Shows we have been watching this month!
PICK OF THE WEEK
YOU HAVE BEEN WATCHING:
So first, how good was Westworld? I tipped it way way back and was overjoyed to see how well it was received by everyone. Such a great twist on the old movie I also reviewed last year in the lead up to the TV show. This was well and truly a different beast than the previous adaption. Lies, twists, love, this had everything and some stunning acting performances that left audiences gripped. Thankfully we will be getting a second season most likely in 2018 and rumours are circulating of all sorts of ideas about what the next series could have for us. Rumours that it will not carry on from where it left off are slightly troubling, a time jump seems to be mentioned, rumours of actors such as Matthew McConaughey being brought into the mix too, but I have to remain faithful to the team that brought us one of the most intense and innovative series of 2016.
Now I'm not sure whats happened here, last year I was raving about The Walking Dead potentially being the most exciting show on the air, nearly every single episode of last year's sixth season seemed to build and build before the truly climatic spine tingling ending and the arrival of Negan had took this show to a whole new level. So what the fuck happened? Because ever since it came back on our screens for this seventh season, it has been about as dead as the zombies it represents. Something seems off, so many new characters, so many new locations, perhaps it's been a little over stretched? I understand what it's been building to, I know that this was perhaps the storyline season it needed before the gear shift we might get in season 8, but did they really have to make it so dreary and dull? I know it can't be just me feeling it too as this season finale actually ranked as the lowest finale since season 2! That's pretty shocking when you consider how piss poor the farm season was. So we all now have to sit tight and hope that by the time this graces our screens again, the war we have been promised will be worth the wait.
WHAT TO WATCH NEXT MONTH:
We could be in for a treat this month with some old and new programmes hitting our screens this April. First up I have to go with the returning Prison Break, this is a massively risky return. The last time it was on our screens it was shit, it even then had some special one off episodes which were shit. But I remember how good and gripping this show was way back when it first appeared and I just know that I will end up watching this season again to see what on earth they do. It's a classic dead-character-wasn't-actually-dead storyline by the look of it and that makes me cringe more than one of JB's risky puns but I'm determined to go in with an open mind!
(Premiers in UK April 10th 9pm on FOX)
Brand new show American Gods is finally with us, this has been tipped pretty highly to be one of THE shows of 'the new shows' of the year, so can it live up to the hype? We will soon be finding out. The synopsis reads "A recently released ex-convict named Shadow meets a mysterious man who calls himself 'Wednesday' who knows more than he first seems to about Shadow's life and past." So clearly on that basis we know fuck all, but certainly the trailer looked like it had enough madness within it to be worth a gander.
(Premiers in UK 1st May - Amazon Prime)
Following on from two previous and incredibly weird and wonderful seasons, The Leftovers is back to confuse the living christ out of us again. If you haven't ever seen this show, I suggest you got lock yourself away somewhere and feast on it ready for the premier of season 3 this month. Season 3 has been announced as the final season of this show which quite frankly is a head twister, it's superbly shot, you can never quite be sure where on earth it's heading toward and the story is out of the stratosphere. Will we finally get some answer? Probably not!
(Premiers in April 2017 - no official date)
Musically inspired series 'The Get Down' is also back this month, after a stunning part 1 of season 1, it teased us with a fairly large wait to get to part 2. Its finally here though and if this lives up to its dizzy heights last summer, this will have been one hell of a complete first season. It's vibrant, it's colourful and it's just fucking cool. Personally I cannot wait to get back down with Zeke and Shaolin Fantastic and see where they take these characters on their rise up in the New York rap scene in the 70's!
(Premiers April 7th -Netflix)
It's finally here, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it so far. Oddly I don’t think this will hit home with everyone. I could be wrong but I don’t see a mass appeal like Game of Thrones. However, for anyone who gives this a try early, I think it will suck you in. It's shot to absolute perfection, stunning cinematography for the small screen and so far it's been intense and gripping in every episode. I wont reveal too much on plot, but for those interested, Westworld is a holiday park where people pay to visit a western scenario, filled with robots who act out their wild west fantasies. The robots cannot harm the humans but the humans can do pretty much whatever they like with their animatronic counterparts before being reset for another day. Yet in true Michael Crichton storytelling style, the robots are starting to behave mysteriously. If you haven't got involved with this yet, get going on it early, as this is just starting to build up its pace now and I think from here, until the end of the series , it is going to be outstanding.
