What TV shows have you been watching ?

  • If you’ve seen any Shakespeare plays you can enjoy it & the more you know the funnier it is - I should know since my mum loved Shakespeare & I’d been dragged to see “Hamlet” 8 times by the age of 14! But David Mitchell (Shakespeare) is basically himself in a 16th-century setting so there’s lots of references to contemporary problems like public transport, which he frequently rants about as a commuter between London & Stratford-on-Avon, corruption, government incompetence etc. There’s also the ongoing gag of him being amazed or offended whenever the rest of the cast criticise his work for what everyone who's ever studied his plays at school knows is typical Shakespeare: long-winded obscure dialogue, unfunny comedy scenes, unconvincing cross-dressing, etc. Worth watching if you’ve never seen it.


    As for the Agatha Christie serial I’m no expert, but it’s not like most past dramatisations, in fact she’d hardly recognise such a dark, sluggish adaptation of her work.

    That stuff is only 'typical Shakespeare' if you don't like Shakespeare. However I don't wish to have an argument. The show works well as a lightweight comedy.

  • Being neither a fan of Shakespeare (Had to study "Julius Ceasar" at school, along with "Of Mice & Men" and "Canary Row" by Steinbeck, which put me off him too!) or Ben Elton (a little self-righteousness goes a hell of a long way), I've avoided Upstart Crow, the bits I've seen in the past were OK, nothing more. Christmas TV HAS been a disappointment, the best thing I've watched, (again) was last night, the reshowing of Seth McFarlane's "A million ways to die in the west".

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • That stuff is only 'typical Shakespeare' if you don't like Shakespeare. However I don't wish to have an argument. The show works well as a lightweight comedy.

    You’d need to have that argument with Ben Elton rather than me, since his script for Upstart Crow mercilessly targets Shakespeare’s (sometimes, not always!) long-winded obscure dialogue, unfunny comedy scenes & unconvincing cross-dressing. But the reason Elton jokes about those things is because – like me & foxfeeder – he’s obviously endured the plodding way Shakespeare’s plays are taught in school in the UK, which hammers all the life out of them, emphasises their drawbacks & puts people off them for life.


    I enjoy Shakespeare when it’s done well & imaginatively (both Zefirelli’s & Baz Luhrman’s films of Romeo & Juliet spring to mind), & I’m sure Ben Elton does too. It’s possible to recognise & laugh at the shortcomings of things you like e.g. “Brian Pern” affectionately mocked Peter Gabriel, but it was made (& enjoyed) by many of his fans.

  • For me, Shakespeare absolutely does not work on screen. I've long given up watching screen adaptations. I think there's a similar process going on with stage productions shown on screen, like those live broadcasts of plays shown in cinemas. It falls completely flat. I find theatre has to be seen in a theatre. But I'm aware plenty of people enjoy on-screen theatre, including Shakespeare adaptations, perfectly well.


    I must have been lucky with having such a good eng lit teacher. We studied Macbeth, and I was hooked. Our teacher Mr Tanner was quite passionate in how he taught it, and encouraged us to see the various plot devices, parallels etc. He took us to see a production of it, which was followed by a Q&A, bits of which I still recall even though it's now nearly 40 years ago. Like most subjects I suppose this stuff will just click with some, not with others. But it seems extraordinary that some teachers would actually emphasise any negatives! I like to think that it's not the case that "everyone" who did Shakespeare at school feels negatively about his work. I'm sure many will have clicked with it as I did, perhaps helped along by having a very good teacher.


    Live theatre is a huge passion of mine and even now I will still go to see productions of Macbeth and marvel at how different companies handle it so differently, as with all Shakespeare plays, which shows how rich the source material often is.


    As to Upstart Crow and Elton, I saw the first episode and while I didn't hate it, I didn't feel inspired to watch any more but I hear some good things about it and generally like Mitchell so I'm thinking of giving it another go.


    Ben Elton's always been a very divisive performer, especially with his motor-mouthed ranting style of delivery and liberal/left-leaning focus of a lot of his stand-up material, which on its own is going to immediately alienate a chunk of the viewers. When he was regularly on TV as a performer I generally didn't mind him. As a writer he was a bit hit and miss. I liked bits of The Young Ones, and the Blackadders.


