It’s amazing – seven seasons plus the recent bonus season and nothing really happens. How is that possible? Well, yes, there are engagements and marriages and divorces and babies and yet, it felt like nothing much was ever really at stake.
So, what is it? The Gilmore Girls are Lorelai (Lauren Graham) a thirty-something who had her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) at sixteen, choosing to strike out on her own rather than relying on the father of her baby or her mega-rich family. The premise that is set in the first episode is that they have had very little contact with Lorelai’s parents, but now she has the chance to go to a very prestigious private school and so she needs money, and so in come the parents, Emily (Kelly Bishop) and Richard (Edward Herrmann), and everyone argues and stops talking to each other and then make up and then fight again. And yet… why does it feel like nothing has happened? Perhaps because the stakes are not that high. There is never any sense that anyone’s life will end, or that they will end up on the streets. I think this is because there is just so much money in this world, even randomly Rory’s father suddenly ends up mega rich. On top of this, the writers seem to really dislike women, because the set them up as allegedly strong, independent women who will not compromise their personal beliefs for anything, and yet they are constantly compromising those beliefs. And the way they treat the romantic interests – and the way the romantic interests treat them! I take it back, the writers don’t just hate women – they hate people. It’s set in almost the whitest town in America (apart from a black Frenchman and a Korean family who are intensely stereotypical) with a whole cast of quirky locals.
So if I disliked it that much, why did I watch it? A couple of reasons: I actually quite liked the characters, so while the plot may have been tedious, I quite liked the interactions. Second: Melissa McCarthy and Yanic Truesdale (the Frenchman – actually Canadian). I really liked their ridiculousness. Third: I was painting my house and wanted something on that I didn’t need to watch closely. A friend from school’s mother used to call this type of entertainment chewing gum. As chewing gum stimulates your digestive system into thinking that food is coming and leaves it disappointed, this type of entertainment stimulates the brain into thinking it will be needed and leaves it disappointed. Oh and the music? I was ready to throw my television out the window!
Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), a small town insurance agent in Fargo, is mollycoddled by his wife and laughed at by almost everyone around him. So, he kills her. Meanwhile, a mysterious character, Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) is drifting through town causing all kinds of epic disaster. And then there is our hero of the story, Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), a rising member of the local police who, despite the attempts to halt her investigation, continues to follow leads as long as she can.
I loved the Coen Brothers film – ooh, I must revisit it. I was slightly concerned about the idea of changing format, but it is fabulous. Same, somewhat kooky atmosphere (perhaps even more than the film), interesting and entwined storylines, great acting and moments of inspired fear. Oh, and as a delightful surprise, Key and Peele (Keegan-Michel Key and Jordan Peele) turn up as incompetent FBI Agents. Marvellous.
And then… ( some time later) the second season comes out. And it is also amazing! This time, it is about the events that happened when Molly Solverson was a small girl, and her father (who now runs the café) was the police chief. And it’s got Kirsten Dunst and Angus Sampson and Ted Danzon and just so many wonderful people. Oh, so good. Season three? On IMDB it says 2017. Yes, please.
There’s a Church of England minister in a parish in Cambridge not long after World War Two has ended. Sidney Chambers (James Norton). He’s got a few issues; bit of shell shock, drinks a bit much, his handsome looks get him attention from the ladies, and he is somewhat in love with his old school friend Amanda (Morven Christie). Oh, and murders keep happening around him. He teams up with local policeman Geordie Keating (Robson Green) to solve them.
He’s handsome, but spends a bit much time mooning around for my liking. I’ve not been one to watch Midsummer Murders or any of the like, but I’m imaging they are similar. In fact, I am imagining they would be very similar.
Small town New Zealand. A twelve-year-old girl, Tui (Jacqueline Joe) is found in a cold lake, possibly suicidal. When it is revealed that she is pregnant, it sends things into a spin. Luckily, Robin (Elisabeth Moss) is in town. She is a police officer who specialises in working with children. The local police, including boss Al (David Wenham) are reluctant to let her in the ranks, but she will not let go. Then there is Tui’s family; her mother lives away from them, Tui lives with her family, extreme bad-buy and sleaze ball Matt (Peter Mullan) and his adult sons. Add to the mix a ‘guru’, GJ (Holly Hunter) who has brought a group of battered women to a piece of property on the lake that may or may not have been legally sold to her. And then there is Robin’s background, never far away.
Depressing as hell. One of my mates couldn’t get through it, feeling increasing sucked into the darkness of this world. And it is dark. But wonderful. It has all the beauty and complex story telling that you would want coming from director Jane Campion. Wow.
There’s a spy agency run by an older, over-sexed woman who is constantly trying to get with a rich man, be he KGB, Burt Reynolds, whoever. Her son, is Archer, and despite his alcoholism, constant womanizing, and telling every single person he meets that he is a spy, is none-the-less the best spy in the world. His ex is an extremely sexy woman, also an excellent spy, who is dating the firm accountant. The HR woman has an issue with a variety of substances and sex, the receptionist has even more issues with sex, and then there is a scientist who has a love for creating pig creatures. And if this isn’t enough, the company they work for is called ISIS.
Okay, the show pre-dates the now well-known horrific ISIS. But it is now a strange repeating gag – especially when they are talking about ISIS bureaucracy. I found the show somewhat funny initially, but as it went on and on, I became somewhat addicted. And then there was the fact that Archer is voiced by the same guy who does Bob from Bob’s Burgers. (H. Jon Benjamin) Another strange yet fabulous animation.
The Japanese have come up with a synthesised blood that has allowed vampires to ‘mainstream’. Some are like Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) wanting to be a part of society. But there are others, and that causes a lot of trouble over a whole heap seasons. The show is told mostly through the eyes of Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a young woman who welcomes the excitement of vampires and gradually learns that she is a lot more than she ever thought. Then there is her brother Jason(Ryan Kwanten), her boss Sam (Sam Trammell), her mate Tara (Rutina Welsey), her sometimes friend and co-worker Arlene (Carrie Preston), and my fav, chef and Tara’s cousin Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis). And then the vampires – Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) and Pam (Deborah Ann Woll) and heaps of others.
It starts well, and then gets more and more ridiculous as it goes on… and I loved every moment of it. It’s sexy and sleazy and ridiculous and insane and wonderful. It’s a shame it’s over, though god knows where it would have ended up if it had not finished here.
Journalist Ned Banks (Dan Spielman) is sent, through an anonymous tip, to investigate an accident involving two indigenous teenagers near Broken Hill. His mentally ill brother, Jesse (Ashley Zukerman), computer genius, is drawn in, and a huge conspiracy is revealed.
I loved this – some of the best Australian television I’ve seen ever. Realistic characters, realistic intrigue with a hell of a lot of betrayal, some torture and nasty violence, and a strong sense of modern Australia – both outback and the intrigue of Canberra. I can’t help thinking that the Canberra depicted here is more interesting that the Canberra most of us know. God save us all if this kind of thing is really happening in Australia.