Another new series with a very intriguing storyline and scarily a little too believable. Keifer Sutherland plays Tom Kirkman, a member of US government who is nominated to skip Congress. Why? Incase of disaster, there could be one survivor to take over as President should all others be eliminated. It's cleverly written and really does feel all a little too realistic as you see the trouble that comes of being a man forced into a very awkward position. Major props to Sutherland as he nails the role. It's early doors for this series yet and especially now we are past the early drama it will be interesting to see how this develops further down the road, can it keep that gripping feel after such a big and bold beginning? I certainly hope so.
SON OF ZORN
OK so after two fairly serious suggestions I thought it would be nice to balance us out with a quick 20 minute slice of ridiculous humour. Jason Sudekis voices Zorn, a cartoon He-Man style warrior who, for some reason, is living in the real world and has a real life son, a real life ex wife and she has a real life new husband. It is silly but it is also pretty funny. The mix of cartoon to real is fantastic and means that this program can do anything to get its laughs, which it does a lot. Zorn intent on spending more time with his son, leaves his own universe where he a strong warrior defending his realm and gets a job in an office. Clearly these changes in his life are hard to make and hilarity ensues. If you want something to give you a quick giggle this is definitely the one to watch.
Early doors for Sarah Jessica Parker’s new series. Anyone expecting this to be Sex & the City mark II will probably be disappointed. I have a feeling this show could grow if it's given the chance but the first episode wasn't making me scramble for the next one by any means. It had good moments, but I don’t think the humour was enough to keep interest. I think this is dangerously lying between not knowing whether it's a drama or if it's a comedy and that usually is a recipe for disaster, as you end up with neither done too well. Perhaps this is the type of show where if your own marriage or relationship is suffering, you could resonate with it a little more. I’m not too sure but for me, it just felt a little flat.
JB also weighs in this week:
I haven't really watched any of these since the first, porky episode famously graced our screens all those years ago. I think I was so blown away by it that I chickened out. I didn't want it to try and best that episode and I wasn't going to let it try. More fool me. Finally after some years, I return to this fantastic 'Twilight Zone-esque' show after hearing Charlie Brooker talking about it on the radio. It's now on Netflix and has a bigger budget than ever to make tell some messed up, dystopian and scarily realistic stories. I've only watched a couple and I got chills. This isn't for the faint hearted. If you like trashy, reality TV, this might be too real for you. If you like soap opera drama, then this will be too tense and gripping for you. I am wholeheartedly looking forward to watching the rest of these as I think this is the most honest and intelligent show on the box at the moment.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Holy shit!! This show has come leaps and bounds. After almost writing itself into a corner with the Inhumans and Hydra, this show needed a breath of fresh air yet on the other hand, needed to go back to its roots. The writers have found that middle ground with this Ghost Rider storyline. Coulson is an Agent again, no longer a director, so we get to have our charming hero back in the field with all the gang. Except Daisy, who is back on the run and committing acts of vigilantism. Add on top of this a political power movement against the Inhumans, Ghost Rider and some absolutely amazing choreographed and shot fight scenes, and you have a superhero show that, if it gets its feet, could take on the Netflix contenders themselves.
Seeing as Gaz had gone off to New York, I decided to spend a majority of my weekend in Harlem with the Powerman. Let's be honest, did we ever doubt this? Not only has Netflix succeeded so far with its Daredevil run and it Jessica Jones series, Luke was one of the interesting parts of the latter. Just like the 2 aforementioned series, this is a darker look at the underbelly of the Marvel universe. No men with flying hammers here. 6 episodes in and I can say that what I love most about this show is its tone. It reminds me of older action shows/movies. Tough and gritty with a cheesey smile. The music is stellar as well. Mixing soul, rhythm and blues and a hint of 70's synth. The show lulls you into a false sense of security in the first two episodes before turning it up to 10 on the drama/action. Luke is as cool as ever, as is his origin story (nice nod to the comics as well) and Cottonmouth is believably over the top. Sometimes shows like this build their characters up and then hold them back to elongate episodes or stories. These 2 characters play their ace cards as soon as they can meaning the story moves along at a fast pace. I can't wait to carry this on.
