Distraction Challenge 10 #ADC

Even in times of isolation, Mondays are difficult days, it appears. 😂 I just couldn’t muster up the energy to write anything. I put it down to not having made the day count. (Grah, that whole thing is still stuck sideways in my gut.) Anybody else have this stupid feeling that a day only counts if you have done a chore? No? Must be the protestant socialisation in me, exacerbated by a husband who has a very strict “usefulness” ethic and keeps working through this time of enforced inactivity. (At this stage he has painted all 18 sash windows in the house. I wonder what he will start on next to keep my guilty conscience going…)

I have some shrine posts to write, but today let’s do a challenge question.

10. Which show did you think you would like but didn’t?

Easy answer without much contemplation: Berlin Station. It wasn’t really because of Richard, needless to say. He was good and convincing as ever, and never more so than in season 2 when he had to play Daniel playing Trevor. Oh, wait, hold on. I am automatically slipping into extolling mode, and this question is about why I *didn’t* like BS. I really wanted to like that show because I knew that RA would be good as a spy, and because there was a weighty ensemble cast supporting him, and because the show was set in Berlin, capital of my home country Germany.

But somehow the show felt far too convoluted to me. Too many characters, too many plot lines. And a central character that felt degraded to a passive onlooker who could only react to the stuff that the other characters did. It didn’t feel as if the final offering reflected what the promotion of the show had offered. And seeing a fine actor like RA relegated to a supporting character, just offended me. Ha! Yes, I felt somewhat led on and taken the mickey out of. The Berlin setting was great, the use of German actors was great, and I liked the cinematography of the piece. But otherwise the show and its main character left me cold, while some of the other characters actively got on my nerves. Even the special appearances couldn’t make up for that.

Ah well, it’s all subjective. And luckily BS didn’t stop Rich from going on to bigger and better things aka The Stranger. And who knows what will come in the future. There will be good stuff, and less good stuff. I guess that’s normal for any career. Good on ya, RA.

What about you? Which show didn’t do it for you?

33 thoughts on “Distraction Challenge 10 #ADC

  1. I absolutely agree with you on Berlin Station.
    The promotion started good and promising, somehow stopped in the middle half heartedly.
    The show had too many characters introduced and too many plot likes set up- but that didn’t lead anywhere. Loose threads. So many wasted potential.
    I loved the setting in Berlin so much and cinematography was brilliant-but it wasn’t enough.
    And I often have the feeling that Richard felt the same when he finished season 2? That the potential was a bit wasted?
    Just my thoughts.

    And I sometimes come to the point of feeling guilty when I haven’t done something productive. Haven’t had that before but lately.
    I am trying to keep myself busy with things that I would do when not in pandemic situation/lockdown-to keep some routine and feel useful. For example working on Sketches for postponed appointments or make some commissions or even chores, upcycling stuff. And other days I just lie down and watch or read, do nothing.

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    • Those loose ends in the show drove me nuts. Like the whole thing with the hidden USB drive in the Nicaraguan jungle. Were they trying to set something up that would come back in season 5? Or did they simply forget they had ever put that scene into the show? It felt negligent, or haphazard at best. Similarly with some scenes that were cut into trailers – and then never made it into the show. Just plain unprofessional imo. The biggest omission of all, of course, was the storyline with Daniel’s mother that featured reasonably big in season 1 – and never got a conclusion. Odd.
      You know, I also had the impression that RA was done with the show by the end of season 2. However, it might also just be me projecting that onto him. The fact that he dropped out half way through season 3, could possibly be explained with his mother’s death. In any case, it was odd, too, because for a show that bills Daniel Miller as its central character, it just doesn’t make sense to kill this character off – and then even half way through a season.
      What is keeping me in good spirits during this pandemic, is the creative stuff. And I count a lot of things as “creative” these days, including daily baking and diary writing. It always lifts my mood – but at the back of my mind there is always a little voice that whispers “but what did you do that didn’t involve your private enjoyment today”. Ugh.

