[watching] What have you seen recently?

Nathan

Rune Priest
The wife and I sadly could not get into Tales from the Loop. We had no issue with the concept, but we both felt it was not that well executed. However, we still continue to enjoy The Expanse.

We watched Belgravia and The English Game, both written by Julian Fellows. As the former tries to capture the feel of Downton Abbey, the latter is in fact the better of the two series and does it better. Both follow the similar theme to Downton Abbey; the exploits of the working class and aristocracy and how the interact with one another. However, out of the two, The English Game is better written, better acted, better paced, and has higher production values and it shows. Whilst enjoyable, Belgravia feels very watered down, a little flimsy in places, and the conclusion felt rather forced.

My scores:

Tales from the Loop: 3/10
The Expanse: 9/10
Belgravia: 5/10
The English Game: 8/10
 
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Nathan

Rune Priest
We finished off the first season of The Mandalorian. I think it's the best attempt by Disney, or even George Lucas to that fact, to recreate the feel of the original trilogy. I thought Rogue One was a great attempt, but The Mandalorian trumps that. There seems to be a little bit of everything for everyone and season two can certainly build on the foundation laid down by the first. Absolutely brilliant!

My Score: 10/10
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
I'm halfway through the first season of Berlin Station, a modern day spy thriller series set in Berlin (duh) and suitably messy. I hope it holds up; I know that there are another two seasons that I can access on Prime (can't see the DVDs out there) and it appears to have been cancelled. I've deliberately not put the next disc in tonight as otherwise I could be up to the small hours with it.

It has me wanting to run a messy, compromised and conflicted spy game again. Hmm. Maybe I should re-look at moving Cold Secrets to Wordplay (TRIPOD) so it has a workable system?

I have all three seasons of Babylon Berlin ready to follow this...
 
We really enjoyed What We Do in the Shadows, a movie mocumentary co-directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok and The Mandalorian). It's extremely well written and plays on a number of the vampire tropes in a comical way. Worth every minute of the hour and a half running time.

My Score: 8/10
 
I'm halfway through the first season of Berlin Station, a modern day spy thriller series set in Berlin (duh) and suitably messy. I hope it holds up; I know that there are another two seasons that I can access on Prime (can't see the DVDs out there) and it appears to have been cancelled. I've deliberately not put the next disc in tonight as otherwise I could be up to the small hours with it.
Second series dealing with the rise of an AfD style party is really good. Third series is pretty duff. The premise is interesting and topical - Russia trying to occupy Estonia in a similar fashion to Crimea - but the way it's presented is utterly ludicrous.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
What is Babylon Berlin like?

We are really enjoying Save Me on Now/Sky.

It's intense, well acted, well written and painfully uncomfortable. (Child abduction and abuse themes, so viewer discretion advised.)
 
We really enjoyed What We Do in the Shadows, a movie mocumentary co-directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok and The Mandalorian). It's extremely well written and plays on a number of the vampire tropes in a comical way. Worth every minute of the hour and a half running time.
The TV series of What We Do in the Shadows is coming soon to BBC Two!
 
SyFy channel - showing weekly episodes of an odd thing called "Vagrant Queen". In the Dark Matter/Killjoys League. Very Neon. Strange budget choices (has a gratuitous 3D freeze frame pan in every episode). I'd say it'd be a marmite series but I'm in the middle. Probably wouldn't be watching if it wasn't for Lockdown.

BUT they've also dropped a similar mid budget series, all in one go, called "Pandora". Despite a weak central premise (a college "study group" dips in and out of HUGE Galaxy-shaking events) it's coherent and had enough big , fast moving, plots and factions to cover the blatant plot holes and seems to be making good use of its budget. The central actress is competant but lacks the star quality of the leads of Dark Matter, Killjoys and Vagrant Queen. But she's surrounded by some talented co-stars - many of whom seem to be up and coming replacements for actors who'd be playing those parts a decade or so ago. Throw in some good guest star turns from genre favourites - Ben Cross, Jeffrey Coombes, ERIN GREY - and I'm finding this blatant pastiche-fest strangely watchable and I'm currently in the middle of binging it. Recommended if you've got hours to fill.
 
I loved Killjoys but hated Dark Matter. Vagrant Queen does look interesting. I've not heard about Pandora.

I've started season two of Knightfall. It's one series that requires a lot of perseverance. The first season has a some great moments and the cast delivers despite some shaky writing and plot. But it's not in the same league as say The Last Kingdom. I'm looking forward to watching season four of that!
 
I’ve just finished bingeing Pandora. I think. It isn’t clear that the last episode is in fact the end.

Overall recommended. Warning, I’ve clearly missed a couple of episodes because they’re not listed in the right order on the player and the fact that I didn’t notice this at the time tells you something about the overall coherency of the thing.

But I enjoyed the way they blissfully threw in three seasons worth of plot in a single series and blatantly ripped off everything from somewhere else. I can’t tell you which Firefly moment was thrown in at the end of one episode or the epic Babylon 5 moment that popped up in the next without it being spoilers but it’s worth watching just to see how many YOU can spot. Just two minor ones - apparently there’s an off screen character somewhere called NELSON Fisk. And the bounty hunter (of COURSE there’s a bounty hunter) looks like The Punisher but is called Voq.

Bat shit crazy. It cuts from an epic space battle scene to a “bridge” made up of two guys hanging onto upturned storage crates (seriously the budget must have run out). But I’m looking forward to series 2.
 

Ezio

Administrator
Staff member
Really enjoyed Avenue 5, a science-fiction comedy created by Armando Iannucci and starring Hugh Laurie, Rebecca Front and Lenora Critchlow. The ending is a little abrupt but other than that, the story builds wonderfully. It's all about a space liner that goes off course, and the way the situation deteriorates the more they try to fix it. Highly recommended.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
Gomorrah, on NOW TV.
It's dirty, crass, violent and fast.
I think I like it. We do shout at the screen a lot.
But hey, you wouldn't be in that business if you could make better life choices.
Worth a watch 6/10
 
Really enjoyed Avenue 5, a science-fiction comedy created by Armando Iannucci and starring Hugh Laurie, Rebecca Front and Lenora Critchlow. The ending is a little abrupt but other than that, the story builds wonderfully. It's all about a space liner that goes off course, and the way the situation deteriorates the more they try to fix it. Highly recommended.
Abrupt isn’t the word. I kept looking back to see if I’ve missed the next episode. Yup, well worth a watch.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
The Vast of Night
On Amazon Prime. Low budget high quality homage to the Twilight Zone. Everyone in small town Cayuga is at the baseball game in the school gym.
Everyone except Fay the switchboard girl with the new tape recorder, and slightly older radio DJ Everett. Then a strange noise comes over the radio and the switchboard... Low fi, pacey, well acted and about one and a half hours, 10/10
 
I’m re-bingeing all the old Netflix Marvel series. Dear God! They were good!

I’m re-evaluating my ratings.

Daredevil remains an iconic TV event. Seminal.
I’ve upped Jessica Jones in my opinion - including David Tennant’s performance. It’s all a lot cleverer than I thought at first.
I’ve dropped Luke Cage a bit.
I’ve dropped Iron Fist - a lot. At the time I was like “If they’d made this first you’d’ve thought it was great TV. You’re just jaded.” I now realise my opinion - like the programme - was bollocks.
I’ve dropped Defenders a lot. A real opportunity missed.
And Punisher has really climbed in my opinion. At the time I thought it glorified violence and I missed all the brilliant writing and performances. I now rate it second to DD.

It’s a shame we never got “NightWing”. And some these actors/characters deserve to move over into the MCU. (Not you - Iron Fist.)
 
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