Killing Eve is a show that’s easy to become obsessed with

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What stands out about Killing Eve – and it feels like a fairly superficial observation to make, though that doesn’t mean it’s any less true – is that it’s very, very good. There’s an almost effortless confidence to the show, a certain skill and swagger not unlike that of Jodie Comer’s assassin Villanelle; Killing Eve is a series that almost defies efforts to review it, because elaborating beyond “just watch it” feels as though you’re wasting time, time that could be better spent watching (and rewatching) Killing Eve. From its witty, charming script to the electric performances from its leads, Killing Eve is a programme where its quality leaps off the screen, the first thing you notice about the show – seemingly, there’s a certain simplicity to it.

But that seeming simplicity, that apparent effortlessness, obscures the clever tricks at the heart of Killing Eve. It is a very talented, very competent execution of all the tropes of a spy thriller, with globetrotting agents uncovering an international conspiracy, entirely recognisable in terms of the conventions of its genre – but there’s an obvious self-awareness to Killing Eve too, and a clear drive on the part of showrunner Phoebe Waller-Bridge to tell a much more idiosyncratic, much more new and interesting story within the skeleton of the spy thriller.

On one level, there’s the fact that we’re watching Killing Eve rather than Killing Evan – any other piece you might care to name as an example of the same genre would be a male-led story. That Killing Eve isn’t, that it pivots instead around Sandra Oh’s Eve and Jodie Comer’s Villanelle, immediately marks the series out as something different. You wouldn’t be able comb through the script and make a few quick changes to turn it into Killing Evan, though; Waller-Bridge’s self-proclaimed interest in “transgressive women” is evident throughout, the whole series fascinated by its leads and their inner lives, both vast and intimate at once.

So I wrote this piece on Killing Eve, and I was fairly pleased with it – arguably not as in-depth as I might have liked, perhaps, and I don’t know how well the article really captured the actual rush of watching the show. But, on the whole, pleased with it, and also fairly entertained by the slightly naff “Killing Evan” programme I invented for comparison’s sake. (It did occur to me at the time that a more interesting comparison might be the new Jack Ryan series on Amazon, but I’d not watched that, so Killing Evan had to suffice.)

Some weeks later, I happened to read some complaint about the series – you know the type, that nonsense internet comment about women on TV. What annoyed me – no, enraged me – no, embarrassed me – was that that fool writing nonsense on the internet had stumbled across a much more obvious name for a male-led Killing Eve than this fool writing nonsense on the internet.

Killing Steve.

I’m still mad I missed that.

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Forget a James Bond movie – television should be 007’s new home

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We’re living in a golden age of prestige television, with TV dramas finding popular acclaim on an international scale, not to mention commercial success. It’s not difficult to imagine a James Bond TV series, with time, reaching similar levels of success as Game of Thrones – one of the most popular and well known intellectual properties in the world, James Bond would certainly garner people’s attentions. 

More than that, though, an ongoing television serial would allow for deeper storytelling than we’ve seen in the Bond franchise so far; one of the things Spectre was criticised for was mishandling the conclusion to an ongoing story arc across the movies – a Bond TV show would allow for a far more successful attempt at an ongoing storyline.

A recent post for Yahoo about a James Bond TV show. Within the article itself, I outline a couple of different concepts for the show, so that’s worth checking out.

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Is a sequel to The Night Manager a good idea?

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For one thing, one has to consider the integrity of the piece – given the ending of the first series, what reason is there to reunite our three leads again? It’s obvious that this is happening because of the success of the first series, and it’d be churlish to denigrate the follow-up on that basis – but the question as to whether it’s the only reason for a sequel is worth asking nonetheless.

Perhaps I’m just biased – after all, I was one of the few people who didn’t love The Night Manager, or even particularly like it. From the nasty fridging as the show began, to the thin writing and poor characterisation of Tom Hiddleston’s Jonathon Pine, there were quite a few flaws to the show that stood in the way of my enjoyment of it. And, indeed, they continue to stand in the way of my interest in a sequel.

Short answer: Probably not.

Long answer? Well…

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How The Night Manager gave us the Best TV Villain of 2016

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The Night Manager gave us one of 2016′s best TV villains so far – Hugh Laurie’s Richard Roper, international arms dealer, and supposedly “the worst man in the world”.

Across the first episode, we don’t actually see much of Roper; primarily, we hear of him by reputation, and reputation alone. The murder of Sophie Alekan is attributed to his machinations, and it tears apart the entire world of our protagonist, Tom Hiddleston’s Jonathan Pine; his business associates in Cairo are shown to be thugs and brutes, indulging in their own frequent bouts of violence. We can see the dedication with which Olivia Coleman’s Angela Burr pursues him, throwing all her resources at ensuring his capture, and describing him as “the worst man in the world”.

So when Roper eventually does appear, we expect to hate him. We almost want to hate him. But we can’t, not really. Laurie’s performance is charismatic in the extreme; from his first introduction – “Hello, I’m Dicky Roper” – there’s a sheer, infectious charm about his character. Laurie does a very good job of winning over the audience immediately; primed though we are to hate him, all of that is done away in an instance.

I actually mostly disliked The Night Manager – Tom Hiddleston struck me as uncharacteristically flat, mainly because the only character he was given was a fairly tired fridging/revenge plot – but one thing I loved was Hugh Laurie’s performance as the villain of the piece.

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