Category Archives: TV

Watch Rick and Morty

A while back, I read a tweet that said something like “Rick and Morty has more ideas in a single episode than most series do in a whole season”. (I wish I could find that tweet, but I can’t.) [UPDATE! Chris R found it, and here it is!]

That claim caught my imagination, so I watched the first season. You should watch it, too.

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The Good Life (1975-1978)

The Good Life is the archetypal 1970s British sitcom: a pleasant story about likeable people doing nice things. The story is negligible. (90% of it happens in the first episode, where Tom quits his job on his 40th birthday to go self-sufficient with his wife, Barbara.) When there is conflict, it’s quickly resolved.

Cast of The Good Life. Left: Tom and Barbara Good (played by Richard Briers and Felicity Kendall). Right: Jerry and Margo Leadbetter (played by Paul Eddington and Penelope Keith).

So it ought to be dismissable fluff; and in a way, it is. But it’s delightful dismissable fluff, and that makes it very easy watching.

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Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection

I watched the first episode of this program tonight. Verdict: disappointing. It’s clear that Blumenthal truly is an extraordinary chef, and must have unique and valuable insights into how cookery works; but In Search of Perfection doesn’t tell us what they are.

In the first episode, he cooks bangers and mash (followed by treacle tart). There is a lot of messing about visiting pig farms and suchlike before we get down to business. He makes his own sausages by what seems a ludicrously over-complex method that involves toast stock. There is lot going on; but we never find out why any of it is going on.

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Butterflies (1978-1983)

Butterflies is a very strange TV series. It ran for four seasons across six years, totalling 28 episodes of about half an hour each: and in those 28 half-hours, almost nothing happens.

It’s billed as a comedy, and it does have some funny moments. But there are long, long stretches that could not be described as remotely humorous — for example, passages in which the viewpoint character wanders through a public park, inwardly monologuing over how predictable her life has become. There is a laugh track, which is sometimes unbearably inappropriate.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (TV Series)

I read John Le Carré’s classic spy novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy a few months ago, and found it difficult but brilliant. (The same can be said of most of his books).

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Back in 1979, the BBC made a highly regarded TV mini-series adapted very faithfully from the book, starring Alec “Ben Kenobi” Guinness as protagonist George Smiley. I was keen to see it, and to compare it with the book.

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Stranger Things: well worth watching

If you’ve not yet seen the Netflix series Stranger Things, I recommend it — especially if, like me, you grew up in the 70s and 80s, with the films of Steven Spielberg and his contemporaries.

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Here are a few reasons.

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Happy Days: I finished season 2, and I’m about done

I was surprised and delighted by the early episodes of Happy Days, and still enjoying it by the mid-point of season 2. A while back, I finished watching the 23 episodes of season 2. The second half of the series was … OK.

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