Ouch! First Pro #BerlinStation Review is in

In the absence of Serv, I thought I’d pass on the news that a first BS review has just popped up – and from a prestigious source, i.e. the Washington PostAhem, I am reeling here – just as I confess to be hooked, I have to read my initial impressions confirmed… Damn, I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, and I also don’t quite agree with the review when it comes to the description of Armitage’s acting. They are giving BS  a D- (that’s a 4- in Germany, girls.) Harsh.

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104 thoughts on “Ouch! First Pro #BerlinStation Review is in

    • What? No, why? Did you write that review? I got it on Google Alert. There are also a couple of other mentions – LA Times and Journal Times, which I haven’t checked out yet.

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      • No. I was on twitter looking thru The Exorcist hashtag & saw the WP review of that show. Then I saw the review for BS. And I tweeted that I agreed with the review. It’s pretty much spot on for me.

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        • hahaha, the Exorcist hashtag… As to the review. Well. Um. Ah. Erm. Here’s the thing – I think the review is right in saying that the show is trying very hard to be clever – and that occasionally makes its plot convoluted. I initially felt like that, too. But I don’t really believe that that means it is boring. It is trying hard to establish various plot lines – and I expect those will become clearer in the run of the show.
          I don’t really think that Armitage/Miller is a cardboard cut-out, but yes, I am having problems identifying with him as the hero. However, I have to say that the press kit really cleared a few things up for me, and the latest trailer really has me intrigued.

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          • The Exorcist is a tv series coming out next week. And yes, it’s based on the movie.
            The problem I have with Armitage is that very often he brings in previous characters in his acting. As I was watching the first part of episode 1, all I could see is Francis Dolarhyde. It was the same gait, the same voice, the same pronunciations etc.
            I know I’m in a minority, but not being an Armitage fan, I can be a lot more objective.

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            • 😀 I actually find it very useful to hear the impressions of someone whose capacity for critical analysis is NOT clouded by being irrationally infatuated with an actor… I take your point – and as you know, I was reminded of Dolarhyde, too. Not so much because of his gait, voice, pronunciations, but because of the whole bleeding scenario.
              As for previous characters. I think that really comes down to his mannerisms – and I think that applies to almost all actors, though. In this case, the comparison with Lucas North is all-too-obvious. And sure, every eyelash-flutter makes me internally scream “Lucas is alive!!!!” But then again, people *do* flutter their eyelashes, or pass their hand across their mouth. I always put this down to being overfamiliar with the Armitage oeuvre…

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              • That’s not really true with all actors. Watch Michael Fassbender in Shame, 12 Years A Slave & X Men. You wouldn’t think it was the same actor in the three roles. The same can be said for Benedict Cumberbatch. You can’t tell its the same actor playing Sherlock & William Ford (12 years a slave)
                I think it comes down to the individual actor & their experience.
                Prior to Hannibal, I had only seen Richard as Thorin. And I saw a lot of Thorin in Dolarhyde.

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                • We’ll have to disagree on your 2 examples 😊 but my opinion is based on theatre work. Having said that the problem with BS is not the actors but the very below standard script. Actors often sadly take the hit for poor story telling.

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                • Hm, I can’t really tell, because I have only seen Shame. I agree that Fassbender and Cumberbatch are extraordinary actors. But I don’t think Armitage is far behind. You can put that down to me being a died-in-the-wool fan of Armitage, of course 🙂 I admit I am wearing rose-tinted glasses when it comes to him. The proof, for me, is in live performances. I have seen Armitage and Cumberbatch both on stage, from very close up. They were equally good from where I was standing.

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              • Sorry, have to reply to Hariclea here because there’s no reply button under her comment.
                Unfortunately, I don’t have the opportunity to see any live theatre *sniff* , so I have to base my observations on movies. I’m also not a Cumberbatch fan (just in case anyone thought I was). Someone sent me The Crucible & I was told it was one of Armitage’s best roles, but I can’t get past the woman with her annoying “Procter” pronunciation. 😉
                And I totally agree with you about the script. Sometimes there is only so much an actor can do with it.

