Tag Archive | Television

Review – Bold and daring television from the BBC – King Charles III, from stage to screen

 

Meet_the_cast_of_King_Charles_III.jpg

So, tonight saw the airing of the BBC’s adaptation of 2014’s critically acclaimed stage play, King Charles III. It was one of my theatre highlights of that year (you’ll find my original review here) and I was thrilled to hear that such a daring and though-provoking drama was to be brought to the screen, particularly with most of the original main cast.

Now it has aired and after reading such diverse comments about the programme on Twitter,  it seemed only right to review this new version and compare it to my experience of Mike Bartlett’s original material.

On seeing it for the first time in the theatre, I imagine I had the same thoughts many tuning in to BBC Two had; starting off with unease and discomfort at what I was watching. These are after all, some of the most familiar people in our lives in Britain. However, the cleverness of the style, structured as if a History play by Shakespeare, in verse, means that although real people, the drama is a step removed from reality, allowing the audience to be absorbed by the characters in front of them, rather than focussing on who they were based on.

13144879-low_res-king-charles-iii.jpg

Many are also saying that it is disrespectful, but I disagree. I support the Royal Family by and large (especially the Queen and the younger members) and yet I loved this play and equally enjoyed the screen version. It isn’t autobiographical – after all it’s set in the future! Like any good drama, it causes its audience to discuss and debate its content. It requires you to focus and engage with the questions it raises. None of us know what will happen when the Queen passes away and the crown moves to Charles and yes, this is a heightened reality, which I doubt would ever come to pass. However, as a drama, it asks some intriguing questions – Would Charles, who we know has given his political views in the past, resist giving his assent to a law he personally disagreed with? If he did, what would William do? Would he say nothing, or would he in fact do what was necessary in order to preserve the future of the Monarchy if it was put at risk by his father’s actions? Should we even still have a Monarchy, or does the stability of the Monarch actually hold Britain together?

Ultimately these are simply people, just like the rest of us and King Charles III treats them as such, as people with flaws, weaknesses, ambitions and desires. Yes, there are aspects I remain uncomfortable with (in particular, putting words in to the mouths of William and Harry about their mother), but I cannot take offence at something that isn’t claiming to be anything but fiction. In fact, I find myself thinking about the actual Royal Family and their lives in a whole new light.

As for the transition from stage to screen, overall, Mike Bartlett has done a great job in adapting his play for television. There have of course been cuts, mainly to long soliloquies to save time and certain scenes have changed locations (Jess no longer comes to the Palace after her first night on the town with Harry, which I actually think makes much more sense), but on the whole the text and the spirit of the play remains the same, something that I was a little worried may not translate from the stage. Director Rupert Goold (who also directed the play) is perfectly placed to ensure the Shakespearian tone of the piece remains – dramatic in places, mildly comedic in others. I also loved the moments in which characters spoke to camera, preserving the sense of theatre (which is becoming more common on television, with dramas such as House of Cards) and the use of the original music from the play, particularly the haunting Latin singing during the Coronation (which in the theatre gave me goosebumps).

_95980128_13144813-low_res-king-charles-iii.jpg

Although, I did prefer the stage play due to my love of theatre and the powerful atmosphere the play brought to the stage, there are elements that, in my opinion, work better, or are improved by this adaptation. The biggest example is the ghostly presence of Diana. I never enjoyed this on stage, finding it rather cheesy and uncomfortable (even though I understood that a Shakespearean History play needs a ghost to steer the fates of the characters). Rather than a woman walking across a stage, here through the use of lighting and echoing voices, these moments actually work much better. Also, the inclusion of scenes showing the rest of the family’s reactions to Charles’ dissolution of Parliament were also welcome television additions, raising the stakes of the unfolding drama.

The acting remains strong in this 90 minute drama, with the key players from the stage stepping back in to their roles (Charles, William, Harry, Camilla and the Prime Minister all the same). I’ve seen a fair amount of comments on social media criticising the acting, but, in my opinion, to think that is to miss the complexity of this piece. This is after all a fictional story, depicting a family we all know incredibly well. Therefore the actors had to find a balance between conveying a realistic portrayal of those we know, but without becoming caricatures of them. This isn’t after all Spitting Image, which would indeed have been cheesy!

13144722-low_res-king-charles-iii.jpg

Central to this is the incredible performance by Tim Pigott-Smith, whose recent death makes watching this even more poignant. He brings to the screen a man whose whole life has been geared towards this one job and on finally getting it, he faces choices which affect the stability of the whole country. It’s interesting that the law he opposes is one restricting freedom of the press, which may be seen by some as admirable. Yet, the monarch’s role is not to stop laws, but to give their ceremonial assent and it is this decision, followed by his dissolution of a Parliament that he feels opposes him, that results in civil unrest. Over the course of the story, you move from admiration, to frustration and then to deep sympathy for Charles and this is thanks to the rich depth of Pigott-Smith’s performance. The last few scenes are heartbreaking and remind me how much he will be missed.

