Lawns & Order

This may be one of the funniest things I have seen on the interweb – not so much the photo but the text. If you haven’t seen an episode of Law & Order, SVU, it starts with –

In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous.

In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.

Somewhat oddly, back in September I started recording Law & Order SVU on the Foxtel Box after I flicked past during an episode and got interested in an ongoing storyline of one of the main characters. I’d watched a few episodes over the years but I was more a fan of the original Law & Order. I’ve seen all the Law & Order episodes many times now, though I always find them still great even if I have seen them before.

I hit record on the regular Law & Order as well, and now I have 30 episodes of each all ready to watch, when I get a spare minute. If. If I get a spare minute. :)

television shows

Currently TV

Loving – Safe on Netflix. Michael C Hall with an English accent was weird to begin with but I got used to it. This show is twisty and turny and I have no idea what is going on much of the time plus I find the hair of his main co-star to be incredibly improbable, but the locations are gorgeous and everything else is great, so I’m enjoying this. Unusually Netflix were only releasing two episodes at a time – however all 8 episodes are now available on Netflix.

With the release of the last two episodes, everything was revealed and to be honest I wasn’t the biggest fan of how they wrapped the storylines up. However as they sometimes say – it is not the destination, it is the journey. I did enjoy the getting there. After 7 years of seeing Michael C Hall as Dexter, it was lovely to see him in such a different role – and really just great to see him again. Thanks to the accent I was not waiting for him to resume that serial killer role.

Liking – Picnic At Hanging Rock 2018 certainly made the most of the beautiful Werribee Mansion, at least the exterior of it. The show itself I was a bit meh on, a little too screamy and I don’t think we needed any nudity, that felt a little exploitative to me. The costumes were gorgeous and it certainly was a great ad for Australia. Don’t worry, you won’t vanish without a trace. ;)

Cringing – at the footage in Evil Genius. This is a documentary on Netflix that I stumbled on when I discovered only two episodes of Safe had been released. The Other Half was making lunch in the kitchen and he ended up watching the four episodes with me in two quick binge watch sessions across two days. Beware, there is graphic real footage in this documentary, and at least two *real* dead bodies shown, including real footage of one of them being killed.

Savouring – Like a delicious double cream brie, Billions season 3 is yet another feast of incredible acting. If you were to ask me to pick a favourite character I would not be able to, I love them all, even the odd one or two I love to hate to love. They have now cast in John Malkovich as a Russian oligarch. Things can only get more interesting from here.

Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti are amazing to watch but my special delight is Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhodes. A special shout out to Jeffrey DeMunn for literally putting it ALL out there this season. This show involves quite a bit of macho mine is bigger than yours dick swinging but usually not quite that literally!

Enjoying – Howards End is a beautiful costume drama, the story of which I was unfamiliar with. More gorgeous locations and costumes, I consumed this 4 part drama very quickly.

Reading & Watching – A series of crime novels written by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. C.B. Strike is now airing on Showcase on Foxtel. One of the main characters is played by my favourite Holliday Grainger. The books are great.

The TV show is not quite as great – they have compressed way too much story into too little airtime. The books are long and detailed and crackle with electricity. The show is a little too explain-ey detective-y for my liking because it has cut so much of the story out. The golden rule of this kind of show should be show, don’t tell. I do enjoy Holliday in it.

Listening – to the Westworld soundtrack and watching season two. I am enjoying seeing the new worlds but particularly loved seeing Shogun World. These violent delights indeed.

Constable Gary Hales holding the “cock of justice”.

Marvelling – at how brilliantly things are fictionally portrayed sometimes. You could throw the cast of The Bill into any of the episodes of 24 Hours In Police Custody and not only would they fit right in with all the slang and the words they use, but the real police stations look exactly like The Bill set and would work on almost any British police drama show. The one big difference I can find – there is a lot more stuff in the rooms in reality. Mostly folders.

This show is so fascinating and most of the episodes are available on youtube. Here are quite a few of them on a playlist. Just as a bonus here is a link to the most recent one with the cock of justice. I love this detective, well I love them all I won’t lie.

