Thursday, May 27, 2021

What I'm Watching

 Recently Dr. Skull and I have taken to streaming shows together in the evenings. We used to do this back when we had a TV, and the kid was young; but somehow we fell out of the habit.

What have we been watching?

Hell on Wheels

This is a complete series, five seasons, about building the transcontinental railroad just after the Civil War. There are some historical inaccuracies, and also the mistreatment of the black and Chinese workers is....not ignored, but somewhat downplayed. 

It starts also with the old lie about a Confederate slave-holder having freed his slaves before the war; but as the show develops, we learn this Confederate is lying about having done so. Which is something, I guess. In any case, a nicely diverse cast, even if the focus of most of the stories is still around three white guys. Very watchable.

Mare of Easttown

This one is a bit depressing -- the search by a detective for the killers of young girls in her city. I like the community, and Kate Winslet, who plays Mare, is great. In Easttown, by the way, there is no racial prejudice or sexism, though there is a lot of brutality. I'm dubious, but it's interesting to watch such a society.

The use of dialogue and the pervasive sense of a long-established culture make this one worth watching. Also, even though the police are shown as community workers instead of an occupying force, there's very little copaganda here.


This is a Norwegian series, a science fictional tale about life in Oslo two decades in the future, and also two decades after people from the past begin coming through "time holes" in the ocean. People from the Mesolithic era, people from the Viking era, and people from the 19th century come through these time holes daily. Because the time hole are in the ocean, lots of people drown before they can be rescued -- this is a factor in the plot; but there are still thousands of survivors, who have to be integrated into 21st century society.

Apparently these "beforeigners" are appearing all over the world, but the show focuses on Oslo, and on two detectives, one from the 21st century, and one Beforeigner: Lars and Alhildr. 

This is worth watching not so much for the murder mystery which Lar and Alhildr work to solve (once again, dead girls) but for what the series shows us of Norwegian society, and the plight of the refugees. It's very funny and very enlightening.

It's also worth watching for the very much not-American policing. This is what police as community service officers is actually like.

Warning: full-frontal nudity of both men and women, mostly men; and an entirely Other attitude toward religious matters. "You won't see that on American television," Dr. Skull and I said more than once.

ETA: These are all available on Amazon Prime; you can get Mare of Easttown and Beforeigners on HBO via other platforms as well.


Bardiac said...

Could you tell us what platforms these are on, please?

delagar said...

We watched them all through Amazon Prime -- Beforeigners and Mare of Easttown we watched through a trial HBO subscription. Hell on Wheels is also Amazon Prime, but you have to buy it.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen Upstart Crow yet? I'm curious what an English professor would think of it.

delagar said...

I haven't even heard of Upstart Crow! What platform is it on?

Anonymous said...

It's been on my PBS station.

It seems to be on several different platforms , if your PBS station hasn't carried it.