My favourite role on stage was that of Kate and she is just as strong here (with Charlotte Riley replacing Lydia Wilson). Kate is strong and an equal partner to her husband and her soliloquy to camera captures that strength of resolve. I’m not sure I agree with the Lady Macbeth comparisons, but every Shakespearean History needs an expert manipulator! Oliver Chris also does a fantastic job at playing a conflicted William. He loves his father and yet, ultimately has no choice but to effectively betray him, in order to restore stability. I’ve never seen them as evil as many are saying tonight, as although cruel to Charles, their actions seem necessary to preserve the monarchy that the current Queen has worked decades to protect above all else. This drama now includes their two children and by having William hug his son, as he is faced with the such a hard choice, added an extra layer of emotion to the story. Crucially, the final confrontation between William and Charles was just as powerful to watch on screen, which is all due to the work of the actors.

Adam James (a favourite of mine for years), is back as the Prime Minister, placed in an impossible situation and privy to the later emotional scenes. His interactions with Pigott-Smith and Oliver Chris remain very believable. Margot Leicester provides strong support as Camilla, while Richard Goulding returns to the role of Harry. His was a difficult role on stage, as Harry’s plot line acts as the less weighty aspect of the drama and because of that, comes across as weaker and a bit farfetched. However, the more you think about it, the more sad it is, to see someone adrift and ultimately forced to give up what may have made him happy. It’s a performance that I think you have greater appreciation for the more you watch it. The newcomers to the main cast, Tamara Lawrence as Jess and Priyanga Burford as the Opposition leader were also very good too and I particularly liked the gender switch, meaning the Conservative leader here was also a woman!

Clearly, this drama won’t have appealed to everyone and will have its critics, which is fine by me, provided all those criticising it have actually watched it. It’s also true that theatre will never have the same impact on screen as it does live. However, I applaud the decision of Mike Bartlett, Rupert Goold and the BBC to be bold enough to take such a daring piece of theatre and make it available to a wider audience, while ensuring that those of us who loved the play get to see it again in a new form, for which personally, I’m extremely grateful!

King Charles III is now available in the UK on BBC iPlayer. It will also air in the USA on Sunday 14th May on Masterpiece on PBS. The text of the play is available from Nick Hern Books here.

 

 

Doctor Who Review – The Pilot is a welcome return for our favourite Time Lord! 


Is it just me, or does it feel like it’s been a long time since Doctor Who was on our television screens?! Yes, there was the mediocre Christmas special, but after a year without a weekly dose, I tuned in last night with all my fingers crossed and thankfully it didn’t disappoint. We all know that series 10 will be the last for Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi and I was so pleased that The Pilot saw a return to form, proving to be one of the most enjoyable episodes in a long time. 

This series opener acted as the perfect springboard for anyone new to the show, or hoping to introduce others to it, as we see the Doctor meeting Bill Potts (played by Pearl Mackie), the latest companion to be introduced to the fantastical life of the Doctor and his blue box. He is currently undercover as a university professor and Bill has been attending his lectures, despite not being a student. It becomes clear very quickly that she is someone with the curiousness and bravery that appeals to the Doctor and is the ideal candidate to travel through time and space with him and Nardole (continuing to be played with fun & wit by Matt Lucas).

It’s not easy taking on the role as new companion, but Pearl Mackie does a great job in this episode. So much so, that I already felt she’d been around for ages by the time the credits rolled. Bill is strong, independent, clever and able to think on her feet. She’s also kind, caring and not intimidated by the Doctor and takes the revelation of who he is in her stride. She reminded me a lot of Rose from series one, with her simply keen for adventure in her life. She also likes chips too! The Doctor has clearly taken an interest in her, investing time in her education and already displaying a protectiveness towards her. With the photo of his granddaughter Susan on his desk, I’m looking forward to seeing a similar style relationship unfold over the course of this series. Much has been said in the media about Bill’s sexuality, being the first LGBT companion. I think it’s great that a show such as Doctor Who is including such a character without making a fuss about this aspect of her life. It’s simply who she is. It’s early days, but I’m already thinking Bill could be one of my favourite companions yet.

Story-wise, this was a solid start from Steven Moffat. I admit I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with Moffat’s style of storytelling in recent years, with less than satisfactory resolutions to convoluted arcs, so it was great to see him back to writing an entertaining, creepy story without all that baggage. As is his style, this was a scare for children coming via something they see every day. He’s done shadows, statues and snowmen and now it’s the innocent looking puddle outside your front door that could be coming to get you and the episode had just enough creepiness, enhanced by its direction and Murray Gold’s music. The scenes with Bill in her bathroom were even tense enough for the adults watching!

