Watchlist: November-December

The only recent films I really wanted to see, which particularly included BIll Nighy in Living never came to our cinemas, which is a shame, and since half term in October, there’s been no time to go to the theatre, so it’s telly all the way, and series rather than films too…

His Dark Materials Series 3: (BBC) Still showing in weekly instalments, I binged it immediately on the iPlayer. So as not to spoil I’ll just say they did the Mulefa proud, and I wept at the end. The BBC have been daring to schedule it around Christmas, but Pullman doesn’t ridicule faith so much as what it can do to those to practise to extremes and get corrupted by it – which include some of the angels. The two young leads have been superb throughout – and Ruth Wilson – gets my vote over Nicole Kidman any day. The main theme tune is a real earworm too!

Slow Horses Series 2: (AppleTV) The main reason I’ve kept my AppleTV sub up really – Season 2 of the adaptations from Mick Herron’s wonderful books is just as good as the first (except we don’t get so much of Kristin Scott Thomas as 2nd Desk at MI5). Gary Oldman is now the endearingly farty tramp of a man that is Jackson Lamb, and the rest of his crew of washed-up MI5 officers are all also endearing in their own ways – well maybe not Roddy Ho – but even he still comes up with the goods when needed. Apparently series 3 & 4 are on the way – HOORAY! Let’s just hope that Apple will continue to make some other must-watch series this year for me to justify the sub.

The Traitors: As ITV’s I’m a Celeb finished, the BBC’s newest reality TV show began. Shown in 12 episodes over 4 weeks, The Traitors was a triumph. It wasn’t comfortable viewing, as contestants bitched about each other in private, in conversation, and to each other’s faces over the nightly banishment, as they tried to winkle out the traitors in their midst whilst acruing a large prize fund. Claudia Winkleman was a perfect host for this show and I loved every minute of it. I’m not describing it any further in case you wanted to catch up. The problem is that now one series is done, the format can’t be the same if they’re to repeat its success.

Strictly Come Dancing: I really wanted Helen or Fleur to win, but Hamza was so lovely, I couldn’t deny him his win even if he wasn’t the best dancer on the night in the final.

BBC Christmas Specials in increasing wonderfulness:

Eastenders: Poor Mick only found out the half of Janine’s awfulness and not in time to not marry her – leading to a car chase down to the white cliffs of Dover and Janine driving her car off the cliff with Linda in it too. Mick jumps and saves the pregnant Janine and goes back for Linda, who has managed to get to safety – he doesn’t return. What a poor end for one of the soap’s most memorable characters of past years… GRR! (Of course, we don’t know if he’s actually dead or not, do we, leaving the soap door open for his return after amnesia or something for as long as it takes – cynic? moi?)

Ghosts: It amazes me how Kiell Smith-Bynoe who plays Alison’s husband Mike – who can’t see the ghosts – can act as if they’re not there when they’re all around him. This Christmas special was lovely as the ghosts put on a panto for Alison.

Motherland: Managed to hit a fantastic balance of hilarious and the sad at Christmas – the one sad event giving some scope for some well-placed dark humour. That it all ends well (in a way) is a triumph.

Detectorists: Saving the best until last. Gentle and whimsical, bucolic and witty, wistful and surprisingly moving, the latest special about the metal detectorists Andy and Lance was another triumph. Maybe fewer laughs than some previous episodes, but lovely all the same.

What programmes have caught your eye lately?

11 thoughts on “Watchlist: November-December

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    I feel like I’m missing out on Slow Horses but can’t justify another subscription. I also want to see Living but missed the one date it was shown at the culture centre rather than cinema. Looking forward to His Dark Materials. And The Traitors surprised me, I initially thought it was a ridiculous premise and didn’t watch but it became a fascinating anthropological and psychological study in the end. I hope they don’t even attempt a second series.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Apple has a handful of superb stuff (Slow Horses, Ted Lasso, Bad Sisters, Severance, the Samuel L Jackson series I can’t remember the name of), and a few exclusive films like Tragedy of Macbeth, but as my daughter monopolises my Netflix sub (I should upgrade to 2 screens really), the Apple is just for me!

      Traitors was so good psychologically wasn’t it. The whole Lord of the Flies victimisation thing at the round tables was scary.

  2. Laura says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Traitors and having just enjoyed Netflix’s reboot of The Mold, I’m keen! Haven’t been watching His Dark Materials but delighted that the Mulefa have finally got the adaptation they deserve.

  3. A Life in Books says:

    Living is a treat but I’m sure it will pop up again in cinemas like Picturehouse. I (like a zillion others) would recommend Aftersun, too, sad though it is. As for TV, echoing Marina re Slow Horses. I’m watching The English mainly for its gorgeous cinematography and working my way through Borgen for a third time for comfort. Happy 2023 viewing!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I forgot The English! I haven’t finished it though, still 2 eps to go. I checked the Oxford Picturehouse and Curzon when Living came out – no sign of it at either sadly. Fingers crossed I’ll catch it somewhere, Aftersun too.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      There are some other good series on Apple. If you wait a couple of weeks all the current series eps will be up and you can binge for just a short sub…

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