November… How did we get here so quickly? Though lots has happened over this past year. I’ve finished my undergrad degree, officially became a grown up with a full time job and a house and paying taxes. This gets us to November. Otherwise known as “The month with great TV shows starting with The…” I didn’t really plan on it, but sometimes things just happen by beautiful coincidence, with some brand new series, a one-off and an old timer thrown in for good measure, lets have a look at what has been making my week, every week, this month!
The Big Bang Theory
No. of Episodes: 24
UK release date: Thurs 23rd October E4
Yes, I know. When The Big Bang Theory kicked off in 2007 everyone went nuts, basically psycho over the show. It was so unbelievably hilarious, and it was quite simply genius (pun intended) in it’s set up. You can’t walk into a University bar without one person wearing one of Sheldon’s famous tee shirt prints. It’s distinct yet fresh main characters that study four different scientific fields of physics and it’s quicky, off-beat minor characters in Stuart the comic book store owner and the famous voice of Mrs Wolowitz (RIP to the recently deceased Carol Ann Susi who portrayed the voice of Howard’s beloved mother) helped build this show into what it is now.
And let’s face it, science and intelligence is so hot right now with help from this show. It is still one of the top rated US sitcoms, but of course it’s not the charming E4 underdog any more so it’s gained a few grumpy sods who hate it’s formulaic or “dull” story lines and find the characters grating, but I think it’s always been a hit. This season, we see Penny (or actress Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) chop her long blonde locks and all four of our boys continuing to question the greatest mystery of their universe: girls.
No. of Episodes: 10
UK release date: Thurs 16th October Sky Atlantic
Director, Steven Soderbergh, an indie cinema king, who’s first film was Palme D’or winner Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989) who last year helmed Golden Globe favourite TV movie Behind the Candelabra (2013) when no Hollywood studio would touch it as an actual feature film, said he was retiring. Or going on hiatus, at least, after supposedly going out on a high with Behind the Candelabra. And then The Knick happened and Soderbergh appeared to have not really gone anywhere. And, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’m really glad he didn’t.
The Knick is about a down town New York City hospital at the beginning of the 19th Century, just before prohibition if my memory serves me, and focuses on Clive Owen’s character Dr John Thackery who is trying to pioneer and push boundaries in medicine, in a pre-antibiotics era, all while struggling with a cocaine addiction. Don’t you just love great acting and deeply disturbed genius characters? It’s a winning combination that has made sure that, even if Soderbergh does decide on that break after season 1 of The Knick, he can be sure that he’ll still be going out on a high.
No. of Episodes: 8
UK release date: Tues 28th October BBC1
I have a confession to make. Sometimes watching TV and keeping up with the amount of shows I watch is a huge chore. I know, I know. Blasphemy. There are so many great, entertaining shows out there and TV drama is just getting bigger and better, some rivalling the quality of film even when more screen hours have to be churned out and in much quicker turn around times. It’s all fab. But too much of a good thing, you know? And sometimes when I start to watch a show, even if I don’t really like it, I’ll be like “well I’ve started it now so I may as well finish it…” that’s not the sign that you’re doing something you love and is far too time consuming.
When I first watched The Missing, I was beginning my new policy of “If I don’t genuinely love it or think it’s going to get good, just don’t continue.” I got around 45 minutes into The Missing and thought “yeah it’s alright, but why is it different to any other BBC drama that I watch?” And then I got to the end. And I had to watch the next episode. Yeah, I’ve still felt the same way about every episode of this series: slowly losing faith and then having that faith handed back to me on a plate at the end of each episode. Which, let’s face it, means the show is doing it’s job, it must leave you wanting more.
No. of Episodes: 23
UK release date: Tues 28th October Sky Atlantic
For someone who doesn’t really call themselves a fan of “superhero movies” and, by extension, “superhero TV shows and TV spin offs”, I sure do watch a lot of stuff based on superhero fiction. I think what I really don’t like about the superhero film culture is how it is shoved down your throats, but really what difference is it to the Westerns that were filling the screens during the 1960s and 1970s? The Avengers are this generation’s The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth are, in some ways, just like John Wayne. The protagonists have amazing courage and strengths but are all desperately flawed and human.
Which brings me to the next superhero that has hit our small screens and will be soon hitting our big screens: The Flash. I nearly missed the first episode on Sky Go because I’d completely forgotten about it, and then subsequently spent the whole evening watching the next 3 episodes because I was hooked. It’s a great show, and makes me wonder that it’s really time to give Arrow (the creators of which also created The Flash) a go. Maybe Superheroes aren’t so bad after all.
What have you all been watching this month and what should I look out for in December? Any specials?
I wrote about Girls season 4 when it came back on our screens, and the sequel to this post would be December’s top TV shows. If you like Game of Thrones I was lucky enough to visit the film locations in Northern Ireland in early 2016.