International TV

What have you been watching? Including Brave New World, Cursed and United We Fall

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Previously on TMINE

I did one of those movie review things: Greyhound (2020)

Netflix’s Signs

Next on TMINE

The upcoming week’s going to be quite busy, with work mounting up pre August break, but I’m going to give reviewing Aladdin (2019) another try.

Helping to ease my workload, however, is that looking ahead through the schedules, we have practically no new shows scheduled to come our way any time soon. In fact, all I could see was Signs on Netflix, which is an imported Polish cop show from 2018.

You can tell the summer season is here, but added to Covid, we’ve hit what I assume must be the opposite of peak TV – trough TV?

I’ll just have to stick with the regulars, I guess. Talking of which…

What TMINE has been watching

So it’s patently clear I can’t do boxsets right now. And trying to do them is, ironically, making it less likely that I watch/review things (sorry, Babylon Berlin). So rather than keep muttering on about Dark et al, I’ll carry on doing what I did with Das Boot and review now what I’ve seen so far and then just treat them as shows I watch weekly.

Which given next week is the last week before TMINE’s August holidays is probably just as a stupid as trying to watch boxsets.

Anyway, that means from now on, the usual regulars will be: Baron Noir, Condor, Dark, Das Boot, Doom Patrol, Stargirl and The Twilight Zone. We can talk about them after the jump.

I did try to watch season 2 of Humans (UK: Channel 4), given it’s now on Netflix. We made it through half an episode and quite enjoyed it, but it seems to have lost its metaphor and is basically an excuse to have androids/gynoids chatting and working out their feelings. The arrival of Carrie-Anne Moss on the scene did make me consider watching more, though.

And as mentioned in my Greyhound review, I’ve started rewatching ITV’s Hornblower, which stars a rather young Ioan Gruffudd. It’s very disconcerting watching it now, because… it’s really good. It’s a really good, scripted ITV show that isn’t a crime drama, a period crime drama or something that involves the aristocracy and country houses. The dialogue is also straight out of Forester. And it’s surprisingly dark, too, straight from the outset. Plus what sets! It’s like being on the Victory in Portsmouth, they’re so good.

So I know what I’m probably watching on my holidays at least.

But in contrast to this forthcoming week, last week brought us three new shows, so after the jump, we’ll be talking about: Brave New World, Cursed and United We Fall.

See you in a mo.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Brave New World, Cursed and United We Fall”

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German TV

Boxset Monday: Dark (season 2) (Netflix)

Available on Netflix

The first season of Netflix’s Dark was probably the most quintessentially German TV show the country has given us. Not in terms of production values, since Dark had the full weight of Netflix’s budgeting behind it, and not because it was a crime show or featured a story by Rosamunde Pilcher.

But this appropriately named show had a whole bunch of concerns and themes that combined, indicated it could only have come from the land that gave us Goethe: is our fate predetermined? Does free will exist? Were “Atomkraft? Nein Danke” T-shirts ever cool?

Set in a small town called Winden – more or less the German equivalent of the US’s Springfield – Dark was a time travel drama like no other. As the producers of Avengers: Endgame recently discovered, the average person’s idea of time travel is based on Back To The Future, with people potentially able to go back in time and change their own pasts.

Dark, however, went in the exact opposite direction. What if you could change absolutely nothing if you went back in time? Even if you did change something, that change is what had always happened. Cause could be effect, effect could be cause, beginning end, end beginning. You might have a time machine, but you actually built it from some plans someone gave to you. Where did they get them from? Well, you give them to them in the future. So who actually invented the time machine? No one? God?

Smarter than the average Netflix show

As befits a country where basically everyone’s been to technical university for seven years and even the train timetables seem to require an in-depth working knowledge of calculus, season one of Dark was a complicated affair.

Set in three time zones 33 years apart – plus a bonus fourth time zone in the final episode – that meant a full roster of characters played by up to three sets of actors, all of whom can travel between years and meet each other and end up becoming one another’s/their own parents if they’re not careful. It didn’t help that half the time, they never introduced themselves, so it wasn’t until eight episodes in that you knew that “crazy white-haired lady” was actually the 66-year-older version of “cute little girl”.

Nevertheless, and despite the often alienating – not quite Brechtian alienating – characters, who were more than a little bit prone to shouting at all times, the first season of Dark was a marvellous piece of work, if you could follow it. Claustrophobic, with a great eye for period detail, a real attempt to address philosophical concerns and science, its one real-let down was its ending, which suggested a shark was about to be jumped.

Now here’s season two. Said shark has not been jumped, you’ll be glad to hear and this more streamlined season two is perhaps even better than season one.

But time appears to be repeating itself. Because guess what – I really hated that ending.

Continue reading “Boxset Monday: Dark (season 2) (Netflix)”
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