Anything Good on TV ?

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  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    If that's not ChrisNo1 spending ages on a review, I hate to see the unedited version! :D

    He has slightly rained on my parade, but there are some good critical points. My view is - now that NTTD is going to be delayed yet again, The Night Manager is a damn fine stop-gap until that time comes. I'd say I enjoyed it more than most Bond films of the last 20 years (not hard, I admit) and it riffs on a number of plot points and scenes you'll find in past Bonds.

    The term 'night manager' refers to a hotel's night staff receptionist or rather maitre'd who knows the secrets and has to deal with all sorts of eventualities, almost like a party chief whip. It's ironic because in the early Bonds for sure our hero was always checking in to hotels and the receptionist would have no real role except to eye up Bond.

    What I liked best was how great it looked. The location work is terrific, the photography and the various places on view are for more enjoyable than what you see in the Bonds, which frankly can seem a bit depressing. In LTK, Bond checks in to a hotel and, looking around, declares it 'adequate' in one of those awkward moments of humour for Dalton. Okay, it had a kind of restrained opulence but it just didn't do much for me. And. you can apply that to so many of his venues - the hotel room in Qos, maybe even in CR and then that place in TWINE where he spends the night with Elektra. All these places may be quite nice but in retrospect a bit depressing. Even when you go back to OHMSS, the whole Piz Gloria thing is a bit chintzy and Bond going from one hotel room to another is all rather claustrophobic.

    You don't get that with TNM :) The venues look like where you might get some great sex on offer if you took the missus, the other places you'd spend checking out the plasma TV functions. They look sexy, chic, modern, boutique. They make you really want to be rich so you could afford this stuff, you see the point of it.
    To be fair, the makers are trying to show how the arms dealers get to enjoy the fruits of their immoral trade, almost a bit like the fine lifestyle of the drug traffickers in The French Connection. In contrast, you sometimes feel the Bond producers are a bit shy about showing Bond enjoying the high life at the taxpayers' expense.

    I'll put the rest in spoilers because if you haven't seen it, you'll enjoy picking up the Bond connections.
    Yes, it owes a lot to LTK as the hero seems to help out the villain who feels indebted to him and asks him to tag along. From thereon Bond starts to play off the main players against themselves, throwing to the wolves any on the team who appear flakey or unreliable. Admittedly this is a more underhand way of playing than we are used to with Bond - it's very hard to imagine Connery doing this stuff, it's kind of bitchy. As with LTK, the air of menace is scored early on so there is a real sense of fear at being found out.
    But it's like other Bonds too - of course, he's sort of recruited in GF, after trying and failing the same ploy to get in with Auric - see, a craftier Bond would have tried to endear himself, but Connery has to beat him at golf!
    And it's like OHMSS too - again, that's Bond undercover, offering to help the villain while actually trying to bring him down. Some scenes are like that in TNM - in particular, where he has to leave the arms traffickers abode and needs an excuse, while he's under suspicion.
    By the end there are so many nods to Bond it becomes a game to notice, but imo it's done so much better, with real elan. I'm missing out Hugh Laurie's depiction as Roper, the arms dealer, which is a revelation. He is a real piece of work who seems able to look right through a person. Right from the off, he's noticing things that might put you on guard. Tom Hollander is the bitchy little snitch who is jealous of the new guy on the scene. He's also great and yet it's odd that they are all British, not like foreigners in the Bonds. Yet again maybe it isn't as so many of the early villains were either English really or dubbed by the English - Kronsteen, No maybe, Shaw's Red Grant, Goldfinger and Largo dubbed by the same English actor then Donald Pleasance and Charles Grey as the supposedly foreign Blofeld, then Lee as Scaramanga and we can go on. Not that many villains who aren't played by English or American actors. So Roper and his gang fit in better than you'd expect, they're like old-style Bond villains, who always seemed to tap into the public school fear of a certain kind of authority.

    The actress who played Jed is genuinely sexually attractive, which seems a rarity on TV these days. I like Olivia Colman's role too, you couldn't be sure how much she was taking advantage of the situation. But she's almost in the role of Leiter spying on Bond in GF.

    Yes, there are plot holes though I enjoyed it enough to ignore them. The whole phoney set up of infiltration I bought into totally because the British State is brilliant at that, you can hardly set up a campaign group without it being infiltrated, be it the Republican movement in Ireland or the Met's SpyCops scandal. Shillls are commonplace - people who profess bogus solidarity so you confide in them and tell you everything you've found out about State corruption.
    How did Pine's Dorset murder get past the local police? They'd have to be in on it and they're dead leaky. I thought nobody but nobody was supposed to know about this plan.
    The 'money shot' where one character gets the better of another is sublime, little I've seen better.

