Category Archives: Drama

War and Peace: Pass the Ferrero Rocher

by Maggie Gordon-Walker

war and peaceHaving never had one of those debilitating, but not too painful, illnesses that confine you to your bed for a couple of weeks, there hasn’t been time to read the epic that is ‘War and Peace.’ Now perhaps there’s no need, having this jolly romp to keep me going. Everything looks gorgeous, the people, the houses, the countryside.

The first scene is a grand party, with beautiful creatures flitting to and fro. I can’t help a momentary snigger when they address each other in names that take half a minute to say, Alex PopDownToTheShopsonov, that sort of thing. Into this veritable Eden lurches an outsider. You can tell he is, because he’s wearing ordinary clothes, rather than looking as if he’s wrapped himself in ornamental brocade curtains like everybody else. Also, GASP, he doesn’t regard Napoleon as the devil incarnate. He bowls about, gesticulating madly, while the ladies titter in the background.  Continue reading

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Joy of Sets: Leverage

The official marketing line for Leverage is “Hustle meets the A-Team”. Trading Standards would not argue with this description. It is a fine place to start. But it’s a bit like calling Buckingham Palace an oversized council house, or George Osborne a bit of a knob. You’re hitting a truth, but missing out on a wealth of detail. Now I know I’m late to the Leverage party, but regular readers will be aware that when I fall for a show, I fall hard, and at least this way I can skip all that tedious waiting for the next episode/season stuff. Let me share what I’ve learned and loved in watching 77 episodes in just over a month… Continue reading

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Humans: More human than human

humans 1(Ep.1) I loved the first episode of Humans. I was almost certain to, given the subject matter – I’m a geek at heart and I’ve always been fascinated by the debate about at what point artificial intelligence has to be recognised as a life form and given “human” rights. Maybe that’s why I’ve seen Blade Runner over 30 times.

The shadow of Blade Runner looms large over Humans, but that’s never a bad thing as long as it’s done well, and it is here (even the trailers for this were genius). The basic idea of Humans – as soon as artificial intelligence acquires/is given feelings and memories it’s no longer a machine but a life form  – is very much Blade Runner, but the setting is here-ish and now-ish.  Continue reading

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Lustbox: Robin Ellis

A tale of tin mining, lust and pasties

Poldark. A tale of tin mines, lust & pasties

Sue recently reminded us that she’d had her eye on Aidan Turner long before he started a trend for topless scything in the new series of Poldark. I’m enjoying watching it, and Aidan Turner is undoubtedly very pretty, but I’ve long had a soft spot for the original (and the best, certainly in terms of scar make-up) Robin Ellis.  Continue reading

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The Joy of Sets: Stella

ruth jones stella(Guest post by Grace C)

I recently made a trip to London to visit a childhood friend of mine. With both of us having moved on to concrete pastures away from our green-belted Scottish haven, it was inevitable that we would end up with a bottle of wine reminiscing long into the night. It’s fair to say that one of the most common causes of our laugher were discussions around the particular oddball characters or town quirks that formed the backdrop of our youth. Like a homemade patchwork quilt, we all have our distinctive squares coloured by different accents, houses or backgrounds, but the feel of it is the same. It provides a familiar comfort, even if at times it can be a little itchy or smothering.

Relating to the nostalgic intimacy of a tight-knit, eccentric community isn’t what drew me to Stella (it was the presence of the talented Ben Glover on the soundtrack that did that), but it is a main part of what got me hooked. It wasn’t a shock that such a vivid and relatable character-led comedy drama would come from Ruth Jones; the whirlwind success of Gavin and Stacey proved she is Queen of the small-town caricature, but there is something about the extra grit and emotion alongside this that gives Stella its own identity. Before the end of the first episode you already feel an attachment to the characters, both those who are there purely as eclectic village furniture and also those who fulfil the more dimensional roles.  Continue reading

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Critical: Where’s Lorraine?

critical claire skinner(Series 1, ep.1) Critical is Sky 1’s new super-realistic medical drama. “It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen,” according to the Sky website.

I’ve just watched the first episode, and so far it’s like a few things I’ve seen, and most of them sci fi rather than medical drama. Critical is set in a “state of the art” trauma unit, which is all sparkly white (with pale blue hints) so the blood shows up that much better. There’s masses of space, with a massive resus room that manages to house about thirty people, most of them standing round counting. It looks more like the medical facility on board Prometheus than the average A&E.  Continue reading

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Joy of Sets: Friday Night Lights

Posted by Grace C

FNL2Friday Night Lights had been on my TV radar for a while; friends in America had raved about it, stars had been bolstered by it and numerous recaps for other shows had referenced it as a beacon for unrivalled character portrayal. I finally had my opportunity to settle down and give it the attention it deserved over Christmas. It is safe to say it surpassed my already high expectations.

For someone who loves nothing more than well written, grounded character development without the distraction of overly dramatic plots (for the most part), Friday Night Lights is the perfect show. The keystone of its quality is in the cuttingly realistic portrayal of its main protagonists – passionate and caring, but no-nonsense, high school football coach Eric Taylor and his level-headed, patient and committed wife Tami. This powerhouse couple come to life with the understated talents of Kyle Chandler (Argo, Zero Dark Thirty) and Connie Britton (Nashville, Spin City). Their chemistry and consistency is the driving force that maintains the heart and soul of the show even through changing circumstances and the rotation of the show’s repertoire of promising young talent.  Continue reading

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