Wednesday, 16 February 2011

What Am I Watching? Meme #1

Welcome to my new Wednesday meme! Every two weeks I'll be chatting about movies and programmes that I've watched recently. I'd love to hear your views on the programmes and movies if you've seen them too.

Right, here's what I've been watching! 


Primeval was on ITV1 recently. I'd started watching it mid-way through the previous series. It's about a team who deal with strange portals that lead to a by-gone era (usually in a variety of dinosaur eras). There's a new story each week, and most of the dinosaurs that come through into the modern world are harmful. Some breed very quickly, others cause great devastation. I like the show because there is a lot of action, it's quite entertaining, and there's a really cute dinosaur who belongs to one the group. Unfortunately I'm not sure if there will be any more. I checked the TV guide on Saturday to see what time it was...and I saw that there were only 4 episodes for that series. So no Primeval on Saturday. I was pretty annoyed, because I was all ready to settle down and watch it. Instead I went and relaxed :) 


This is a four-part drama series on Channel 4. It's just under 2 hours long per episode. Initially I thought it was a bit slow - it involves a girl in England who follows her friend to a war torn country (Palestine...possibly Gaza too - I'm sorry my geographic knowledge is really poor, and although Gaza is on the news a lot I'm not entirely sure where it is). Initially the girl seems a bit of an airhead, as though she doesn't care for much. But, the plight of the people hits home. She doesn't understand why her friend's brother just lets a guy they helped through the checkpoint go back. There's something going on with her friend's brother, but I'm not quite sure what yet. What is really good is how the not-an-airhead girl borrowed without permission her grandfather's diary from when he was a soldier just after the second world war. There are glimpses into his life, what he did as a soldier, which I think gives a portrayal of what soldiers are doing for us now. Time marches on, but the principles of warfare & aiding people are the same. Although it was a bit slow paced, I quite enjoyed it, especially with the dramatic ending! Things go boom :) 


This is currently on BBC1 at the moment. There have been 4 episodes. I watched the first one and felt that the BBC have really outdone themselves. Normally I prefer shows from America (most of the series I watch are American (or Japanese)), but all the right elements were there: high stakes, explosions, oodles of danger, decent technology/weapons, dystopian society. I missed the 2nd episode without realising, which might be why I don't think much of the third episode. I will catch up with the 2nd before I watch the 4th one. I think by then I'll know whether I'll fall in love with it again. The way it was on the 3rd episode, I honestly wouldn't mind if I never found out what happened next. 

Mai Hime 

I've had this anime series for several years. It does have a teen rating for content (a reasonable amount of innuendo, a few adult romance situations not always between the traditional guy/girl couple), and at these points I tend to focus on my knitting/sewing until I know the scene has moved on (it's not as easy to fast forward on my little multi-region dvd player. Anyway, I probably should have mentioned that last because this is an awesome anime. I adore it! There are these girls at a boarding school (it is a mixed school), who have the ability to summon an awesome creature called a 'Child'. There are 12 of the girls, called Hime, and they have a dark destiny awaiting them. For there are evil 'Child's to fight. Additionally, there are many in the school who have secret motives involving the girls - not all are friendly. The characters are really funny, each with different attributes. One, Mikoto is very childlike and innocent, but Mai likes her (after a while - she rescued Mikoto out at sea). Mai, the main character, has a lot of issues. She and her younger brother are on a scholarship, and Mai has to work all the time to help pay for Takumi's heart medication/procedures. The girls try and keep their abilities hidden, but as time progresses subtle isn't an option. 

The different fighting techniques and weapons that each girl employs depending on what creature their 'Child' is makes my eyes light up. The soundtrack is incredible, usually very upbeat and inspiring. I love this so much I could watch it over and over - I loved it enough to watch the director's cut of the final episode straight after I'd watched the last episode this afternoon. There wasn't really anything different apart from the end. Although the end was brilliant on the DVD version, I'd always wanted to know how the  girls got on with their lives. The director's cut shows exactly that! It extends the end song (well, plays the full song with lots of verses), showing the girls doing new things. There's so much to this series. It explores all the different friendships we can have, both the highs and the lows of knowing people. It deals with some normal school issues which anyone can relate to, and also deals with some pretty intense issues. There's a lot of tragedy - so please have tissues at the ready. The first time I watched it my eyes were streaming because I cared so much about the characters that when things happen it really got to me. Each Hime (princess) risks losing the person they love the most, if their 'Child' gets killed. 

Since I've finished that I decided to start on....

...Negima (Season 1)

Negima also has a teen rating (I think) because like Mai Hime, there is a fair amount of innuendo. Once again it is based at a boarding school - this time an all girls school. Negi is 10 years old, a wizard and a teacher. Only he has to keep it a secret that he can use magic. Atsuna quickly susses out his secret - Negi tries to erase her mind but it backfires. It later turns out that there's a reason why Atsuna is immune to Negi's magic - she ends up being able to help him. Atsuna's classmates adore Negi because he's so young. They do play tricks on him, but they learn a lot from him too. He teaches them more than just lesson, he helps them develop their personalities. Although there are a lot of girls in the class, you soon get to know each one well. The girls are all in after school clubs: library committee, walking committee, cooking club, Chinese martial arts, gymnastics, magic tricks (not real magic) etc. These skills are useful when the girls are faced with various challenges. Negi does his best to hide his magic, but he has to use it to avert disaster. Unfortunately there is always a consequence to this, but with Atsuna by his side it works out in the end. Out of the episodes I've seen so far (on this time of watching. I've seen it at least twice before), Negi is finally lodging in Atsuna's room (it's not as dodgy as it sounds!), Atsuna is still day dreaming over her old homeroom teacher, and she's learning what Negi can do. Currently he is helping her out with her newspaper delivery job in the mornings - it is so early no one will see her riding on Negi's magical staff (which is used like a broomstick, only without all those twigs). 


Well, I haven't started this one yet - it's on in 50 minutes (BBC1). It's always fun to watch, although I feel bad when the contestants muck up or get really nervous. It's interesting to learn about different food combinations, because it can give me ideas of what to cook, and also just to learn more about the food industry as a whole. 

The following I haven't watched this week, but I'm about to start the fourth and final series...

...The Unit!!

I bought this in December when it was on special offer. I'd never seen it before. I watched a brief clip on it, and knew I'd like it. So I ordered the boxset of seasons 1-4. It's awesome! It's all about army life in a special forces unit in America. It's about the men who go on operations, how they have to remain undercover for every aspect of their lives (their cover is that they are in the logistical corps). What interests me more is that half the show is about their wives, how they live, how they deal with not knowing where their husbands are. Again this has at least a teen rating because there are some adult situations. It deals with a lot of issues that those in the military face. I think it also gives a good idea on what life is like for a military family - I know a few whose husbands are in the forces, and in the Unit I'm seeing what they've explained to me. The weaponry and tactics are spectacular! There is a lot of fighting (obviously), lots of drama, tissues are definitely needed. There are good times too :) I think I've been putting off watching the fourth season because there are no more after it, and I think two of the seasons were only 12-13 episodes long (so really it's 3 full length seasons). I'll definitely be rewatching this a lot! I primarily got it as research for some of my novels, where I need to know about fighting/tactics/military life/working in a special force unit. I prefer it to the English equivalent 'Ultimate Force' because there is far less swearing, less adult content too which I find in some ways is more common in American dramas than in English ones. 

I think that's everything that I've watched recently. The next What Am I Watching? Meme will be on 2nd March - I look forward to sharing more of the programmes I watch with you! 

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