Friday, September 30, 2011

Adventures in British television, starring Idris Elba.

We've been watching Luther, a darn good police procedural in the vein of the troubled detective who wrestles with the existential moral dilemma of the thin blue line, not always being sure if he's so much better than the violent, murdering criminals he must bring to justice.

My friend Ann recommended it, and the historian and I have watched an episode each night this week, and two on Friday, aka tonight (streaming on Netflix!). We have enjoyed it. Note: British TV gets away with a fair amount of gore in the pursuit of justice. It stars Stringer Bell, or Idris Elba if you prefer, and he is very good. There are an assortment of psychopaths, dirty cops, and unfinished romantic business. Very good stuff.

One of the great things--as with The Wire and Mad Men--there are amazing and always perfectly apropos songs to end each episode. Here's the song that ended Episode 6:

Now, when I heard it, I couldn't figure out who it was. Also, it took a minute, and also a tiny Google search, but who's counting? to remember that the version I had heard of this was done by The Animals.

The historian: Who's singing this?

Me: Dunno. Let's see who did the original. (google google google). (pause:) Huh.

Turns out, this song was written expressly for Nina Simone, who recorded it in 1964. And The Animals recorded it the following year. So, see? Television + Google: they're for educating minds.


  1. How exactly did we watch tv, without the google!?

  2. Dr. Write and I have been watching Luther as well. Very dark, but good. We also like the American version of Prime Suspect.

  3. For years when I have been urged to fit one more thing into my schedule by just giving up one evening of TV I have despaired like they who have used up all their ride tickets before they get to the roller-coaster. Because I had already gone Luddite - and now had no wasted time to spend more wisely. But now -- perhaps influenced by your inspired reviews -- I manage my time much better and always keep in reserve some time by wasting it on Netflix (Monk and Columbo et al) -- gleefully sneaking downstairs with my not-a-teenager-yet son to watch with a big bowl of popcorn when everyone else is anxiously engaged elsewhere. Ah, progress!

  4. Sopranos was the first show I watched that did that "end the show with a great song" thing. I really like it.

  5. Hightouch is for learning! Now I have a new show and a song to look forward too.

  6. I'm glad you like. I thought you would. Heard Idris interviewed on NPR about being the next James Bond, and basically he said, "Why would I want to be known as the first black James Bond? Do people think of Sean Connery as the first Scottish James Bond?"

    I think I'll have to watch "The Wire" now.

  7. BTW speaking of things British, have you seen ATTACK THE BLOCK yet? You might enjoy that, too.



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