SAS: Rogue Heroes – season 1

Very entertaining. Rotten Tomatoes 100%.

An over the top war story — with modern rock soundtrack.

… a  British television historical drama series which depicts the origins of the British Army Special Air Service (SAS) during the Western Desert Campaign of World War II.

The storyline is a broadly accurate representation of real events, as described by Ben Macintyre in his book of the same name. …

SAS: Rogue Heroes was the sixth most-watched UK drama series of 2022, and the fourth most popular of the year on the BBC.

It’s been renewed for another year.

The cast is great — though by far the most compelling role is Jack O’Connell as Paddy Mayne.

In the TV adaptation he’s an Irish poet / philosopher / drunk brawler.

In real life, his family says he was “a very caring, loving man”.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom is the first book in the Saxon Stories, a historical novel series written by Bernard Cornwell about the birth of England in the ninth and tenth centuries. …

The first book is excellent — but I doubt I’ll continue as I don’t like the gore and ultra violence.

The books have been adapted to a successful TV series, also called The Last Kingdom.

It reminds me of the TV series Vikings — which I quit due to excessive violence.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

His Dark Materials – 3 seasons

Somehow I managed to get through most of 3 seasons of His Dark Materials.

It really isn’t very good.

The books are much better – His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass)

And the big budget 2007 film is better – The Golden Compass. GREAT cast.

My favourite character on the TV adaptation might be Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter. That’s a tough role when you know you’ll be compared with Nicole Kidman who’s perfect in the film version.

The show follows the orphan Lyra, played by Dafne Keen, as she searches for a missing friend and discovers a kidnapping plot related to an invisible cosmic substance called Dust.

Ultimately, I didn’t care much about the plot. The prophecy. The Magisterium. Nor many of the characters. Dust. Angels. I really didn’t care about anything in this show.

Most interesting are the animal companions called daemons.

And there are some interesting special effects and speculative fiction touches.

Read the books. Watch the movie. Skip the TV series.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Little America – seasons 1&2

What a great idea. Short vignettes of the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring and unexpected lives of immigrants in America. Based on true stories.

In an era where ReTrumplican Americans are against immigrants, this show is timely.

In fact, filming of episode 8 had to be moved to Canada when Trump placed a 90-day restriction on entry to the U.S. by nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Shaun Toub as Faraz was maybe my favourite character in the season one 8 different episodes.

Little America is a series produced for Apple TV+.

Season 1 launched January, 2020. Season 2 December 2022.

Rotten Tomatoes 95%.

I found season 2 not as compelling, though still worth watching.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Benedict Cumberbatch IS Sherlock Holmes

I rarely go back and rewatch TV or movies.

But the 2010 to 2017 modern-day London adaptation of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson has stayed on my mind.

It was the first major television series I can recall that used YouTube editing techniques to tell the story.

It’s even more impressive considering how poor the digital video software was over those years. They used Avid Media Composer.

Today the most popular software packages are:

Fast paced, irreverent, funny. Cumberbatch is perfect as the brilliant high functioning sociopath.

Amanda Abbington, Freeman’s then-real life partner, plays Mary Morstan, Watson’s girlfriend and eventual wife. A nice touch. They have 2 children together.

First time around I was a bit disappointed in his archenemy Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) — but that weird performance seemed better to me on second watching.

Of course everyone would love to see more episodes, but it seems unlikely.

For one thing, the season 4 was good, but inferior to all the preceding episodes.

Here’s a montage on Vimeo of some of the video editing techniques.

Somebody Somewhere – season 1

Somebody Somewhere is funny.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds a 100% approval rating.

It’s charmingly real-to-life. The cast does not look Hollywood.

I’d never heard of comedian Bridget Everett before seeing this show, based on her life in hometown ManhattanKansas.

… The ReTrumplicans of Kansas must hate this series. 😀

You think you’re Pinterest. But you’re actually Hobby Lobby.

Bridget worked in the restaurant business for 25 years before finally able to quit around the beginning of 2015.

Amy Schumer brought Bridget on to tours as an opening comedy act.

Drag King Murray Hill as Fred Rococo is entertaining.

But easily my favourite character is Jeff Hiller as Joel, Sam’s co-worker and friend. He was cast instantly. Perfect.

Somebody Somewhere has been renewed.

Click PLAY or watch an insight into the show on YouTube.

Slow Horses – season 2

I really enjoyed season 1 of Slow Horses. 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, the head of Slough House, is one of the most interesting characters on TV.

Slough House is an administrative purgatory for MI5 service rejects who have bungled their job but somehow have not been outright fired.

Those consigned there are known as “Slow Horses”.

Season 2 of Slow Horses – Dead Lions is very good, as well. Rotten Tomatoes reports a 100% approval rating.

Though the outrageousness of Jackson Lamb begins to wear off — the plot of season 2 is complex and entertaining. Surprising twists.

This show is a hit. I’ll be watching seasons 3 & 4 as they are released over the next two years.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Three Pines – season 1

It’s very good. One of my favourite TV series of 2022.

Of course there are many things that fans of the books will criticize, especially the cast.

Too few francophones for a village in Quebec.

Most miscast was Tamara Brown as Myrna Landers.  Myrna should be bigger, happier, and older. 

Initially, I was disappointed in British-American actor Alfred Molina as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Too anglo. And he doesn’t look how I picture Gamache — BUT I was wrong.

Molina really does convey the unique philosophical approach to solving murders that we read in the books. Warmth and gravitas.

As many agree, Sarah Booth as Yvette Nichol is BETTER on screen than the character in the books. Comic relief.

Yes this TV series has absurd, ridiculous plot lines. There are no grizzly bears in Quebec — but that’s my main complaint with the books, as well. The book plots are absurd. The show consistent with that.

If you are generous, you could say there are traces of magic realism.

Of the many insights I’ve seen into the horrors of the Canadian Indian residential school crimes, this was the one that moved me most.

Of 150,000 children placed in those by the Canadian government over 100 years, estimates range from 3200 to over 30,000 who died there.

Many more lived having been abused. During a penitential pilgrimage to Canada in July 2022, Pope Francis reiterated the apologies of the Catholic Church who administered many of them, including the fictional one in Three Pines, Quebec.

First Nations Canadians are still suffering from that evil legacy. And that’s spelled out in this show.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Capture – season 2

The Capture is a British mystery crime-drama staring Holliday Grainger.

Perhaps my favourite TV series of 2022.

The ending is superb, something rare to see in television.

Holliday played Robin Ellacott in Strikeanother excellent recent British TV series.

If you are worried about deep fake video, this show will terrify. The hackers seem to be able to change whatever they like, whenever they like.

Paapa Essiedu is excellent as Isaac Turner.

Ron Perlman is superb too.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.