    I gather that one episode of Crow features a character intended as a dig at Mark Rylance, the (brilliant) actor who is a leading advocate of the 'reasonable doubt' movement which says Shakespeare could not have written his plays.

    Abandon all reason

  • You’d need to have that argument with Ben Elton rather than me, since his script for Upstart Crow mercilessly targets Shakespeare’s (sometimes, not always!) long-winded obscure dialogue, unfunny comedy scenes & unconvincing cross-dressing. But the reason Elton jokes about those things is because – like me & foxfeeder – he’s obviously endured the plodding way Shakespeare’s plays are taught in school in the UK, which hammers all the life out of them, emphasises their drawbacks & puts people off them for life.


    I enjoy Shakespeare when it’s done well & imaginatively (both Zefirelli’s & Baz Luhrman’s films of Romeo & Juliet spring to mind), & I’m sure Ben Elton does too. It’s possible to recognise & laugh at the shortcomings of things you like e.g. “Brian Pern” affectionately mocked Peter Gabriel, but it was made (& enjoyed) by many of his fans.

    I do understand that & I have enjoyed Upstart Crow although in the first series especially Kate's frustration at being unable to act was overdone. I sympathise with those who were put off Shakespeare by the way it was taught, but like BD above, I wonder why teachers would be emphasising the negative aspects when there is so much wonderful language & characterisation to enjoy. But my mother was an English teacher & I was basically born to Shakespeare & have loved him all my life. So it's hard to stand back & think others may not agree.


    As far as Ben Elton goes we went to see him live many years ago. I think his heart is in the right place, but he doesn't know how to be subtle.

  • I’m sure you’re right that having an enthusiastic teacher would have made studying Shakespeare more enjoyable.


    The episode that took the “reasonable doubt” movement to its logical conclusion – namely that if Mark Rylance had lived in the 16th century he’d have told Shakespeare to his face that he couldn’t have written his plays - was a good one.


    Ben Elton has produced some substandard stuff since his 1980s peak, but Upstart Crow is a definite return to form (although for me nothing could equal The Young Ones or even the best bits of Blackadders). Elton does include some preachy lines, usually delivered by poor Kate the frustrated actress, that can get tiresome, but David Mitchell is a real asset.

  • We watched the first episode of the new BBC adaptation of Les Miserables - starring Lily Collins as Fantine. She was very good. I have read the book but a few years ago so it took time for me to remember what was happening. The villain, Javert, is played by a black actor.

  • We watched the first episode of the new BBC adaptation of Les Miserables - starring Lily Collins as Fantine. She was very good. I have read the book but a few years ago so it took time for me to remember what was happening. The villain, Javert, is played by a black actor.

    ...the black actor being David Oyelowo. I haven't seen any of it yet but may give it a go. Some other excellent cast members in it - Dominic West, Olivia Colman, David Bradley.

    Abandon all reason

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. Takes place in 1958. The set and wardrobe are perfect for the time period. The storyline is about a Jewish wife who takes a shot at stand up comedy. Fabulous! Recommended.

  • We watched the first episode of the new BBC adaptation of Les Miserables - starring Lily Collins as Fantine. She was very good. I have read the book but a few years ago so it took time for me to remember what was happening. The villain, Javert, is played by a black actor.

    It wasn’t bad, it’ll be worth watching the rest. I haven’t read the book but quite liked the film with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe etc despite not finding the songs memorable. It lives up to its name though, with almost the entire cast dying during the show (like “Hamlet”!)


    “The Inbetweeners” 10 year anniversary was a dire “tribute” to a great comedy. Jimmy Carr was the worst host possible & they kept re-showing the same few clips & dishing out pointless awards. The funniest bit was Neil Oliver, who’s a TV historian not a comedian, doing a mock history documentary about “The Inbetweeners”, which says a lot about the standard of the rest of the show. :rolleyes:

  • There’s a grim, drab Agatha Christie mystery trying to shoehorn lectures about fascism into a murder mystery.

    I am recording all three episodes with the view of watching them all together. We love Agatha Christie as a family so hoping it will not be as bad as you say.

