All right, I surrender. There’s just no way on earth I can deal in 600 words with all the great, or potentially great, TV that has been on lately. Emma; Alex: A Passion for Life (the sequel to that moving documentary about the brilliant Etonian musician with cystic fibrosis); Generation Kill. Truly, it has been what we classical scholars call a Weekus Mirabilis. I’m going to deal with just three offerings.
First, Criminal Justice (BBC1, all week for a whole hour each night, which is a serious commitment, n’est-ce pas?). I’ve only seen episode one and I’m torn. I sympathise totally with screenwriter Peter Moffat’s predicament: every possible permutation in psychological courtroom-drama murder-mystery has already been done on TV a billion times, so the only way you have left to maintain viewer interest is through trickery.
You withhold key information: who is this strange, cold, fragile woman (Maxine Peake)? Why does she not answer the phone in that incredibly irritating way when her smug barrister husband (Matthew Macfadyen) calls? What’s with the shower and the pills? How does any family get to keep their home quite so chic and minimal? Why does this series feature virtually the entire cast of Little Dorrit?
At the end of part one, smug barrister lay dying (or possibly not) of a stab wound inflicted (or possibly not) by his wife. But do we care enough to invest another four hours of valuable life waiting for the outcome? If the secret is that the pretty teenaged daughter did it, well I’m not happy because she looks nice and pretty. If it turns out the wife did it, well she’s frazzled and weird and what did you expect? All very languorous and finely drawn and lots of acting going on, though, I’ll give it that.
True Blood (Channel 4, Wednesday) is HBO’s biggest hit since The Sopranos and was created by Alan Ball. I hope it doesn’t go badly off, like his previous ex-masterpiece Six Feet Under did. Mind you, name me one US series that doesn’t go off. (Apart from The Sopranos, the exception that proves the rule.) The only question is will it be three or four episodes in, like Lost, a series in, like Heroes, or several series in, like Frasier?
What True Blood has in its favour is… (to read more, click here)