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            • this was something that I was really concerned about going into these episodes, seeing other RA characters in Daniel Miller. although I did see some of Dolarhyde, that was canceled out by the fact that I *didn’t* see Lucas/Porter. I know a lot of fans are excited about another spy piece because they miss Lucas, but I don’t want Daniel to be Lucas. so I was very excited that I didn’t see that 🙂 (upon repeat viewings I might see them but it’s my first impressions that are going to bias me for or against this character)

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              • I saw glimpses of their iconic mannerisms – Lucas eyelash flutters, Dolarhyde’s sneaky look over the shoulder – but Miller as a whole did *not* look like Lucas at all. (And I would’ve liked to see more Lucas tbh.)

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              • I had a similar reaction, Kelly–that Richard is creating a new character here. Concept wise–though not in mannerisms or voice, etc.–I wondered if Daniel Miller would be like seeing an amalgamation of Lucas North’s vulnerability and John Porter’s bravado. Perhaps it is somewhere in between.

                The only nod to a past character that I perceived–and I wonder if Richard slipped that in–was Daniel removing his glove with his teeth. I have never thought that glove removal method to be the hygienic choice–since gloves touch many surfaces, not all of them clean. But then again, he is a guy. Ha!

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            • “Watch Michael Fassbender in Shame, 12 Years A Slave & X Men. You wouldn’t think it was the same actor in the three roles.”
              There’s no reply button to your post below so I’m posting my reply here.
              I’m a Michael Fassbender fan, too. While I think that MF is a better actor than RA, MF has also his acting tics. It didn’t take long for me to notice them: the stiff, clenched jaw signifying strong emotion; the slight blinking of the eyes; the way he lowers the pitch of his voice, the steely gaze, etc. He uses them in all of his roles. There’s even an affectionate parody video of his manner of acting and speaking made by a fan on YT. His inconsistent accent in some of his roles has been criticized, too. For me, these things don’t take away from his performance. He’s still obviously (to me) an excellent actor. As for RA’s Thorin and Francis Dolarhyde being very similar, I will have to disagree.

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              • Hello! I do agree with your analysis of Fassy & his acting tics. But I cannot say that I saw Brandon’s mannerisms, gait , speech patterns etc in Magneto.
                I didn’t say Dolarhyde & Thorin were very similar. I said I could see a lot of Thorin in Dolarhyde. Having said that & being a Fannibal & a Dolarhyde fan from the time I first read the book, was Armitage’s Dolarhyde good? Yes he was. Was he the best? No.

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    • Hi sinnaminie. It seems this is the only reply button under your name so I’m replying here. Maybe because I’ve watched a lot of MF’s work (I’ve been a fan of MF longer than of RA, in fact) that I’ve become overly familiar with his acting mannerisms. This is not exclusive to the MF or RA fandom, btw. I’ve read the same sentiments expressed by Cumberbatch fans about their fave actor.

      “I didn’t say Dolarhyde & Thorin were very similar. I said I could see a lot of Thorin in Dolarhyde.”
      I’m sorry, I still don’t quite understand the distinction between the two statements. Maybe, drawing a Venn diagram would help. No, just joking. 🙂 Either way, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      I have not read “Red Dragon” and have only seen clips of the two film adaptations so I cannot tell whose Dolarhyde was the best. As an RA fan, I’m sorry to know that you did not think him the best. 😉

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      • Just butting in here to say sorry that the reply buttons made your discussion difficult. I have just enabled further nesting of replies.
        (I really like it when a discussion develops on the comment feed – so do go on if you want to 😉 )
        BTW, I LOLled at your jokey suggestion of a Venn diagram. Actually, I think that is a fabulous idea… I might give that a try, some day. 😉

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        • Thanks, Guylty. I hope I didn’t sound too whiny about the reply buttons. I was just worried that my replies would appear in the wrong place.
          Glad you like my Venn diagram idea. LOL

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          • LOL – no, you didn’t sound whiny at all. And it’s a good idea to adjust it – you never know, maybe we’ll have further discussions in the future, when the show airs. Here’s hoping 🙂
            Already collecting data for the Venn diagram as we speak…

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        • Oh, that’s ok. I find the RA online community pretty unique in that it includes not only fans, supporters and admirers but also RA analysts, anti-fans,critics, commentators and yes, non-fan plushie makers. I like the diversity. 🙂

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  1. this illustrates something about critics/reviews that I don’t agree with: if you like something, why wouldn’t you want to see more of the same? not everything has to be ahead of it’s time and never done before, action movies are a perfect example of that. so when I want to see a spy thriller, I am expecting the spy thriller mold to be used; that is not a *bad* thing. as for convoluted, I found MI-5/Spooks much more confusing, generally speaking, than I did these two episodes of Berlin Station.

