The one to watch: Ashes to Ashes (Series 2 / BBC1)

Really very much looking forward to this. Series 2 premieres on BBC1 next Monday 20th April at 9pm. I really did enjoy the first series which aired last year.

As mentioned at the time, I don’t watch cop shows normally. I have little to no interest. But it’s the depiction of the 1980s, a decade hot-wired into my brain for reasons I’ve never quite been able to grasp. Just something about that era. The music. The things that happened. Extremely formative years for me (I was born in 1976) and I do see myself as a child of the 80s.

PS The (somewhat underwhelming) trailer doesn’t really do the series justice in my opinion!

The one to watch: Damages Season 2 (BBC)

I am incredibly happy.

Not only has the second season of Mad Men begun its UK premier (Tuesday nights on BBC4) – Damages starring Glenn Close returns to our screens this Sunday. And I am supremely excited. Season 1, last year, was absolutely electric.

Like Mad Men – it’s not for the masses. Neither is what I’d call ‘mainstream’ (based on how many people I know who watch them) – but they are phenomenal and to my mind the two very best US imports we have on our television screens. I completely agree with the Radio Times preview:

The fact that this legal thriller is back for a second series will be of no interest to roughly 95 per cent of the population. It’s like other acclaimed US imports (Mad Men, The Wire, The Sopranos etc): all the plaudits in the world won’t turn it into a popular hit, so it’s destined to be beloved but cult viewing here, which is fine. What makes it such a hard cult to leave is the way the show gets its narrative hooks into you.

The main thrust this time round is that elfin lawyer Ellen (Rose Byrne) is helping the FBI investigate her boss – the show’s anti-heroine, Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). But in a flash-forward to six months later, we see Ellen is caught up in something far more dreadful. What, and why, we’ll discover only slowly. Meanwhile, William Hurt bolsters the already superb cast as a whistle-blower from Patty’s past.

It’s high-class fare, like chewing rare fillet steak, except with the uncomfortable feeling that at any moment you could crunch on a nugget of broken glass. And as usual it’s Glenn Close, as the haunted, unknowable Patty, whose performance burns out of the screen.

Source: Radio Times.

It is unbelievably good.

Mad Men Series 2 (BBC)

At last the day has come. Mad Men series 2 finally aired on BBC4. I have waited a long time for this and seeing it again on our screens has been sublime.

I love how the Radio Times described it:

The first season of Mad Men probably won more awards than it did viewers. But its tiny band of devotees on both sides of the Atlantic treasured it as a polished pearl, a television series of wit, thoughtfulness and elegance. So bless the BBC for keeping the faith and bringing us series two. Source: Radio Times.

mad men

It’s so true. Very few people I know watch it, but that’s such a shame as it’s one of the very best things on British television right now. In the sea of mind-numbing, amorphous, celebrity crap – this really is delicious. The attention to period detail is absolutely exquisite – like no other TV program I’ve seen. The smoking, the drinking, the womanising, the clothes, the marital dysfunction, the desperate housewives, the search for meaning. All very powerful stuff and highly compelling viewing.

Episode 1 of season 2 followed on from where the last series left off. The arrival of the revolutionary photocopier has the office abuzz. I won’t write too much more as it can be watched again on BBC iPlayer.

Masses of photos on AMC’s website.

Series 2 episode 1 on iPlayer.

PS OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGG they’ve just advertised the second season of Damages beginning on Sunday! My two favourite US imports restarting on television for their new seasons! Happy days indeed!

Mad Men Series 2 back in the UK

Very good news yesterday. I was reading a long article in The Telegraph about Mad Men and its creator, Matthew Weiner, at the end of which I read the magic words: Mad Men’ series 2 starts on BBC4 on February 10 I’ve been so looking forward to it coming back to our shores. It was one of the very best things on TV when it started last year on BBC4. Birdie is also a big fan. There is also a good article in the DT about voluptuous siren Joan Holloway (played by Christina Hendricks). Can be read here.