List of watched and recommended boxsets
Series: 4– Rating: 6/10; 2019
This review is based only on series 1 because series 2 & 3 are not available on Netflix and I didn’t want to jump ahead to series 4 which is on Netflix. The rating therefore is based on the plot development so far, and had I watched the following three series it may well have been higher.
It starts out similar to the series LOST – a group of passengers have an experience that changes their lives. The rest is what happened when the airplane landed five years later. You can see the writers developing the relationships between passengers from episode to episode but essentially there is a new problem to solve for each episode. It doesn’t get tiresome though and at the end of series one you are wondering where the story will go, and you want to know the answers. Quite a surprise that one of the lead characters, the detective, who eventually starts helping the passengers, is killed off. Perhaps he will come back to life in a future series.
Limited Series Episodes: 6– Rating: 6/10; 2019
Another limited series that one feels was just the right length to tell the story in six episodes. Starring Keeley Hawes and Emma Appleton, this is a gripping drama which follows young, inexperienced spy Feef Symonds who becomes a double agent at the end of the Second World War. I watched it back to back as a long film and perhaps I was more intrigued than most would be because much was filmed in and around the Old War Office, a building that I know well. At time of filming this building was in the process of being renovated in to a hotel, so all of the building would have been computer generated, the circular courtyard for example is actually square, and the interior shots didn’t much resemble the place either. if you don’t know the building then this detail doesn’t matter. what I like is the simplicity, one building and a handful of actors – sometimes there is no need to go further than the basics to tell a good story.
Limited Series, Episodes: 16– Rating: 8/10; 2019
This is a limited series of six episodes, just enough space given to tell this true life story of an Israeli spy in Syria leading up to the Israeli-Syrian war. The Spy Eli Cohen is played by Sacha Baren Cohen and it’s one of those productions that it’s hard to imagine how the part could have been played by anyone else. He is a big man and therefore fits the role of a rather larger than life personality.
Eli Cohen’s story is legendary and perhaps sits among one of the greatest real life espionage tales. It was in the end his own carelessness and impatience that brought about his capture and when it comes you are punching the air, telling him off for sending that last and fateful transmission – why couldn’t he have just waited until morning for that. But that was his thing, valuable information got out and saved lives because he took the greatest risks. Maybe I loved the series because it isn’t loaded with the usual amount of CGI these days, and one imagines that to film a sparse Syrian hotel room, was just as costly for Amazon as if they had filmed a palace room, so the quality is evident both in the filming and the acting. this is a series that you watch in solitude with a few bottles of wine, over a weekend.
Hotel Del Luna
Series: 1 Episodes: 16– Rating: 9/10; 2019
This is one of my favourite series of all time because it is so novel – a hotel for the dead. The main plot is a love story which brings a tear to your eye at times. The music is great as you would expect from a production where the lead actress is a pop superstar in South Korea. The subtitle move fast so you are repeatedly rewinding 10 seconds to catch it all but one has to admit it is worth it.
After a while you realise that the great music is on a loop and that love scenes are drawn out a lot and the same footage repeated so that you find yourself saying from time to time – “oh, do get on with it will you!” Nevertheless, there is a pleasantness about the whole thing and the respect for the dead that sits well, making this series most deserving of a 9 rating, the only reason it dropped a point was because of the repetition mentioned. Will there be a series 2? There has been no word yet, but hopefully there will be and if it is anything like series 1 then it will have been worth the wait.
Series: 2 Episodes: 18– Rating: 8/10; 2019/2023
It’s hard to say which series is most enjoyable, the first 8 episodes or the 10 of series 2 because they are both great, but perhaps the long awaited series 2 just wins. It is another Amazon fantasy world, like Wheel of Fortune, but what carries this boxset through is the presence of Orlando Bloom with all the fantastic supporting performances and the homely face of Simon McBurney customarily seen in this fantasy realm; Happy Potter, The Golden Compass. Onegin. And also Jared Harris stands out for his remarkable role but also because the face also brings homely familiarity; he is the son of the more famed Richard Harris. For me though, the most enjoyable performances I took to heart were from the ladies; Tamzon Merchant (Imogen), Cara Delevinge (Vignette).
Series: 2 Episodes: 12– Rating: 9/10; made 2011
A highly watchable episode-turner that was well written and well filmed. Surprisingly a third series was not commissioned and although this is slightly upsetting after you have invested such time these characters, one wonders where the series could have gone other than become a a collection of single episode stories after that.
Dominic West who plays Hector Madden, went on to play, among many other roles, Jean Valjean in the Les Mis series, and Gordon Masters n Stateless alongside Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck), and of course unforgettably he played Prince Charles in The Crown. Who can argue the quality of the supporting cast, Anton Lesser, Peter Capaldi, Tom Burke et al. And that’s without thus far having mentioned the marvellous Q – Ben Whishaw.
Series: 1 Episodes: 6– Rating: 3/10
Watch all six episodes as a film, great film – but as a series it’s unremarkable and therefore no need for a series two.
Series: 2 Episodes: 10– Rating: 6/10; 2013/2014
Life in the North of England 1830s, reflecting life in the country ion those times everywhere. Business owners with colonial attitudes, the poor needing to work twelve hour shifts and children doing the menial and often most dangerous work. I watched this series two times and enjoyed it as much the second time around. The 4 episodes of series 1 are just enough to lead you to a second series, and those 6 episodes close it off at just the right time. Very enjoyable.
Series: 3 Episodes: 30– Rating: 9/10; 2016/2018
This is just an excellent series all round, plot-wise, but especially because of the talented acting. The story seems so far fetched, like another Breaking Bad, but the development of the roles really draws you in to their lives. It is simply one of those series that you watch episode to episode without watching anything else so that it is one big movie. Unfortunately, like so many other series, the plug was pulled, series 3 being the last.
The New Legends of Monkey (2020)
Series: 2 Episodes: 10– Rating: 5/10; Dec 2022
Nothing can compare to the original Japanes series Monkey Magic, that aired for two seasons in the late 1970s and early 1980s gaining a cult following. The plot is based on a 16th Century Chinese novel by Wu Cheng’en called Journey To The West. So far there have been two seasons of The New Legends of Monkey and no commitment for season three although the ending of season two did not tie off loose ends but opened up the way for a next series with a newborn Monkey and rebirth of an old foe.
Perhaps too much was expected of this, and one can only be grateful that it wasn’t Hollywood that did it. Instead it has been produced by the Australian Broadcasting Company and New Zealand’s TVNZ and aired internationally on Netflix in 2018. This means that the trademark cardboard walls of famed Prisoner Cell Block H were a welcome component of this series remake that Hollywood most certainly would have missed.
The characters were spot on, with perhaps Tripitaka being the most divergent. In the original series Tripitaka wasn’t much animated so it was nice to see her in this series take a more prominent part. Likewise Sandy who was a male is now a female, suiting the role ideally. Pigsy stays pretty much the same as does Monkey, but Monkey’s performance is truly a great acting feat. In the original he was vain but pretty simple minded, and that is continued in the new series with the exact same tone. you can feel his relationship with Tripitaka develop and gives the impression that somewhere in series three he will confess his love for her. There is a deeper dimension to Pigsy too, with Sandy, seeing as Sandy is now female.
There’s plenty of action which saw Monkey face off against his Shadow Monkey. Monkey defeats Shadow Monkey by flying in to the sun though Tripitaka (the real one) manages to create a new Monkey in preparation for a next season along with the Demon Queen Hakuru. Not quite sure how she came about but the season ended with this cliffhanger.
Russian Doll (2022), Jan 2023
Series: 2 Episodes: 15– Rating: 6/10; Dec 2022
Nadia dies and comes back to life at her birthday party. The cycle keeps repeating and she figures out there must be some goal to achieve and uses the resets to sort out the issues that existed in her life. Luckily she meets a new friend who is experiencing the same resets and is linked in to her timeline somehow.
