Considering how much telly I watch, I’m surprised I haven’t churned out more of these posts by now; but truth be told I’m often watching too much telly to find the time.
There’s been some bloody good stuff floating around of late, so I thought I’d give my honest review of what I’ve been watching. Two thirds of the content is Netflix-based, which is just a symptom of the age we’re living in, so let’s not get technical about the definition of what’s ‘telly’ and what isn’t.
Truth be told, I watch very little terrestrial TV nowadays unless there’s a decent crime documentary on. That or comedy/comedy re-runs…
Here be spoilers ladies and jellyspoons.
Watchability – 10/10
Fuck me if this wasn’t confusing but brilliant.
The latest offering from Charlie Brooker’s terrifying tech-centric universe is set in 1984 and revolves around a programmer who sets about developing a video game based on one of his favourite fantasy novels.
The concept of choosing your own adventure isn’t an original one, but with Bandersnatch you soon get sucked into the multiple-choice nature of the narrative; and start to wonder whether you’re able to avoid taking the darkest paths in the story.
It’s creepy for sure as Stefan begins his descent into angst and insomnia. We see him butting heads with his dad, struggling with code as he battles to meet the deadline, and begrudgingly paying a visit to his therapist, before he starts to become aware that the viewer (you) is controlling his every move.
There are so many possible endings, I’m not even sure which of the ones we got is a legitimate end to the story, but here’s the path we took in case you care enough to try it for yourself…yes, I wrote it down as we watched…
Shout at dad
Visit Dr Haynes
Pick up book
Throw tea over computer
Pick up photo
Get rabbit from dad
Stop the conversation
Leap through the window
Get rabbit from dad
Personally, I’d recommend getting Bandersnatched when you’ve got a spare 24 hours to cycle through each of the endings. Don’t give yourself insomnia…
Watchability – 7/10
Being an avid viewer of true crime, I already knew plenty about convicted serial killer Levi Bellfield before this three-part drama aired, so I was intrigued to see what ITV was going to do with the story.
Starring Martin Clunes as Colin Sutton – the senior investigating officer who led the hunt for Bellfield when Amelie Delagrange was bludgeoned to death on Twickenham Green in 2004 – the series was based on the memoirs of Sutton and offers an insight into how events unfolded as the Met Police closed in.
It’s a fascinating, albeit dramatised version of how the police put the pieces of the puzzle together. Not least because following years of mystery surrounding the abduction, rape and murder of Amanda ‘Milly’ Dowler in 2002, Bellfield was finally convicted of her murder in 2011; so you can finish viewing knowing that justice was eventually served for the victims (that we know of) … it’s been suggested there could’ve been more.
My only issues with it, and there weren’t many, were:
- The portrayal of Sutton’s wife as a persistent irritant. Who knows how much of what was shown actually happened, but what kind of self-involved wank-basket stands in the way of her husband trying to catch a killer who, as far as we can guess, has killed at least two women and may have attempted to kill a third by repeatedly running them over?
- That we saw another devastating example of police bungling, when it was revealed that one of the officers investigating the hit and run failed to check a second security tape which would’ve put Bellfield’s van at the scene the night the young woman was run over; and most likely Amelie would still be alive.
- Everyone kept calling Martin Clunes ‘guv’.
If you’ve watched and ‘enjoyed’ this one, you might want to try some of the other sterling ITV true crime dramas that’ve aired over the years including ‘A is for Acid’, another Martin Clunes production with Clunes starring as Acid Bath Murderer, John George Haigh; See no Evil, which centres around the sister and brother-in-law of Myra Hindley during the interrogation and trial of the Moors Murderers; and Appropriate Adult, following appropriate adult Janet Leach as she forges an ill-advised ‘friendship’ of sorts with Fred West…whilst West is in police custody.
Watchability – 6/10
Sometimes you wonder whether the purpose of a show like this is to pull in the viewers or provide a genuine message of honesty and openness around sex and relationships.
I’ve only watched one episode of Sex Education, but I can already see it becoming what the Red Shoe Diaries was to teenage boys in the 90’s…
Gillian Anderson stars as a sex therapist and mother who routinely embarrasses her teenage son Otis with a string of lovers, a house decorated with wall to wall phallic symbols (and outright knobs), and an obsession with talking over all the intimate details that would make even the most rigid of toes curl.
There’s lots of scenes of teenage girls bouncing about, to the point where you can’t help but feel that it’s somewhat misleading for the lads watching it at home. Did you know, some of us genuinely went to school to learn things, lads? Things that had nothing to do with our sex organs?
Unbelievable but true.
The first episode we see the high school bully bonding with Otis over his sexual inadequacy as Otis helps him to ‘let go’ of his tensions about sex by ‘therapising’ him the way his mum would do with one of her patients. It looks like we’re setting Otis up to be some sort of unintentional love guru, but I’ll have to watch some more of it to know for sure…
Image credits: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch – Netflix; Manhunt – ITV; Sex Education – Netflix.