David Simon (Homicide,Life on the Streets,an excellent series set in Baltimore ,some years back ,and more recently,The Wire,also set in Baltimore) recently wrapped up a new series set here in NOLA named TREME which is a section of town,rather seedy but very historic and home to some of the best musicians to come out of this town. Will air in May of 2010. Many local musicians and Mardi Gras Indians involved in the project. Doesn't sound near as hokey as some of the lame ones done here.
Ahem. That could work out really well for some of us!
A whole series set in the Treme area?! *squeals with anticipation* There's a trailer here, which I can't see because I'm not in the US. Wonder if they'll put in English subtitles for the local accents. ;D
Thanks for the reminder about Red Dust, Lola. It's on my list to see.
There is an excellent new miniseries on French TV at the moment, on Canal Plus (similar to HBO in the U.S.). It's called "Pigalle la Nuit" and takes place in the sex zone. The pitch is that of a young French trader based in London, who gets dragged into one of the sleazy cabarets by a colleague during a visit. He recognizes one of the strippers as his sister who disappeared a few years ago. Mutual flash of recognition and instant disappearance of the sister, so the whole plot is his search for her in the underworld of sleaze.
There is also a sub-plot of the Armenian porn king of Pigalle being challenged by a new Russian mafia guy operating new venues for the glitterati and pervy politicians.
What makes it particularly interesting (besides being filmed only 3 metro stations from where I live) is that it is done pretty much in cinéma vérité style, with cameras out in the street among the real people of the area and using all of the real sex commerces without changing their names.
I'm sure that it will sell very well internationally in the progressive countries, but it would be hard to tone down for the prudish ones.
Not that I'm comparing them in quality to this show, but one thing that makes some of the Mexican soaps look so good is that real, normal outdoor locations are used, which gives everything a more populated feel.
"Armenian porn king of Pigalle" -- say it really fast, five times!
Taboo....I have Lizzyfaire - what do you think of it? The last episode I saw made for quite painful viewing but I am going to stick with it. (I watch it a few days after its aired) Also been watching Appletree Yard, only just realised that I had read the book a while ago; controversial - the jury's out. Loving the much gentler "The Great Pottery Throw Down" which has created a surge in the number of applicants for pottery classes. ( even if it bears too much resemblance to the much missed Great British Bake Off. )
I quite like Taboo, because it's extreme and unlike almost anything else I've seen on t.v. And of course, the Nootka Sound storyline takes place less than a hundred kilometres from where I grew up. I like the collision of cultures that are occurring in this Regency London.
I find it interesting that some comment boards are whining about the foul language, the violence and the, well, breaking of taboos, as if the early 1800s were all clean and polite and genteel.
Speaking of which, I'm malingering today, so I took to my cushions and duvet and watched Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Not fully successful as a comedy of manners or as a horror flick, but what was enjoyable was the juxtaposition of the two. I'm not posting a trailer, because they're all intercut with pop music and slow-mo battle sequences (to appeal to whom? Young women and their dates?), and the film doesn't really have that. I appreciated the skewering of Jane Austen immensely (figuratively, she doesn't appear in the movie!).
Taboo is backed up in the pile on my PVR. I'm working up to it. These last few weeks and months, I've been cocooning more and more in nostalgic nonsense - ancient films, old sitcoms I could practically recite by heart that are still filling the cheapo channels down the bottom of the EPG (I can't resist the sausages-down-trousers and sometimes surreal jokes of Allo!Allo! - Madame Fanny, learning that a duel is about to be fought over her daughter, reminisces about a duel over her youthful self, when two tram-drivers fell in love with her - "And what did they fight with, maman, swords or pistols?" "Trams.")
But Apple Tree Yard is quite gripping, especially now it's got to the point where the central character is learning what those of us of a more suspicious mind realise from early on (whenever there was a drama in which a too slickly handsome man was making up to a woman, my mother would start to sing The Gypsy's Warning - "Do not trust him, gentle maiden......!"!). Last episode tonight, so no spoilers, please.
Then there are assorted documentaries to catch up on (French art, Italian cities, all about the brain.....).....