    The above is redacted. You can only see it by permission of a court order.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    But re the whole Tom Hiddlestone as Bond thing - he does really well on this and has a touch of the Ian Fleming about him, not least because he's posh. That said, despite all the Bond touches, The Night Manager is not a typically Bond vehicle and it could be argued that the Bond films it imitates as noted in my previous post are not ones that really made it big at the box office, though they're loved by fans. Bond often lacks his usual swagger in them, and seems less comfortable in his own skin, and Hiddlestone plays that well here. I suppose you could say the same of Craig however.
    It does seem that when you pick a new Bond actor from now on, you have to pick a narrative to go with it. You really have to think ahead, you can't just say, well, would this actor work well in GF or TSWLM. I think they did that a bit with Brosnan. You have to think, what kind of movies, what kind of universe do we want to create with this?
    The Night Manager benefits from that sense of 'what happens next?' suspense but Bond isn't too much like that, it's not meant to be edge of seat stuff as a rule, just some of the time.

    One final note. I understand if you look up the resume of the main three actors in The Night Manager, Hugh Laurie, Tom Hollander and Hiddlestone, they all went to the same public school and all went on to Eton/Oxford/Cambridge. This does rather tap into the notion that we Brits are all run by a posh elite. :#
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,196MI6 Agent
    Hugh Laurie is so awesome as a villain, by far the best thing about the Night Manager. I think maybe he's just doing Bertie Wooster with a deeper voice and more brains and really scary. Similar mannerisms otherwise.

    Theres another film from about the same period, called Tomorrowland where he also plays a Bondvillain type, if you like this performance. Slightly sillier but similar characterization.
    when he meets his ironic Bondvillain type demise, as his evil machinery falls on him, his last words are "oh... bollocks"
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,557MI6 Agent
    It's funny how Hugh Laurie has made a career out of playing English idiots and American smart guys.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,196MI6 Agent
    I could never get into House, but am impressed by Laurie's performance: an incredible transformation. What I really like is his early British comedy: Black Adder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and Jeeves and Wooster.

    He has written a novel called The Gun Seller, and I gather its a spy thriller, involving arms dealers(!) which should certainly qualify him for the role of Dickie Roper. Has anybody read The Gun Seller? recommend it?
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,557MI6 Agent
    His British comedies are great! I've read The Gun Seller many years ago. I don't remember much, but I thought it was competent.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,196MI6 Agent
    I shall have to look for this book when it feels safe to go into bookstores again.

    another item in Hugh Laurie's resume that surely must have qualified him for a role in this spy thriller:
    a recurring sketch in A Bit of Fry and Laurie about two secret agents called Control and Tony that seems be based on more typical le Carre plots. Difference is he's playing one of the good guys in this one.

    another example
    and another
    yet another
    here's one more
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,557MI6 Agent
    I'm going to laugh now
    :))
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,067MI6 Agent
    I could never get into House, but am impressed by Laurie's performance: an incredible transformation. What I really like is his early British comedy: Black Adder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and Jeeves and Wooster.

    He has written a novel called The Gun Seller, and I gather its a spy thriller, involving arms dealers(!) which should certainly qualify him for the role of Dickie Roper. Has anybody read The Gun Seller? recommend it?

    I read it years ago, it's good spy fun, yes. It's not a comedy at all, but a good action thriller. Well worth a read.
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 3,850MI6 Agent
    I’m watching Gerry Anderson’s little seen series The Secret Service (1969). It’s an odd mixture of puppetry and real life action but very enjoyable. Well worth a look, it’s on BritBox along with virtually everything else the Anderson’s produced.
    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,557MI6 Agent
    edited January 31
    Miss Scarlet & the Duke

    I've just watched the third episode of this series about a female private investigatior in Victorian London. Scarlet's private detective father dies suddenly and she continues the profession part out of interest and part out of economic neccessety. Kate Philips is entertaining, charming, self-confident and smart in the role of Scarlet. Scarlet finds a few allies, including a Scotland Yard detective called The Duke. I suspect many would have gone down the route of dedicating one episode to the heroine being treated badly because of her gender, but after brilliantly solving one case in the first or second episode everyone respects her. Thankfully that's not the case here. We are often reminded of how unusual and controversial a female private detective was, and a bobby can start laughing when Scarlet presents herself as such. I like the plots, the premise and the cast. An entertaining and unusual crime series!
  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,492MI6 Agent
    I watched all three episodes of 'The Pembrokshire Murders' last night with Luke Evans and Keith Allen.

    I thought it was excellent. A true story that kept it simple. Not full of over dramatic scenes but a proper telling of police investigating a cold case.

