Monday, 24 October 2011

Spooks vs Downton Abbey

Both Spooks and Downton Abbey went head to head on Sunday nights so I had a decision to make: which one to watch "live"?

At first Downton won that battle. But as the episodes went on I was unsettled to discover that it was actually, whisper it, a little bit rubbish. Meanwhile I was enjoying the non-live episodes of Spooks a lot more than I thought I would.

After week 4 I did the "switch". Now Spooks would be watched live and I would get around to Downton later. Probably.

Episode 5 of Spooks was a pretty good one. The gang kidnapped a CIA guy because they reckoned he was up to no good. This called for some action with Lara Pulver hanging out of a car firing a gun. Her cheekbones were looking particularly lovely in that episode.

After the cliff-hanger ending (Harry captured by bad Americans!) I turned over to ITV1+1 (I think) to watch the later broadcast of Downton.

I lasted about 10 minutes before I turned the TV off in disgust. That was just after Mary dropped her cup of tea juxtaposed with Matthew going over the top.

I mean, really...

I came to the sudden conclusion that I didn't care about any of the characters (with the possible exception of the middle daughter Edith who I am finding strangely more attractive as time goes on). I don't care about Bates and his on-off wedding with the maid lady. I don't care about the Irish chauffeur and his working man speeches. I certainly don't care about Matthew and Mary

So I skipped the rest of episode 5.

The three Crawley sisters. Edith gets strangely more attactive.

The final Spooks was on last night and rather than run about through the streets of London trying to defuse a nuclear bomb it was actually a low-key finale set mainly in an abandoned military bunker. In fact it looks like it was filmed in an actual abandoned military bunker. If not the production designers did a great job dressing the set up wherever it was. It was a fitting cold war setting for the revelations that followed.

The episode did veer into melodrama at the end when the Russian guy killed his wife and then the Russian son went after Harry with a broken piece of glass in revenge. "There goes Ruth," I thought, and sure enough there was another name on the MI5 memorial wall by the end of the episode.

Oddly there was a "surprise" cameo with the guy who played Mr  Darcey in the Keira Knightley movie returning to say about two lines of dialog.

Final Spooks over I gave Downton a try for 15 minutes. To be honest I found it a much more interesting experience watching the thing without having seen the previous episode. It appears that the footman (I can't remember his name) who fancied Daisy died, but not until he got married to her on his deathbed. There was a new maid to replace Amy Nuttall who now has a baby. She was doing The Acting at one point. Matthew was sulking in a wheelchair going on about being only half a man. I really wanted someone to slap him with a wet fish.

The most interesting bit involved the middle daughter Edith (who by now I am finding very attractive indeed) befriending some Canadian guy with a burned and bandaged head, who claimed to be the long-lost heir of Downton Abbey after getting amnesia on the Titanic disaster.

I mean you can't make this stuff up.

Oh wait, you can...