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  2. A very interesting choice, as I finally started binging BS because my cable provider had a free trial of Epix. Of course, the second episode was not available on demand so I had to sign up for the 30-day trial on Amazon Prime. But that’s okay because I only got through the first five episodes before the cable free trial ended.

    So, with only five episodes under my belt…meh. RA is, not surprisingly, extraordinarily pretty, to the point where I have to stop and replay certain scenes (yes, including *that* one). But I totally agree that his character is way too passive and does little but react. (And, ewwww…American accent.) And the way the story is being structured so far, Hector is evil incarnate, to the point where I want to reach through the screen and slap some sense into Daniel. I mean, it’s just too obvious and heavy-handed.

    All that said, RA is doing some fine acting, although I much prefer him in The Stranger, of course. And whoever was in charge of his suits deserved some awards love or at least a few good bottles of champagne. The thing that has come as a surprise to me is how compelling I am finding Leland Orser so far. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always known that he is a great actor, but there’s just something about him in this show that is really clicking for me. Not sure I would have ever watched BS if not for the initial push of the free trial and the desperate need to escape the interiors of my mind, but onward we go!

    So, given that I know how S3 ends for Daniel, and that I doubt I can handle it right now, is there *any* reason whatsoever for me to watch it? Other than for the pretty, pretty man? Maybe only the first couple of episodes?

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    • I stopped watching S3 when Daniel dies. That scene was too hard to stand. I stopped then and there and never comtinued. If you want to have a glimpse into S3 I recommend the first few minutes of first episode with Daniel and Esther. And then you stop.
      Although I think S3 was actually not bad with storyline and actors but for me the Daniel plot is too hard to chew and too painful. And his screentime is veeeery small.

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    • I hope we haven’t spoiled the show for you, LoLo. There has been so much criticism of BS, it must be hard to go into the show without prejudice or expectations. But I couldn’t agree more with you – Daniel just really seems a bit too gullible and easy to derail in the show. Have you already been at the post-sex excursion he takes with Esther? Jeepers, for an agent to be emotionally manipulated so easily…
      Daniel’s look in BS is definitely nice. I join you in praising the costume department.
      As for Leland Orser – I have to admit I didn’t really know him prior to BS. But I really liked him in the show – the no-nonsense, foulmouthed Kirsch was a breath of fresh air in the otherwise stale show. He also seemed very human and relatable – something that did not apply to any of the other characters (for me). I also liked Leland off-screen. His interaction on Twitter was fun and he was approachable. Again – a breath of fresh air (especially when you are a fan of a certain other bloke 😂).
      As for season 3 – well, tbh, I dropped out once Daniel found his ignominious end. Given that I didn’t particularly care about any of the other characters, and a lot about the show really just grated with me, I saw no point in seeing it to the end. However, during the first episode there are some very nice scenes between Daniel and Esther, all domestic bliss, so that might be worth watching. You could do a “watching for the plot” fast-forward run-through?!

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  3. You know, I forced myself to watch Season 1. It got better after the girl died (can’t remember her name.) Season 2 was good only with Daniel playing Trevor. There were characters I felt sorry for, but not enough to want to go back and watch a 2nd time. I’ve not watched the 3rd season, except the opening scene. The way I managed to get through S1 and s2 was to binge watch – get it over with and after hearing all the *everything* with S3, I’ve got it downloaded, burned and tucked away in my RA folder. BS was bs to me.

    But the one I REALLY didn’t like was North and South. I know people love it and it was the Ultimate for them but with the exception of That Kiss… nope. I should probably binge watch it as well – I watched the first 3 episodes spread out over some weeks and then waited 2 years to watch the 4th episode. Maybe I didn’t do it justice.

    On a happy note, I finished my little Trevor/Sypha smutfest. it’s in a few boxes, awaiting feedback.

    I have a house that needs cleaned desperately. I’m such a pig.

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    • Can’t say that BS really improve much on a second watch. I tried that some time last year when I was sick, I think. Tbh, any show that bills RA as main character and then doesn’t deliver, pisses me off. I can deal with him being a secondary character alright – at least it means that I know that he won’t be the main focus of the plot.
      NS – not my ultimate, either, although I think RA is very attractive as the smouldering 19th century master. My dislike of the show was really based on not liking Margaret very much. And that tainted Thornton. I mean, how could he be so desperately in love with that smug Southerner?

