New Year, New Drama. Last weekend we welcomed a trio of new dramas on the major channels. It being January the 1st we were treated to the tradition as established as first footing, drinking too much and saying “I can’t get used to saying 2017”. Yes, it was a new episode of Sherlock returning for itsfourth series (well I say series, they only seem to do three episodes at a time. It’s as if the writers think less is more. Sherlock has become the drama equivalent of Fawlty Towers). The programme has an incredibly loyal audience with a huge overlap with Doctor Who. This is mainly due to fact that the regeneration of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories was masterminded by ex-Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and frequent Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss. Both Doctor Who and Sherlock also suffer from the same problem. They are just too complicated. I’ve lost count of how many times the Doctor has had his final big battle with the Daleks. It always appears that at the end of every series he’s finally got rid of them, just for them to reappear in the next series due to some convoluted and highly suspect plot device. Similarly, Sherlock has had that many twists and turns that I have completely lost the plot (in more ways than one) so on Sunday night I was struggling to remember how the last series ended. I know at one point he died, and came back to life, and I think on another occasion he killed Moriarty, who also came back to life, and I think at one point he killed the King Dalek in a battle at Canary Wharf as well but I might be getting confused with Doctor Who again.
The new series started with Sherlock on a plane, so I guess that’s how the last series ended. He then went into a briefing which seemed to be more of a comedy routine about ginger nuts, but he was soon off and running again with a new case. Sherlock is one of those programs where the money can be seen on the screen. Literally. In this case it’s with the graphics. We were bombarded with floating tweets, Skype messages, texts and emails all popping up somewhere on-screen. Sherlock’s Dalek equivalent is Moriarty and just like the Daleks you know he is going to appear at some point in the series but it wasn’t in this episode. The new Sherlock has been criticised by some people because he now seems to use his fists as much as his brain and in this particular episode there was an extended ruckus in a swimming pool (which no one else in the house appeared to hear) and there does appear to be a lot more gun toting than there was in the original books. But he is still basically an annoying smart arse so nothing’s changed really. Oh, and a major character dies in the first episode.
Another program which was very Bond, in the opening titles at least, was The Halcyon. We were treated to a seemingly never ending cast list appearing over beautiful pictures of London in the Blitz as seen through an art deco filter with scantily clad women the size of Tower Bridge looming large on the skyline. It actually made me think it looked quite good fun to be in the blitz, so I’m guessing this drama is probably not that historically accurate. The program is a cross between Hotel Babylon and Mr Selfridge. In episode one we are introduced to the owner of the hotel (of course a Lord as all hotel owners were in those days) the hotel manager, his beautiful receptionist daughter, the lovable rogue concierge. The manager is calm, collected and softly spoken (like Max Beesley in Hotel Babylon) and obviously has some history/debt with the owner (basically it’s Lord Grantham and Bates). There is the nightclub singer, played by Kara Tointon with a ridiculous accent, who has a penchant for sneaking into the hotel’s rooms and making use of the facilities.
The external shots of the hotel looked as though they had been filmed at a University building as it was the most un-hotel like building I’ve ever seen. At least there was a dog character (however this one was named Alfie, not Isis). There are obvious parallels between this and Downton, but inevitably all period dramas will be measured against that high standard. With it being set in the war and not the hazy, rose coloured tint that Downton portrayed it will never have that same feel good factor, because no matter how sexy the opening titles were the Blitz was not a barrel of laughs. Oh, and a major character dies in the first episode.
Sky one’s Delicious doesn’t have the war or flashy graphics to tell its story. It relies on the beautiful Cornish countryside. Delicious tells the story of an intriguing love triangle. Starring that bloke out of Lord of the Rings, the woman from Silent Witness and Dawn French it looks beautiful, the people are beautiful and the food is beautiful. It’s not a programme to watch if you are hungry with it being based around the hotel and a chef. The only program where they seem to spend even more time eating is the Big Bang Theory, although if you watch closely no one ever eats; they just play with their food waiting for their next line. I’m surprised it isn’t in an Emmy for “Best use of a fork in an eating scene whilst not actually entering the mouth”. Of the three dramas, this was the least dramatic but most realistic. Although the chef’s daughter is allergic to water, I condition I’ve never heard of, although when I was a child my mum did often accuse me of the same thing. Oh, and a major character dies in the first episode. Am I spotting a trend here?