I was program-surfing* the Roku last evening, having wimped out of attending the Marion County Fish & Game board meeting with Tam on account of post-stress exhaustion and a sore knee. The stress was the result of finally, over a decade off schedule, Kiplinging my courage to the sticking point (I thought Kipling but it appears to trace back to Shakespeare) and getting a mammogram; the procedure itself was merely no fun but making myself go through with it was so demanding that I left the house without a belt in my jeans and didn't realize until I was putting my top back on after the specialized radiography was over -- and I always wear a heavy leather belt.
Came home, walked to lunch with Tam, did some little jobs around the house, realized my right knee was throbbing, took an OTC painkiller/anti-inflammatory, napped, woke up and was casting about for something interesting to watch.
There's a BBC series that caught my eye awhile ago, The Hour, ostensibly about the launch of a UK TV current-affairs program in the 1950s, from the description a sort of inside-the-industry soap opera. Looked interesting, work like mine but a generation earlier and on the wrong side of the road.
...And it is that. But that is not the whole of it. Not even close. I started watching the first episode and ended up binge-watching the first three: woven through the episodic start of a new TV programme in the Beeb's unique environment is a long-form espionage thriller of the traditional baffling British variety! The sets are remarkably good, the style and attitudes period-appropriate, casting and cast are fabulous and it's beautifully shot; some critics complained about anachronisms in the attitudes of some characters but I'm not so sure. I do hear a few bobbles on the "U" side of U vs. non-U English as the story weaves through social strata, but that's difficult to get right (a speaker of General American instead of The Queen's English shouldn't even try†) and can be undone in a flash by an actor trying to sound "more posh." (Hint: don't. Genuinely upper-class vocabulary can be appallingly plain; poshness comes from the manner in which it is applied.)
Cross "Mad Men," "The X-Files" and "Network," throw in a hint of night-time soap operas and James Bond and you'll have some idea of what The Hour is like. I'm enjoying it immensely.
* Like channel-surfing but better: going through the long lists of films and TV shows, each one with a still and a snippet of description. I'm usually looking at Amazon Video, occasionally Crackle (free movies!) or a channel of space stuff that seems to change its name fairly often.
† Yes, it's true: I call table napkins "serviettes" sarcastically. And who wouldn't?
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
9 months ago