Category: Reviews

19-2 (Canadian TV 2014-2017)

19-23 Kernels

19-2.  You may think that’s an odd title for a series.  As a matter of explanation, 19-2 is the number of the police car where two opposite personalities are partnered up at a Montreal Police Department station.  Nick Barron, whose former partner was shot and gravely injured, is paired with a newly transferred Ben Chartier from the north country.  You’ll be doing ride alongs in the back seat of their patrol car as well as the cars of other cops in the station.

I’ll preface this review by saying I was once married to a Detroit Police Officer for three short years back in the early 1970’s.  I am quite familiar with the drama that being a cop can bring into personal relationships, and this television series will immerse you into the same type of drama from rocky relationships, wife beaters, alcoholics, infidelity, and a host of other emotional baggage that comes with the job.

To add to the interest of this particular series, the audience is part of their daily routines in a city that isn’t exactly a cop-loving environment.  They deal with the same community problems of being accused of being too rough, having their calls taped on cell phones, complaints of not doing enough or doing too much, etc.  Frankly, it’s not often they can do anything right except save someone’s life when needed.

The show also, like most police stories, deals with corruption in the department. Station 19 has a mole.  Whenever there’s a raid, police are either in a trap or the criminals are long gone ahead of time.  The story weaves in and out of that storyline, along with the personal lives – one policeman an alcoholic, one going through a divorce, one beats his wife, and love affairs left and right.  Beware this is graphic sexual content throughout the show with minutes of rutting from front to rear and naked bodies (sorry to be so graphic as the content but that’s how it is).  If that turns you off, then don’t turn it on.  After three episodes, I was frankly sick of seeing it.  In addition, the team often beat up each other because they can’t deal with their anger.  Also, the “F” word is used often.

Emotions run high in this series. If you’re curious about day-to-day lives of police on the street, it’s a must-see.  If you have any prejudice against police beforehand, you probably won’t like it at all.  For me, it hit home, having been married to an unfaithful and alcoholic policeman for three years.  I know the stress of the job because it’s up front and quite personal.  Yes, I loved the man in spite of having to iron his uniform shirts. While on duty, he met someone else, and my ride-along in his life ended with a broken heart.

 

Homefront (ITV 2012 Series)

Homefront

2 Kernels

Homefront, is another series on Britbox that didn’t keep my attention. I struggled to watch the episodes until the end, which revolves around the lives and melodrama of four army wives in the UK.  Their husbands come and go from Afghanistan throughout the series. Since I enjoyed The Last Post, I was looking forward to this series but it fell flat.

The basics are a young wife who loses her husband and the ensuing inquest into his death overseas as the family members cope with the loss.  A woman engaged to a major who can’t decide whether she’s army-wife material.  Two teenagers acting out.  Then, the usual, drama of infidelity and a wife who can’t make up her mind whether to forgive or kick him to the curb.

In order to pinpoint my disappointment, I guess it lies with the story, the acting, and the unnecessary and somewhat boring scenes that lead to a snail’s pace of a show.  There is really no empathy for any of the characters, even the wife of a dead soldier.

Sorry on this one — don’t have very much redeeming accolades to give for this poor soap opera quality.  Not surprised it wasn’t renewed.  It’s easily forgettable.

Signing off on a short and somewhat sour commentary on Homefront.

Acceptable Risk (TV Series 2017)

acceptable

2 Kernels

Acceptable Risk, streaming on Acorn TV, is an Irish series that aired in 2017.  It’s a drawn-out mystery, focusing on the life of Sarah Manning (played by Elaine Cassidy). Life is peachy until her husband is murdered, and she eventually discovers she married a man of mystery whose actions led to his death.

The story unfolds to a rather convoluted plot that includes corporate corruption, the Canadians getting involved in the investigation, the United States FBI, the local Dublin detectives, a sister, and unyielding Sarah absolutely determined to find out who killed her husband. Thrown into the mix are her children and their issues as she attempts to unravel the mystery shrouding her husband’s true identity.

The character of Sarah Manning at times comes off as obsessive in her search for truth but if it wasn’t for her tenacity the truth would have never been revealed. However, by the end of the series, Sarah became a prickly character that began to grate on my nerves. Nevertheless, you understand her undying motivation to face danger when others in the investigation have thrown in the towel and given up or been told to leave the matter alone or suffer consequences.

The villain of the story is the corporate head, Hans Werner Hoffman, played very coldly by Morten Suurballe. The man literally gives you the chills as the master of evil and manipulation. The other cast members do a fine job, coming in and out of the picture of the story, but Sarah Manning is the die-hard focus that will drag you to the surprising end of corporate greed and secrecy.

To be honest, I had to split this series out into two. Initially, I became bored and uninterested after the first few episodes because Sarah was getting on my nerves. It sat for a month before I returned to finish the series just so I could write you a review!

Since that’s the case, I wouldn’t call this series a binge-worthy watch but more of a slow and sometimes irritating trip to the end credits. Others, of course, may have a different opinion as it appears the series was an “acceptable risk” to watch.  Whatever floats your remote, folks, is fine with me.

Small Island (Series BBC One 2009)

small-island4 Kernels

Streaming on Britbox and available elsewhere is Small Island, adapted from a novel by Andrea Levy.  It apparently streamed on PBS Masterpiece in 2010, which I obviously missed.  If it hadn’t been for the Period Drama Facebook Group, I probably would have missed this one altogether. I watched the two-part series (90-minute episodes) in its entirety last night, staying up past my bedtime.  It was well worth the lack of sleep.

The story, in the beginning, flashes back and forth between the lives of two young Jamaicans – Hortense (Naomie Harris) and Michael (Ashley Walters) – pre-World War 2. On the other side of the world, it’s Bernard (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Queenie (Ruth Wilson). Each has their own dreams – Hortense of marrying Michael; Michael rebellious in his upbringing; Queenie escaping her childhood and the pig farm; and Bernard a shy man, living with his father.

Eventually, life splits Hortense and Michael.  Queenie marries Bernard to escape returning home to her parents, and then the war breaks out.  War, as you know, throws everyone’s lives in various directions with new challenges.

The main focus of the story is the character of Queenie, who doesn’t have a prejudice bone in her body when it comes to black people.  When Benedict leaves for war and she’s left alone in the house, she offers three airmen housing. One of the young men is the charismatic Michael, a handsome and alluring man in uniform.  Queenie willingly succumbs to his seduction and the next day he’s off on another mission.

As the story continues, she meets Gilbert, also from Jamaica and they form a friendship.  He marries Hortense, and the two of them eventually live in Queenie’s home because Benedict never returned after the war. I could continue the remainder of the series but will spare you spoilers.

The story, of course, shows the bias against the black Jamaicans among the English. Jamaican children under English rule were taught to love the “motherland” and obviously Gilbert did as a child and adult. Unfortunately, when he’s in the country who he believes supports and accepts him as an Englishman too, he finds the stark reality that prejudice against his skin color is no different than it is in the United States.

I enjoyed this two-part series and recommend it to those looking for another pre-WW2 or WW2 storyline that delves into a different aspect of human behavior during those years. It’s well acted and packaged to please.

 

 

 

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