Web #TV: Angel of Death, Dancing on the Edge, Psychos, Secret State

chiwetel-ejiofor-dancing-in-the-darkI’ve been watching way too much telly as usual, and it’s got even worse now that I’ve found a sweet-low-bandwidth-usage-period in our house’s shared router during which I can stream web TV right to my phone.

Angel of Death on Sony’s Crackle (international… I think): I’ve mentioned this hard-boiled drama starring action-woman Zoë Bell before.  Now that I’ve had a chance to see the first 4 episodes, I can say that the action and pace are good, but the acting, notably that of miscast Jake Abel as unscary Cameron Downes (son of the big-bad-boss), is occasionally creaky.  The writing also varies greatly in quality.  Still, the episodes are short and punchy at around eight minutes a pop; so it’s a good distraction for the odd break during your workday.  Much better than time spent chatting to the numb-skulls by the water-cooler for instance.  The violence is visceral, schlocky, but not excessive because it fits the neo-noir pulp genre perfectly.

Dancing on the Edge on BBC’s iPlayer (UK): Stephen Poliakoff’s 1930s jazzy show has great music (especially that muted trumpet), but uncomfortably veers between clumsy social comment, light-hearted drama and horrible violence.  The do-gooding white characters kindly helping out the poor, but wonderfully talented black musicians is highly unrealistic, unbelievable and tweaks my gag-reflex.  John Goodman is good, but then he always is.  It also stars the excellent Chiwetel Ejiofor, so it’s not a complete waste of air-time.

Psychos on Channel 4’s 4OD (UK): Mental hospital based Psychos on the other hand is perfectly balanced between fast-paced drama mixed with a few laughs.  Not quite as brilliant portrayal of a bag of mixed nuts as Takin’ Over The Asylum (the staff, not the patients), but required viewing nevertheless.  I first saw this drama years ago and, even with the passage of time, I can see that it was obviously a vehicle for pretty-boy(-with-talent) Douglas Henshall.  But apart from a few bit-parts over the years, like an appearance on Morse, the next big thing I saw him in was Primeval.  Talking about Primeval, any of you spot Andrew Lee Potts in Stephen King’s 1408 ?

Secret State on Channel 4’s 4OD (UK): Gabriel Byrne stars as a reluctant Prime Minister being forced by big business into a war.  Yes, this is yet another one of those political thrillers that shows the UK/US government to be run by a bunch of war-mongering, secretive and corrupt toss-pots.  Shock horror.  Okay, if you forget my strong grasp of political reality cynicism for a moment, it was a pretty good thriller and kept me up all night watching the entire mini-series back-to-back.  More absorbing, but less (unintentionally?) funny than Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer (2010) .

Next I’ll probably get back to some good old SciFi and watch Dennis Potter’s Cold Lazarus on 4OD, but first I should get my head down and do some work.

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