Admittedly, there were ideas here that we’ve seen before in Doctor Who that fans will pick up on. We’ve already had water monsters coming to get you in The Waters of Mars and the eerie repeating of what you say in Midnight, so this wasn’t an original story in every sense, but I don’t mind that too much when the story is engaging (and admittedly only hardcore fans who watch the show a lot will notice these points anyway). I wasn’t sure about the inclusion of the Daleks though. Yes, they are a cornerstone of Doctor Who and in the right story they are brilliant, but this did feel a little unnecessary to The Pilot’s plot, being more a “look it’s Doctor Who with Daleks” stunt. It’s a minor gripe though and overall this was a fun, entertaining and engaging return to this iconic series, which also laid some questions that I assume will unfold over the next few episodes, in particular what is in The Vault and to whom the Doctor promised not to get involved with another companion. I just hope that there is a clear arc this year, culminating in a satisfying farewell to Peter Capaldi.

Welcome back Doctor! I’ve missed you!

Doctor Who continues in the UK on BBC One on Saturday nights and in the USA on BBC America, also on Saturday nights.

Television Review – Suits – Episode 6.16 “Character and Fitness” (Season Finale)

fullsizeoutput_20e

The real world means that this post is much later than I would like, but I thought I’d post my thoughts anyway, having written about the rest of the winter half season. Plus, what better time, than in the week that filming begins on season seven, which means it seemed only right to ponder what next season may have in store?

The season six finale of Suits arrived far too soon and fans had many questions going in to it. Would Mike get in to the Bar? Would it come at a cost for Harvey? Would Donna find success? Would Louis lose yet another partner? It seemed clear that not everyone would get a happy ending.

These back six episodes have had the dreams of our PSL family at their heart and “Character and Fitness” saw some of those dreams realised, while others were put further out of reach.

fullsizeoutput_1fa

New beginnings for Mike & Harvey

Mike’s dream of being a lawyer has finally came true, after a last minute rescue by a beloved character at his hearing (more on her later). I’ve always liked Mike, but in recent years he has started to irritate me and although it’s great he’s in the Bar and coming back to the firm, I’m not sure I agree with the argument that he isn’t the same person who went in to prison. I don’t really think he’s changed that much at all over the last couple of years! Hopefully, this fresh start will give him a chance to become the very best lawyer he can be and bring back the partnership between him and Harvey that always worked so well in earlier seasons. It will be fun seeing him in Harvey’s office for a start!

After coming so far on a personal level, it was incredibly sad to see Louis yet again end up losing someone he cared for. He has really grown in maturity recently and I hope that the loss of Tara (and the family he was going to share with her) doesn’t set him back on that path. We know how emotional Louis is, so it will be interesting to see how this impacts him next season. Personally, I was never convinced that Tara was right for Louis and their whirlwind romance seemed rather risky to me. I’d still like to see him reunite with Sheila, but who knows. Hopefully, the writers will be kinder to Louis in season seven, but top marks to Rick Hoffman in this episode, as the scene in which he breaks down on listening to Tara’s voicemail was beautifully acted.

fullsizeoutput_1f0.jpeg

Poor Louis! 

The other key cast member with big dreams during these past few episodes has been Donna. Although it came from nowhere, on being presented with the opportunity of becoming involved in a project that was hers, not the firm’s, not Harvey’s, clearly appealed to her. Yes, the device itself was quite silly, but it allowed us to see a more vulnerable Donna. She has always been confident and with a clear sense of purpose and this has been the first time we’ve seen her question whether she is in fact happy with her life. The Donna was never about the money for her and it’s a shame that things haven’t worked out, especially as I was looking forward to seeing her interact more with Benjamin and Stu.

fullsizeoutput_203

Donna has some important decisions to make next season

Where Donna goes from here is clearly going to be a big question for next season and her final scene with Harvey laid the foundation for that arc. Delicately played by both Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht, it was an emotional moment for these two characters who care about each other so deeply, but yet still can’t quite address it. Donna expressing to Harvey that she wants more is a significant step and it would be too simple to say that she only means romantically. For fans like me who hope to see them together eventually, we believe she wants more with Harvey, but she clearly also wants more for herself professionally too. I admit, I was a little annoyed that Harvey didn’t give her a bit more support in that scene, but Gabriel did a great job of conveying Harvey’s confusion and perhaps realisation that he may be about to lose her for good from his work life no matter what he says.

fullsizeoutput_1f4.jpeg

What’s next for Rachel and the PSL family?

It’s also great to see that Rachel too is about to fulfil her dream of being a lawyer. Had she been somehow penalised because of Mike I would not have been impressed!   In light of the rumours swirling around Meghan Markle’s future on the show, it will be interesting to see what happens to Rachel next year. I suppose this depends on a few things. If Meghan does want to leave, then when and how will it happen? If Suits does get the green light for an eighth season, then perhaps that will influence the writers on Rachel’s future / exit in season seven? Of course, all we can do is speculate on all of this. Personally, I hope Meghan stays until the end of the series whenever that may be, but if that’s not to be, then it will be interesting to see where the writers take her character. Seeing as Mike and Rachel are so happy now, with a wedding on the horizon, I can’t see why Rachel would go, leaving the question as to whether they’d kill her off. It would be tragic, but certainly provide some powerful material for the cast to play, as her death would impact on everyone. Time will tell.

