Monday 3 June 2019

Lately I've Been Watching....

TV and film recommendations—if you would like to see more, click the 'Lately I've Been Watching' tag at the end. 😎

Four part series: When They See Us

An injustice so great that any words would sound tritethis is the true story about the Central Park Five, five boys aged between 14 and 16 who, in 1989, were coerced and bullied by the police into confessinging to (and incriminating each other in) a particularly vicious rape, in which they had played no part. There was no other evidence against them, yet they all suffered jail terms of between 6 and 14 years.  Heartbreaking, brilliantly written and acted—and, although a dramatic re-creation, shows actual footage of the young Donald Trump's vile comments and demands for the death penalty for the five of them.  It's a 'must watch', for sure.

5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Series: The Society

I didn't think I was going to like this much as it's 'teen' orientated, but I thought it was great, even though some of the characters are seriously irritating.  A large group of schoolkids (age about 16-18, I believe) go off on a trip, only to have to return because of bad weather.  When they get home, though, everyone else in the town has disappeared - and the town is surrounded by thick woodland, leading nowhere.  Have they landed in a different dimension?  Season 1 takes us through the first six months or so, as they try to create a new society.  Dark, sinister, and promises great things in Season 2, which I am really looking forward to.

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Comedy series: Fleabag

I wasn't sure about this at first, because it seemed to be determinedly 'look at me, I can get laughs by saying 'vagina' every twenty minutes and being open about anal sex', but it grew on me.  I liked the second season much more, as it seemed less shocking-for-the-sake-of-shocking; it settled in, somehow.  Olivia Colman is terrific as 'Fleabag's revolting step-mother, and 'Fleabag' herself, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who created and wrote it, too, is a total star. The 'fourth wall' element, as 'Fleabag' describes what's going on to the audience, absolutely made it.

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Series: Game of Thrones, Season 8

I've written my thoughts on this HERE.

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Comedy series: Barry

Crack shot assassin-for-hire stumbles into the world of acting classes, and finds a new passion in life.  Can he keep the two worlds apart?  Not very often.... the incongruity between the two is hilarious.  Bill Hader is brilliant as the reluctant assassin; Henry Winckler stars at the failed actor/acting coach.  I recommend!  Two seasons so far.

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Film: Watchmen

Malin Akerman (Billions), Billy Crudup, and Jeffery Dean Morgan - excellent produced superhero film based on comics and series of the same name.  Not totally my thing, as I'm not really into superhero stuff, but it's very good of its type, and I did enjoy it. JDM is great as The Comedian - almost like the practice run for Negan!

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Comedy Series: The Good Place

Ted Danson stars as a demon sent to find new ways of mentally torturing humans who have just died, i.e., by letting them think they are in 'the Good Place' rather than the 'bad' one.  I wasn't so keen at first, but then I started to like it, and Danson's every scene is a gem, as is usual with him.  A couple of the other characters were pretty irritating, though, and the plot gets a bit repetitive. 

3.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Comedy Series: Good Omens 

David Tennant as the demon, involved in a long-running battle with an angel.  Jon Hamm is great as the Angel Gabriel.  Had some very funny moments and I quite liked it, but it was one of those shows that made me think, 'yeah, this is quite good, but I'm not bothered whether I watch it or not', if you know what I mean; a bit too silly in parts. I thought it was going to be a gem at first, but soon found my mind drifting.

3 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Series: The Rain

This is, ostensibly, right up my street: an epidemic that wipes out a whole bunch of people, a group who try to survive, a government conspiracy.  I did like it, but the trouble was that I didn't like any of the characters enough to care what happened to them.  Knocked half a star off for the main female character, Simone, calling out to her brother ('Rasmus!  Rasmus!') every five minutes in every episode.  You'll understand if you've watched it.  Danish, dubbed in a rather flat fashion.

3.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐


  1. Since I don't really watch TV, I find it completely odd that I've actually watched three of the series you reviewed. THREE! (Of course, if you include Full Frontal, that's the sum total of my TV experience over the past year. Maybe past two years...) So my reactions are probably far less informed than yours.

