UK Viewing – That Almost Felt Like A Hiatus

January 6, 2011 TV 4

George, Nina, Mitchell and Annie (Being Human) Photo credit - BBC

There was, it must be admitted, disappointingly little of any interest that was broadcast over the recent festive season. Aside from the Doctor Who Christmas Special (which you can read all about over here,) there was not a huge amount of TV really worth taking the time to watch.

But we are now in a new year, and with it there should come an influx of new things that are deserving of some attention. First off the starting block, and due to air very soon, is series three of supernatural flat-share drama, Being Human.

A vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share a flat in the middle of Bristol, try to blend in and ultimately cause substantial chaos when the rules governing the interaction of the supernatural with the rest of humanity get just a little bit bent. The end of the last series dropped us off on a monstrous cliff-hanger, with one character disappearing as another one dramatically returned, and the BBC have been taunting us since the beginning of December with promos airing direct from a rather sinister version of purgatory.

Admittedly, if you haven’t seen the previous two series you’re going to get a bit lost. But series three isn’t set to appear until later in the month, so you’ve still got time to catch up. Personally I’m not a big fan of the supernatural genre, and vampires tend to bring me out in a fit of serious eye-rolling, but I do make an absolute exception for Being Human. If you like your vampires to be non-sparkly recovering blood-aholics, your werewolves neurotic and the realms of the supernatural recognisably still very much populated by regular people even if they are a bit undead, then hunt it down and settle in. It’s by turns chilling, dramatic and all quite strangely believable, and it’s definitely worth a look.

Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson (Sherlock) Photo credit - BBC

This should, of course, not be confused with the new American adaptation starting on SyFy this month as well. That is a show in its own right, despite being based on the UK original. They may share a central premise, but they’re shaping up to be rather different creatures and I think I’ll leave the direct comparisons up to somebody else.

Also coming up in 2011, we’ll be seeing a new series of Doctor Who and, towards the end of the year, a second series of the insanely brilliant Sherlock. I’m hard pressed to say which excites me more, and may have to declare it a tie. But as they both come from the same geeky Moffat/Gatiss -ish hybrid I’m sure they won’t mind sharing a place in my affections.

If you’re on the hunt for something a little more deliciously cynical, journalist, satirist and professional misanthrope, Charlie Brooker, has a new series coming out this year called How TV Ruined Your Life. It’s set to examine the point where the mad daydreams of TV and the sorry reality of real life collide. Probably using a great deal of suitably insane archive footage.

Christopher Isherwood (Christopher And His Kind) Photo credit - BBC

If you’re familiar with Brooker I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the format is probably not going to differ wildly from his previous shows, Newswipe, Screenwipe or Gameswipe, all of which have given me great entertainment over the years. If you ever find yourself frothing at the mouth because of bad journalism, ridiculous TV banality or outright media stupidity, then relax. You no longer have to. Brooker will almost certainly do it all for you in his rather unique, long-suffering style.

If you’re after some drama, there’s a four-part adaptation of Michel Faber’s novel The Crimson petal & The White coming soon, starring Romola Garai (Atonement), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) and Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd). There’s also the Christopher Isherwood biopic to look forward to, Christopher And His Kind, which stars Matt Smith in his first major role outside of Doctor Who.

So in the end, Christmas may have been a fairly dull TV non-event, but at least 2011 is shaping up to hold a certain amount of promise.

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