At first, Natasha Lyonne’s voice and Jewish Brooklyn/Bronx accent or whatever it is, gets on your nerves, because nobody talks like that. But you do get used to it and it turns in to a series that you can’t put down until just over half way through season 2 when you realise the story has been told and you’re just being strung along for a few episodes to complete the series. Doubtful there will be a series three but what there is, is highly worth watching. Lyonne also wrote this series.
The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
Series: 1 Episodes: 7– Rating: 8/10; Dec 2022
There is just one season, what Netflix term ‘limited series’. These can be pretty cool, considering so many series are either franchises or continue seasons based on ratings. The idea is simple; it would have made a terrific film, but the season allows for much more length than a film without committing to unnecessary extension. In this regard, The Queen’s Gambit is spot on and does not leave you unsatisfied after the last episode. It’s easy to see how it could have been expanded had chess not been the central theme, after all, becoming world champion sort of ends the progression. The only reason it did not score 9/10 is because the storyline around the main character’s suitors could have been more interestingly explored; for example ‘Beth Harman’ wakes up on the morning of her big match, with a woman in her bed, and we are left wondering what sort of night they had, and how this experience made up her asexuality.
Yes, I would like to have seen more of actor Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth, who later went on to do eleven episodes as Gina Gray in Peaky Blinders, but the point is the series as a whole is a fantastic achievement and highly watchable for all ages, despite that it’s about chess. I tries at every turn to pick out something that was not authentic but in all the filming around the 1960’s. the decade of my birth, I could not find anything that was not of the period. My only nuance, as with any filming, is that they spend millions on authenticity then leave everything so clean, in this The Queen’s Gambit is no different. Even the hovel pad of Benny Watts, where Beth sleeps almost on a blow up mattress on the floor, looks clean enough to invite Howard Hughes to dinner; and why are cars always pristine with no mud splashes along the seals or mud on the tyres? Apart from my obvious pedantic attention to detail, otherwise a great cast and great scenery and well worth the watch.
Series: 1 so far Episodes: 10– Rating: 7/10; Dec 2022
Season 1 starts well, this is about Wednesday Addams of the Addams Family. A ball dance the actor created in real life went around social media and the show itself reached No1 in the Netflix most watched ever, for a series and knocked the previous No1 most watched, Stranger Things, off the top spot.
While the Addams Family are topical again these days, with Amazon Prime also screening the animated films Addams Family and Addams Family 2, I fail to see what all the fuss is about because it’s really just another show with the regular monsters to slay. The storyline has been somewhat predictable but this is only the first series so if it was meant to lay the foundation for the next 40 episodes to come, then in this regard it is a fabulous introduction. the characters are developed in Harry Potter style and looking forward to Season 2, but all in all it’s just another American social group against the monster, or the villain, or the bully, or whatever and scores sub-8 ATM.
Series: 5 so far Episodes: 50– Rating: 9/10
Season 1 starts slow, the expense on sets is not apparent at first but as the series develops, the sheer expense becomes evident, no reliance on CGI here. One magazine doubted Netflix would ever recover the financial outlay and that the series is a massive PR project.
Season 2 is really enjoyable and you start to sink in to your armchair, rivetted by the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Margaret. This is programme making at its finest.
Season 3 delivers a shock! All the actors have changed. Olivier Coleman is Queen and Sarah Bonham Carter plays Margaret; they’re great actors but perhaps the original cast that we came to adore could have been extended with a little ageing make up. At first Olivia Coleman is too abrupt a change to accept, but she does come in to the role as the episodes progress. The problem is that upper lip look she has which in no way resembles how the real Queen used to look at people. The season is really a hotchpotch of events that happened moving in to the 1970s, like the moon landing on 1969. Princess Anne’s wedding in 1973 is completely overlooked in favour of less notable events.
