Things on the box

One of the consequences of recent wrestles with the black dog and its sidekicks is the increase in my consumption of television series versus the usual devouring of books (I’ve finished just one so far this year). It’s worth caveating this statement with the additional statement that usually my hits from the box come in the one-off shape of films or documentaries* so given that such consumption usually minimal, an additional series factors in an increase of 100%. I haven’t become welded to the couch in a terminal ‘are you still watching?’ binge either.

While this blog hasn’t typically ventured into the realms of visual entertainment I thought it worth throwing these up on here as a) at least two are related to the usual programming, b) it might shake loose that blogging mojo and f) it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.

Lupin – Series 2

Of the two television series I watched in full last year, both were French and one was the first series of Lupin. Apparently this is the first of Netflix’ French series to hit the top ten in the US. It’s a ridiculously addictive mystery thriller with a great plot and style – with cuts between past, present and ‘how we got to this moment’ reveals – that’s made glorious by Omar Sy (who’s been worth tuning in for since the film Intouchables) as Assane Diop, a crafty conman-with-a-reason inspired by Arsène Lupin. Well worth getting into and its rapid-fire episodes make for addictive viewing. Just watch the French version with sub-titles though, the dubbed version is a pile of fecal matter as per.

Reacher

I hope Tom Cruise has seen Amazon’s new series and wept a little – though I imagine there was probably some kind of buy-out required so he probably doesn’t give much of a scientologist’s damn – because this is exactly how readers wanted Jack Reacher portrayed. The question of casting the man-mountain that is Jack Reacher has long been a question and the Cruisester was never really the answer – aside from being on tip-toes in a school playground he was too inanely chatty. Alan Ritchson is not only a physical match but the first six/seven minutes pass before he says anything, after all: Reacher said nothing. Finding someone capable of both portraying Reacher’s imposing restraint and detailed break-downs can’t have been easy but Amazon seem to have got it spot-on here.

This first series is a near perfectly-faithful eight episode take on the first Reacher novel The Killing Floor and there’s not a fault to be found with it. They’ve created a series that’s huge fun, packed with more punch-ups than a Clint Eastwood with an orang utan movie while always feeling like a top-quality bit of tv in terms of production values and a great blues-heavy soundtrack. In fact, I watched it twice! Very keen to find out which novel they’re tackling next.

Get Back

468 minutes. 7.8 hours of footage of The Beatles restored and trimmed (!) into a three-part series that’s been the talking point of many a blog and article since it dropped. It took me a while to get to and get through as the chances of my having opportunity to enjoy one episode uninterrupted are on the same level as getting that call from Pearl Jam to offer guitar support on their next tour. Let alone all three episodes.

So it took a while but I will say every little bit of that while it took was glorious. I know I’m merely adding to the last echoes of the conversation here but it was revelatory in so many ways…. John’s heroin addiction clearly riding heavy, almost has heavy as the ever presence of Yoko….. bloody hell, Ringo is a boring arse….. George took way more flack then I could…. Paul has always been self-important and patronising, then…. holy crap, he’s just fallen on the riff for ‘Get Back’…. ok, how many times to we need to hear about Jo Jo… but all of that building to the final performance which was wonderfully edited as Jim at Music Enthusiast has spoken about better than I could. Though I particularly loved the scenes with the increasingly despondent police officers as their attempts to bring events to a close are hampered in a way that both bordered on the farcical while highlighting just how far out of touch the stiffled establishment was with the counter-culture driven youth by the end of the 60’s.

*The presence of National Geographic on Disney+ means these are kept in healthy supply

10 thoughts on “Things on the box

  1. Television?! Is it available on vinyl?

    I’m a bit shit at TV, but have really enjoyed Pieces of Her on Netflix recently. I think that counts.

    • Cheers dude.
      Covid wise… I think we’re still deeper in it than they care to admit but, hey ho. I’ve known more people that have had it in the last month than had it throughout the worst of it but, yeah there’s a push to make things as ‘new normal’ as possible but we’re being hammered by a new reality of massive cost of living rises here but people will probably still vote bloody Tory again next GE. What can you do? How go the restrictions on your side of the planet?

      • I think cost of living is everywhere – just Covid + war. People are blaming Biden in the US but it’s not really his fault.

        Omicron has got away on us – which is OK because everyone’s had the chance to be vaccinated and the death toll isn’t too high. Tons of people I know have had it – we’ve been lucky so far. My 7 year old is doing a great job wearing a mask indoors at school even though it’s not mandatory.

  2. Black dog, eh? Same one that bedeviled Churchill? As to these shows, as great as they all sound – (minus Beatles), I will likely never get to them. Do you know that there are over 550 scripted TV shows, many of which, of course, are multi-part commitments? I got Amazon Prime, not for the free shipping but so I could watch a few series on there. I may have watched one. For the most part, my wife takes over the tube and I read or play guitar. She watches endless crime/cop/detective shows and I mean just about nothing but. I leave her to that and then go watch Law and Order (more crime! hot ladies!) or the Red Sox. As to the Beatles. thanks for the shoutout. I’ve been through the series once. My friend Bill came over, watched the first episode, loved it and now I cannot coax him out of the house to watch the second one. He has turned into the most Covid-fearful person on the planet.

    • The same mongrel. Or, at least, one of its descendants.
      I’m surprised it’s not more – there seems to be so much tosh on TV it’s rare that I find something that interests me let alone time, the last few months being an exception to the rule. Back to the books and tunes now though

  3. Yeah, I’m reading a couple of things. One is a history leading up to our Civil War. If we think things are bad here now, at least we’re not arguing about slave vs. free states entering the Union. And you’ll be well pleased to know we can’t own people anymore. But more to the point is a good Peter Guralnick book with lots of good music stories. Definite post on this one.

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