On the Telly: Great British TV Shows

It’s Blizzcon weekend and I feel rather indifferent about that. It’s exciting times for fans of WoW or Blizzard’s other IPs and it should probably interest me as a general MMO blogger, only it really doesn’t. I see the attraction of cons in terms of meeting friends and having a geeky good time (collecting swag!), otherwise it’s a queue and bathroom hell I’ll happily skip for youtube summaries later on. I remain mildly attracted to Overwatch – other than this, I’ve only one thing to say: TOLD YOU SO in case that Legion launch date will indeed fall into September 2016!

Because all gaming news is overshadowed by Blizzcon this weekend and I’ve been watching a couple of awesome British TV shows lately, I decided to take this opportunity to highlight a few you might wanna check out on Netflix or elsewhere!

Cliffs are bad news

Cliffs are bad news

Good: Broadchurch (2 seasons, to be continued)
I’ve binged on both seasons of Broadchurch this past week and would describe it as a very gripping, emotionally intense crime drama, sporting half of the Harry Potter cast. While this is not exactly a rare breed of genre, Broadchurch is intriguing for its grey areas and constant twists and suggestions; anyone can be made suspect and will be as they get swallowed by the whole machinery of investigation and court procedure. There’s the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” – in Broadchurch the entire village will pay because they didn’t. Until the very last episode, it remains unclear who the killer(s) is(are) or why they did it. Broadchurch isn’t very graphical but the topics are dark and gritty, contrasting with the English smallville beach idyll that is the beautiful setting for the story. Since child abuse is a central theme of the show, it’s probably too heavy for some.

No show is perfect. There was a major twist at the end of the first season I didn’t enjoy and I felt the second season lost some speed, introducing annoying characters. On the other hand, there’s some great acting in Broadchurch with David Tennant’s delightful Scottish accent for you to enjoy all the way through.

Better: Peaky Blinders (2 seasons, to be continued)
Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy, need I say more? A gangster drama set in Birmingham, Peaky Blinders is violent and gritty, grandiose and flamboyant as it follows the rise to power of one particular local clan inspired by historical record. The show is as much a story of three brothers (and one more insignificant sister and baby brother) raising themselves and coping with First World War related PTSD, as it is an early 20th century mafia romance with great period settings. It portrays rising social and class issues, complex family themes as well as the psychology of addiction, both to drugs and power. The acting and writing are superb once you got used to the heavy accents.

There’s not much I got to be annoyed with while watching, other than maybe the show’s great antagonist chief inspector Campbell (played by Sam Neil), who is as immoral as the fiends he so passionately pursues. There are no good guys in Peaky Blinders, only broken people.

The lost boys

The lost boys

Best: Sherlock BBC (3 seasons, to be continued)
Several have tried to put a modern hat on Doyle’s classic which can be tricky business but it’s the BBC’s rendition of Holmes and Watson that has managed to do so masterfully and with great respect. The complex technical writing, the outstanding acting by both Cumberbatch and Freeman who have crazy chemistry (tangentially Bilbo and Smaug) together with the modern settings and tools all seamlessly create one fine mystery drama. Oh and the humor! That’s what I appreciate about this show, no matter how gruesome a case there is comic relief usually delivered by Holmes’ bizarre take on the world or then, the quirky interaction between Watson and him which had me roaring with laughter at the best of times. I don’t think anyone else could play that “highly functional sociopath” quite the way Cumberatch does.

I will say that season 3 was a bit of a low point for me as the show became increasingly off-beat and all about the complicated relationship between its two protagonists. I enjoyed it nonetheless and look forward to the next season and the Christmas Special (which is set in the original time period)! BBC rocks the Sherlock Holmes biz, nuff said!

Goofballs

Goofballs

Happy weekend everyone, now with extra TV show inspiration in case you needed it! I already want moar – what is it with British series only ever doing 8 episodes per season, hellou??

4 comments

  1. Broadchurch was quirky in an enjoyable sort of way, but as a murder mystery it was a bit of a cheat, as you note, holding out evidence until the very end. And I am at a loss as to why there would be a season 2, except “hey, we can make more money!”

    Sherlock, as it is titled over here, is generally quite good. My major gripe is that a season of Sherlock is shorter than some movies. I know the Brits aren’t locked into traditional US 22-episode seasons like the big networks here, but if you’re producing 3 hours of TV every 12 months, my gut says that you really aren’t pushing yourself.

    1. The whole retraction at the end of Broadchurch s01 was the stupidest thing ever, I couldn’t believe it. I would’ve been happy with a s02 that started off a new plot, there would’ve been plenty of other options so I really didn’t understand the decision.
      As for the whole carrot-on-a-stick thing, it reminded me a bit of Lost continuously screwing with its audience.

      You’re right about the title of Sherlock btw, there’s no Holmes in the title of the show! It seems weird they only ever do 3 episodes, same for Black Mirror though which is also an English show.

  2. Broadchurch sounds appealing. Did you watch it on Netflix or some other streaming service? As for Sherlock, I loved the first two seasons and then jumped the shark for me in Season 3. Didn’t enjoy it at all.

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