So the COVID crisis of 2020 continued into 2021 but there were some TV highlights to keep me going!
One of the very best was Mare of Eastown on HBO. A seven part series that was ostensibly a murder mystery – cop Mare (Kate Winslet) investigates the murder of a young woman – but was so much richers than that. Winslet played the down to earth and supr-relatable Mare, someone who has had a pretty tough time in life but whose inherent honesty and integrity make her a great cop but also a flawed one. The show’s setting, the fantastic cast (Jean Smart and one of my favourites, Julieann Nicholson, Evan Peters better than ever before) but most of all, the storytelling and the sense of place. Episode 5 was better than most big screen thrillers!
This show was about ordinay, non-glamorous people – Winslet was a producer and with her recent movie, the dour Ammonite, has been quite miserable on screen recently! However, whereas I found Ammonite chilly and unengaging, Mare was given 7 episodes to reveal her depths, her warmth and her all round awesomeness! A heart-breaker of a show for several reasons, but brilliant.
In terms of TV, looking at the shows I had on my list, many have ended (Halt and Catch Fire, Orphan Black, The Good Place, Game of Thrones, X Company, Mr Robot, Master of None, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Gypsy (really?), Blue Planet 2, Jane the Virgin, Imposters (I picked THAT?!) and Major Crimes.
Of the remaining ones, not sure how many are still huge faves.
It’s no coincidence that most of my choices for the best shows of the year features great roles for women. I many be biased, but there seemed to be far more nuance and complexity in many of the women on our tv screens this year than in the male roles. Finally! The women on my top 5 shows are a real mixture but each brilliant in their own way.
2017 was a pretty good year for TV with some great shows coming to an end and other exciting new shows. This is the first of two posts about the shows that I can’t say were the best, but I enjoyed, plus some good ones that didn’t make my top 20. Also, a few of my let-downs from 2017’s TV year
With so much TV around, when a show like Gypsy gets a critical kicking, you tend to think it’s not going to be much good. Ha! What do critics know! This show is my new obsession right now. Dropping on Netflix on 30th June 2017, this 10 part drama starring Naomi Watts had a strange pedigree. Yes, Watts is the main draw, plus Sam Taylor-Johnson is an exec producer and directed the first two episodes. However the show is created and mostly written by a total newcomer, Lisa Rubin.
The Autumn shows have started rolling out now, but a quick look back at some of the highs and lows of the summer tv shows including the pleasant surprises of American Gothic and Braindead, a scrappy second season of UnREAL and Mr Robot continuing to baffle.
This last month has seen the usual round of cancellations and there were some quite painful ones this year but also some inexplicable renewals!
Cancelled and it Hurts!
Agent Carter. Noooooo! Peggy, come back! Marvel’s ABC TV show never got great ratings, but was well liked by critics and its fans were very devoted. I am not sure why it didn’t do so great. The train of thought that women viewers watch shows with men and women characters but male viewers don’t like shows with female leads is a depressing thought if true. However, comic books do tend to appeal to boys more. They are written largely by men and feature mostly male characters. You only have to look at all the superheroes and the recent films. Agent Carter was the first Marvel show (or film) to have a female lead, and a female with no actual superpowers at that! It led the way Jessica Jones on Netflix and next year there will finally be a Wonder Woman film. Continue reading Gone…but not forgotten!→
This week I’ve been re-watching an old CBS lawyer show called The Guardian, notable for being Simon Baker’s first TV series before he hit it huge with The Mentalist. Baker is super charming, with a twinkling smile and highly charismatic as con man psychic turned crime fighter on The Mentalist, but for me the show ran out of steam very badly once they solved the Red John mystery (the man who killed Patrick Jane’s family) and followed the dull predictable route of pairing up Jane with Robin Tunney’s character.
Skipping through the TV channels several years back, I came across The Guardian and immediately spotted a younger, shorter haired Baker and started watching. Running on CBS from 2001 to 2003 for 3 seasons, The Guardian featured Baker as Nick Fallin, a hot shot lawyer who is busted for drugs and as part of his probation, is given 1500 hours of community service Continue reading Forget The Mentalist…Revisting The Guardian→
Music, Comedy, Insanity! Crazy Ex-Girlfriend defied low ratings and an off putting title to be one of the best new shows this year. Rachel Bloom had been producing clever YouTube videos for a while before creating this show with Aline Brosh McKenna (screen writer of The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses and more). The show follows slightly insane Rebecca who quits her NYC job as a lawyer to move to West Covina, California largely because she is hung up on Josh Chan, a sort of boyfriend from her past.
The above song is one of my favourites of a stellar season and like most of the songs, is clever and funny but also damn good musically. Love it!
As a non-American with no idea who OJ Simpson was apart from that guy in the Airplane! movies, the 1995 trial of OJ Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman didn’t have the impact on me here in the UK that it did in the USA. I was aware of it and the fact that he was probably guilty but got off thanks to clever lawyers was about all I remembered. However, as a Ryan Murphy fan I was interested (although all these shows with ‘America’ and ‘Crime’ in their title definitely confuses my Plex Media server!)