Marriage Mini Rut

drawn in PowerPoint; paper texture and embossing added in Gimp

I wouldn’t exactly say my marriage is in a rut but I have my interests (can you guess?) and Mr. Doodles and Jots has his music and then pile on kids and jobs and what is left for each other?  Neither one of us is exceptionally needy and our marriage is fine but you could definitely say we have been in need of an easy way to connect.

Enter the TV mini-series!

This year we started watching television mini series.  After they kids go to sleep, or even before (if it is the weekend and we are at the good parts) we watch a little (or a lot) here and there, until we finish and then we pick another.  Television mini-series are usually about very popular subjects, times, books, and are very engrossing because of their length and detail.  You usually learn something and decades of choices are available to you commercial free and free-free at the library!  You also won’t have to wait, I can almost garentee no one else is requesting Shogun from your local library right now!  The summer is a perfect time to get started on your “mini-series marriage” since all the good, I mean the small handful of good shows, are on hiatus.  The only hurdle I can really see is baseball, sigh…  Watching mini-series together has been so easy and fun and really has actually brought us a little closer with a shared interest.

Even if only part of what I shared can you relate to or is of interest to you, I suggest you check into and check out some mini-series this summer!

Here’s what we have watched so far…


From the moment the young Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) is stolen from his life and ancestral home in 18th-century Africa and brought under inhumane conditions to be auctioned as a slave in America, a line is begun that leads from this most shameful chapter in U.S. history to the 20th-century author Alex Haley, a Kinte descendant. The late Haley’s acclaimed book Roots was adapted into this six-volume television miniseries, which was a widely watched phenomenon in 1977. The programs cover several generations in the antebellum South and end with the story of “Chicken” George, a freed slave played by Ben Vereen whose family feels the agony of entrenched racism and learns to fight it. Between the lives of Kunta and George, we meet a number of memorable characters, black and white, and learn much about the emotional and physical torments of slavery, from beatings and rapes to the forced separation of spouses and families. Nothing like this had ever confronted so many mainstream Americans when the series was originally broadcast, and the extent to which the country was nudged a degree or two toward enlightenment was instantly obvious. Roots still has that ability to open one’s eyes, and engage an audience in a sweeping, memorable drama at the same time. –Tom Keogh


What better way to escape from the onslaught of so-called reality television than to sail away with Richard Chamberlain to “the Japans” for a little samurai action and some discreet “pillowing”? From the golden age of the miniseries comes this television benchmark, the 10-hour, Golden Globe-winning saga based on James Clavell’s bestselling epic. In his award-winning performance, Chamberlain stars as John Blackthorne, the 17th-century English navigator on a Dutch trading ship. A storm runs the ship aground off the coast of Japan, a “torn and cruelly divided country” locked in a power struggle between Toranaga (the venerable Toshiro Mifune) and Ishido, two warlords who would be Shogun. Blackthorne gets over his initial culture shock (“I piss on you and your country,” he defiantly proclaims to his samurai captors, which to his humiliation turns out to be an unfortunate choice of words) to become a trusted ally of Toranaga and the lover of the beautiful interpreter Lady Mariko (Yoko Shimada). Their forbidden, ill-fated romance–and Blackthorne’s total assimilation into Japanese culture–is set against political intrigue as Toranaga prepares for the inevitable showdown with Ishido, and Blackthorne’s growing influence threatens the local Jesuits who had built up a lucrative trade monopoly. Shogun was a production blessed with good karma, and it remains an awesome achievement from a bygone era when the miniseries was king. –Donald Liebenson

