Chris’s blog is reminding me I haven’t talked about what’s on in ages. Here’s what I’m watching and why.
Game of Thrones
Most of PC Gamer have devoured George R R Martin’s fantasy novels whole or in part – not me. My reading habits are based on identifying the shortest possible thing worth reading, reading half of it, then forgetting it exists. So I was extra glad to have the apparently awesome series turned into shiny pictures and shouty sounds for me.
It’s awesome. I was loving it even from the very slow first episode, before any characters establish themselves as particularly likeable. Now that it’s kicked off, the characters are actually more exciting than the action. It’s a series in which I can’t remember anyone’s name, but can describe who I’m talking about at work the next day in just a few words. Although in one case those words are “The guy who always sounds like he’s narrating a videogame intro” (the ex-slave trader).
Everyone had told me the books were brutal, which put me off, but I see the appeal now. It has just enough heart to make you genuinely care, and just enough guts to exploit it.
The Shadow Line
Intricate new BBC drama about the assassination of a drug lord and the two parties investigating it: the police and his former henchmen. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting this to be good, but I wasn’t and it is. The deceased’s nephew plays unhinged with sociopathic ease, and Chiwetel Ejiofor (bad guy from Serenity) manages to make even an amnesia plotline darkly intriguing.
Tracking two parties pursuing the same leads, it doesn’t shy away from the repetition that naturally entails. Instead it uses it as a character profiling technique: three very different men all interrogate the same two associates of a missing man, and which one they each choose to call when they hear from him tells us everything we need to know about what they fear or care about most.
A crime series that revolves entirely around one murder, based on a Danish series of the same name. I’m watching it partly out of curiosity about how well one investigation stretches over 13 hours of television, partly because it has the amazing Michelle Forbes in it, and partly because it rains a lot. Apparently that never stops feeling atmospheric.
I’ll tell you what doesn’t stretch well over 13 hours of television: a character subplot whereby the main detective is juuuust about to leave for California at all times, she’s just hanging around to chase this one last lead, then she’s going, definitely this time. That starts in episode one, which is not coincidentally the same moment it starts to feel false and ridiculous.
Comedy by the creator of Arrested Development, starring Will Arnett (Gob) and occasionally Peter Serafinowicz. I’d heard little about it, and nothing positive except that The Onion didn’t think it was as unfunny as people were saying it was. Turns out it’s great. It has a lot of the same subtle wordplay and neat farces as Arrested Development – including a ridiculous number of sly references to that series – but actually makes me laugh more. It sticks more closely to its two main characters, which is good because one of them is Will Arnett.