Tag Archives: British television

Dr. Who

I’m sure my fellow blogger may comment on this at some point as well, but I wanted to post about the newest Dr. Who.

The BBC did a great post about the new Dr. Who (Peter Capaldi) and what it means for the series as a whole, as Capaldi becomes the 12th regeneration and a time lord only gets 12 according to various references through the series. But I don’t doubt that the continued support of the series will manifest itself in some way to mean the series will continue. It is television, after all.

 

Elementary

Photo Courtesy of CBS

 

 

This is a few days late, but I wanted to weigh in on the latest Sherlock Holmes remake. I was looking forward to seeing this, as in recent years we’ve been deluged with both movies and tv remakes.

 

 

 

I won’t discuss the movie here, but I will discuss Elementary’s main competition (though not direct) – the BBC/PBS Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch brilliantly playing Sherlock in a modern-day version set in London with Martin Freeman (star of the upcoming The Hobbit and many varied British films and shows including The Office) also great as Dr. Watson (sidenote: I was sad at the lack of Emmys for this series – It’s really just lovely and should have won, in my opinion). (Extra sidenote: if you like British tv, check out what a fellow blogger thinks of Sherlock.)

 

So the new Elementary airs on CBS on Thursday nights, is set in modern-day New York City, and stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock, Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson, and also starring Aidan Quinn as a police captain. Casting-wise, I have to say I like it. I like the fresh take of a female Dr. Watson, and Aidan Quinn is always great as a policeman (I would also check out a one-season series, Prime Suspect, in which he also starred). Jonny Lee Miller – I am a fan of some of his work, and I do like that they still have an Englishman in the role even though it’s in NYC. He does a good job playing the annoyingly observant Sherlock, and Lucy does a fair job playing opposite him. It was just the pilot (and pilots tend to differ from the rest of the season), so I’ll be checking out the next few episodes before I make a final call on this one, but I’m hoping that Jonny and Lucy can find a way to better play off each other’s characters.

 

I also hope that Lucy’s character, Dr. Watson, really gets to shine as a strong female lead to Jonny’s Sherlock. What’s the point of having a female as an influential, traditionally male literary character if you aren’t going to play up that aspect of the role? Dr. Watson is tough (had to be to put up with Sherlock and roll with whatever harebrained scheme he hatched to catch the killer), so I’d like to see Lucy showcase that more in the coming episodes. One reason why I love Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson is because he makes his character essential to the story (or maybe that’s the writing? Or a combination of the two?) – you know when you watch an episode of Sherlock, Freeman’s character will inevitably be involved in Sherlock’s scheme and the final dramatic scene. I don’t see Jonny and Lucy’s characters at that point – but, as I said, it’s only been one episode. We’ve only really seen the book cover, so let’s dig into a few chapters and see how it goes.

 

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned –

– M

 

So it’s not just American television …

So lately I have been trying to catch up on some British shows I have missed in the past several years.  Doctor WhoGavin & Stacey … a whole host of them.  And I realized that it’s not just American television that cancels really good television – the British do it as well.  I realized this while watching a British series, Monday Monday, but there are other examples I could give.

For those who haven’t seen it, Monday Monday is a show set in an office environment (namely the headquarters of a supermarket chain).  It follows Sally in her quest for love and acceptance at work, and, of course, the guy she fancies works there, too. Now, given, Monday Monday isn’t the best show (on either side of the ocean) that I have ever seen, but it is slightly reminiscent of Office Space and I really loved it. It made me sad that it lasted only 1 season.  Now given my previous post about romantic tension, you might think that I wouldn’t like a series that focused on a “will they, won’t they” scenario, but actually I love them.  I loved watching the main character, Sally, try to get together with her colleague, Steven.  Sally reminded me a bit of Mary Tyler Moore. (Fun Fact for those who have seen The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Did you know that when MTM started the Mary Tyler Moore Show, her character, Mary Richards, was supposed to be a divorcee?  Instead they made her an ex-fiance because they didn’t want the audience to think she had “divorced” Rob Petrie – her television husband from The Dick Van Dyke Show.) Sally’s character is an ex-fiance at the start of the series too (something I can sadly relate to), and the show follows her as she tries to make a career and find a new guy (something I can also relate to).  You really feel yourself pulling for Sally and even for her and Steven as a couple.

But I have seen other examples of “Brilliant but Cancelled” shows (in our modern-age, think 1990+) in America as well. A list of some of my favorites: Touching Evil (Jeffrey Donovan pre-Burn Notice), Mr. Sterling (Josh Brolin as a congressman), Firefly (Nathan Fillion, pre-Dr. Horrible and Castle), My So-Called Life (Claire Danes pre-almost everything else she’s done), Accidentally on Purpose (Jenna Elfman post-Dharma & Greg) Love Monkey (Tom Cavanaugh post-Ed), Life on Mars (a remake of a British show with the same name), The Worst Week of My Life (also a British import), Keen Eddie (Sienna Miller and Mark Valley), Freaks & Geeks (too many stars in their formative years to name), Knights of Prosperity (Sofia Vergara pre-Modern Family & Donal Logue post-Grounded for Life), The Job (Denis Leary pre-Rescue Me), The Unusuals (Jeremy Renner pre-Hurt Locker and Amber Tamblyn post-Joan of Arcadia), Kings (so any great stars and brilliant dialogue) – and the list goes on and on.

And then there are the shows that made it a few seasons, but sadly no more – the top of this list is Arrested Development, one of my all time favorite series ever (although it has been recently resurrected for a new “season” to be aired on Netflix, but more on that in another post).  You can also think of Daria (and I do believe the cancellation of Daria signaled the official end of “good” MTV), Saving Grace (cancelled, no doubt, because of the cost associated with having a stellar cast), Pushing Daisies, Veronica Mars, Joan of Arcardia, Better Off Ted – and again the list goes on and on.

In British television (and this is also by no means a comprehensive list, especially as I don’t get to watch British shows on a regular basis), you’ve got Black Adder, Faulty Towers (an oldie but a goodie), Coupling (which I put here because I still would have loved a 5th “season” and did not enjoy the American remake and neither did the rest of America), Mr. Bean (because Rowan Atkinson is a comedic genius even if you couldn’t tell that from his “Americanized” movie roles), Absolutely Fabulous (aka AbFab, because any number of seasons just isn’t enough – same goes for television with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry).  And the list goes on and on here as well.

What shows do you wish would come back?  Let me know in the comments – I’d love to talk tv with you!

-Mehv

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