The TV Gazette #1: “The West Wing”, “The Bastard Executioner”, and more

I’ve focused mainly on reviews and commentaries throughout my first month-and-a-half here. Now, I’m debuting (or rather, trialling) a new concept: a weekly bulletin where I’ll round up anything interesting I’ve watched this week and what I’m looking forward to next week. The length of the post will depend on what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up, but I should be able to put something down every week. Simple, right?

Now, on to what I’ve watched in the past few days…

The West Wing

I’m four episodes into The West Wing, and it’s been a blast. I’ve never watched anything by Aaron Sorkin before, and now I can say I have had a taste of his style of rapid-fire dialogue. The rest of the show is superb too, in particular the acting, and I’ve greatly enjoyed spotting a few actors whom I first discovered at a later stage of their careers: Rob Lowe, and Dulé Hill in particular. Also, the walk-and-talk scenes are just spectacular (check out the video above for a prime example.) I’m just getting started, and I can’t wait to watch more.

The Flash

I finally got down to re-watching The Flash‘s pilot, having watched it last year after it aired. I didn’t continue watching, instead choosing to focus on Arrow, but I’m going to give the season a second go. Now, after watching the pilot again, I remember how much sunnier Barry Allen is compared to the moody Oliver Queen. I wouldn’t blame Oliver for being so crabby all the time, seeing how Central City looks so much better than Starling City… come on, Central City looks lovely on screen. Onto supporting characters: I remember I didn’t like Cisco as he seemed too much like a stereotypical tech whiz, but I hear he improves later on, so I’ll keep watching.

You’re the Worst

The second season of You’re the Worst premiered this week, and I’ve been waiting a long time for this anti-rom-com to return. The first season was an exploration of two unpleasant people falling in love, and it balanced the romantic sentiments of that premise with the cynicism that these characters exhibit. Regarding the second season premiere: having Gretchen move in with Jimmy is a smart move, and I believe that there’s still plenty more mileage (and laughs) in their relationship to explore. I fully expect them to break up at some point, them being the horrible people they are, but let’s see if creator/showrunner Stephen Falk can steer away from such an obvious plot progression, or alternatively, do exactly that and make it work.

Let’s jump to what I’m looking forward to, in particular a debuting series…

The Bastard Executioner

The Bastard Executioner is the latest project from Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, who also supervises, writes, directs and acts in the show. It’s a period drama set in the medieval era of the 14th century, which promises violence if nothing else (it’s an executioner, what do you expect?) I’m looking out for Matthew Rhys in the cast – I’m a fan of his work on The Americans – and I’m excited for what looks like a well-budgeted, well-thought-out show. The FX channel has debuted a string of excellent series (Justified, The Americans, and Fargo), and I’m looking to see what Sutter can come up with after the well-received Sons of Anarchy.

67th Primetime Emmy Awards

Awards are increasingly irrelevant due to the fact that there’s so much great TV and not enough of the awards, but the Emmys remain as the biggest accolade in the television industry. Who will take the coveted Best Drama or Best Comedy prizes? Will Jon Hamm finally be crowned Best Actor? Will Viola Davis become an Emmy winner as well as an Oscar winner? We’ll find out next Sunday.

The back page

And that’s the end of my first ever Gazette! Now, a few posts that may interest you…

  • I recently reviewed the excellent first season of Narcos, starring Wagner Moura, here.
  • I’ve written about the 2015 Emmys in some detail, covering my predictions for several award categories and snubs here.

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