Watchlist: May & June

Mostly binge-worthy TV

Now I can watch Netflix whenever I want again. The basic package has recently gone down in price, but now contains a few ads which aren’t too obtrusive. However, the big plus in a bonus second screen so my daughter and I can both watch now. I’ll be able to catch-up with much I’ve missed there recently like Ripley. Also Tesco gave me three months free Disney+ which is excellent news too as I can watch The Bear.

  • Trying (AppleTV) – is simply delightful. Now into its fourth series (why hadn’t I spotted it sooner?!) it stars Rafe Spall and Esther Smith as the infertile Camden couple who start looking to adopt. It has an all-star supporting cast too (Sian Brooke, Darren Boyd, Paul Wilcox, Imelda Staunton, Oliver Chris and the marvelous Phil Davis to name a few). With 8 half hour episodes per series, it flies by and is both chucklesome and heartstring-tugging.
  • Daniel is Cancelled (ITV+) – stars Hugh Bonneville as the titular Daniel. This is effectively a British answer to The Morning Show via Alan Partridge done seriously. With Karen Gillen as Daniel’s co-presented on the sofa, Alex Kingston as his wife, Simon Russell-Beale as his agent and Ben Miles as the show’s producer, this 4-part drama series has a lot to say and I loved it.
  • Red Eye (ITV+) Another murder in the sky series – which is far, far sillier than Hijack with Idris Elba. It does have Richard Armitage as the British doctor being extradited back to China for a crime he didn’t commit at a conference, and Jing Lusi as the jaded young cop trying to prove herself in charge of him, and they’re the only reasons to watch really.
  • Presumed Innocent (AppleTV) – Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Rusty Sabich, a Chicago Prosecuting Attorney, framed for murdering a colleague, adapted from Scott Turow’s brilliant 1987 debut novel. I’m 3 episodes in, and it’s just as twisty and corrupt as I remember the book.
  • Eric (Netflix) – 8-parter starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a puppeteer/writer Vincent on a Sesame Street type kid’s show shot in NYC. Married to Cassie, (Gaby Hoffmann), Vincent lets their son Edgar walk to school on his own one day – and he goes missing. Eric is the name of the monster under Edgar’s bed, whom he’s drawn, and comes to life to represent Vincent’s descent towards psychosis – much like the giant rabbit in Harvey with James Stewart. Written by Abi Morgan. I enjoyed this a lot.
  • Baby Reindeer (Netflix) – Watched, but didn’t like. Really felt voyeuristic/manipulative as the writer/protagonist played himself telling his own story about a stalker.
  • The Walking Dead – Season 11 part 2 (Disney) – I was finally able to put this series which I binged through lockdown to bed. The second half of the final season wasn’t available to screen then.

Big Screen on the Small Screen

  • The Holdovers – Paul Giamatti gives a star turn as the curmudgeonly old school professor who has to look after the boarders not going home at Christmas. Da’Vine Joy Randolph won best supporting actress Oscar for her part as the grieving catering supervisor also staying behind. Super film.
  • The Great Escaper – gave Michael Caine at 90 a tremendous starring role, and Glenda Jackson her last screen role too. Based on the true story of WWII veteran Bernard Jordan, who ‘escaped’ his care home to attend the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, this film was a true delight and a fitting tribute to the heroes who landed on the Normandy beaches. And fittingly, I watched it on June 6th, the 80th anniversary of the landings.
  • The End We Start From – adapted from the fab novel by Megan Hunter, Jodi Comer stars as the new mother forced to leave home as London and low-lying lands all flood, with Joel Gray, Mark Strong, Gina McKee – a strong British cast. Dystopian, but not in the failure of government sense (if you get what I mean). Is there nothing Comer can’t do – she’s utterly convincing.
  • The Blues Brothers – for the umpteenth time! And why not! Research for book review to come for Shiny. ‘Oldsmobiles are in early this year.’

Live – Richard Coles being interviewed by Joanna Cannon

I had a front row seat to see the Reverend Richard Coles be interviewed by Joanna Cannon for a Mostly Books event at Abingdon School’s Amey Theatre. It was a great interview – Cannon is a psychiatrist and novelist and had done her homework thoroughly on Coles’ three Canon Clement Mysteries. I’ve not read any of them yet, but Coles is a charming interviewee – erudite and so witty with plenty of wonderfully funny anecotes about his mother and various other encounters, but moving too. As an obviously devout man, he talked about abbey life with monks, his Theology PhD on St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in a self-deprecating way, and all kinds of non-religious things as well as plenty of discussion about his recurring characters and his protagonist’s motivations. I got him to sign a copy of his third book for my Dad, and bought a copy of his grief memoir written a couple of years after his partner died. I’ve since acquired the first two mysteries as they sound really good, I’ll borrow the third back later from my Dad!

So those are my Watchlist highlights for the past couple of months – do share yours.

12 thoughts on “Watchlist: May & June

  1. Elle says:

    The Coles grief memoir is really good—I read it after my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia, and gave a copy to my mum as well. I think it works even for a loss that isn’t yet a death, and his incredible openness about his partner’s alcoholism-related illness is so impressive. (It’s also pretty funny, which I appreciated.)

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      He told a funny story about how a lady came up to him shortly after his partner died, held his hand and asked if people were being nice to him. She then told him to make the most of it! ‘I know, I’m a widow!’ she said. (Or something like that).

  2. A Life in Books says:

    Thanks for the Eric tip, and also the reassurance about The End We Start From. I loved the book so was a bit wary of the film. I rewatched Amalie at the weekend and loved it just as much the second time around.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      The End We Start From was one of those understated British films, although it begins with a birth with graphic prosthetics! It settles after that, but there is high drama to come too.
      Eric was also high drama, well done too. I didn’t mention the policeman on the case’s side story too with another missing kid which was gritty to say the least and contrasts with Edgar’s parents story.

  3. MarinaSofia says:

    Don’t know if I’m strong enough to read the Richard Coles memoir, but perhaps it will help. Like you, I did not like (or finish) Baby Reindeer, but Eric looks interesting – if rather gruelling. I think I can’t cope with difficult stuff right now, I need fluffy things to decompress.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I remember devouring the book when it first came out. I’ve forgotten the plot totally though, so it’s as if I’m reading/seeing it afresh.
      The controversy over Baby Reindeer seems to have died down now thankfully. Piers Morgan interviewing the woman who alleges she could be identified from it, didn’t help.

  4. Liz Dexter says:

    I’ve read the first Rev Coles and got the second from Amazon when NetGalley didn’t want to give it to me – have requested the third one from NG as you never know …

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