The Law School asks the Faculty: What are You Watching?

Summer 2018 Edition


From the BBC and Netflix to opera performances and television comedies, here is a glimpse of what Law School faculty have been watching throughout the 92 days of summer.

Saul Levmore, William B. Graham Distinguished Service Professor of Law

I caught up and finished The Americans and then became addicted to reruns of Shark Tank, but in small doses. Why? It’s hard to account for preferences, even one’s own. Perhaps both encourage second-guessing? Both make you think you understand parts of the world that are really beyond my personal understanding.

Anup Malani, Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law

I have been watching The Expanse, which is a SYFY Network show that you can stream on Amazon. Based on books by James S.A. Corey, this series has the production, script, and acting quality of the Battlestar Galactica remake on SYFY. If you like the sort of asteroid mining conspiracies that Ben Bova tells, you’ll like The Expanse. Trying to find something to watch with my kids, I’ve been watching Stranger Things. It’s a great way to pass on what life was like at the peak of American culture back in the 1980s. (For the same reason I recommend Spielberg’s Ready Player One—though it pales in comparison to Ernest Cline’s book—and any of Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The soundtracks are worth the price of admission.)

Martha C. Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics

I'm currently at the Salzburg Festival, and have had the wonderful good fortune to see two new opera productions (Mozart's The Magic Flute and Richard Strauss's Salome) and two plays (Kleist's Penthesilea and Hofmannstahl's Jedermann). It is an immense privilege, which I got by giving one lecture at the Festival, which was itself a privilege and pleasure. I would recommend this sort of in-kind honorarium, so much more precious than money, to anyone who has the chance. But the truth is that going to opera and theater in Chicago offers similar delights, and equally gifted and courageous singers, conductors, and actors. So, just go, wherever you are!

Randal C. Picker, ’85, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law

For the last few years, I have been running an improv show at a comedy theater in Hyde Park. I recently took a stand-up comedy class, which, nervous gulp, culminated in eight minutes of stand-up in front of a live audience. So I have been watching stand-up on Netflix. Netflix is spending a fortune on stand-up—I don’t quite get the business model—but it makes it easy to see great stand-up at home. I’ve been watching Hasan Minhaj; Judd Apatow; Ali Wong; and Hannah Gadsby. Those are full-blown one-hour shows, but also try The Comedy Lineup to see what a 15-minute set looks like.

Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Professor of Law, Herbert and Marjorie Fried Research Scholar

I've been watching Jane the Virgin this summer. It's funny and self-aware and a terrific twist on the Latin American telenovela genre. Highly recommended.

Geoffrey R. Stone, ’71, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law

I recommend the series The Man In the High Castle. It’s an interesting look at the United States in the years after we lost World War II.

Lior J. Strahilevitz, Sidley Austin Professor of Law

My favorite recent television show is a BBC program called Detectorists. It’s a charming and slow-paced escape, lovingly written and directed by its star, Mackenzie Crook (who played Gareth in the original The Office). Detectorists focuses on two ordinary men in contemporary England, whose chief pastime is wandering through the countryside with metal detectors, looking for buried antiquities. It’s a quirky and poignant comedy that examines friendship, history, land, love, luck, and loss. As a bonus, the show features clever cycles of one-upmanship against a rival detectorist club. The ensemble acting and writing are terrific. The first two seasons are available on Netflix and the third (and evidently final) season is streaming on Acorn TV