Marvel's AGENTS OF SHIELD
This show has always been a mixed bag for me. I watch, I get involved, I get into it, I miss a week, I miss a few weeks, I eventually return. It's great viewing but it's never quite been at a level of consistency to keep me hooked...until now. As usual with every season, they've mixed up the formula and I really like it. I like everyone's place in this universe and the paths they are taking. The remnants of the previous series are finally rested and the team can move on to new adventures, and what an adventure to head into with the introduction of THE GHOST RIDER! No, it is not Nicolas Cage playing Johnny Blaze but Gabriel Luna playing Robbie Reyes! The car riding, demon possessed, vengeful reaper and boy, was I gripped from the opening scene. To top the amazing Ghost Rider, appears to be actual ghosts haunting the team...or at least that's what they 'seem' to be. I have so many questions already and we're only 2 episodes in. Roll on next week.
The BBC have a lot to answer for. I still find it amazing that we have to pay for TV licenses because of a channel that churns out so high quality shows as 'Watch people whose faces who recognise, dance' and 'Mary Berrys sagging tits and cakes show'. However, every so often, it reminds me that it does have classics. One of these is The Apprentice. This to me is one of the best reality TV shows around. Because no matter how they edit it, no matter what crazy people they pick, the situations and decisions are real and you all of sudden develop your own business acumen. I think everyone should watch this show to better themselves. Stop watching Katie Hopkins eat a kangaroo's bollock and come over here and give me your opinion on what was the better managerial decision. Who made the better investment? I literally sit there either praising someone or shouting at the TV at the stupidity at the handling of a business decision. I don't have a favourite yet (maybe the guy who runs his own sausage market...or the guy who sounds like an egotistical, Indian Sean Connery) but who cares? Better yourselves and watch it.
Morgana Robinsons The Agency
Impressionists shows don't often do well. Normally they spend too much time writing the scenes to show how well they can do the impression that they forget to make the scene funny or entertaining. Kevin Bishops show (which you can find on 4OD) is a fantastic example of just wanting to write funny sketches with the added bonus that he can do an impression. So to have a show based entirely around a set of celebrities and their personal lives had my eyebrow raised. Morgana is a great impressionist. Probably one of the best at the moment and you know what? I laughed a lot at this. It's not perfect by far, a couple of jokes here and there fall flat but there is so much potential here and I think she knows it. Her Natalie Cassidy is bang on and actually has a (dare I say) heartwarming story in her sketches, Mel and Sue are hilarious (and impressive seeing as she's playing BOTH) and her Miranda is more entertaining than Miranda. Well worth a look in, especially as it's on iPlayer.
I'm a massive Sherlock fan and this take on the classic story has been fantastic to watch develop and grow. Last season really turned up the heat and this season is off to an explosive start. It was great just to watch it be a murder mystery show again, without any foreboding side stories, although I have a feeling Joan is definitely going to be dealing with something pretty big with the introduction of a new character appearing in her life. John Lee Miller is definitely happy to be tied and bound into his suit again as he burst with energy and accusation in every scene. If you like SHERLOCK and haven't gotten onto this yet, don't start here. Run back to Season 1 and get on the best mystery mobile since the Scooby Doo Mysteries.
A Brand new show for you all to get into. Atlanta follows Earn, played by Donald Glover, a young man rising though the Atlanta rap scene. Sounds a familiar concept with a certain other programme that just recently hit Netflix for sure and for any fans of 'the Get Down', this show could fill the void while we wait for the next batch of episodes. It isn't a complete fit of course and has its own style to make it stand out on its own right. This series emphasises much more on comedy and there are laugh out loud moments in this very charming look at Earns life, a scene where he is waiting in jail is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while. Credit to Donald Glover, who not only plays lead role Earn but also wrote the show, and has given an incredible charm to the storytelling. Only up to episode 4 so far and with only half an hour episodes this will be an easy one to catch up with if it sounds your thing.
This comedy series really was consistently good in its first 9 episode season. It ended this week and left a superb cliffhanger as the plight of vice principal Gamby, and his counterpart Lee Russell, was up in the air. Their plot to oust principal Brown has come to an exciting conclusion which I simply didn't expect from a comedy series. But perhaps that shouldn't come as a shock as this series has had far more than just good comedy throughout, it's had decent moments of drama and has tugged at the heart strings more than once and that's credit to the excellent writing of the show. Danny McBride and Jody Hill should both be heralded for another very successful show, following the critically acclaimed Eastbound & Down, and personally I feel this show might even be stronger as an all round enjoyable watch. So if you have missed it go back and watch season 1 now before the next hits our screens sometime in 2017.
