Some inspiring new year catch-up viewing... from Sky Arts, but originallly from CBC
I've been catching up on The Little Drummer Girl, as part of a new obsession with Florence Pugh.
Have watched 4 out of 6 episodes. First 3 episodes intriguing, a very very slow burn, then episode 4 throws actual plot at you so quickly that I actually stopped it to check that I wasn't actually accidentally watching episode 5!
Very well made although I was distracted by seeing a 1983 Ferguson 14" portable television in a scene set in 1979 (it was the same model that we had as our "kitchen" TV as a kid so I remember it being a new model in 1983-4 )
Michael Shannon's hammy accent is a bit OTT but he's good, Alexander Skarsgard is very good, and young Flo-Pu more than holds her own against these seasoned players. She is excellent.
Messiah - Netflix
5 episodes in, reasonably interesting but not great. Hint of Homeland about it, could go either way as plot could easily become ridiculous or (hopefully) quite clever.
Detectorists - iplayer. watching for the the third time. Probably my favourite ever TV show.
Re Little Drummer Girl, my wife had a thing for Alexander Skarsgård. Not sure he even had a talking part, just sexy, moody and mysterious.
Watched all of Messiah, liked it better than most reviewers.
I have to say the new BBC take on Dracula has been excellent. Some great one-liners, very tongue in cheek (as well as fang in neck and stake in chest!) but then increasingly dark with an unexpected ending.
And I know it was December, but A Christmas Carol was a very good reinterpretation too.
> Michael Shannon's hammy accent is a bit OTT but he's good, Alexander Skarsgard is very good, and young Flo-Pu more than holds her own against these seasoned players. She is excellent.
I liked it too, although I'm a sucker for any Le Carre. I think some people were disappointed that it wasn't another Night Manager but then the books are rather different and just repeating the same style would have been a mistake.
I started a thread about a short series of quite modest but lovely 'adventure' documentaries on BBC Scotland.
But I'd really like to plug two films by the same little band of people that haven't been on the telly. They're delightful and deserve a much wider audience than they seem to have had so far..
Sullivan's Wild Scotland - Rivers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn0ojOOb-Gc&
Sullivan's Wild Scotland - The Coast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE3gJave0jU&
> I have to say the new BBC take on Dracula has been excellent.
I was very disappointed by episode 3 after the first two.
If you liked it though, it would be well worth looking out for Steven Moffat's 2007ish "Jekyll", with James Nesbit playing the eponymous doctor and his alter ego (assuming you haven't seen it already).
I enjoyed it immensely. It is also set in contemporary times, has a fair bit in common with and is just as silly as the 3rd episode of Dracula, but it doesn't take itself quite so seriously and the plot hangs together much more convincingly.
That last episode of Dracula reminded me of it a lot - Moffat seems to have recycled several of the ideas he had for Mr Hyde that seemed more original back then. (I was tempted to give examples, but they'd be spoilers probably.)
I agree both about episode 3 of Dracula and also Hyde. I saw trailers for Good Omens on BBC. I watched it on amazon last year having known nothing about the book and really loved it.
I saw a trailer for Armand Iannuci's Avenue 5 with Hugh Laurie which looks like it could be fun. Starts here in France in a couple of weeks. Not sure about UK.
The Secret Story of Stuff: Materials of the Modern Age
I thought it worth some positive words about this excellent one-off popular science show, for those interested in materials science. Sadly the BBC limit time for viewings for less than a month on such high quality educational output, so its no longer available on the I player.
The Outsider is off to an excellent start, quality akin to True Detective and Sharp Objects.
Is it broadcast and available on free catch up or does it need a streaming service? Really enjoying Wisting btw.
The Outsider is an HBO production. I watched it on Now TV as it is a Sky broadcast.
Odd shape to the Wisting sequence, looking like a proper game of two halves at the moment.
> Detectorists - iplayer. watching for the the third time. Probably my favourite ever TV show.
Arriving very late to the party, I've just been watching Detectorists for the first time - just finished series two, part of me wants to binge series three immediately but then again I don't want it to be over.
I had no idea Mackenzie Crook is such a fine writer, it's just beautiful. Clever, warm, funny, poignant - the whole thing is brilliant in a wonderfully understated sort of a way. The ensemble cast are perfect. (I particularly like Sophie Thompson as the completely hatstand but strangely adorable Sheila.)
It's nice to see Diana Rigg coming out of retirement to pop up now and then - I was going to say that she's perfectly cast as Becky's mum, but I just found out she actually is Rachael Stirling's mum so not such a coincidence after all.
I vaguely remember seeing trailers for it when it was new and just assuming it wouldn't be very good, couldn't have been more wrong.
I took the same route but fairly recently finished watching them all. Perfection in TV comedy, as good as anything I've ever seen.
> Watched all of Messiah, liked it better than most reviewers.
Had promise, but just didn't seem to go anywhere, for me.
> Detectorists - iplayer. watching for the the third time. Probably my favourite ever TV show.
> I have to say the new BBC take on Dracula has been excellent. Some great one-liners, very tongue in cheek (as well as fang in neck and stake in chest!) but then increasingly dark with an unexpected ending.
Was loving it until the third episode, when it seemed to turn into an episode of Torchwood.
If you've not already seen it, may I offer "The Kominski Method", old men, getting older. Two seasons, available on Netflix. Hope they make a third before the main protagonists pop their clogs.
