Category: What I’ve been Watching

TV Recommendations – July 2016

There have been TV highs and lows at Crafty Chai towers this month. We tried three new shows (Versailles, New Blood and Outlander) in a short space of time and all three left me despairing for the state of TV. With GoT promising only two more series and The Good Wife waving a very sad and less than stellar goodbye (seriously, what went wrong there?!), it makes me worry for the state of TV to come. All the good shows are coming to an end or having a limited shelf life (I’m pretty sure I’m going to need therapy when they announce that TWD will be coming to an end), there’s not a lot coming up that’s really grabbing my interest. Hence the appearance of The Gilmore Girls below.

TV Recommendations_July

[Outcast – Fox via NowTV || Billions – Sky Atlantic
Gilmore Girls – Netflix || Orange is the New Black – Netflix]

Outcast is made by the same guy who makes The Walking Dead. When I found this out, I perked right up. Creepiness, gore and tortured characters ahoy. Sadly no walkers, but plenty of good ol’ fashioned demonic possession and what’s not to love about that? So far, it hasn’t disappointed. There’s plenty of tension, a few creepy characters and a tortured main character who just wants to protect his family. Not really ideal for the faint hearted, so if you’re a bit squeamish, then maybe avoid this one, but if, like me, you enjoy a dabble in the darker, weirder aspects of life, then take a chance on Outcast.

We stumbled across Billions (or Billionaires as I insist on calling it!) one night on Now TV and thought we’d give it a go, mainly because of the cast lineup. After every scene change, we’re like ‘Isn’t that such and such from what’s it called?’ or ‘What were they in?’. This is because Billions is where actors from other TV shows all come together. It stars Damien Lewis as a billionaire who runs a hedge fund management company (I think, this area of the financial world is a complete mystery to me!) and Paul Giamatti plays the US attorney who is out to get him. There’s tension, a lot of swearing and a lot of financial talk which is lost on me, but it’s good enough to keep me entertained for now.

I know Gilmore Girls isn’t new, but all seven series are now on Netflix in preparation for their return for a one off series (though I’m sure many GG fans have everything crossed that it’ll be so hugely successful that they’ll have to make more). Despite having them all on dvd, this means I can watch them all in any room in the house on my iPad, which I’ve already started doing. I plan to watch all seven series over the summer. We all need goals!

I have to admit that the last series of OITNB didn’t enthrall me as much as other series have. However, this series was not like that and a delightful return to form, albeit with a dark twist. Okay, a few dark twists. This series had me guessing  at every turn and there were tears when something horrific happens to one of the main characters. No spoilers here! I don’t know how much longer it can go on, but if the next few series are of this standard, then I for one will be looking forward to their return.

TV Recommendations – June

How fast is this year going? Here we are, in June, half way through the year! Did life always fly by at break neck speed? Recently, we’ve been recovering from finishing decorating the bedroom and enjoying some decent TV, though we are facing quite a dry spell. If you’ve seen anything good lately, let me know!

TV Recommendations_June

[Togetherness – NOW TV || Bosch – Amazon Prime ||
Orphan Black – Netflix || Grace & Frankie – Netflix]

I stumbled across Togetherness on NOW TV one day and recognized a couple of actors in it so thought I’d give it a go. I hadn’t heard anyone talking about it, either in person or online, so wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved it from the very beginning. It focuses on quite a normal young family and their friends and how they live their lives. I thought it was hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. There are two series available, though only series one is currently on NOW. It hasn’t been renewed for a third series, which I was quite sad about because I wanted to see how things progressed from the tumultuous second series. Still worth watching if you want something quick and easy to watch.

I had seen Bosch advertised on Amazon Prime for some time, but honestly thought that it looked awful. Plus I find the way that Amazon advertises its shows so forcefully on their websites so offensively that I was kind of determined never to watch it. However, out of sheer desperation of nothing else to watch (seriously people, make some more TV!) Oh my god, I was hooked so much so that one afternoon when I was at work, I caught myself thinking I couldn’t wait to get home to watch some more Bosch! It’s so good! It’s police drama set in LA and it has a number of ongoing stories woven throughout each series. There are some great characters in it, many of watch you’ll be able to spot from other series, and some shocking twists and turns. There are currently two series on Amazon Prime and if you’re missing Line of Duty then Bosch is a pretty good substitute.