In Season 4 you realise why the previous season had been so seemingly slapdash, it was to make a clean season available for first, Margaret Thatcher and then the series heroine Princess Diana. The character of Prince Charles is almost loveable until he meets Diana, then we see his true unpalatable nature, his inhumanity and his attention seeking that detests anyone sharing his limelight. Season 4 is a masterpiece of the Diana story which leads nicely in to Season 5.
Season 5 again sees a change of the cast with Imelda Staunton as The Queen (who also played the Queen in the mini series Cambridge Spies in 2003). Even Diana is swapped out. With Diana in town everything centres on her and the timeline takes another leap back to from episode 3 to with Edward VIII in Egypt 1946 so that the Fayed’s can be introduced and later in episode 6 we are taken to Ekaterinburg 1917 for the Bolshevik murders of the Russian royal family.
Although it must have been debated, and much though put in to where to make the timeline jumps, it is a bit confusing for anyone not well versed in world history. Perhaps more thought could have gone in to this across the series.
Series: 4 Episodes: 34 – Rating: 6/10
This series was made in 2016 and set in the 1980s. the time period works and the first two series build up nicely. The character development is good too, particularly El. Season 2 ends with the death of the evil force. So it’s surprising that season 3 opens with the return of the evil force which seems a slight cop out.
Why not use the human powers so carefully developed over the previous two seasons to begin a new set of exploits that match the characters age transformations; yes they all seem to have grown up except El’s boyfriend who remains a kid on a bike with his friend Billy, the main star of the last two seasons, having regressed in age and resentful at growing up; he seems to be without a role and even gives off vibes of being sexually attracted to his friend.
El, on the other hand, starts S3 without her father and having lost her powers. As the story moves more in to the love story between Hopper and Billy’s mum rather that El and her boyfriend, the season begins to redeem itself in preparation for season 4 although much season 3 remains lost with Americanisation fillers padding out the episodes; proms, basketball, cheerleaders, the American national anthem, yes all the things that Americans thing the rest of the world finds irresistible watching. In this regard the boxset should have ended at season 2 and although that would have got a rating of 7/10, those lost series appended to it reduced that score drastically (unless you’re an American kid).
The Last Ship
Series: 5 Episodes: 56 – Rating: 8/10
This series probably scores a 6 for enjoyability but gains a couple of points because it has been well thought out. Yes all the Americanisms are there; yes sire, no sir, you son of a bitch! the whole universe revolves around us! but each season develops the plot nicely and the characters are believable even with a strong female cast in lead positions.
It really is about the only ship that has not been infected by a global pandemic and aside from the fact that over the five seasons this one ship and crew singe handedly save the world and humanity from extinction, it is highly watchable due to the wonderful actors, particularly for me, Adam Baldwin (John Casey from Chuck). What else can you use in such a series but CGI, but it has been used to add to the story not just to dramatise the scene as is so common these days. Worth the watch
Series: 5 Episodes: 91 – Rating: 8/10
Like all American series this is no exception; over the top and Americanised. The main character, Chuck, is as annoying as the americanisation. Yet the supporting actor which quickly turns in to the main star, Yvonne strahovski, is the reason this series works brilliantly with her supporting actor being Adam Baldwin.
It’s one of those series that you cannot stop clicking from one episode to the next and by the end of season 6 you’re wishing there was a season 6 to see but you know the show reached it’s natural conclusion and closed off all the issues, leaving nothing to resolve. you’re left with the realisation that you will never see Strahovski again in this role, but then there is always The Handmaid’s Tale to watch. 10/10 for sheer enjoyability.
Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power
Series: 1 so far Episodes: – Rating: 7/10
Worth the watch but nothing more ramarkable than the recent spate of Amazon originals of this fantasy genre.
Series: 4 Episodes: 41 – Rating: 9/10
The four series are completely different stories only very loosely connected by the town of Fargo. Some reviewers say that season 2 is the best but you can argue each way as they are all good. Perhaps season 4 detracts a little from the Fargo flavour and seems to be a movie in and all of itself, certainly looks like it was the most expensive to produce, it still is a pleasure to watch.