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    • There’s a good point, Kelly. A tried and tested formula is not necessarily bad, and a spy thriller *has* to be confusing on some level – otherwise it would be pointless. I haven’t really watched Homeland, so I can’t quite follow the reviewer there. Spooks I really liked – even though I have to confess to not always understanding what the plot was.
      I am torn over this review – I was critical of the first two episodes, too, and mainly over the portrayal of the supposed hero of the piece. The accusation of “plot convolutions” I can live with. A bad critique of Armitage not so much. Not sure whether the reviewer is criticising Armitage or the role he plays.

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        • IDK, just judging by normal standards, there is always one character in any given show, with whom the audience is meant to identify. The way they are introducing Miller (by nearly? dying) and then making him the “external, neutral, good” guy who has found the location of the leaks and pushes to investigate them, sets him up to be the hero of the piece. Or maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part.

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  2. Ouch!
    However, series that get great rapport by critics are more often than not interesting. Critics are often not in tune with the tastes of the general public.
    Also, they keep comparing to ‘Homeland’, which I personally didn’t enjoy, because I think the main characters overacted, and this comparison annoys me – as if Homeland is the bar…
    I have much more confidence in your first impressions. OTOH, I liked BS, and I don’t think we’ve seen Daniel Miller fleshed out completely, yet 🙂 I agree on your analysis that DM has another agenda – and could he be Thomas Shaw?…if such a person exists (goes away and hides) 😉

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    • It’s a tricky thing with reviews and critics. Didn’t Serv discuss that elsewhere and in relation to BoF recently? They may be out of touch with the public, but they are powerful influencers of the public. As die-hard fans, we may be immune to what this reviewer thinks about the show – and watch BS regardless. But what about people who are not invested with any member of the cast and crew? Reading this, will they be put off?
      Seems to be unfortunate that BS comes after Homeland has already ploughed through the Berlin undergrowth. I have never seen Homeland, so I have no idea. But like Kelly said in the comment above – if you like something, there is a chance you will like more of the same. So disqualifying BS because of its supposed similarity to Homeland, is irrelevant.
      After seeing the new trailer umpteen times, I agree with you: We have not seen all of Daniel yet. (Despite the shower scene *fnarr fnarr*) And the hints and ruses in the trailer really make me hungry for more insights…

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    • “because I think the main characters overacted”
      @Mermaid Did you see Saturday Night Live’s Homeland skit? The one with Anne Hathaway? I thought it was hilarious.

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  3. I discovered a long time ago if the critics HATE something, I love it. If the critics ADORE something, it makes me go to sleep.

    So I don’t care what the critics say. That said, I’m planning on watching tonight/tomorrow while I do some long overdue knitting!

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    • Well, it looks as if some of the reservations we discussed last week, are shared by this critic. I can’t say that I am happy about that. I was hoping to be proven wrong.
      Have you watched the Shaw trailer? You should. Watch it ten times in a row – it’s only a minute long, so you won’t lose much time. It really sweeps you along.
      Oh, and the press kit! I found the press kit really good. It cleared up a few things for me. That is, if you *want* to be convinced of the opposite of your current opinion 😉

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      • I read the press kit and watched all videos 😐 only confirmed poorly realised good idea I wish they’d stayed away from mentioning Tinker, tailor and Homeland 🤔 i feel depressed. Nothing worse than wanting something new fresh good to indulge in and him to be great and having to admit that everything else you watch is a million miles better. It only got worse on 2nd watch because i see even more story telling mistakes 😣 Hector remains compelling though. The only one.

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        • Hm, I am sorry to hear you still feel so disappointed by the show, Hari. As you know, I know where you are coming from, and much of my reservations are still there. The change for me, is, that the first viewing of BS didn’t really make me want to watch more. After having read the press kit and seen the trailer, I feel more confident and hooked now. I also admit to willing myself to ignore my niggles and simply enjoy what I am seeing without questioning individual decisions by writers and directors. Let’s see how this will develop.

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    • I was majorly surprised by de Jean – from the run-up to the show and his first appearance on the screen, I had sort of written him off as the debauched villain. Not so sure about that now. I am not really into Valerie or Frost. I am interested in Kirsch, though, and the journalist.

