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Blog // Thoughts
March 27, 2008

Things I’m Watching

I don’t often comment on television programmes, largely because we don’t watch much TV in our home (in a conventional sense). To me, the perfect cable TV service would be nothing more than news channels and a couple of sport channels that only showed football. When we settled in India, our local cable service was […]

I don’t often comment on television programmes, largely because we don’t watch much TV in our home (in a conventional sense). To me, the perfect cable TV service would be nothing more than news channels and a couple of sport channels that only showed football. When we settled in India, our local cable service was the perfect storm of corruption, low quality and poor service. In fact, we went nearly four months with no TV. So, we got into the habit of accessing television programmes with DVD. It’s an expensive habit, but also a liberating one.

Anyway, here’s the programmes we have been enjoying recently on DVD.

Die Patriarchin – This is a German Mini-Series that manages, most of the time, not to lurch into too much melodrama. It’s punchy, interesting, global and certainly raises a few interesting ethical issues.

The Sopranos: Season 6, Part 2 – The Sopranos comes close to being the best television show I’ve ever watched. That said, the first half of this final series was worryingly slow, unfocussed and witless. Those problems has been fixed now and the final episodes are as powerful as anything the show as produced. There’s a dark social critique in these episodes that demands repeat viewing.

Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition – If anything keeps the Sopranos from the first place in the TV show ratings, it is Twin Peaks. It’s fair to say that Twin Peaks rewrote the rules in terms of what a TV show could be (and what a TV audience could expect). Twin Peaks opened the door for shows like The X-Files, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Lost and even The Sopranos.

Deadliest Catch – We are waiting eagerly for Season Three of this one. I’m no fan of “reality TV” but there was more of this kind of thing, I might be. Gripping real drama with some courageous (if slightly insane) fisherman hunting crab in the Bearing Sea.

The Tudors>- I’m still not sure what to make of this one. One the one hand, the gratuitous sex (something I don’t normally criticise) and the “laddish” tone are off-putting. Then there is the way the plot embellishes and deviates from the known history (nice test of your reformation history on offer here!) On the other hand the cast and characterisations are excellent and refreshingly unsentimental. Moreover, the look is excellent – evocative, lush and informed by the art of the period.

Jamie At Home – Sure, Jamie Oliver’s earnestness can be over-the-top at times. But, he is a force for good in a world of poor food and even poorer food knowledge. Here he is at home, in the garden and in the kitchen making food – as in stuff to eat made from plants and animals prepared by human hands. Inspiring stuff.

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