The finale also saw the return of Jessica! She may not have been gone long, but I’ve already missed Gina Torres and so it was a lovely surprise to have Jessica return to save the day at the hearing. Plus, this also allowed Harvey to say a proper goodbye to his mentor and friend. I’d been sad that this hadn’t really happened in 6×10 or 6×11, especially considering how close the two characters were and so it was fantastic to have a moment just for them amongst Mike’s celebrations.

fullsizeoutput_1e7

A lovely moment between Harvey & Jessica

These back six episodes have been all about closure for Harvey, with this moment between him and Jessica the final piece of the year. He has reconciled with his mother and opened the door to a closer relationship with his family as a whole, developed a more mature professional relationship with Louis and helped Mike get a second chance (which in turn, hopefully rids him of the guilt he’s been carrying with him ever since Mike was arrested). As next season will see him step up to lead the firm, hopefully we’ll see him more at peace with his life. I just hope he is now there to support Donna in finding out what she needs, seeing as she has always been there for him, helping him get to this point.

Overall, I though Character and Fitness was a brilliant finale. Enough time was given to each of the characters and their stories, while still building the tension around Mike’s hearing and its outcome. Suits is a series that always keeps you guessing and you can never be sure where the writers are going to take you and the finale was no exception. Despite the lows and uncertainty facing Louis and Donna, I was very pleased that unlike the last couple of years, season six’s ending was incredibly positive and hopeful. More importantly, it leaves the series with the opportunity for a new beginning, which is very exciting indeed for its fans. Roll on the summer!

Suits seasons 1 -6 are available in the UK via Amazon Video, with the first five seasons available on Netflix. Suits season seven starts production this week in Toronto, with the first ten episodes arriving on our screens in the summer! 

Television Review – Suits – Episode 6.15 “Quid Pro Quo”

nup_176273_0129-850x560

Quid Pro Quo, the title of this week’s episode, suggested that we were in for yet more deals and manipulations, as Harvey’s crusade to get Mike in to the Bar continued. That was indeed exactly what this penultimate episode delivered, although thankfully this wasn’t at the expense of the other storylines. The fact that these back six episodes continue to be well balanced, rather than focussing solely on one plot, has been one of its biggest strengths in my opinion.

I mentioned getting Mike in to the Bar as being Harvey’s crusade, as it has been Harvey driving this scheme. Mike may have been dissatisfied with the lack of power and control over cases he was working on at the clinic, but had Harvey not made a deal with Seidel in the first place, they wouldn’t be in the risky position they are now, with collusion and blackmail becoming their default behaviour. This probably all still flows from the guilt he has carried since Mike went to jail for him and this week we saw Harvey doing what he does best, putting pressure on people to get what he needs from them. The only problem I have with this, is the increasing regularity of his actions being distinctly shady. I love these characters and know they are good people, but the more dodgy deals they make, the more irritated I get! At least, with Rachel’s help, they were able to ensure the miners received a fair deal, while keeping Mike’s dream a possibility.

lets-talk-suits

Rachel (Meghan Markle) & Harvey (Gabriel Macht). Photo source: USA Network

Rachel and Harvey having more contact has been a highlight and the two of them made a fantastic team this week, just as much as Harvey and Mike. Rachel has certainly grown in confidence over the seasons and now she’s proved just what she’s capable of. I’d personally love to see more scenes like this one!

As for Mike, after him seemingly taking a few steps back on the personal development path recently by putting his clients on the line for his own ends, it was a relief to see him redeem himself a little by refusing to put his own dream ahead of obtaining a fair offer for the miners in his case. The celebratory scene between him and Harvey was lovely, albeit, in my opinion, a little premature! They have proven time and again, the extremes they will go to for each other and I sense there will be more before season six concludes.

suits-episode-6-15-quid-pro-quo-promotional-photo

Harvey (Gabriel Macht) & Donna (Sarah Rafferty) pursue their own goals. Photo source: USA Network

As for dreams, Donna and Benjamin continued to explore the future of “The Donna.” I’ve been a little hesitant about this storyline so far, beyond the light relief it offers, but the promise that it would cause Donna to re-evaluate her life is now starting to pay off. She is so much more than Harvey’s secretary and this week she started to see that perhaps it’s time for her to think seriously about what she wants for the rest of her career. 

Having seen their investor meeting appear to go so well, it was a heartbreaking moment watching Donna listen to them talking about her as if she was a lesser person and I can see how she will perhaps start to question her life and lay a new path. Whether this leads to her leaving the firm or not, I’m already looking forward to following her story in season seven. Yes, I’d like to see Donna and Harvey end up together, but I also want to see Donna fulfilled and I don’t see a relationship with Harvey as the only source of that fulfilment.

Donna’s story also saw the return of Stu (played wonderfully by Ian Reed Kessler)! I was disappointed that the writers chose for Donna to give up on more meetings so fast before going back to Stu (especially for 90% stake!), but I grew to really like him last time and his easy-going manner will be a welcome addition to the show now he’s back to support Donna and Benjamin’s project. I can see them making a great trio next season.

