Ballarat’s Gold museum hosts Dr Blake exhibition
This exhibition at the Gold Museum in Ballarat is good news following the more devastating news on the cancelling of the TV series.
Here’s a program that is absolutely wonderful – a fabulous online drama /piece of theatre / comedy /drama / social comment. Highly recommended.
There are several good crime dramas coming out of the UK that have a common theme – being a police unit in a region of the UK well away from metropolitan areas. Shetland is one these – the stories being located on the islands off the north east of Scotland. It is a good series – and for those who like their frequent dose of crime/ police/ dramas – this series is definitely recommended.
A new six part series shown on the BBC late in 2015. Totally recommended.
This is not quite your usual detective drama. In fact it is so good, that I along with a couple of commentators hope that they do not try to make a second series. It was a great series and the ending was very complete – they do not need to revisit this story.
This program is recommended. It is a six part mini series based on a book. The book was in turn was based on a series of events about 30 years ago in Yonkers New York to do with resistance by a white neighbourhood to the introduction of social housing.
This is a series for any crime drama fans. The stories are based in North East England, complete with accents and marvellous countryside. While the characters are important to the story lines, they do not dominate and so the crime story remains at the centre of attention throughout.
The main character, Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, is portrayed successfully and is totally enjoyable.
This one of series ticks all the boxes for having all the right elements for yet another Nordic Noir TV series. Trouble is that it just does not work.
There are many things to like but these are countered by too many things that are not so likeable.
This is a wonderful French TV series – that has the title Spiral which is not an accurate translation of the French title – Engrenages. The story lines are more about how they are meshed together rather than being in any spiral.
The writing is great and the characters are all interesting and well-played by the actors. This series is totally recommended.
Here’s my short take on this: It’s very good, fun to watch, but not great. Recommended.
First some warnings.
There may be indirect spoilers. In contrast to all the positive reviews of this series. I did not think that this was all that good – it was OK – maybe
In amongst the many well produced and well scripted TV series now on the market, comes something that does not quite fit in with the current trends. This is not a crime or police or suspense drama. So if that is what you are looking for, then be prepared to be disappointed. Or maybe surprised! This three-part series is about is one person and how she relates, or not, to those around her. In the usual definition of a plot, not a lot happens. In the sense of people’s lives, a hell of a lot happens.
Here’s a program that in theory could have been fascinating. Some commentators liked this series. I am not so sure. The program has some very good cast members, but I am not convinced that they had great roles. There were a few wonderful lines but most of the time it was a bit silly.
While series four of DCI Banks is being aired in 2015, I have only now made my way to view the original 2010 series. This is the classic sort of made for TV crime series. The lead character fits the usual profile being a bit of a loner, lives by himself, there’s an ex wife and children out there, and does not hit it off with his boss.
The plots are based loosely on the original books by Henning Mankell. There are to be no more in this series as Krister Henriksson agreed to complete the last ones on the basis that there was to be his last. Also the writer announced in early 2014 that he was suffering from cancer.
I can recommend this blog site to anyone interested in TV dramas, in particular the murder mystery genre. The blogger talks about what is happening on UK TV but most of the comments have relevance to the rest of world, and right here in Australia.
I took to this series very quickly. It has all the usual police drama and intrigue. The difference to many other current lead character detectives is that the main character, Commissaire de Police, is charming, does not have chip on his shoulder about something back in his life, is not suffering any mysterious illness and he loves life and enjoys it to the fullest.
Here’s a totally recommended program for those who like their police dramas with a few twists and unpredictability in the endings. This comes highly recommended for binge viewing of the two series of six episodes each. The first series has been out for a year or so, with the second series a recent release. Series three and four have been booked for production. Highly recommended and best of luck trying to pick the ending, particularly in series 2.
For lovers of Nordic TV dramas, this is yet another one for you.
I have to admit that I had not heard of the Swedish island of Gotland. Having now watched four of the Swedish seven episodes of Marie Wern, I have had to get online and do research on this Swedish island, situated in the gulf to the east of Sweden. Want to know more about Gotland? – click here.
This is a good series. Recommended.
This series was much-anticipated given the success the same writing team had with their earlier TV series, such as The Hollowmen. After watching four of the eight, I am happy to report that the program started well and then, it simply got better, and then it continued to get even better! I am very much looking forward to the next for of the series.
This is another nordic television series. This pre-dates The Bridge and several others now well-known. According to other online news the series has been shown a couple of times on SBS in Australia and was very popular. I actually chanced upon it and settled back to watch and became impressed very quickly. It is good. We liked this a lot.