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      • I really liked Kirsch, wasn’t impressed by Valerie, and see de Jean as the complicated wild card. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of Daniel yet though, we were just being introduced to the other characters through him.

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      • Oh this is fun. My reactions to the characters, so far, are:
        Valerie: I’m still working to forget that she, the real person, tried to glom onto RA’s social media fame with her own (boring) self-interest promotions, but I’m warming to her character as a tough broad, which the feminist in me can’t resist.
        Frost: I love Richard Jenkins since his Six Feet Under days when he played an everyman with a possible dark past. He’s going to be the dark horse in this story, I predict. Also his wife. I sense a Lady Macbeth there. Maybe the two of them are plotting to take over the world, from Berlin.
        Kirsch: Grosses me out. Obnoxious, crude, bad table manners, out-of-control Napoleon complex.

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        • I found it surprisingly easy to separate Valerie from Michelle Forbes. No hard feelings as such – maybe because I also have a lot of sympathy for a woman in a man’s world.
          I like your hunch that Kelly Frost may be a Lady Macbeth. I also think that there is more to her than the wifey.
          Robert Kirsch kind of intrigues me. Not that we know much about him. But I actually like that he is so brash and crude. Seems realistic to me. (But maybe that is because cursing is so prevalent in Ireland…)

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  4. Can we credit the similarities between Dolarhyde and Daniel to both being American characters? I find Daniel’s gait to be very American (and I think RA is doing it brilliantly): feet slightly apart, big swagger. It’s an expression of American arrogance (“we own the world”) the way American men walk “big” to take up a lot of space. (Note: I am American and not above analyzing our confidence/over-confidence.)

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    • You know what? The way Armitage walks in this role, also occurred to me. Interesting explanation/interpretation by you. Sounds logical. (And you are commended for analysing the American over-confidence 😉 )

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    • IKR. I didn’t mind the verdict on the show so much (because I had had similar reservations), but mentioning Armitage’s name in the same breath as the cruel words “cardboard cut-out” sounded OTT and rash to me. I felt the critic was shooting the messenger…

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  5. Well, $#@% the critic’s opinion! I am a certified couch potato and – unlike most of the new fandom – have watched 90+% of Richard’s work (except for Urban, and his live plays; The Crucible, I bought).

    First, it’s unfair to compare any other spy show to Homeland. Why? Let’s see…the HBO show centers on a female CIA genius spy who also happens to be mentally ill. The first season was outstanding; very tense and full of interesting characters. Then someone made the very stupid decision to give the plot a romantic twist that was completely unbelievable and frankly, a betrayal of everything the lead character stood for. The point is, Homeland IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SHOW! The fact that the latest season was based in Berlin is the only comparison anyone can make to Berlin Station. ¡Qué barbaridad! #dangit

    Second; yes, certain things are expected when watching a show in this genre. The pilot episode was convoluted because it was full of flashbacks and – of course – that made the timeline confusing at first. I believe it was a terrible mistake to start the show the way they did. Great writing clarifies, it intrigues, it makes the viewer feel like they can’t wait to find out what happens next. In that sense, the second episode is way better. The producers hired a stellar cast. I’ve seen their work before (not just Richard’s) and I believe they will deliver and do the best they can with whatever scripts they were given. Time will tell.

    Nancy, I know you can’t stand Richard, and that’s your right. The only thing I’ll say to you is that – regardless of his ‘trademark’ mannerisms – his body of work does prove he can lose himself in a character. I’m not picking a fight. I simply need to point this out because I’ve seen his acting for over a decade. Case in point, watch him as John Standring in Sparkhouse, then compare his performance with his other ‘John’ characters. No way are Thornton and Porter the same as the sheep farmer. Richard is very talented. This, coming from a person like me, who doesn’t feel the same way about him as a person anymore. Fair is fair. (And I like Michael Fassbender, btw.)

    Berlin Station has the potential to be outstanding. However, it doesn’t matter how hard the actors worked if the director and writers dropped the ball. Of course, we have no way of knowing that yet. The critics have the right not to like something but I agree with Zee: I’ll form my own opinion, thank you very much!

    P.S: I’m still peeved that Richard didn’t win the Olivier for playing John Proctor. He was robbed.
    P.P.S: His decision to comment on politics on Twitter has turned off many fans. That doesn’t mean he’s not a Master Actor. I myself can’t stand Tom Cruise but cannot deny he knows how to deliver a performance and bring in the money at the box office; especially in the international markets.

