sober. Tim B getting his dream job, going on hiatus, then living the dream. And Irving Azoff taking no prisoners.

Oh...and the number one selling album of the century.

And of course it's in two parts - it wouldn't be the Eagles if it wasn't.

The Godfather Saga (HBO)

I stumbled upon Don Corleone multiple times during the week, and no matter what point I entered, I couldn't change the channel.

I wondered if I had seen some of the deleted scenes before, but it really didn't matter. The Corleone family is impossible to turn away from.

And thankfully Godfather III is nowhere near this 7 hour masterpiece. It's must-watch TV. I didn't even realize it was snowing outside.


I watched Michigan beat Nebraska in Lincoln and the Penguins top the Canucks at home. That's a good sports day for the Hein house.

It's very strange having a Sunday without the Steelers playing. If only they could have stayed healthy. I like the Pats big and the Panthers not so big today.

Only two weeks until my new book, Fast Food Maniac, becomes available. What a great way to celebrate Groundhog Day.

I'll be doing some book signings in the metro New York area. Come by and say hi. I'm working with DQ and some other places on doing some events. More when things become official.

Word is out to late-night and daytime talk shows, so we'll see who wants me to drop by.

As always, let me know if there's anything out there I should be watching!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

TV Thoughts - 1/17/16

An old TV favorite, Oscar screeners, being on TV and a printed book - it's been quite a week.


The Good Wife (CBS)

The creators of the only network drama worth watching have declared this season to be their last (but not the show's). They have the right idea.

The first few seasons of The Good Wife are excellent. Guest stars straight from the Broadway stage or The Wire, shooting in NYC but pretending like it's in Chicago, interweaving politics and law in a more believable way than our current system - they pulled it off with flying colors.

Truly great shows can survive a major character exiting stage left, but it's a tough thing to do. Cheers is a rare exception. On The Good Wife, losing Will (Josh Charles) was a huge blow, but Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) leaving town at the end of last season was the death knell.

What makes The Good Wife special is the delicate balance between Alicia's (Julianna Margulies) battles with the law and her personal life. The cases mattered. Now, they don't. And the "is he going to be her love interest" guessing game has grown tiresome.

And as fantastic as Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski and all the other fine actors are, the writing hasn't kept up after losing those two key characters.

I will hang on until the end, hoping for that Florrick magic to rekindle for an episode or two. But I miss Will, Kalinda, and having a network TV drama that's actually worth tuning in for.

The Big Short

I watched this Oscar screener on my television, so I'm allowed to write about it here.

I liked The Big Short. It's not easy explaining the sub-prime mortgage crisis in two hours, but Margot Robbie in a bubble bath definitely helps.

This is very dry subject matter, but Adam McKay keeps things moving as the inevitable housing crash looms. Christian Bale pulls off a tough role, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt seem like themselves, and Steve Carrell continues his "Tom Hanks comedy to drama transition" as the heart and soul of the film.

It's not going to win Best Picture, but every American should watch this and remind themselves how the banking industry screwed us all not so long ago.


I also got to watch Spotlight on my big screen at home. Typically I'll avoid two hours of depressing tales of children being molested by Boston area priests, but people I trust told me how this movie feels more like All The Presidents Men. I'm glad I listened.

Spotlight is riveting from the get go. Told through the lense of a Boston Globe investigative reporting unit getting the story right, these horrid crimes are part of the tale - but the focus is more on the inner workings of the press and how it's not always so easy to "do the right thing".

All of the actors are excellent (particularly Mark Ruffalo) as we see their characters balance personal struggles and deal with the overwhelming power of the church in Boston.

I haven't seen all of the Oscar nominees yet, but as of now, Spotlight is my Best Picture.



Chris Carlin, the voice of Rutgers sports and long-time New York City broadcaster, asked me to join him on LoudMouths, a sports TV talk show he hosts on SNY.

I will talk sports with anyone who will listen. Chris and I share the trifecta of love for TV, sports and fast food, so I knew we would be a good match.

I've been on the MLB Network a number of times and talked sports with Rich Eisen, Dan Patrick, Michael Kay and Matthew Berry, but this was an opportunity to co-host a New York sports talk show  - and to do it on back to back nights.

It's easy to talk sports with your buddies, but not as easy when you're talking to a camera as 6th Avenue looms right behind you.

Living the dream in the SNY control room.
I enjoyed every minute of LoudMouths. From prepping in the newsroom as legendary New York sports talk voices passed by to sitting in a suit getting makeup applied right before critiquing the new coach of the Giants. It was fantastic.

Thanks to Chris, Sam, Brad, Jeane, Curt and all the folks at SNY for the opportunity. I hope to be back soon!


I finally received a printed copy of Fast Food Maniac and couldn't be more pleased with how the book turned out.

Can you name which places the letters come from?

I had a lot of fun (probably too much fun) writing and researching it, and thankfully the early reviews have been positive.

The book officially comes out on February 2nd, and I will be doing some signings and promotion at the beginning of the month. Thanks for your support.

That's all for now. I need to prepare to watch my battered Steelers give it their best in Mile High country.

Have a great week!


Sunday, January 10, 2016

TV Thoughts - 1/10/16

Let me start by wishing my wonderful wife, Debbie, a happy birthday. I know she's too good for me, and thanks to all of you for the constant reminders.

I'm still recovering from last night's Steelers victory over the Bengals, so let's get into it:


Many shows are on the cusp of returning or about to premiere, so I've been doing a little catch up. Not much new to talk about. Sorry.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

I found two eps left over on my DVR, and it reminded me how funny and informative this show is and why it's on my Best TV of 2015 list.

The show format sticks to the basics. A few big news stories, quick video joke which isn't as funny as the rest of the show, main featured topic, another video joke not as funny as the rest of the show, and some type of celebrity bit.

