Binge TV #3

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, eh, 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 sysmptoms, 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.

Binge TV #2

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.

Are You a Prime Suspect

The TV shows, Prime Suspect and its similarly themed American counterpart, The Closer, both had the police hunting down the worse cases crime had to offer and, focused in on a female lead — with Kyra Sedgwick playing Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson in The Closer, and Dame Helen Mirren playing Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect. 

Both these shows followed a similar pattern, but how they dealt with their subject material, and how, by the end of each episode, they closed their cases, was approached in different ways. 

While I watched and loved The Closer, which was essentially about how Johnson/Sedgwick ‘closed’ her cases through her techniques in interrogation. The show was also full of a great deal of humour that, IMHO, often got in the way of the story telling aspect. Each episode had a number of ‘B’ plot that were, invariably, a slapstick comedy segment. After seven seasons, this became very tiresome and took the edge away from some of the topics covered. 

I really felt that, had they taken away or pared down the comedy, the show might still have been running. As it is, Kyra Sedgwick went on to do other shows. Not least of which was the more hard-hitting, Ten Days in the Valley, where she was on the other side of the law.

Meanwhile, Prime Suspect was more of a police procedural than The Closer, following Tennison and her team slowly piecing together all the clue, bit by bit. And while the interrogation was still an integral part of the show’s basis, it wasn’t the main focus as it was in, The Closer.

The two shows differed on many levels, while The Closer was laced with humour, Prime Suspect was the flip side, dark, gritty, and down in the trenches. 

Whether you were a Brenda Leigh supporter, or a Tennison fan, either way, both shows delved into dark corners in two uniquely different ways, caught the bad guys, and entertained us with strong, female leads that could hold their own, making these two shows a definite cut above the rest.

And you, what did you think of both these shows?

TV Binge #1

Last weekend we found ourselves in our local Walmart looking for lightbulbs, and while there, I thought to check out the DVD section. In hope, as you do. And was delighted to find a clutch of Oscar-nominated DVDs at bargain prices.

We ended up buying Dunkirk, Lady Bird, Murder on the Orient Express and 3 Billboards, plus the second season of Da Vinci’s Demons, because, why not, we’d already watched season 1 a couple of years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed the Florentine romp.

This meant binge watching season 2 and watching Da Vinci strut his stuff. Ably aided by the same cast of characters from the first season. Only this time, we took a rather curious undocumented journey to the New World, and Machu Picchu, in search of the fabled Book of Leaves. And who’s to say whether or not Da Vinci ever found his merry way either across nearly all of South America, through the Amazon jungle, to Peru … or whether or not his tiny ship made it around the Cape and up the coast, and found Peru that way. 

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War of the Worlds

Based on: H.G. Wells novel of the same name
Produced: Urban Myth Films, StudioCanal+, UK/FR Coproduction
Written: Howard Overman

Starring: Gabriel Byrne | Elizabeth McGovern | Lea Drucker | Adel Bencherif | Emilie de Pressac | Natasha Little | Daisy Edgar-Jones | Ty Tennant | Bayo Gbadamosi | Stephen Campbell Moore | Stephane Caillard | Aaron Heffeman

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