Actually, calling the TV shows I’m about to discuss binge-worthy is a misnomer. Neither, as it turns out were of the calibre to be called binge-anything, let alone worthy.
First up is the Jez Butterworth written, Sky TV Amazon Prime coproduction, BRITANNIA. This supposed historical drama is only historical in that it’s set in AD 43, and that’s about it. Any resemblance to historical ‘fact’ is lost in translation, as they say. The show follows the Roman conquest of Britain, with some locations filmed in Wales, but mostly in the Czech Republic. Which accounts for some of the stunning scenery we get to see.
This is, in short, a campy fantasy straight out of the twisted imagination of the writer, Jez Butterworth. And while the scenery and settings are stark, forbidding, lush, and mysterious, the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Then there’s the crazy-ass dialogue in which each and every ‘hip’ character talks as if they’re in a London Wine Bar discussing the weather. It’s absurd to the point of being hilarious. Several times my partner and I burst out laughing, and no, not because the excessive violence was funny, but because we just couldn’t believe our ears.
Then there’s the acting, which ranges from the down right camp—Zoë Wannamaker, I’m looking at you—to the melodramatic verging on farcical pantomime. The only redeeming character throughout the several episodes we struggled through so far has been the young lead, Eleanor Worthington Cox, who plays Cait.
This one might have scored higher had they thrown in a couple of dragons, but isn’t something I would recommend in less you’re looking for a farcical comedy of errors.
The second show we tried to watch is the BBC’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s THE ABC MURDERS, starring the usually reliable John Malkovich. But after struggling through the first episode both my partner and I were of the same opinion, this one was a hit and miss affair. If you can get past the really, really strange accent Malkovich favours for his portrayal of Hercule Poirot, the gloomy atmospheric settings, and the glacial pacing where every last nuanced glance and look is filmed in minute detail, then you might actual make it through all three episodes and find out, who did it. But take it from me, you might die of boredom before you get there.