That just leaves Louis. Poor, poor Louis. Watching him grow up over the last few weeks has been a real delight. He has put pettiness aside just as Jessica always wanted and has been the one keeping the firm going, as Harvey yet again only focuses on Mike. The scene in this episode where he stood his ground with Harvey about what the firm needed, regardless of the effect on Mike was hugely satisfying. He has come so far and at the moment I still think he should lead the firm. It was therefore very sad to see his decision to be honest with Tara backfire.

update-suits-season-6-episode-15-promo-spoilers-what-happens-in-quid-pro-quo.png

Harvey (Gabriel Macht) & Louis (Rick Hoffman) – still a team for the moment. Photo source: USA Network

Rachel warned him that there were no guarantees she would forgive him and the fact they don’t have a solid foundation supporting their relationship, perhaps made her reaction inevitable. I was however, still sad to see that Louis may be about to lose yet another romance because of Mike. Personally, I think their engagement when they barely know each other, let alone her pregnancy, is the most farfetched storyline in the series at the moment and I don’t think it will end well. Tara reminded me a lot of Scottie in this episode, in that she had been pushing for them to be honest and open with each other and yet when that’s what Louis gives her (as Harvey did with Scottie), she says she wishes he hadn’t! Just as I don’t think Scottie is right for Harvey, I don’t see Tara as Louis’s soulmate, but I will be disappointed if we now see him undo all the growth he’s achieved because of her.You can do better Louis!

With everything now in place for Mike’s Bar hearing and after watching the promo for the finale (link below), I can’t help but worry that not everyone will escape this season unscathed! Will Anita Gibbs ruin Mike’s chances? Will Harvey pay the price for one risk too many? I certainly hope it doesn’t cost Harvey his career, as although this latest crusade has been of his making, Suits wouldn’t be Suits without Harvey Specter at the firm as a lawyer! The series continues to be one of the few shows I find impossible to predict and I am bracing myself for an unexpected twist, but all we can do is wait until next week to see whether things will be resolved, or whether a cliffhanger will make the  wait for season seven feel even longer!

I’d love to hear what you think will happen in the finale, so feel free to comment.

The Suits season finale, episode 6×16 “Character & Fitness” airs next Wednesday on USA Network in the USA. You can watch the trailer here. This episode 6.15 airs in the UK on Dave on Sunday night at 10 p.m, with the finale the week after.

Television Review – The Walking Dead -Episode 7.9 “Rock In The Road”

the-walking-dead-will-be-back-in-february--heres-the-preview-for-when-it-returns.jpg.png

Once I’d recovered from the horror of the opening episode of the latest season of The Walking Dead (as much as one can ever recover from that!), I admit to growing more and more frustrated with the rest of the episodes. Having to introduce so many different communities often left me feeling unsatisfied at the end of each week, with very little actually happening to move the overall story forward.

Rock In The Road was therefore a welcome return to form and a start that I hope signals the next half of the season is going to go from strength to strength. Crucially, this mid-season premiere picked up the pace, as we finally see Rick and the Alexandria gang preparing to make a stand against the Saviours. Clearly, this being The Walking Dead, this action is bound to end in death for some (please not Daryl or Michonne!), but it’s the only way forward for the characters and the series and I’m excited at what lies ahead.

the-walking-dead-7.9-670x431.png

Gregory was not in the mood to join the rebellion. Photo source: AMC

It was fantastic to see Rick and the characters we’ve grown to know so well meet and interact with other communities (their reaction to the tiger was fun) and with Daryl in hiding at The Kingdom, hopefully we’ll see new alliances starting to form. It’s clearly not going to be easy for them to convince others to fight, with the threat of a close encounter with Lucille hanging over their heads and it will be interesting to see on which side of the fight these communities and indeed individuals within them will choose.

Charcter-wise, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes has always been one of the biggest assets to the series and was the reason I started watching in the first place. We’ve been through a lot with Rick and his period of resignation to Negan’s rule was beginning to grate, so thank god he’s getting back to being the leader he has always been. Tom Payne as Jesus is also fast becoming one of my favourites this year and I hope I’m not getting attached to someone with a short life expectancy! I had been hoping to see the original gang (especially Daryl) reunited with Carol this week, but hopefully this will happen as the season unfolds. It was also fascinating that Morgan hid from them that she isn’t actually that far away.

the-walking-dead-spoilers-7.9-Rick.png

Two cars + wire = mass Walker destruction! Photo source: AMC

As for set pieces, this episode treated us to one of the most visually impressive scenes in the series to date, as Rick and Michonne dispatched a multitude of Walkers all in one go, using just two cars and some wire. If only getting rid of Negan was that easy!

However the most intriguing part of the episode was what has motivated Gabriel to drain their supplies and run? He has always been weak, but it did seem out of character when he had finally started to step up recently. However, after rewinding the opening scene, I noticed that he wasn’t alone in the car as he drove away from Alexandria, so perhaps he is likely being controlled by others, possibly the group introduced in the final moments of the episode. I’ve never been a fan of Gabriel, so if this storyline gives him a bigger role and purpose, I’m all for it.

