If Thanksgiving 2016 was a tough one for families split along political lines, keeping things light at this year's feasts may be just a little bit harder.
At least last year, we didn't have to try not to talk about the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Louis C.K., and way, way too many others.
"How 'bout them Iggles?" may work at your dinner table for sidelining touchier topics, but I'll be eating Thursday in Patriots territory — and no one in my sports-minded family expects me to know anything about football, anyway.
So I'll be thankful for the many hours I've spent not watching cable news this year, and for my 10-year-old nephew, Jake, who dressed up as Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) from Netflix's Stranger Things for Halloween, demonstrating awesome taste in TV characters and maybe giving the two of us something to talk about besides how ridiculously tall he's getting.
Thanks to Barbra Streisand, this could be a big holiday weekend for Netflix to bridge generation gaps, as people who love people with legendary voices discover that the concert special Barbra: The Music… The Mem'ries… The Magic!, which premieres on Wednesday, can be watched only on the streaming service, estimated to be available in a bit more than half of U.S. households.
Plenty of people Streisand's age and older have embraced streaming, though others have rejected the added costs, not the technology. But if there's a tech gap in your family, this could be the season to work on closing it. Not just for Streisand (who, when she's not singing selections from the No. 1 albums that now stretch over six decades, does occasionally get a tad political), but because the "traditional" TV that people 65 and older watch more than any other group doesn't always love them back. If a show has commercials, it's nearly always interested in delivering younger viewers to advertisers. When A&E canceled its contemporary western series Longmire in 2014 after three seasons, it wasn't the size of the audience, but the age of the viewers, that got the blame.
Netflix picked up the series, but it's not clear — because streaming services don't share ratings — how many Longmire fans followed it to its new home. (The sixth and final season was to premiere Friday.)
But you don't have to get someone hooked on Netflix (or Amazon, Hulu, or Acorn, or any of the niche services that serve a variety of audiences) to find TV topics that shouldn't raise anyone's blood pressure, including: