Category Archives: TV Reviews

Ho-humland

HomelandTVSeries

This had such rave reviews I though it was the new Breaking Bad or something. I watched the first season and really bought into it, but at the back of my mind there were niggling doubts. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t up to the hype. I had a number of problems with it.

Damian Lewis is no doubt a decent actor, but I never bought into his accent (in fact his whole speaking voice) or really believed he was the character he was portraying.

Claire Danes, also no doubt a decent actress, has a tendency to overdo it in my opinion. I had trouble believing she ever worked for the CIA being such a basket case. All the drama and tension of her scenes started to feel silly as she turned everything up to 11.

In fact I started to find them both silly people, as opposed to conflicted or damaged. This is probably in large part due to the thin script which doesn’t really live up to the hype in my opinion. I have to be honest, now halfway through the second season, I’ve given up because I find myself hoping they both get wiped out.

So undone by high expectations this one, for me. If It had just been billed as some cobblers TV show to have on in the background I might have stuck with it. I’ve watched an enormous amount of those over the years, But I can’t bear any more Ho-humland.

What the Frac?

Not since the Wire have I heard as many rave reviews about a TV series as I have about Battlestar Galactica. I’ve been putting off watching it, partly because I loved the original and partly because I didn’t want to commit too much of my spare time. I finally gave in and started watching it a few days ago. I have hardly any clue what’s going on. It’s not unwatchable at all but it’s not engaging me the way the original series did. I still vividly remember the storyline where Starbuck was stranded after a crash with a Cylon. I seem to remember a character who represented the Devil making an appearance, complete with the inevitable British accent. I was so absorbed by that show, looked forward to it every week. The new one just seems a bit all-over-the-place; with the sleazy figment of the doctors imagination, not knowing who’s a bloody Cylon and who isn’t, constant flashbacks to Caprica. I’m sure I’ll get into it but it’s not much above background noise so far.

Dark Passenger


I’ve been working my way through back issues of Dexter, a crime series from the US. It’s been going for a while and initially I didn’t think it was my kind of show. But with time on my hands, no-one around to share it with and wanting to take my mind off the world I thought I’d give it a try. Whether filling that hole with a subversive and gory experience like Dexter was wise is another question.

I’ve reached the end of Season 3 and I have slightly mixed feelings about it. It’s absolutely brilliant but also incredibly dark when you sit down and think about what’s going on. Is it worrying that I identify with Dexter Morgan, a serial killer, or is it just good writing? I even felt weirdly sinister as I took my binbags out today having seen Dexter using them to dispose of his victims.

The writing is very, very clever. I really liked the exploration of addiction in season 2, surpassed by some great episodes in season 3. To watch Dexter use the words of an obsessive, deranged murderer, describing her ‘love’ for her victim, to propose to his girlfriend was quite something. It might be a cliche to suggest it, but Dexter does serve as an effective metaphor for the dark passenger in all of us and the writing so far has been more than up to the task of exploring that in fascinating ways. The acting is great, the humour works well. I’m very impressed, but the intellectual subtlety of the thing is worrying.

Enthralled and Disappointed


I heard about this show (Bored to Death) on the Too Beautiful to Live podcast and eventually checked it out. It’s a sitcom featuring Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson in the main roles; all actors whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past. The situation for the comedy is that Schwartzman’s character is a struggling writer who gets dumped by his girlfriend and decides to become a private detective. Zach Galifianakis plays his oddball friend and Ted Danson plays a father figure and head of a newspaper that employs him.

I really, really liked it. It has a gentle pace to it which I like, with clever lines and slapstick moments living easily side-by-side. The post title is a quote from the first episode, taken out of context, to illustrate my feelings about it. I was enthralled by the show and disappointed that it was cancelled after just three seasons. I didn’t think that it was getting weaker and it saddens me to think a solid sitcom like this couldn’t survive. Anyway, check it out.