This DVD set is more good TV viewing from northern Europe. The series is in six episodes over three DVDs. The main scene is the Swedish coastal town of Fjällbacka – click here for Wikipedia.
The author, Camilla Läckberg, is an established author and this series is her latest. Click here for more on the author. I recommend this series. There are good characters and the settings are fascinating, although I do wonder how they mange to get so many fine and sunny days up there on the coast of Sweden.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) definitely needs to ensure that its profile as a broadcaster identifies with the many communities within Australian society. It has recently moved on this by using a slightly revised version of a very popular song by the band, Hunters & Collectors. I have a problem with this choice.
Review: I came to this program not quite knowing what to expect. We finished watching the six episodes last night with full regrets that there are no more in the series (yet?).
I am not sure why, but I persisted to watch Homeland despite enough warnings in season two that the writers had lost the plot.
This 2013 French English series, The Tunnel, is a remake of the very successful and recommended 2011 Danish/Swedish crime series The Bridge. (review to follow)
The closeness of the remake originally cast doubts as to whether I would bother watching this latter series. But something nudged my curiousity and so I purchased the DVDs. I am happy to report that we enjoyed this series and would recommend it.
The BBC has commissioned a number of series about Italy in various guises. For several of these they employed Francesco da Mosto. Shakespeare in Italy is the most recent of these with Francesco da Mosto in the presenters role. What you end up with an armchair traveller’s tour of parts of Italy, some good tales about the connections between Shakespeare and Italy, and to top it off we are entertained with performances by Francesco da Mosto.
This three-part mini series was viewed in one sitting on a cold and wet Saturday evening.
The story’s focus is how a married woman copes with the sudden death of her husband of 12 years. To that add that she quickly has doubts about the car accident. She has to also deal with the doubts and stories about whether he was being unfaithful.
Take a mix of the politics, courtroom dramas and office shenanigans with many other layers including sexual goings-on, corruption and power games, then include some very strong female actors, and we have the ongoing and totally recommended TV series, The Good Wife.
This is current in Australia in its fifth season. I have bought the CDs for previous seasons and have downloaded this series to undergo some binge watching – that is, watching as many episodes as possible as quickly as possible.
A couple of nights ago on the ABC’s 7.30 Report, the program’s presenter, Sarah Ferguson, interviewed the Palmer United Party senator-elect Dio Wang. Much has been made of this interview with much scorn heaped on Dio Wang for his somewhat naive responses and that he stated he was not across many of the financial details that Sarah Ferguson indicated that he should have been.
For me this was of little interest compared to the far more serious issue at play.
Occasionally it is good to sit back and watch a series of programs about how people are going about building their homes. In this case, the programs are based on the UK long running series, Grand Designs. The commentator, Peter Maddison, is an Australian architect who follows more or less the same lines as the UK presenter, Kevin McCloud.
Series 3 is dated 2012. However, despite its currency, the amount attention paid by architects, builders, the developers and the presenter himself to the need to address climate change adaptation is minimal in most of the case studies. Continue reading Grand Designs Australia
Based on the 1990 UK mini-series, this US adaptation is a winner. This fictional tale is based on current political issues and brings you into the writer’s version of the dirty world of contemporary US politics. Season One is available on DVD and Season Two is currently showing, with episodes being released in stages through iTunes. Continue reading House of Cards
This version of the Sherlock Holmes story is just truly brilliant. The writers and producers have taken the characters from the original Conan Doyle tales and breathed new life into them while providing enjoyable story lines to be followed each episode.
It was while in conversation with some locals in Paris, that a French colleague of ours said that she did not like French movies because ‘nothing ever happened’. We laughed because it was something the whole world knew. In fact this is what some people like about French cinema. But despite this, we would not have expected a French person to admit to this fact. Les Revenants is not one of those films. Well not quite!
This three-part series, stars David Tennant, Emily Watson, and was written by Paula Milne, the writer for the former The Politician’s Wife (1995). Speaking about the show Milne said, “I wanted to explore the way that men feel about their wives becoming more successful than them – that’s an interesting dynamic to set against the power games in Whitehall.”
The Bletchley Circle – seasons one and two.
In the vein of fictions about people who find themselves undertaking detective work to solve a crime that others do not see, I can thoroughly recommend this TV series. Both season one and season two are now available on DVD.