Tales of the City

“The City” in question is San Francisco, and the tales are novelist Armistead Maupin’s, his romantic, affectionate, and spirited homage to the glory days of his hometown. Maupin’s idea of SF’s glory days isn’t the drug-filled Summer of Love (1967), but rather the drug-filled lust-in of the late ’70s. Replacing acid with coke and ludes, psychedelia for disco, this six-hour miniseries (which caused controversy for its open drug use, nudity, and direct depiction of homosexuality upon its initial airing on PBS) follows the romantic struggles and identity crises of a colorful cast of characters. The action–as addictive as the drugs the characters ingest–is seen mostly from the innocent point of view of Mary Ann, the city’s newest culture-shocked resident–so its presentation is rather decadent and hedonistic. Because the story originally ran as a daily serial in the San Francisco Chronicle before being compiled into a novel, its serialized structure suffers from typical soap-opera mawkishness and the need to shock with ridiculous revelations. Thankfully, this degeneration mostly occurs during the final two hours, allowing you to just enjoy the personalities and hilarious and often-touching interactions of the richly drawn characters before they’re manipulated by plot devices. The performances are all outstanding, especially Chloe Webb’s spacey ex-hippie Mona, Marcus D’Amico’s romantically doomed Michael, and Olympia Dukakis’s Anna Madrigal, the enigmatic mother hen/landlady of many of the film’s central characters. –Dave McCoy

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Do you have a favorite that you would recommend?  Please share!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


  1. These are great! I remember these.
    I got my husband into Downton Abbey. He said he would hate it, but he loves it more than I do I think. We gotta get a hold of Season 2. We can’t seem to catch it when its on TV. I think we may need to buy it before season 3 starts. That show is crack, I swear!
    Alma recently posted..Birth to NewMy Profile

    • You know, we started watching it but it was too noisy in my house so we stopped but I think I would really love it too!!!

  2. Jeramy and I watched a three part documentary on the rise and fall of he Medici a while back, and it was fun learning more about that together.

    Mostly we watch netflix, and lately it has been Farscape. (We are nerdy.)
    Another thing we do to reconnect is play 2-player board games together. I have actually been thinking of doing a post on that.
    Krista recently posted..Toddler Activity: Fine Motor Skill Practice With StrawsMy Profile

    • We went through a scrabble phase a while back – but he is so darn good at games – I never win!

      I don’t really watch a lot of Scifi but I really can get into anything. I used to watch Star Trek the Next Gen with my brother years ago.

    • Nice, I bet you have to get pretty close to watch the iPad together ; ) That is a funny show. White Collar I haven’t seen…

  3. What a great idea! I never would have thought of something like this. I just finished watching THE WINDS OF WAR, and am going to start it again this week with Dot (when she’s not doing teenagery things with her friends). I also recommend FROZEN PLANET and BLUE PLANET, from the Discovery Channel.
    We really enjoy watching TV on DVD, too, or “stockpiling” our favorite comedies on the DVR. We have an over abundance of FRIENDS, FRASIER and CHEERS recorded, and we have mini-marathons each weekend then end up talking like the characters for a day or two. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not.
    What regular shows would you recommend?
    Molly Jo recently posted..RECIPE: Chicken Stock & SoupMy Profile

    • Have to look into the Winds of War – I am interested in WWII. Love the nature doc’s too only I make the mistake of trying to watch with the kids and they start to drift off into the other room and I am like – how can you not love this?!

      Almost exclusively watch shows on the DVR now – can’t stand commercials plus it great with kids. Love the funny sit coms too!

      You want my show list… here it is… The Office, Parks and Recreation, Made Men, & Project Runway. Fell off of Grimm but like that one too. I occasionally watch SVU in reruns and I can’t seem to pass by Hoarders without watching. I used to love to catch Oprah (except her celeb ones) and usually watch Sunday Morning on CBS. Of all these I would recommend Sunday Morning the most inspiring show I watch.

      I think the next thing for us is Downton Abbey!

    • I think Downton Abbey is next for us – been wanting to watch it! I might need subtitles though!

  4. I love this list! My husband and I did the same thing when we had Netflix. We enjoyed Bleak House (BBC version) and House of Mirth (BBC). Both of those were my picks. I always wanted to see North and South. Hmm. I’m heading to the library tomorrow so I think I’ll see if they have it. :)
    Hippy Chick recently posted..A Few of My Favorite ThingsMy Profile

  5. We do the same thing, but with British mysteries. We get a chance to watch one episode every few months or so, but it’s a lot of fun when we do! I can recommend Jeeves & Wooster and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. I’ve bought The Last Detective, too, but at this rate it will be a long time before we remove the shrink wrap on it. :)
    Elisa | blissfulE recently posted..David and an Aussie Rules FootballMy Profile

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