Also, "The Mandalorian", arguably the best Disney take on the Star Wars universe - available on Disney+ or your favourite dubious download site.
> Was loving it until the third episode, when it seemed to turn into an episode of Torchwood.
Yes, I was unconvinced by the first 20 minutes and maybe they should have decided either to leave it all gothic or all present day (like Sherlock) but I think it redeemed itself.
Worth it for the bit in the bungalow when Dracula brings the husband home and the wife thanks him:
" Was he drunk?"
"That's one way of putting it."
Ahh, to come to the Detectorists for the first time....what a treat. Simply unrivalled in my opinion, it's just perfect.
In fact, the ending of episode 1, season 3 is probably one of my favourite bits of any TV show I have ever watched. The dream sequence that comes after Andy blows the whistle he has just found, with the music (Unthanks - Magpie) is incredibly moving and exciting! (the hidden treasure, in plain sight, in boring old Essex), and is so leftfield from the main show. It's genius and Mackensie Crook deserves every accolade for writing and acting the show.
In fact the music throughout is brilliant (there is a Detectorist playlist on Spotify for anyone interested)
Is it a show that needs perseverance to get it? Me and ms. aln watched the 1st three episodes and gave up.
Did anybody watch Mckenzie Crook's Worzel Gummidge over Christmas? Bit silly (obviously) but I liked it.
yes it is a bit of a slow burner, and i'm sure it won't appeal to everyone. But I see a tenderness and beauty in the show and the characters, in their appreciation of nature and history. The comedy is interlaced with pathos that is extremely well judged. You cannot but fall in love with Andy and all his foibles and gentleness. You want his dreams to come true, and he is close... but what is treasure? The Saxon haul? or the journey and relationships shared trying to get there?
Fck, I think i'm going to have to watch it a fourth time lol!!
Hmm... In the 3 episodes we watched, we liked Crook but thought the other guy's acting was a bit wooden. You give a good review though!
I'm a big fan of Toby Jones in the show. I think there is a bit of all of us in his character Lance. He is hanging onto his youth (the TR7, the Athena posters in his flat) , there is a deep sadness in him from his marriage separation which makes his relationship with Andy great. We have all had that single friend unencumbered by a relationship who would apply pressure on us to hang out (which we secretly would rather do) than be at home with our significant other.
Maybe i'm looking at this show a bit too deeply, but that's where I find the genius in the writing. Here it shines a spotlight on the simple relationship two blokes can have with a common interest, but peels the layers back so we can see it in all it's uncomplicated , often silly beauty.
Anyway...enough lol. I cannot expect everyone to be as invested in this show as I was. It still makes the hairs on my neck stand up...the more I watch it, I find more to enjoy
That was what made me decide I should go back and watch Detectorists after all.
I liked it very much, silly bits and all. Mackenzie Crook described Detectorists in an interview* as his attempt to write a love song to the English countryside, and I think the same applies to Worzel Gummidge. Perhaps more so. Also I may have developed a bit of a crush on Francesca Mills.
can I thank Deepsoup and Bjartur and others for drawing this amazing show to my attention.
It had passed me by though I did watch Worzel G over Christmas and thought it was very clever and enjoyed it.
we binge watched The Detectorists on Wednesday night, season 1 in one go and 3 eps of Season 2 last night
Brilliant writing, beautifully played. Mackenzie Crook is a hidden genius.
thanks for the recommendation
there was a similar error on "Life on Mars" - a cassette recorder appeared of a type I bought in the early 1980s for using with a computer, made by Bush.
> I had no idea Mackenzie Crook is such a fine writer, it's just beautiful.
did you see his treatment of "Worzel Gummidge" over Christmas? - I thought that was a really sympathetic and beautiful rendering
I did and I agree, I loved it.
Watching Good Omens at present, as I missed it first time around... so far its a complete delight but as silly as you might expect for something based on a Gaiman-Pratchett collaboration.
In contrast the normally wonderful Iannucci seems to have lost his magic in Avenue 5.... big budget and big names and yet I'm struggling even as a Sci Fi fan.
I'm quite taken with how the humour reminds me of Douglas Adams HHGTTG.
It's really great and a delight, uplifting.
If you're a fan of Douglas Adams but have never read Terry Pratchett, you'd probably enjoy his Discworld books very much. Less cynical perhaps, but I've always thought the humour in his writing was very similar. And happily, unlike Douglas Adams, he was ridiculously prodigious so there are *loads* of them.
Bizarrely I've only just cottoned onto this, despite being a fan of the books. And boy it is a cracking adaptation.
I binged all four seasons in a week and am now halfway through a more leisurely re-watch with my partner. Her verdict has swung from "it is good but not as good as you think it is" to "this is the best ever, let's watch it until our eyes bleed".
Season 1 is equal measures of hard science fiction and geopolitical thriller, shaken with a jigger of hardboiled detective noir and a dash of HP Lovecraft beastliness. Standout performances from Thomas Jane and Jared Harris too.
I've read a small selection of his books and I agree entirely. I have that catching up to look forward to.
On the same vein the BBC Radio comedy fantasy "Hordes of the Things" from the early 80s (about the same time as their definitive 13 hour "Lord of the Rings" was broadcast) is well worth hearing - it turns up on Radio 4 Extra from time to time.
The BMC have launched a 'No Moor BBQs' campaign, after countless devastating moorland fires. They are calling on the government to criminalise the use of disposable barbeques on open moorland, with a severe penalty for anyone caught.