Yesterday the Rugby Six Nations drew to a close with Wales victorious. One of only two annual sporting fixtures I watch (the other being Wimbledon) this has dominated my viewing over the last few weekends meaning that the time on Saturday and Sunday I normally spend catching up with what I haven’t watched during the week has not happened and my Sky Box is beginning to groan under the weight of unwatched shows (well, it’s got up to 60% full and things start to get stressful when it creeps up more than that). So either I’ve got to start deleting or settle down and get that percentage down.
So for today’s blog I thought I’d do something I did way back in July 2017 and explore what I will be watching in order to reduce the Sky Box’s waistline rather than focus on something I have already watched. As preparation I looked back to that previous post of nearly 20 months ago and was surprised to see that not much had changed. The focus of that post was me falling asleep in the first episode of Series 7 of “Game Of Thrones” which I had planned to review and with Series 8 imminent here is the confession, I haven’t watched any more. I have the whole series sitting in the Planner, including the episode which caused such a deep slumber because I will have to revisit this again right from the start to have any chance of knowing what is going on. Hopefully, the escalation of publicity for Season 8 will prompt me to watch the previous seven episodes.
Also, I note that I was working my way through two series I had on series link and here things haven’t improved. I might have got through series 5 of the likeable enough Sherlock Holmes reboot “Elementary” starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu but I now have ten unwatched episodes of Season 6. The situation regarding “Hawaii 5-0” shown on Sky on Sunday evenings is even worse. It’s a show that’s not quite limping along but almost so I am now watching it in small doses, which is probably why eighteen episodes over two series have built up. It’s still happily recording them each Sunday but perhaps at some point soon I will need to pull the plug on this.
I’m a good one for watching first episodes as soon as they come out and then stalling with the rest of the series. I haven’t yet made up my mind about W’s “Flack” a London set drama dealing with a PR company protecting the reputation of celebrities starring child Oscar winner and ex-Sookie Stackhouse from “True Blood”, Anna Paquin. It’s one of those US/UK productions that end up seeming a little odd to viewers on both sides of the Atlantic, but I’m only a couple of episodes behind so I’ll stick with it. I’m also not sure what to make about BBC 2’s “Motherfatherson”, surprisingly starring Richard Gere. I’m really not sure where it is going and it wasn’t Gere who lit up the screen in the first episode but Billy Howle as his tortured son. The first episode ended up in a hospital scene with what looked like a brain tumour operation so I really can’t guess how the series is going to pan out. It has the similar stylish feel of BBC1’s flawed “McMafia” but this is written by Tom Rob Smith, a British crime novelist of great repute who did excellent work penning “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” and the odd but fascinating “London Spy”, so I am certainly going to continue with this.
Tom Rob Smith
And then there’s “Finding Neverland: Michael Jackson And Me” which was spread out on subsequent nights into two parts by Channel 4. I watched the first part and found it so disturbing and it gave me nightmares. I know I should watch the second part but haven’t got round to it yet. At this stage I really can’t put my impressions into words. I can’t help but recall the cultural shift which happened in this country following the revelations about presenter and DJ Jimmy Savile which I struggled to sum up after reading the chilling exceptionally researched book about the man, “In Plain Sight” by Dan Davies (2014) . Here again, it feels like something we knew about and yet chose not to believe or ignore. The impact of Michael Jackson on our popular culture is huge, the almost erasure of people like Savile, Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris from our cultural pasts was possible because they did not have celebrity to the magnitude of Jackson’s. Sales of Michael Jackson’s records have grown in the UK since this programme was shown so this is a complex issue that I’m not going to be able to deal with in a paragraph, especially as I have only watched half of the television programme that has caused these developments.
Hopefully, I will be less disturbed by two further music biographies. “Mariah: The Diva, The Demons” was shown on Channel 5 on their Mariah Carey night before Christmas and promises to be a dramatised bio-pic focusing on 2000-20001 where Mariah bludgeoned her career to bits by performing in the movie “Glitter”, which I’ve seen and don’t think it’s as bad as it was made out to be. It was gloriously tacky, and I’m hoping that this bio-pic will be too, but it’s also long which has put me off it up until now.
I’ve been reading quite a bit about a documentary which had a limited cinema release a few week back which sounds right up my street, Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me” examines the life of the extraordinary vocalist from Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes and his subsequent solo career dogged by tragedy. It was shown on Sky Arts last night. I suspect here too there will be revelations I will find challenging.
And once I’ve exhausted the Sky Planner there’s always Netflix , where I am still working my way through “Dynasty” where I’m about to begin Series 2. This is a show which has got better since my review of the first episodes probably because the character of Fallon Carrington is so sparklingly played by Elizabeth Gillies and has taken a more central role as the series has progressed and “Riverdale” which has lost any sense of fun it had and become increasingly dark, but still watchable. Also Netflix is adding episodes weekly to the latest series of “Rupaul’s Drag Race”, which hasn’t yet had the magical spark of the last season of “All Stars” and I’m also one episode in to creepy stalker drama “You”, but I suspect here I might not last the distance.
Who says there’s nothing on television nowadays?