A new day, a new, hopefully regular column. Welcome to TVursday! That’s Thursdays, in which I talk about television. Geddit? Well, it amused me.
I watch TV a whole lot more often than I watch movies. The vast rise of television quality over the last few years has a lot to do with that along with commit issues. A 2 hour film always feels like a big commitment to me, 2 hours is a long time, yet conversely I’ve no problem with watching episode after episode of a show I’m enjoying. Somewhere, it’s bite-sized portions combine with the warmth of familiarity and I get stuck in a Televisual delusion; “just one more episode won’t hurt”. Here, I’ll be talking about whatever TV has been taking up my time in the preceding week.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
I sit somewhere on the Star Wars spectrum between reverence and nostalgia and shame, indifference and feelings of betrayal. Yes, the OG trilogy had me enthralled from childhood, and yes I turned my back on the abysmal prequels. The Clone Wars sits in between that spectrum the same as myself. The TV format allows it to experiment, extend and focus on certain characters for twenty minutes at a time. this yields middling results.
It can sometimes feel a bit like watching cut scenes on a PS2, such is the low grade of it’s animation but mostly it’s aesthetic fits its purpose. The shady ethical stance of the Jedi’s and their “peacekeeping” activities during this time of war often has me frustrated but you can’t expect too much from what is essentially a kids cartoon. I’m watching it at a slower rate than my usual obsessive TV consumption habits and that’s indicative of my stance on the show. It’s occasionally very stirring and sometimes kind of offputting. For hardcore fans, I can certainly see the appeal and I will continue to get through it till I’ve seen them all. It’s low-grade, easy to watch TV.
Workaholics is a show that I have heard very little of. I discovered it maybe two weeks ago and have since watched all three seasons and forty episodes. Twice. And serendipitously it has returned for its forth season just as my binge ended. It’s sense of humour fits me like a glove, somewhere between gross-out frat boy stuff, the surreal, sometimes scary excess of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (it’s closest point of reference I can offer) mixed with some good ol’ fashioned bro-love. It comes replete with Hip-Hop humour smarts too, something that couldn’t appeal to me more (references to left-field weirdo rappers like Lil B and Chief Keef are commonplace and as far as I can tell, unique to Workaholics).
It’s conceit sees a trio of college dropouts who live and work (titular Work) together as they stumble through adult life, one drug-fuelled (and the aholics) mishap at a time. It’s created, often written and sometimes directed by the trio of leads and it shows. Their rapport is breezy and it’s easy to see how much fun they have making the show, their dynamism, charisma and relationships are the biggest draws of the show. It’s A+ stuff, I implore you to seek and binge!
Brooklyn Nine Nine
The creators of Parks and Rec continue to shine, and for me, they’ve outdone themselves here. Shades of Parks’ humour shine through, some archetypal characters are near interchangeable but the pace here is somewhat zippier. Parks’ irregular schedule and loss of main characters is stealing some of zeal whilst Nine Nine exudes youthful exuberance. It’s police station set up commands it to be really. Andy Samberg flaunts his ownership of the “loveable idiot” character type to deserved Golden Globe winning success. One can only dream of a show in which he and Parks’ FBI agent Burt Macklin team up.
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond
James Bond is a character and a franchise who’s appeal escapes me. This 4 part miniseries on the life of his creator and his creation is much more my speed. Fleming is portrayed as rather close to his creation to the point of suggesting elements of autobiography within, he drinks and sleeps around and the first episode sees him employed to spy on Germans during World War II. It’s only one episode deep but it shows much promise.
It’s HBO, it’s brilliant. It’s also on a one week hiatus so I’ll go more in depth next week when I’ve more to report to you on.
– Oliver Drew