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  4. I’m still plodding away 9-5 at home so don’t have any more time than usual for incredible accomplishments – that’s my excuse anyway.
    My biggest disappointment was The Stranger, and how puerile it was in places, tempered by a beardless Armitage – at last- and his great acting. But yes, I had forgotten about Berlin Station. Daniel Miller was such a nebulous character but I was also dazzled by the stonkingly good-looking RA. The far-right plot in S2 was seriously dodgy though and S3, enough said already.

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    • I like your excuse – which actually is not an excuse but a valid explanation. I tend to forget that some people are working full-time right now.
      Nebulous – that describes Daniel really well. He never really became entirely clear, at least not in season 1. In season 2 he took a bit more shape and seemed more human. Nevertheless, they kept him passive again, and some of his scenes I just couldn’t get my head around at all. He just didn’t look believable to me.

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  5. *raises hand* Same here. Especially on days when I don’t work from home, I feel bad if I haven’t got anything ‘sensible’ to show for it. Alas, I have finished sorting out my craft stash and yesterday did a deep clean on/in/around/behind my oven. Talk about yikes!

    As far as your challenge question goes, same here. BS was the first project I got to anticipate and “enjoy live” as it were as a fan. And I was also happy about a few things (Germans playing Germans was and remains a HUGE tick ✔️in the positives column of this show; the number of times we’ve had to suffer American actors butcher their German lines, I felt truly vindictated). And I was very unhappy with a lot of other things. For the first “big thing” I got to witness, it was a letdown. But it didn’t make me run for the hills for good, so it’s alright.

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  6. Yes Berlin Station was a big let down to me also. There was a lot of promotional hype which raised my hopes far too much. I had to relie on someone downloading it to a memory stick because it just wasn’t available in the UK
    I remember even Richard making the quip about his family thinking he had given up acting!
    IIRC didn’t the writers change? It certainly looked that way from the story telling, when series 1 and 2 finally made it to British TV after 3 years the world had moved on from whistle blowers, and frankly I was reluctant to watch it with my husband because it wasn’t very good!

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    • I think that promotional hype really bit them in the arse in the end. You can also call it hubris – that showrunner was just so full of himself and his show, it never lived up to the promises.
      You are right about the writers. I think season 1 still had Olen Steinhauer, the original creator of the story, on board. And then he was replaced. Also, the fact that they used a number of different directors made for a disjointed show. More than once I had the impression that they had kind of left things out or lost interest in stuff that someone else had started. Overall not a very good experience.

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  7. I’ve only seen season one, so I’m not really qualified to comment. However I did wonder when we were going to get to the good bits, and it seemed too heavily slanted towards being an ensemble piece. Too many strands cluttering up the screen, as aninomori and Guylty said.

    My biggest disappointment was Spooks S9. RH was all I’d seen before and the prospect of this new show on a new topic was thrilling, but as I watched the increasingly disillusioned comments from my usual distance, it turned out unwatchable for me.

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    • BS never delivered. Which was a pity because I actually do think that everybody involved tried their hardest. Maybe they tried too hard?
      Spooks 9 was inexplicable in its U-turn for Lucas North. Again, was that also revenge by the writers because RA wanted to move on? I have never rewatched season 9 – even the first episode is kind of spoilt for me because of the end of the episode where all the shit starts…

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      • BS: No problems with the capable cast. The material wasn’t there for them to work with. Inadequate writing. And I’ve been silent until now, because I can’t add anything to everyone’s totally accurate assessment from the first comment of this post to the last. I hate to hate productions RA is in. Would somebody please, please cast him in something reeeeallly good!!! Oh yeah, they did: Uncle Vanya. Too bad how that turned out. This guy has, unfortunately, had a dagger over his head his entire career. Some fan years ago connected the early 2000s tv writers strike in the U.S. to the American PBS channel (which is the “arty” tv channel, the one that shows all the British costume dramas) not buying North and South. If that show had been widely broadcast in the U.S., I think RA’s career would have had a completely different trajectory, and I can’t even think about it, or I will cry.

