Television

The Hour

ISBN: 
0780676815

This BBC program from last summer (it aired last September on BBC America) follows the lives of three people who work for an newly created television news program at the BBC in 1956. While I did find it to be a bit slow in parts for a 6 episode series, I enjoyed watching the whole of it - especially the ending (no spoilers here, though). 'The Hour' is the name of the news program created within the show that  attempts to challenge the then BBC standard of merely promoting the government's official viewpoint on current events. The plot also revolves around the mysterious death of a friend of the young journalist played by Ben Whishaw. He is, as usual, amazingly good in this, as are the two other leads; Romola Garai, who plays the head producer of the program, and Dominic West, the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time head anchor. If you are at all familiar with BBC programming, many of these shorter series can be standalone pieces, usually with all the episodes written by the same author (This one is actually coming back for a second series sometime later in 2012). The show creator here, Abi Morgan, seems to be an up-and-coming writer for theater, television, and film. Much of the newsroom work on the program gives some insight into Suez Crisis of the period, which I found interesting. For those not necessarily keen on a fictionalized history lesson, there is both a romance angle between several of the characters and some post-WWII, early Cold War espionage spy stuff going on here too. If you enjoy more modern-set period dramas of the BBC, give this one a try.


Sherlock

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It's 2011, there have been a series of deaths, they don't seem related to the police and this is what Scotland Yard is saying at their press conference.  Suddenly there is the sound of cell phone after cell phone notifying each reporter and officer in the room they have received a text.  It consists of one word only, "Wrong."   No it is not an admission from a super criminal, it's Sherlock Holmes.  The case is interesting and the game is afoot. Steven Moffat , the current producer of BBC's Doctor Who, has brought Sherlock into the 21 Century and he fits in very well indeed. Read more »

Nurse jackie, Season 1.

I'm in the middle of season one of Nurse Jackie. This is a television show about the day-to-day life of Jackie Peyton who is a nurse in New York's All Saints' Hospital. This television show is half drama and half comedy. I don't recognize any of the actors except for Eli Wallach (Wall Street) but they are very convincing in their roles. There's quite a bit of blood and visual depictions of traumatic incidents that may bother some viewers but if you can handle that then you'll enjoy it. What keeps me hooked on the show is trying to understand Peyton's character. She's a complex union of opposite characteristics. She's happily married but having an affair. She counsels on addiction but is addicted to codeine. She's nice and shows exemplary compassion towards her patients except for the ones she hates. She's definitely a complex person. Read more »

Fringe

Fringe is a fairly new (2009) science fiction television series. The show is currently in its fourth season on the air. The library has the first three seasons of this show in its collection.

 

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Band of Brothers

ImageBased on the book by Stephen Ambrose, Band of Brothers is a 10 part mini-series focusing on Easy Company of the 101st Airborne division of the Army during WWII. This true story follows the young men who volunteered to join this division from basic training through the end of the war. Easy Company took part in some of the most intense battles of the war, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. The length of the mini-series allows focus on historical detail and procedures, as well as an in-depth look at the varied responses of the men to the horrors of war- running the gamut from fear and compassion to confusion and cruelty. Read more »

The Prisoner

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In the late 60's we were in the Vietnam War and the Cold War with Russia still seemed like a serious threat. Spy shows and movies like the James Bond series and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. were popular. Patrick McGoohan was an actor in one of the more popular ones known as Danger Man in Great Britain and Secret Agent Man in the U.S. and he asked himself a question; "What would happen if an agent with very sensitive knowledge should resign from the service without giving a clear reason for his doing so?"

The Sons of Anarchy or SAMCRO

About two years ago in the summer of 2009 I watched the entire television series called "The Shield." Our library had the first three seasons and I rented the other four elsewhere. I always ranted and raved about how great the show was to other people so imagine my surprise Read more »

Parks and Recreation

Image As an Indiana native and someone who finds bureaucracy ridiculous, Parks and Recreationconsistently tickles my funny bone.

The key for me is Amy Pohler's performance as Leslie Knope. As the deputy director of the parks and recreation department for Pawnee, Indiana her eagerness and honest belief in the system make her as sympathetic as she is funny. The rest of her colleagues have a more realistic view of their positions and their town but either like Leslie enough or are bored enough to help her on her many crusades. Read more »

Dark Skies (1996)

Dark Skies, one of my favorite mid-90s TV shows, recently came out on DVD. It was one of those shows that I wasn't sure would ever come out on DVD because it seemed like it never developed the sort of cult following that demands that sort of thing. As it turns out, there was a cult following that show, I just never came across it. Read more »

Winnebago Man (2009)

Winnebago Man, a documentary about one director's search for his favorite YouTube sensation, begins with said sensation, Jack Rebney, yelling at the director to just leave him alone. This is an interesting place to start because it kind of sets up the director, the person we'll be following on his journey to find Jack, as a jerk. Lucky for the viewer, this does not end up being the case. Rather, Winnebago Man becomes a humorous exploration of Internet fame and the responsibility of the fan/filmmaker. Read more »

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