Something that has come up more than once this year and utterly surprised me is that I appear to be a pension-aged lady (I’m not). This though is the common wisdom when it comes to fans of the TV series Foyle’s War. I’ve heard people say “my parents watch that” meaning their elderly parents and, if further evidence was needed, on the Scotland trip the TV channel showing this show had the ad breaks chock full of incontinence pads and lifter-chairs!
Foyle’s War – assuming you’re too young to have ever seen it (I’m being sarcastic it only began in 2007) – is a WWII set crime drama. It’s full of all the usual grisly murders and criminal intentions, but in this case rather cleverly placed in the context of a country at war.
Yes it adheres to the manners of the period (not a lot of skin or sex) and the ‘hero’ is a mature man, not some sexy young buck, but if you let that put you off then you’re missing out on great acting and fine writing!
My particular love for it comes from the way they weave the war into the crimes. Refugees, internment camps, ration fraud, black marketeers and even the occasional spy all make appearances over the various seasons of the series. All in well crafted and well told mysteries.
Of course it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – what crime drama is? – but please don’t wait til you have bladder problems or a need for denture cream before you check it out.
Sometimes I laugh at the application of the “scene must have conflict” idea. Sometimes I weep! Particularly in TV shows where excellent writing can be ruined by someone ramping the conflict up to ridiculous levels.
Exhibit A from my recent watching was the penultimate season of a legal show, in which every scene in every episode was either a break-up or make-up. To achieve this, characters who were on the same side of the greater narrative conflict kept suddenly turning on each other. They then, of course, had to make up the breach so a few scenes later they could have another fight!
I found this absolutely exhausting. It was just such ‘shouty’ writing.
Also, you quickly realised that none of these conflicts were real conflicts and none of them would influence the narrative in any way. They were conflict for the sake of having conflict in the scene, so why was I watching them?
Possibly this would have been less annoying if I’d watched it weekly on traditional TV, instead of episodes back-to-back, but even then I can imagine the result being the same – I’m never getting to the final season.
Sometimes a scene needs to be there for a reason other than conflict.
If you recognise the title of this post, then you are one of the (very) many people who were at some time in life exposed to the show called Monkey. I loved this show when I was a kid and I can honestly say I still do. Which may prompt you to ask ‘why’ in a stunned and horrified manner (or secretly nod).
Well, I love the stories, the characters and the fighting. I also love the embarrassing dubbing, the over the top… well… everything and the bits of wisdom thrown in after each dramatic ‘Monkey saves the day’ episode.
As a kid I remember really loving the camaraderie, the magic and, of course, the adventure. I’ve since added an appreciation of the stories and what the writers did finding different gods and demons to fight. Some aren’t great, but some are inspired.
When I look back on the shows I remember most from my childhood, it’s interesting that they’re all Japanese bar one. Monkey, Star Blazers and Astroboy, with Dr Who as the one non-Japanese show. Probably no surprise that they’re all spec fic!