It's a crime! (Or a mystery…)

Recent TV Turkeys and Antidotes

Book shows

Turkey: The TV Book Club (More 4)

It’s still too fixed on celebrities, obvious plugging and with conversations veering off into the realms of ‘Would this be good on screen?’ and ‘What part would you like to play?’ rather than concentrating on the book.  Dave Spikey remains the star of show though; he’s always convincing and you feel he’s read every book he comments on, from cover to cover.

Antidote: My Life in Books (BBC2)

Introduced last year to celebrate World Book Day and brought back this year, 2012’s two week run has just finished.  It’s involving and can be quite emotional.  Try the last episode on iplayer, with Rick Stein and Fiona Shaw as guests.  Then catch the rest while it’s all still up.  If only we had this one more frequently.


Turkey: Kidnap and Ransom (ITV1)

The second series of three episodes finished last week.  Only diehard Trevor Eve fans will be calling out for more.  There is no sense of realism here.  Episode two started with a continuity problem: the back window of the bus was suddenly back in situ, even though someone crashed out through it in the first episode.  And for a dusty locale, the side of bus, particularly its windows, were more sparkly than you’d find in a Flash advertisement set in forensic laboratory.  Even Sharon Small could not save series two; just listen to the lines she had to play with.  The first series was pretty good.  This one felt like Eve’s 4×4.

Antidote: Homeland (C4)

Not to be missed.  This is intelligent, challenging storytelling based on the terrorism threat.  The return of hero Brody is not cut and dried as CIA maverick Carrie Mathison believes this is the man who was ‘turned’ when in captivity.  Three episodes in and you can feel it’s a grey area, not a black and white one.  It makes for uncomfortable viewing too.  We are exposed to some very difficult bedroom scenes where Brody and his wife, apart for eight years, return to being husband and wife.  What they had before is not what they have now and you can see the suppressed horror in her face.  Great acting from all, and well represented by the Brits too.

Costume Dramas

Turkey: Upstairs Downstairs (BBC1)

Three episodes in and it’s easy to feel that Dame Eileen Atkins had a lucky escape.  It’s really hard to care about the mainly shallow and characterless Lady Agnes Holland (Keeley Hawes) or her dull husband Sir Hallam (Ed Stoppard).  The ubiquitous Alex Kingston has been jetted in as Dr Blanche Mottershead and that was developing well until a shocking (not) Sapphic love story was played out last week.  The only real star here is Adrian Scarborough’s Mr Warwick Pritchard.  If you don’t watch the rest of it, don’t worry.  Your five stages of grief will fly by before you know it.  But there is an antidote…

Antidote: White Heat (BBC2)

This one started last Thursday and the 60s are now so far away we might classify this as a costume drama.  It’s very promising.  A group of students who shared a flat in London in the 60s come together again after one of them has died.  They have a history.  It soon becomes obvious that some conflicts remained unresolved and the flashbacks slowly reveal these.  The actors covering the younger and older characters are, if not already the big names, as good as.  It also proves a good reminder at how much life has changed in just over forty years.


2 comments on “Recent TV Turkeys and Antidotes

  1. Norman
    March 12, 2012

    Hawkeye- Rhian spotted the back window in Kidnap and Ransom. Trevor Eve probably repaired it while strolling round the bus. Eve was wooden, only the shock of his colleague lying dead made him drop his ridiculous three mobile phones.
    A holiday in Kashmir? for the cast and crew and a preposterous load of old tosh for the viewers. I only watched episodes 2 and 3 to see if it got any better, but incredibly it got worse.

    I agree Homeland is gripping stuff with superb acting. This series is a remake of an Israeli series Hatufim [Abducted] so it is most unlikely that the original with subtitles will make it to our screens.

    I watched two minutes of Upstairs Downstairs, a shadow of the great original series, and haven’t seen White Heat but it sounds tempting.

    • crimeficreader
      March 14, 2012

      Thanks Norm. The characters in White Heat held few surprises, if any, but the conflicts remain unpicked. Did not know of that Israeli series! 😉

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