Watching 2020 (Andrew)

A BREAK FROM TRIATHLON. HERE’S WHAT I WATCHED LAST YEAR. NEXT WEEK: WHAT I LISTENED TO.

The last time I was in a cinema was in March, just before lockdown. I say cinema but this was no ordinary cinema. It was a luxury cinema in London with chairs that reclined to form a double bed and popcorn that came in a sealed packet so that you knew it hadn’t been scraped from the floor. Very fancy – though not as tasty.

I was watching ‘1917’, a film about a soldier who is tasked with getting a message to the front line, a simple plot. Man gets message. Man try to deliver message. Man leaves card and says he’ll be back tomorrow. Or something like that. It was back in March and I can’t remember exactly what happened, it was two lockdown’s ago.

But I do remember this: just as the soldier was about to reach the front line, and we’re about to see whether he can deliver his message in time, the man in front of me picked up his jacket and walked out. He didn’t even look back when he got to the door just in case he could see whether the message was delivered. Instead, he’d watched two hours of a soldier walking and running and getting shot at and trying his hardest to deliver this one message and that man couldn’t give a monkeys.

At Star Wars he’s be like “Luke, I am your – “

“Nah, not interested.”

Or the Sixth Sense:

“Hey, Bruce Willis, you do know you are a gh—“

“Couldn’t give a toss.”

On the other hand, he’s probably never seen the last episode of Game of Thrones so he still thinks its the greatest show he’s ever seen – and he’s definitely going to call his daughter “Daenerys”.

Looking back now, I think he had the right approach. Leave it open. Keep the mystery. Always want more. A very apt attitude for 2020 where everything – work, life, the future, the present, the ending of 1917 – has been left hanging like they’re the unworn shirts in my wardrobe since I started working from home in March.

It seems appropriate then that most of what I watched this year involved continuing series: which were all great for different reasons but all had stories which continue after I finished watching them. Better Call Saul and The Expanse I’m looking at you.

So, instead I’m going to recommend a programme which could have continued but didn’t after the BBC pulled the plug on it after one series. Which was actually a perfect move because ‘Giri/Haji’ already had a perfect ending. And, before that, a perfect final ‘confrontation’ which you will either like a Strictly judge “love, love, love it” or you will get your coat faster than my London friend. In between you’ll get the tensest thriller, a Guy Ritchie villain, scenes which play like a sit-com, episodes mostly in Japanese, parts in anime, parts in black and white, and a moment when you can see two characters fall in love just by looking at each other across a table. It was brilliant. I loved it.

Runners Up

Chernobyl – bleak and horrifying but better than watching the news

Schitt’s Creek – just, well, nice. Double nice. Triple nice. Lovely.

Eurovision – see Schitt’s Creek but with catchy songs

The Vast Of Night – if you love 1950s sci-fi then this pays loving tribute to small towns and UFOs

The Lighthouse – just like growing up in the Isle of Lewis.

Race Around The World – couples race from one end of South America to the other. Broadcast in March in the middle of lockdown. I can only imagine the disconnect I felt watching people on holiday and surrounded by strangers is the same disconnect Donald Trump feels every time he switches on the news and hears he hasn’t won the US election.

The Mandalorian – “Hey Mando, what’s that protein drink you’ve got there?” “It is the whey.”. “Thanks, Mando!”

Devs – a science lesson disguised as a thriller

Avoid

I’m Thinking of Ending Things – I only wish I’d ended it a lot sooner. Like at the start. Or never switched it on at all. Avoid.

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