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Rules of the Game (2022)
A dull series, wasted potential.
New Human Resources Officer Maya joins Fly, and instantly learns of a toxic work environment, she's faced with a choice, to accept the status quo, or try and change things.
I liked the premise, and thought that there was a pretty good story here, sadly it got lost among the noise.
We are given something of a mystery initially, why is Sam being interviewed, and who was on the other side. It takes the four episodes to uncover the plot, and learn exactly what's happening.
To start with, some elements of the show are good, some are terrible, why in 2022 are we still getting shows where every single male is toxic? Look for a positive male character, and you will find, an adulterer, a wife beater, a cheat and one that's porn crazed, it's a little unbalanced let's say.
The acting is great however, and the production is the usual great quality. Maxine Peake is the standout as Sam, but she is wasted here, compare with her performance in Anne, where she really shows what she can do.
It could have been done over two one hour parts, three at most, episode three is a real drag.
Wasted potential, this could and should have been excellent, it's average at best, 5/10.
Archive 81 (2022)
A very good series, one which crosses many genres.
Archive 81 is the most watchable series I have come across for some time. It manages to combine so many genres into 8 very different, but very entertaining episodes.
We are given sci fi, horror, thriller and surreal elements, no two episodes are alike, it really is the most incredibly varied show.
For me, this peaks in the middle, where they really deliver several scares, in the last few parts it takes you on a somewhat different journey.
Very nicely acted, with two very strong leads, it's very well presented, with some nice special effects. Part 7 in particular looks great.
You could easily lose interest part way through episode 1, but stick with it, it takes a little time to open up, by episode 3 you'll be binge watching it.
It seems likely we'll be getting a second series.
Overall, a very good watch, 8/10.
Archive 81: What Lies Beneath (2022)
A solid conclusion, perhaps not the ending I'd hoped for.
Dan makes the Decision to travel to the other world, and try to rescue Melody.
Overall, I have loved this series, this concluding episode though, didn't feel very satisfying. This excellent series deserved something a little bit better.
Not a lot is explained, so many things are left in mod air, this felt more like a prequel to a second series, which seems a certainty.
Unfortunately the horror vibe has fizzled out for the most part, and we're given something that's just a little weird, perhaps a bit surreal. It very nearly works.
On the plus side, we get one or two good revelations, we get to learn a little bit about where Melody is, and finally we get the meeting we've been waiting for. Top notch acting and visuals once again.
Maybe it'll be better on a second viewing, but compared to the rest of the series, this was off the pace, 6/10.
Archive 81: The Ferryman (2022)
The origins of the original Snuff movie come to light, Dan learns a little more about Melody.
I think this is going to be the first polarising episode of this series, people are either going to love this one, or really dislike it. It really does represent a massive switch, not just in its appearance, it feels very different too.
Personally, I really did enjoy it, the present day story moved up a notch, and we got a few answers. However it was the trip to the past that I most enjoyed, visually stunning, the costumes, the sets, it looked fabulous, I really liked that whole 1920's vibe.
They still managed to pack in a few scares, and one rather horrific moment.
Georgina Haig was terrific as Iris Vos, her British accent was spot on.
Loved it, 8/10.
Rules of the Game: Episode #1.3 (2022)
A real let down.
Sam does a little digging of her own, Maya is forced to battle some demons from the past.
Right, I'm not normally someone that points out matters like this, but every single male character here is toxic, a cheat, an adulterer and a wife beater, even the young one is a creep. I wish they wouldn't do it, it's lazy writing.
The weakest episode of the series so far, not a great deal actually happens here, it is very drawn out, and quite slow.
We still don't know why San is being interviewed by The Police, hopefully all will be revealed in the final part.
This episode could quite literally have been skipped,
Archive 81: The Circle (2022)
Evil spreads, just like mould.
Dan discovers the fate of his predecessor, Melody learns more hidden secrets at the Visser.
Mould has never been so sinister.
Well once again, I find myself totally wrong footed with my expectations, I expected it to go in a certain direction, I wasn't expecting this narrative.
It's still so incredibly good, I thought the scenes where Dan learned the fate of his predecessor was brilliant, it grew and grew, it became chilling.
Super slick, beautifully produced and acted once again,I actually found this a little easier to follow than the previous episode.
