Category: What I’ve been Watching

TV Recommendations – February 2016

Well, goodby January, hello February and welcome back to The Walking Dead – airing in the UK on Now TV on Monday 15th February. Not that I’m looking forward to it or anything *eyes calendar and drums fingers on the desk*.

I have to be honest, there hasn’t been an awful lot on TV this month. There’s usually a break at this time of year in anything coming from America, plus waiting for new things to start on BBC. There’s quite a lot coming back to our screens later in February, but this is what I’ve been watching recently.

February 2016 TV recommendations

{Friday Night Lights – Netflix || Mr Robot – Amazon Prime || War & Peace – BBC || Serial – iTunes}

So I kind of fell in love the Coach and Tami Taylor. I started watching just before I went back to school in the new year. I’ve watched all five seasons. Yep, I binge watched like a pro. It reminds me a little of The Gilmore Girls, in that it’s set in a small town in America and the main characters are lovely. The difference is that it focuses around high school American football, but don’t let that put you off. It seems to solve pretty much every problem the town and its inhabitants have, but it does it in such a heartwarming way, you don’t mind. Everyone seems to have a happy ending and that’s why it’s worth watching.

I’d seen people talking about Mr Robot last year, but then, we didn’t have Amazon Prime. We got for Man in the High Castle (which as awful!) but it meant we could watch Mr Robot. We’ve not finished watching it yet, but so far so good. It outlines all that is wrong with our world, thanks to the technology we use and the big global companies who seem to be in charge of everything. This is not a feel good TV show. Watch Friday Night Lights if you want that. This is an honest look at modern life today and how hackers have the power to flip everything on its head.

Thanks to the slim pickings of TV shows since Christmas, we thought we’d give War & Peace a go. Plus I know I’m never going to read the book so watching this will probably be the next best thing. Don’t ask me any of the characters names! I can’t keep up with that, but I love the houses, the costumes, the backdrop, the drama. I can imagine some of the characters are going to come to a sticky end and that only a few of them will have a happy ever after.

Okay, I know, I know Serial isn’t a TV show, but it’s as a good as any decent TV show I’ve ever seen. For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, it’s a podcast that investigates real crimes. The first season was epic. And I mean, stop what you’re doing and listen kind of epic. The second series has been full of surprises. It deals with an American soldier who walked off duty while in Afghanistan and was then captured by the Taliban and held hostage for five years. As it’s dealing with an ongoing military investigation, the schedule has had to change and it’s now fortnightly instead of weekly as the Serial team deal with all the new information. Who knows where it will end.

TV Recommendations – January 2016

I watch a lot of TV. I have no shame in this. It’s something I enjoy doing, it doesn’t cost very much and for me, it’s a great way to unwind after a busy day. Because of that, I get through a lot of TV, some good, some great, some awful but it passes the time!

One of the things I do enjoy about the winter months is that when it’s dark and miserable outside, you can be cosying up inside without feeling guilty about it. Over the Christmas break, Phil and I planned to do some serious sitting, as like most people, we had such a busy run up to the holidays. Here’s what we got our teeth into:

January 2016 TV recommendations

{Making a Murderer – Netflix || Fargo Series 2 – iTunes || The Bridge Series 3 – BBC4 || Homeland Series 5 – Channel 4}

Making a Murderer popped onto my Netflix ‘Recently Added’ and I didn’t think much about it, but then I started seeing some Twitter and Facebook support for it. I gave it a go on my own, and before long realised that, due to it’s similarities to Serial, in that it’s a true crime documentary, I thought Phil might like it too so we watched it together. I think it’s fair to say that we were gripped by it very quickly. I know that the justice system isn’t perfect in any country, and I’ve seen plenty of CSI and crime dramas to know (or think I know!) certain things you’d need to prosecute someone (thank you, Good Wife!) but this documentary leaves you reeling. There were so many times when I’d say, ‘That’s circumstantial evidence!’ or ‘Where’s the DNA?’ I don’t want to give too much away as it’ll spoil it, but it certainly has you questioning everything you thought you knew about crime and police work.

