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TV roundup: what I’ve been watching recently

Turning away from politics, for a wee while, I’ve been finding things have been pretty good in the TV world, recently.

I thoroughly enjoyed Life On Mars on BBC 1, recently. I expected slightly better — or at least different — of it when it was first announced: I thought there would be more (or some) ambiguity or doubt about whether Sam Tyler was experiencing it all in his mind while in a coma, or had actually travelled in time.

Shortly after the start there was no such ambiguity about that, and we were deep in The Bridge or Marabou Stork Nightmares territory (if you can compare a TV series with a novel, then I’d say it’s better than the latter but nowhere near as good (obviously) as the former). What I was hoping for in the final episode, though, is that Sam would wake up back in 2006; and that he would then look into the history of the personnel at the station, and find that Gene Hunt and the others (and DI Sam Tyler, for that matter) really existed. Maybe he would even look up a now-aged and retired Gene, an Annie who is a grandmother.

Obvious, maybe, but it could have been a nice touch.

I had some mixed feelings about the whole thing, though. I wanted it to be resolved and completed, for dramatic satisfaction. But I so much enjoyed the interactions between the characters (especially the growing and grudging respect between Tyler and Hunt) and the quality of most of the stories that I became (and remain) keen to see more. If he had woken up, there would be no going back.

The West Wing maintained its high standard through the recent season (in fact this season, 6, was significantly better than 5 was, I would say) and I’m profoundly glad that we got a digibox and so could watch it on the excellent More4, rather than having to wait for the DVDs to be released. More4 are taking us straight into season 7, so only 22 21 more weeks and then it’s over forever.

More4 is also where we get The Daily Show With John Stewart, to give it its full-length name. This is just a fabulous show; hilarious, thought-provoking and informative. What more could you ask for?

Well, I could ask for something as good — and in a similar vein — for Britain.

The IT Crowd was disappointing enough after two or three episodes that I didn’t bother to work around its clashing with The West Wing on Friday nights). I’ve read some positive comments on it, though, and it ought to have been good, given its pedigree; so maybe I’ll watch out for the repeats. I wonder if that stupid announcer ever stopped calling it ‘The it Crowd’, though?

Hyperdrive was largely disappointing, and Invasion just petered out: that is, I petered out of watching it.

Most importantly (in comedy, at least): at last they’ve started showing the trailers I’ve been waiting for: “New Green Wing. Nearly ready.” Hooray! The funniest comedy of the last few years: right up there with Absolutely I can hardly wait.

And to top all that, my old friend from uni, Paul Cockburn inadvertently reminds me that the new Doctor Who will be starting quite soon. Fantastic!

[tags]tv, television, green wing, doctor who, absolutely, the west wing, the daily show[/tags]

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