You always knew what you would get with this show, it was silly and it was nerdy and that's why we loved it and the new series is exactly what you would expect again. This is not a show everyone will like, but if you're already a fan of Red Dwarf I think you’ll enjoy this latest effort too. Is it as good as it always was? I would probably say I preferred those early days of Dwarf more than the last few series but that's not to say it's still not an enjoyable watch. It's still silly and it's still very nerdy and as a silly nerd, it's still right up my street. The gang are back in episode 1 as we follow Lister, Kryten, Rimmer and the Cat in the latest exploits in deep space and the only negative I have is no sign of Holly who I always used to love, but I may be being greedy with that wish, none the less its still good to have Dwarf back on the tele.
Went back to visit this show that hit our screens back in January, it's a weird comedy but has something special and it's the perfect time to write about it following one of the characters surprise success at the Emmy’s this week. It follows Chip Baskets, played by Zach Galifianakis, who is an aspiring clown and follows his struggle from Clown college in Paris, France back to his struggling home life in Bakersfield, USA. Chip has to deal with his very attractive french wife who is clearly more interested in a green card than Chip himself, his brother Dale (also played by Galifianakis) who always seems interested in putting him down, new found friend Martha who I thought was played so well by the very dry Martha Kelly, and last but certainly not least, his mother played by Louie Anderson. It's a fabulous character and I was delighted upon finishing this series to hear he had won an award for the role at the recent Emmy’s, it may have shocked a few as I don't think this show was particularly well known but certainly shows its strength. What is unsurprising is how good and how funny this show was when I realised Louis CK was at the helm. It has a similar feel to previous CK shows but all have been remarkable in their own special way and this was no different.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY
I know this is a very popular show but I have to admit after watching the first season and losing interest, I just never revisited it. Upon hearing of a new series I thought I would dip back in to see what I was missing out on. It's well shot that is for sure but did episode 1 thrill me and excite me to go back for more? I’m sorry to say, it didn't really. It was ok but it's certainly not the best horror series I have seen and wouldn't match up to any of the classic horror movies that I love either. It seemed almost like a watered down horror show for people who would rather watch The Shining with the lights on, despite it being the middle of the afternoon. I will certainly keep watching for now just to see if this develops as a series because clearly episode 1 was more about setting the scene and introducing the characters, let's just say I wasn't blown away, thats for sure.
I also finished the brilliant Cameron Crowe rock epic this week, typical of Cameron who also wrote my favourite ever movie ("Almost Famous"), he really tapped into rock culture on this one. All of the characters had their own great story, which were believable and very touching! The story of the people behind the lime-light had a sincerity aside the comedy, which was great throughout! I felt the series grew and grew and after episode 1 I thought I liked it, but by episode 10 I knew I loved it! There are so many sub plots in play that I was bursting with emotions beside the laughter! The music was also outstanding. Constantly using song of the day to showcase new acts while also using some legends of rock to tell the stories around them! Lindsay Buckingham and John Mellencamp being particular highlights! A superb cast made the characters complete and I felt so much like I was on that tour bus and that is testament to how much the story pulled me in. So once again if you didn't catch this show and you like a good rock inspired story, you should be getting on the road with 'Roadies'!
This had a phenomenal run last time out and my god it's started with the same intensity. After about ten minutes of episode 1, I was back on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next to Columbia's most famous drug lord. If you didn't catch this last time, Narcos is a dramatised story of Pablo Escobar, which is told from the point of view of the intelligence agents tasked with bringing him down. It's a fantastic story and be sure to check out season 1 if you missed it, for those lucky enough to be up to date though we are being truly blessed as season 2 has in true Netflix style been released all in one go. Time to get comfy on your couches, pull the curtains over and binge, binge, binge. Wagner Moura, who plays Pablo Escobar, is truly brilliant in this role and this program I think has been one of the best ever to grace television sets. It's action packed and although you know Pablo was a truly terrible bastard, you can't help but love him in this portrayal!
I used to adore this show, it was daft but very watchable and in contrast to the usually dire match of the day atmosphere, this had enough fun and thats surely what football should be about. I have to say though that since the change of Max Rushden to John “Fenners” Fendley it seems to be a hell of a lot more flat. Some of the more silly fun antics that used to make me roar of a Saturday morning have disappeared and in its place, seems to be an awful lot more filler. Bands are now playing at the start of the show which is not what you need at 10am, the lack of Tubes questions is a massive loss, where the hell did Rocket go??? All of this just means the fun has been sucked right out of this show and I just can't get on board with Fenners, aside from a truly hysterical John Stones skit, most of his style just plain annoys me. I can only hope that, like my team, most years it's a slow start and will build as the season goes on.
