Vera

Dear ladies and gents,

this here is Vera.

vera

Image via ITV.com

DCI Vera Stanhope to be precise. She is a detective with the Northumberland & City Police. Vera is produced by ITV and premiered back in 2011. It based on the series of books written by Ann Cleeves (who also wrote Shetland).

Now I’ve been binge watching Vera for the past few weeks (I finished with Daredevil and needed to binge watch something, okay?) There are many reasons to like Vera.

It’s a solid crime drama, the series is shot beautifully, the characters are complex and interesting and then there is the fabulous Brenda Blethyn (if you haven’t seen Secrets and Lies or Little Voice go, do it immediately! I mean, come on!)

I know it is a series about crime and murder and whathaveyou, but it’s a total comfort watch for me.

But what I like the best (THE BEST!) about it?

Vera above is not between 25 and 35 (although if you know anything about anything a lot (A LOT) of actresses and actors regularly shave off a few years so even those that claim they are perpetually 25 are not really).

Vera doesn’t have TV hair.

Vera is great at her f**king job.

Vera can be a pain in the arse.

Vera doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

I tried to think when was the last time I saw ANYTHING on US TV that had an older main female character? Harry’s Law. With Kathy Bates. And that got cancelled because it “skewed older”. They cancelled a show with OSCAR WINNER Kathy Bates because it skewed older. Harry’s Law btw pulled between 7 and 11 million people per episode.

really

Because everyone over the age of 35 belongs to an old people’s home really. Women especially.

remick-head-explosion-o

So watch Vera. I promise you’ll like it. And God bless UK TV because Vera there? Has been renewed for another season.

The Night Manager

Dear ladies and gents,

have you seen the Night Manager? You should. It’s really really good.

Based on the novel written by John le Carré the Night Manager is produced by BBC and AMC. It is about a former soldier Jonathan Pine (played by Hiddles). Jonathan gets recruited by an intelligence officer Angela Burr (played brilliantly by Olivia Coleman) to infiltrate the inner circle of one Richard Onslow Roper (played by Hugh Laurie). Now this Roper character is icky. Kinda creepy and sh*t. Angela calls him “the worst man in the world”. Don’t know that I would necessarily agree with that sentiment. Make no mistake, he IS bad, but honestly? There are politicians that are far worse. *cough*

At any rate – Jonathan goes deep undercover in order to gain Roper’s trust all the while trying to avoid alerting the intelligence community as to what he is doing. Because obvs Roper has the intelligence guys in his back pocket (goes to prove my point there are far worse people than some creepy arms dealer. Politicians namely. It’s the hypocrisy and the corruption that makes me shout obscenities at the tv on regular basis).

So tl; dr – the Night Manager is a snazzy looking crime thriller.

Hiddles is great (can I just say how refreshing it is to see him be all doom and gloom and sh*t and not farting rainbows for a change?)*, Olivia Coleman is absolutely superb and Hugh Laurie is obvs solid as ever. The pacing is a bit slow, but that’s AMC for you. Overall definitely worth the watch.

Which brings me to a single thing that has been bugging me. I’ll preface this to say I can be a shallow cow. Nothing to be proud of, but we’ve been hanging out for a while so I might as well be honest with you.

Please look at the image below:

Image via AMC

What the ever loving… lemme try again… what in the world… no. WHY are those pants?

They are giving me the vapors. And not in the good way. You’d think “the worst man in the world” would be able to shop at better places than Marks and Spencer’s clearance rack. Although I suspect even the kindliest M&S sales assistant would take one look at those pants and be all like

And before you tell me off for being a shallow bish just look at that abomination and tell me you don’t think those pants are ugly. Hugh Laurie is a fine looking gentleman and even he can’t make them work. These are not the pants of an arms dealer. These are pants of an eccentric old person who hikes them up all.the.time. Or that guy off Gogglebox. So yes, just… f*ck no.

*That said – if you need cheering up, watch this. This will never not make me laugh.