There is an article in the Guardian today about Taboo if anyone is interested. I like this quote, it's pretty apt.
Taboo is like one of those hidden stages at Glastonbury where you turn up expecting Mumford and Sons and instead get three circus performers riding naked on a bear while a wrinkled man, equally naked, shouts polemical blank verse over his cousin’s remix of the Prodigy played entirely on squeezebox. It’s different, it’s challenging, and in a way not easy to put a finger on, it will change you.
Not having cable TV or streaming video, I am late to discovering that series made for TV have actually gotten very good. With the advent of cable networks like HBO and streaming services like Netflix, and with the luxury of time offered by the series format, directors can build story arcs and create characters that viewers can get attached to, unlike with a 90-minute film. And books don't have to be so dramatically abridged in translation to the screen as to lose their appeal.
Now that so many series are out on DVD, I've been borrowing them from the library and binge-watching, but don't know which of the more obscure ones are worth seeking out.
I was hoping we could start the thread with lists, in order to get the names of good series near the top. Subsequent posts can elaborate on plot, theme, subject matter, actors, etc,
As for bolding titles, it would help in text-heavy posts, but probably over-kill in lists. But it appears there isn't a bold option in iPhone reply box. So ALL CAPS will have to suffice for me. (Though I won't use all caps in the lists that follow, as that would be shouting.)
We have watched - and really enjoyed - all seasons of Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, 24, Downton Abbey, and Treme. We are watching House of Cards, Homeland, The Americans, The Affair, Broadchurch, and Better Call Saul, as new seasons become available.
We watched a couple seasons of Dr. Who (post-reissue), Mad Men, Californication, and Deadwood before abandoning them. We saw the first season of The Knick. We tried to watch Lost, but failed to engage.
What are some of your favorites? It would be great to have them all in one place, instead of scattered throughout the Recent Small Screen Viewing thread. It isn't necessary to describe what each item in the list is about, as long as it's clear whether you'd recommend each title or not. After we're done sharing lists, we can get down to the nitty gritty of critiquing individual titles or sharing new discoveries.
Yes, Mark, we accidentally picked up the original British HOUSE OF CARDS at the Sanibel library, not realizing that there were two versions. We couldn't relate to the bewigged Lords, and wondered what the fuss was....
I have watched so very many over the years I will try and remember most of them and as others are mentioned it may jolt my memory.
Many of the ones I got hooked on pre internet ; Netflix etc. were weekly Public TV series, mostly BBC, Masterpiece Theatre productions. In no particular order of preference or otherwise:
The Jewel In The Crown Upstairs Downstairs Prime Suspect Homicide; Life on the Streets (a David Simon produced series who also did The Wire and Treme) Twin Peaks Deadwood Downton Abbey House of Cards, (American version, like Kimby, I tried the UK original and stalled out after only a few episodes) Six Feet Under (revved up initially and then it became tedious) Blacklist Treme (under pressure to watch and mixed feelings still regarding much of it based on personal knowledge of many of the characters portrayed). Damages (I binged through and really enjoyed it although, toward the last season it was sluggish for lack of a better word. I just adore Glenn Close.) Person of Interest (adored this !!!, so very quirky. I could see how others could not wrap their head around it). West Wing Breaking Bad Broadchurch The Killing The Hand Maids Tale Ozark (real recent and initially resisted it until a good friend insisted and she was right.) The Good Wife (currently on Season 2)
I have often wanted to post about a series but don't on many occasions because like Kimby I don't want to have to comb through all the previous posts of the same series. We even have threads dedicated to single series along with the ones in Small Screen.
(Leave it to Kimby to figure out...hee hee )
I will ponder about this but dunno...
Replication at this point may well be a moot point.
(perhaps our newest member i'vebeenmoved might have some advice to lend on this )
I agree. I just perused Small Screen and it would be a major undertaking to try and consolidate all the various mentionig of series and singular threads per Bixa's comment.
With regard to my listing, I was tempted to do a rating of sorts with *'s and, if people want to have a discussion of their "review"of sorts, they can inquire and/or comment and make the thread more interesting as opposed to just a mere list.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 17, 2017 18:07:39 GMT
Also, if a person wanted to include previous discussion of a particular series from the SSV thread, it would be easy enough to find the remarks, Quote or Quick Quote them, then copy & paste the quote(s) into any pertinent discussion in this new thread.
