Tag Archives: AMC

A series of series

So since having my son back in March last year I have watched so many TV series while being at home with him. It’s so much easier to put aside a half an hour to an hour to watch an episode even if it’s when I’m having my lunch or when my son is eating or napping (the only time he’s quiet) whereas making time to read or watch a film is a bit tricky. So it’s an easy form of entertainment for me. There are several that I gave up on as I wasn’t enjoying them or just needed a break as I lost interest for a little while, some I am waiting for more episodes or another series and some I have finished but I decided that I could write a little on some of them and then I am going to write more in depth reviews on some of the best and worst of them so keep posted for that.
It all started with Desperate Housewives which I actually started watching when I was heavily pregnant and finished the series when my son was a few months old. I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did but the combination of serious issues, dark comedy and an amazing cast (especially when Nathan Fillion appeared toward the end) made it really enjoyable. For those of you who don’t know, Desperate Housewives came out back in 2004 and ran until 2012. I think that although it started strong and went a tiny bit downhill, for eight seasons it was still enjoyable by the end which is very hard to do. The first series focuses on the suicide of Mary Alice but trails away from that and starts to focus more and more on the lives on Susan, Lynette, Bree and Gabrielle who are neighbours and friends (and sometimes enemies) and all so different but despite their differences always have time for each other. I think as well they all soften up and become more understanding of each other and themselves as the time goes on.
I then went for Dexter which is another American series. This ran from 2006 and finished in 2013 and like Desperate Housewives had eight long seasons. I need to go back to this and finish watching it but I needed to take a break… a really long break. I think I managed to last for three seasons before deciding I’d had enough. The first season is incredible and I would recommend watching that to anyone, even if you don’t watch past that. But I felt that it should have finished there. So Dexter Morgan is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department, here he works alongside his sister and a few friends but what they don’t know is that he has a massive secret, which is that he is a serial killer. What I love about Dexter is that although he is a serial killer and thinks he hasn’t got a heart or any passion he actually has which comes more and more to the surface (unless things changed after I stopped watching) and you also find out more about why he kills and his background and I ended up feeling quite a bit of understanding and empathy toward him (but not an excuse for his murdering…that’s never good). I did find that after season one it’s not got as much as a pull but I do hope that it gets better again as it goes on as I do want to finish watching it and see how it develops.
So after giving up (temporarily) on Dexter I caught up with Pretty Little Liars which is something I started watching a few years ago and got behind on when I was waiting for the second or third season. This came out in 2010 and is still going strong, they have just done the big reveal on who ‘A’ is and I’m hoping that the last season (I think that there is still one more to go) will be as gripping. I’m waiting for the next lot of episodes to be released and the wait is honestly really tough. I think that this is my second favourite TV series (nothing will ever come close to my all time favourite which is Firefly and will get it’s very own blog post dedicated to it in the near future) with it’s enormous cliff hangers, twists and turns, absolutely incredible cast and beautifully written script. It all starts with the disappearance of the popular Alison DiLaurentis who is played by Sasha Pieterse and then the finding of her body in the garden of Spencer Hastings who is one of her best friends. From then her friends Spencer, Hanna, Emily and Aria are plagued with texts, notes and various other forms of blackmail and threats from ‘A’. This is one of those programmes with so many characters and different parts to the main storyline that it is really hard trying to remember everything that has gone on but it’s absolutely amazing and I’d highly recommend this. I think this is aimed at older teenagers and young adults but I think that it is brilliant. And I think I’ll actually be sad when it’s finished as I enjoy it that much.
Anyway that is it for now. I’m sorry that this isn’t a great blog post but I’m really out of practice and I’m writing it quick before my son wakes up which is any minute now. I’ll be writing a part two…and maybe three to this and then doing more in depth reviews on some of these that I have mentioned and some I will. If you have any recommendations for anything to watch please comment and I’ll check them out.

Carl Must Die…

Carl Must Die...

No more Carl please…

As we’re in the Christmas hiatus, you start to think about where the tv shows you watch have been and where they could go.  Now, I haven’t read any of The Walking Dead comics, so am blissfully unaware of any upcoming plot twists.  I can but hope that one key one is coming though…  Carl must die…

The actor, Chandler Riggs, does a great job of portraying him and I have no complaints about his performance, but the character on the other hand is so annoying as to detract from everything else.  I have wondered how the group haven’t just thrown Carl to the walkers out of annoyance already…

Apparently, some of the new characters introduced just before the hiatus are quite good, so we can only hope they will convince the others to boot Carl firmly into the undead category!

Breaking Bad – The show you should really watch (if you ever get the chance)

A few weeks back, at the quiz night* I host, I read out a question that for some reason proved more difficult than I imagined it would.  Now, I write the quiz myself, so carefully pitch the questions so that they are of a suitably difficult nature, but there should be enough of a clue for them to be fair for even the most quiz hating participant; at the very least it should be possible to take a guess.

The question was:  “Bryan Cranston stars in which chemistry influenced series?”

Not too hard I thought, but I was a little surprised when many people were stumped…

Clearly, ‘Breaking Bad’ was not as well known as I had thought, which is a terrible thing, as it is a gem amongst the dross that TV churns out.

What struck me was that not only had they not seen it, but they weren’t even aware of it.  For a show of this quality that is surprising, but also highlights the poor marketing, lack of respect for the viewer and lack of respect for the show shown by the TV channels.

Breaking Bad in the UK has had a patchy run.  FX showed the first season, FiveUSA showed the second season and then… nothing.  Season 3 got dropped like a hot potato and the latest Season, which got underway in the US recently, is unlikely to be shown.  Not a situation you would expect of a show created by Vince Gilligan, who has an excellent track record, well known to X-Files fans.

For those that don’t know the show, very briefly, the premise is this:

Walter White, a high school Chemistry teacher is diagnosed with cancer and to make sure that his family are taken care of financially, he decides to make some fast money by cooking meth.  As he has no connections with this world, he teams up with a drug user and ex-student, Jesse Pinkman and the new venture stutters into life, with huge consequences for all involved.

While this premise may seem bleak, and the drama is indeed downbeat and extremely bleak, there is a dark humour running throughout the show that never lets it truly hit rock bottom.  The shows greatest asset though is its writing, with perfectly balanced scenes of mundane life and high drama, both moving at a snails pace and then quickly as events unfold.  It is a tribute to the actors and the script that the slow pace of many of the episodes doesn’t feel like it’s dragging, but just adds to the tension of plot.

So, for something so good, how can it be that it is so unknown in the UK?

For some reason, the show has not found an audience, or at least a large audience, in the UK.  This could be down to the subject matter, the channel, or it could be down to scheduling.   It is quite possible that FX and FiveUSA may not be everyones first port of call for their entertainment, so the channel could well be a factor and scheduling may have had an impact, but I suspect that the subject matter and pacing may have been the reasons.  This is a great shame though, as if you allow the slow pace to pull you in, the time spent with it is highly rewarding and much like ‘The Wire’, the depth and quality of the writing continues to reward you on repeated viewings.

Unfortunately, many of todays TV companies and viewers favour the fast paced, quick cutting crime dramas, but Breaking Bad is more considered and refined;  More Hitchcock than hokey procedural.

If you like decent drama, with depth, thought and executed perfectly, get hold of the DVDs  and enjoy!

*P.S.  Yes, I like a quiz.  It’s nerdy I know, but fun, so there… 🙂

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