I have been on about this show before but I felt I should write more as this is just the best comedy about at the moment. It's got some very silly humour in there but I have been surprised at the amount of tender moments that just fits right in to what is essentially an all out comedy. Relationships forming between key characters and actually some really nice messages in there too, this week saw a very touching episode which was sprinkled with a fathers love for his daughter, but don't think it was all soft, it was also decorated with massive dollops of laugh out loud comedy too. Truly this is wonderful comedic writing once again from Jody Hill and Danny Mcbride. Danny, who plays lead Neil Ganby, is also a fantastic comedy actor, alongside Walton Goggins as Lee Russell, the pair have formed an unlikely alliance and bounce off each other so well. I am absolutely loving it and I think you should all be giving it a go too!
WOULD I LIE TO YOU?
"This is a show that can go one way or the other. For me, getting this comedy machine to work you need to put Lee Mack under the microscope to watch him joke his way out of a corner. You need to rile up David Mitchell into going into one of his epic rants and you need Rob Brydon to accidentally says something rude and to end up doing impressions of the panelists. Without these 3 ingredients I am can be left sullen and unsatisfied. Good job all those things happened then isn't it? This week sees David Haye and Romesh Ranganathan steal the spotlight of the brand new series, whilst Lee's team of Mel Giedroic and Martin Kemp look on as their team captain is a flamethrower of puns and quips. It's by far not the best episode I have watched but it certainly warmed the comedy cockles enough to remind me why I should tune into this show whenever it's on. On another note though, how bland has the BBC gotten recently? I don't really watch anything on it at all. So it wouldn't shock me if you actually all gave it a miss as the channel has just been pumping out bags of air for shows. But trust me on this one, let this be the exception to the rule." - J.B.
The Get Down
Have you all watched this yet? If not, why not because Netflix have absolutely nailed it again with another original series, just weeks after the incredible 'Stranger Things' they bring us this uber cool beast. It focuses on the disco scene giving way to the formation years of Hip Hop and I have to first commend the directors for the authenticity that it brings. I felt completely like I was there in the Bronx and even though this was a story set in the past, it could not have felt more fresh at the same time. Though it was visually stunning the true hero of this has to be the music and we are absolutely spoilt throughout with some quite stunning moments made so special by the music surrounding it, a personal highlight featuring a disco tune being belted out of a church with full choir singing along, was truly heavenly. Once again like Stranger Things this shines because of the young talent it has in its lead roles. Justice Smith as Zeek, Shameik Moore as Shaolin Fantastic and Herizen F. Guardiola as Mylene Cruz have all the charisma and charm required and you fall instantly in love with the characters from episode 1. The first half of season 1, 6 episodes, were released in one go in true Netflix style, so put on your binge coats, get wet with hip hop glory and join me in the rather anxious waiting room, eager for the next batch of episodes.
This week brought the end of season 1 for the new show from the makers of The Walking Dead and overall I have to say it's been hit and miss. The initial impact of the first couple of episodes left me absolutely stunned, I thought this series was going to be a monster that I would be raving and raving about but I have to say I thought the middle stagnated a little and my interest wavered. I pushed myself through parts in truth but I am glad I did because fortunately getting toward the end of the season it picked right back up again and started getting back to its thrilling best which hooked me in the first place. I know they had to focus quite heavily on building the story up in the middle of the season so maybe we could forgive them, but I still think that could have been achieved with a few more thrills in the process, it seemed to move at a pedestrian pace with a couple of side stories that just didn't seem to matter in the end. Despite that, overall it was definitely worth a watch and with the superb end to episode 10, we can be excited for the next season, with the characters now introduced and set up, hopefully we can expect a bit more action throughout the next one.