Binging – The Sinner on Netflix. What a rollercoaster ride that was! I also loved Ozark and The Alienist not quite so much but the costumes were great.

Wondering – if they truly did kill off a main character on Animal Kingdom. I was watching the tag on twitter as the episode aired and was not very happy with what I was reading but I thought they might have left a loophole – when I watched the episode I am pretty confident this character is sadly no longer with us. I didn’t even finish the episode, I was so Not Thrilled. The levels of my Not Thrilled-ness are raised even higher when I see who they have added to the cast this season. I have never been a fan of Denis Leary. With so much television to watch, nobody has time to watch people they adore be killed off while people they do not like are added!

Waiting – For Better Call Saul which now has an airdate of August 6th, Mr Robot, Bosch.

Skipping – Homeland. No Quinn, no me!

television shows

The Studio Audience

While surfing The Facebook in early May, I happened upon a post from Gruen a mere 2 minutes after it was posted about getting tickets to be in the studio audience. I clicked on it and was surprised to find 2 tickets now on hold for me. I never wrote here about our last visit to view a Gruen taping. That was many years ago now, I believe 2010 or 2011.

Being a member of a studio audience sounds like it would be fun but it is actually hard work. You have to clap, a lot, till your hands are red. You will laugh and cheer a lot. You will get to see more content than will appear on air and behind the scenes stuff happening right in front of you, there is also the chance that you will appear on the teevee as a surprise to yourself.

You can’t take me anywhere, though. It turns out I became a member of a “terrible audience”. :) Of course the night we went was this night.. OF COURSE. As always there is far more to the story and there are some outright untruths in that article.

For us it started with a Tuesday drive down to Sydney during “school” drive time, which can be a bit of a nightmare in itself. Our GPS had us arriving at 5:39 and we are supposed to be there at 5:45. Luckily I had emailed someone from the show letting them know we were coming from far away. They put tickets aside for us. Whew.

It is not that far to drive but apparently the GPS thought it would take us 30 minutes to travel the last 5km, and the GPS was actually right. If you are like me and quite used to the GPS over-estimating your arrival time, I think they have fixed that small problem because the arrival time was spot on. The Other Half dropped me off so he could go and park the car, and once I got there I found a long queue to go through security, so I messaged him to take his time.

I am a big planner of things like this, down to where we will park the car and checking to make sure they will be open – we parked in the carpark attached to Market City which is 24/7. We also had planned food options, and this was a planned spend day for us. But on the way up we discovered they were closing the highway to get home that night.

So that was a surprise. At least we would not have to go miles out of our way, the old Princes Highway runs pretty much alongside the new one. We made our way through security and then received our tickets which were priority seating, and that meant we got to go sit on some lovely couches and wait to be called into the studio first.

We picked some seats right on the aisle, and settled in to watch the goings on. Note there is an entire section of seating where they cannot see the taping – they get to watch it on a tv screen. That is where we sat last time, and that is where you get placed if you arrive late, unless you got in touch and made arrangements which they do for people from out of town plus the disabled.

I’d taken a poncho because studios can be cold and I wore it like a knee rug, tucking it in. There was point where I wished I’d folded it up and sat on it. The seats are not very comfortable. BYO cushion, folks, if they will let it through security that is.

The “warm up guy” for Gruen and a few other ABC shows is Tommy Dean, who I find super hilarious. He road tested the audience, and despite all the noise we were making, we could still hear him. Take note of this point, it will become important later. Tommy had a proper microphone.

Then Wil Anderson comes out and warms up the crowd a bit. Though this does not always go quite as planned, and I am shocked that the “audience member” did not mention the little girl who was crying as he was talking to that side of the audience. I guess they could not blame that on Wil, or maybe they were keeping it secret for a spicy followup.

I’m not sure why she was crying, but the crew checked in on her and she was fine. I’m also not sure how she got in the audience as the minimum age is 15 and this was a girl of 6 or 7. It might have been all the swear words Wil was using. But note to folks, Wil does swear.