I have zero clue how this will play out, hooked, 8/10.
Surreal, but so watchable.
Annabelle discovers a hidden talent, her talents set off a bizarre chain of events.
Dan asks what the *bleep* is going on, and that's the question I have, if I'm totally honest, I didn't have a clue what was going on here for the most part, it was surreal, it was trippy, it delivered the unexpected constantly, I wouldn't even know how to explain events, despite that I was totally entertained.
I am gripped, I'm immersed, even if I don't fully know what's going on, what I thought was a linear story of cause and effect, is anything but, you are made to question which of the main protagonists is the story's main focus.
I have no idea what to expect next, this was excellent, 8/10.
Archive 81: Spirit Receivers (2022)
Dan is struggling with reality, Melody continues to look for her mother.
I'm not sure about you, but here I definitely got a few vibes of AHS, plenty of horror, but it wasn't daft, it wasn't overdone, nor was it needlessly gruesome, it was just chilling, the seance scene, one of the best things I've seen in ages.
All I thought was going on here, has been turned on its head, I'm not quite at the stage where I don't know what's going on, but clearly all is not what it seemed.
Definitely getting darker, and going further off the beaten track, this was deliciously dark and thought provoking.
The focus seems to switch from Dan to Melody, it makes it all the more interesting, Dina Shihabi was awesome here.
Rules of the Game: Episode #1.2 (2022)
There is a good story somewhere here.
Maya continues to dig into the history at Fly, turning up the heat on the powers that be, particularly Sam.
I think I enjoyed this second part a little more than the first, that was decent, but hard to follow, here you get a bit more of an idea of what it's about.
It was somewhat preachy, and I think that may in part explain the somewhat low score, you will hear how the culture used to be different several years ago, many many times over, it gets a little bit repetitive after a while. Maya perhaps being portrayed as a shining example, when in reality she's the most irritating character of 2022.
There is a good story somewhere in this, and I think it's about abuse of power, but it is getting lost somewhat in squabbles and melodrama, I still have hopes for it.
The Audrey scene was definitely a bit random it's fair to say.
Maxine Peake was great once again, but the credit goes to Zoe Tapper, who was great.
A mixed bag, decent overall. 6/10.
A classic episode, this was terrific.
Painful wounds are opened up in Kembleford, when a convicted killer strolls back into the village.
This episode, I thought, was outstanding, for me this was the best of the series so far. The trend for a more serious story continues, don't expect Father Brown to be popping up over hedges, or characters dressed up in funny clothes, this is almost a straight laced murder mystery.
The laughs come from Mrs McCarthy and Inspector Mallory, the duo work so well, with Mallory perhaps filling the role of Lady Felicia.
The mystery was engaging, and the outcome came as a big surprise, what was done, was done very well. The ending was very moving.
I would regard this, as one of the show's best, 10/10.
Archive 81: Terror in the Aisles (2022)
The high standard continues.
Dan and Melody's world's seem to collide, the pair are linked more closely than was first thought.
This is proving to be a bit of a classic, I keep expecting there to be a little bit of a dip in quality, but that certainly didn't happen here, this third part was equally as good.
The story is so engaging, it's so deep, but I'm not finding it hard to follow, it's done in such a way that keeps you entertained and informed.
That cliffhanger, I jumped out of my skin, that was a brilliant, chilling scene.
Loved it, 8/10.
Archive 81: Mystery Signals (2022)
An intriguing start.
Well that was different.
I got about ten minutes in, and wanted to switch off, as it was a rather slow start, however after about twenty minutes I was into it, half an hour and I was hooked.
Part one is a slow burner, but is ultimately rewarding, it sets the scene, introduces the characters, gives a few scares, and even explains in part why Dan is part of events.
It's very atmospheric, it's a measured pace, but the story is really intriguing. I get an almost 80's vibe to the story, if this had been a remake, I wouldn't have been surprised, that's a good thing.
So impressed by Mamoudou Athie, how good was that guy!
I'm interested to see how this plays out over eight episodes.
Daddy's off to join The Legion.
Hyacinth is all set to visit an art exhibition, but her plans are scuppered when Daddy decides to go off and join The French Foreign Legion.