This is not quite Sherlock or Poirot, who are semi professionals detectives who spend their time helping authorities. This series is about a group of women who somewhat reluctantly take on the sleuthing, sometimes at their own peril. There’s suspense, good fun and great lines as the women deal with their world of men. (Things have changed?)
first four episodes as seen ABC iView – also live on ABC
I viewed the first four of these episodes through ABC’s iView following a recommendation from a friend. It is indeed good. The plot follows much of the usual lines for a TV Cop/Legal drama. Most of the acting is good with full marks to the lead actor, Marta Dusseldorp.
Three part series, ending Tuesday 25th March – also on iView
Without any warning, and more out of curiousity, I stumbled onto this program and was totally surprised how good it is. I have always enjoyed the dry humour of Hanna Gadsby and was therefore intrigued about her doing an Australian art history program.
This twelve episode mini series is set in Milan, Italy, after World War II. There’s the tensions of the society getting back together after the invasion and the local divisions, being communists, partisans and the fascists.
The character of Inspector Nardone, is based on the real life police officer of the times who was a legend in the 1950s and 1960s.
Juliet Stevenson has been a face I have noticed and her acting has always been a little intriguing. It was while I was enjoying The Village that I observed her again in a key supporting role.
It was time for bit of research. I liked what I was finding. Juliet Stevenson is indeed an interesting actor, and has been an activist for social justice issues.
One line of inquiry led me to a three-part TV series, The Politician’s Wife. Originally made in 1995, it has recently been published on DVD.
Murdoch Mysteries – Season One – Six (seven to come)
This Canadian crime program is now into its seventh season. Season six is available on DVD. The Series is based mainly around a Toronto detective before the end of the 19th Century (later seasons enter the early 20th) and that he uses many new and sometimes untested scientific discoveries as the basis of his investigations. This whole series has been an engaging experience and quiet joy to watch.
Parks and Recreation – viewed on DVDs
I have already reviewed this program and provided a notice about season five – click here. You can check out the background to the program – click here. So why not do something unusual and talk about this program yet again. Yes it is that good.
TREME Series three
There are so many good TV programs now available on DVD. This is one of the really good ones. You will have to enjoy a slow pace, music, talking food and lots of local politics.
I have reviewed the first two seasons of TREME earlier – click here. Allow me to assure you, it just gets better.
Follow Up to previous post on this subject – Click here
Click here for my original post.
The nut jobs launched themselves online to go on about how English is the language for America. Well that’s what they say. The same groups are anti everything else; gay marriage, equal right, migration – the lists goes on.
This series I fully recommend. I have just finished watching the newly arrived season two, and can say that it follows on well and improves on the first season.
Inspector Montalbano on DVD – originally aired in 1999 and still being made.
This is a follow-up to my previous post on Inspector Montalbano – click here for that review.
We have just finished watching all the available programs of Inspector Montalbano. I stand by the former recommendation, that is a fun series. Totally recommended.
This program was a big boost for Sicilian tourism. The best news is that there are now stories starting to appear of more being made later in 2014. This is good news indeed, if it is true.
The Escape Artist with David Tennant
Up front I have to declare a couple of points. This program is definitely scary in parts and definitely may not suit everyone. The program, like too many others, is yet again about a psychopath male who murders and mutilates women. Having said that as a warning, the big positive is the high calibre actors.
It’s opening scenes are of caged birds with threatening music building up. This straight away reminded me of Hitchock’s The Birds. These are small finches in cages, but the cinematography made us feel threatened by something present.
Borgen season three
The final series of Borgen arrived in the mail on Christmas Eve. I agree with another reviewer, the title for this series should have been: “Can you achieve Power and Remain Yourself?” or “Perhaps we should stand up for each other more often“.
Unlike many other program makers, the producers and writers knew when to bring this series to a close. This is the last. There is no more.
Borgen – season one and two – and soon season three
This Danish political fiction sits as my number one program for this year. While it is fiction, the program has all the feel of realpolitik. In fact, the fictional political parties and media all have real life equivalents in Denmark.
What this program does is to celebrate access and equity in daily life. I am not sure if this just fact of life for Danes, but it is very positive to see the emphasis on how many women are in politics, how childcare is handled well by both partners, and work life balance issues are part of the fabric of the program’s discourse.
Trash TV is alive and well. There is real trash such as Revenge (a review some time soon). Then there are programs such as Scandal that come with a fictional framework with a touch of reality, that really tries to be serious, but moves back and forth from potentially being a reasonable political crime drama to a fluffy and unrealistic soap opera. It can be fun to watch but depends on your mood and what you are looking for entertainment.
Warning; We are half way through series two – so if you have not seen these episodes, spoilers may follow.
Inspector Montalbano on DVD – originally aired in 1999 and still being made.