    Keith Allen always plays an excellent scum bag.
  • Ens007Ens007 EnglandPosts: 863MI6 Agent
    Recently watched & enjoyed Lupin on Netflix and re-watched The Night Manager following on from reading ChrisNo1's review above. Whole-heartedly agree that Hugh Laurie really is superb in it & Tom Holland plays the 'weasel' side-kick to him very well too.
  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,492MI6 Agent
    Ens007 wrote:
    Recently watched & enjoyed Lupin on Netflix and re-watched The Night Manager following on from reading ChrisNo1's review above. Whole-heartedly agree that Hugh Laurie really is superb in it & Tom Holland plays the 'weasel' side-kick to him very well too.

    I love Tom Holland. He's a terrific actor who seems to be able to do everything. His comic timing is great.

    I think he'd fit in very well a a bureaucratic type at MI6 ala Saunders from TLD.


    One of my favourite things ever was him in the film 'In The Loop' .... 'Difficult, difficult -lemon- difficult.' :))

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh8atGyzVt0
  • Sir MilesSir Miles The Wrong Side Of The WardrobePosts: 25,134Chief of Staff
    Over the last couple of days I’ve watched both series of Back with David Mitchell & Robert Webb...genuinely funny with many laugh out loud moments...definitely recommended -{
    YNWA 96
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    edited February 4
    I've been watching Channel 5's The Drowning over the last few nights.

    It's about a woman who perpetually wears the same tartan dressing gown who thinks she's seen her missing or drowned kid (the body was never found) some 10 years later, all grown up. What is she to do about it?

    It seems a new genre we've seen of late - utter tosh of the first order, but oddly watchable. It's almost like you're not meant to believe any of it, but nothing to stop you going along with it. It's almost a reflection of today's cavalier attitude to the truth. If it feels good that's the main thing.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Ens007Ens007 EnglandPosts: 863MI6 Agent
    Been working through the earlier Prime Suspect series - still highly watchable & makes for good evening viewing. Also confirms that I still have a 'thing' for Dame Helen Mirren.

    Took Lady Rose's recommendation of The Pembrokeshire Murders. Enjoyed it & thought the main actors did a great job - Keith Allen in particular. Not quite in class of the recent Dennis Nilsen mini-series with David Tennant, but well worth investing a bit of free time for.
  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,492MI6 Agent
    Ens007 wrote:
    Been working through the earlier Prime Suspect series - still highly watchable & makes for good evening viewing. Also confirms that I still have a 'thing' for Dame Helen Mirren.

    Took Lady Rose's recommendation of The Pembrokeshire Murders. Enjoyed it & thought the main actors did a great job - Keith Allen in particular. Not quite in class of the recent Dennis Nilsen mini-series with David Tennant, but well worth investing a bit of free time for.


    'Des' was brilliant. If that doesn't win every award going it will have been robbed.

    The Pembrokshire Murders isn't that league but I did find it watchable.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,001MI6 Agent
    Superbowl LIV.
    I am crossing fingers it's gonna be great.
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,557MI6 Agent
    chrisno1 wrote:
    Superbowl LIV.
    I am crossing fingers it's gonna be great.

    I hear there will be some hate for Norway in a one of the commercials. In that particularely "sport" the US are the underdogs and will (unfortunately) remain so for at least decade. :D
  • HardyboyHardyboy Posts: 5,750Chief of Staff
    chrisno1 wrote:
    Superbowl LIV.
    I am crossing fingers it's gonna be great.

    Actually it's Super Bowl LV (55)--but in the logo they have the trophy between the L and V, so I think a lot of people are making this mistake. Not that it matters. Anymore the only purpose of Roman numerals is to make the Super Bowl look like a major cultural event.
    Vox clamantis in deserto
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,001MI6 Agent
    Hardyboy wrote:
    chrisno1 wrote:
    Superbowl LIV.
    I am crossing fingers it's gonna be great.

    Actually it's Super Bowl LV (55)--but in the logo they have the trophy between the L and V, so I think a lot of people are making this mistake. Not that it matters. Anymore the only purpose of Roman numerals is to make the Super Bowl look like a major cultural event.

    My bad. It would be a lot easier if they just called it Superbowl 2021.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,196MI6 Agent
    edited February 7
    reading about the recently departed Cloris Leachman, I found this:
    the Nutt House
    an obscure Mel Brooks teevee series from 1989, about the operators of a once fashionable big city hotel staring Harvey Korman, Leachman, and Mark Blankfield (from Fridays) as the elevator operator. A bit like Fawlty Towers meets the Addams Family with continuous sight gags. Leachman plays two roles in the pilot, both hideous.

    Funny how she played these revolting characters in her Mel Brooks movies: she was actually a babe when she was younger, can't remember how she looked in Mary Tyler Moore but she seduced a schoolboy in the Last Picture Show round that time!

    anyway, watch the first ten or so minutes of Kiss Me Deadly to see her film debut from 1955. The future Nurse Diesel is introduced as a refugee from a lunatic asylum, hitchhiking at night dressed only in a house coat!
  • JTMJTM Posts: 2,962MI6 Agent
    Number24 wrote:
    chrisno1 wrote:
    Superbowl LIV.
    I am crossing fingers it's gonna be great.