Wil explains a little bit about how things will be done, and then introduces the panel, and they all sit down and the show starts. This is where things began to go wrong, though none of us knew it at the time and it was not until after the taping when The Other Half and I sat down to dinner that we figured out the problem – none of us could hear the panel over ourselves. If we laughed or clapped or reacted, all we saw was mouths moving and we could not hear what was being said.

Once the audience caught on to this, things got very quiet. Everyone wanted to *hear* what the panel was saying. Nobody thought to say to the nearby crew – are we meant to be able to hear them talking? We had no trouble hearing the panel last time we were here.

So after the first part of the show, Wil spoke to us all and basically said we were a shit audience and he needed more energy – I assumed comedy and he was trying to get us to fire up, not have a go at us, but there were some delicate snowflakes behind us who were so offended, they started bitching about Wil right away.

While they were bitching, a member of the audience (clearly to my mind a fan of Wil) started heckling Wil about how they should replace him with the host of Spicks and Specks, Adam Hills. They went back and forth a bit and that is what Wil was saying f*** off to, not as claimed in the article.

Anyway his speech did work, it did fire up the audience, but for the rest of the show none of us could hear what was being said when we were laughing and clapping. It wasn’t until I watched the show that I got to hear some of the jokes. There was a point where Tommy was talking to the panel, and we could clearly hear Tommy but not the panel. The last time we went, we had no trouble hearing. So I suspect there was a sound problem.

I would have continued to assume comedy if Wil had not made those comments on radio the next day. I had already sent a thank you email to the Gruen staff member who helped us out with the tickets and I had mentioned the sound problem in that email. I did not expect this meltdown story to be the headline news story on news.com.au after the show aired that night.

I am pretty sure the “audience member” was sitting right behind us because they were very vocal about their displeasure – though I did not notice it at the time. I was focused so hard on listening to the panel. The Other Half told me what the people behind us were saying at dinner. And speaking of dinner.. we went to Fusion 16, where The Other Half had a gorgeous steak with INCREDIBLE chips, and I had a delicious chicken and mushroom risotto.

Then we got in the car and drove home, arriving just after 12:30am. It was a long day out, but we enjoyed it, for the most part. I just wish we had been able to hear the panel better. The show is taped on Tuesday and airs on Wednesday night. If you are in Australia you can still catch this episode on iView for a little bit longer, and if you are not from Australia, I believe you can see a short 3 minute clip from the show on Twitter here.

Total spend for this day was $77, that was dinner @66 and parking @11 which is incredibly reasonable for Sydney, especially as we were parked there for almost 5 hours. Market City is also the location of Paddys Market and we have parked there quite a few times, it is not very far to walk to Darling Harbour from here nor is it very long walk to the “main” shopping strip of Sydney, about 1.5km.

As Tommy Dean said in his warm up, it is much easier to watch tv at home. Even so, I would recommend going to a show taping at least once in your lifetime. :) Have you ever been to one? Would you go? If you could go to sit in the studio audience of any show, which one would it be?

television shows

Picnic At Hanging Rock

I’m just a bit excited to see this but not for the reasons one might suspect. Sure, I love a costume drama probably more than most people, but that is not why I want to see this.

I have not read the book or seen the original movie and I have no idea what the plot of this is though I think I have gathered some clues.

I want to see this purely because this new 6 part miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock involves a location I am a bit crazy about – Werribee Mansion. I have never been there myself in person but I have been there forever thanks to one of my all time favourite movies which used this as a filming location – The Pirate Movie.

The mansion looks amazing in the trailer, it makes me want to plan a trip to visit. And one can actually stay there.

I love the song they have used for the trailer, too – it is Confide In Me which was originally performed by Kylie Minogue. I prefer the Kylie version.

The first episode of Picnic At Hanging Rock airs this Sunday on Showcase.

While on the subject of trailers for shows using great music, did you see this one for WestWorld? What a gorgeous piece of music arranged so beautifully, it makes my hair stand on end.

