2024 in lists: Television

A work in progress. 

Television

    • The Crown, Season 6. We finally finished the last season of the Crown. While I appreciated the acting, particularly of Elizabeth Debecki and Imelda Staunton, it all felt a little too intrusive to me, the fact that many of the people portrayed are still alive, and the series is proposing stories about them which may be true (or not at all). Couldn’t miss watching it after watching and enjoying the other seasons, though. 
    • Fellow Travelers. Familiar with gay history, while I was looking forward to this show, I was also apprehensive. Would they get parts wrong? Could they tell such complex social histories well? I was very impressed all in all, with a real jigsaw puzzle of timelines that worked, and the two lead performances, which were compelling (and of course, they were very handsome). We really enjoyed this. 
    • Berlin. I watched 3 episodes and they were so bad that I wondered why House of Paper (Casa del Papel) was so good. But I remember: a great premise, magnetic characters, suspense and smart storytelling. None of which Berlin has. Of note: weird music video sequences with the characters excessively happy and mugging for the camera. Or Bruce, flirting with Keila, and saying he likes to ask himself whether his female objects of desire shave their pubic hair. Or not. WTF? 
    • Deadloch. We were superfans of Iceland’s Trapped and the amazing series ‘The Bridge’ so a Tasmania-set parody, with not just similar but almost exact recreations of the suspenseful and mournful music, the red herrings, the partnership between opposites, the quirky minor characters: all of this delighted me at almost a subconscious level. A good thing, since I also found the farce too much: that most characters spoke with the same voice and the same slang; that nearly all had an obsession with talking about genitals, shit and lesbians. That the episodes were a bit too long and that the characters’ quirks overstretched beyond farce to bloody annoying and utterly illogical. But overall: quite amusing. 
    • Boy Swallows Universe. The last episode was so weird and implausible that I had to look up what others were saying and they agreed (including a review of the book, which explains why they put it in the TV show). But it wasn’t so bad that it cancelled out a fair bit of enjoyment: a real sense of place, a milieu that I was unfamiliar with, some cracking Aussie dialogue, and great performances. The juxtaposition of a boy’s adventure tale with such violence of gangland mafia and drug addiction and dealing was jarring though.
    • Everything Now. Somewhere around 1991, I saw the movie ‘Flirting’, an Aussie coming-of-age story, and I loved it. The awkward main character and the sophisticated love interest, played by Thandiwe Newton. So, I always remembered her. Her daughter, Ripley Parker, only 23, is the creator and main writer of ‘Everything Now’, which I watched initially to check out the lead actor, Sophie Wilde, since she came for a reiki treatment! And I love the show. It’s like a more sophisticated and real version of Sex Education. The performances are amazing and the script complex. I thought it was really, really good TV. 

Documentaries and Reality Television

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