Someone Knows My Name
Another series coming to an end with only 6 episodes was this epic on the slave trade. I thought this was an absolutely stunning story, it was at times absolutely heart breaking but could be absolutely inspiring in others. I won’t lie, it could sometimes be a tough watch and it's probably not for anyone who doesn't like a serious theme with their tea but it will be rewarding for sure. Aunjanue Ellis absolutely shines as Aminata Diallo, a woman who faces so much pain and adversity but it never breaks her spirit and along the way she helps many beside her as she seeks to free herself from slavery and to return to her home in Africa. A truly incredible story beautifully done.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Just to lighten the mood a bit, does everyone know about this show? It's hardly new, in fact it's been on for years, but I just like to make sure we are all on the same page from time to time. If you don't know, this show features US comedian Jerry Seinfeld and as the name suggests, he basically takes another comedian in a cool car to a coffee shop for general chit chat. It's a great format for an interview and some of the guests have been people you won't see on the tele chat shows every week. Recently we have been graced by SNL creator Lorne Michaels, who obviously working with so many comedians over the years, has a decent anecdote or too. The episodes are very short so if you are just looking for a quick wit fix this could be for you. Other guests have included Ricky Gervais, Will Ferrell, David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon, it's pretty much a who’s who of US comics and the cars are every bit as good as the funny too. All episodes can be found for free on Crackle.
The Night Manager
My weekly catch up of shows I may have missed earlier in the year brought me to Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston in this superb show. Once again it was only a 6 episode affair, so not hard to catch up with (should you want to). It focuses on a night manager of a hotel who gets mistakenly involved with an arms deal in Egypt. This show is riddled with revenge, espionage and deception and it's bloody marvellous, Laurie and Hiddleston both give great performances and it's quite nice to see a good BBC show, unfortunately they have become few and far between.
And finally another one I just recently caught up with, which is midway into its first season, is this show from the creator of 'Almost Famous'. 'Almost Famous' is my favourite ever movie, so to hear that Cameron Crowe was back making a rock themed show was music to my ears. Luke Wilson stars alongside Carla Gugino and the rather lovely Imogen Poots in a show which focuses on the guys behind the rockstars and so far, it's been great. 'Almost Famous' it will never be, but it has a similar feel to it and certainly has the same charm, which easily sucked me in. The humour is great and I have to mention how incredibly smitten I became with Poots who plays Kelly Ann, within minutes of seeing her skateboard through the back areas of a concert I was overwhelmingly looking longingly upon her. If you like rock music or music themed TV shows, this is another to add to your watch list for sure.
A great series comes to the end, I had major reservations about this show having a second season after a terrific first came to a shocking conclusion. I wondered how on earth they could replicate but boy was I wrong. The writers got this so spectacularly right and a couple of cast changes from the first only added to how good this show was. If anything I felt this series might have been even better and once again we have been left in total mystery as to where this show could go next series. Until then, we can only speculate but I will be very excited indeed when this show rolls round again.
It's bloody back, a show which pits robots with axes and spinning discs against each other shouldn't be so enjoyable but it just is. A lot of this will feel familiar to anyone who watched the old run of this show, the only change being Dara O’Briain replacing Craig Charles as the host and certainly unlike Top Gear the host change has not had a bad effect. In fact Dara’s humour actually makes those scenes away from the battle a little more enjoyable. The familiar voice of Jonathan Pearce still commentates over the battles so this has a very nostalgic feel for former fans. Sometimes shows need a break to come back and I think this is one of them, it feels fresh again, let battle commence!
The Get Down
On one of my last blogs I recommended the awesome Stranger Things, which let's face it, most people absolutely went crazy over, and Netflix might just be hitting a home run again with this number. A show about the birth of hip hop is always going to attract interest from someone into their music. I myself had been eagerly awaiting this since the start of the year. This is available to binge now for the first six episodes, I will say little until next week as I watched episode 1 last night and loved it, so I’ll let everyone catch up and discuss further once I’m further into it, however judging on episode 1, this could be another fantastic Netflix original we could all get down to. (Yeah I went there!)
OK OK, hardly a new show, but I missed this when it was first released but sticking with the music theme, I finally got round to giving this a watch. I went in slightly worried as this was massively talked about before the show premiered, not least for the superb names involved with it and I had to be nervous as I don't remember many people raving about it since it had been on. But I actually really enjoyed it, I think the first episode was too long, it should have maybe split that into two and maybe that detracted a few people. Yet after that episode I felt the series grew stronger, like Boardwalk Empire it features made up characters intertwined in a world with real life rock stars and this adds a very authentic feel to it, which is no surprise with Mick Jagger involved. Top[ that with Scorsese also involved and it looks an absolute treat as you are thrown right back to the early 70’s. All in all very enjoyable for someone into rock music of that era so if you haven't watched this yet, I can confirm it is definitely worth revisiting.
