Wentworth

September 1, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | CRIME, Drama, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

Remake series 1 – 3 (Foxtel) It is not Covid-19, but FLU-68 that is destroying Australian television.  Fervid Ludicrous Upscaling first infected Australian drama series writers (and directors) in 1968, causing them to throw Charlie Cousens off a silo in the eponymous town of Bellbird (ABC 1967-1977). Each generation of writers catches it from the last and is less able to resist its degenerative depredations, no matter how many doses of Edge of Darkness (BBC 1985) or Better Call Saul (Sony etc., 2015-2019) vaccine they have had. Perhaps there’s been a switch a la The Young Doctors (1976-1983) and the syringes are filled with Erinsborough tap water. Australian tv…

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I Think You Should Leave – Again

July 22, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

Created by Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin (Netflix, July 2021) For those who like their comedy dark, psychotically dark, and salted with real tears, the first season of I Think You Should Leave was hysterical, although we can understand why some people might absolutely hate it.  The Varnished Culture has to report that the 2nd season is even darker, shorter, more arbitrary and occasionally jaw-dropping.. Highlights: An employee hides, snacks and chokes on his hot dog at an impromptu meeting because ‘you can’t cancel lunch.’ A man disguised for a prank candid-camera show loses his will to live at the…

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Please Don’t Go: I Think You Should Leave

May 21, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

I Think You Should Leave (By Tim Robinson, et al) (Netflix, 2019) The Varnished Culture has long been a fan of the Theatre of Embarrassment. I Think You Should Leave, created and driven by newcomer Robinson, adds demented anger and Kafkaesque punishment to embarrassment, and it’s the funniest thing in years. A collection of sketches involve a central character who is the carnal embodiment of the current zeitgeist, in terms of obsessive egotism, transferred anger, rampant obscurantism, excessive fussiness and florid querulousness. We cannot wait for a commissioned but Covid-delayed second series. Our favourites: The job applicant, meeting at a…

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Mare of Easttown (Foxtel)

May 14, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

(Directed by Craig Zobel) (HBO; Foxtel, 2021) There are more sombre crime series on streaming services than a world-weary detective can poke a blood-stained stick at.  How then to choose which to watch – and why watch at all?  Pull up a rumpled armchair, push away the AA booklets; give this one a go. Mare of Easttown, a Foxtel series written by Brad Ingelsby, has held our grumpy, misanthropic attention for four of its seven episodes.  Mary-Something ‘Mare’ Sheehan (Kate Winslet,) an unsmiling Philadelphia small-town detective, tramps along, bottom lip dragging on the muddy ground, six-inch-long dark roots (seriously?) pulled…

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The Undoing

January 7, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

(Netflix – 6 parts) (2020) We know that bad things are about to happen when a miniseries begins with an attractive couple (Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Grace and Jonathon Fraser) engaging in happy banter and in-jokes with their child (Noah Jupe as Henry Fraser) over a busy breakfast.  Their New York apartment is Bohemian and chic, their clothes are Bohemian and chic, Jonathon is a paediatric oncologist, Grace is a marriage therapist for sleek couples and Henry goes to a ludicrously expensive private school which values diversity.  You can see the trouble brewing from here, can’t you? HBO…

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