Series Review: A Very English Scandal (2018)

What? You thought I was taking a break from blogging just because it’s christmas? Pffft. Don’t be silly.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a show… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “A Very English Scandal”.

We follow Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant), a British politician who’s beloved by many. But that could change if the people found out that he’d had a sexual relationship with a young man named Norman (Ben Whishaw). So really this is all about how Thorpe tries to cover up this part of his life, for fear of Norman exposing him. And I really liked the plot here. It not only gives us an engaging personal journey for both Thorpe and Norman, but we also get a fascinating look at how British politics and such worked in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s mainly steeped in drama, which it already handles very well, but what really gives it an edge is a sort of sly wit that makes it a lot more watchable. So yeah, the plot here is layered, fun, and overall quite engaging.

The characters here are layered, colorful, and just overall interesting. Hugh Grant plays Jeremy Thorpe, a highly charismatic British politician (paradoxical description, I know) who, as I already mentioned, has a secret… a secret that back in those days could be devastating if it would be brought into the light. So seeing him develop throughout the show as he deals with trying to hide his “shameful sins” is quite fascinating. And Hugh Grant is Hugh Great in the role. Ben Whishaw plays Norman Josiffe, the young man that Thorpe has his affair with. After they have a bit of a falling out, Norman kind of tries to expose this affair to the world. And seeing him go through all his struggles in the series is quite interesting. And Whishaw is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Alex Jennings, Patricia Hodge, Paul Hilton, Blake Harrison, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Murray Gold, and I think he did a great job with it. Remember how I said the storytelling here has kind of a sly wit to it? That often reflects in the score as well, as it both through its excellent main theme and a few other pieces carries an almost bouncy feel to it that captures the witty style quite well. That’s not to say that it’s all fun, as Gold also knows when to pull it back a bit and create some really good dramatic pieces.

Based on a book by John Preston, the show was written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Stephen Frears, and I think their teamwork here paid off quite well, as I think the craft on display here is really solid. There’s an energy to it all that makes it quite entertaining to follow, Frears (who is a generally a good director) really brought his A-game here. And Davies’ writing here presents all characters here in a way that doesn’t take much of an actual stance. Positives, negatives, both are shown here. The writing here is also surprisingly funny. Not in a straight-up comedy kind of way, but (again) in a sort of sly way.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“A Very English Scandal” is a surprisingly entertaining political drama filled with great acting. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “A Very English Scandal” is a 9,61/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “A Very English Scandal” is now completed.

Maybe Hugh Grant is more of a character actor than a proper leading man…

Series Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles – Season 1 (2015)

IT’S ALIVE, IT’S FUCKIN’ ALIVE! JEFF, GET THE CAMERA… ‘CAUSE IT’S ALIVE!

Ladies and gentlemen, these are… “The Frankenstein Chronicles”.

London, early 19th century. Inspector John Marlott (Sean Bean) discovers the body of a dead child washed up on a shore. Upon further investigation it is found out that this child is made up of body parts from a whole bunch of kids, all stitched together. So it’s up to Marlott and his partner Nightingale (Richie Campbell) to find whoever did this and bring him/her to justice. So now we have our 19th century crime-drama. And is it any good? Yeah, I’d definitely say so. Is it perfect? Not really. But damn, it sure did impress me quite a bit. They create an interesting enough plot here that kept me engaged all the way through, filled with twists and turns. And while it has “Frankenstein” in the title, it isn’t a strict “Frankenstein” story, but rather creating an entirely new thing relating in some way to Mary Shelley’s classic story. My only flaw with the plot is the finale. It isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, it even has some pretty damn cool things happening in it. But compared to the relatively slow burn of the rest of the episodes, it felt like it rushed a little bit. It’s a minor flaw, but I thought it would be worth noting. Overall the plot here is really good.

When it comes to the characters here, only three of the main players I found interesting. The rest I thought were a little bland and forgettable. Sean Bean plays John Marlott, the inspector leading this investigation into the stitched together child. He’s a deeply troubled man who has experienced some shit in his past, and Sean Bean is absolutely fantastic in the role, often acting the shit out of a scene with just his eyes, he really knows how to do troubled really well. Richie Campbell plays Joseph Nightingale, Marlott’s partner in this investigation. He’s a bit more of a lighthearted presence than Marlott, but he’s still a fairly serious and interesting character. And Campbell is great in the role. The final one I want to properly go through is Elosie Smyth as Flora, a young woman that Marlott meets during his investigation and makes an ally out of. She’s a damaged individual, but she does get a somewhat good arc here. And Eloise Smyth does a really good job here. And while I think pretty much all the other characters were kind of meh, they weren’t necessarily bad. Their writing is fine, and the actors do really well in their respective roles, but their characters weren’t really as memorable or interesting as those three I mentioned before. So this is overall well acted, with some flaws in the characters.

The score for the show was composed by Roger Goula and I think he did a really good job. His score is eerie and atmospheric, perfectly capturing the intended tone of the show. It also managed to give me some chills throughout, which helped elevate some already kind of chilling scenes.

This show was created by Benjamin Ross & Barry Langford, and written/directed by various people. And they manage to create some really interesting stuff here. Their directing looks really good and managed to create a feel of unease from the very first frame. There are also some scenes here that are pretty suspenseful, adding to the already good quality of the show. I also want to mention that the period detail here is amazing, they really made it feel like the early 19th century.

While there isn’t much on this show where I usually steal reception data from, it seems to have been pretty well received (as far as I can tell). On Rotten Tomatoes it does exist, but has no score on there. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Frankenstein Chronicles” is a pretty damn solid show. It has a really good plot, okay characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. My only flaws with it come from my minor problem with the finale, and most characters being pretty unmemorable. Time for my final score. *IT’S ALIVE!*. My final score for “The Frankenstein Chronicles” season 1 is an 8,98/10. While flawed, I’d say that it is definitely worth a watch.

My review of “The Frankenstein Chronicles” season 1 is now completed.

IT’S ALI- Okay, I’m gonna stop that now.