    May you all have a fun, relaxing weekend!

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    • That’s a very impassioned speech in defence of Richard 🙂 I think we can all agree that Richard must have *some* talent to have gotten where he is – particularly considering his relatively low profile in terms of celebrity news and social media performance.
      I think we are all allowed our own opinions, critics and fans and non-fans. And we must admit that we *all* come at the work with our own preferences and prejudices. I am the first to admit that Armitage has *almost* carte blanche with me. His collaborators not so much *grins*. But yeah, I’ll defend his honour, too. However, I accept that Nancy has a completely different POV, and I will admit that she may see things a little more clearly because she is not infatuated with RA. It’s good to hear her “bystander’s” opinion – hehe, and you and me, Violet, can register it and then go back to uncompromising fangirling.

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      • Very surprised to see the reviewer dissing Richard Jenkins and Michelle Forbes who are both so talented. Therefore I take that “cardboard” jab with a grain of salt. I can sympathize with the urge to leap to his defense. My Guy has had his share of flippant, dismissive comments over the years and they always drive me up the wall. On the one hand, I want to feel I am capable of a reasonably objective critical judgment. But there’s another part of me that rejects the whole idea of “critical objectivity” as a mirage, and simply looks to enjoy the performance and/or the show itself from a fan’s POV. It’s analogous to being a supportive relative or friend: I feel that it is perfectly legitimate for me to be partial when wearing the “fan” hat, and to look for those moments that fans can best appreciate. And I question whether my fan perspective means that others are right to dismiss me as biased. Who does NOT have a load of biases? It’s just that we acknowledge ours and they don’t.

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        • You have put your finger right on the sore point. There is this (unfair) assumption that a fan is necessarily never objective. Well, no one is *ever* objective. There is no such thing as objectivity. We might as well argue that non-fans are disproportionately critical, or that their opinion is not as well-rounded because they are less familiar with the subject’s work as we are. So yes, critical objectivity is just a mirage.
          I really like how you are likening the (benign) fan response, to family support. There is a lot to be said for positive reinforcement through praise and implicit support of projects. In my experience, it generally works better on people than the opposite.
          I fully confess: I like being positive, and I like being supportive. I also like criticism and hope that I have some capacity for critical judgment left, but I prefer to package it together with a positive message. Gee, I hope my criticism of BS wasn’t too scathing…

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          • I am thinking about this a lot right b/c I’m analyzing the “Jane Eyre” movies, including the very polarizing one with Mr. H. Even as a devoted fan, I can see that certain aspects of his performance miss the mark. But while acknowledging this, I also point out the areas where he adds something that none of the others do. The other thing I’ve noticed is the difficulty of separating performance and screenplay/direction. It’s not quite garbage in, garbage out, but there is only so much an actor can do with weak, flabby lines. (Of course, bad acting can also ruin good lines…)

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  6. “Convoluted”? I didn’t think the plotlines were all that difficult to follow. The critic must have hated the “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (2011 film) then.

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  7. Of course I am biased when it comes to Richard, however he is the only performer of any kind that has ever inspired me be a “fan” in the fandom sense. I am “stirred” by him, of course, but equally admire his talent for transforming into his characters. Never have any of them stuck me as a cardboard cutout. We may not have seen all the layers of Daniel yet, but I’m confident that as Richard peels them away, we will be more than satisfied with the fully developed character that he will deliver. I agree with Kelly, I’m excited that all the characters are interesting, and I want to know more about them. In general, I try not to put nearly as much stock in reviews or critics as I do my own thoughts based on trailers, cast appearances on talk shows, or books. What they like seldom has much to do with what I like.

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    • Let’s embrace our bias 🙂 That is the fun of fangirling – liking something because we enjoy seeing RA in it. Or watching against better judgment. The latter has been quite a revelation for me, already. I didn’t really want to like Hannibal, for instance, but I watched it because of RA, and there was much in it that I found really, really good. RA has proven more than once that he is a nuanced and capable actor.

