Bill’s Best Bets Social Distancing Edition 4: Hulu recommendations & ’50s TV show site

Our final installment in recommendations for streaming services and a one more idea …


I hoped to verify and stress variety, rather than simply reviewing or making final judgments on an entire series this week.

That said, one of my favorite streaming series still can be found on “Hulu,” – namely “Justified,” a story originally played out in six 13-episode seasons on the FX network.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is something of a 19th-century lawman in modern times. In reaction to his quick-draw, yet justified, killing of an organized crime hitman in Miami, Givens is punished by being reassigned to an office in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jurisdiction of the Eastern District of the Kentucky Marshal’s office in Lexington includes Harlan County. That’s where Raylan was raised and he hoped he had escaped for good.

Now he must face off with an old friend: smooth-talking outlaw Boyd Crowder. These two used to dig coal together in Kentucky’s crime-ridden hollers. Boyd now leads a deadly gang of white supremacists.

“Justified” is adapted for television from short story “Fire in the Hole,” by author Elmore Leonard.

It features terrific direction, writing and acting, with Timothy Olyphant starring as Marshal Givens and Walton Goggins both brilliant and unforgettable as Crowder.

Another alluring series: “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which premiered in 2017 as an adaptation of the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. That said, I saw only the first season, which explored themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society. Stars include Elisabeth Moss as Offred – meaning she was “of Fred,” and had to obey this master – and Joseph Fiennes as the Commander.

The gripping story also introduced means by which women resist and attempt to regain individuality and independence.

Season One earned rave reviews, with the New York Times calling it “unflinching, vital and scary as hell.”

And a critic for The Oregonian wrote of Season One, “Painfully timely. It’s also absolutely enraging, and completely riveting. … ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ isn’t just the best original show Hulu has ever done. It is one of the most impressive series of the year.”

Still, I was quite willing to follow my wife, Jill. Hulu may be her favorite streaming network.

She introduced me to an episodic drama, originally from Fox, called “9-1-1.” It depended on an ensemble cast that included Angela Bassett as Athena, Paul Krause as Bobby, Oliver Stark as Buck, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Maddie.

Of late, I pretty much relied on Hulu to binge watch 10 episodes in the first season of NBC’s “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector.”

Of course, it’s a spinoff from the 1999 film “The Bone Collector,” starring Denzel Washington as a quadriplegic, former homicide detective helping the New York City police department. He is aided by rookie police officer Amelia Sachs, played by Angelina Jolie. The film was adapted from a bestseller penned by Jeffery Deaver.

Twenty years later, “Hunt for the Bone Collector,” on Hulu, finds Russell Hornsby, who previously costarred on “Grimm,” replacing Washington as Rhyme.

Arielle Jebbel is new rookie officer Amelia Sachs. Costars: Michael Imperioli as Rhyme’s former partner, Rick Sellito – and Brian O’Byrne, excellent as the serial killer known as the Bone Collector.

50s TV

That’s the name of this site, which is both fun and nostalgic.

The site allows fans to check out a varied number of episodes from the following series:

“Bonanza,” “The Honeymooners,” “The Jack Benny Show,” “The Red Skelton Show,” “What’s My Line,” and “You Bet Your Life.” There also are quite a few episodes from “Leave It to Beaver” and “Ozzie and Harriet.”

I wish we could watch more from “What’s My Line.” I am partial to it.

Episodes aired include such mystery guests as Andy Griffith, Angela Lansbury, Bette Davis, Duke Snider, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, William “Bill” Holden and Jack Lemmon, to name several.

Sometimes the ‘50s television commercials are even more fun.




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