Broadchurch is a British detective drama series, recently broadcast on ITV, that consisted of eight episodes. The series starred David Tennant and Olivia Colman as two detectives in the small seaside town of Broadchurch, who have to investigate the death of an eleven year old boy found on the beach.
I’d heard a bit of hype about the series beforehand, and then when it started I began to read some really positive reviews of it. I decided to wait until the show had finished and catch up with it all then. I started to watch it one evening thinking I’d see an episode or two, but ended up staying up late and watching five in a row, before finishing off the last three the next day. I was utterly hooked, it was compulsive viewing and I’m glad I wasn’t stuck watching it week to week because that would have been torture.
The show is set in a small English seaside town. It opens with the murder of the boy and from then on it revolves around various groups of characters in the town. There are the police detectives, the family of the murdered boy, the journalists reporting on the story, and various townsfolk who come under suspicion.
I won’t spoil the ending, but the plot and writing was fantastic, and I was kept guessing up until the last episode with the various twists and turns and red herrings. The actors were also brilliant, especially David Tennant and Olivia Colman (but to be fair they are both excellent in everything they appear in).
The show had a few flaws, I think the pacing was a bit slow and they could have cut down some of the side plots. Also stylistically while it looks great, the frequent slow motion shots probably added quite a lot to the running time!
Overall though I really liked it. It’s not the sort of thing I usually watch but it was really good. I don’t want to sound like too much of a snob, but I was especially surprised because I really didn’t expect anything appearing on ITV to be particularly high quality! But I was utterly captivated and I thought it was a fantastic programme. Apparently there will be a second series at some point in the future, and while it is hard to see how that will work given the ending of this series, I will nonetheless be watching that when it appears.
I haven’t seen The Simpsons for ages, I stopped watching it properly maybe five or six years ago. But every now and then I’ll catch an old episode or see a clip from it like this one, and the nostalgia hits. Because this show shaped my childhood and adolescence, it was something I watched and memorised and loved so much for such a long time. I really need to go back to the beginning and rewatch the whole series, catch up on the new episodes, and brush up on all the quotes I have been using since I was a kid.
Having got hooked on Only Connect last year, I’ve now been suckered into watching another quiz show, Pointless. This one is hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman and features teams of two players who complete by trying get the lowest score. They are asked questions that had previously been put to members of the public, and aim to find the most obscure answer, that the fewest number of other people knew. There are various rounds and different types of question, so the format varies a bit throughout the show.
I like the format, it’s unique and a nice twist compared to other quiz shows. They have good questions which cover a range of topics, so sometimes I know none of the answers when it’s something like sport, but other times I can get a good few answers myself. It’s not quite as difficult as Only Connect, but it’s not completely dumb either. The hosts are also great, there is a good chemistry between Xander and Richard and they can be genuinely funny with their awkward banter. They’re both great in other shows, so it’s no surprise that they are a winning combination here.
I used to say that I didn’t like quiz shows, but that was back in the days where the most popular one around was The Weakest Link, which was basically just rather dim people being cruel and overly competitive whilst a horrible host insulted them. This is nothing like that, and with shows like Pointless and Only Connect the genre has clearly moved on, in a good way. I really like it and I’m glad I started to watch it, because it’s a lot better than I assumed it would be. Overall it’s a clever and funny show, just really entertaining in a way that took me by surprise.
So 10 O’Clock Live is back on air for a third series. For anyone who missed it, the show is Channel 4’s comedy-driven look at the news and politics. The show originally got off to a shaky start, but I think the second series was an improvement, so I’m hoping that it will continue to develop. It’s not without flaws, for example I still find the political discussions to be awkward viewing, when there are various shouting guests all disagreeing and some of them clearly talking nonsense, but then that is true for all shows that feature political discussions, not just this one. As with previous series, David Mitchell and Charlie Brooker continue to be the high points, Jimmy Carr is not quite as annoying as I used to find him but he’s still never going to be one of my favourites, and Lauren Laverne is stuck in the position of being the one keeping it all together, which means she doesn’t get to do much herself. Overall it’s not great viewing, but it is good enough and I like it enough that I will continue to watch it, especially since I rarely miss anything that features David Mitchell or Charlie Brooker. I can see why some people don’t like the show, but I’m still prepared to give it a shot.
I recently finished watching through all of The Young Ones on DVD. I’d never actually seen the show before and my boyfriend insisted that I needed to experience it, so he got me the DVD and we watched it all together. I know the show is really popular and a lot of people consider it to be a classic, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed with it. To be clear, it wasn’t bad, and overall I did enjoy it, but I just don’t think it is as fantastic as a lot of people think. Maybe I would have appreciated it more if I had first seen it when I was younger, but watching it now it just came across as a bit juvenile in places. But on the other hand it was also brilliant in places, so I’m not completely criticising it. Overall it was a tough one and I still can’t completely make up my mind as to what I think of it. On the whole I’d say it’s a positive, but I’m still struck by the sheer random mess of it too. But maybe that’s a good thing.
