There’s been a marked decline in Film Watch posts recently and that’s not coincidentally timed with the fact that all the TV out there at the moment is SO GOOD. The amount of choice and content available on TV and via streaming services just keeps growing and growing, and not only that, it keeps getting better and better.
It’s fantastic, we’re living in a golden age of TV, I’m sure of it.
The new year is always a good time for new dramas to start appearing on TV, and the big bang for 2022 was Around the World in 80 Days, a big budget drama starring David Tennant as the hero in this Jules Vergne adaptation. The eight episode series followed Tennant’s Phileas Fogg as he attempts that circumnavigation of the globe all for a simple bet with the others at his gentleman’s club.
It feels like you can’t move for seeing good press about The Outlaws, the recent comedy from Stephen Merchant. I finished watched it a week or so ago, and it was so good, I just wanted to add to the celebration of such a good show. Here are five things to love about it:
The cast. From relative unknowns to the supremely famous Christopher Walken (how on earth did that happen?
I am completely in love with the show For All Mankind. The sheer audacity of the whole thing is wonderful. It’s out there but also somehow grounded in reality. If you’ve not seen it, or read my thoughts on Series 1, the premise is an alternative history where Russia landed on the moon before the US, and everything that follows from that.
I read a review of the show that explained how anything that tries to exploit the butterfly effect - small things creating exponential changes - is bound to start slow but gradually pick up speed.
The first two episodes of WandaVision appeared on Disney+ this week and I very quickly devoured them both. I wasn’t expecting to be as interested as I was, thought maybe I’d check it out when I had the time, but all the hype surrounding it completely sucked me in. Here are five immediate thoughts about the show:
In navigating the menus to get to the show, Disney+ recommended their new Marvel Legends series and I’m so glad I watched this first.
I can’t believe I didn’t write anything after watching the first series of Staged in summer of last year. David Tennant and Michael Sheen bantering for 6 x 20 minute episodes. It was one of the bright spots of culture that came out of the specific circumstances of lockdown. Despite it being an epic piece of work, I suppose no one really wanted a second series as it meant life hadn’t got back to normal.
It’s taken a while for me to get to the end of Tehran, the Apple TV espionage thriller based in the Iranian city. Initially, I was watching it week on week as it was released, but I’m no fool. I knew the penultimate episode would have one heck of a cliffhanger, so I opted to save it a week and watch two episodes together. But then, a week became two and other things got in the way and oop, finally it’s nearly Christmas and I need to finish watching Tehran before the jingle bells start.
I don’t normally care for nature programmes. I mean, let’s be clear, I think they’re incredible. The time, effort and production values always blow me away and whenever I see an episode of a nature show, I’m usually entranced. But they don’t really grab me and I don’t seek them out.
However, I couldn’t really ignore the enticing idea of Paul Rudd narrating a half hour show that focuses in on the smaller elements of this planet of ours - the new Apple TV nature show Tiny World.
I, like many many people, thought that the Ted Lasso series wasn’t going to be anything special. I was vaguely aware of the character, designed for a one-off sketch, and yea, that fish-out-of-water trope can be funny. But to bring the Southern American football coach to the UK to manage a Premier League team seemed ripe for sub-par comedy. I was expecting there to be a lot of jokes at the expense of the British way of life, lots of men bouncing off each other in the locker room, and a bit of a boorish ten episodes.
Recently, I’ve really struggled to find a TV show that grabs me and keeps me interested and also sits outside of the Apple TV+ catalogue. I’ve talked at length about how great their shows are and for whatever reason, despite there being so much (too much?) choice out there, I’ve barely been able to get past the first episode of anything. I was starting to wonder if the quality of Apple’s shows hadn’t ruined other TV for me!