A week in film – 2016, week 12

While it hasn’t been a wildly successful week cinematically (having watched no films at all), there’s been a lot going on between me and the smaller screen over the past few days. Not necessarily TV I feel like I should be watching – the much-hyped second series of Daredevil, released on Netflix on Friday, is unwatchable until my housemate can properly warn me about the gory bits – so much as shows I’ve randomly picked up and enjoyed, as well as a few I’ve been holding onto for a while.

Inside Obama’s White House (Tuesdays, 9pm, BBC Two) is four-part documentary series which started this week and, really, the title does a lot of the explanation for me. Talking heads from senators, Congressmen and women and Obama’s staff explain the key events from just before and the eight years during the presidency, with the first episode, ‘100 Days’, tackling the beginning: 100 days, according to FDR, was the time period necessary to gauge how successful a president was going to be. The documentary focuses on how those 100 days were shaped by the financial crisis, a climate change summit in Copenhagen, and the (broken) promise to close Guantanamo Bay within a year of taking office. While in my head it’s too early to be reviewing a presidency which hasn’t even finished yet, the documentary is enthralling, and while Democrats are probably more keenly represented (which makes sense), it does make some effort to speak to people from both sides of the aisle. It’s very strange to be getting intensely angry about things which happened eight years ago, but that is what this documentary has done to me. Interesting, evocative, and a much-needed foray into something factual in this blog series.

I’ve also picked up The Aliens (also Tuesdays, 9pm, but on E4). The trailers made me laugh and generally interested me – bright colours, weird visuals tend to – so I caught up with the first two episodes which have aired, and I think I might be hooked now. This is a parallel world, where aliens crash-landed in Great Britain in the 1990s, and have since been exiled to behind a wall (Troy) which they can only pass through by going through border control, outside of curfew. Border control guard Lewis generally isn’t a fan, especially after he finds out he’s a ‘genetic leap’ – half-human, half-alien. The concept’s fun, and so’s the show – I knew I was going to like it when someone cried, ‘I don’t make accidents! I make on purposes!’ – but I’m more game for the look of it. The aliens are in bright tracksuits, getting high off dishwasher tablets in their crowded clubs, but apart from a ginormous wall looming behind them, the human side looks like any council estate. The camera will speed down a street and then slow down. It’s a bit different on your Tuesday night, and I’m currently really into it – in fact, I wanted to space the episodes out, but I just ended up watching them back to back.

Otherwise, though, it hasn’t been all that unusual. Brooklyn Nine Nine ticks on, and while I do worry sometimes that I’m not finding it as funny as I was, the return of the Pontiac Bandit did lead to quite a few laughs (and some dodgy, water-based CGI). Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., despite being a season finale, wasn’t particularly memorable (there was only, like, one Fitzsimmons moment), and Agent Carter, well, is still brilliant, but noticeably not as coherent as the first series. I love all these shows, but, seriously, why don’t I watch more new TV? I’m going to keep going with these, obviously – apparently Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can do very little wrong for me, though – but still, it’s refreshing.


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