November 11th, 2010

breaking bad

Spooks and Walking Dead

Just thought I would briefly update on these two shows, because I had mentioned them before, and I was intending to come back and say more later. Short answer - each one is a bit iffy.

Episode 2 of Walking Dead was standard zombie movie stuff for 45 minutes. Group of diverse enthicity trapped in a big department store by a load of zombies. The middle class white guy told the women and the hispanic guy and the two african-americans and the racist redneck what to do. Everyone obeyed him except the white woman, who defied him, for a bit, and then started batting her eyelashes, and the redneck whom he beat up. It's hard to see what the point of the show is. I will give episode 3 a chance.

The final episode of Spooks kind of overshot itself. The plot tried to cover a lot of emotional ground, but I think it lost credibility. As in a soap, extreme things happened which didn't integrate all that well into a coherent story-arc. Here's a nice quick comment on the Guardian. British security seems to be run by about five people, all with serious emotional problems, and double-figure IQs. It's like Torchwood all over again!

TV - you Must Try Harder to please me.
breaking bad

The bright hair uplifted from the head of some fierce Maenad

I liked this article in the Guardian by their art guy, saying that the image of violent protest excites and arouses, as (let us say) The Rolling Stones or The Sex Pistols did, or DH Lawrence. Perhaps exciting most those who deplore them the most.
A picture like this appeals across the spectrum and has a thudding emotional, visceral power even if you are revulsed by the actions it portrays. In British cultural history, the Dionysian appetite for a rumble seems to be deeply engraved, as the shadow, the mirror, of our usual placid self-image. The very tranquillity of the way we so often portray ourselves ... calls for a daemonic underside of national identity.

I have blogged quite a few times about this aspect of British identity, the massive attraction of self-dissolving irrationality beyond the framework of suppression in which we live. I think that's the point that interested me - that Jonathan Jones has picked up that same theme of dissolution, rather than the whys and wherefores of this particular image. I think it will be overtaken by others in the weeks to come.