The characters are expertly crafted and brought to life by sincere acting. Even the byline at the start suggests it is based on true events, which of course they are not. You could do a lot worse than watching this award winning series, and indeed you would probably have to watch an awful lot many more to beat it on suspense alone.
A Private Affair
Series: 1 so far Episodes: 8 – Rating: 7/10
Very enjoyable detective series. It’s like a Tintin movie but the star is a young female; a beautiful one at that which keeps you rivetted to the screen. Released September 2022, now eagerly awaiting the appearance of series 2.
Series: 1 so far Episodes: 8 – Rating: 7/10
Very enjoyable espionage era series. Differentiates from other series. Waiting eagerly for series 2.
The Good Doctor
Series: 5 Episodes: – Rating: 7/10
Probably deserves a slightly higher score but the problem is that although things started out great and the character, despite his superhuman powers, is mostly believable, there is only so much of this bumbler that one can take. It tries to be the next House but whether it will succeed in its own right is to see. This is only the first season that is available on Amazon as part of standard membership, I cannot review it further until the remaining series become available on Prime standard membership.
The Good Doctor
Series: 2 Episodes: 16 – Rating: 9/10
What a refreshing surprise. The whole series is filmed in a dreamy realistic cartoon fashion which doesn’t take long to feel as real as a ‘non cartoon’ the effects and style of filming are a credit to the production team and the storyline too is simple yet complex enough keep you tuned in at all times so as not to lose the plot. Season 2 closes and you’re left wanting more. shame that it seems to be a one off, but at least more productions made this way are appearing across Amazon and Netflix.
Tokyo Vampire Hotel
Series: 1 Episodes: 9 – Rating: 8/10
Vampires are equal in status to Vikings and Pirates, so an extra mark goes to this boxset just for that. It surprises in it’s violence and gives the nature of killing for blood a legitimacy that you almost feel for the vampires, yet they are always kept at a distance; you are never in doubt that they are beasts. these are vampires that laugh at you if you throw up garlic or holy water, and there is only one way to kill them. the music also adds to the excitement making this series a pleasure to watch, and I could easily watch it again sometime soon.
Series: 3 Episodes: 30 – Rating: 8/10
Hardly can this boxset hope to match up to other Star Trek series, but it does. It’s hard to see where the series goes after season 2 as all has been resolved, but wait! Series 3 came and it did set off in a completely new direction, particularly with Seven of Nine being promoted in the Federation – Wow it was spectacular – even if the CGI graphics were a mite over the top for me – personally I would rather see more intimate footage of Jeri Ryan, even though her real life views are the contrast of mine, she has an inexplicable magnetic sex appeal, so as long as she is moving about on-screen, all is well with the world. Patrick Stewart remains relevant to the end and you’re left wanting more of the same please. Yes of course he CGI is OTT but excusable for a Trek production. I could watch the whole thing again beginning to end just to catch up with TNG faces.
Series: 2 Episodes: 17 – Rating: 6/10
A psychological thriller. A caseworker at a facility that helps soldiers transition back to civilian life starts a new life, living with her mother and working as a small-town waitress. All is not as it seems and there is no one to be trusted. The storyline is a bit bland and compensated by some confused action. Saying that, I do want to know what happens next in season 3, if they don’t cut the show before then.
The Wheel of Time
Series: 1 Episodes: 8 – Rating: 7/10
A typical Amazon only release, standard budget, Lord of the Rings type production. Characters are likable and worth the watch but there are better Amazon series to invest in, such as Carnival Row.
Series: 7 Episodes: 100 – Rating: 6/10
The production team obviously saw the sense in making The 100 in 100 episodes, that was surely no coincidence. It gives confidence that as much thought went in to the plot, which in my opinion it did. At first the series gives the impression of being lost, a bit like the series Lost which went round in circles and never got to the point, and then really did get lost in its future. The 100 is a simple idea, 100 survivors go to Earth and what happens after that, for 100 episodes is all about gangs and establishing supremacy. It’s also refreshing that the lead character Clark, is not the only interesting character, there are several others that could easily take over as leader should she have left the series. It is in this community that it succeeds, and in this regard is like a soap opera or an extended sister movie of The Hunger Games. It’s difficult to rate; liked it but don’t think I could sit through it a second time.
