Weekly Watchlist #10 (4th Nov – 10th Nov)

weekly watchlist 10 his dark materials the accident the end of the fucking world riverdale

Here we go again!

His Dark Materials (BBC One)

I read these when I was around 8 or so – and because I was around 8 or so, I’ve kinda always had this idea in my head that the His Dark Materials books were quite deep and adult. I have since realised they aren’t exactly what they seemed at the time, but I am still basically quite fond of them in hindsight. (Not that I’ve ever re-read them; I’m reliant more or less entirely on those faded memories.)

I enjoyed this, anyway – far more than November’s other Jack Thorne offering, at least. It felt a little off in places, admittedly, but hey, James McAvoy is pretty great, so that’s always fun.

In the Long Run (Sky One)

See, after everything I said last time about how impressive Idris Elba is as a comedy actor, he was hardly in the ones I watched this week! That was a bit of a shame, having his character be restricted just to the framing device. I wonder if it was an availability thing – it makes sense, admittedly, he’s a pretty busy actor. Still, a shame.

(Which isn’t to undercut the others, though – Bill Bailey and Jimmy Akingbola were both great in the most recent episode I watched. Still, a shame though.)

Riverdale (Netflix)

I’m going to be paying quite close attention, over the next few weeks, to all the Best of 2019 lists – and all the Best of the Decade lists! – and I will be heavily, heavily judging anyone who doesn’t find space for Riverdale on those lists. It doesn’t have to be in the number one spot, that’d just be unreasonable.

But top five, surely, is a given.

The Accident (Channel 4)

I am not sure who, exactly, thought “Grenfell but white” was a good idea – well, no, Jack Thorne did, obviously. God knows why though.

The End of the F***ing World (Channel 4)

Been looking forward to this for ages – really enjoyed the first series, it was one of my favourite pieces of television in 2018. I was a little surprised Alex Lawther was in it again this go around, actually – probably the hoped for reaction, given the marketing. I’d kinda come around to the idea of a solely Jessica Barden oriented series, so I was a little… not disappointed, obviously, I love Alex Lawther, but my expectations have been thrown a bit. Would’ve been interested to see the other version, though – Jessica Barden could absolutely have made it work.

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Weekly Watchlist #9 (28th Oct – 3rd Nov)

Much more stuff this week!

Daybreak (Netflix)

This has really captivated me – very easy to dismiss as derivative (because, well, it absolutely is), but with just enough flourish to occasionally feel very inspired. Oddly, it’s not the most confident show – for every step it takes towards a new idea, it quickly hurries two steps back to comforting archetypes – but when it gets things right it absolutely soars. I’d struggle to recommend it wholeheartedly, but at the same time it’s clearly not a bad show: just one I wish was a little more willing to trust its best instincts.

Defending the Guilty (BBC Two)

It never quite managed to solve the flaw I highlighted a while ago – the lack of development for Will’s girlfriend – which becomes harder to ignore as the series concluded. At the same time, though, I still really enjoyed this: it’s funny and it’s moving, with a brilliant cast and a killer soundtrack. The ending invites a second series I’m not sure is wholly needed – but I really can’t wait for more.

House of Games (BBC Two)

I normally tend not to include all the quiz shows I watch in these listings, but I just wanted to note for posterity that I got an answer about Virginia Woolf very quickly this week, and I was very proud of myself.

That’s all.

In the Long Run (Sky One)

It’s easy to forget just how good a comic talent Idris Elba is, given his more high-profile outings tend towards the dramatic – even then, this loosely-autobiographical piece feels like it’s flown especially under the radar, not really making a huge impact on people’s impressions of Elba. (I’d bet more people know about his DJ work than this show. Actually, I’d bet more people would know him from Bond rumours than this show, and that’s probably never going to happen.)

That’s a shame – In the Long Run is a charming, funny little show, the sort of thing that I could very easily see being just as loved as Derry Girls or Stath Lets Flats if it too had found a home at Channel 4.

Motherland (BBC Two)

Admittedly, “I really can’t wait for more” is also exactly how I felt about Motherland’s first series; this year’s effort is much more easily written off. I could never quite put my finger on what changed – and maybe if I went back and rewatched the first series, I’d be disappointed by that as well. Either way, it’s been a disappointing year

Riverdale (Netflix)

Halloween is absolutely the best time of year for Riverdale. Wait a few months and I’ll say the same about Christmas, though – this is a show that really thrives on excess and exaggeration, so the heightened nature of any holiday always makes for an especially fun instalment of Riverdale nonsense.

Superstore & The Good Place (NBC, Netflix)

Doing these ones together, because I remain of basically the same mind about each – Superstore is just about recovering from a rough start, while The Good Place continues to tread water, increasingly prompting me to realise again (as is the case with every new season of The Good Place) that I just don’t love it. Both these shows might end up bumped from the weekly watchlist – I’ll still keep on top of them, of course, but I’m definitely not going to have something new to say about them each week.

Favourite show of October: I suspect ‘favourite’ is probably the wrong word here – I’d want to very heavily caveat it in this instance – but Daybreak is undeniably the show that’s made the most impression on me, and I suspect the one I’ll be thinking about longest.

Best new show of October: Again, I think it has to be Daybreak.

Most looking forward to in November: Lot of possibilities here – I have high hopes for His Dark Materials, some measured interest in a few of the Apple+ shows, and I haven’t quite got around to Watchmen yet so we’ll call that a November show – but it’s hard not to choose The End of the F***ing World series 2. Absolutely loved the first series, and really curious to see how Jessica Barden fills the role of the lead.

You can look at other Weekly Watchlists here. If you liked this article and you want to support what I do, you can leave a tip over on ko-fi, or back my Patreon here.

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