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War Games With Charlotte
The only episode I can recall from this ITV anthology series was ‘The Universe Downstairs’. This series was alleged atmospheric and inventive afternoon plays produced for children. In this tale of the uncanny, the past reaches out to the present aka 1983. A schoolboy gets detention admit stylised set design, dated opening credits, unseen children singing and an exuberantly nasty teacher.

The boy sits in detention as the self regarding preening teacher spews smug insane nonsense to a visitor. This was not insistently strange. Does something dark, ancient and malevolent lurk? There is rain, a fluttering curtain and a metronome. WTF? The visitor is a bleatingly unhappy woman. This lacks any sort of identity, direction, consistent tone or aesthetic. This was horribly sluggish and complacent and full of overbearing music cues. This was silly, unconvincing, cheap looking, badly acted, cliché ridden and predictable. This was inglorious.

Best Lines:
“What a vile night it was.”

“Why on Earth I agreed to come back after so many years.”

National Treasure 1x02
Danielle yells at her former babysitter who has accused her father. 6 weeks have passed since this all began. Real scandal hit names are tossed around. People mumble. Marie has doubts. Danielle has custody issues. People have icy contempt for Danielle and her issues. She is like Alexandra off ‘Dr Phil’. Danielle blames her being a drug addict on her father. Karl is shifty. There is a flashback to young Paul and the slutty babysitter. Marie justifies her choices. Paul is abandoned and miserable about his choices. Danielle chooses to believe in extreme fashion. This was not good apart from the end scene.

Best Lines:
“A device for making the ignorant more ignorant.”

“You can leave.”

“Whose troubles have been well documented.”

“Flash American car.”

“You don’t get to do this.”

“We both know it's lies.”

“I could smell his lies.”

“A life poorly led.”

“I would not forgive you that.”

“Last one out the door pays your legal fees.”

Fight Or Flight
Charles and Bash chat. Charles gets a dog. Greer prances around the court giving orders. Greer acts like Mary being unimportant now is a scandal. Mary is a childless widow; of course she is unimportant now. Catherine fights the entrenched patriarchy. Mary is unrushed and uncaring about Scotland. Mary and Bash are constantly demanding that Catherine do something. There are negative patterns and Catherine has inherent resolve. Meanwhile Mary is a lazy, mooching, untrammelled moron. Why does Mary not care about her own throne or country or her dead mother? Elizabeth is quietly irritated.

The French court acts in a way it didn’t. Amy Dudley drinks tea as Elizabeth makes her Keeper Of The Swans. Tea?!? Regents weren’t elected or voted upon. Narcisse and Lola have expectation management of their sex life. Claude and Leith have gentle mockery. This was not adulatory. The Valois court may not have existed in any form we’d recognise at all. Charles prances. Mary has sheer ill preparedness to rule alone. Charles is not agent of influence. Amy is a dirty ho.

Dudley is pessimistic and a shockingly bad actor. Amy fakes illness and does contented sighs. Nobody has moral status. Claude and Leith flirt to an instrumental cover of that Ex's and Oh's song. Nobody can effectively advocate and communicate. This is not a decent account of Mary’s formative years. Elizabeth wears spider earrings. Mary is imperious and sneers as if she unimpressed by everyone and every idea around her. There is no strong voice of reason.

The word trousers wasn’t used then. Narcisse is an enduring plotter. People succumb to bad decisions. Mary Tudor wasn’t known as Bloody Mary yet. Dudley wasn’t kept in a cell when he was in the Tower. Who is Gideon? There is bad acting, gritty ambition and this was innocuous. Mary has the ecstasy of sanctimony. Catherine plots, in clandestine ways. Mary is half Guise, where are her great family? Why does the show forget the Guise clan?

Best Lines:
“My sexual appetites are healthy and raging.”

“You’ve been selling off vineyards.”

“Subtle skin and absent wit.”

“I barely remember Scotland.”

“A Queen must always be looking over her shoulder to those with the power to undo her.”
“I understand that now.”

“Mary’s ability to bewitch men is well known.”

“Swans are vicious awful creatures.”

“I’m his wife. We’re bound by God.”

“Mutual carnal satisfaction.”

“Strapping male whores.”

“She shamed me.”

“Accompanying lecherous moans.”

“Seduce her way to the information I need.”


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