I really liked the first series of Fargo, in fact, I thought it was better than the film it was based on. I didn’t really hold out much hope for series 3, so much so that we didn’t watch it when it was on Channel 4. We had to buy it from iTunes after we thought we’d give it a go over the holidays. We both loved it! It’s so different to the first series, but charming, funny and dramatic all the same. Plus, you get to say things like ‘aw, jeez’ all the time. Brilliant viewing.

After the way series two of The Bridge ended, I wasn’t really sure what to expect of series three. Personally, I think this was the best series yet. Saga was her usual fascinating self, but there were lots of other twists and turns that showed some of her different sides. The new characters really added to the mix and the main murders that Saga was investigating had me scratching my head. I had no idea who was behind them, gruesome and weird though they were. Don’t be put off by the subtitles. This is really an excellent series.

To be honest, I thought Homeland had had its day. I thought the last series was a bit boring so I only put this on while I was washing up. However, this series was sooooo much better than the last one. It was back to its brilliant, intriguing and fascinating roots. Carrie was back on top form. She no longer works for the CIA but that doesn’t stop her getting embroiled in a new security threat. As the main story in the series reflects modern life in a scarily accurate way, it makes for unmissable viewing. I hope this return to form continues with series 6.

What I’ve Been Watching – September

As Autumn really gets underway, TV series new and old start appearing on our screens. A few gems I’m looking forward to are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story (though lets hope it’s an improvement on last series) and The Fall. While I wait for those, here’s what I watched in September

TV

I haven’t heard anyone talking about this series at all, but I was really interested in watching it. It’s Tom Selleck in it for crying out loud, how back can it be?! Well, not great. At least, not the first series. It’s obvious, a little dry and so incredibly ridiculous, I couldn’t quite believe it. However, we persevered with it and it has got better, though it does very much feel like Tom’s family are single handedly fighting crime in New York! It’s easy on the brain, so if you want something on in the background, this is a good one to go for. I will admit that I never really got into the original UK version of the Office, but this was on Netflix and I had some stuff to do in my study so popped it on for some background noise. Soon enough I was laughing along to it and was completely distracted by the show. I love Steve Carrell. I think the man is a comedic genius, just watch 40 year old virgin and you’ll know what I mean. This show is brilliant. Thank you Netflix for bringing it into my world!
This is another show that I keep seeing advertised on Netflix, you know how it does that ‘You might like this because you watched a tv show once’ thing? This was what they suggested. It’s got Glenn Close in it so how bad can it be? Well, like Blue Bloods, it takes a little warming up and it has a definite formula that gets really old, really fast. Series 3 was the best in my opinion and I wasn’t disappointed to see it ended after series 5. Most TV shows shouldn’t last beyond 5 seasons (The Walking Dead is exempt from this!) It’s an okay series, but not worth staying in for. I very nearly didn’t persevere with this. I thought the first episode was so awful, with terrible over acting and bad fake British accents, that I nearly didn’t carry on. However, my OH wanted to see how it went so we continued on. I’m really glad we did. I really like the unique storyline, and find the idea of human cloning so terrifying but so inevitable that I continue to watch it. Plus the characters have grown on me and I kind of want to see what happens. I’ve only watched the first series, so have a little catching up to do but am very happy to keep going .

Film

I’m not a huge fan of war films, because I hate war, but wanted to see this film as it was a true story. It’s worth while to remember that, because the violence in it is incredibly brutal, but what does unfold is truly amazing and shows that humanity still exists, even when you’ve given up hope. I don’t want to give away what happens, but its worth a watch. I had such high hopes for this film. I loved Michael Pitt in Boardwalk Empire and really wanted this film to be great (especially as the other offerings were not). While it started really well, and was full of action and intrigue, after a while, it just got a bit tedious. So much so, I was looking forward to the end. Fine if there’s absolutely nothing else to watch.
I loved, loved, loved this film. Tilda Swinton can do no wrong in my eyes and both she and Tom Hiddleston are brilliant in this, as age old vampires. It’s an incredibly eccentric and unique film. Watch it immediately! This film was awful and I was so disappointed because I love a good comic book film & I’m a huge fan of Samuel L Jackson. I didn’t care if Captain America lived or died. Marvel needs to do something different or just stop.