    I finally got around to watching ep1 of The ABC Murders. I have one main issue with it, which is the overbearing over-direction that dogs so many modern dramas. Close-ups of typewriter strikers hammering the paper accompanied by crashing sound effects, semi slo-mo, silly angles, etc. Once it moves away from that sort of stuff, and from Shirley Henderson's cartoonishly seedy landlady, and just focuses on telling the story, I like it. I don't usually like the normal sort of Christie TV adaptation with twee quirky eccentricities and shrieking rich people getting knocked off in country houses, so the grimness of this one actually appeals to me. I like the idea of an older more tired Poirot past his peak, like a former celebrity.


    So far based on that first episode I don't feel I'm being lectured about fascism. I think it's an interesting approach to move away from the comfy 1930s rural English settings of so many Christie adaptations and put Poirot against a backdrop of the rise of English fascism, which was a reality at the time this series is set. Even then, it's not as though it's dominating proceedings - yet. I'm enjoying Malkovich's performance and that of the impressive Rupert Grint as a grumpy dismissive Inspector Crome. I'm looking forward to episode 2.


    genesis1964 - while I like it for the reasons above, if you and your family usually love Christie on TV then you may need to approach with caution, as both boredatwork and I have said this is very much not in the same vein as previous TV adaptations.

    Abandon all reason

  • I've also, as ever, been hooked on the latest series of Luther. For a police crime drama it's as near-operatically OTT and darkly violent as usual but I can't stop watching it. Oh, plus I am hopelessly in love with the brilliant and unconventionally beautiful Ruth Wilson, even more attractive in her portrayal of sociopathic Alice. I've always been drawn to damaged girls who might stab me at any moment.

    Abandon all reason

  • No had chance to watch much over the last few days. Still got to watch the Agatha Christie and I have recorded Luther - never seen it before but I like crime thrillers so hopefully will enjoy it

    “Without music, life would be a mistake”

  • No had chance to watch much over the last few days. Still got to watch the Agatha Christie and I have recorded Luther - never seen it before but I like crime thrillers so hopefully will enjoy it

    FYI, the 5 series of Luther are fairly continuous and this latest one does make a number of back-references, especially to series 1 and 2. Just a suggestion, but you might benefit from starting with the series 1 box set on the iPlayer rather than jump straight into the latest one.


    As crime thrillers go, it's pretty brutal and the Luther character takes the "troubled detective" trope to almost ludicrous extremes. It's good though!

    Abandon all reason

  • FYI, the 5 series of Luther are fairly continuous and this latest one does make a number of back-references, especially to series 1 and 2. Just a suggestion, but you might benefit from starting with the series 1 box set on the iPlayer rather than jump straight into the latest one.


    As crime thrillers go, it's pretty brutal and the Luther character takes the "troubled detective" trope to almost ludicrous extremes. It's good though!

    Thanks for the advice, did not realize there had been 5 series

    “Without music, life would be a mistake”

  • I have started watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on amazon prime. It is a serial created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who also created Gilmore Girls. Though the plot is completely different, you find quite a few parallels to GG. The music, the endless talking of the protagonists at top speed, etc. If you liked Gilmore Girls, you will probably like MMM as well, if you didn't, well, I don't know. The story kicks off in the fifties of the last century and describes the life of a young woman, who starts a career as a stand-up comedian out of nothing supported by Lenny Bruce (declaring a truce^^).


    Great actors on there, especially Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and Marin Hinkle (Two And A Half Men).


    Check it out....


    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. Takes place in 1958. The set and wardrobe are perfect for the time period. The storyline is about a Jewish wife who takes a shot at stand up comedy. Fabulous! Recommended.

    Yes, very nice. My daughter is at home right now and we have returned to Gilmore Girls for a change.:rolleyes: I also watch Black Sails, when I get the chance..

    First we learned to walk on water.

    Then we tried something harder.

    - Red Seven -

  • I just finished The ABC Murders and really enjoyed it. As I already mentioned, a refreshingly darker take on Agatha Christie and Poirot, moving it far away from the twee, golden cosy Sunday night fare we're more accustomed to, and David Suchet's almost cartoonish portrayal.

    Abandon all reason

  • Manhunt, the true story of the hunt for Levi Belfield (I suppose that could be considered a spoiler, as Ep 3 is on tonight, but since he's been serving a full-term life sentence since 2006, with a further full-term added a few years later, I think it's in the public domain! :)) - Excellently done so far, and Martin Clunes adds a new, heavyweight tone to his palate. Successfully, IMO.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile