Tag: TV Shows

Binge-Worthy TV #4

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.

Binge-Worthy TV #3

Our binge-watching marathons continues apace.

After we gobbled up 2 seasons of the Euro-centric co-production, THE TUNNEL, and watched the mini series, TRIANGLE, starring Sam Neil—which, by the way, was a silly bit of fun where the American Navy are trying to close a breech in space time created by the Philadelphia Experiment (which may, or may not have taken place) and, in turn, spawned a movie or two.

We decided to watch something a little less cheesy and jumped into the BBC TV 6-part series, THE STATE WITHIN, a tight political thriller starring Jason Isaacs (he of Harry Potter and Star Trek: Discovery fame) and Sharon Gless from one of my all-time favourite TV shows ever, CAGNEY & LACEY.

What is interesting about this mini series, which aired back in the UK in 2006 and was nominated for 2 Golden Globe Awards, is how relevant the premise is in the here and now. Nothing appears to have changed in the ensuing 14 years and similar situations depicted may have, in fact, gotten worse. It’s certainly well worth finding on DVD and watching.

After cheesy SF and tense political intrigue, we took a short break before taking a TURN, and joined Jamie Bell and cast in Turn: Washington’s Spies, a 4-season period drama set during the American Revolutionary War in which we see the creation of America’s first ever spy ring.

We are a couple of episodes into season 1 and loving it so far, despite the fact historical accuracy has been sacrificed (and, isn’t it always) in the name of drama.

Binge-Worthy TV #2

Oh boy, I didn’t expect at the end of last year, even with the long holidays we enjoyed here, to be watching so much TV or, I should say, TV drama series, as we have. And, let me tell you, the binge watching has continued apace without so much as us missing a step.

The latest series to capture our attention was THE TUNNEL, centred on (yes, you guessed it) the Euro tunnel. The series features both Brit and French actors and gripping storylines that had us hooked from the first episode—one where a severed body is found in an access tunnel of the Tunnel, right on the demarkation line (that delineates English soil, and French.) However, the top part of the body, on the French side, is that of a French diplomat, while the lower extremity, on the English side, is that of a well-known prostitute.

Do I have your attention?

It certainly had ours. And, as a result, we’ve whizzed, and I mean, absolutely whizzed our way through both season 1 and 2 these last few weeks! And while season 1 focused in on the bizarre murder in the access tunnel, season 2, featuring the same cast, centred on a whole new premise with a terrorist team downing a commuter jet in the channel. Heart pounding stuff, believe me!

We also discovered there’s already a season 3 out and available. So if you’re wondering why I haven’t posted any book reviews lately, know you know why.

FYI: weird fact — the actress, Clémence Poésy, who plays Captain (later Commandant) Elise Wassermann in The Tunnel, also played Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter movie, The Goblet of Fire.

Binge-Worthy TV

First we binge-watched the chilling CHERNOBYL, and fought the urge to hide behind the couch cushions as the slo-mo horror of what happened, unfolded in grisly detail.

Then we decided to counterbalance the chills with something (we hoped) would be fun and frivolous, VERSAILLES. And immersed ourselves in the politics and intrigue of Louis XIV court where grown men had better hair and clothes than the woman. Oh my, talk about the French giving their all … I’m sure this one with it’s full-frontal nudity will be severely edited for American viewers. This was such a delicious first outing, we cannot wait for season 2.

Before we started suffering withdrawal, we leapt into something completely different, going from historical drama to, well, Steven Moffat’s modern take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, simply titled JEKYLL. A fantastical reimagining if ever there was one and, if you haven’t seen this one already, may I humble suggest you grab yourself a copy of the 6-part mini series, and frighten yourself into insomnia!

We will watch the last episode tonight. Wish us luck, I think we might need it.

A Cold Day in Hell

There is something to be said about being able to binge-watch a TV series, without interruption or annoying adverts. Unless, of course, you count pausing to pee, eat, and sleep. These past few days has seen us blister our way through HBO’s absolutely chilling CHERNOBYL, which was at once both terrifying in its accurate portrayal of events, as it was compelling in an utterly bleak way.

Neither of us could look away, neither of us wanted to miss a minute, and yet, this is no lighthearted entertainment. It’s brutally honest where it needs to be, offering a number of POVs in which to tell both the human side of this terrible disaster, and the factual side of how events unfolded.

The round up at the end of this heart-wrenching series gives further insight into the character choices, as in Emily Watson’s character of, Ulana Khomyuk, who represented all the scientists involved, and Jared Harris playing Valery Legasov, the professor, brought in to aid cleanup efforts. And Stellan Skarsgard as Boris Shcherbina, the Council of Minsters’ deputy chairman.

All were outstanding performances, in what is, for me at least, some of the most gripping and engrossing fictional drama I’ve watched in a long, long time.