Monday, 20 April 2020

Lately I've Been Watching

More mini TV and film recommendations, with trailers to help you make up your mind, for these long weeks at home!  I've made a note of which site I saw them (mostly Amazon Prime and Netflix).

If you would like to see more, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching.  There are many of these posts; if you want to see them all, click on 'older posts' when you get to the bottom.

Series: Money Heist - Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4  (Netflix)

5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I just can't get over how good this is! Absolutely gripping stuff all the way through.  It's Spanish, dubbed into English.  A mild-mannered criminal mastermind ('The Professor') has a plan to print billions of euros inside the Royal Mint of Spain, and puts together a crack team.  The Mint heist is covered in S1/2, and an even more ambitious one in the Bank of Spain in S3/4; I have just watched the last ep of S4 and the team are still stuck in the bank, with sure disaster on its way for The Professor.

Running through the 'present day' scenarios are flashbacks of the team getting together and being tutored by The Professor, during which time they are given code names - cities of the world.  One of his rules is that there must be no personal relationships between his recruits, but of course rules are made to be broken....  

Highly though I recommend this, I felt it dropped off just slightly in S4; I read that it was taken over by Netflix after the first two, and this shows, in many ways.  There is more 'love stuff', and the crew allows emotions to get in the way, much more than they did in the first two seasons.  Also, it has become a little more James Bond-ish and zap-pow.  I'm just hoping that the writers don't spoil one of the best shows I've seen in ages by trying to make each season more sensational than the last.  

For anyone who has already watched it, my favourite characters are The Professor, Nairobi, Berlin, Helsinki, Marseilles, and I like Tokyo now, having not been keen at first.  Denver was a favourite at the beginning, but he and Rio have started to behave like idiots (discussing their love lives while hunting down a killer assassin let loose in the bank; too silly).

Series: Ozark - Season 3 (Netflix)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'm a huge fan of this show - I love Jason Bateman, and he's great as Marty Byrde, the financial advisor from Chicago who has to take his family and flee to Missouri when a money-laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel goes wrong.  In his new home he becomes involved with hillbilly family the Langmores, and the corrupt landowner who rules the area, Jacob Snell.  

The quality doesn't let up for a moment in this third season, with main antagonist Helen Pierce, the cartel's lawyer, causing most of the problems.  If you're a fan and you haven't seen S3 yet, you will not be disappointed.   If you haven't seen any of it, I envy you having it yet to watch!

Series: Devs (Season 1) (Hulu)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This show was created, written and directed by Alex Garland, which piqued my interest straight away, as The Beach is one of my all-time favourite books.  I'm not sure if it's set in the present or a little way into the future, but it centres round a new-age type quantum computer company called Amaya, owned by the eccentric Forrest.  The main character is Lily, a computer engineer who sees her boyfriend, Sergei, accept an offer to become a part of Devs (or Deus), a top secret project.  But when tragedy occurs, Lily finds herself in a battle against unseen and unsuspected enemies to discover the truth about Sergei - and what Devs is really all about.

I was absorbed all the way through this; it's a terrific plot, highly imaginative, and has a futuristic feel to it, all the way through, at the same time as being quite low-key.  Highly recommend if you like sinister, clever scifi dramas.

Comedy Series: Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 10 (Amazon Prime)

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

10 seasons and still going strong, as funny as ever, and Larry, Ted, Jeff, Suzy, Richard and Cheryl are all definitely showing their age!  I watched it all through again from the beginning, before starting on Season 10, though this time around I had a slight sense of humour bypass; I was annoyed to find myself, in places, mildly irritated by the self-indulgence of these 'A-Listers' who have everything that money can buy but carp on about trivialities.  If you're sensitive about that sort of thing, don't watch it.  If you're not, or are willing to give yourself a slap in the face and stop being so damn silly (as I did!), you'll love it.

Series: Elite - Seasons 1,2 and 3 (Netflix)

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spanish dubbed into English, and amongst its stars are the chaps who play Rio and Denver in Money Heist - Christian (Rio) is a scholarship pupil at a school for wealthy kids, along with Nadia and Samuel; Nano (Denver) is Samuel's brother who has just got out of jail.  Basically, it's about how Christian, Nadia and Samuel fair amongst the spoilt, rich kids, and the problems their new world causes for them, and others - and as the story unfolds, we see that some of the privileged don't have such a great life after all.

Obviously it's teen-orientated, but I found it most compelling, and look forward to seeing more.  One aspect I was not keen on, though, was the amount of sex.  These schoolboys and girls are meant to be aged 16/17 at the start, but the message coming across is that it's normal and perfectly okay for kids of that age to engage in any sort of sexual practice that takes their fancy, including casual hook-ups and threesomes, without anyone blinking an eye - potentially dangerous for the teenagers who will be watching it, some of whom may be younger than the characters.  This made me knock a half star off.

If you've seen it, the relationship I'm most interested in is that of Nadia, the daughter of a Muslim shopkeeper, and Guzman, the class hero, son of fabulously rich parents.  I like them both and so hope they will find a way to be together - I also like how it highlights the difficulties experienced by the children of Muslim parents who are thrust into the relaxed, self-indulgent western lifestyle.  Sometimes, the scenes in Nadia's parents' shop, and the relationship between her and her family, seemed like an oasis of calm and normality amongst the maelstrom of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll outside.

My other favourite character is Nano (Jaime Lorente - Denver in Money Heist), who is one of those young men that make one say, 'if I were 30 years younger' 😆😂😉.

3 part miniseries: Quiz (ITV)

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Drama about Major Charles Ingram and his wife Diana, who are alleged to have executed a scam in order to win a million on TV quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  It's well known; they were found guilty but are still protesting their innocence.  Matthew MacFadyen plays the Major in the same vein as his character in Succession, which I liked; it's most entertaining but somewhat frustrating as no definite conclusion is reached.  Definitely worth watching, though!


  1. Terry, as you probably know I don't often read your 'Lately I've been watching' posts, mainly because I can't and also have no clue what they're about anyway, but I quite enjoyed skimming through this one, and I'm amazed at what there is on offer and how much you manage to see. After all, you can't be a 'fast watcher'. These shows go at their own pace and it's not like reading where some people are slow and others quick. I'm impressed!

  2. I'm amused that you read them, Val! That's nice. I watch TV every night from about 8.30 or 9 pm until about 12.30-1 am. It's just what we do, every night, and if it's a really great series like Money Heist we force ourselves to stay awake and keep watching, ha ha!