The first six months of 2018 have been very good to us in terms of what’s happening on the small screen. Find out what I think are the top viewing choices as we head in to the end of the year.
The sprawling, somewhat surreal account of the world inside and outside of the rap scene in Atlanta sees Donald Glover continuing to take risks in the second season.
He’s trying everything: there is a straight-up horror movie in one of the episodes and a relationship drama that plays out at a German Fasnacht festival in another.
My Take: It’s as intelligent as it is profound, and it effortlessly checks every box as to what a good series should be. It is one of the funniest dramas on television at the moment and is a bruising comedy as well.
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Black Lightning combines superheroes, smart social commentary, and spandex. Cress Williams is the hero himself, a senior coaxed out of a well-earned retirement by the appearance of a powerful criminal gang in his community, and pertinent questions about the limits and possibilities of violence and power are asked.
My Take: For a series that is said to be aimed at teenagers, there’s plenty that Black Lightning has to offer adult viewers as well. The stage has definitely been set for a mature, elegant, complex action-drama.
Carry on Brussels
One of the truths of the European Union referendum is that many of those who voted did so without that much knowledge of the apparatus in which they were seeking to remain, or wanting to leave.
This is a fly-on-the-wall type documentary that offers a corrective, however belated, and follows seven Members of the European Parliament, or MEPs, from across the spectrum of politics as they pursue their various goals within the legislature.
My Take: Christian Trumple, the director, manages to spin enough comedy, alongside some real tragedy, into a watchable three-part series that will no doubt have you grinding your teeth in frustration the same way I did! I calmed down with a spot of Australian sports betting, however, without leaving my seat and was back in form in no time.
Carey Mulligan stars in the David Hare police procedural, playing an investigative officer who is looking into the murder of a refugee from Syria. This political bent has seen the show criticised by some, but it does make for some compelling drama!
My Take: The characters link and interlink, making for an ever-more tangled web as our responsibilities as a society is questioned in the situation Abdullah and those who have managed to survive him thus far find themselves in.
Social Service workers aren’t necessarily the first thing you think of when you hear the word sitcom, but this creation of Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks will change your mind. Its dry wit taken from such heavy subject matter will amaze you.
My Take: It takes a tremendous amount of skill, and some real nerve, to be able to find humour in a subject this unfunny, but Damned has quite adeptly managed to stay on the right side of some very blurred lines.