Saturday 3 October 2020

Lately I've Been Watching...

The latest in my series of mini TV reviews, with trailers and 'where to watch'.  

If you would like to see more posts, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching.  If you get as far as the bottom, 'Older Posts' will take you to more.

The Walking Dead Season 10 finale: Full Review


Series: Yellowstone - Season 3 (Amazon Prime)

5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This Dallas-set-in-Montana family saga gets better and better, as the Dutton family, headed by Kevin Costner, faces more threats to their land and lifestyle, and the chips-on-their-shoulders siblings wrangle with each other and their father.  Best character: Kelly Reilly as daughter Beth, a woman with whom you do not mess.  Worst character: Monica, the wife of the youngest son, Kayce, who is so boring I had to look up her name as I couldn't remember it, and does nothing but whine, despite living in a stunning mansion set in an even more stunning landscape, having a gorgeous husband who loves her, a lovely son, plenty of emotional and financial support, great beauty, etc., etc.  

New this season - the rather lush Josh Holloway as a corporate baddie.  Not as lush as when he was Sawyer in Lost, but a worthy addition to the cast.  Left on a cliffhanger as middle son Jamie gives rein to his evil side...  

Highly recommended, but start at the beginning!


Cartoon/Satire: South Park: A Pandemic Special (HBO Max, Comedy Central)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

47 minutes long, and up to the usual standard, as Cartman rejoices in lockdown, the mask wearers gang up against the unmasked, all hospital admissions are registered as Covid cases even when they're not, and Patient Zero is revealed.  Revolves around Randy making his 'Pandemic Special' weed variety.  Liked how they've picked up on little subtleties like everything being 'unprecedented', 'normal' as a noun, and the instruction to 'breathe, just breathe' when someone is panicking.  Brilliant.


Series: Hanna - Season 2 (Amazon Prime, Netflix)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Loved the first season of this - a top secret scientific lab in which unwanted children are used for an experiment to genetically engineer a superhuman killing machine, controlled by those who are running the show.  Headed by an ice queen played by Mireille Anos.  Joel Kinnaman stars as an operatives who rescues one of the girls - Hanna.  They then live in hiding, in the woods of Romania, for 16 years.  Trouble starts when Hanna wants to know more about the outside world. 

Highly recommended, kept my interest all the way through Seasons 1 & 2.

Documentary Series: Helter Skelter: An American Myth (YouTube TV)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Six part documentary series about Charles Manson, his insane cult, and the notorious murders.  Features much original footage, and detailed interviews with some of the girls who lived on the ranch.  There is much about the era, generally, and why it was possible for Manson to gain such power over his followers.  Totally absorbing.


Series: Rogue - Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Amazon Prime, Netflix)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Starts off as a show starring Thandie Newton as Grace Travis, a rogue under-cover cop, set in San Francisco.  First season has her up against gangsters so she can find out who killed her son.  In S2 she meets up with some dodgy ex-military guys, headed by Ethan Kelly, played by Cole Hauser (Yellowstone).  A little way into S3, Grace's role mysteriously peters out; it's rather odd.  I read that it was because there was some big row over her refusing to do full-frontal nudity (good on her), and they had to write her out quickly.  

Ethan Kelly becomes the main character as it moves to Chicago, and I think I actually liked him better in the main role.  It was cancelled after S4, which was only 10 episodes but the best one, I think, though they're all very good, and left me wishing there was more! 

Documentary: Gimme Shelter (Youtube)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Documentary about the ill-fated Altamont festival in 1969, known as the tragedy that ended the spirit of the 1960s.  Thrown together in a rush, the concert had no facilities (no toilets, no food and drink venues), and there was a lot of speed-laced LSD going around.  The stage was small and low down, and security was provided by Hell's Angels; deaths occurred.  Fascinating, and horrible.

Documentary: The Social Dilemma (Netflix)

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Interviews with people who have worked in influential positions at Google, Facebook, etc, about how social media is used to manipulate our thoughts, opinions, buying habits, etc.  Cleverly, it is illustrated by showing one boy's internet activity, via his phone, and shows the AI as three men, behind the scenes, making sure he behaves as they wish him to.