Has anyone been watching this? Well let me summarise this short but oddly good series. Basically...they got about 30 people together to go live in the middle of pissing nowhere in the hope they could be self sufficient and start a new community away from the modern world. Did they achieve this?? Well...no not really, they certainly weren't very self sufficient and most of them seemed to hate each other, so in short if you are fed up of the modern world and think it's a good idea to go build a hut in the middle of rural scotland, think again!
In case you missed this last time, you should all be checking out this very funny new show from America. Brought to you by the same people who brought you Eastbound & Down, it certainly has the same humour and I think it's got funnier with each episode, so if you are looking for some quick 20 minute episodes of something which will make you howl. Look no further.
Quite possibly that was my favourite ever episode of this show, not only has it made me look silly with all my “a second series won’t work” bullshit, I'm also now wondering whether this series is actually better than the first. I think the first had the advantage of the complete unknown, we literally didn't know what was happening and that mystery made it exciting. Now we are in the depths of the story, we know what's happening but there is still enough intrigue leaving us guessing every little plot line and the excitement levels are hitting maximum because of what we do know. The end of this particular episode was epic and I sense an even bigger episode to come with how it was left. I salute the writers completely, you made a sceptic like me, look very foolish indeed.
Outcast returned after a week hiatus and this series is doing a good job of keeping its cards close to its chest, I am still enjoying it but I fear it may have lost a few people over the last couple of episodes. This series began with an explosion that it now seems to be struggling to emulate action wise. A good story it certainly can be, however it is not perhaps the horror extravaganza it appeared from those early scenes that shocked us from the start. Certainly groundwork is being laid, as a layer of the story seems to be peeled off with each week, I just hope we get a bit more action to go with our helpings of fiction writing in the coming weeks as the really thrilling stuff has been few and far between the last couple of episodes.
My pick of the week is a new series just fully revealed on Netflix, I have only gorged on one episode so far but what I saw was absolutely fantastic. It is shot like an old 80’s cult classic; think the Goonies, think Gremlins, think even ET. It has that authentic feel to it which is making it a pleasure to watch. The composition and soundtrack adding to that vibe perfectly too, flowing from Tron style scores to Africa by Toto. The story follows a gang of kids, one of their friends has gone missing through a very mysterious encounter with something unknown and the first episode shows us the immediate aftermath as they try and find him, also a young girl who coincidentally has appeared from nowhere arrives in the quiet small town of Hawkins. It might be early, but this series could be truly special. You can enjoy every single episode now on Netflix, goodbye social life.
An episode of deep soul searching for some, whilst on the other side of the battle (after a massive loss to their schemes) a new plan and a new way of thinking is in order. Tensions between the two feuding camps are on a knife edge as both are now prepared to play the dirty side of this game. Only two episodes now remain and we can only guess as to who will end up as the victor in the end. Although it seems like Axe has got one over on Rhodes this week, a twist in this tale is never far away and I’m sure the scales will balance next week as Chuck finds a new way to get at his opponent.
OK OK so I know this is hardly current. This is currently in the middle of season 2 but my curiosity finally got the better of me. In regards to the TV adaptation of everyone’s “favourite scary movie”, I have to say, I was sceptical. I was sceptical about this and this is why I had ignored it for so long but somehow...it kind of works. It even refers to its own position as a TV adaptation with some tongue in cheek jokes that “Slasher movies can't work as a TV series” and perhaps it's this acknowledgement which made me warm to it. It has a nostalgic nod to the original films for sure, but it's definitely different enough at the same time to stop it being just a boring remake. The acting in it can seem a little cheesy at times on the other hand, the same could probably be said of any good horror movie really. All in all I was drawn in enough to want to keep watching and find out how this new spin on one of my favourite horrors pans out. So anyone too scared to watch for fear of it being rubbish rather than the actual horror within, fear not and let Ghostface in.
I can’t really say anymore about this, I’ve ran out of compliments. A week ago I started this epic TV programme and recommended it to you all, 48 hours later I was finished, all 8 episodes binged and all 8 episodes were the most fantastic TV I had ever seen. If you are still unsure, go check out my review I wrote this week. STRANGER THINGS. Believe me you have time in your busy days to watch this, it's worth every minute.
I am saying goodbye to two of my most beloved programmes and Billions is one of them. This program started as mere curiosity to me thanks to the sheer amount of oversized billboards that dotted the lands. If not for them I may well have written this financial epic off as something a little dull, I was totally wrong and this was absolutely gripping throughout. The final episode had both leads Giamatti and Lewis in a face off, the whole series had been a pleasure watching these two acting behemoths slug it out and it was a fitting end to the series, which leaves only excitement for what season 2 could possibly bring.