There’s a new series of James May’s Man Lab on at the moment which I’ve enjoyed watching. I’ve written about the show before and what I said then holds true - I’m not really one for guilty pleasures but this comes pretty close. The title alone should have been enough to put me off, and the jokey sexism that is present in the show is a definite count against it. But when the show first appeared I was prepared to overlook that and give it a shot due to my soft spot for James May, and I’m glad I did start watching it because I do rather like the show. It manages to combine silliness with some actually very cool and interesting ideas, and as a result it is entertaining and enjoyable viewing. I know there will be plenty of people who don’t like it and think I should feel bad about the fact that I do like it (the same as Top Gear, really) but I don’t really care.
I’ve randomly decided to start rewatching all of Community. Mainly because it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m tired and in need of something funny to watch. I seem to recall that it got off to a rather shaky start but I know there are so many good episodes to look forward to, so I’m actually really excited about seeing it all again.
I just rewatched all of A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Sorry that should be “A Bit of Fry and Laurie”. I’ve actually reviewed the series before when I watched it a few years ago - I’ve been writing these little reviews for so long now that it seems I’m starting to repeat myself as I rewatch old television shows that I’ve seen before! I don’t actually have much else to say about it - I find sketch comedy to be particularly difficult to review. But it is a great example of a sketch show, really funny and clever, and with two brilliant stars in Fry and Laurie. There are lots of memorable sketches and jokes, and it is also a show that definitely stands up to repeat viewing as I enjoyed it a lot even though I’d watched it all through before relatively recently. I know it is a bit older (late 1980s and early 1990s and occasionally a bit dated) but I’d really recommend it to people who enjoy sketch comedy and British comedy because it is a real classic.
When I first heard about Elementary, the modern day Sherlock Holmes adaptation set in New York, I assumed that it was just going to be a terrible rip off of Sherlock.
I have been a fan of the books pretty much my whole life, and I love the old television series starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes - that is pretty much my definitive screen version of the character, even if the overall series deviates slightly from the canon stories, it is still in my mind a perfect adaptation. I was very sceptical of Sherlock when it first came out but of course it turned out to be brilliant, and a large part of that for me is because it combines excellent writing with strong characterisation; it is very true to the spirit of the original stories, if not to the letter.
Recently rewatching the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, I reconciled myself to the fact that I actually do enjoy those films even though I think they are rubbish at being an adaptation of the books. They are far removed from the Holmes and Watson of the books, and the plots too are original rather than based on the canon stories, so in that sense it is hard to see it as a successful Sherlock Holmes adaptation at all. But nonetheless the movies are still enjoyable in their own right as a separate entity.
So I decided to watch Elementary and see where that fits in.
As I said above, it’s set in modern day New York, and it stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes, and Lucy Liu as Dr Joan Watson. Holmes is a recovering addict and Watson is hired as his companion to keep him sober, and gets dragged in to helping him with his work assisting the NYPD. The casting of Liu as a female Watson really caught my attention when I first heard about the show, and I think it’s actually a really cool idea. If you’re going to deviate from canon in terms of a foreign, modern day setting, you might as well go ahead and alter the Holmes-Watson dynamic too, and it does add an interesting new twist.
The show is actually rather good, and I certainly enjoyed watching it. It’s not a direct rip off of Sherlock as I had originally feared (although it is also nowhere near as good). I’d say it was like the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes films in that it is not really all that good as a direct adaptation of the books, but it is nonetheless something that I liked in its own right.
The characterisation of the Holmes and Watson here is quite different from canon, but at the same time Miller and Liu both do a good job with these new versions of the characters. I do like the dynamic between them, especially the way the show portrays a good platonic relationship between a male character and female character without forcing it to be romantic in nature. The plots are decent enough too, but mostly it just feels like any other civilian-assists-the-police detective show, there has been nothing really special about it so far.
Overall I did enjoy it though, it is not as terrible as I had originally feared, and I am glad that I watched it. It is not particularly fantastic as a Sherlock Holmes adaptation, but as a detective show in its own right I thought it was actually alright, at least good enough that I plan to continue watching it.
For a proper, true to canon Sherlock Holmes series you really cannot beat the 1980s Granada series starring Jeremy Brett, and for a modern day version Sherlock is still fantastic, so this doesn’t really compare at all. But for fans I think it is still worth checking out and it does add something new to the vast collection of adaptations and alternative versions of Sherlock Holmes that exist. And as with all adaptations, if all else fails, you can always just go back and read the original stories!
So I may have spent all of my money on this boxset of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I regret nothing!
So of course I watched the new episode of Doctor Who this weekend. I would have posted about it earlier but I was caught up with other things this weekend too. I enjoyed the episode a lot; it wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t too disappointing either. I’m not a Moffat hater, although I do acknowledge the problems that some people seem to have with his tenure on the show. I am interested to see what they’ll do with the rest of this series and with the upcoming anniversary episode, especially given the news that it will feature the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper. (I’m a bit disappointed with that, because I was vaguely hoping for the rumoured reappearance of Paul McGann!) So overall I thought the episode was good enough and I like Clara as the new companion so far, so as I said I am looking forward to the rest of the series and seeing how things go. I don’t want to pass judgement too early anyway. (Also having just rewatched The Snowmen, I totally called the Great Intelligence as being behind the whole WiFi thing, just based on the trailers, so I was quite pleased to get that right!)