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  8. I have to agree with zeesmuse about critics. I don’t pay too much attention to what they say. I watch something and if I like and they don’t like it, so what! I have watched each episode 3 times and feel like I have a better understanding of what is going on. I really don’t like Steven Frost. There is something about him that just doesn’t ring true. I think the person that is interesting is Hector. I think he has some serious demons that he is trying to deal with. I am not sure about RA’s part as Daniel. I am hoping he is the good guy. I don’t think that he is acting like a cardboard cutout. I hope we will see more depth from him.

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    • I am with you on all those characters, Peggy. Frost is playing a deep game, too. Hector is currently more interesting than Daniel because he has been depicted with a few contradictions whereas Daniel so far only comes across as an agent advancing his career and doing his job. Hints of emotions with his family and the story of his mother. I wish there had already been a bit more of that, but he’s probably the slow burner in this piece. It’ll all come out over the course of the show, I hope…

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  9. I have never seen Homeland nor Tinker, Tailor, etc. So I can’t say if their comparison to Berlin Station is apt or not.

    I found the first two episodes of Berlin Station compelling, but for all the F words. I am not around people who use vulgar language–and I am friends with people from “all walks of life” as they say–so that vulgarity seemed excessive to me. I saw this great Lady Violet wallpaper quote the other day: “Vulgarity is not a substitute for wit.” Ha!

    And I was disappointed that they killed off Claudia. I think she and Daniel had chemistry. Let’s hope that if he has other love interests or potential assets that he romances, that they don’t get killed off, too. And as for killing her off plot wise, it seemed like an odd choice. It would have been interesting to see how Daniel would have developed their relationship with her while he is trying to get information out of her–and possibly having an ethical dilemma about it. Then her discovery that Daniel was “using” her would be fodder for a dramatic betrayal speech or two. And what would Daniel want to salvage? The relationship with her, or the information she has as an asset?

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    • The cursing does not really bother me too much, I have to say. But as you say, it really depends on one’s own approach to it. As a non-native speaker and German, I rarely curse (it’s not that prevalent in German, and not nearly is strong when we do), but I live in a country where the F-word is omnipresent. Therefore it neither shocks nor repels me when Kirsch throws the F-bomb. On the contrary, it feels authentic to me. But that’s only a personal opinion.
      Yeah, I liked Claudia, too. But whether he really had chemistry with her, I am nor sure. She was his victim, and he switched on the charm to seduce her and find out her secrets. No moral qualms there, and not much regret when she died, either. It’ll be interesting to see whether he gets a love interest who really touches his soul – or whether we’ll just get the romance as a means to an end.

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  10. I was really shocked by the description of RA as a cardboard cutout, this was simply not fair. But all in all, I agreed with the guy from the WP. These first two episodes weren’t the best choice to raise interest in the series, too confusing, too many hints without “flesh” and the protagonist too tentative, in my eyes. And I recognized a lot of previous characters, too. North, Bateman, Dolarhyde, Porter, Mulligan, they were all there…
    I thought a lot about the question if Armitage is a good actor.
    I would instantly subscribe that Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep are good actors. These are people who are so plain, they are able to embody almost every character, good or evil. They melt in their roles, yet they are recognizable as actors with special manners and gestures.
    With Armitage, it’s different. He has a tendency to choose (or is casted for) one-dimensional roles, mostly heroic or somehow strong and virile. These are characters without much irony, human weaknesses and therefore a bit humourless. Hard to identify with, but nevertheless, I root for him like for nobody else. Must be a very subtle way of acting and this convinces me in the end, he’s a good actor, too, but in a different way.
    I only wished he would get more roles like John Standring or Chop (although I had only seen the trailer and read the book). These are humans, not larger-than-life heroes.

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    • It’s quite possible that the “cardboard cut-out” adage was not really directed at the acting style of Armitage, but at the characterisation of Miller (as dictated by the script). If it is the latter (which I took it to mean), it’s unfortunate that the critic’s way of expressing his criticism can be misunderstood as a comment on RA’s acting. I really do not think that it applies to that. As strongly rose-tinted as my glasses may be, Armitage *is* good. I often feel “reminded” of other characters in his performances, too, but I think that comes from being overfamiliar with his oeuvre, not from a lack of distinguishing them on his part. I have similar issues with other recognisable actors, too – Ralph Fiennes comes to mind, whom I saw on stage in a fabulous performance one time and just never could forget it was Ralph Fiennes. The price of being famous – and attractive? Maybe RA’s face is just too pretty 😉
      Maybe you are right, and Armitage has been cast in roles that did not offer much scope for fleshing out. Although his work as Proctor was extremely well-layered and nuanced. Thorin, I think, is another case in point, where he managed to give a supporting character who is really rather one-dimensional in the book, quite some depth and humanity (dwarvity?).
      I am with you, though, in wishing for some less “extraordinary” characters like spies or fantasy figures. His turn as Chop was convincing, and it was nice to see him as a fully relatable character. Maybe Brain on Fire will provide such an opportunity?