Shetland

Image via BBC

Dear ladies and gents,

sometimes when there is a full TV schedule some things will slip through the cracks. UK shows especially. It would help if there were premiere dates listed anywhere. What’s up with that, seriously? Early in 2016 doesn’t really help. At any rate it does come in handy when there is nothing to watch and I can can go on a crime series binge.

So Shetland. I remember watching the pilot. And I liked it. But I never gotten round to the second season (third season is currently on air). So I kinda caught up over the last two weeks.

And I think for anyone who is a fan of UK crime series, it will be a solid watch.

Shetland is based on the books written by Ann Cleeves. On the side note – she also wrote the Vera Stanhope novels that have been dramatized by the BBC. Vera is also not bad and will start airing its sixth season at the end of January. Just fyi.

Anyway. ANYWAY Shetland is based on the books about the Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez (played by Douglas Henshall) who lives at the Shetland islands in Scotland. Obviously the scenery is beautiful, but it’s Scotland after all so it is to be expected. But what I think the series does really well is depict just how isolated the area is and since it is a small community just how much people can get up in each other’s business. The murder mystery is solid and there are usually some twists and turns along the way. This is not cozy mystery a la Midsommer murders, on visuals alone it is far more haunting. But I like it all the same.

If you plan to binge watch 10 episodes aired so far. Also I might add that in current season Ciaran Hinds and Archie Panjabi make a guest appearance.

UK shows to check out this winter

Dear ladies and gents,

had this post saved in drafts for weeks. WEEKS. Blogger fail. This merits a double face palm obviously.

(It’s never not a good time to use this gif).

At any rate – here are some UK shows to check out this November/December.

First stop – Christmas. BBC is pulling ALL the stops this Christmas and they commissioned a number of Christmas specials including but not limited to Call The Midwife, Still Open All Hours, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Citizen Khan, Boomers, Not Going Out and Nan.

Then there is Doctor Who.

Then there is Sherlock. On a side note – totes not feeling this Victorian special. Am I the only one? It’s like meh whatever can we have a proper season? I’m kinda like there is so much great TV, do you really want to wait that long between seasons? Yes, yes I know, I know Doctor Strange and all that, Cabbagepatch is busy, but as I said whatever.

I will tell you what I am excited about.

LUTHER.

Yes, that’s how excited I am about Luther.

Ok here is some other stuff that aired recently that might be worth a look.

River

I watched River and lemme tell ya – it’s dark. And heavy. So please don’t say I didn’t warn you. It stars Stellan Skarsgård as Detective John River who… well… sees dead people? Before you start shouting at me for being a spoilery cow – it’s right there in the trailer, they give it away!

At any rate, it’s a solid police drama, but the emphasis is on drama, if that makes sense. River is available on Netflix in case anyone is interested.

Unforgotten

I quite liked Unforgotten – so they discover a skeleton in this house, right? And the police discovers this poor bugger was murdered some 30 odd years earlier. So one detective makes it her mission to find out who murdered him. Stars Nicola Walker and Trevor Eve (of the Waking the Dead fame).

Jekyll and Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde is about Robert Jekyll (played by Tom Bateman), the grandson of Dr. Jekyll, who is trying to learn more about his family’s history. Obviously that will end well. The show seems to be a bit gory as a bunch of people in UK complained it was too bloody to be shown before 9pm. Hm just a suggestion, don’t watch then?

London Spy

Now London Spy. I still haven’t gotten round to it, will probably save it for the holiday period. At any rate – it’s about two guys who meet and fall in love, but it soon transpires that one is a spy. And suddenly goes missing. So his boyfriend decides to find him. The thing is – the cast is stellar – Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling (among others) so I think this will be worth the watch. Also? London p*rn :) As in the city.

The Frankenstein Chronicles

The latest show for ITV – it stars Sean Bean as John Marlott, an inspector investigating a series of murders in London in 19th century that may have been committed by a doctor who is determined to reanimate the dead.