Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I so love British Television

Ramblings Post #52
It has been a long strange trip. I mean from my house to my house and back, this break from law school has been a something I relished and dreaded at the same time. I'm back for another season of "Old Law" , the rolling internet almost show where somebody too damn old takes their ass back to Law School for no good reason at all, and I need to step it up this season. But in the interim, I watched real television...and then I messed around and watched something good.

I found a new show.

I was reading something on Slate, I forget what but Slate is one of my preferred reading sites, it was a review of something else and from there click here and a click there, and three links later found a gem of show that I really think needs to be seen in this country. I mean the original needs to be seen, not what will surely be the cheap bastardized knock-off that lacks the flair or inherent verve of the original (Something I understand almost happened.) One almost imagines that a smart television exec would stop paying for Americanized remakes and just start importing shows whole cloth. I mean I've watched BBC America for quite a few seasons and honestly, there a lot of smarter shows in the old isle than most of what even cable in America is willing to try.

The particular show that captured my attention is called The Thick of It. Shot like one imagines that other British import The Office was shot when it was still a British show. It is about the goings on and back office shenanigans in the offices of a fictitious Brit government Ministry. It is pure magic, that teeters on what appears to be the edge of imporv and tightly choreographed acting. At times it is as though the director just stuck a camera in the room, gave everyone a triple espresso and let the characters evolve. I can't think of anything on American television this good, this innovative or this weirdly intriguing as I watch the dramedy of spin doctors spinning insanity and the knives primed for back stabbing flash in and out of view.

Back stabbing, Spin masters, and Ollie Reader
Photo from BBC

My favorite character by far is a tour de force performance by actor Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker, the prime ministers' foul mouthed and manipulative director of communications/hatchet man/enforcer. You can imagine that some like him must really exist somewhere in the bowels of every government on the planet, swearing and scaring government into action. From the opening minutes of the first show, where he browbeats a minister into a "resignation" to the end of the last special where he berates another junior minister (with a oddly funny blinking problem) to get on the political train he just found out exists, he takes moments that otherwise be unwatchable and makes you wonder what will fall out of his mouth next.

It's still a British show, so some of it may be a little hard to follow, especially some of the slang, but it's both funny, intriguing and scary that on some level, that's what is being depicted may be how government really works. And since there are moments where you can imagine they people are just over grown children, it makes you think.

I watched the entire series (six thirty minute episodes and two hour long specials) on youtube. That said, if I can find it on DVD I will still be buying it. It's that funny. I don't think it's available here in America, however they do the damn regions but I can't imagine why you would hold it in abeyance. In fact, if I can find it in Atlanta, I'm going to go find In the Loop, a film version that actually starts the afore mentioned character Malcolm Tucker and brings him to America.

I don't need better television. I just need better access.

Barkeep. Something they drink in Britain...bitters or scotch or something cold and wet. Like London.

No comments: