Friday 19 June 2020

Lately I've Been Watching

More mini TV reviews ... including, by popular demand, where they can be watched!  But if you ever want to find out where you can watch something, generally, just google 'where can I watch *name of show*' and you should be able to find out.

I add to this series every month or couple of months; if you would like to see more, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching

Some good ones this month!


Series: Gangs of London - Season 1 (Sky)

5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

LOVED this!  London gang lord Finn Wallace, played by Colm Meaney, is murdered - and his loyal son and heir Sean (Joe Cole) is determined to find out who gave the order, as well as who pulled the trigger.  As events unravel, he discovers that his father was not the man he thought he was, and must contend with associates who may not be the friends he thought.  Michelle Fairley (Caitlyn Stark in Game of Thrones) also stars as the horribly deluded mother, who has much to discover about her late husband.

Alongside Sean's story is that of Elliot Finch, undercover cop who works as an enforcer for the Wallaces, and soon finds that he is in too deep.

Absolutely gripping, edge of the seat stuff, not a dull scene throughout. Highly recommended.  Lots of violence - you have been warned.

Series: The Son - Seasons 1 and 2 (Amazon Prime)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Based on the book of the same name by Philipp Meyer.  Pierce Brosnan stars as Eli McCullough, a Texas rancher and would-be oil man in 1915, battling with the local Mexican community, the big guns up north, and his favourite son, Pete (Henry Garrett).

Interspersed with the present day is Eli's back story - how his family's meagre home was attacked by Comanches, in 1849.  His brother, sister and mother perished, but he was kept as a slave by the tribe.  He soon learns their ways, however, and becomes a Comanche himself; he is adopted by the chief, expertly played by Zahn McClarnon, who you will have seen in every other other TV show and film that has ever featured a Native American (Westworld, Fargo).  

An unusual slant - it is soon evident that the main character of this show is no 'goodie' that you want to root for.  Although the young Eli (Jacob Lofland) is likeable, he grows into a manipulative and ruthless man.  Your sympathy will be with the Mexicans and possibly his wife and daughter; son Pete whines too much, and the elder son, Phineas, is as bad as his father.

This didn't grip me too much for the first couple of episodes, but as soon as it began to, I was totally sold; it's a great story.  Sadly, it was cancelled after only two seasons, and the story wrapped up.  So worth watching, and I must read the book, too!

Series: Homeland - Season 8 (Amazon Prime, Showtime, Channel 4)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The final season, sadly - and it's another winner.  This time, the ever-tormented Carrie Mathison is suspected of being a Russian spy; echoes of Nicholas Brody.  It seemed a bit low-key in the first couple of episodes but got better and better as it went on, and the ending is completely satisfactory; it's not often one can say that, at the end of a long-running show.  

If you love Homeland you won't be disappointed, and if you've never watched it, you should start!

Reality TV/Documentary: Alone - Season 6 (Netflix) 

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Survival series in which 10 contestants are sent to live alone in the wilds; the one who sticks it out for the longest wins the $500,000 prize.  This time, they're in the Arctic, facing the freezing cold, lack of food, bear attacks - all the usual stuff.  All contestants are survival experts; as usual they range from the irritating to the slightly nuts, to the admirable and likeable.  Great fun guessing who's going to 'tap out' next, or who will be removed on medical grounds (like losing 20% of their body weight in 2 months), but what I like most about this is finding out about all the survival techniques.  Love it :)

Limited Series (complete story): Quicksand (Netflix)

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Swedish series dubbed into English.  Starts with a school shooting, and a girl (Maja, played by Hanna Ardéhn) covered in blood, staring at the dead bodies surrounding her; she is taken away by the police.  Very soon we realise that she is not victim but possible co-perpetrator - but why?  And what part did boyfriend Sebastian play?

The story alternates between Maja's time in prison, in semi-isolation, including meetings with her lawyer/interviews with the police, and a more or less chronological account from when she met Sebastian, through to how her life began a dangerous spiral downwards as their relationship progressed.

I was glued to this from start to finish (watched it all in one night), but took a half star off because I hated the ending.  Alas, I cannot say why, as it would be a total spoiler!  Also, it's only my opinion - others might love it.

Series: Reality Z - Season 1 (Netflix)

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Brazilian dubbed into English, this is based on the original Charlie Brooker miniseries Dead Set, about a reality TV show in which the inhabitants of a Big Brother style house don't realise that the zombie apocalypse is taking place outside.  Created by Cláudio Torres and produced by Brooker, these are no Walking Dead, shambling, slow Walkers - the Reality Z zombies are wild-eyed, fast, and terrifying.

It's nothing like TWD, or indeed Black Summer; it's dark, satirical humour.  I enjoyed it and would watch more, but liked it rather than loved it.

Documentary Series: Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (Netflix)

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Four part documentary based on the 2016 book of the same name by James Patterson.  It's good, kept me interested, but felt more as though it was made for anyone who doesn't know much about him; it focused on the survivors' stories, and only touched upon Epstein's vast network of the rich, famous and influential.  I felt there was a lot left unsaid, about how much was covered up by whom and for how long, which makes one wonder if the producers were cautioned against saying too much.

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