    I hear there will be some hate for Norway in a one of the commercials. In that particularely "sport" the US are the underdogs and will (unfortunately) remain so for at least decade. :D

    Is this the ad you speak of? A nice laugh :)

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=yCy-a_E2I3s
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,557MI6 Agent
    edited February 7
    That's the one :)). (actually there are more short ones leading up to it)
    (he's obviously not in Sweden at the end - no place in Sweden looks like that)
    0.45% of new cars sold in the US are electric while the number here is about 50% - so please beat us!
  • Sir MilesSir Miles The Wrong Side Of The WardrobePosts: 25,134Chief of Staff
    Just watched the documentary King Rocker by Michael Cumming & Stewart Lee.

    It’s about Robert Lloyd and his musical life with the bands The Prefects & The Nightingales…two bands of which I’d barely heard of from Birmingham…it’s an enjoyable tale told with real love about the the bands and the man himself...definitely worth a watch even if you don’t know the bands or Robert.
    YNWA 96
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    I'm sure many of you watched Zen with Rufus Sewell when it aired around 10 years ago.

    It's set in Italy but it's one of those British productions where it's all Brits in the cast though they're playing Italians. This kind of works, though it's interesting and amusing to see what regional accents area given to various characters, a bit like that comedy film Death of Stalin. That said, the hot tottie that Zen has his eye on is Caterina Murino, of Casino Royale fame, and she's very good but of course, sounds exotic because if she had a Manchester accent it might be too much. Some of the villains also have slightly foreign accents. It's a bit odd, as if it has politics behind it, but it works.

    Lots of Bond touches in this, I think we see the monastery mountain from FYEO but I can't be sure. It's very well done - Zen is a cop who is not corrupt so he doesn't progress up the career ladder, and is a bit diffident around the women. Looks great in a suit.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,001MI6 Agent
    I'm sure many of you watched Zen with Rufus Sewell when it aired around 10 years ago.

    It's set in Italy but it's one of those British productions where it's all Brits in the cast though they're playing Italians. This kind of works, though it's interesting and amusing to see what regional accents area given to various characters, a bit like that comedy film Death of Stalin. That said, the hot tottie that Zen has his eye on is Caterina Murino, of Casino Royale fame, and she's very good but of course, sounds exotic because if she had a Manchester accent it might be too much. Some of the villains also have slightly foreign accents. It's a bit odd, as if it has politics behind it, but it works.

    Lots of Bond touches in this, I think we see the monastery mountain from FYEO but I can't be sure. It's very well done - Zen is a cop who is not corrupt so he doesn't progress up the career ladder, and is a bit diffident around the women. Looks great in a suit.

    I watched it tonight. Very good show. I enjoyed the Italian locations, the fancy Rome restaurants, the Lazio countryside - the village is Calcata, Nap, it's quite famous locally - and the host of accents - some from Italy, a lot from London. Peter Guinness was rather good as the vengeful Italian with a vendetta on his mind who clearly sounds as if he's escaped from Brixton nick. Rufus Sewel was very good in the lead role, but also sounded as if he'd escaped from Buckinghamshire.

    I liked the secondary plot of corruption and politics, and the undercurrent of traditional values which pervades the characters - especially the misogynistic men - Aurielo Zen excluded.

    Caterina Munro (she of Solange in Casino Royale) is probably the most attractive piece of scenery. (ahem; see above) She has a brilliant scene with Sewel when, having shared an after working hours drink and discussed 'office affairs', she askes him point blank: "Are we going to have an affair?" "Yes," comes the reply. "Okay," she says and twirls effortlessly into a taxi. Very Italian chic. If only life was always as easy as that.

    Looking forward to next week. Apparently the BBC only commission three stories before allowing the series to bite the dust. Pity as there are a dozen novels.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    Yeah, there's been a 'Bring back Zen' campaign in the Sunday Times Culture 'You Say' letters page though they also bang on about wrong Routemasters in Call the Midwife so not to be taken that seriously.

    Some of it reminded me of Return of the Saint in that it's all exotic but bound to cost a bit - the reason ROTS got canned, according to its star Ian Ogilvy.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Ens007Ens007 EnglandPosts: 863MI6 Agent
    Watched the 1st episode of the Silence Of The Lambs tv series follow up - Clarice ... quite enjoyed it & looks like it has potential to be an interesting series ahead. A few brief movie flash back moments included, however no mention of a certain Mr Lecter (I believe due to a rights issue). Will certainly be sticking with it for the foreseeable!
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