Public Service Announcement 8 of 2016: The Night Manager, Parks and Recreation, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Person of Interest, The Blacklist

A handful of slightly lazy, behind-the-times PSAs to start with. The BBC is continuing to try to muscle its way into the “cinematic TV” market with a six-part adaptation of John le Carre’s post-Cold-War-novel The Night Manager. On the face of it, the show has been cast with everything you’d need to market it at home and abroad: a proper film star (Tom Hiddleston); an international TV star (Hugh Laurie); British TV royalty (Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander); and Mme Secretary-General from Spin (Aure Atika). Advance word was good, reviews have been fine… but to be honest I’ve had my fill, for now, of overrated British TV dramas which start well and fizzle away into either incomprehensibility or absurdity. So I’m sitting this one out (Sundays, BBC1, 9pm; last night’s on BBC iPlayer).

Somewhat later than we were promised, Dave has started showing what might or might not be the final run of Parks and Recreation on UK TV: season 5 for now, with a possibility of running straight through seasons 6 and 7 thereafter (double bills on Sundays at 11pm; last night’s available on demand and on the Dave website).

And last night, on the reliable Storyville strand, the BBC showed Stanley Nelson, Jr.’s excellent documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015), which was given a limited cinematic release last year. As well as containing vivid, moving, fascinating, and enraging archive footage, the film assembles (Bobby Seale apart) as comprehensive a collection of talking heads as could reasonably be expected nearly 50 years after the foundation of the Black Panther Party. A documentary about an organisation devoted to the defence of African-Americans is, of course, of more than just historical interest, a point which it makes eloquently and economically in its final scenes. Not entirely without flaws, but highly recommended (BBC iPlayer).

Now to the new stuff. Unpopcult favourite Person of Interest returns for its fourth season this week. My view is that the season 3 represented something close to the best that network TV has to offer, although this opinion wasn’t held by everyone (hashtag Root). Unfortunately, it looks as if channel 5 is showing the whole season in double-bills. On the plus side this might mean that it actually broadcasts all of the episodes; on the minus, it’s not a schedule which suits me, particularly if I want to review them as well. So although it offends the completist part of me, it may be that Unpopcult won’t be covering this season. I’ll definitely be watching, though (Wednesday 24 February, Channel 5, 10pm).

And The Blacklist is returning from its midwinter hiatus. One episode per week. That I can cope with. Reviews as usual (Friday 26 February, Sky Living, 9pm).

Also starting this week, among others: the penultimate season of Girls (tonight, Sky Atlantic, 10.45pm); and post-hiatus Grey’s (Wednesday, Sky Living, 10pm). And coming soon: HTGAWM, Quantico, Blindspot, Scandal, House of Cards.

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8 thoughts on “Public Service Announcement 8 of 2016: The Night Manager, Parks and Recreation, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Person of Interest, The Blacklist

  1. e February 23, 2016 / 12:21 am

    “t’s not a schedule which suits me, particularly if I want to review them as well. So although it offends the completist part of me, it may be that Unpopcult won’t be covering this season.”

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

    *weeps*

    • Jed Bartlet February 23, 2016 / 2:04 pm

      Always say that, e, always end up reviewing it. Although I think CJ might be about to bail on PoI? (It’s a #Root thing,)

      • e February 23, 2016 / 2:40 pm

        Remember CJ and Helena?

  2. CJ Cregg February 25, 2016 / 11:06 pm

    I forgot to record it, but yes, sorry guys, I think I might bail on POI. Double bills are troublesome enough, but double bills of Root are probably a dealbreaker for me, especially now Carter’s gone and Root’s role apparently gets even bigger. I’ll watch the Carter flashback ep but that might be it for me, I think.

    On a more positive note, BBC 4’s 3-part documentary The Prosecutors is worth watching -I found the first ep (now on iPlayer) pretty even-handed and compelling, and unexpectedly moving too. Next two eps are on Wednesdays at 9pm.

    • Jed Bartlet February 25, 2016 / 11:07 pm

      Is Root in it?

        • Jed Bartlet February 25, 2016 / 11:36 pm

          *folds arms*

  3. Snoskred January 3, 2017 / 10:58 am

    Bad choice to pass here Jed.. I just saw The Night Manager finally, and wow was it amazing. I even liked Tom Hiddleston, which was a great surprise to me after all the TayTay stuff. 🙂

    Seems like it was a once off thing, there will not be a season two as far as I can find out which is a great shame. I think this character Jonathan Pine has more stories to tell, and so does the character played by Olivia Colman. Hugh Laurie was brilliant as always.

    If you can stream this somehow, or pick it up on DVD, I do not think you would regret it. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous especially in Spain.

    I do think TV is a great medium for stuff like this, though I do not think the storyline in any way mirrored what happened in the book at all – nor do I think it has to. If the characters are great, the stories sort themselves out. And if you have people who read the book you really don’t want them to know what is going to happen, so it is better to change it up, I feel like. Especially with the internet these days where you can go and read the storyline of a book so easily.

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