When we first watched Orphan Black I thought it was awful. Cheesy, over the top and unrealistic. By the end of the first series, Phil had given up on it but I was hooked. I watched the rest of the series on my own and I think it has gone from strength to strength. I don’t know how much longer it can keep going, or how many more clones are going to appear out of the woodwork, but so far it has been imaginative and gripping. My favourite clone is Alison and her husband, Donnie. They are hilarious and will stop at nothing to keep their perfect Stepford world in one piece, even if that means burying a dead body in their garage floor or dealing some drugs! Netflix has the first three series and is in the process of showing series four, one episode a week, which frustrates me no end! I do love me some binge watching!

While I love dark and disturbing TV shows, every now and then, even I need a break from walkers and the apocalypse. Step in Grace and Frankie, which is one of the most light hearted and hilarious TV shows I’ve ever seen! When I first saw it advertised on Netflix, I wasn’t particularly interested, but I saw quite a few good thing about it on Twitter so thought I’d give it a go and watched series one over the Christmas holidays. Series two is not on Netflix and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s hilarious! Grace and Frankie are up to their usual antics, including arguing over lube, drinking too much and arguing with pretty much everyone they come into contact with. I am envious of their retired lives and their beach house, which is pretty awesome! If you need a bit of cheering up or some feel-good TV, then check out Grace and Frankie. It won’t disappoint!

TV Recommendations – May

There have been some epic TV show on over the last few weeks, some of which have restored some of my faith in the BBC programmers! (I have issues with some of their choices over which shows to keep *ahem* New Tricks *ahem* and which shows to cull *ahem* The Hour *ahem*!) Here are some of the best things I’ve seen recently.

TV Recommendations - May

[Thirteen – BBC Three || Inside Obama’s White House – BBC2 ||
Line of Duty – BBC 2 || The A Word – BBC One]

I’d seen adverts for Thirteen on the iPlayer, but as it was on BBC Three, assumed it was for young people! While that may be the main demographic for the channel, this show was really good. It was gripping, weird, disturbing and really well put together. BBC Three is now solely on iPlayer, which means there are loads of box sets on there. Thirteen is one of them, meaning you can binge watch, which is how we watched Thirteen. Good work BBC, good work.

It’s no secret that I’m pretty much in love with Barack Obama. This documentary is a fascinating, and at times, incredibly terrifying glimpse, into the world of American politics. I won’t pretend to fully understand the way British politics work, let alone American politics, but oh my word, it seems bonkers. This shows the highs and lows of Obama’s presidency, as well as the stumbling blocks along the way, most notably the Republican party. As it’s on the iPlayer, it’s only going to be playable for 30 days and I think the first episode has already vanished into the ether (why isn’t it there for longer BBC?!) but it’s bound to reappear somewhere, someday. If it does, watch it, especially in the wake of the fact that Trump might be the Republican nomination. *shudders*

I first came across Line of Duty last year, when Keeley Hawes played Lindsey Denton. I was gripped then and I’ve been gripped watching series 3. What I didn’t realise until later was that the series with Keeley Hawes was series two, meaning I had to also watch series 1 and OH MY GOD am I glad I did! It made so much more sense and made it very clear who The Caddy was. (I didn’t know until I saw it on series one but thought I knew, and I was right!) We caught up on series one on Netflix, where they also currently have series two. So I’m guessing that if you missed it on iPlayer (and the first few episodes have already disappeared), then I’m pretty sure it’ll end up on Netflix too. If you haven’t watched any of them, then boy, you are in for a treat. It’s as good as Happy Valley in my humble TV addicts opinion!

If you haven’t heard about The A Word, then you have a great series ready and waiting for you. About a little boy who receives a diagnosis for Autism, and the reaction of the family, is heartbreaking, enraging, frustrating and hilarious. The soundtrack is awesome, as music is what the little boy, Joe, goes to for comfort. Well worth watching.

I’ve also been watching the new series of The Good Wife, which as much as it pains me to say this, is not great. Obviously I’m staying up to date with Game of Thrones, hoping for something good to finally happen for the remaining Stark children. I’m looking forward to the return of Birmingham’s finest Peaky Blinders too, though am in desperate need of a box set to devour. There’s very little that I haven’t seen (!) but if you’ve got any good recommendations, then please let me know!