Series: 4 Episodes: 30 – Rating: 6/10
Standard Tom Clancy stuff with each episode carefully measured out for plot development and action scenes. There’s even the old disarming the nuclear bomb ploy . . . Enjoyable but predictable American gunho. It’s not like I was eagerly awaiting the next season, it came out on amazon and I made time to watch it. A typical James Bondy franchise and the final 6 episodes of Series 4 neatly tied off loose ends and left the franchise with nowhere to go, so farewell Ryan but regrettably, you won’t be missed.
Series: 1 Episodes: 10 – Rating: 6/10
Similar to the Jack Ryan boxset but accordingly more in line with the Bourne series because it is based on that franchise. Can we really get enough of rogue agents that can get out of any situation and can be habitually relied upon to save the world, well at least let’s watch Treadstone before we answer that. Yes, it’s surprisingly enjoyable, for a look at us we are Americans saving your ass again, type of thing. Unfortunately we will never know what could have been because the series was cancelled after season 1.
The Looming Tower
Series: 1 Episodes: 10 – Rating: 4/10
Homeland meets something else? Not for me.
Series: 1 Episodes: 8 – Rating: 6/10
The lead actor Aiden Turner (Poldark) could not be more ideal to play Leonardo but the progression can seem a little contrived; it does not feel like your living in the times, more like a fairy tale is being told. Leonardo was a varied and complex individual an not much of his many sides are shown. His rivalry with Raphael is played out rather boisterously and at times you’re left wondering where you are exactly in this story. It’s as if someone said we have a few million to spend on the next show, does anyone have any ideas on what we can stich together in a relatively short time. Enjoyable but not exactly rivetting.
Series: 2 Episodes: 16 – Rating: 7/10
This is one of a spate of well financed young persons filming. It seems every young person has a mobile with a Netflix/Amazon subscription service and so this has become the new primary demographic. It means lots more action adventure is the future.
It follows the rather established plot of schoolboy who is a secret agent and saves the world from itself to impress the girl. It’s British so more grounded, as opposed to the American form such as Stranger Things more geared to promoting American fanfare. While the novelty is still young this series offers adequate entertainment and Rider’s agility cannot fail to entertain, the way he almost parkours across obstacles. It’s hard to see where the series goes following season 2.
Series: 8 Episodes: 177 – Rating: 9/10
Probably one of the greatest boxsets ever released. There are a lot of episodes requiring a huge investment in watching time but spread out over a few months it can be very rewarding. Hugh Laurie brings everything to it.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Series: 5 so far Episodes: – Rating: 8/10
This is an example of a book series that mirrors the TV version well. Perhaps that’s a lot to do with Elizabeth Moss, and so one wonders why such a large percentage concentrates on her face. If she is such a cool actor, and she is, then why do we need this constant face time. It becomes annoying eventually. The subplots are exciting and well written but the storyline at points can become tiresome.
As far as the plot goes, it’s always an escape to be dropped in a strange world, but this one seems realistic, the sort of world that is not in the distant past. By series 5 that world has almost become a reality in the real world when a billionaire Elon Musk buys Twitter to unmask the conspiracy on the human race. Wow who would have believed that real life is greater than fiction.
Series: 4 Episodes: 61 – Rating: 7/10
This Canadian series quickly turned to a cult boxset. It’s that type you catch the odd episode here and there on the TV but never really know what it’s about until one day in the far future you start the boxset and realise what all the fuss was about. Lexx is the ship not the name of the beautiful woman, and it is the most destructive weapon in both universes.