Someone Knows My Name
A new programme came to Fox this Sunday and this is not for the faint hearted, it's a tough look at the story of a young girl taken from her village to be a slave in the 18th century. Episode 1 was brilliant but I should warn you, it's pretty heavy hitting and this holds no punches. It can be truly distressing looking at what happened during this awful time for many people from Africa and I fully expect that this will be difficult to watch at times, but ultimately with what's been going on in certain parts of this world, I feel these programmes are essential to truly make people realise we cannot afford these sort of atrocities to happen in our world.
What better way to cure those hard hitting feels than with some silly laughs. Jody Hill and Danny McBride are back, following up from their immensely popular and terrific Eastbound & Down. It's similar comedy so fans of that show will definitely be happy. It follows the story of two vice principals who have just been overlooked for promotion. It may be a simple story but there are certainly enough laughs throughout to make this well worthwhile. As with Eastbound & Down expect a few cameo’s throughout this series, episode 1 had Bill Murray as the parting principal and I fully expect Will Ferrell to turn up somewhere at some point, even if he doesn't this will have more than enough it seems to keep you laughing anyway.
It felt as if this program could have lost its way slightly after the initial buzz of the first couple of episodes, a few episodes were more about story building and you could be forgiven for losing a little bit of interest as this certainly didn't seem to be the programme it was at the beginning. I know not every episode can involve a demon possessing someone, but it was good to have the demon back in the last one. Thankfully the story has been intriguing enough when the action stopped. At least to keep me interested, and the action did indeed return this week as Kyle realises his role to play as the Outcast is very important. There is still more than enough mystery keeping us guessing in this one as we still are yet to find out why these possessions are occurring and it suddenly feels like the introductions are over and we are starting to build towards the finish, revealing a few more layers of this secretive plot with each week.
This was well and truly hitting its stride this week and with Billions and Stranger Things complete, I think this will be my top pick as it races towards its own season finale. Beyond the outskirts of the town, a gathering is making those in the town fear for their lives and perhaps most intriguing of all, is the developments occurring between the research team and their subjects. Is that vague enough? It kind of has to be to not give too much away. Someone again asked this week if this was worth watching, the answer is a resounding YES and that's for both series. Also a quick note to anyone who did watch Stranger Things and liked it, the creators of that also have a say in this, so if you like your strange weird mysteries you should really give this a go!
I have to admit I wasn't completely blown away by this programme as most others seem to have been. I liked the first season but I lost interest a little bit in the middle on my first watch through and I actually had to go back to finish it before getting round to this second series. I’m not sure why I don't click with it like everyone else but the second season was more of the same. It's weird and I usually like weird, but for some reason something is missing. I think Rami Malek is certainly amazing as the very odd Elliott and there is certainly enough to make me keep tuning in, but a lot of people have this down as one of the best things on TV right now and for some reason I am just not singing from the rooftops like everyone else. I wonder how this will continue however, with so much of the story now told, the element of surprise in the characters has surely gone. Like Wayward Pines, the writers will have to be very clever to continue this story and keep it from just being weird for the sake of weird!
American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson
I decided this week to try and go back to some of the programmes I may have missed earlier on in the year and I got recommended this by a friend and I was blown away. This clearly is a subject everyone in the world will have heard about as it's one of the most widely known and reported cases in world history. But I was staggered at how little I knew about it, so to actually watch this and get a feel for it, blew me away. It focuses much more heavily on the two teams of lawyers fighting the sides than it does about OJ, and that's why I feel it works so well and there are some terrific performances. David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, John Travolta as Bob Shapiro, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, Sterling K Brown as Chris Darden, Courtney B Vance as Johnnie Cochrane and last but certainly not least, Cuba Gooding Jnr as OJ. All were absolutely phenomenal in their roles and this was about so much more than the OJ case, of course it was dramatised in parts but it was also a pretty entertaining way to take in some much needed knowledge.
Another one I missed back at the start of the year. James Franco is basically Gary Sparrow from Goodnight Sweetheart but instead of jovial capers in war time Britain, he takes his rabbit hole to the 60's to stop JFK being assassinated! It's mysterious yet it actually has a fair whack of time travel humour laid in to keep it fresh as well, and the plot is more intriguing than your average time-travel-rabbit-hole story, so this one is definitely worth visiting. If only I could time travel to fit more tv in!