Category Archives: television

television programs, DVD programs and online programs


shetland1-2Review TV program on DVD: Shetland

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.

Continue reading Shetland


Review: Vera on DVD

914ClcuQ2QL._SL1500_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.

Continue reading Vera

Spiral (Engrenages)

Review – Spiral on DVD

SpiralMontageThis 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.

Continue reading Spiral (Engrenages)

Olive Kitteridge

Review – TV Series
Olive Kitteridge – on DVD


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.

Continue reading Olive Kitteridge


Review TV program on DVD

Wallander, 32 Episodes on DVD
Swedish with Krister Henriksson as Kurt Wallander

518wGZWQbNL._SY300_I can totally recommend this series. I suggest buying the whole 32 episodes and then playing them in regular sessions.

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.

Continue reading Wallander

Nicholas Le Floch

Review TV on DVD

Nicholas Le Floch, Volume One, Episodes 1-6

Nicolas-le-Floch2I 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.

Continue reading Nicholas Le Floch

Line of Duty

Review: TV on DVD

Line of Duty, series 1 & 2

Line-Of-Duty2Here’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.

Continue reading Line of Duty

Maria Wern

Review: TV series on DVD
Marie Wern, series on DVD – seven episodes

maria_wern_2I 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.

Continue reading Maria Wern

Utopia on ABC

Review: TV program
Utopia, eight part series on ABC

utopia - cast1This 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.

Continue reading Utopia on ABC

The Eagle A Crime Odyssey

Review: TV on DVD
The Eagle A Crime Odyssey, TV 2004 – 2006, now out on DVD

The Eagle1This 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.

Continue reading The Eagle A Crime Odyssey

The Fjällbacka Murders DVD – Morden

Review: Swedish TV series on DVD
The Fjällbacka Murders – series on DVD 2012

108073949This 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.

Continue reading The Fjällbacka Murders DVD – Morden

Music as Corporate Symbol

Review: Music
Hunters & Collectors: Throw Your Arms Around Me (1986)

HuntersCollectors2The 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.

Continue reading Music as Corporate Symbol

The Tunnel

Review: TV on DVD
The Tunnel 2013 available on DVD

thetunnel3This 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.

Continue reading The Tunnel

Francesco’s Shakespeare in Italy

Review: TV on DVD
Francesco’s Shakespeare in Italy

714491The 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.

Continue reading Francesco’s Shakespeare in Italy

Without You

Review: TV program on DVD
Without You with Ann Friel, on DVD – three-part mini series.

without-you-dvd-sleeve-anna-friel-28079907-1023-1446 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.

Continue reading Without You

The Good Wife

Review: TV and Download and DVD
The Good Wife: Season one to five (current)

91Y9k1avoHL._SL1500_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.

Continue reading The Good Wife

Doing Murdoch’s dirty work

Comment: On how the ABC continues to do Murdoch’s dirty work.

ABC-Fergusin-SenatorA 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.

Continue reading Doing Murdoch’s dirty work

Grand Designs Australia

Review: TV program (on DVD)
Grand Designs Australia – season Three

XYZ23902_GDAS3.pdfOccasionally 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

House of Cards

Review: TV
House of Cards Season One and Two; TV program also on iTunes


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

The Returned

Review: TV on DVD
The Returned, season one


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!

Continue reading The Returned

The Politican’s Husband

Review: TV on DVD
The Politician’s Husband (2013)

the-politicians-husband-DVDThis 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.”

Continue reading The Politican’s Husband

The Bletchley Circle

Review: TV on DVD

The Bletchley Circle – seasons one and two.

TheBletchleyCircle-S1-DVDIn 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?)

Continue reading The Bletchley Circle

Hannah Gadsby art

Review: TV, Visual Arts
Hannah Gadsby’s Oz, on ABC

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.

Continue reading Hannah Gadsby art

Inspector Nardone

Review: TV on DVD
Inspector Nardone

Nardone-DVDThis 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.

Continue reading Inspector Nardone

The Politician’s Wife

Review: TV Series on DVD
The Politician’s Wife. (1995)

Politicians-WifeJuliet 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.

Continue reading The Politician’s Wife

Murdoch Mysteries

Review: TV Program 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.

Continue reading Murdoch Mysteries

America the Beautiful

The truth is out there

Follow Up to previous post on this subject – Click here

Last week I wrote about the Superbowl advertising and how the Coca Cola advertisement had caused a backlash from the right-wing nut jobs. This of course was good advertising for Coke.

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.

Continue reading America the Beautiful

Inspector Montalbano

Review: TV on DVD

Inspector Montalbano on DVD – originally aired in 1999 and still being made.

Inspector-Montalbano-Volume-6-15545549-7This 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.

Continue reading Inspector Montalbano

The Escape Artist

Review: TV drama on DVD

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.

Continue reading The Escape Artist


Review: TV on DVD

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.

Continue reading Borgen


Review: TV on DVD

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.

Continue reading Borgen


Review: TV series on DVD


scandal800Trash 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.

Continue reading Scandal

Inspector Montalbano

Review: TV on DVD

Inspector Montalbano on DVD – originally aired in 1999 and still being made.

montalbanoMy 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.

Continue reading Inspector Montalbano


Review: Treme on DVD

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.


Continue reading TREME


Review: TV

Whitechapel as shown on TV

whitechapelI actually watch very little live television these days. Most of the programs I watch are bought on DVD. I am yet to do much downloading as I was waiting for the NBN* to arrive (foolish me).

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.

Continue reading Whitechapel

The Fall

Review: TV (on DVD)

The Fall

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

Continue reading The Fall

Young Montalbano

Review: TV on DVD

The Young Montalbano – based on the short stories by Andrea Camilleri

montalbanoI 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.

Continue reading Young Montalbano

Detective De Luca

Review: TV (DVD)

Detective De Luca DVD (Four Episodes)

de lucaThe 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.

Continue reading Detective De Luca

The Closer

Review: TV Program

The Closer on 7 DVDs

closerHad 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.

Continue reading The Closer

Major Crimes

Review: TV Program

Major Crimes – season One

complete-1st-season-dvd-cover-96 Having totally enjoyed the original, The Closer, I wondered how such a program could cope with the loss of the main character given her complexities and her dominance of the whole seven series.

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.

Continue reading Major Crimes

Fog and Crime

Review: DVD

Inspector Soneri: Fog and Crime

FogCrimeI sat and watched the first of these and was amazed just how much fog and rain there was to be seen. My view of Italy changed.

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.

Continue reading Fog and Crime

Breaking Bad

Review: TV Program 2013

Breaking Bad – viewed on DVD

Up front I have to admit that I did not see this program through. After the second DVD, I lost interest in the characters and moved on to watching something else.

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 Season One

Review: TV Program 2013

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.

Continue reading The Newsroom Season One


 Review: TV Program 2013

Broadchurch – viewed on DVD

A fascinating program on several levels.

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.

Continue reading Broadchurch

The Village season one

Review: TV Program 2013

The Village viewed on DVD

The Village 2013I 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.

Continue reading The Village season one

Parks and Recreation

Review: TV Program 2013

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.

Continue reading Parks and Recreation