My TV-watching habits are a little weird. I binge watch shows as much as the next person, happily devouring whole seasons over the space of a week or a few days. Or even one day, if the season is short and the show is fascinating. But then, for no particular reason, I’ll just stop. Right in the middle of a season, or with one or two episodes left. Part of it, I think, comes from the fact that I’m not actually watching the show. I’m usually doing something else at the same time, whether I’m dusting or folding laundry or crocheting. The episodes play on while I’m doing whatever, and then I’ll turn the show off when I need to go to bed. A day of work and general busy-ness passes, days go on, and suddenly I realize that I have one or two episodes left of a show and such a long time has passed that I’ll have forgotten what’s going on.
It’s not something I’ve done with one or two shows, either. Falling short by an episode or two is something I do on a regular basis, so let’s take a look at a few of them, shall we?
Starring Jenna Coleman, Rufus Sewell, and Tom Hughes
I was excited for this show when I saw it was in production, partly because I’m an Anglophile and a history nut, and partly because I like Jenna Coleman. This show is gorgeously done with beautiful costumes and sets, and as far as I know it is historically accurate. The stories involve the palace servants as much as they do the titular queen and her court, adding seemingly simpler intrigues to the politics of the realm. The acting is brilliant, and though the script is period-appropriate, no one sounds strange or unnatural saying their lines. I watched every show as soon as I could once they were streaming via PBS, but for some bizarre reason, I failed to see the season finale. I have one episode left of this show that I adored, and I haven’t watched it yet. I will try to do so this week.
Starring Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent
I was on a British crime drama bender for a little while and binge-watched the first six episodes of this show in one day. It was fascinating, watching Ben Whishaw’s character (a hedonistic gay man), fall utterly in love with another man, only to have him die under mysterious circumstances. And then the real trouble starts. For once, I couldn’t predict anything that was happening in this show, and the twists and turns were fascinating. And yet I have two episodes left. I hope to finish them up sometime this summer.
The Shannara Chronicles
Starring Austin Butler, Ivana Baquero, and Poppy Drayton
I read several of Terry Brooks’s Shannara books in junior high and high school, so I was curious to see what MTV did with the story of The Elfstones of Shannara. In the previews, you could tell that the production value was high- the show looked amazing. The overall effect is a bit mediocre, to be honest. The script is pretty lousy, and a few of the episodes could have been cut without affecting the flow of the story. As far as the acting goes, it’s hard to tell if they’re just very good, or if it’s a matter of scripting that holds the three stars back. Perhaps, with a better script and direction they would be fantastic, but as is their relationships’ progression don’t feel natural. Still, I kept watching in the hopes that the show would get better. I stopped at the penultimate episode, thinking that it was the last one and that the season ended on a cliffhanger. Weeks later, I discovered that there was one more episode, and yet I haven’t watched it. The next season is due out in September. I’m hoping that the cast and crew will have settled into the story, and that they’ll simplify the story a bit. There are so many characters and minor storylines in the first season that no one really go the screen time to completely fill out their stories.
And last, but certainly not least:
Starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Gillian Anderson
I’ve been raving about this wonderfully weird show based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, and while I love it, I have two episodes left. This show has been nothing short of spectacular and timely, with its stories about immigrants and the ideas and stories they bring with them and how they fit into the grand scheme of America. The visuals and stories are breathtaking, and Gillian Anderson steals every scene she’s in with her performance as Media, one of the new gods who is trying to defeat the old ones. And while their stories aren’t really central in the book, I whole-heartedly approve of how Brian Fuller approached the storylines of Laura Moon, Mad Sweeney, and Salim-not-Salim. There’s real heart in that storyline, and my favorite quote of the show so far comes from the last episode I saw (the sixth one): “No, Salim-not-Salim, life is good”. I was happy to hear that season two will have more episodes than the first.
With a whole six episodes between the four shows, it should be relatively easy to finish them all off and not be left wondering what’s going to happen in their respective storylines. And maybe that will be a goal for the week. We’ll see. You know what happens to the best laid plans of mice, after all!