What did you watch this Christmas?

The Widow the Witch and the Wardrobe

Time for “What did you watch this Christmas?”, my chance to tell you what I watched on TV over the Christmas holidays – and this week – and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

First, the usual recommendations: The Daily Show, Modern Family, Happy Endings and Suburgatory. Do watch them.

With so much going on, I have a bit of a backlog and I’m probably going to miss something out, but here goes.

  • Absolutely Fabulous: the bits I watched were quite funny. But I didn’t watch much of it.
  • Alphas: Obviously, I haven’t watched any of this since the first three episodes but I decided to tune in for the finale of the first season to see if it had got any better. It was a bit better, and the ending was a moderate game changer, but it still feels a bit soulless – sci-fi for sci-fi’s sake without any real heart beyond producing a number of episodes per year.
  • Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe: An end of the year summary of the year’s news and TV. Less happened in it this year that usual, with few interesting additions beyond Brooker, and Brooker himself seemed even gloomier and more miserable than usual. Raised a few laughs though.
  • Doctor Who: Quite nice, but nothing too remarkable. Some nods to continuity (Androzani Major) and a few tears were elicited towards the end, but this was just a bit of Christmas fun and loveliness really.
  • Sherlock: I actually really liked this – a very weird, odd love story, but I think Lara Pulver worked well as Adler. Shame that (spoiler alert) Sherlock has to save her in the end, since it would have been better for her to have won and perhaps felt sorry for him as per the original story. But very good, if a little silly at times.
  • Small and Far Away/Unintelligent Design: Two documentaries about Father Ted, one really rather nice and touching, the other just an excuse for some clips from shows that weren’t Father Ted.
  • Top Gear: Obviously better for having Clarkson in it, but it’s now getting too ridiculous and staged to be truly enjoyable.
  • The Victoria Wood documentary: Sorry. Can’t remember what it was called, but it was only okay, and it was nice to be reminded of Wood and Walters as well as some of her better sketches. But not dinnerladies.

Still to be watched: Great Expectations, Stephen Fry’s 100 Greatest Gadgets, Three Inches, The Royal Bodyguard, Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait, The John Craven Years, The Pharaoh Who Conquered the Sea, Hacks, and Mad and Bad: 60 Years of Science on TV. Anybody watched them? Any of them any good?

And in books:

  • Death comes to Pemberley: PD James indulges in Jane Austen fan fiction, somehow bringing together all of Austen’s characters for a great big murder-mystery. So far, what I’m discovering is that it’s not a very exciting book and that if you have a bunch of characters all called ‘Mr x’ or ‘Mrs y’ and that some of them change name by marrying, it’s bloody difficult to keep track of everyone. I’ll let you know if gets better, because so far, Lizzy Bennet hasn’t done much beyond set up a drawing room.

    “What did you watch this week?” is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?