March felt like a month of catching up but also an introduction to the wonderful world of Better Call Saul.
Better Call Saul
At times I thought I might end up liking this more than Breaking Bad. There is just something wonderful about the character Jimmy McGill whether that’s his past as Slippin’ Jimmy or future as Saul Goodman there’s an eternal optimism trying to fight through the everyday sadness that just gets me every time. The series goes from good to great once we get Mike’s flashback and the later episodes in the series excel.
Cucumber & Banana
I haven’t finished with these yet and have just reached episode 6 which is the one everyone started talking about but both series were great from the start. Unfortunately once I knew the vague details of the shock in Cucumber I knew how it would arrive. Brilliant writing and performances not to mention the way the two shows compliment each other make this another highlight of the televisual year.
Another big period drama from the BBC and this is a lot more engaging than Poldark or C4’s Indian Summers both of which I’ve cooled down on after promising starts.
I finally caught up with the first part of the final series before the new episodes start this week and continued to love it. It’s amazing to think how much time has passed in the series and how much all of the characters have changed over the years. The ending was just brilliant, I bet there are people out there who didn’t like it.
Continuing (still watching, or watched, and enjoying)
The Walking Dead, The Good Wife, House Of Fools, Uncle, Last Week Tonight, The Daily Show, Togetherness
Continuing (but don’t know why)
Fortitude – I’m convinced there’s a good 6 hour series somewhere in here but over 10+ hours it’s largely boring and trying to be at least two different shows.
‘Maxine Peake As Hamlet’ filmed at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester for cinema screening at Hyde Park Picture House
So it turns out that like most things Shakespeare is much better in a northern accent. It’s also interesting that theatre and Shakespeare in particular is the only place where equality truly exists and there is no discrimination between race and gender.
My dislike of lengthy stories extends to Shakespeare with too many unnecessary (or misunderstood) scenes adding length and making it harder work to get through. Another problem is that Maxine Peake is so brilliant that every time she’s not on screen everything else feels so ordinary. Everybody else puts in a good performance but it was only Gillian Bevan as Polonia who stood alongside Peake as great.
City Varieties, Leeds.
Scattershot and lacking structure but incredibly funny and brilliantly performed.
Wolf Hall continued it’s greatness (I still have the final episode to watch) but also got harder to watch than I initially thought. When sitting down to watch the 3rd episode I was shocked to find it was only the third episode, surely there must have been more episodes. Each episode feels like a two hour film but was never hard work.
Unlike Wolf Hall, this just flew by. I was worried that the first episode was 90 minutes but it passed in no time and hooked me. I’ve only just watched the second episode and it didn’t seem as engaging but happy to stick with this for the next few months.
Catastrophe didn’t disappoint. I think part of the reason it worked it was because it was written by a man and a woman.
I’m not getting this, it seems incredibly dull with not a lot happening. Hoping things will get better in episode 4.
Count Arthur Strong
It took me a while to warm to the first series but the 2nd outing had me from the start. Funny, charming and really quite brilliant.
The Good Wife
The best show on TV returns and I’ve still only watched the first episode but it was absolutely fantastic.
Finally finished season 2 and still think it’s the best prison based TV show.
Good To Have Back: Last Week Tonight, Sceenwipe, House Of Fools,
Didn’t Start: Better Call Saul, House Of Cards, Banana, Cucumber, The Casual Vacancy
American Interiors at The Brudenell, Leeds.
With support from Gwenno.
In the first of what I’m optimistically going to call a monthly series here’s what TV I was watching in January 2015.
This started on Sky Arts (via NowTV) before Christmas and is still ongoing not that you’d know because the obscure channel means nobody is talking about it (if anybody else is watching it). It’s a Danish drama but one of the reasons it’s so enjoyable is that it’s also incredibly funny, most episodes appear to have a laugh out loud almost slap stick moment (are you really going to put your mothers’ ashes on that high shelf?). It’s engaging because the characters feel so genuine, especially when they’re not always that likeable.
Speaking of unlikeable characters pretty much everybody in Transparent is horrible, selfish and egotistic and yet feel so genuine that they feel like family. I caught up with Transparent when Amazon made it available to watch for 24 hours and I sailed through all 10 episodes with ease, I can’t remember the last time something felt so watchable.
Catastrophe looks likely to be one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made. As The Guardian pointed out it’s “as beautifully rommy as it is swaggeringly commy”. Both sweet and crude the most important thing is that it is frequently incredibly laugh out loud funny.
All kinds of classy. This is the kind of thing that I often feel I should be enjoying or appreciating more than I actually am but that wasn’t the case here as I remained engaged throughout.
The world doesn’t need another person complaining about “the difficult second series of Broadchurch” but the thing is the first season probably wasn’t that great, it just grew to be an engaging mystery. Season 2 of Broadchurch isn’t bad but it is all over the place and without any real sense of what it wants to be doing.
Honourable Mentions: The Wrong Men, Marry Me, Weekly Wipe, Wentworth S2, Spiral S5