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        • I agree RA has nearly made it many times, the latest with a stage show which I doubt will ever resume our ‘experts’ seem determined to be pessimistic. After last nights bombshell my spirits have hit the bottom
          Perhaps they have acres of garden to roam in but for I feel desperately sad for flat dwellers who have seen their green space locked away and I fear never to see the sea again.

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          • After I read your comment, I googled to find out what you were referring to with “last night’s bombshell”. Prof Whitty saying that the lockdown may be in place for several months? That is a dire prospect, indeed. Like you, I have been wondering as well how the lockdown would feel if I *didn’t* live in a four-storey over basement house that provides a lot of space while we are restricted in our movements outside. I’m quite alright at home because there is lots to do and even space to avoid the family if I need to. But what if you share a 1-bedroom-flat with an SO and have nowhere to potter around and distract yourself? The lockdown is a huge challenge.

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        • I couldn’t agree with you more, Besotted – I also hate it when I don’t like a show that RA is in. I always start out *wanting* to love it. But that’s the problem with high expectations: They are hard to be met.
          It really appears as if somehow the muses of theatre have not really been smiling on RA. For no lack of effort by the man himself. It still baffles me that his turn as Thorin didn’t result in more leading-man roles for him.

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        • Yes, I feel bad too criticising so many of his shows, when I would prefer to be supportive. So many of them are just vehicles to me for admiring his looks and I so want him to be in something mature that will justify his talent and effort and bring him kudos and exposure. Hannibal was the closest, even though it wasn’t widely seen. Interesting theory about N&S.

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  8. I work from home so yeah, accomplishment enough, I think. Although, I do feel a little guilty now, reading and commenting on a few blogs right now when I should be doing some (boring) work… Next week I have a week and a half off, so the accomplishments thing may become relevant then. 🙂
    I’m with ya in Berlin Station.

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    • Well done on working from home. It’s actually not that easy, and it takes some getting used to.
      Holidays on lockdown – that will be an interesting experience. But then you can read and comment as much as you like, and never feel guilty 😉

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  9. I have one of those husbands who has to keep busy and active whereas I could sit reading a book all day given the chance. My conscience would be in a perpetual state of guilt if I allowed it to be but I talked myself out of that a long time ago lol. When I was working I accomplished more and was much more organised because I had to be. Since retiring though, there’s always “tomorrow” and I’m an expert at procrastinating.
    As for Berlin Station, I agree with what’s been said so well before me – what a waste of RA and a good cast (of whom there really were too many main characters) and plot threads that were left unresolved. I believe that Daniel’s death was “revenge” for Richard wanting out. With seemingly no prospect of a fourth series there was to be no justice for Daniel yet they went ahead with killing him off anyway. 😥

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    • I’m gonna be even more cynical and surmise that when the decision about that story arch was made, they did believe there would be a season 4 and the killing off was even more deliberate and spiteful. 🤐

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      • Do you think there would’ve been justice for Daniel (at Esther’s hands maybe) in a fourth series? Or that they would go on as if he had never existed? (I’m hazarding a guess at what your answer will be to that, Kate!)

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        • I didn’t watch beyond episode 2, so I only know about how everything was handled from reading other people’s comments, but looking back at the whole storyline for Daniel’s mom, I don’t think they would have resolved this one to our satisfaction…

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    • I am not quite there yet, Mezz – at the stage where I can ignore my hubster’s activism 😂, that is. But I am sure that I will emancipate myself from his protestant work ethic at some point. (And I am pretty good at doing nothing when he is not around to observe me 😁).
      The way they killed Daniel was just totally unnecessary. It made the weak script even weaker.

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  10. Just reading of the the first interviews he did for Berlin station and this is an interesting comment from Richard:
    “I hadn’t seen a single moment of footage right until the very end—in single stills. So when I saw the first cut, I was like, “Okay, so it’s really not what I thought it was gonna be.” “

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