Tutankhamun (2016)

Tutankhamun takes you on a treasure hunt and it’s a treasure of this year’s television. Actually, the first new show I have been properly excited about. Go and watch it! Now!

I don’t even know what I liked the best about it. Firstly, the plot was easy to follow – already during the first few minutes it was clear who’s who and what they are doing. That’s a huge bonus – I hate it when it takes episodes to even distinguish between the characters. Secondly, it’s set in Egypt. And Egypt is a magical place, especially up until the first half of the 20th century – it’s amazing to watch how the Europeans and the Americans tried to mold it according to their standards; while, still enjoying the Egyptian traditions. Thirdly, it’s about archaeological discoveries and it’s exciting and thrilling; in addition, add the World War I to the mix for those not interested in tombs. Fourthly, the actors and the characters. I especially liked Maggie – she’s an independent woman in a time where women were still seen as an accessory to men – these kinds of female characters have always been my favourite.

Ah, I don’t know what else to add – I hope you are able to feel my enthusiasm! Tutankhamun is educational, entertaining, exciting and extremely interesting. Please go and see for yourselves!

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The Crown (2016)

Am I the only one who feels a bit strange watching a film or a TV show about real people who are still alive? When an important person dies, he or she becomes a part of history; however, while they’re still living – shouldn’t their lives belong to themselves? That’s the only thing that made me question watching The Crown – in any other way this show appears to be a masterpiece.

Actually, The Crown took me by surprise – I hadn’t expected to like it. I have never been particularly interested in Queen Elizabeth II, so why should I enjoy a show about her. My mistake. Claire Foy seems to be a brilliant Elizabeth. Her acting is so real and raw that it is hard not to like her character. I have my doubts about Matt Smith’s Philip. He is a bit creepy, but at the same time, oh, my goodness, he can be so charming. I wonder which side of him will prevail.

The Crown reminds me of Downton Abbey – it allows us to take a peak into a time long gone; while, showing that the drama of human life doesn’t really change no matter the century or the class or wealth of people. Perfect guilty pleasure disguised as a historically educational program.

Westworld (2016)

Westworld is very confusing, but also very very interesting. It’s definitely not a show that you can put on in the background while doing other things, you have to follow it carefully; otherwise, you’ll get lost.

I’m not a fan of science fiction, there are only a few science fiction stories that I have enjoyed and also those have only had a few elements of sci-fi. What I look for in films and TV shows are human relations – what makes us tick and act the way we do, and these are rarely the main points of science fiction. However, Westworld surprised me. Its main focus is people (real or not real – that’s a different question), their action and behaviour.

Westworld also makes us think, at least it did that to me. For instance, about our reality – perhaps we are like these hosts – only here for the pleasure of some other civilization. Or, perhaps, in a few years the science will be able to provide these kinds of alternative realities for us. A fancier version of The Sims. So if you have a spare moment, find a quiet place and put on Westworld – even if the show won’t be to your taste, it will make you think and that’s a lot to ask of television.

Conviction (2016)

What I like about Conviction is the fact that it has a potential. The show doesn’t seem to have the most original concept and there’s no wow moment during the first episode (which is quite meek, to be honest), but it gives a few reasons to at least take a peek into the next episodes.

Firstly, the supporting characters are an interesting bunch. Each of them has a backstory and a drive for their future actions. Secondly, the main protagonist – Hayes, is perhaps the strongest female protagonist I have seen in the new shows this autumn. She has many flaws, but still appears a badass (reminded me a lot of Olivia Pope, but without the constant love torment). Thirdly,  finally (finally!) there’s a sexual tension between the characters. And I hope they will develop it into a good plotline. Do you hear me, writers? I’m counting on that! And, lastly, the soundtrack seems promising, which is important.

All in all, I have high hopes for Conviction. It has everything to become a great show – the cast, the plot, the characters and the music. I guess now we just have to wait and see where the show leads. Fingers crossed!

Designated Survivor (2016)

Designated Survivor started off with a bang – quite literally, but wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.

It just seemed like a mix of various clichés we can expect from political dramas and thrillers. The ordinary guy becomes the leader. What a way to get a promotion, huh? He doesn’t really have any experience, but when the time comes to make an important speech or a decision, he nails it. He has the perfect family. Even though America has suffered a terrible attack, it will never be pushed down on its knees, since it is the greatest nation in the world, the eagle will be replaced, the flag will fly, the ruins will be rebuilt, etc.,etc., etc. I have nothing against the depiction of patriotism in art, but sometimes enough is enough. Or perhaps you have to be an American to be touched by it. And I don’t even want to speak about the fact that it’s Kiefer Sutherland who saves the day. Again! Why don’t we give the poor guy a break and put him in a comedy or something?

Despite my rant, the show isn’t that bad. If you like these kinds of shows (or Kiefer Sutherland) then you should give it a try. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Bull (2016)

Let me sum up Bull for you. The main protagonist is a part of a team that deals with legal cases. He reads people and their behaviour in order to manipulate them. He tends to disregard rules. What an original concept, right? Wrong!

I am sure that everyone can think of a TV show with a similar plot. For me it was the carbon copy of The Mentalist. Hell, the main protagonist even looks and dresses like Simon Baker’s Patrick Jane. However, this show definitely doesn’t live up to its predecessors. First of all, the main actor simply isn’t that good. No disrespect to Michael Weatherly  (who, by the way, is quite pleasing to the eye), but his character simply isn’t as charming as Patrick Jane. Secondly, there are no backstories for the main protagonists (at least during the first episode), nothing to make us care for them. Thirdly, while the majority of these shows tend to focus on catching the bad guys, Bull seems to be about them going free and without punishment. Yes, the episode did end with arresting the culprit; however, that’s not the main aim of the show. And I simply cannot feel sorry for an arrogant rich boy, no matter the sob stories in the end. Perhaps I simply don’t have a heart, who knows…

All in all, this show is watchable. But not worth the time – there are much better shows out there.

Timeless (2016)

Have you ever wanted to go back in time? To see how people lived and to witness the events that shaped the world as we know now. Or wondered what our lives would be, if any of these events would have turned out differently.Timeless allows us to have a glimpse into the world where that is possible. And I love it!

I have to admit that I’m a history geek, so if a show refers to a different historical period, then count me in. This show maintained the suspense throughout the episode – where will they go, what will they do, how will that affect the future. It also teased that the main antagonist has some other motives than purely the wish to cause chaos and I love a plot where the villain is a more developed instead of a flat character. The same goes for other protagonists – they all have their own backstories and I’m curious to find out more.

All in all, I really liked it. It’s the perfect take-my-mind-of-the-everyday-routine kind of show, and that’s what fiction should be about. It should allow us to have a little respite and give the chance to take our imagination for a spin.