Time for some cake for today reviewsrevues .com is five years old! To mark this momentous celebration I thought I’d take a look back at the five most visited and read posts of the last five years. If you would like to read the whole post just click on the links.
5. Let’s Groove – The Best Of Earth Wind & Fire
The most read of my 100 Essential CD listings which I took almost five years to complete, finishing it off just before Christmas is this 17 track 1996 compilation which I placed at number 30 in my rundown. Since publishing this back in October 2015 the founding member and lynchpin of the group Maurice White has passed away (an event I commemorated in my “After The Love Has Gone” post in February 2016). A quick click on the group’s website has shown me that they have a series of live dates lined up in Las Vegas which would seem to be a fitting location for a group who revelled in spectacle even back in the day when such visual extravagance was very unusual.
A Sky One series which (and I’m still a little embarrassed by this considering the number of people who have read this review over the years) I gave up on after one episode. My three star rating obviously did not deter viewers as it obviously established itself a good fanbase and ran for three series of eight episodes each before winding up in June 2019. Mostly filmed in Hungary with the village of Vertesascsa posing as the Virginia Settlement I certainly remember that it was very visually appealing so maybe it would be a good series for me to revisit while the weather is so gloomy outside.
My review was for the first episode of Series 5 which became the last series of this much-missed ITV show. Surrane Jones’ career went up another level after this with award-winning “Doctor Foster” and much-acclaimed historical drama “Gentle Jack” but this would also feature amongst her all-time best roles as far as I am concerned and the great strength of this was how much of an ensemble piece it was with some very strong female characterisations significantly from performers who had made their mark in “Coronation Street” including Amelia Bulmore, Sally Lindsay and Tracie Bennett as well of course Lesley Sharp as Janet Scott.
I was never totally convinced about the motivation behind this show. It felt slightly exploitational taking a group of performers out in the twilight of their careers to perform at venues they probably would have struggled at in their heyday. It felt as if it was exploiting both the artistes and our memories of them. On the other hand, however, it was filled with a sense of pathos which I wasn’t exactly expecting which made you will the participants on during what was largely one performance probably in front of a specially invited audience. If the whole premise was to manipulate us as viewers the personalities involved gave it a different spin and it was this which made it worth watching and must have kept people wanting to know what it was all about considering the number of visits this review has had since the five week series aired in April 2018. I don’t think it was the kick-start to a later phase of their careers as the stars were hoping and sadly in December 2019 we lost the great Kenny Lynch who did look very frail here. This was almost certainly a one-off series I can’t see ITV resurrecting this idea in the near future.
1. The Level
I’m still to learn five years into this blogging lark what it is which really drives up the traffic towards a particular post. If I knew I’d probably employ it more often. I certainly do not know why this has become by far my most visited post with over double the numbers of the review in 2nd place. A six part ITV series which began in September 2016 and which got me viewing because of its Brighton location and casting which included Rob James-Collier, Lindsey Coulson, Noel Clark and Amanda Burton. The central figure in the series was played by Karla Crome more recently seen in the 2019 BBC series “The Victim” which I didn’t watch. Director Andy Goddard’s most recent work has been on the fascinating sounding forthcoming film “Six Minutes To Midnight” a British set WWII film starring Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench.
I’m going off to celebrate these five years but my special thanks to all of the readers and visitors to reviewsrevues.com since 2015. Keep visiting and I’ll keep posting!