Sunday, November 17, 2013

TV series update

I checked the upcoming programmes on satellite channel BBC Entertainment a few days ago and was pleased to note that the channel is commencing showing several series from their first episodes. This makes it ideal to follow (and possibly record) the series.

  • Absolutely fabulous - I loved this series in the 1990s and even bought the first two series on video (which of course I haven't seen in years). It was interesting to watch this again with a more critical eye: Edina is totally over the top and Patsy has tremendous hate for Saffron, but for me, the funniest character was actually Bubble, who got some lovely lines. For example, they were talking about a fashion show starring the model Yasmin Le Bon; her husband Simon Le Bon (lead singer of Duran Duran) called to say that his wife couldn't come, so Bubble says "How progressive of him to take his wife's surname". I am going to record all the episodes of this classic series.
  • The office - I saw a few episodes of this many years ago and really hated the character of David Brent. I thought that I would try again, now being a graduate of Organisational Behaviour. My opinion hasn't changed. The only character with whom I felt any form of identification was the lady who came from head office to inform Brent that his was one of two branches which might be closed. Interesting to note that Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock, etc) was one of the characters. I won't be continuing with this!
  • Hebburn - This is a fairly new programme (from 2012) which I watched with no preconceptions. The series seems to be about a family which lives in the town of Hebburn near Newcastle; the son of the family brings home a girl who initially he presents as his latest girlfriend - although actually they are already married. The only interesting characters are the above girl (presented as Jewish and studying for a doctorate in psychology) and the family mother. Here I will reveal my class bias and state that I found most of the characters 'exceedingly common'. I look (or at least, think that I look) quite like the father of the family, although I hope that I don't share his health problems: he has a heart attack at some time during the series. Whilst I imagine that I'll continue watching this series, I doubt very much that I'll keep it for posterity.
  • DCI Banks - I wrote about this several years ago, giving it a scathing review. I think that I had downloaded the 'Aftermath' film from the Internet as opposed to watching it being televised. I presume that BBC Entertainment are going to show as many episodes as they can, which means that my previous judgement may be tempered by episodes which take less liberties with the source material. Of course I'm going to record this.
I've also been watching a few other series which I haven't mentioned here. The primary series is from Australia, entitled 'Rake'; this is about a barrister, but as opposed to other series which I have seen about barristers, this is more about his out-of-court life as opposed to his legal career. I find this series very entertaining, although sometimes it's hard to figure out what they're talking about (strong Australian accents). It's a comedy in the same way that Gavin and Stacey is a comedy, and 'Absolutely Fabulous', 'The office' and 'Hebburn' aren't: it doesn't have funny one liners, but rather situations which tend to be strange, the humour arising from the situations themselves. To my regret, I didn't record this: I would like to see the first episodes again.

The other series which I have been watching half heartedly is 'The good wife'. In my opinion, American TV rarely produces anything which I can watch, the exception being 'The West Wing', of course. Unfortunately, I only hooked up with this from the fifth series, so I don't know any of the back story. It's certainly classy but not totally immersing. At the moment, I've been watching it in lieu of anything better to watch.

I suppose that the main criterion is how I would feel if I missed an episode of one of the above programmes. I would be distraught if I missed an episode of DCI Banks, disappointed if I missed AbFab or Rake, and not bothered about the others. Fortunately, the satellite tv provider generally shows each programme two or three times during the week, so there really should be no reason not to see each programme if I am so inclined.

I don't recall whether I have previously written about regret over not recording programmes. I have dealt with this in the past by recording everything (or nearly everything). Obviously I am not consistent. Somehow I doubt that I am going to feel any regret about not transferring 'The Office' or 'Hebburn' to dvd; I have most of this week to make up my mind as BBC Entertainment will show each programme a few more times this week.

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