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  11. Cardboard cutout? Fine, send that cardboard cutout to my house, I’ll put him up. 🙂
    Yeah… critics… there used to be a certain critic in a newspaper here that I read voraciously because I always knew: when he hated something, I knew I would love it. Critics are just persons giving their opinion and being paid for it, doesn’t make their opinion more or less valid than other opinions.
    Having said that, it’s good too see what someone unencumbered by Armitage-infatuation may think. Still, I find I can not agree. To be honest, I don’t believe Richard is the most amazing actor on the planet. I agree with someone above that he doesn’t completely disappear into a role like some other actors do (I’m thinking Meryl Streep here or Daniel Day Lewis). But there is an intensity to him in every role that has me fascinated by him, despite the same mannerisms I see in him in all roles. I don’t have the same fascination for Daniel Day Lewis or Meryl Streep (although I do truly love Meryl).
    Anyway, yeah, not everyone is going to love BS and that’s fine. I just hope bad critiques won’t be the downfall… The show may have it’s faults but truly, BS is not really as bad as that, is it? I already like it more than I ever did Spooks…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, Esther, that Richard Armitage is no cardboard cutout. He tends to immerse himself in his roles for me. And as for his role of Daniel, Guylty is right that the script needs to be there for any actor. But Richard usually rises above his scripts anyway. Look how he turned Sir Guy around from a “cardboard cutout” baddie to the star of the show with his portrayal. Ha! For the characterization of Daniel, I sense a conflicted persona with many facets that will be revealed over time–perhaps a less vulnerable seeming Lucas and an edgier Porter, but with something else that is, as yet, undefinable.

      And I watched episode 1 again last night–specifically trying to look for clues and hints in the story and characterization that I may have missed in my first viewing. Two things sprang to mind:
      1) Daniel’s face immediately darkened after he saw Claudia into her apartment buildling after they first met and kissed. It gave me chills–my sensing an edge of steel to his character, that I then noticed elsewhere, such as the Panama scene in retrieving the flash drive earlier.
      2) The shower scene–I particularly looked around the room for clues. And yes, I had to do the rewind because his handsome backal view was distRActing again. Ha! But I noticed that Daniel’s suitcases were open–and clothes still in them, not put away, making me think that he wanted to have a quick getaway if needed. Also, his room was very bare, nothing on the tall shelf by the bed. So Daniel had not personalized it–lending again, that sense of impermanance.
      3) Also noticed that episode 1 began and ended with a death, and we know that there is at least one other death implied in episode 2. So this series is likely to be a bloodbath.

      Liked by 1 person

      • P.S. And I would add one more thing *now* (Ha!): Daniel’s seemingly visceral response to Claudia’s death when referring to Thomas Shaw as a murder–and Daniel Miller’s subsequent vehemence about the journalist Ingrid’s culpability in putting Claudia at risk (in epi 2)–make me think more and more that the character Daniel has built walls around the tragic moments in his life. And as a spy, him being exposed to the tragic comes with the territory. How does an individual cope with that? I look forward to seeing Daniel’s psyche and motivations unfold in future episodes.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. The WaPo does matter in one particular context — it’s the hometown newspaper, so to speak, of the US political class whose activities center on Washington, DC. Those people are heavily “Homeland” watchers, and they do read the newspaper, the WaPo is their first read in the morning.

    That said, I immediately thought that this was a response to Olen Steinhauer’s trash talk of Homeland in August (which the TV critics would know about, as they attended the conference and the coverage of that remark was pretty thorough, I saw at least five articles about it), and on that level, it might not be bad at all. A negative review can make people curious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an interesting thought. So a bad review could turn out useful for BS because viewers may be curious. No doubt, Olen Steinhauer’s provocative talk about Homeland was a tactical move. I hope that it pays off for them…

      Like

  13. Pingback: ICYMI: Berlin Station stuff #richardarmitage | Me + Richard Armitage

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