This week, Matt Thackray tells us what’s on his tele-box…
The People Vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
I don’t normally get hooked on TV shows when they air, I’m nowhere near cool enough to know what is on TV in real time, and I’m nowhere near patient enough to wait 7 days between episodes. I’d much rather wait for a few years, then power through an entire series in the space of a week. There was no particular reason why I broke this habit and watched The People vs OJ as it aired; as soon as I did though, I was hooked. The show follows the infamous murder trial of OJ Simpson, delving into the nuances and motivations behind both the prosecution and the defence. Featuring an all star cast including Cuba Gooding Jnr, David Schwimmer, and John Travolta, there hasn’t been bad episode, and each plot twist and turn is made even more shocking and intriguing by the knowledge that – artistic exaggeration aside – it actually happened. I’m too young to remember the case from when it was global news, but from watching this show, it is easy to see why it fascinated the world for so long.
House Of Cards
House of Cards previously fell into an embarrassingly large category of shows that I had started to watch, really enjoyed, but then just stopped watching. However – following multiple verbal beratings from friends and family about how I needed to watch it all the way through – I gave it another go, and this time there is no danger of me losing interest. One of the first of a now seemingly endless list of Netflix original series, the show stars Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood: a power-hungry US Congressman desperate to achieve his goals by any means necessary. Now, I’m not American, I’ve never seen The West Wing, and I barely understand UK politics, let alone US, so there are certain things which go over my head in this show (what the hell is a caucus?). At no point though do I find myself lost or oblivious as to what’s going on; there is the perfect amount of context and explanation to ensure even the most clueless of viewers can keep up with the plot, but to not appear too over-simplified and contrived. As you would also expect, Spacey is brilliant, from his monologues directly to the audience, to the way he interacts with the other characters, he gives in my opinion his finest ever performance. Overall, House of Cards is a typically intense and dramatic Netflix binge-watch special, and is definitely worth watching if you’ve got a spare few hours/days/years to work through it.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
To be honest, it wouldn’t matter when I wrote this list; It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia would be on it due to the fact that I’m simply always watching it. Originally airing in 2005, the show is still going strong in its 11th season and is now more outrageous than it ever was. It follows four friends and co-owners of a dive bar in Philadelphia as they attempt to lie, scheme, cheat and do whatever horrific things you can think of to get ahead in life. Not one for the easily offended or for anyone who finds the idea of Danny De Vito engaging in multiple sex scenes in any way unappealing, but no show has ever made me laugh so much and so consistently. Each season the gang get more ridiculous, more narcissistic, and more hilarious. And after watching so many shows about celebrity murder and corrupt politicians, I’m usually in need of a good laugh.