Thankfully, after the recent run of dull episodes, Rock in the Road suggests that perhaps the series is taking a turn for the better. I admit I’m dreading the inevitable losses that are to come, but I’m excited again about this series and look forward to seeing what the writers have in store!

The Walking Dead season 7 continues in the USA on Sundays on AMC and in the UK on Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX. You can watch the promo for the next episode “New Best Friends” here

 

Television Review – Suits – Episode 6.14 “Admission of Guilt”

Suits - Season 6

Another week, another fantastic episode of Suits, as episode 6.14 successfully moved the multiple strands currently running in this sixth season along, as we head ever nearer to the season finale.

The most striking thought I had after watching Admission of Guilt was how well balanced an episode it was. There were wonderfully light, fun moments, lovely emotionally meaningful moments and lots of drama and tension, so much so that I was biting my nails by the end! It was Suits at its best, reminding me of earlier seasons, as we watch the legal manoeuvrings ping back and forth as people’s true motives were revealed (let’s face it, wasn’t it obvious that man had more at stake than his marriage?).

The main focus was Harvey and Mike’s pursuit of a legitimate case against Velocity Data Solutions, in order to achieve their ulterior motive of getting Mike a hearing for admission to the Bar. It’s a storyline that enables us to enjoy all the aspects that made the series a hit. Harvey is back being the brilliant tactician he is, finding a way to bend the circumstances to his (and by default here, Mike’s) advantage. Whether it works or not remains to be seen, not to mention the fact he seems certain Mike will come back to the firm, while Mike seems committed to not doing so! Plus how will Mike react if Harvey no longer intends to take the lawsuit forward, if he really cares about those workers?

nup_176130_0388_full

Will Mike Ross get admitted to the Bar? Photo source: SpoilerTV/USA Network

There is also some wonderful interplay between Mike and Harvey, which reminded me how much I’ve missed the two of them together playing scenes like these. Their partnership has always been the cornerstone of Suits and it was great to see Gabriel Macht and Patrick J Adams delivering more of their characters’ banter.

We were also treated to another successful partnership between Rachel and Katrina. These two characters have had a rocky history and yet they now respect each other and proved to be a strong team. In an episode focusing primarily on the case and Mike, it was lovely that there was time given to furthering Rachel’s personal journey too. She has always been determined to be a success in her own right and make her father proud of her. Seeing her reaction to someone telling her how much he admires her professionally was a lovely, emotional addition to the episode. Added to that, we also don’t seem to have to worry about Mike and Harvey’s actions jeopardising Rachel’s career now that she will be being admitted to the Bar.

nup_176131_0240-www-imagesplitter-net

Katrina (Amanda Schull) & Rachel (Meghan Markle). Photo source: USA Network

Louis’s personal development also continued this week and the more he grows, the more I see him as the logical choice for Managing Partner. This week saw Harvey putting Mike ahead of the firm, letting Louis down and putting his career and reputation (and therefore that of his firm) at risk. In the meantime, Louis continued to try and keep the PSL ship steady. Yes, his plan failed, but he did try and was this another predictable show, it would have been a success. It will be fascinating to see whether he does end up heading the firm in the future.

His relationship with Tara continues to grow too, although I remain sceptical, and can’t help thinking she’ll ultimately break his heart. Their conversation about having more children was quite telling, as her cleverly worded response suggests to me that the topic of children may end yet another of Louis’s romances. Rick Hoffman has spoken about Louis either growing in season 6B or regressing and I genuinely hope I’m wrong that things won’t work out for him.

Then there was “The Donna.” I remain unconvinced by this storyline. I love the light relief it brings to the show, especially when the stakes are so high everywhere else and it did produce some fun moments this week, with Harvey being introduced to another Donna and Donna receiving a pep talk from her electronic self. However, it still feels rather superficial and to some extent trivialises the character of Donna and everything that makes her such a special part of the series. I know creator Aaron Korsh has spoken about Donna’s arc growing in to something that makes her think about what she wants from life, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be converted before the end of series and that this brilliant character isn’t let down.

What is already clear though, is that the writing staff are creating a hugely satisfying back six episodes to this season and I’m intrigued to see what lies ahead for the family of PSL. I’m always impressed how unpredictable a series Suits is. With two episodes left, we still cannot be sure what will happen. I’m starting to get a little concerned that something bad is brewing for them, but I love that the writers continue to twist and turn the storylines in order to keep us guessing! Is it next week yet?!

Favourite Lines this week:

  • Louis to Harvey: “Does that mean you’re never going to go mudding with me?” Harvey to Louis: “Yes Louis, that’s what it means.”
  • Harvey to Mike: “You were the least experienced dickhead I’ve ever met.”
  • Rachel to Katrina about her father’s comments: “It doesn’t make me feel bad. It makes me feel great.”
  • Benjamin to Donna: “This isn’t Westworld! I can’t make her human!”

 

My Top TV Couples!