Post by cheerypeabrain on Sept 17, 2017 18:40:29 GMT
I am a Doctor Who addict. I know that it can be very silly but I feel a huge amount of loyalty to the show...watched as a child from the very first episode...something I watched with my beloved Dad.
However if I'm objective (rather than sentimental)
Wallander : the Swedish version...there are two different actors playing the lead role over a few years. Both incarnations are good. Gritty but gripping.
The Bridge : also Swedish/Finish. Nobody does a dark detective/murder series like the Scandinavians do...compelling stuff.
Cranford: period drama with Judy Dench amongst other brilliant actors...charming and gentle (far superior to the copycat Lark Rise to Candleford imo)
The Missing : especially the second series. Not an easy watch but superb drama.
The Green Wing: comedy (channel 4) set in a hospital...made in the 90s I think. Absolutely brilliant....probably too silly for some.
Spaced: another channel 4 comedy series (with Simon Pegg -of Hot Fuzz, Sean of the Dead fame) very silly. I bought the boxed set (there are 2 series)
Sherlock : only the first three series...the last one was ridiculous imo
I don't like a lot of the more popular dramas like Downton, Mr Selfridges, Ripper Street and Doctor Foster. They just make me cross.
My OH watches a lot of dystopian dramas set in a post apocalyptic world where the only survivors/people who can save everybody are terribly good looking, thin and under 25...preferably wearing tight, revealing clothing....I don't know what he sees in them.... things like The 100, Walking Dead, Gotham and others that seem to all be roughly the same...
We watched The Handmaid's Tale which was very well done, and several Netflix wonders like The Expanse, The OA and others...
If I start moving old posts from the "small screen" thread to this one, please be aware that they will appear in chronological order -- therefore before all of the first posts on this new thread. I'm not sure if I can move Kimby's introductory post to the top when I finish. So should I bring in the old posts or not?
Perhaps if someone were to scroll quickly through the 95 pages(!) of the thread and just list the titles that were likes or dislikes, typing them into one post on this thread that would be sufficient. (More than sufficient, greatly appreciated!).
Maybe quote some of the better reviews and copy the quotes into this thread, also.
(might you remember some years back when we went through a similar ordeal with literature? Something along the lines of Top Ten Books or something of the sort. Mon Dieu, 'twas akin to impacted wisdom teeth...)
I think that it is superior to The Wire. A close friend disagrees and puts it in second place.
This is the article from the UK Guardian, ...'The best cop show of recent times – one of the most innovative and influential dramas of all time – was set not in New York, Miami or LA, but in Baltimore. It featured a squad of embattled, super (street) smart, sardonic detectives fighting against the drug dealing and killing blitzing their beloved city. This series stemmed from the pen of the godlike David Simon and was as literate, funny and deep as television could be. But it was not The Wire. It was Homicide: Life On The Street.
Homicide: Life On The Street was even better than The Wire. Yeah – as Chris Rock likes to cry defiantly – I said it! The show ran for seven seasons on NBC from 1993 to 1999, making the new box set a glorious 122 episodes; twice as many as The Wire. It is thus the perfect gear for any Wireheads jonesing for a fix of Simon-flavoured cop drama. The series was based on Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets, David Simon's astonishing record of his time "embedded" with the Baltimore police.
It was brought to the screen by the city's film leviathan Barry Levinson (Diner, Tootsie, Rain Man etc), Paul Attanasio (the writer of Donnie Brasco and now executive producer of House), and Tom Fontana (St Elsewhere and later creator of Oz). Simon wrote and edited a few episodes and produced the final two seasons. "I was proud to learn everything they could teach me," he told me.
Simon regards Homicide as "a series of interconnected short stories", comparing it – rather grandiosely – to James Joyce's Dubliners. For me, Homicide is the missing link between Hill Street Blues and The Wire. The links with The Wire and the book are myriad. In one hilarious episode, detectives Munch and Bolander re-enact Simon's anecdote about a suspect confessing after taking a "lie-detection test" – using the station photocopier. "Then David went and did it in The Wire," Fontana protests. "I was like, 'Dude! We already did it.' He said, 'Yeah I know, but I wanted to do it again.'"
