As always this year or so has seen some clunking old crud on telly (we’re thinking Bonekickers here) but it’s also seen a few decent but under appreciated shows which are now out on DVD.
First up, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The producers set themselves up with a heck of a challenge here; no Arnie, no Linda in fact no-one from the movies and a dumping of the third movie.
All the odds were against this working but somehow the end result was an exciting adventure. Often I watch telly over the top of my laptop but with this show I find myself so hooked that I actually look at the screen for the whole episode.
Hidden away on Virgin 1 is Eddie Izzard’s The Riches – a dark look at the increasingly non-straightforward lives of a family of conmen. If it help you can think of this as Hustle without the fancy camera work or winks to the audience.
ITV scored well with The Palace, a high concept show set in Buckingham Palace centred around a young new King and his highly dysfunctional family.
Lacking a celeb-packed jungle, Ross Kemp or Robson Green it failed to win over ITV’s core audience and needed a second run to iron out a few kinks but ITV, typically, opted instead to axe it after a single series. What we’re left with is a well acted, sharply written drama which owes a lot to The West Wing. And Crossroads.
Also on ITV was The Fixer, a meaty drama from Spooks producer Kudos. This time around ITV has commissioned a second run which is great news because it has the potential to be one of the best shows the channel has. A great cast including Andrew Buchan and Jody Latham, it’s also notable for wasting Liz White on a tiny role.
Paul Nicholls vehicle Harley Street is rumoured to also be a victim of the ITV school of not letting shows grow. Lightweight and unashamedly puffy it was a great way to pass an hour on Thursday evenings.
Saving the best till last, BBC Two import The Tudors has upset historical purists and delighted fans of undisguised, well plotted quasi-soap.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is simply fantastic as the young King, series one also boasts some great performances from Sam Neill as Cardinal Wolsey. There are also luscious costumes, pouts, torn bodices and some great Irish locations.
If you’re looking for Christmas gifts or just looking to top up with things to watch over the festive period have a look at the above.