Sunday, March 29, 2020

Isolation telly - some from me to you - recommendations welcome

As we enter the third week of isolation, it seemed like a moment to sum up where we are with various bits of telly drama and films since I last did a review of telly in June last year.

The Crown (Netflix) - it took us a while but we're up to date with the sprawling dramatised peep into the lives of the Windsors. I liked the earlier ones with Claire Foy as Her Maj, but season three picked up with her warm relationship with Harold Wilson, brilliantly played by Jason Watkins.

The English Game (Netflix) - there were even more liberties with the historical truth in this period drama that felt a bit like Downton Abbey meets Escape to Victory. My eldest son Joe is in it as a supporting actor, (pictured, to the left) so I was bound to be a bit excited. The footballing history was a bit warped, which was a shame, blurring two Blackburn teams. But it was well made, with a good historical storyline that though it wasn't always real, it had a wider evidential truth to it about the era. There's a long piece to be done on Fergus Suter and Blackburn Olympic.

The Capture (BBC) - seems a while ago now, but this BBC dystopian drama set in London where a young soldier is fitted up for a crime was pretty gripping, even if its moral twists and turns were really annoying.

The Walking Dead (Fox) - I'm the last one standing in our family when it comes to this zombie apocalypse now in its TENTH season. Some of the recent episodes have been really good, plenty of tension and some unexpected deaths that seem to have had the effect of moving it all on from its dark days of season 8, when I actively wished its demise. The plotlines have sometimes followed the comic book arc too closely, but the rhythm has really picked up now. Disappointed I haven't managed to catch up with Fear The Walking Dead season 5, or even to locate where it is.

The Stranger (Netflix) - loved this locally shot thriller. Kept you guessing all the way through, with judicious use of plot manipulation. Loved the chase scene that went from Stockport Market, through Manchester city centre and ended up at the railways sidings in Bury. Impressive.

Homeland (Channel 4) - best season since the first. Half way through and Carrie is at her unpredictable and brilliant best.

Succession (Sky Atlantic) - Gutted we came to this late. The script is one of the sharpest, sweariest most cutting I've seen in a while. The acting so on point. We're now puzzled as to where we can see the second season.

COBRA (Sky One) - a bit of nonsense really, but slightly prescient as turned out. Scratched the itch that the absence of Spooks has caused, and liked Robert Carlyle very much.

Keeping Faith (BBC) - didn't like the second series as much as the first and wasn't sold on the idea of a new actor to play the arch baddie Gael Reardon. Good to see the return of Faith's yellow parka far more than her drippy husband.

Better Call Saul (Netflix) - me and Matt are really enjoying Season 5 of the Breaking Bad prequel, which has started gently segueing into the universe of Walter and Jesse. The levels of deception cut right across the storylines and the quality of the acting is never less than terrific.

Ozark (Netflix) - I'm one episode in to the third season which dropped at the weekend, as they say.

Looking forward to Save Me Too with Lennie James and Suranne Jones on Sky One. The first season was a couple of years ago and was probably the highlight when I did this round up in 2018. The two minute trailer had me panting.

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