Do you recognise the song?

As an Aspie, I have a bit of a problem recognising music, especially when it has been used for a specific thing previously. The ABC loves to throw pieces of music from other TV shows – like Dexter and Mr Robot – into shows like Four Corners and Australian Story. They use one particular piece from Breaking Bad quite often but I can only ever see one set of images when I hear it, and the images look like this –

For those who have seen Breaking Bad, you know the significance of that moment and what is about to happen. So you can understand how disconcerting it is to be watching a documentary and have that music thrown randomly into it.

If you haven’t seen it by now you probably won’t, but I am firmly of the opinion that you should. I believe it is a great show, so much so I wrote a whole blog about it.

Foxtel, television shows

Movie Catch Up – Oscars Edition

The Post –

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A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government. IMDB.

I found this movie difficult to engage with. Maybe you have to know the story better to understand all the moving parts going on here. I did love the acting overall. Seeing Bradley Whitford and Meryl Streep together on screen was even better than I expected it would be, and it seemed to me that he worked on that character to make him as Non Josh-Lyman as possible, the voice was different to the point I did not know it was him talking at times.

Meryl gave her usual fabulous performance but for me, watching Meryl play a lovely person is not at all a stretch of her abilities, nor is it half as much fun as watching her play someone unlikeable or someone who is demanding and even dare I say it bitchy. To date my favourite performance of hers is in The Devil Wears Prada. That character was something amazing to see.

Bob Odenkirk was great in this movie and if you are not watching him in Better Call Saul you are missing out on an amazing performance from him there, too. Jesse Plemons – another Breaking Bad alum – was equally brilliant, and of course Tom Hanks was fantastic as always.

Overall there were too many characters and too many balls in the air and at some point I gave up trying to follow along with the story and just sat back and admired the performances. Usually when I watch a movie like this I want to know more about the events when the credits roll I am already on the Googles and Tubes looking things up, but this was not such an occasion for me.

I’m not sure this particular story required a two hour film to document it and I certainly do not think it required a cast – and crew because when it is Spielberg you know that is a big deal as well – of this magnitude.

Definitely not the best movie of the year, nor the best newspaper movie of recent times. Spotlight was my personal favorite and I think one reason for that was keeping the cast smaller and also not letting the story go off on so many tangents unrelated to the story being told.

Meryl being interrupted mid-speech for some random persons retirement in order to take a very important phone call involving most of the incredibly large cast in various different locations was a little out there for me. Not sure whether that really happened, it may well have, but it seemed like a bridge too far.

There were also some moments where I was reminded that I was watching a movie. I don’t know about you but when I drive around in my car there is no special light that shines on my face in order to light it just so, and then just to hammer the point home they zoomed in. I know Spielberg is a great director but sometimes less is more. :)

Out of the three movies I mention here today, this is the one I did not love. I liked it and the cast was great, but given the choice I would suggest one of the other movies below.

I, Tonya –

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Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes. IMDB.

This movie is marketed as a black comedy but if you have ever experienced any kind of abuse in your life there is not very much funny about it. I am glad I did not see this in a cinema with people laughing at the abuse scenes, I did read reports of that happening.

I found this movie to be terribly sad in a lot of different ways and I have always felt very sad about this particular story. There is a moment in the movie where Margot Robbie as Tonya summed things up very tidily as follows –

“I thought being famous was gonna be fun. I was loved, for a minute. Then I was hated. Then I was just a punchline.”

– but there was an aspect she forgot to mention. The years and years of training and competition that both Tonya and Nancy had put in to get to the Olympics in the first place. The many years of getting up at the crack of dawn, the hard work, all that effort..

These two ladies were both very talented skaters, Tonya perhaps even more so than Nancy. The loss of all of that for both of them due to “the incident”, it is incredibly sad.

There were times when I felt like this was a domestic violence operetta set to bad 80’s music. If not for the absolutely incredible performances of Margot Robbie, Alison Janney and Sebastian Stan, I could not recommend this movie. But given those performances, I have to recommend it.