The Wire, for Simon, was "more akin to the dynamics of Baltimore as I knew them". But life in Baltimore is horribly real in Homicide.
Clark Johnson won an Emmy for the pivotal episode of the first series about the brutal rape and stabbing of 11-year-old Adena Watson – based on the murder of Latonya Wallace, also featured in Simon's book. "We were shooting one day," Clark Johnson (who played detective Meldrick Lewis) tells me. "This lady from the neighbourhood came up to me and said, 'Excuse me. She wasn't lying over here. She was lying over there.'"
So much for NBC's view that the title, A Year On The Killing Streets, needed to be more upbeat.
"A policeman once said to me a young man of 20 had more chance of dying in Baltimore than on the beach at Normandy," Fontana recalls. "We had to be true to that."
Both Simon and Fontana set out to debunk the myths TV had created about police work, starting with the premise that cops get along. Homicide's detectives squabble with their partners like married couples. "You never say 'please' and 'thank you'," complains Tim Bayliss. "PLEASE don't be an idiot. Thank you," seethes Frank Pembleton.
"The greatest lie in dramatic TV," Simon has said, "is the cop who stands over a body and pulls up the sheet and mutters 'damn' … To a real homicide detective, it's just a day's work."
Whereas The Wire was about the cases (the wiretaps used to nail Stringer, Avon, or Marlo), Homicide was about the cops – a group of detectives so involved that death is what they live for. Death becomes the norm. A healthy, happy life at home is beyond them.
"The Wire is more Brecht," agrees Fontana, referring to Simon's description of The Wire as "a political tract masquerading as a cop show". "But we were more Chekhov," – not a distinction you would make discussing The Bill.
The likes of Bayliss (the liberal conscience of the show) and Pembleton (the volatile Jesuit tormented by the need for redemption) are torn apart by their experiences in a manner so torrid that McNulty and co look rather cardboard.
Large parts of each episode are spent with the detectives sitting around talking – about how the world's first fridge was invented in Baltimore; how Montel Williams is from Baltimore ("A guy from Baltimore has got his own talkshow?!"); the claim that "14% of seagulls are lesbians".
Andre Braugher They talk about sex, death, and love in a way that is positively (or negatively) existential. "The way a woman feels about a man," argues detective Bolander (Ned Beatty), "that's the way he's going to feel about himself, his friends, his job." Eschewing the crucial forensic breakthrough, Homicide's detectives talked their suspects into confession. And the show only ever had one real shoot-out.
"The ratings spiked. Then we went back to making the real show and the ratings went back down!" Fontana laughs.
It's easy to see why Homicide can be seen as more radical than The Wire, not least because it was on NBC rather than the more experimental, independent HBO.
Both shows looked at the way race, the media and local politics in Baltimore affect the police. The leader of the squad in Homicide was the noble, Othello-like figure of Al Giardello (Yaphet Kotto). The smartest, sharpest, master of the art of interrogation was Pembleton (Andre Braugher).
'Where's the pretty girl? Where's the hunky guy? We had the least attractive cast on television!' The show took risks at every turn. "The network would say, 'Where's the pretty girl? Where's the hunky guy?' We had Danny Baldwin! We had the least attractive cast on television!" laughs Fontana.
Clark Johnson, who played Gus Haynes in The Wire, directed the pilots and finales of The Wire and The Shield, and may be the world's greatest authority on TV cop shows, says: "I would put the cast of the first two series up against any cast that's been on TV."
Barry Levinson established the show's groundbreaking visual style (aped by NYPD Blue) from episode one, draining it of colour and shooting entirely on hand-held cameras that swooped in and out of the actors' faces, jabbing at them like a boxer. And, amazingly, the killing of schoolgirl Adena Watson was left unsolved. "That would never happen now. We live in the world of procedural crime dramas now," Fontana laments, referring to CSI – which he openly disdains.
