What I Are Watching

by wjw on December 6, 2014

A few months ago I asked for recommendations about what I should be watching on the tube, and I’m pleased to report that I’m enjoying some of your recommendations.

I’m finding “Continuum” pretty darn good, though I think Keira loses points for somehow not noticing that she is a jackbooted enforcer for an illegitimate slaver regime.   And also I’m now at the start of Season Three, and what with a brand-new alternate timeline the plot has now got too complex for even me to follow— and dammit,  I’m Plotboy!  This would be completely incomprehensible for anyone casually watching an episode, and pretty challenging even for a binge-watcher.

cleaver_rake_e345_MasterAnd “Rake” is a lot of fun for someone of a disturbed cast of mind, like me.   Cleaver somehow manages to seem hapless while he’s snorting all the drugs, banging all the women, and getting repeatedly punched in the face by people to whom he owes money.   He’s got that, “What?  How did that get up my nose?” expression down pat.  Though now, in Season Two, I’m beginning to find his behavior depressing, and far too reminiscent of friends I made a point of losing track of years ago.

But the best part of “Rake” is that our barrister’s clients are all so completely, irredeemably guilty, which makes Cleaver’s squirmings at the bar all the more delightful.  And even another best part is how distinguished Australian actors are cast as characters so depraved as to beggar belief.  Already we’ve had Sam Neill as a man guilty of having sex on video with his dog; and Hugo Weaving as a cannibal.  (“WELCOME TO MY ABATTOIR, MR. ANDERSON!”)

I’m now looking forward to Nicole Kidman as a politician caught on camera as the middle strut in the Eiffel Tower, and Hugh Jackman as an all-singing, all-dancing Santorum fetishist.

And Cate Blanchett, I’m given to understand, plays Cleaver himself in a movie-within-the-TV-show, which is pretty clever.

MV5BMTIxMTU5NTYzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTA5NDkxMQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_I also watched at least ten minutes of the Grumpy Cat Christmas Special, which really, really tried to be a satire of itself, but which failed to hold my interest.  I feel I have now done my duty by holiday specials, and feel no impulse to watch another— unless of course I find my absolute favorite on the television.

TRX December 6, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I thought season 1 of Rake rocked. I couldn’t get into season 2. My wife bailed four episodes into season 3.

There’s an American-made version as well, for some inexplicable reason. Though very similar to the Australian one, it’s not as good.

Season 1, though… Cleaver Green is just such a train wreck…

wjw December 7, 2014 at 3:54 am

I think basically there is a sell-by date on a protagonist whose principle talent is to make things worse, and who won’t learn from his mistakes. After a while you just shrug and think, “There he goes again.” It’s not entertainment, it’s pathology.

kpacheneg December 8, 2014 at 12:06 am

Well, there’s one upcoming holiday special that may interest you.


TRX December 8, 2014 at 2:01 am

Pretty much. I recommend bailing on Season 2 if you haven’t already; it doesn’t really go anywhere.

What I found most amusing wasn’t the bizarre stuff, but the way Green slid from office to office, like some kind of hermit crab. I don’t remember if he actually had an office of his own anywhere…

Michael Grosberg December 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I knew you’d like it Rake!
I watched all the way to the end of season 3. In season 2 Green is definitely in a downward spiral, and he hits rock bottom around the end of the season and the beginning of season 3, but season 3 ends on a more sanguine note.
It does get a bit crazy, though. Reminded me of the later seasons of Weeds.

grs1961 December 9, 2014 at 2:34 am

Long before “Rake” hit our screens, I met the bloke who Cleaver is based on, Charles Waterstreet, if it had only occurred to me to make a television series based on him!
Yet another example of real life being stranger than fiction…

wjw December 10, 2014 at 5:31 am

Cleaver Greene is based on a real person? That’s kind of . . . disturbing.

grs1961 December 11, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Disturbing? Good grief, have you not read the “Rumpole” books? Or, at least, watched them on the boob-tube?

A Westminster-based justice system is very entertaining, while remaining entirely functional!

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