Category Archives: Joy of Sets

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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Joy of Sets: M*A*S*H

M*A*S*HThere have been many medical shows in my past. I have hazy memories of Angels, was an avid viewer of Casualty for years until being lured away by ER, but my first love was M*A*S*H.

It’s a good job I’m not seeing any other medical shows at the moment, because I went from “Meeting my first crush is bound to be disappointing” reticence to “oh-my-god, why did we ever split up?” obsession in under a week, and there would, by now, be hurt recriminations coming in from Holby City and Facebook status updates that end in tears.

Apparently there have been people labouring under the misapprehension that M*A*S*H is a sitcom. I can only assume they never watched more than a couple of early episodes.  M*A*S*H is all ‘sit’ (all 250-plus episodes are about the highs and lows of the members of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean war ) and has plenty of moments of glorious comedy, but it will break your heart more than once and can be bleaker than a convention of fictional Scandinavian detectives.

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Joy of Sets: Orphan Black

OB promoThere are many factors that contribute to my love of Orphan Black. There is that it is a mind-bending delight of drama meets science meets comedy; there is that it’s a feast for examining the fundamentals of nature vs nurture; there is that it’s a ride of twists and turns and because of the excitement of never really knowing who you can trust…but really, there is one immense feature of Orphan Black that makes me love it and it is absolutely unique to this show. I love it because every episode has a moment, a very special moment, and each time I watch I assume it will be the last time it happens – but it never is. It’s the moment where I shake my head and remember that the character on screen is being played Tatiana Maslany…and that that one is too…and that one. I rub my cheek and can’t understand how I fell for the illusion yet again, that I forgot yet again…but I do – and if experiences of friends and other commentators are anything to go by, I am not the only one. This may make little sense for those unfortunate enough to have not spun through the whirlwind of series 1&2, so let me explain.

It’s all about the clones.  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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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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The Joy of Sets: Twin Peaks

twin peaksI haven’t seen Twin Peaks since it originally aired in 1990-91, but I’ve always wanted to see it again. Now, thanks to the channel that currently calls itself Syfy, I can. I settled down to watch the pilot episode feeling a tiny bit apprehensive in case I was disappointed – maybe it wouldn’t have stood the test of time and be as freaky/wonderful as I fondly remembered.

The weirdest thing to begin with was how pin-sharp and beautiful it looked. I remembered it as a bit grainy-looking. This is possibly because I had a rubbish TV back in 1990 and everything looked grainy. And small. Now, on my shiny newish flat-screen model, Twin Peaks looks crystal clear.

It’s the only crystal clear thing about it, of course. Twin Peaks was the first programme I remember watching that made me realise you don’t have to follow and understand every tiny thing that happens. Some things, you just have to go with the flow and trust that some sort of sense will happen eventually. It swings between hilarious and harrowing and you just have to go along for the ride.   Continue reading

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Joy of Sets: Supernatural

Dean and SamThis review comes with a disclaimer/health warning. I’m writing this having just watched eight seasons (that’s American, 22-episodes-per-season seasons) of Supernatural in less than six months (and the first five seasons were consumed in less than two months – I had to take a couple of months off to recover from what the Tumblr generation call ‘the feels’) . If I sound like a member of cult, that’s probably because to all intents and purposes, I am one.

I started watching something that was kinda X-Files meets Buffy with a (large) dash of daddy issues thrown in. By season five it became a show that will rip your heart out (if you’re human – if you’re a monster it will simply drive a stake through it).   Continue reading

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