Clark Johnson plays Detective Meldrick Lewis. Photograph: Gail Burton/AP The network didn't like it, but Fontana says: "Homicide had less censorship problems than St Elsewhere. We did an episode on testicular cancer where the network freaked out because the word 'testicle' had never been said on television before. Ever. They became irritated by Homicide. They hated the camerawork. We were in danger of being cancelled every year."
The second season was four episodes long. "Then they moved us to Friday nights, which was basically Siberia and just forgot about us."
The quality of the scripts attracted star names such as Kathryn Bigelow, Steve Buscemi, John Waters, Kathy Bates and James Earl James. Edie Falco, Elijah Wood and Jake Gyllenhaal made early appearances, as did Chris Rock, as a paedophile suspected of killing Adena.
Murder is relentless in Homicide, the cases more sinister than The Wire, making it more intense, more affecting: an old lady has her tongue cut out and wedged down her throat; a man is trapped under a subway train, dying before Pembleton's eyes.
Fontana takes the fact that The Wire has stolen Homicide's thunder remarkably well. "You mean, the way people talk as if it sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus?" he laughs.
"Look, I love The Wire. David picked up the ball and ran with it." I'm amazed we got to make the show the way we did for as many episodes as we did. So I'm just grateful for that."
So should we all be....'
If you loved The Wire, you will love Homicide: Life on the Streets.
I saw none of these series. None. Quite amazing. I know most by name but never watched them.
So I watch : Murdock. Camping paradis. RIS police scientifique.
Meurtre à ... a crime happens in a French city. Actors are different but I find it a good idea to shoot in different cities. Bones. Not that recently. I cannot quit when I find an old Colombo. Actually and don't watch that much tv anymore. We usually have time for ourselves at after 9 and I try to go to bed at 10 30. And I am so often away that I cannot watch chronological series.
When in hotels I often find superbly intellectual movies with say Steven seagall. I can watch it in any language.
There is a series on my TV at the moment called "Steven Seagal - Lawman". Apparently he is a proper Deputy somewhere. The funny thing is in the series when he's meeting people, criminals or whoever, they often say, "You look just like Steven Seagal." he replies, "Yeh, I get that all the time."
Anyway, I've just binge watched over the last couple of days a Netflix serial called "Narcos". I was given the DVD for some reason. But it was excellent. It told the story of Pablo Escobar.
I just watched 3 episodes in a row of This Is Us because one of the TV channels is showing the entire season all day. I confess that I was reading the Sunday paper at the same time, but really, I saw and heard absolutely nothing of interest. Is it supposed to be about existential ennui only, or does anything ever happen?
PBS is airing a 10-part documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick called THE VIETNAM WAR. It is excellent, with film footage and interviews with participants on both sides, but oh, so dispiriting to watch the US go down that slippery slope again.
Especially while we are traveling similar paths in Afghanistan and Iraq, and our so-called President is doing everything he can to taunt N Korea and Iran into conflict with us.
A series that I have very much enjoyed watching over the past several years is Les Petits Meutres d'Agatha Christie (The Little Murders of Agatha Christie). There is nothing earth shattering about the series since it uses all of the usual source material, but instead of having Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple as the protagonists, it uses French police detectives in an adaptation that has been fully authorised by the people who hold the rights to the works of Agatha Christie. It also adopts a more comic tone, which was sometimes obvious in Christie's work, sometimes not. The first four seasons took place in the 1930's with a police detective and his young closeted gay assistant. The most recent four seasons have taken place at the end of the 1950's with a different police detective, his ditsy secretary (but obviously never as stupid as she appears to be) and a ravishing and intrepid young woman reporter from the local newspaper who is always interfering with his work with her own investigations and obviously advancing the case each time.
One of the best points of the series is its period recreations -- the cars, the costumes, the weird reactions of the suspects, the obsessions of the epoch. It is filmed in northern France and nearby Belgium, areas that are dear to my heart (and which of course have lots of conveniently outdated settings). And of course, like all major French series, each episode is the length of a feature film -- 1h30. Some other countries enjoy the series since it is also shown in Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil, Spain and Finland. It can also be seen at various times on TV5, the international French satellite channel.