TV Recommendations – March 2016

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, unexpectedly so, not leaving me a whole lot of time for doing much of anything, let alone getting my head around blogging. However, I have an uncanny ability to be able to work and watch TV so have been enjoying some fab shows of late and there’s quite a few fab ones returning to TV, which I am very much looking forward to.

TV Recommendations_March{Trapped – BBC4 || Vinyl – Sky Atlantic || Jordskott – ITV Encore/Now TV || Vikings – Amazon Prime}

TV Recommendations March 2016 {The Walking Dead – Now TV || House of Cards – Netflix || The Night Manager – BBC One}

We happened across Trapped one day when we were looking for something, anything, to watch. (We were going through a bit of TV drought!) A crime drama set in Iceland is pretty much ideal TV for me and Trapped doesn’t disappoint. It’s not as slick as The Killing or as deep as The Bridge but it’s still pretty decent TV and it’s growing on me every episode. It’s set in Iceland, during some wicked winter storms, meaning they have to battle the elements while getting to the bottom of a murder. As with everything, there are twists and turns all along the way and with most Scandi dramas, they are dark. Fab stuff.

Vinyl is about the development of the music industry in the early 1970’s and as you might imagine, it is full of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, with a little bit of murder and plenty of drama thrown in for good measure. The main character is played by Bobby Cannavale and pretty much everything he is in is awesome so I knew it would be well worth watching and it is. I’m not quite sure what is coming next, as I don’t think it’s historically accurate plus I have no clue about 70’s music, but it’s really interesting to watch.

I know we’re late coming to the Jordskott party, but the whole series is on ITV Encore on Now TV and while we were waiting for new series to start and old programs to return to TV, we thought we’d give it a go. It’s based in Sweden (yes, another Scandi drama with subtitles) but this is not like other Scandi dramas, we thought it was, but quickly it became like a cross between The Killing and The X-Files. We’re only half way through the series but I’m intrigued to find out what on earth is going on. Well worth watching, especially if you’re short on shows.

Vikings is back and it’s time we found out what Rollo is playing at with the French, whether Floki will be punished for killing Athelstan and what injured Ragnar’s next move is. I really enjoyed the last series and think this one has the potential to be epic. I know that it’s not historically accurate, but who cares! Vikings is full of drama, action, intrigue and mystery. If you haven’t started watching it, then you most definitely should.

The Walking Dead is back for the second half of it’s sixth series and it shows no signs of slowing down. After the action packed mid-season opener which had me on the edge of my seat, hardly taking a breath, there are a few new characters that are sure to mix things up a bit. And by mix, I mean get some of the main characters killed. Who knows which characters are going to the survive the series. I have my fingers crossed for some of my favorites (some I don’t mind losing!) I’m not 100% about this Jesus guy, but then, he may be the one to save them.

So we might* have watched series 4 of House of Cards in one weekend. (*definitely did!) This series see the presidential campaign really starting to pick up speed, and I really think that this series sees a return to form for the Underwoods. There’s plenty of planning, scheming, inappropriate behaviour and lots and lots of soliloquies. I don’t want to say to much as I don’t want to spoil it but OMG! Good to see more of those. My only complaint? Having to wait twelve months until the next installment!

I’m officially nominating Tom Hiddleston for the next Bond film. His performance in The Night Manager is pretty smooth, as is the whole show. It’s like watching a film in one hour weekly installments. I am hoping that with the standard set by War & Peace, followed by The Night Manager will continue a run of excellent drama shown on the BBC. (Lord knows they don’t show much else!) Not only that, it’s got the superb Olivia ‘can-do-no-wrong’ Coleman as well as Tom Hollander playing a pretty epic baddie. If you haven’t seen it yet, hop on to the iPlayer and check it out. You will not be disappointed.

Not only have I been enjoying these, I have also been loving the latest (and possibly final) series of The Good Wife, Happy Valley on BBC, which is one of the best TV police dramas I have ever seen. Sarah Lancashire deserves every acting accolade for her performance in this as far as I’m concerned; Life and Death Row on BBC 3 has also been breathtaking. It’s a documentary series based on convicts on death row and explores how they got there. It’s pretty dark and disturbing, when you realise what humans are capable of, but it does also make you think about the justice system and whether it’s fit for purpose. Well worth a watch if true crime is your thing.