TV Watch: Working our way extremely circuitously toward "Inspector George Gently"
DILBERT'S WALLY SORTS OUT THE
OPTIMISTS AND THE PESSIMISTS
[Click to enlarge.]
So here we are again in the Northeast having another Storm Watch Weekend, this time all mooshed together with Labor Day Weekend -- and never mind that today we've enjoyed an utterly lovely day as poor Hermine, the still steadily approaching storm, keeps dropping down on the charts, from hurricane to tropical storm to "post-tropical cyclone" -- a new one on me. What comes next? "Ba-a-a-d, ba-a-a-d storm"? And the anticipated mayhem has been both pushed back and similarly downgraded, now to tomorrow, with stiff wind gusts and maybe some coastal flooding.
Me, I'd planned a quiet Labor Day Weekend anyway -- a bit of a breather from, well, it's hard to specify what exactly. I'm still not working, so it can't be that. Nevertheless, I seem to be so busy doing this and that that I wasn't at all sorry to see that I hadn't really scheduled any mandatory activities. If I could afford to retire, it would be a swell time. I've taken to suggesting that if I'd had the sense to become independently wealthy, I'd make a splendidly active retired person.
So I've taken advantage of the lull -- along with trying to cobble together my first "TV Watch" post in goodness only knows how long, which was going to take a look, by way of the great 1984 Granada TV miniseries The Jewel in the Crown (just rebroadcast by one of my local public TV stations, Long Island's WLIW), dramatized by Ken Taylor from Paul Scott's tetralogy The Raj Quartet, set in the final years of British rule in India, and the 1988-92 Judd Hirsch NBC sitcom Dear John, at one of my new all-time favorite police procedurals, Inspector George Gently, graced by Martin Shaw's beatific performance in the title role -- by attacking the DVR pile-up. First I took in all four outings in the most recent ITV series of Endeavour, tales of the young future-Inspector Morse. Then, by way of further procrastination, I began attacking the similarly warehoused most recent series ("The Final Season") of Inspector Lewis. Which is to say the pre- and post- extensions (respectively) of the Morse franchise.
Merrick (Tim Piggot-Smith) unleashes his considerable worst on poor Hari Kumar (Art Malik) in The Jewel in the Crown.
|A smiling Nicholas Jones|
All of which goes to remind me, as if I needed reminding, that time surely does whiz by.
Though it's been ages since I've done a "TV Watch" post, it hasn't been for want of TV-watching. What there has been, perhaps, is a persistent question of whether my TV-watching has any pertinence to anyone else. It's not that I don't watch anything new, but I keep encountering reports of wonders, chiefly in the outer reaches of cable and especially the streaming world, which are wildly at variance with such experience as I've had with them. (I don't streaming. Come on, isn't my cable bill high enough?) So I'm happy to devote a fair amount of my viewing time to TV past.
It doesn't seem to me a bad thing, first, to be reminded how much of that past survives (though also how much doesn't), and, more important, to take advantage of how much good stuff there is now readily available. Even a show like Dear John, which on rewatching turns out to be no better than I remembered, still rewards my attention more than, well, most of the offerings in the imagined (imaginary?) current Golden Age of TV Comedy, and it occurs to me that one reason is that it's a show that couldn't be made today, since it makes no effort to pander to the youth market.
In November 2014, Martin Shaw (DCI George Gently), Lee Ingleby (now-DI John Bacchus), Lisa McGrillis (about-to-be-DS Rachel Coles), and company were on location in the northeast of England filming what's now the most recently aired series of Inspector George Gently. (Various whole episodes are available on YouTube.)