If you don't know much about this sort of thing, you'll be shocked.  Even if you do, and are prepared for it, it will leave a nasty taste in your mouth.  Everyone should watch it.


True Life Crime Drama: Honour (ITV Hub)

and documentary - Exposure: Banaz - An Honour Killing

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Two part drama about Kurdish South Londoner Banaz Mahmod, who was murdered by her father, uncle and three other relatives for falling in love with a man of whom the family didn't approve, after divorcing their chosen husband because he beat her up and raped her, repeatedly.  Horrifying.  Most shocking of all, perhaps, is that she went to the police for help no less than five times, and nothing was done.

Series: Chosen - Seasons 1, 2 and 3 (Crackle)

4.5 stars

Loved this - it's a storyline I've seen in a film, and also a version of it in a Black Mirror episode.  One morning, a man receives a box.  Inside, is the photo and name of a man he must kill.  He has 3 days in which to do this.  If he does not do it within the first couple of days, someone he loves is taken prisoner.  If he still fails to do it, that person will be killed.  

'The Game' is run by some people called The Watchers, and Chosen follows the fortunes of lawyer, father and husband Ian Mitchell, a bartender - Jacob Orr - who cares for his younger brother, and a mother of two, Chloe, who has been in 'the game' for a long time and has learned to live with it - because there is no getting out.

Enjoyed this very much.  Not sure if it is available anywhere apart from Crackle; if you want to know, just type 'where can I watch Chosen' into a search engine.  Not to be confused with 'The' Chosen.  It's one of those plots that made me wish I'd thought of it.

Limited Series: TWD The World Beyond (Amazon, AMC Premiere)

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Episode 1 of Season 1 only!  The lastest Walking Dead spin-off, which will tie in with all the rest of it and the forthcoming Rick Grimes films, at the end of the two seasons.

I liked the beginning, which gives the impression, initially, that it is set in the pre-zombie world, but it is actually 10 years into the new world, in a nearly 10K people-strong colony in Nebraska, part of the Alliance - of which the Civil Republic (location unknown) is included. The antagonists are the CRM, or the Civil Republic Military, which is where we assume Rick Grimes now resides.  The two main characters, sisters Hope and Iris, suspect that their father, a scientist who has gone to work for the Civil Republic, is in danger.  With others, they set off on that great post-apocalyptic favourite, the 1000km journey on foot, within zombie-infested country (except they call them 'empties' not 'walkers').

There are a few rather cheesy bits of dialogue, but on the whole it's up to standard.

Julia Ormond plays the leader of the CRM, and very sinister she is, too.  Weird to see her as a stocky middle-aged woman; I remember her as the lover of Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall.  As for the sisters, I found one irritating (Iris), though I think she may grown on me, and the other I liked (Hope).  They are closely followed out into the world outside the colony by the older Huck, played by Annet Mahendru (The Americans), and their guardian, Felix.  It's good; I look forward to seeing the next episode.  Especially as this one ended on a ver-eee worrying cliffhanger...

(ps, TWD lovers: hands up who immediately thought of Rick and Dave, in that bar near Hershel's farm long ago, and that tense conversation about Nebraska being a good place to go because it's sparsely populated? I wonder if the travellers will get a shock when they get further south! 208 Nebraska )


True Crime Drama: Des (ITV)

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Three part dramatisation of the capture and uncovering of the crimes of Denis Nilsen who murdered between twelve and sixteen young men in the late 70s and early 80s.  David Tenant is excellent as Nilsen, the only problem being that he makes him almost likeable!


Film: The Hunt (Amazon Prime)

3.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Daft but enjoyable film about a group of people who are abducted, apparently randomly, to be the prey in a human hunt.  Worth watching if you have nothing much on, and fancy some mindless entertainment.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, so much to watch that I have not seen - my to-watch list has just increased, a lot :) I have seen The Hunt and agree with what you said, Terry, totally. Enjoyable fun, but nothing beyond that. I am not up-to-date with all things TWD so avoided that review - hehe.