It isn't a favourite, but it is a funny episode with several funny moments. Hyacinth in her hat, Daddy wandering around, there are definitely some funny moments throughout.
I loved the idea of Daddy wandering off to join The Legion, bless him. It's probably the most he appeared in an episode. A pity we didn't see where daddy actually went.
It's a terrible thing to lose one's daddy just before a wine and cheese. That's one of the show's best ever lines.
Hyacinth believes it's time for Richard to have a hobby, she thinks that film making would be a good one for him, and her social climbing.
It's a riot, it's funny from start to finish, all of the usual elements are there, but turbocharged. Elizabeth is again made to come face to face with Hyacinth's Royal Doulton handpainted periwinkles, that scene is a scream, as is the one where Onslow and Rose appear.
Anyone wanting to know, Hyacinth's beautiful lady was made by Coalport, and was called Bridget.
Councillor Mrs Nugent always made a splash when she appeared, and Charmian May is hilarious in this one, who could forget her dressed up in the gear.
Richard was lucky not to have been locked up for prowling around with that video camera.
Very funny, 8/10.
Rules of the Game: Episode #1.1 (2022)
A slightly dull beginning.
Personnel Manager Maya joins a new, family run firm, she has a can do attitude and wants to change the culture at Fly, but she's arrived at a troubled time.
It is an ok first episode, on the plus side it is beautifully made, it's slick, sharp and looks fantastic, the music, the acting is generally very good, especially Maxine Peake.
Maxine Peake is clearly on demand, this went out at the same time as Anne, that showed just what she can do, this didn't allow those heights, but she was still very good.
On the downside, the story was very hard to follow, the strands seem all over the place, some pieces of the jigsaw were kept from us, and that was frustrating. Maya is so far the most irritating character of 2022, you can imagine she'd be a bundle of fun with health and safety.
Audrey the cat, now that's creepy.
Right now I don't know what I'm watching, is it a crime drama, or a show about workplace culture. I'm hoping it gets a bit more exciting.
Dawson's Weekly (1975)
A funny, short lived comedy.
A seven part comedy series, with Les playing Les, an actor down on his luck, and low in mood.
Why on Earth did this only last for one series, I've looked into it, and it seemed to perform well when it was released, Les was definitely incredibly popular.
The quality of episode does vary a little, I found the episode with the pools coupons a little hard to follow, the one on the train, the one in the hospital were both great.
Les is wonderful throughout, I may say that with a little bias, as for me he was a true legend, a comedy genius, he's joined by some great guests, Sharon Duce was great, but it's Roy Barraclough as always that shines through, him and Dawson were comedy gold.
I am definitely reminded of Hancock's half hour, it's the same format, one or two episodes share a lot in common.
I enjoyed it very much, 8/10.
The notorious case of Aileen Wuornos, good episode.
Several men are found dead, Florida, 1990, the Police send someone undercover.
It's a very punchy documentary, it moves on at a quick pace, and gives you a lot of information, without being drawn out, Netflix is sometimes guilty of dragging things out.
It does baffle me that there haven't been more big budget documentaries made about Aileen Wuornos, she's a pretty notorious serial killer. The story could well have been written for a crime drama, it's chilling.
There are some absolutely wonderful accents on display here.
The twist, or revelation comes as a surprise, she was one real monster.
A really interesting series.
How on Earth can one man have such an influence over people, and how can people allow themselves to be taken over by someone, this revealing three part series explores the concepts.
Perhaps a little guilty of being over long, but there is a fascinating, but very sad story here. Part one is a little drawn out, but stick with it, as the other two installments are very satisfying.
Yes it's focused on one man's crimes, but it's so much more than that, it's a real exploration of human nature, the good and bad sides.
One thing you'll come away with, is a certainty that monsters aren't just in fairy stories, they are real, and two of them are explored in this series.
Well produced, well made, it's definitely a crime that'll have you bemused at how he got away with it for so long. Heaven knows what is brewing next for some poor unfortunate. I'd love to know what it was that they saw in him.
It's sad, surprising, entertaining, well worth your time, 8/10.
The most revealing and moving of the three episodes.
The Police set a trap, but require some civilian help to snare the fraudster.
Perhaps the best episode of the trio, we get more revelations, and more revealing interviews.
