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Books about TV: The Soap Opera Slaughters

In another addition to my entertainment book collection, I purchased a used copy of "The Soap Opera Slaughters", by Marvin Kaye. T...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Primetime TV Binge Watching Update - January 2015

Here's another posts listing shows I've caught on demand due to having free preview weekends of Showtime and Starz. This includes spoilers for the series that I watched.

On Showtime, I caught four series: "The Affair" - Season 1, "Homeland" - Season 4, "Masters of Sex" - Season 2 & "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" - Series 1 - 4. The Affair is a drama series that stars two British actors (Ruth Wilson & Dominic West) playing American characters and performing with those accents. Joshua Jackson and Maura Tierney portrayed their respective spouses. I expected this to be a simple story about an illicit relationship, but morphed into a murder mystery though due to having the unreliable narrators of Noah and Allison, it is uncertain the exact cause of death. This season of Homeland was stronger than season three. Due to the location change, the program wasn't exactly the same as its previous and was about how Carrie's life without Brody. The season ended in a very mellow way and could have been a reasonable conclusion. Masters of Sex continued the lives of Masters and Johnson, but the story jumped in time more than once. Since Beau Bridges and Allison Janney were no longer available to act on this program, their characters' story was abridged in a tragic manner. The second season seemed less controversial than the first when it came to sexual content, as other issues took the forefront like race relations. Secret Diary of a Call Girl was a dramedy based upon a book, that aired for four series in the UK and US. The program starred Billie Piper (who is best known to me at least as Rose Tyler on Doctor Who). Ultimately the show ended on a sad note, and isn't for the faint of heart due to its frank and sometimes hilarious depictions of sex.

On Starz, I caught up with "Black Sails" - season one and first episode of two, "The Missing" - Series 1, "Outlander" - first half of season 1 and "The White Queen" - miniseries all episodes. Black Sails is about life on and around Nassau as a pirate or a whore. The main characters fall into those categories and it also includes same sex romance between two women. The show seemed depressing, but the visuals outside of South Africa were pretty spectacular. The Missing is a BBC show that was co-produced with Starz, and was about the life of a family whose son was kidnapped while they were on vacation. Their marriage fell apart, and at the end we knew the fate of the boy. This show was a bit disturbing to watch and could trigger if you can't deal with the loss of a child. Outlander is based on a book of the same title, which I read many years ago from a suggestion on an email list. I can't say how close it is to the original source, except to say that unlike the book, this is not in first person. It takes to episode 7 to get to any real romance/sexual relationships. The White Queen, which was a co-production with the BBC, is about the wars in England and the whites versus the reds battling for the kingdom. The main characters though were the women striving to become queen or queen mother. Since I don't know English history of that era, I can't say how realistic it is or if that added to my confusion. I liked it, but I can understand why it was just a one-off miniseries, as the story wrapped up with the start of a new generation.

That's my quick write up of eight shows I was able to see on Showtime and Starz.

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