And Then There Were None (Lifetime)
All the critics said it was great and it really was. This short six-hour mini-series was just about perfect. Perfect adaptation, perfect length, perfect acting and just the right amount of drama and suspense. The basic premise for this Agatha Christie adaptation is that a group of strangers are brought to an island where one by one, they are murdered. As they are murdered (as described in a poem found hanging in every room), the characters turn against each other. Flashbacks to their earlier lives provide illumination as to why these individuals were selected for this bizarre adventure. Miranda Richardson and Charles Dance headline a fine cast, which includes a newcomer, Maeve Darmody, in the lead role of the schoolteacher. She does a fine job and holds up well against the talented cast. If you missed the show, it will likely be repeated or catch it on cable “On-Demand”.
The Americans (FX)
I wrote enough last week about this being my favorite show on TV so wouldn’t go in to that much more. The Americans returned this week and it was wonderful. Slowly but surely, the noose is tightening around Philip’s and Elizabeth’s necks. The show isn’t going to be able to keep going more than this and potentially one more season now that their daughter Paige knows they are spies. One of the many things I love about this show is the depth of the characters and the scenes between Philip and Martha exemplify this as she slowly realizes the deal she has made. Frank Langella is great as are Keri Russell and Mathew Rhys who are quietly brilliant. For anyone who isn’t watching this show, figure out how to get all of the seasons (FX on demand, Amazon, Hulu) and watch it – it is great.
Happy Valley (Netflix)
Happy Valley is a BBC crime drama that is on Netflix. Season 2 dropped this week and I have read some pretty good reviews for the show. It is highly recommended to watch Season 1 first so I started in on it and it is pretty good. Aside from some accents that are difficult to understand, it seems to be a very well done crime show. I’m just starting so I’ll provide some updates along the way but if you missed this last year and like this genre, it is something to check out.
Marvel Agents of Shield (ABC)
Marvel Agents of Shield returned last week from its winter break. It’s replacement, Marvel’s Agent Carter was a better show but Shield has grown over the last couple of seasons to the point where it is a decent though not great drama. I’m not quite sure why I watch all of these Marvel shows, as I don’t have any comic book background but there are some really interesting characters that show up here and there. I won’t pretend, though, that I’m not often confused.
Agents of Shield’s return started with a spaceship blowing up with a Shield agent inside of it three months in the future. This is a trick that many shows are using now but this one was well done and intriguing. We then meet the female equivalent of “the Flash” and the alien that has invaded Ward’s corpse. With all that, I’m not sure where the show runners are headed with this but I’m up for seeing more of creepy Ward’s corpse.
Nashville returned from winter break with a wedding, some great music and a pretty good show. Nashville is a soap opera. I can’t explain why I stick with it. I dislike country music but like the music on this show. I don’t like primetime soap operas but I like this one. I guess when it comes down to it, I like the characters (and the music) and as bad as the show is, I am still hoping Avery and Juliet and Gunner and Scarlett get together once and for all. Nashville will probably be cancelled after this season as the ratings are terrible but until then, I’ll get stick with it. I guess it helps that there is really nothing on Wednesday nights so I ‘m not distracted by something better. It also helps that Claire Bowen cut off all that ridiculous hair.
Colony (USA) finishes up Season 1 this week but I’ll be travelling so will report out on it next week.
House of Cards (Netflix) I actually finished House of Cards and I thought Season 4 was quite good. This season showcased the women in the show brilliantly. Robin Wright is absolutely mesmerizing as Claire Underwood as she maneuvers herself into power. Neve Campbell is also very good as her manager. Ellen Burstyn rules her too few appearances. I’m so done with Frank Underwood but these women took the screen and the show to new levels.
I’m still not a big House of Cards fan but what I found engaging in Season 1 was back in Season 4. It isn’t great TV; the characters and plot lines are so over the top as to be ridiculous and I just want to smack Frank Underwood every time he turns and talks to the audience. I hope the reason that the plots didn’t drive me away this season is not because in the current political environment the storyline isn’t that far fetched but it might be an explanation. It was good enough for me to potentially watch it again next season. I won’t, however, go back and watch Season 3 after giving up on it after the first couple of episodes.