I love this time of year. It’s the perfect excuse to stay in, cuddled up on the sofa, watching TV. Now, I’m going to warn you – I watch a lot of TV. I love it, especially as I can do most of my crafts while watching it, but I am quite selective about what I watch. I’m not a fan of soaps and very rarely watch reality TV. I mainly watch American drama, with a bit of Scandi drama thrown in. One of my favourite things to do is to hunker down with a good box set and my knitting, as I’m a binge-watcher (Binge watching is where you watch a television series for long chunks of time spans Mum.) As I watch so much TV, I thought I might do a monthly roundup of what I’ve been watching, so here’s what I’ve been watching in January.
My OH bought us the box set of Seasons 1-3 for Christmas. I’d heard a bit about before, in that it’s written by the same people guy who wrote The Sopranos (A. Mazing!). So you pretty much know what to expect: complex characters, gritty story lines, lots of alcohol and plenty of twists and turns. Boardwalk Empire doesn’t disappoint. Steve Buscemi, gives an amazing portrayal as Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson. You don’t really want to like him, but it’s hard not too. He’s just as weak and vulnerable as the rest of the characters, such as the abused wife, the WW1 survivors and extremist the Christian/prohibition officer. You feel sorry for all of them, especially when they’re making the wrong choices that will, inevitably, bring about their own demise. It is pretty gritty, there’s quite a bit of gun violence, so if that’s not your thing, avoid. But if you’re after an epic TV show that never disappoints, take a look.
Treme is another series that has been written by a team behind a classic show. If you’ve seen The Wire, then you’ll recognise a few characters and a few similar styles. There are lots of characters throughout, and you follow their stories in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This would be a difficult topic in itself, but Treme also deals with how the authorities dealt with the cleanup after the devastating hurricane. Not well, would be the answer and it also highlights some of other problems facing the poorest in America, such as education and healthcare. Just like The Wire, the soundtrack is worth a mention in itself, not that you’d expect anything else about a TV series set in New Orleans! It’s a great series that really grips you. The characters are incredibly well written. Well worth a watch.
While The Bridge is no Borgen or The Killing (miss these!), it’s a suitable replacement for any fan of Scandi drama. Yes, you have to read subtitles and yes, listening to the Danish/Swedish languages can be quite distracting because of how different they are to English, it is all worth it. Admittedly, I found the start of series 2 quite slow, but once bodies started appearing, the tension was ramped up and I found myself hooked once again. I love the exploration of relationships surrounding the main character, Saga. She is such a great character to watch and the actress who plays her is brilliant. I can’t wait to see what else will come our way from Scandinavia!
I think Matt Damon (queue Team America’s ‘Matt Damon‘ in your head!) is a great actor. I also love a bit of mainstream sci-fi. Therefore, I was bitterly disappointed with this. Damon doesn’t really do much, except walking around, looking moody and generally hacked off with the status quo. Jodie Foster isn’t great either and I don’t think the role suited her. The storyline was okay, but I felt like I’d seen it all before and seen it done better. What a waste of a rental.
I know what you’re thinking. Vin Diesel not driving a fast car? Why would you even bother? Well, I bothered because I though Pitch Black was a pretty decent film. Again, I had high hopes for this film, but as soon as I saw he’d befriended a dog, I knew I wasn’t going to like it. (SPOILER: Things don’t go well for the dog. *gulps*). It wasn’t just that, it was all a bit repetitive. I feel like TV shows are awesome. They’ve really raised the bar on what the audience expects, but that films have yet to catch up. That’s not to say great films aren’t being made, it’s just that they’re few and far between. Riddick is not one of them. Boring, repetitive, obvious. It started well, but it wasn’t long before I was back on my phone, checking out what everyone else was doing. Avoid.
Another film, another disappointment. I didn’t think I could go wrong with this one. Denzel & Mark Wahlberg together in an action film. Again, it all felt a bit repetitive. Like these two actors had played similar roles before, a lot. And it was boring. They said witty thigns when you expected them to say witty things. There were twists where you expected twists. Yawn. If you have to watch it, make sure you’ve got something else to do while it’s on or you’ll doze off.
Horror has been my favourite genre for a long time. No gore films like Saw, but spooky, scary horror that messes with your mind a little bit. Insidious 2 does this. I thought Insidious was better, as is often the case with sequels, but it managed to make me jump a few times and there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming, which is nice! If you enjoyed Insidious, this is well worth your time. You could probably watch it even if you haven’t, just remember the Dad wasn’t always like that.
Behind the Candelabra
I watched this without really knowing anything about Liberace. Oh. My. Word. His extravagance puts modern artists to shame! Michael Douglas is brilliant in it, as is Matt Damon (Yay!). The whole story is just amazing, ridiculous and hilarious. They make a great couple. My favourite bit, though is Rob Lowe as the plastic surgeon with his plastic face. That really cracked me up! This is a great film to watch on Saturday afternoon. A real must see.
As you would expect, I’ve also been watching The Walking Dead, as I got series 3 for Christmas. I’m pretty much rewatching that and The Gilmore Girls all the time. They remain my favourite TV shows of all time! What you have been watching this month? Have you had better luck in the film department?
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