Alison Janney plays the mother of Tonya Harding, LaVona Golden, who is a real person just as bizarre as the on screen version. Those of us who are Alison Janney fans already know she is incredibly talented and she has shown us her talent many times in too many roles to mention, the most notable and well known being CJ from The West Wing. But those past performances were eclipsed by this one. I have never seen anything like it and all I can say is WOW. Just, wow.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri

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A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit. IMDB.

This was by far the best movie I have seen in a long time, and yet I am fairly sure that it will not win the awards that it should because of The Post.

Sometimes movies perform a bit of a magical trick with a character and this particular movie performs that trick with almost all the characters – where you feel one way about them to begin with, then they take what you feel and turn it completely around.

Most of the characters in this movie have moments where you think they are doing the wrong thing, and then moments where you think they are doing the right thing, or vice versa. And in the middle of all of that, there is a terribly sad story happening for one particular character. This movie will have you hating a character then absolutely cheering for them. It will leave you wanting more and wondering what happens next.

Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson all put in incredible performances though I believe in this instance Sam might be the winner of best performance in this particular movie thanks to some amazing writing and the character he is playing. Some of the supporting cast also shine brightly, and the town itself is almost a character in the story.

I do not want to spoil any of this for you by telling you anything which makes it difficult to write a review. I will just tell you to go and see it, and BYO tissues. And I want to see the sequel to this movie, there has to be one surely! You can’t leave us hanging like that pretty please?

You can see the Oscars today live from midday on Nine and it will air again from 7:30pm on Gem.

Here are the 2018 Oscar Nominees.

Remember last year, when The Terrible Incident happened? “They Got the Wrong Envelope!”: The Oral History of Oscar’s Epic Best Picture Fiasco.

While on the entertainment subject, here are two great articles about MASH. ‘M*A*S*H’ Finale, 35 Years Later: Untold Stories of One of TV’s Most Important Shows and Memories of ‘M*A*S*H’: Inside Stories of the Most Famous Episodes (and Castings).

winchester

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I grew up watching MASH reruns 5 days a week. I really loved that show. :) Peace out David Ogden Stiers who played Major Charles Emerson Winchester III.

Movie Reviews, television shows

Catching A Killer

thebill

When I was growing up, The Bill was huge here in Australia. We watched it as a family and we all loved the show – and thus a fascination with all things British policing was born.

Over the years there have been many great documentary shows on the subject – everything from Traffic Cops to Police Interceptors to Sky Cops to 24 Hours In Police Custody – the more of these shows you watch, the more you see how shows like The Bill got things pretty right. You could easily plop the cast of The Bill down into a real UK police station and you would not be able to tell the difference.

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A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon Catching A Killer on the ABC here in Australia – you can still view it on iView (until September 16) and I highly recommend it. There are only two episodes of the show. For those not in Australia, you can currently catch these docos on youtube here and here.

To me the most fascinating part of the documentary is how the police use the ANPR system to track the movement of vehicles in the UK. In both episodes it is a crucial part of the investigation, especially in the second episode. They were able to take 5300 vehicles on the roads at the time and narrow it down to one vehicle.

Did you know that the UK has over 8500 cameras capturing the movements of vehicles across the country? These records are stored for up to two years in the National ANPR Data Center, which can be accessed, analysed and used as evidence as part of investigations by UK law enforcement agencies.

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The police can type in a numberplate and see every occasion that particular vehicle has been seen on camera, and they can track where a vehicle goes – the screenshot above shows a vehicle which the owner claimed was at home hitting various cameras across the UK where the green circles are..

They have a pretty decent CCTV network over in the UK as well, and watching them piece together the movements of cars and people of interest is a sight to be seen.

All this to say, if you have a spare minute, watch these documentaries. Especially those of you who enjoyed Line of Duty, this is like the real thing but without all the police corruption and major plot twists!

television shows

I Listen To Things

swirls

For many weeks here on Wednesdays I have been doing reviews of movies and television shows. We will return to that yet again in the future, I promise. This week I want to talk about The West Wing Weekly podcast, Google Chromecast, and various images.

