Been struggling to find something to blog about since my last post in January. I haven’t felt compelled to write about anything in particular and when an interesting topic has risen I have shied away from writing because I don’t have a clear view on the topic and don’t want my post to be a long, rambling list of contradictions!
I have had a few things that I’ve been watching on television over the last few months which don’t warrant their own individual posts but to make up for my lack of posting in the last 2 months I am combining for this sort of master post. (Also helps that I have time to write – yay 4 day weekend!)
War and Peace – BBC One
I usually like reading the books before watching adaptations. Sometimes I read the books after such as in the case of The White Queen. Whilst I liked this adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic, I have absolutely no desire to read the book! The narrative was relatively easy to follow and if I didn’t get something I could ask my dad who was watching it with me. The only thing I felt was that the series could have benefited from more episodes as there seemed to be a lot of coincidences regarding characters meeting that may have stretched out over time in the book. Whilst co-productions with American broadcasters produce high quality looking television, there does seem to be an issue with commissioning the right number of episodes as I implied in my blog post last year about The Casual Vacancy.
There were a number of stand out scenes such as the ballroom scene with Natasha and Andrei and many of the war scenes such as Pierre being silently blown back by a mine. The casting was brilliant. Special mentions to Paul Dano as Pierre who I didn’t realise was American for ages because his accent was so good, Jessie Buckley as Marya who has come on amazingly since appearing in I’d Do Anything and Tupppence Middleton and Callum Turner as Helene and Anatole because they were so believable as villains.
Inside Obama’s White House – BBC Two
This is a really interesting documentary series as Obama’s presidency nears its end. It’s not a fly on the wall documentary but the access to the White House and its staff in interview form is incredible. However, I find American politics so confusing! There seems to be the president, house of representatives (which I think is congress?) and the senate. As seen in the latest episode about healthcare or obamacare, the tea party movement saw a surge in votes due to its anti-obamacare stance and as a result, the republicans had more members in the house of representatives. Therefore Obama can be a democratic president but not able to achieve what he wants because it gets blocked by a republican house. I think it’s a shame as, in my uninformed opinion, Obama is probably the best President for America in my lifetime.
The Voice UK – BBC One
The live shows start tonight! I think Paloma has the weakest team – despite her being a positive transgender representation I don’t think Jordan is the best singer, Beth was a very shocking choice given some of the talent on Paloma’s Knockout team and Heather will be ok if she can control it. Similarly, Will has a slightly weak team – I think Lydia Lucy is amazing, Lyrickal will be ok if he can control his performance as he is a good singer and although I liked Lauren in the auditions I was surprised to see her in the final three. Boy George’s team is a very good reflection of him as they seem to have a lot of character and quirkyness – Cody may be the new Leah McFall in as far as alternative fashion and singing goes on The Voice and Harry and Vangelis are both very good singers. I think Ricky has the strongest team and could be the first coach to win twice – Jolan and Kevin are absolutely incredible and I would be happy if either of those two won. I am less keen on Chloe and feel she is like the new Bo Bruce in terms of vocal vulnerability and boho style.
American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson – BBC Two
I don’t remember the trial as I was very young when it happened but I have often seen and heard references to OJ Simpson in popular culture and especially television programmes. This drama series is really intriguing as it seems that the evidence is there to convict him but he will be released as a free man. It’s also interesting to see the role of the media in the trial – the highly televised car chase (which though interesting from a media point of view episode 2 was very dull), the celebrity status of witnesses and lawyers and the problems it caused for the legal teams.
I think the casting is very good but I have trouble believing Cuba Gooding Jr as OJ Simpson. I don’t have much of a reference for OJ but I think Cuba is probably a lot smaller in stature and his voice too high. I think both the prosecution team and defence team have been cast and acted well as you get an idea of the personalities and characters through their mannerisms, choice of vocabulary and body language.