This week I was geared up to review the opening episode of Series 7 of “Game Of Thrones” which exploded onto Sky Atlantic. It’s been plugged for what feels like months on Sky and was such a big event that even people who have never watched Sky must have been aware of its return. I have watched every episode, but saw the review writing as a challenge as there’s so many plot-lines and characters that I take (most) of it in while I’m watching but tend to forget quite a lot soon afterwards. Visually, it’s stunning and like no other television series ever made and I do always enjoy it, but I’m not a super-fan who knows every little detail and my review could end up just upsetting the super-fans if I get things wrong.
I prepared myself for this by watching “Game Of Thrones- The Story So Far” on Sky Atlantic, a 90 minute re-cap narrated by Sue Perkins and whilst there were a few things I’d forgotten I actually surprised myself by recalling much of what had gone on. It’s the unpredictability of the series which can throw you off-kilter. Seemingly minor characters become important, major characters get killed off, and plot lines develop from all directions which demands attentive viewing. I felt I was ready to give you my verdict on the opening episode and sat down to watch.
But I fell asleep. This had nothing to do with the episode (although it was one of the slightly too dark to totally make out what was going on scenes which did it). It’s been a busy week at work and although I know Arya got some splendid revenge for the massacre of much of her family, that Ed Sheeran sang a song and Daenerys sailed into somewhere I’m not totally sure where. I’m going to have to re-watch but as it’s not going to fit in with review deadlines I’ll have to hang my head in shame and feel like an old man. I know I’m probably not too far away from being my Dad who used to wake up from armchair TV slumbers after the channel had been changed and we were watching something else, him thinking it was the same programme with increasingly bewilderment as to what had been going on.
It’s actually the second time this week this has happened. The night before I had rented overnight from the library “Hidden Figures” which I’d really been looking forward to seeing ever since I saw a trailer when I went to see “La La Land”. Starring Taraji P Henson, who I adore in “Empire”, this based on a true story tale of three African-American women working in the early 60’s at NASA at the Langley base in Hampton Virginia seemed right up my street and I was really enjoying it until Taraji’s math genius character, Katherine Johnson, began writing long sums on a blackboard and it was if I was back in double Maths and, like the perfect sedative that used to be, I fell asleep.
Which is why I’ve decided to use what’s recorded on my Sky Planner as my To Be Watched list (not to be confused with my To Be Read List- which is massive) to take a look at what I should be watching over the coming weeks, should I stay awake long enough.
There’s the last episode of ITV’s “The Loch”, which began really well and I was delighted to see Siobhan Finneran in a leading role. I had high hopes of this as another “Broadchurch” turning the Loch Ness area into a must-see for television watchers in the West Bay location boosted tourism for “Broadchurch” voyeurs. It looked just as stunning, but the series for me didn’t sustain it’s very good opening couple of episodes. It’s still good but not the must-see tv event I had initially anticipated.
There’s three US series shown on Sky that have episodes stacked up on series link. I’ve nearly worked my way through Series 5 of “Elementary”. This feels like a good old fashioned detective series, it’s wobbled slightly over the years but its back as strong as it ever was. Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr Watson in modern day New York are a great combination. I know I’m in a tiny minority here, but I prefer Miller’s Sherlock to Benedict Cumberbatch’s. There I’ve said it………. “Quantico” is midway through its second series on the planner. I didn’t watch all the first but rejoined it for the second because Russell Tovey was joining the cast. It’s all over the place, seemed to change tack drastically a few episodes ago and it’s really only Tovey (who’s very good in it) and the very attractive cast which is headed by ex Miss World Priyanka Chopra that’s keeping me tuning in as I really don’t know what’s going on. I also have ten (gulp!) episodes of the re-booted “Hawaii 5-0” to watch. This is probably past its prime now, it has always has the odd duff episode but there are now fewer quality episodes to make up for that. The news that the leading Hawaiian actors have decided to leave over pay inequality does not bode well for the future.
When I’ve got a good few hours to spare I may also catch up on the Channel 4 school based drama “Ackley Bridge”. Watched the first episode, liked the cast more than anything else but haven’t got round to catching up with the rest of the series. It features Paul Nicholls who has had his own personal drama this week after being trapped under a waterfall for three days with a broken leg in a Thai jungle- a real life story more dramatic and chilling than anything he’s appeared in on TV. It sounds like a long road to recovery for him. Those of us that have enjoyed his performances in “Eastenders”, “Clapham Junction”, “Canterbury Tales”, “Goodbye Charlie Bright”, the very under-rated “A Thing Called Love” and even as a posh doctor with Suranne Jones in the weirdly casted “Harley Street” wish him a speedy return to good health.
Paul Nicholls in “Ackely Bridge” and being rescued in Thailand
There’s another poignant presence on my Sky Planner. We heard this week that Britain’s Got Talent winner Pudsey has died leaving owner Ashleigh Butler and his legion of fans heartbroken. I’ve got his full length movie appearance in “Pudsey The Dog- The Movie (2014) which was shown on TV a few weeks ago to watch. I know reviews were atrocious and that’s there probably as much CGI as real dog. I’ve got to be home alone to watch it- the other half drawing a line over this one but I’m hoping it will be a tribute to this extraordinary dog who just seemed to love to perform. I might need to wait a few weeks to watch it though to avoid sniffling through it.
Ashleigh and Pudsey – a true showbiz trouper