    I liked the early episodes of The Good Place as it messed with our minds brilliantly. But after a while, all the flip-flopping Is-He-Good/Is-He-Bad got predictable in itself.

    I absolutely loved Fleabag as a POV we just never see—the world as viewed not only unabashedly and completely through a woman's eyes, but one in which men are not the focus or even the point of even one single scene. Phoebe Waller-Bridge views her world like fodder for her next standup routine, with the nonstop fourth-wall breakage bringing us straight inside her world. I've only seen the first season so far, but can't wait to watch the next one.

    And finally--Good Omens. I've only seen the first three episodes, but because this book has been my go-to 'stranded-on-desert-island' choice for literally decades, it's safe to say that I've been desperate to watch it. And so far, I've loved absolutely every second of it, even David Tennant's demonic (and painful looking) eyeball contacts. It's like watching the next Star Wars movie or eating 'New York style' cheesecake. Even though I *know* there's no chance it will ever match up to the ones in my memory, I just have to go there. And I have to love every minute of the journey. Of course I do!

    1. Ah, all the funny ones! Yes, I agree re the 4th wall stuff being what 'made' Fleabag - I'd forgotten that; it's been a month or so since I watched it, so thank you - I'll add that to the mini-review.

      Good Omens I loved at first, too, but got tired with in the same way was you did about The Good Place. Humour is such a personal thing, is it not? But 'Barry', the only comedy one you haven't seen, is far superior to TGP and GO, I think - and I believe you'd love it! I implore you to try it!

      Problem is, I think, Barb, I compare all comedy shows to Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office (the UK one). And Fawlty Towers ;) Oh, and you'd love Veep, too, and Silicon Valley that I mentioned in an email to you!

  2. The Society looks jolly good, will give it a go. I watched the whole 1st series of the The Rain and enjoyed it, but was, like you, annoyed by her shouting 'Rasmus, Rasmus' all the time - great minds, etc! And I didn't see the earlier Fleabag episodes but saw most of the last series and loved it. I particularly liked Andrew Scott as the priest. People say 'women find him so sexy, but the actor is gay' - er, yeah, it's called acting, and he's just a very attractive person anyway, so it's not important what his orientation is! Re 'The Good Place' - I stopped watching it because I felt it had run out of places to go.

    1. Rasmus! Rasmus! Yeah, drove me nuts. Also, most of the characters are really hurrish.

      Ah yes - the 2nd series of Fleabag was great - and oh yes, the priest was lovely!!! His relationship with her was really convincing; I could feel her pain.

      The Good Place - I'll watch anything with Ted Danson in, but it was just too silly for me, and about nothing much. The two women main characters were really annoying, too - and it did that thing that inferior sitcoms do; it kept repeating the same jokes in different ways, over and over.

      You would LOVE Silicon Valley, btw, and Barry is also worth watching :)

  3. You have been watching some of my choices that have been added to my watchlist (The Society & When They See Us) - the only ones I have seen so far was "Rasmus!Rasmus!" - err, I mean The Rain. We changed the bad dubbing for subtitles and original language, which made it a better watch - it was ok(3 stars for me), not sure we wwill return to the second season.
    And Fleabag - loved it! Like you have said, it took a while for it to grow on me, but when it did, I fell in love with it - though still not seen season 2.
    Just finished watching Godless on Netflix for the second time. It is brilliant (and even better after another watch) - I don't know why nobody has really raved about this since it came out in 2017 - a slow-burning epic, with a brilliant ensemble cast, amazing writing and cinematography, and one of my fave theme tunes in recent years alongside Black Sails (Sorry Game of Thrones) :)

    1. You are so in for a treat with The Society and WTSU! No, I won't be bothered about any more of The Rain. Only watched S2 because husband likes it.

      You'll be much more impressed by S2 of Fleabag, I promise. And thanks, I will try Godless!

  4. And I'd just like to say that I fancied Andrew Scott as Moriarty in Sherlock, so I am not late to that particular party. Yes, I know he's gay - jeez, it's not as if I'd have a chance with him if he wasn't!