Twenty Twelve: Season 1-2 (TV Review)

Twenty Twelve: Season 1-2 (TV Review)

Twenty Twelve is another pseudo-documentary from Britain’s BBC, that is, of course, pretty solid. It seems like every TV show out of Britain is at least pretty good, going all the way up to excellent. They are simply different from what we are used to, and there is generally always success.

The story of Twenty Twelve is quite simple: a group of people are in charge of organizing the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and they are being filmed while trying to get things done, while avoiding humorous crisis after humorous crisis. The gang in charge, all with their own level of British silliness and foibles, are generally enjoyable, as they do their best not to muck up what is to be the largest sports spectacle in the world. The characters range from the head of the whole thing, the PR lady, the head of legacy and sustainability, the traffic guy, the doting assistant, and the poor former athlete, who is generally confused with what is happening the whole time, while delivering some of the worst motivational speeches you will ever see. The actors here, as with many British shows, have been seen before: there are people from the gamut of UK television and film, like Downton AbbeyShaun of the Dead, and the hilarious Peep Show. It provides the show with an instant sense of familiarity, and allows us to instantly like the characters, even if they are annoying at times.

2012Twenty Twelve is typically British, in that it really does use the typically sedate and dry sense of humour in order to push the show forward. There are some spectacular scenes, including the discussion on the bathroom situations in the athlete’s village, and the double-entendre discussion of how plumbing works for men and women. Something lovable about British TV shows, is that we can honestly ask ourselves if something was meant to be funny, or just was, or that’s just the way they are. As usual, as with most TV series from across the pond, it feasts on our ability to watch awkwardness, and Twenty Twelve is another solid producer in this. Not to the extent of the original The Office, but there are still scenes that are able to make our skin crawl, because it is just painfully awkward.

As usual, I stumbled across this show on Netflix, and it is a decent watch. The two seasons are short, only a few episodes each, so there are not significant demands on your time to pour through the two seasons of the whole thing. The stories themselves are pretty engaging, and manage to provide some decent entertainment. The leadership group getting lost in London due to the miserable traffic and construction delays is excellent watching.

2012-3This show does not belong among the cream of the crop of British TV. It is consistently good, but never really great. As with these mockumentary-type shows, it is partially about the humour, and a little bit about the drama. There is that blend here as well. Neither are exceptional in Twenty Twelve, but neither are bad, either.

I wouldn’t rush out to watch the show, but if you have nothing else going on in your Netflix queue, there are worse things you could be viewing than Twenty Twelve.

Short Poppies (TV Review)

Short Poppies (TV Review)

Kiwis are funny. In real life, they are exceptional story tellers, and always have the right amount of self-depricating wit and slapstick-style humour. On TV, we have seen some examples of how great New Zealanders can be. The most notable is definitely Flight of the Conchords (and Jermaine Clement serves as director of this new series), which may now have some competition as the small island’s best comedy, with Short Poppies.

The premise of the show is that a documentarian is making a film about some of the regular folks in a small New Zealand town, to let viewers see their eccentricities and what makes them tick. Each of the subjects, one per episode, are played by comedian Rhys Darby, and he manages to create great, lovable characters with each episode.

poppies2The people he plays include the lifeguard who prides himself on entering “Best Legs” competitions, a UFO enthusiast, an elderly woman who spends her time providing everyone, and everything, with “criticisms,” the artist who works in a parking garage, a park ranger, a whale watcher, and a car-loving lawyer. And each one of them is fantastic.

Darby gives life to his characters, and by the end of each episode, it is impossible not to adore the character being interviewed. This speaks to the acting skills of Darby, as he really is able to create them each with their own set of hilarious quirks, but still maintaining the line so that they do not become complete jokes, and we manage to feel a little bit bad for them. We go from laughing at them, to feeling sorry for them, to laughing at them again, over the quick course of 22 minutes.

It really is quite brilliant, to be honest.

The show manages to demonstrate how people interact with one another in a small town environment, and what various people out there, the regular (seemingly) people on the street, and what their passions in life are. While it is wonderful to watch the characters develop on the screen, it is also funny.

Short Poppies isn’t a show where you are going to laugh out loud during every episode, but it definitely provides plenty of humourous moments to keep the viewer entertained.

This is just a fun, likable show, and definitely worth spending the time to watch on Netflix. The first season is only about 8 episodes, so it will take no time to pour through the colourful lives that Darby has created for us to see. This show is definitely one I would look forward to seeing a second season of.