For the most part I do not set up technical things up in this house. That task falls to The Other Half. So I mostly just accept the way things are, and when my old tv box which allowed me to watch things on the server began acting up, I inherited a Google Chromecast, or at least I think I did. I truly am clueless about it.

If I watch something on Netflix or on our server, when I am done with it if I do not switch back to Foxtel images begin to appear on my screen via Google Chromecast. Many of the images are quite stunning to look at and I do enjoy seeing them. There are NASA images of the day, images from Google Earth View, and images taken in national parks across America. The image up the top there, Turquoise Swirls in the Black Sea is one of the rotating images, as is the image you see below, which is – Lakes and Rivers Have Ice Too.

lakesandrivers

Here are some of the Chromecast Backgrounds collected together beautifully for you to view, if you like. Here you can view some of the Earth View images. Here you can find the NASA image of the day and their archives.

It may not come as a surprise to you to hear this but a big phrase in my world is “I would like to know more about that” and I love that the NASA images can easily be found by typing in their title to your favourite search engine (eg Solar Evaporation Ponds Near Moab, Utah which you are about to see a part of below, click on the link for the whole photo and story) and you get a page with a story about the photo.

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I do not love that the images for Digital Globe have no backstory attached and the images really can’t be found so much online. Most of them just have a location and if you type that location into your search engine of choice, you are going to get all kinds of odd unrelated stuff and I don’t always know what it is I am seeing. I will say though, I did NOT need to look at the location to know when I was looking at Oahu from space partly because I have spent so much time looking at it on Google Maps, and partly because of the natatorium shown.

I was surprised to find that I never listened to any of The West Wing Weekly (TWWW) podcasts. I’m not a big podcast person to be truthful with you. I listened to the Breaking Bad Insider Podcasts and deeply loved every single one of them, I recently enjoyed the Better Call Saul Insider podcasts, and somehow I stumbled onto TWWW. I have been binging like an addict. The good thing is, I know the episodes so well I do not have to watch them, so I can just put my cordless headphones on and enjoy the podcast.

While I am listening, Chromecast is throwing these gorgeous images onto my screen, which I did find distracting to begin with but now I have seen all the images and it is cycling through them, I can just enjoy the beauty of them. The earth is such an amazing and gorgeous place especially when seen from space.

television shows, The West Wing

Line Of Duty

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When I heard that Thandie Newton was guest starring in Season 4 of Line Of Duty, I had a choice to make – watch the previous three seasons, or just watch Season 4 and see if I liked the show. I chose the latter and I think I made the right decision at the time, but my advice to others would likely be, watch the whole series in order.

Due to my deep love for Thandie thanks to her previous works and especially recently, her work in WestWorld, I was on her characters side from the beginning. If I had watched the previous seasons I would probably have been suspicious of her character instead.

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I watched season 4 in two sittings because it is the kind of show that you need to watch the next episode right away – better to stop mid-episode than wait till the end if you have things to do because most of the time they have cliffhangers at the end of the episode. There were only a couple of times where I missed some connection due to not seeing previous seasons.

After watching season 4, I discovered seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix here in Australia (check Hulu and Amazon in the USA), and it was a fast gallop through those seasons. Season one I watched in one sitting, it was just 5 episodes long.

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So what is this show all about? We begin with the following – DS Steve Arnott is in charge of an operation that goes wrong. His fellow police officers try to cover up their mistakes but he refuses to lie about what happened.

He then is a bit of an outcast among his colleagues and ends up being transferred to an Anti Corruption unit, led by Superintendent Ted Hastings. Meanwhile DC Kate Fleming is already working undercover on the case he is about to be assigned – checking into DCI Tony Gates who has a suspiciously high arrest rate.

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This show is sometimes like being strapped into a rollercoaster and launched repeatedly from a standing start to travel instantly at enormous speeds as a surprise to yourself, in the dark, with no idea of what is coming next.

