The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Only The Brits Can Do It Justice

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After hearing about the virtues of Netflix, Nat and I decided to give it a try. The monthly subscription fee wasn’t so bad, plus we could unsubscribe at any time. As we both abhor Reality Shows that insult your intelligence we leave those to the younger generation who still have a massive amount of growing up to do. Me, myself and I also abhor graphic violence of any kind and feel such scenes are inserted for ratings and shock value. So you can understand how the viewing choices we have on cable television are restricted to a large degree.

Having said that, I will watch a few shows where some violent scenes are warranted and somewhat necessary. I just avert my eyes, cover them with both hands or run to another room when the scene is going to be lengthy and Nat tells me when it’s safe to return. It’s a long story, but trust me, after watching violence on the television screen, my sleep is always disrupted by dreams of mahem, running excessively and graphic images only Stephen King could appreciate. American TV shows can and are the worst, in my opinion.

Having always been a huge follower and lover of all things British, Scottish, Irish or Welsh, (including being married to a Scotsman), my tolerance for more aggressive shows has increased somewhat only because such scenes are done by the Brits in order to move the story line along and for actual realism – not just for shock value and ratings. My need for laughter and having a very dry sense of humour can also come out while watching some extremely dramatic or serious show. A good writer will always insert some humour in order to offset the violence and ease the stress. The Sopranos, Blue Bloods, Castle, and Chicago Fire are all good examples of American TV shows that Nat and I watch simply for the good story lines, the intelligence and humour. The Sopranos was especially intelligent, dramatic, humorous –  just bloody well written, in my opinion.

Now I find myself, along with hubby, deeply engrossed in the British TV Series MI-5 (or Spooks, as it’s known in Britain). There have been times we’ll tape one of our regular television shows just so we can continue on with MI-5as our curiosity for what happens next is insatiable. We can’t get enough. We’ve become binge watchers as much as possible. The surprises just keep coming – a favourite actor is blown up, shot or even de-commissioned and sent into oblivion at any time and you never really see it coming. I love it. Nothing is predictable and a surprising story lurks around each corner with intertwined twists and turns. I’m only sorry this series will end after 10 Seasons (or “Volumes”). I have no idea what could ever takes its place. Plus we’ve also finished and enjoyed watching – The Fall, Happy Valley, Sherlock, Broadchurch, Scott & Bailey. 

The Americans kind of have their own version in Covert Affairs, but it’s sugar coated. While there have been good story lines, it doesn’t begin to show the underbelly of an agency such as MI-5, but I continue to watch this show while working out on the treadmill. It gives me enough of a diversion from being bored at such a mundane task at hand. Plus, I confess, to now being engrossed in what’s going to happen between “Augie” and “Annie”.

Only the Brits can write good comedy. Only in Britain will you find an engrossing dramatic series despite the short seasons (with the exception of Coronation Street – who’d have thought that would go on for over 50 years back in the day!).  Even if the Americans copy (and God knows, they have) a good British series, somehow it gets ruined or looses its quality, for example:- House of Cards. Albeit, I congratulate the Americans on this one, as their version was extremely good and obviously well written (all of its Emmy’s). However, I loved the British version just a tad more. Sir Ian Richardson was (and always will be) brilliant. That man has a look in his eyes no other actor can imitate. His subtelties in mannerism and cultivated voice are eerily chilling, even when he’s being nice!! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved Kevin Spacey, and always will. I’ve loved everything he’s done and he, too, was brilliant in the American House of Cardsbut it’s a whole different world of politics in the States, along with a completely different way of life. The names of past British shows the Americans have tried to imitate escapes me – they obviously didn’t make an impact.

I’m going to miss MI-5 when it’s done, including every actor that played a role somewhere or at some time in the series. It was a shame some real cuties had to get blown up. I’m surmising they were tired of the series themselves and wanted to get on with something else in their lives.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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