I thought that scene where the two parties met was perhaps the most powerful in the series, very moving, all of that emotion, and heaven knows what other feelings came out.
It's almost sickening to think that the two of them are still together, how on Earth a mother could put a creep and fraudster ahead of her beautiful family just amazes me.
That last revelation about the house, had me speechless.
Worth watching, you really do get to see two sides of a coin, you see the absolute worst of humanity, and with the two wonderful kids, you see the absolute best, good luck to them.
A really interesting watch.
It becomes apparent that The Puppet Master had an earlier victim, as her father recounts a powerful, and shocking insight into matters.
I'll say it again, how on Earth did one man manage to exert such a degree of control over everyone, it really does get you thinking and wondering.
Some of the interviews are quite intense, definitely emotional, I'm not sure about you, but I was left wondering if there was a relationship between father and daughter now, it wasn't explained.
His boss seemed to hit the nail on the head, describing both his appearance, and more so his personality, is that how he did what he did?
A good start, if a little confusing.
A man exerts an extreme level of control over a family, could he be the same person that convinced his college peers that he was an MI5 agent?
It's definitely one that needs your concentration, it's very well made, it's a fascinating, if cruel story. I found bits of it a little hard to follow, you are moved into various directions, my advice would be to stick with it, as it does tie up eventually.
It's amazing to learn how controlling and manipulative someone can be, it baffles me how someone can exert so much pressure on a seemingly tight family.
Right now, I'm a little unsure how they will stretch this story over several episodes, time will tell.
A good start, 7/10.
An episode of fun and farce.
Les takes up a bizarre job, babysitting for a Vicar and his wife.
This was bonkers, and very different to other episodes in the series, it played out almost like a French farce, very much of its time, somewhat cringe worthy humour, but it's made watchable by the sheer brilliance of Les Dawson. The great man was very funny here, you see just how charismatic and funny he was. You do wonder how he's gone from acting on the stage, to looking after Vicar's children.
I thought I had seen this before, but now I remember it was an episode of Hancock's Half Hour, a very similar plot. Definitely a little crazy. I loved the scene where the old ladies arrive, Patsy Smart was so funny.
John Bird is great here as The Vicar, so funny. Anne Beach and Sharon Duce clearly enjoyed themselves.
Death in Paradise: Episode #11.3 (2022)
A fantastic episode.
A skydiver is killed in bizarre circumstances, and DS Cassell has a big decision to make.
There has definitely been a switch up, the tone is altogether different, no silliness here at all, this was quite series, but excellent, for me this was the best episode of the series so far. The mystery itself was a cracker, but all of the strands were interesting.
The idea of Buddy Base was a good one, it seems an eternity since we last had a new social media platform, the main ones have dominated for so long.
Josephine Jobert has been hard to avoid in recent times, she's been everywhere, and for good reason, there seems an almost inevitability about her moving on. I thought the scenes between Florence and The Commissioner were wonderful, great that the show has a rich history to draw on. I like that there's a stoeh arc running through.
Nice to see William Gaminara, such a good actor. Ben Starr was excellent also.
I can't help but feel that the writer was having a bit of a pop at Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of the new platform was definitely a bit strange.
Some real depth here, this was a cracker, 9/10.
The one with the brochures.
Delia Wheelwright rubs Hyacinth up the wrong way, by bragging of her impending Caribbean holiday, Hyacinth, not to be outdone, drags Richard to The Travel Agents.
It's very funny, it's always wonderful to see Hyacinth at the peak of her snobbery, and here she is. Watching her revel in showing off is an absolute joy, Routledge in her element.
So many funny scenes, but it's when she says 'brochures,' that you can't help but laugh out.
Classic comedy, 8/10.
2point4 Children: Fame (1999)
Bill is unhappy when she learns that the family are plotting, planning on becoming reality TV stars in a fly on the wall documentary series.
1999, I suppose reality TV was somewhat established, still popular, and still gathering steam, it seemed as though everyone wanted to be in on the act, even The Porters.
It's a funny watch, and a good start to the new series, the swimming pool scene was very funny. I liked the sitcom family, they really were ghastly. The final twist was brilliant.
I'm not sure about those new opening credits, short, but not very sweet.
Why does Belinda Laing look younger here than in earlier series.