We love box-sets of TV series at our house, and the Christmas holidays is a great time to catch up on some you may have missed. Here’s some suggestions:
Rome, series 1 and 2:
This amazing HBO drama series viscerally takes us into the foreign yet familiar world of Ancient Rome, at a most tumultuous time: the first series profiles the inexorable rise of Caesar, the plots and counter-plots surrounding his ascension to power and leading up to his assassination; the second series what happens after, through Mark Antony’s rise to power, the end of the Republic, and the emergence of Octavius. Seen through the eyes of two soldiers, Lucius Veronus and Titus Pullo, the gripping story also takes us into the lives of the rich and famous and powerful, taking some liberties with historical figures, but forgivably! A fantastic cast, extraordinary settings and an unparalleled atmosphere — for instance the religious feeling of Ancient Rome is breathtakingly evoked—made this for us an unforgettable series, packing a powerful emotional punch. What we also liked was there was no attempt whatsoever to ‘PC’ the characters—their attitudes are not modern ones in the least. A word of warning though: these series are also very violent and sexually graphic as well, so definitely not for the fainthearted—or people under 18.
Damages, series 1 and 2:
Who said a modern Manhattan lawyer’s office couldn’t be every bit as bloody and full of skulduggery as a Roman senator’s? The first series, set around a young woman’s entree into the legal world and getting tangled in the full-on and scary doings of her powerful boss, big-shot lawyer Patty Hewes, starts off with a bang with that same young woman, Ellen Parsons running half-dressed and covered in blood through the streets. As the series progresses we go back into the past to see what led her up to this, and are introduced to an extraordinary cast of characters, lawyers, clients, plaintiffs, and many others. The episodes are structured so that you get a bit of the present and a lot of the past; that way you build up a picture of what’s happened and why which works in a really unique and interesting way. Fabulous acting, complex motives and twists and turns makes this series real-edge-of-your-seat stuff! The second series is every bit as gripping and nail-biting as the first; and I can’t wait for the third series, which I hope to get in my Christmas stocking!
Tintin box set:
Here’s something different; entertaining for all Tintin fans — the animated series of the Tintin adventures which despite the sometimes annoying (American) accents, is fairly faithful to the stories and certainly uses the same familiar Hergé style of illustration. As all of us Tintin fans wait in some trepidation for Spielberg’s interpretation of our beloved classics, here’s something that won’t put too many backs up! Mind you make sure you introduce the children to the books first!
Inspector Gadget, series 1:
My kids, born in the 80’s, loved the Inspector Gadget animated TV series, about a bumbling detective, his clever niece Penny and his even cleverer dog, Brain. Inspector Gadget’s hilarious misadventures and love of silly gadgets was until now not available on DVD, but here it is just in time for Christmas! Great silly fun.
The Roman Mysteries, series 1:
Just so the kids don’t feel left out of Ancient Rome, here’s a great series, based on the best-selling books by Caroline Graham, about the adventures of young Flavia Gemina and her sleuthing friends in Rome, AD 79. Lots of fun, great mysteries, and well-evoked atmosphere make this series very entertaining to watch as a family.