Well, if I'm going to start watching UK dramas again, I guess BBC2 - and a drama written by Jed Mercurio and starring the wonderful Lennie James (from Jericho et al), no less - is a good place to start. Line of Duty is a police complaints procedural that looks at an investigation into a top cop's apparently spotless, amazing record to see how he manages it. Along the way, we get to see how the Met now deals with complaints - both officially and unofficially - while watching the police investigating themselves in a (to use a cliché) game of cat and mouse.
And while it's actually pretty good, there's a faint whim of the ridiculous throughout, to the extent you're sometimes not sure whether it's being serious, being deliberately funny or is simply having trouble taking itself seriously.
Here's a trailer followed by the first four minutes or so. You'll see what I mean about not knowing whether it's supposed to be ridiculous or not from the the second video.
In the US: Thursdays, 9.30pm, FX In the UK: Not yet acquired.
So how do you want to be remembered when you die? Do you want to go out with a bang or do you want to fade away?
Charlie Sheen seemed dead certain to be going for option a. After a catastrophic public meltdown that saw him chucked off Two And A Half Men, one of the US's top-rated comedy shows, he seemed to be going pellmell towards even further collapse. And then
he signed up for Anger Management, an FX sitcom. Well, surely that was going to be like petrol to a forest fire - an even greater disaster in the making.
Except not. Anger Management is a fairly traditional sitcom in which Charlie Sheen plays Charlie, a former baseball player turned anger management therapist who has some - but not much - difficulty dealing with his patients, another therapist (Selma Blair) who is also his best friend with benefits, his ex-wife and his daughter, as well as dating in general.
And while there are a couple of meta-moments about his firing from Two And A Half Men at the beginning of the first episode and while in many ways this is the same womanising Charlie of that sitcom, this is not the Charlie Sheen you might have been expecting. This is a Charlie Sheen who can talk coherently, intelligently, sensitively about issues and resolve them like an intelligent adult.
Boy is it dull, even if FX is trailing it as something of train wreck. It seems Charlie Sheen went with option b.
Well, we've done a little dance around the decades to take in all manner of different genres for The Wednesday Play, but today it's time to go hard-core for a play that's been voted the best British drama ever: The Wednesday Play's Cathy Come Home, starring Ray Brooks and Carol White.
Written by Jeremy Sanford, produced by legendary producer Tony Garnett and directed by one of Britain's finest, most important film directors, Ken Loach, Cathy Come Home is also possibly the most influential British TV play ever made, highlighting on TV for the first time the problems of the homeless in the Britain of 1966: the play was watched by 12.5m viewers, a quarter of the British population at the time, and eventually led to the formation of the charity Crisis as well as changes in the law to allow homeless fathers to stay with their wives and children in hostels.
As well as revolutionising attitudes to homelessness, the play also revolutionised British TV direction. At the time, most TV plays and dramas were shot in studios on video, with a somewhat theatrical direction. Loach instead used a documentary style, shooting everything on location on 16mm film, often with handheld cameras – although union regulations of the time forced Loach and cinematographer Tony Imi to shoot about 10 minutes of the play on video, which they telerecorded and spliced into the film as required.
So, yes, it's important.
But without further ado, here's the play, which you can watch in one of three ways: DVD, by giving Ken Loach films some money with the first YouTube clip after the jump, or by watching the regular YouTube version that follows it. Obviously, if you choose option three and like the play, go for options one or two afterwards to ensure that nice Mr Loach and the BBC get some money for their hard work.
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.