So, I’m always in search of good TV, but if it’s too good, it tends to sit in my DVR for a while before I work up the mental energy to watch it. At the end of a long day, it’s easier to watch a so-so episode of something crappy than pretty much anything PBS ever airs, know what I mean? Except that I’m kind of ruthless about axing shows from my recording schedule if they start to bore me — Chuck started boring me recently and, unthinkably, I also realized I was ceasing to care How He Met Their Mother — Leverage almost lost me with their Christmas episode, but the season finale (read: Eliot) brought me back — Grey’s Anatomy lost me SO long ago, when the writers destroyed the WONDERFUL character of Izzie so thoroughly and CONTEMPTIBLY that I began to wish she would die but then she took too long to do so and then DIDN’T AT ALL — and then there are the shows I’m dying to find time to watch, but I want to start them from the beginning, like Mad Men and Friday Night Lights, which, incidentally, I think of every time I look at my aloe plant (because in one of the early episodes, Mrs. Taylor is carrying around the most enormous aloe plant ever, and when I expressed my amazement at its size to my sister: secret codename Apocalyptica, she said something very funny about Coach Taylor perhaps getting scratched up a lot more than the average man) and a bunch of my friends swear on Community and I was kind of fascinated/horrified by the first season of The Tudors BUT, I have completely lost track of this sentence.
What I’m trying to say is, I had a whole pile of PBS shows on my DVR that I’d been neglecting — until recently, when I ran out of anything else I cared to watch. And now I’ve watched them. And am about to recommend them with great enthusiasm.
Sherlock (BBC/Masterpiece Mystery, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, Martin Freeman as Watson, and Rupert Graves as Lestrade).
(Three 90-minute episodes.)
OMG. Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century! I laughed and laughed. Martin Freeman is priceless as Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch just right (and looks perfect) and Rupert Graves… kinda… yummy (remember Lucy’s goofy brother Freddy who plays the piano in Room with a View?). So much fun, and it seems like they’ve set it up to come back with a second series. Yay!
Wallander (BBC/Masterpiece Mystery, based on the Swedish detective novels by Henning Mankell, starring Kenneth Branagh and a FABULOUS supporting cast which includes Sarah Smart (I like her) and the adorably coiffed Tom Hiddleston).
(Two series, each with three 90-minute episodes.)
Swedish cop Kurt Wallander is a gentle soul who would be a lot less stressed out all the time if he weren’t so superlatively skilled at demystifying humanity’s most violent, desperate, and horrific behavior. He is a detective to the core, but it’s so hard on him. His heart is always breaking and it turns out he’s not so good at managing his own problems. Though, SRSLY, if I were indirectly responsible for as many deaths as he is, or if I were always coming so close to saving people but then failing the way he does, I do not know how I would cope. These episodes are just gorgeously filmed (I want to go to Sweden!) and also well-acted (by everybody). Great characters, and while I like some episodes more than others, each has its stunning moments. These are dark and grim murder mysteries that will not leave you full of cheer. I love them. If all cops were like Wallander… well, the cops would be traumatized and not coping well with life, but the rest of us would be a lot safer ^_^. If you watch these shows, you’ll become very familiar with Wallander’s ringtone. Trust me.
Circus (documentary, by the filmmakers Show of Force).
(Six 60-minute episodes.)
“The magic is in you. What we’re doing is triggering a response.” — That’s a quote from Paul Binder, founder and artistic director of the Big Apple Circus. This show is magical, gorgeous, melancholy, scary, and I’m not going to be able to do it justice here. It’s about ordinary and extraordinary people in the most ordinary and extraordinary circumstances and it made me cry, over and over, with how beautiful it was. You fall in love with a lot of these people, and even the ones you don’t like are fascinating. There is so much in here about how a few seconds of beauty and perfection is worth all the shit that comes before and all the shit that comes after. This show is about everything, and I just love love LOVE it. When I got to the end of the final episode, I was bereft.
So. The only problem with all of this TV love is that I have not actually managed to clean out my DVR, because I can’t bear to delete anything.
Happy watching, everyone :o)