My viewing of the Inspector Montalbano first five programs follows having first enjoyed the wonderful series, The Young Montalbano. The ‘Young’ series, released last year, was meant to be a prequel to give viewers are look into how their hero ends up on the Sicily coast as the local chief detective. For me, I saw the prequel before I saw the first of the original programs, which I am doing right now.
I came to the original series with an understanding of all the characters . All the characters continue, although the roles are played by different actors. It works for me. So let me be clear, I am really enjoying sitting back for the hour and 45 minutes for each. Once I have seen them all, I may come back to do a final review.
There is a series in my local paper about how the new Chief Planner has a wonderful vision for her role with the city of Canberra. The interviewer is a local architect. The piece reads as a conversation between two people who have no idea how patronising their comments are towards residents. It reminded me of one of the themes that David Simon‘s had structured into his TV series TREME.
Whitechapel as shown on TV
Whitechapel is one of the few exceptions. I have watched this program from the start. We are now in Season Four. The main actors are in interesting bunch and I happen to like good crime and detective stories. Maybe I have been watching too many crime programs of late. In this case I suggest the writers have screwed the plot and this one has descended into farce.
Here’s a murder detective drama that has some terrifying moments – so not one for the faint-hearted. As the first episode closed I had to think whether to continue. The plot has a difference in that you know almost from the start who is committing the crimes. The story is essentially about the lives of different sets of characters and how the lead detective, brilliantly played by Gillian Anderson, puts clues together despite events around her in the police headquarters.
Warning, there are spoilers in the rest of this review
The Young Montalbano – based on the short stories by Andrea Camilleri
I have a couple of the original TV series Inspector Montalbano. Therefore I cannot comment much on the direct links to the later series from this prequel series. But I do remember seeing the seaside resident. One features. Lucky him.
This is a fun series. Each being two hours long. You just sit back as an armchair traveler and enjoy the scenery, the food and the atmosphere of Sicily. Oh and yes there are crimes to be solved.
Detective De Luca DVD (Four Episodes)
The bi-line more or less describes the issues here: He’s not Fascist; He’s not Partisan; He’s just a Cop. I am not sure that the original author had this intention. The series is based on the real life of a policeman who worked for the fascist government, who arrested communists and partisans, then made it through the war to continue as a policemen who was not investigated for his previous activities but continued as a policeman who went on to arrest fascists.
Very Italian and very much in the genre of contemporary crime fiction and now translated to a short TV series.
The Closer on 7 DVDs
Had not heard of this program until searching online earlier this year. Now having recently finished all seven DVDs, I have to recommend this series to anyone wanting to watch a crime and cop series that has a great bunch of characters.
It starts a little shaky but quickly settles in. Character development is fascinating. Quite a few laughs.
Major Crimes – season One
The introduction of the character of Captain Raydor into the later series of The Closer was a great stirring of the pot, especially as the team had settled well into their roles.
Inspector Soneri: Fog and Crime
This is a great series. Nice to wander about the shores of the River Po and to be in the historic city of Ferrara. Inspector Soneri is the usual distinctive detective type with relationship problems and his own individual ways of doing things.
Breaking Bad – viewed on DVD
This program has been raved about by most commentators. And just in the last two weeks or so there have been lots in the news and comments about the final episodes.
Sometimes I have to disagree and on this program, it just did not happen for me. Continue reading Breaking Bad
The Newsroom – viewed on DVD
I admit to being one of those people who loved West Wing, written by Aaron Sorkin. It was not just the story lines that had me hooked, nor just the political perspectives that underpinned the show, but it was the dialogue.
Aaron has delivered another TV show with dialogue that races and intrigues.
Broadchurch – viewed on DVD
Take a small fairly isolated English 21st Century town and explore the characters, their interactions, and their secrets, or more accurately those things not talked about especially to outsiders. And then throw in a newly arrived police detective with a cloud about his past, and then throw in one of the worst crimes. A child is murdered.
The Village – viewed on DVD
I commenced watching this program with some doubts thinking here we go again with more north country grime, bleakness and seriousness. Actually the first episode was more or less that. But somehow having Maxine Peake as a main character begged me to stick with it.
And I was very glad I did. This one built slowly but once the characters develop and the plot expands in complexities, it demands watching in rapid succession – late nights resulted.
Parks and Recreation – viewed on DVDs
I have been watching Parks and Recreation on DVDs since series one and now series five has just arrived (October 2013).
IMDb rated the show 8.4, and I agree.
The first series was good, but after that it really got into its stride. It is a good half-hour fun watch.
The sending up of government employees and the goings on within local government is spot on.