You think you know where things are going, and the rollercoaster lurches in a totally different direction. You think you know who the good guys are, you are probably going to be wrong, and even the good guys have flaws and can bend like the branches of a tree when required.

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Seasons 2-4 of the show were filmed in Northern Ireland and for fans of The Fall you might occasionally spot a familiar location. Each season has a different main guest star character, and you never know who might show up in a supporting role.

Seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix here in Australia, season 4 just finished playing on 13th Street on Foxtel, and sometimes this show can be seen on the ABC as well. If you enjoy police drama, this is a great show to watch. If you enjoy complex plots and twists and turns, this is definitely a show you should seek out. I’d go so far to say, I have never seen a show twist and turn as much as this one, and even the interview scenes with the actors sat round a table disputing “facts” can be incredibly gripping and occasionally shocking.

I am now a huge fan of the main cast which includes Martin Compton as Steve Arnott, Vicky McClure as Kate Fleming, and Adrian Dunbar as Ted Hastings. I loved this show! :)

television shows

Animal Kingdom – The TV Series

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There is no question about it – we are living in the days of peak television. How else could I have let this fantastic show sit on my “to watch” list for nearly 2 years?

I have been a huge fan of Scott Speedman since the Felicity days. So when I heard they were making a TV series based on the Animal Kingdom movie and Scott Speedman was set to be one of the main cast, I added that to my list of shows to watch. And just recently – having finished Line of Duty which is another show I will be writing a post about soon – I spotted it on Netflix and dove in head first. Wow, what a ride!

speedman

Having completed all the episodes presently available, I went to watch the movie again. I had seen it a while ago but the main thing I remembered was Ben Mendelsohn and his dark, malevolent presence in that film.

If you have seen the movie do not think of it as a spoiler for the TV series – almost none of the events of the movie appear in the TV show as yet and I have seen season 2 episode 7.

The main thing the movie has given the TV show is the cast of characters and their backstory. The show begins in a very similar way to the movie, but then the TV show moves off onto a different path and what a delight it is to travel with it.

If I had to describe this show, it would be a longer version of Point Break. The surfing is there, the jumping out of planes, the robberies, the crime planning, the California setting, virtually everything that was great about Point Break is present here. However they have added to it a fantastic cast and some highly talented and experienced crew.

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I love what they have done with Smurf – played by Ellen Barkin – in particular her costumes are great but they have taken her character from the movie and stepped it up like 300 notches – not only is she the matriarch of this crime family but she is a huge part of it, basically the ringleader of it, choosing the jobs, allocating the work, laundering the money, making big decisions. I loved the scene where she is ironing male underwear, too. This role in the movie gained Jacki Weaver an Oscar nomination. Due to so much excellent television Ellen Barkin has not received any nominations for her portrayal of Smurf and that is a great shame.

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Shawn Hatosy is playing the character of Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody – played by Ben Mendelsohn in the movie – and Shawn is really amazing in this role, SO CREEPY. Before I saw this my one question was who could possibly do justice to that role and now that question has been answered. It is very interesting that in the first season I felt quite scared by his character but in the second season somehow they turn the tables a bit and I found myself cheering him on and hoping he might find what he is looking for.

There is a lot of shirtlessness and nudity which you will either love or dislike. I’m totally fine with it myself. There are some other aspects to this show which people might not enjoy – definitely some violence but it is not pointless, it fits in with what is happening on the show and it is not done just for kicks, there is always a reason for it.

shirtlessmen

Me personally the one storyline I did not enjoy was the detective trying to get info on this crime family by whatever means necessary. I think that went a little too far and by the end of the first season I wanted to slap that detective for about an hour. I was truly grateful when she did not show up in Season 2, at least she has not yet, though there are still a few episodes left to watch.

Some interesting names popped up in the directors chair – in particular Regina King, Laura Innes and Emmy Rossum have all directed episodes of this show.

Where can you see this in Australia? Netflix only at this stage, I am afraid. :/

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