In this case, the dead guy turns out to be the life of the party, Stan the weird guy turns out to be weird, and the sexy lady turns out to be really sexy, not to mention there’s two of them that played the part. So overall it’s a highly watchable series that deserves cult status.
Series: 4 Episodes: 88 – Rating: 7/10
The same could be said for this series as for Lexx. Similarly the plot involves a small crew traversing the unknown universe. Astronaut John Crichton finds himself in another universe and meets a group of rebels, each fleeing for their separate reasons. From day one his goal is to find his way back to Earth. At the risk of a spoiler, he does get there in the end but what he finds out is unexpected.
Series: 6 Episodes: 75 – Rating: 9/10
Set in the cold war 1980s, this thriller series always has you on the edge of your seat. It’s nail biting action even though a little unrealistic in that a sleeper Russian cell would hardly be involved in murder missions on a weekly basis, over the course of their children’s upbringing, and all of it while entertaining their CIA agent neighbour. It is a testament to great acting that they pull it off and it’s one of those series that stays with you for many years. The male agent, Mathew Rhys, was the guest killer in the last ever Columbo episode, and in that he played a Russian.
The Man in the High Castle
Series: 4 Episodes: 40 – Rating: 7/10
In a way this series is similar to The Handmaid’s Tale, firstly in the idea of what a world would be like if it were much different and also in that the set is very pristine. Wherever you are in the series everyone looks like they have put on new clothes and just stepped out of the hairdressers. In real life, people’s shoes are scuffed, their hair ruffled, their trousers splashed with mud and their jumper or shirt perhaps ripped here or there or maybe sweat stained. It seems that millions of pounds are spent to fool us with costumes and sets but not much thought is given to portraying realism. That said each season does leave you hungry for the next one and it is overall worth the watch, but perhaps not as good as it should have been, when you have a sci fi fantasy type film you ned to employ more realism to pull it off, otherwise this great effort is reduced to a Tracy Beaker type production when it deserves a lot more than that.
Series: 6 Episodes: 89 – Rating: 9/10
It’s a long told story that does not disappoint. In every episode there’s fighting action and you really get a sense of what it must have been like in such a brutal world. Of course it’s extremely Hollywood; everyone’s clothes are immaculately laundered, and no one looks like Worzel Gummidge despite the lack of personal hygiene and natural hirsuitnes pertaining to the medieval period. It’s hard to portray smells and rankness on television but some effort could have been made considering the budget, to employ realism for effect. the best thing is you’re always left hankering for the sexy Katheryn Winnick who brings much tempering to this vicious series.
Series: 8 Episodes: 100 – Rating: 8/10
The plot lines are thin on the ground but what should you expect for 100 episodes set in a prison. In this regard it does well to hold the interest and never gets boring. This is the evolved series from Wentworth which in turn was based on Prisoner Cell Block H first aired in Australia during 1979 to 1986. It was known then for the shaky cardboard sets and not much has improved since, but strangely the same characters offer a new light and some excellent acting makes it all worthwhile. Rather enjoyable and compares well alongside newer series of this genre like the comedy ‘Orange is the new black’.
Series: 4 Episodes: 38 – Rating: 7/10
This series gets a high score because not enough is done about pirates. Swashbuckling earns an extra point. It is refreshing to see such a wealth of plots crammed in to each season and you’re never in doubt that these are the bad guys you would never want to meet on the high seas or anywhere for that matter. Unlike Pirates of the Caribbean which is a Disney production, Black Sails is a little more serious following the life of the principle character, perhaps a cross between Johnny Depp and the original Blackbeard, or a more serious Long John Silver. Great escapism!
Snowy River: The McGregor Sage
Series: 4 Episodes: 55 – Rating: 8/10
What can you say about this classic series. One of the main characters, Guy Pearce (Neighbours) has gone on to make many more fantastic movies. You watch this series with your family at Christmas time while drinking hot chocolate – classic means classic.
Series: 4 Episodes: 76 – Rating: 6/10
Fantastic Sci-fi and fantasy boxset