Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: May 2015

This is going to be a very brief post thanks to two things: my holiday and Eurovision.  There isn't really room for anything else in May, so I haven't watched too much this month.

"1992" (Sky Arts) came to an end.  This was a very compelling Italian series, set in Milan, which held my attention from beginning to end.  By the way, I loved the theme music and it had a cracking soundtrack too. At the end, Luca asked "it doesn't end here, does it?" According to what I've been reading on the internet, the story is going to continue into 1993 and beyond - looking forward to it! Although one thing's puzzled me throughout the series: just what did all those women see in Leonardo Notte?  His appeal escaped me....

It would not be this time of year without my favourite quiz show, and the good news is that "THE NATIONAL LOTTERY - WHO DARES WINS" is back on a Saturday night on BBC1, therefore all is right with the world and after all, I need something to help me get over my PED (Post-Eurovision Depression, to the uninitiated).

Talking of which...BBC4 at least took the time to commemorate a big anniversary, but mainly focused on the United Kingdom's ups and downs in the contest.  In "EUROVISION AT 60" we had all the ingredients you would expect, including observations from among others Terry Wogan, Bucks Fizz, Katrina and good old Paul 'Dr Eurovision' Jordan.  It was an interesting enough documentary although being the BBC it fell back on the old reliable clips at the expense of a narrative waiting to be told about how the contest has spectacularly evolved over recent years.

Despite its very contemporary setting in the world of the hip hop music business, there is something reassuringly familiar about "EMPIRE" (E4) which is rooted in the 80s golden age of soapy sagas like "Dallas" and "Dynasty".  All the familiar traits are there and label head Lucious' ex-wife Cookie could have walked right out of those 80s soaps.  It's lightweight but fun viewing and a good way to pass an hour.

When I started my monthly TV reviews all those years ago, streaming hadn't been invented: you watched TV programmes on TV, and that was it.  However even an old-school telly watcher like me has to move with the times, and I'm getting into streaming.  After all, why have Amazon Prime (which I primarily have for online shopping deliveries) if you're not going to take up all the other advantages of this service?  There's lots of TV and movies on Amazon Instant Video if you subscribe to Prime.

Faithful travelling companion's got me into watching the rather good "NASHVILLE" which is currently in its 3rd series on More 4, so I've got a bit of catching up to do with the first and second series on Amazon Instant Video.  The show is, as the title suggests, set in the country music scene and is centred on the battle between country music's old and new stars Rayna and Juliette, the latter played by Hayden Panettiere who I will always remember as the cheerleader from "Heroes" (which was one of my favourite shows in the early days of this blog!) but she is in a very different role here.

Going back to ITV now - must we really? - and as is the case every May, everything stops for Cowell.  Even "CORONATION STREET", which over the last 4 years or so has had to fit in with the "Britain's Got Talent" live week schedule and bring even more drama than usual.  This time last year we had Tina's murder; this year it was Steve and Michelle's wedding being quickly overshadowed by the Victoria Court fire.  Yes that's the Victoria Court flats which we've hardly ever seen and, quite frankly, forgot about until the current story.  At the time of writing, Kal (Leanne's boyfriend) has gone to the great soap opera in the sky, going out in a blaze of glory (literally!) dying a hero.  I hate these drama-disasters, whether it's a fire or a tram crash or an explosion.  And do you know how they always announce those helplines at the end of the show if there's been a tragic storyline?  Well, I have an idea for another one:  "If you have been affected by the bad acting in this show, please call.....!"

Finally, I'd just like to mention a show which moved me so much that I cried all the way through it.  "THE STRANGER ON THE BRIDGE" (Channel 4) told the story of Jonny Benjamin, a guy who had tried to attempt suicide on Waterloo Bridge and was talked out of it by a guy called 'Mike'. The programme focused on Jonny's attempt to find 'Mike' and was gripping from start to finish.

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