John Oliver is a very funny man who carries the show, and the writing and usage of video during the desk segments are top notch. It's informative, but not preachy (except for the church he created). It's biting but in such a witty way that you don't mind being reminded how dumb you and the rest of the world really is.

The celeb cameo bits are hit or miss, and there's one too many "and now this" segments, but I love TV that moves me. Last Week Tonight makes me laugh out loud and a little bit more aware of what's going on in our world.

Bravo, Mr. Oliver. Hurry back soon.

NFL Football (CBS)

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms trying to condemn the league that pays their bosses bills was fascinating to listen to as the Steelers/Bengals game reached its conclusion. A lot of what we saw was deplorable, and not only on the Cincinnati side of the ball.

Phil might have seemed lost, but I think he was biting his tongue on what he really thought of the thuggery happening on the field.

Nantz was just warming up for Peyton Manning next week.

The NFL needs to make some changes. Fast. Or there will be no one left on the field to play the game.

Tim's Vermeer (STARZ On Demand)

Howard raved about this documentary about an inventor recreating an 18th century painting, and it is fascinating. I know the plot doesn't sound particularly exciting, but watch what Teller (and Penn) did and judge for yourself.


The Man in the High Castle (Amazon)

Watched the second episode and didn't like it as much as the first. I'm in for the long haul though. Something tells me we'll get the country back from the Nazis and Japanese occupying it. Fingers crossed.

Undateable (NBC)

Live TV. Bill Lawrence is doing LIVE non talk show network television every Friday night at 8. It can be done, and not just on Saturdays at 1130 on NBC. Well done, Bill.


The Chiefs/Texans game made me yearn for the Red Zone. Boring football is one thing, but the ads are just killing me.

I will be on TV this Thursday and Friday at 530pm with Chris Carlin on Loud Mouths which airs on SNY. Can't wait to sound off on some sports with Chris.

My book, Fast Food Maniac, actually printed and is coming out February 2nd. I will be doing some signings and appearances in early February. More details as I get them.

Speaking of books, if you love TV half as much as I do, check out Alan Sepinwall's The Revolution Was Televised. I love his columns, and this book reminds you how good TV can be. Great read.

My daughter studying in London tells me Netflix UK is top notch. Glad she has her priorities straight.

Questions? Comments? Shows I should be watching? Let me know.

Be well,


Sunday, January 3, 2016

TV Thoughts - 1/3/16

Thanks for your feedback regarding my Best TV of 2015. I'm glad you're enjoying the recommendations.

Many of you missed my nightly TV suggestions, and to be honest, I miss discussing TV on a regular basis. So in 2016, I've decided to post some random thoughts as to what I'm watching.

Like most New Year's resolutions, this post might be the only action I take regarding this in 2016, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.

I will do my best not to spoil anything. No guarantees, because some conclusions are too tempting not to talk about.


Making A Murderer (NETFLIX)

I started off the year tweeting this:

This must-see documentary series kicks off with a fantastic first ep recounting the ongoing plight of Steven Avery in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.

You'll be hooked from the get go, and you're inhuman if you're not compelled by his story.

I'm no fan of reality shows, mostly because there's no reality in them (Survivor is my lone exception). Making A Murderer is a "reality show" done right - a documentary about real people dealing with the struggle of the Wisconsin legal system and not looking to see where the next camera is.

It is ten episodes long, and well worth your time.

The Man in the High Castle (AMAZON)

I watched the opening credits of this "what if we lost World War II" story and smiled (not because of the fictional World War II outcome).

The theme song is Edelwiess, and I love the cheesiness of The Sound of Music.

The show's creator is Frank Spotnitz, and I'm a fan of Frank's because he co-wrote an episode of The X-Files entitled "Jump The Shark" with two guys you might have heard of - John Shiban and Vince Gilligan.

I visited The X-Files set and was slated to appear in the episode, but I had to catch a flight back to New York. At least I still have the script.

The truth was out there!
But I digress. Frank always makes good TV, and this Amazon series looks like no exception. Lots of secrets and twists are mixed into the Philip K. Dick story profiling a different kind of America.

I only caught the pilot, but I'm very intrigued.


Transparent (AMAZON)

Caught the first two eps of season two with my better half, and those might be the only two that I watch.

The acting remains top notch, but it feels like Transparent is trying way too hard to be different, something it inherently doesn't have to do.

I love Jeffrey Tambor and Judith Light, and if the story focused mostly on them, count me in. But it doesn't - it deals with the trials and tribulations of their three screwed up kids, and frankly, I just don't care as much about them.

We'll probably be back, but there's a lot of other stuff to watch (and not just on Amazon).

Mozart in the Jungle (AMAZON)

Okay, I've been watching a lot of Amazon lately. Thanks to @NikRuckert for this recommendation.

The title sounds pretentious, and I get how life in various Manhattan orchestra pits might not appeal to everyone. I was initially turned off by the premise, but too many people whom I respect told me to tune in.

So I did. And it's funny, very interesting, and Bernadette Peters does not age. I will be watching more of season one with Debbie and we'll see how it goes.


Stumbled on to a Mr. Robot marathon on USA. Can't wait for season two of that gem.

It's not New Year's Eve without a late night Honeymooners episode. Good to see Captain Video. Switched to the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy. Always room for one more, honey.

My daughters are home for winter break and watching Gilmore Girls and Friday Night Lights on Netflix. Solid writing up in Stars Hollow and down in Dillon.

Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose!

Happy New Year,


P.S.  If I missed something or you have a recommendation, tweet me @jonhein.

P.P.S. My new book Fast Food Maniac comes out in less than a month. I think you're gonna like it.