I’ve recently been rewatching a few old television favourites and it’s become clear to me that the shows I tend to invest in usually have a strong couple at their heart. Some of these are friendships, some are more than that and others morph over time from one to the other. I’m still considering my list of ultimate TV friendships (watch this space), but in the spirit of it being Valentine’s Day, I’m starting with my favourite television couples.

Of course, everyone’s list will be personal, so I’m sure there will be couples I’ve missed who you would choose, so feel free to let me know your choices in the comments! It also goes without saying that this post will contain spoilers for the shows referenced.

…….

Fox Mulder & Dana Scully (The X-Files)

fox-scully

To me, Mulder and Scully will always be the ultimate television couple. It was a relationship that grew from their strong friendship and over the years of the series I loved seeing how much respect and love these two amazing characters had for each other. It bubbled under the surface, but never detracted from the series itself and even 20 years later, the incredible chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson remains as powerful as ever. The magic the two of them share does not come around very often and as yet, has not been beaten. You can read more of my thoughts on these two here.

Harvey Specter & Donna Paulsen (Suits)

sarah-rafferty-donna-gabriel-macht-harvey.JPG

I know some people may argue against the inclusion of Harvey and Donna in a couples list, but their relationship has developed so much recently, that I find it impossible not to see them as meant to be, even if they are not quite there yet! Over the last six seasons we have seen their deeply-rooted friendship grow. Yes, they’ve already been lovers once, but they share so much more than that. Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht have a chemistry that is rare on television and I’m sure their long-standing friendship has added to the fabric of Harvey and Donna’s relationship. These characters wouldn’t be so wonderful on screen were they portrayed by anyone else. As with Mulder and Scully, this is certainly a slow burn, but surely these two have to end up together?!

Josh Lyman & Donna Moss (The West Wing)

rehost-2016-9-13-ac996177-0263-49ec-bdcb-1b2c88522e84.png

I clearly enjoy the slow burn relationships don’t I, as here is yet another one! From the start of Aaron Sorkin’s political drama I always loved the banter between the Deputy Chief of Staff and his assistant and as the series progressed, their wonderful bond became more apparent. Thanks to Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney’s on screen connection, any other relationships each character had just never seemed quite as special as the one they shared together. Josh may have been the political player, but it became clear how much he relied on Donna and when she left to pursue her own ambitions, it gave him the push to pursue his new path and when they did finally get together it didn’t overshadow the series, as by then it was the logical and natural next step.

Alicia Florrick & Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

85de54b4f8b1005878a167c01b6145c6

I still feel incredibly sad when I think about this ill-fated pair, but there was no way they wouldn’t feature on my list, as they are probably the hottest and most moving couple on TV. The attraction between Will and Alicia was clear from the very beginning (in no large part down to the chemistry between Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies) and along with many fans of the series, I had my fingers crossed for their future. They clearly loved one another and Alicia should probably have picked Will before she ever married her dreadful husband. The time they were together treated us to some of the steamiest scenes on television (here’s one for the uninitiated) as well as some of the most emotional, but sadly it wasn’t to be, with Will being tragically killed in series five (something I still wish the internet hadn’t ruined for me in advance). It was an event I never expected, which still makes me reach for the tissues. The fact their love was cut short in such an cruel way makes their whole story all the more powerful and is probably the couple that has moved me the most on television.

Temperance Brennan & Seeley Booth (Bones)

d3c1bc3845f1e08519f888554cda56c4

Bones is a series I’ve missed over the last few years and I’m slowly playing catch up, but what was clear from day one was the chemistry between David Boreanaz’s Booth and Emily Deschanel’s Brennan. I have only reached series eight (the final season 12 is airing now), but what I enjoy most about this series is how the writers were able to transition the characters from friends, to lovers, to marriage and children. It has enabled fans to see their relationship grow in a more mature and realistic way, which is something other shows could learn from.

The Doctor & Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)

9f4ce58daf73c632f33147f3326a6cb3

Since it’s return in 2005 Doctor Who has seen some wonderful partnerships on board the TARDIS. However, there is one that touched the hearts of many fans of the series and that was the love between David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler. Yes, nothing ever happened between them, but their bond was never in doubt and their heartbreaking farewell on Bad Wolf Bay was a classic moment that certainly made me shed some tears.

Kevin Walker & Scotty Wandell (Brothers & Sisters)

kevin-scotty.jpg

There were many relationships within Brothers & Sisters, but for me the most heartfelt and believable one was that between Kevin and Scotty (played brilliantly by Matthew Rhys and Luke MacFarlane). Through all the Walker family turmoil, they were a breath of fresh air with their loving relationship. They weren’t free from problems (most notably Scotty’s affair), but loved each other enough not to throw their relationship away.

Buffy Summers & Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

buffy-12

Some may be surprised that the relationship on my list from Buffy is not the one between Buffy and Angel! Yes, theirs was one of the core elements of the series in the early years, but Buffy and Spike’s short-lived relationship was the one that has always interested me the most. When you think about it (and leave aside the undead aspect!), they were a far better match for each other. Perhaps it was the fact Buffy was older than the teenager who fell for Angel, but her connection with Spike came across as a more mature one. They knew each other’s faults and accepted them anyway and some of the scenes between James Marsters and Sarah Michelle Geller in those later episodes remain some of my favourites.

Doug Ross & Carol Hathaway (E.R)

49bb262dacdd5514f4175ccac2d94381

E.R remains my favourite medical series (more on that here) and although it had some lovely relationships during its 15 years, one always stood above the rest and that was the love affair between Doug and Carol. The fact it became so iconic in the 90s (and was the first big break for each of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies) is more impressive when you think that Carol wasn’t even meant to survive the pilot episode. They went through ups and downs, split up and got back together more than once, but you couldn’t help but root for them and the icing on the cake was Clooney’s surprise return for the last few moments of the episode which saw Carol leave Chicago behind for the love of her life.

Chuck Bass & Blaire Waldorf (Gossip Girl)

love1

Chuck and Blaire were the best schemers in Gossip Girl, manipulating situations and characters to their advantage and there were many times when I really couldn’t stand them! However, the writers created something very clever in their relationship. Despite their underhanded behaviour, they seemed to bring out the best in each other, which in turn changed my perception of them and thanks to the acting talents of Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester they became my favourite characters in the show. Had they not ended up together I’d have been thoroughly disappointed.

Carrie Bradshaw & Mr. Big (Sex And The City)

tumblr_lakdc3rv2i1qe9igxo1_500

The Mr.Big debate was a big one during Sex And The City’s run, with fans divided as to whether Carrie should end up with him or not. He may have been an idiot for the majority of the show, but I was always of the view that deep down they were soul mates. Despite all the pain and hurt, they always seemed to come back to one another and he would do anything for her. I also loved the fun they seemed to have and Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker sparkled in their scenes together.

Sydney Bristow & Michael Vaughn (Alias)

93eb3669cca025c75611bbe262c17a09.jpg

J.J Abrams’s spy drama was a highlight of American television at the time of its original run and the will they won’t they dynamic of Sydney and Vaughn captured the hearts of its fans (including me). Yes, there were some utterly bonkers plot developments along the way, including Vaughn’s faked death, but Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan always ensured the relationship between Sydney and Vaughn was genuinely lovely to watch right until the end.

Ross Poldark & Demelza (Poldark)

Poldark-2_Ross-and-Demelza.jpeg

Yes, Aidan Turner’s torso has generated a great deal of attention since Poldark was brought back to our screens in 2015, but the best character in my view is the fiery Demelza, superbly played by Eleanor Tomlinson and their romance is what keeps me tuning in each week. They may be from different backgrounds, but they are undoubtably stronger together and do truly belong together. I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in series three after the ups and downs of the last series.

Lizzie Bennet & Mr Darcy (BBC, Pride & Prejudice)

Colin_Firth_and_the_BBC_class_of__95_voted_best_Pride_and_Prejudice_cast.jpg

Colin Firth may be a successful Oscar-winning actor, but he’ll always be best known for his iconic portrayal of Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. The British public fell under his spell and that of his counterpart Jennifer Ehle. In my opinion, they created the definitive Lizzie and Darcy and every scene they had together sparkled, making them one of the TV couples of the 90s in Britain.

Ianto Jones and Captain Jack Harkness (Torchwood)

ianto_jones-captain-jack-harkness-torchwood

The relationship between Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) in Torchwood was hugely important for British television and remains one of my favourites of recent years. What was lovely about the pairing was that they may have been very different personalities, but were in fact perfectly suited. They were playful, affectionate and stood by each other through all the crazy happenings in their lives and Ianto’s emotional death in Children Of Earth was heartbreaking for fans of the show. We felt his loss as much as Captain Jack. Heck, does any other fictional character have a shrine like Ianto’s in Cardiff?!

……

So, those are my top fifteen television couples. I look forward to hearing about who you would choose!

Solochocolatee

Si te consideras amante del chocolate, estás en blog adecuado.

Thoughts In Intervals

Tarryn Richardson

Telly Addict

I have been watching

Loitering In the Theatre

My experiences, good and bad, in London theatres.

West End Blog

Bringing you independent, honest, experienced reviews of current theatre shows. We believe theatre is something truly magical and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Mingled Yarns

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book

Cultural Capital

Theatre, arts and events in London

Vickster51Corner

Theatre, Books, Food & Film/TV reviews

746 Books

Confessions of a Book Buying Addict

The Book Review Directory

Over 150 Book Reviewer Bloggers Listed

The Day - a Play

Theatre, Films, TV, Art

Cleopatra Loves Books

One reader's view

The X-Files Truth Podcast

"The following podcast is based on actual X-Files cases." Email: XFilesTruth@live.com

WEST END WANDERER

Walking my way around the west end one show at a time

Semi-Partisan Politics

A semi-biased commentary on British and American politics, culture and current affairs

mattsmoviethoughts

Movie and TV Reviews

Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

Life, Faith and Comic Books