iView Review


I seem all too willing to devour all that ABC iView can offer these days - it’s convenient and it’s nice TV that I want to watch since I can never really say no to anything that comes out of the UK. That, and I just need something to watch while I’m sewing away for hours on end and trying to break the silence.

With the end of The Weekly with Charlie Pickering last week, I’ve lost my only source of news and also a source of entertainment. And with the end of The Checkout a fair few weeks ago, it seemed most of my shows were in the dust. Therefore the requirement to fulfill in finding something new to watch was simple:

  • The show hadn’t been running for too long (i.e. episode 1 was available, or it had only started airing)
  • It had to be on ABC iView

So here’s a short look at the series which I’ve been watching. I’ll honestly keep it short, I promise.

Humans

A not-too-distant future where ‘Synths’, or androids, are now widely accepted in homes as ‘helpers’ around the house and doing the undesirable work that humans don’t want to do. But there are different takes on their situation - in some ways they are slaves and are ‘abused’, forced to do the worst of the work required in society, but without a consciousness, why would they care? In other ways though, a Synth can also very well be a jailor.

It’s an interesting look into the relationship between humans and robots/androids. It also raises some interesting questions for example into the fact that just because Synths can’t feel and don’t have any autonomy, does this mean that doing this is right?

It also delves into uncanny valley to some degree! If you’re able, check out the Behind The Scenes content as it’s interesting insight into how the actors trained to move as Synths would.

Rev

A new series that just started (on the ABC), starring Tom Hollander as Reverend Adam who has just taken position in a rundown London church. Dropped into the situation without much explanation, it’s interesting at first because seeing Tom Hollander as a Reverend immediately brings up memories of him playing Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice, a somewhat uptight man who was devoted to Lady Catherine.

Not so in this case, thankfully. The Father is a priest, but he has his quirks and his oddities, but interestingly his strong moral core shines through as he tries to find a way to raise funds to repair a broken stained glass window in the church. When contrasted with the archdeacon’s advice to him, it’s refreshing to see Adam stand up to what he believed in, even though the situation remains unresolved in the end.

It was also interesting to see him remove his ‘dog collar’ (clerical collar) at various times as his long patience finally ran out. I have to say, I like the look of the collar, just not necessarily all that it represents. I’ve got some curiosity about the Order these days after re-reading The Pagan Chronicles. I’m not interested in the religion itself, but I’m just interested in the way this whole religious community is made up. I wonder if anyone else is like that?

Vera

Only two episodes in, this is another show that started recently and it seems something new starts each week. Which isn’t really bad news, because this just makes it all the more exciting. DCI Vera Stanhope seems an unlikely police officer though in this series, because of her rather matronly appearance but this doesn’t mean she is incapable of solving the cases that come to her.

Each of her cases seem quite complex and tangled up within various other stories that don’t quite resolve the way you expect. I don’t quite pay enough attention to the story to know whether there are clues there from the start, but the series certainly does make you have your own suspicions as the story progresses. Nonetheless the ending may still surprise you.

Only just checking properly now though, what do you know but Vera is in Series 3 now. You fooled me! But I guess there’s all that much more to check out later on. I’d like to learn more about Vera and her partner Joe Ashworth’s relationship.

Catastrophe

Definitely in Series 1 this time, this has possibly got to be the most sexually liberal series on this.. list of series. A woman in the UK, Sharon, gets pregnant after a exhilarating week with a man from the US, Rob. Having discovered this catastrophe, as the series title suggests, Rob insists on moving to the UK and supporting Sharon.

Although at first this doesn’t seem quite as interesting, it’s the slowly building relationship between the two that is interesting. But the most enjoyable part of the episodes I would say are Rob’s comebacks to Sharon’s worries that sure put a smile on my face. It’s a mix of the way he says it, and despite his apparent reluctance at times, like when Sharon wakes him up in the middle of the night to talk about her fears, he gives her perfectly reasonable answers while trying to go back to sleep.

Love it.

Sammy J and Randy in Ricketts Lane

When one word titles seem to be all the rage at the moment in the UK (or at least in the UK TV shows), it’s almost refreshing to see Sammy J and Randy break in this inordinately long title. An Australian TV show, it’s currently available to binge on until the end of September - so I thought why wait? Plus I needed something to watch while sewing anyway, so I managed to finished watching the six-part series just that night.

While two guys living in a house might not seem so interesting, let me just mention the insignificant fact that Randy is a muppet (because no one notices this fact anyway). And living with him in the same house is Sammy J, a hopeless lawyer who’s never solved a case including Randy’s. Sammy J’s the paying rent for the house however, while Randy does nothing and lives off welfare.

The characters stake out, change their loyalties, discuss their problems and try various crazy solutions. At various times the characters break out into song, bringing a very ‘musical’ feel to the piece. Their ridiculous antics are what keep me coming back to the series, as well as Sammy J’s character who may not be successful or necessarily really bright, but he is sincere.

Interestingly… or perhaps in reference: Sammy J’s boss, Borkman, brings a very Douglas Reynholm feel to the show in many ways.

Line of Duty

Only two episodes in and the plot is thick with deception, treachery and murder. The recent episode (episode 2) leaves us all reeling and I feel like I’ve already watched half a series instead of just two episodes. Each episode is chock a block full of things happening, though not necessary ‘action’. It’s a heavily involved show, and a bit of time committment with each episode 58 minutes long - but the length of time that allows it to build the story is what makes it so great.

Quite an interesting take into investigating corruption within police departments - for once instead of (just) looking out upon the cases that police resolve, we turn our gaze to look within (too).

Outsiders with Darren McMullen

Just as a curiosity because I had exhausted the available programs for things to watch, I turned to Darren McMullen who experiences three situations that are outside of his comfort zone. First he joins a Brony convention and tries his hand at cosplay, he gets into a casket for his funeral at the Near Death Fiesta, and then he joins a Viking Rock band on stage.

I love learning about strange events so this is right up my alley, raelly. Of course as a contemporary kid I know about the Bronys and about cosplay, but it was nice to see what a welcoming community they were. The other two were just out of left field. Nonetheless, I’ll be interested to see what other kinds of ‘misfits’ or ‘misfit communities’ he manages to dredge up.

(My words, not his. Don’t worry.)

Bespoke

Final one on this list here is another Australian show which I jumped on while sewing because it was very similar to what I was doing at the very moment of watching, which was craft a handmade item. This show looks at the changing culture of various communities like Newcastle and areas of Tasmania where the focus is now on handmade items, craft beers and so on and less about the continued mass produce consumables.

Interesting, it wonders where this will take us. But it’s definitely worth learning these old arts.