What I’ve Been Watching – June, July & August

Blimey. It’s been a while since I wrote a TV roundup. Partly because I kept forgetting and partly because there’s not been a whole lot on the box. Summer is always a slow time on TV, mainly because you’re meant to be out enjoying the sunshine. But I’ve still found a few gems over the last few months.

TV

I completely missed this when it was on (a drawback of watching TV online), but thank goodness for iPlayer! I’m not a massive Sarah Lancashire fan, but she is brilliant in this. The storyline is quite gritty and Lancashire makes for a flawed heroine at times, but it’s well worth a watch if dark dramas are your thing, like they are mine. Ah, Utopia. My OH suggested I watch series one in advance of series two airing on Channel 4. And I’m really glad he did. It’s an epic show, which covers a very  unusual topic. It’s refreshing to watch another great British Drama, something that this summer hasn’t been lacking. Yay!
When I saw this advertised, I knew it would be a great series to watch. I was right. Maggie Gyllenhaal is brilliant, dealing with an always very difficult and very poignant topic of Israel/Palestine. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, there’s a twist and everything is up in the air. If you haven’t been watching – get it on iPlayer. In every TV viewing, some light relief must fall. I was a huge fan of Seinfeld so thought I’d give Veep a go. I wasn’t disappointed. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is hilarious in this. It’s very Arrested Development in my view, which is another great comedy. I’ve only seen the first series, but I can’t wait to watch the second and third. Fab viewing.
I know I’ve mentioned the Good Wife before, but I’ve been rewatching it with my OH from the very beginning. I’d forgotten how great it was. It’s one of the best dramas on TV right now. I pretty much love every character, though Eli Gold is my favourite because he just shouts at people. (I love a good shout!) If you’ve not watched it, it’s worth signing up to Netflix for. This was recommended on Twitter and I’ve been aware of it for a while but not watched it until recently. It’s bloody brilliant! Again, it feels a bit like Arrested Development and I can’t decide who my favourite character is, Ron Swanson or Ted Haverford. It makes me laugh out loud and want a job in the Parks & Recreation department. Watch it!

Film

I love Joaquin Phoenix. I think he’s a great actor. He can play such a wide range of characters. Her is no exception. It’s a brilliantly imaginative film, sadly a rarity in Hollywood these days. Her shows a very scary reality of what our future could be like, should Apple ever really get Siri to work properly. I kind of hope they don’t! Matthew McConaughey can do no wrong at the moment. Everything he touches turns to gold and Dallas Buyers Club is no exception. This is a really moving, scary and insightful look at the Aids epidemic when it first began and the lack of understanding/medicines available. It’s well worth a watch if you haven’t already. There’s no surprise that it did well at the Oscars – well deserved if you ask me.
I saw a load of fuss about this on Twitter, but didn’t really pay it much attention. Then, when we had a dog free day, we decided to go and watch it in the cinema. I love a good comic book film, so was quite content. But it was much better than I thought it would be and I totally understood the hype after watching it. It’s got a much fresher feel than a lot of the other Marvel films & Chris Pratt is great in it. Roll on the sequel. I remember watching the trailer for this a while back and not really getting it. When we decided to watch it on the weekend, we decided that it’s kind of like the Hunger Games (though not as good) and while it does have that post-apocalyptic vibe and a strong female lead, it’s still really good. Like the Hunger Games, it’s Divergent is part of a trilogy and I can’t wait for the next installment.

If you have any recommendations of what to watch, I’d love to know. I realise it’s not long until lots of great TV starts again in the autumn (The Walking Dead, I’m looking at you), but there’s got to be a few gems I’ve missed!