Musings on TV Series Recently Watched: Bodyguard & SS-GB

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (I think you can still say that until at least mid January, right?)

It’s a relatively mellow weekend for me and I realize I haven’t actually written a review in 2019 yet but I’ve been bingeing a ton of shows in the past month or so. I’ve blogged about Daredevil Season 3 in December, which I absolutely love!

So here’s my quick thoughts on these four series I saw in the past couple of months…

BODYGUARD (2018)

Right after Daredevil Season 3, my hubby and I actually binged on BBC’s Bodyguard which is the perfect show to watch after ending on such a fantastic series!

Police Sergeant David Budd, a heroic British Army war veteran suffering from PTSD, who is now working as a specialist protection officer for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service. He is assigned to protect the ambitious Home Secretary Julia Montague, whose politics stand for everything he despises.

Right from the first episode where Budd foils a female suicide bomber’s plot to blow up the train he’s riding on, the intensity of the show never lets up. I love that right away we see a flawed protagonist, as Budd is dealing with PTSD and is separated from his wife. Richard Madden just won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Budd and it’s a well-deserved win, perhaps a high in his relatively-young career. Yes I think there ought to be a category for ‘Best Jawline on TV’ as Budd oozes so much sex appeal even just standing there guarding his client (those secret agent earpiece never looked so sexy on a man).

Also kudos to Keeley Hawes as the conservative MP Julia Montague, torn between her high-profile political career and her undeniable attraction to Budd. Boy, the chemistry between these two is quite scorching!

Yet the series smartly plays on the ‘opposites attract’ theme and able to keep the tension high from one episode to the next, making this one of the most intriguing and addictive psychological thriller. I think the political plot is pretty absorbing, but it’s the character-driven storyline, portrayed wonderfully by the key cast, that makes this such a satisfying show to watch. Bring on season 2!!

 

P.S. I knew that as soon as I saw Madden on this show he’d go on to be the frontrunner for the next Bond. Heck, why not?? He’s definitely got the looks and can balance the sex appeal + grit for the role. Plus, I’d love to see another sexy Scotsman as 007!


SS-GB (2017)

Speaking of James Bond, SS-GB is written by British screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who co-wrote the six James Bond films from The World Is Not Enough to Spectre.

Set in a 1941 alternative timeline in which the United Kingdom is occupied by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer, of the London’s Metropolitan Police is called in to investigate a murder in a flat in Shepherd Market.

The series is based on Len Deighton‘s novel of the same name, which was a pretty intriguing read despite being overly too-detailed for my liking. I always love alternative universe, and this series share major similarities with Amazon’s Man In The High Castle except instead of US, it’s set in Britain. I’m also a huge fan of Sam Riley who I think is an underrated actor, so I’m convinced I’d LOVE this series.

Alas, despite its gripping premise, there’s something so lackluster in the way the show is written and directed (by German director Philipp Kadelbach). Yes I know London is mostly grey and perhaps even murky, but must everything be so drab and dour? And the pacing just lacks energy. At first I was intrigued by its quiet intensity and smoky atmosphere (literally, as Archer lights a cigarette every few seconds!), but after a while it just feels too sluggish with only a handful memorable moments that are too few and far between. Now, I love Riley’s gorgeous profile, but I feel like the close-up shots of him are way too indulgent that it starts to look like a photoshoots for Burberry coats and Fedora.

I expect a lot from the writers of Bond movies, but then again they’ve made duds like Quantum of Solace and Spectre. I have to say that the production design and set pieces made for a convincing look of alternative Britain under Nazi occupation, and everyone looked appropriately grim. Yet there’s no sense of real urgency to the whole thing, and there’s few heart-wrenching moments that make you care for the characters. I do like James Cosmo as Detective Sergeant Harry Woods, Archer’s friend and colleague, just wish there were more memorable scenes of these two.

My least favorite character is Barbara Barga, an American reporter played by Kate Bosworth. I think she is a bit miscast here, not to mention lacking chemistry with Riley. I think she’s actually a tad more convincing as Lois Lane in Superman Returns, though a far cry from the spunky Margot Kidder in the role. I was quite intrigued by Standartenführer Oskar Huth (Lars Eidinger), an SS officer newly-arrived in London who initially made Archer’s life a living hell. Eidinger is a brilliant actor that has some memorable moments, but I think he’s far more interesting in the book. The same with the entire series, I find Deighton’s novel far more engrossing by a long shot. Ultimately it’s a thriller that lacking any real thrills, which is a shame considering the talents involved and promising source material. That said, if you like these types of alternative WWII stories, it’s still worth renting.

 

 

P.S. Given the Bond connection, at one point people were talking about Sam Riley as a possible candidate for the next 007. Hey, I’d be down for that. At this point though, I think Madden certainly has more edge to play the role.


Have you seen either one of these series? I’d love to hear what you think!

14 thoughts on “Musings on TV Series Recently Watched: Bodyguard & SS-GB

  1. geekteller

    I haven’t seen the Sam Riley show you mentioned, but I know him and I think he’s great (especially in Control, and in On the Road, I wished that movie got more press). I did see Bodyguard and loved it: Richard Madden is amazing in it and it had so many cool, wild scenes (one of my favorites was the car shooting in episode 2 or 3). I’m glad he won the Golden Globe, he deserved it.

    1. Hello! Yes I love Sam Riley, huge fan of his, that’s why I watched SSGB in the first place. Loved On The Road!! Agreed it should get more love.

      Bodyguard is excellent, can’t wait to see season 2 of it!

        1. Hi Cindy!!! So sorry I missed your comment. I’m doing ok, yeah life is kinda sporadic right now as I lost my job last October. I’m still blogging just not as often… still working on getting my feature film made. Hope all is well with you! I’ll have to saunter over your blog and catch up soon!

          1. You have had a whirlwind year! You will find employment soon, I’m sure. You are too talented! Best wishes with your feature film. Are you producing it? Writing? Directing? All of the above?

            1. Hello again Cindy! Yeah right now I’m only looking for part time or freelance, as I’m focusing on making Hearts Want feature. I’m only gonna be producing it, I’ve written the script already since last year. So it’s a matter of getting funding and finding the right director, etc. It’s really all a BIG dream! 😀

  2. Haven’t seen either actually and have heard mixed things about The Bodyguard. Still have way too many other TV shows to catch up (including Daredevil), so probably won’t be watching these.

  3. Really enjoyed BODYGUARD, hopefully season 2 will be as good. I can Richard Madden as 007 but he needs to bulk up a bit since he’s short guy, he’s only 5’9 but so is Daniel Craig.

    Not sure I’ll be watching SS-GB anytime soon, still have a few shows I’d like to catch up on. And now that season two of The Punisher is streaming this weekend, I’ll be busy watching that all weekend.

  4. I really enjoyed Bodyguard although I felt like the ending wasn’t as good as the beginning. I am glad that I am not the only one crushing on PS Budd… some of my friends were baffled that I found him sexy.

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