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Babylon Berlin (2017)
At LEAST a nine.
I've just looked at the previous reviews and noted that one gave this a 1, another (less ridiculous) gave a 3. Unbelievable!
I must admit that I've only seen two episodes so far. The first was very good and the second, excellent. Thank God for a great, thrilling series set in a time that's totally different from the norm. Deutschland 83 was good, but this is superb.
The only top-class TV thrillers that the UK has produced in recent years is Line of Duty and the present McMafia (that recent Le Carre series with Tom Hiddleston was ridiculous and over-rated). The USA, of course, has been plowing them out, and I can't wait for the 4th series of Better Call Saul. In the meantime I'm going to wallow in the next 14 episodes of cracking Kraut TV.
I stopped reading comics when I was about 13 (which is quite a while ago), and I have never heard of the one that bred this character. Also, I normally hate this genre as well as any others re super-heroes, vampires and the devil etc: I find them downright silly. However, I've stuck through the first two episodes and have surprised myself.
After almost giving up after the first ten minutes I battled on regardless and found Lucifer to be pretty good entertainment. Mind you, if it wasn't for Tom Ellis I think it would sink. Like a lot of American TV now it is well made and acted, and with high production values - where do they get the money from?
Even though I'm British I can't recollect seeing Ellis in anything else. But he's good with lots of charisma, and perfect for this part.
Black Sails (2014)
What a load of pretentious nonsense this is. I was so looking forward to watching this before I subscribed to Amazon Prime, especially as the concept looked inviting, but it just goes to show that IMDb's ratings can sometimes be so wrong.
Some of the acting is laughable: the Charles Vane character is right over the top. And "Long" John Silver doesn't look too long to me. Billy Bones looks like he's been in the gym too long, and the women all look like models from Playboy. And can Anne Bonney stop trying to look enigmatic all the time with that silly hat on?! At least Calico Jack seems real.
The drama isn't credibly dramatic at all, and apart from a few London accents there aren't any Cornish/Devonshire etc accents at all: too many of these pirates sound like BBC newsreaders. It's obvious that a load of money has been thrown into this, however it would have been money well spent if they had hired some decent script writers rather than trying to make early 18th C Nassau look like Benidorm. Definitely for the American market.
The Night Manager (2016)
The book wasn't one of Le Carre's best: It has never stuck in my memory like Tinker Tailor etc, or Smiley's People, and this TV series had far too many weaknesses in it. Far fetched re Tom Hiddleston's character for one. He goes from a fairly ordinary ex soldier to hotel manager to super hero who can easily murder. And Hiddleston wasn't very good in the part either.
Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander are ALWAYS good, but Hugh Laurie has surprised most people I imagine, especially us Brits who usually remember him as a clown in Blackadder, and Jeeves and Wooster. The Yanks probably think of him as Dr House, so they are used to him in a more dramatic role.
As someone who has read all Le Carre's books I am surprised that John is pleased with this adaptation: it's over the top compared to his subtle writing. However it had high production values and should give younger viewers the incentive to read Le Carre's books. If anyone wants to learn what goes on in the murky world of espionage they won't find anything better.
The Last Kingdom (2015)
I give it 2 for the clothing, dirt and grime: nothing for the story. How this series is currently rated at 8.5 bewilders me.
As I love history and live where the Vikings landed (north east England) I got fairly excited about the concept - we have surely had enough of The Tudors. I haven't read the books, but I'm sure that Bernard Cornwall can't be jumping for joy over this garbage.
There are loads of historical episodes that would make good television stories and the 9th century is one of them.
What amazes me about the favourable reviews is that they seem to come from the British: Americans and Germans, etc, seem to know better.
A great chance wasted.
Foyle's War: The Eternity Ring (2013)
Foyle's War Progression
I thought that the wartime episodes could be a bit boring: series 8 has more appeal for me because it has entered Le Carre territory.
The 3 episodes were not enough, making me ache for next year's 3. There are now lots of chances for the writer to expand. The Cold War lasted longer and was more intriguing than WWII.
John Mahoney is a welcome addition to the cast for series 9 - an underrated actor if ever there was one.
Michael Kitchen has always been a great character actor but I wish he would stop that twitching of his left cheek: it's almost as irritating as Roger Moore's eyebrow.
OK, we all know that Downton Abbey can't be taken too seriously, but this latest series is beyond a joke. I've watched all the series' and Xmas specials, and they are light, pleasant, harmless viewing. The scripts have previously been quite good or (only just) bearable, and sometimes - especially in Maggie Smith's case - witty. However, it is now obvious that it is all going pear-shaped. Julian Fellowes has clearly run out of ideas, and possibly has his mind set on future projects. At one time it was possible to care about the characters, but having watched the first 2 episodes of this latest series, I'm giving up: it has become staid.
Private's Progress (1956)
This film is very underrated and rarely shown on TV.
The premise is simple, and there's nothing wrong with that, especially when it's so funny. Everything about it is as British as fish and chips, so Americans may not appreciate it as much as us, Australians and Kiwis, etc.
The direction, editing, script and acting are spot on. The Boulting Brothers followed this one up with "I'm All Right Jack.", using nearly the entire same cast (playing the same characters), plus Peter Sellers, which was a master stroke. I reckon this is just as good as IARJ. There isn't a dull moment, and it's worth seeing for Terry Thomas and Dennis Price alone. No one says Terry's lines like him, and no one does wily like Price.
What a shower!
The Fall (2013)
Great but daft.
Very well acted by the two leads, and yes, Gillian is hot.
It's nice to see a drama set in Belfast for a change, and I suppose the 2nd series will be in a Scottish city. I hope it isn't Edinburgh because, although I love that city there needs to be a change from the usual British sites (London, in particular).
Ms Anderson has shown great form on UK dramas: she was terrific in Bleak House. I cannot understand some of the criticism over her British accent. It's not at all false, and she has spent half of her life here, including her childhood.
There were glaring faults in the plot. How the killer could be so careful on one hand and then utterly amateurish on the other beats me. And the ending was ridiculous. Still, I'm hoping they will take note and make the next series more believable.
A Field in England (2013)
Totally agree with the reviewer. I was looking forward to this, especially as it is set in the 1640's/Civil War period. The 10 line minimum for reviews is making me struggle, so I'll try and battle on.. It's not that it's hard to understand, what with the magic mushrooms concept.
The story was right for the stage, where the arty brigade could justify it with some intellectual nonsense. I can just see them sloping off home to a bottle of claret and pseudo conversation. When it's seen as it is - self-indulgent, they may come to their senses.
It must have cost about a fiver to make. I stuck with it manfully for 50 minutes before hitting the off button. Boring crap!
Bleak House (2005)
Justice to Dickens
Utterly brilliant, with a cast as good as the 1994 one in Martin Chuzzelwit - and that's saying something.
The BBC used to fail Dickens badly, but they have upped their game over the past 20 years. It just goes to show, if you pick the right cast and a decent (you don't need a great one with C.D.'s books) script writer, you cannot fail.
Anna M.M. is one of the best actors on the planet - as she has shown many times since Bleak House. But the revelation here was Gillian Anderson. She was perfect. One thing about the "real" Bleak House (in Dickens imagination): it's obviously the terraced house at Lincoln's Inn Field, rather than the one called as such, at Broadstairs.