Setting the whole tone of the sitcom, the press pack for This is Jinsy came with a map of Jinsy island, a bar of “pea flavour” soap and a fake ginger beard stapled on to a photo of Harry Hill in drag. Sadly, the beard was too small for my flatmate, who has a real ginger beard, to wear during the watching.
The eight-part series broadly follows Arbiter Maven and his assistant Sporall, played by the writers, Chris Bran and Justin Chubb. According to the wishes of The Great He, they administer the island of Jinsy in a local council-like way, if the local council was involved in monitoring its residents, à la 1984, and punishing wrong-doers with electric shocks. With guest stars aplenty, the first episode centres around a wedding lottery conducted by an awesomely over the top David Tennant, and the second features the joy of Peter Serafinowicz, when The Great He apparently returns to extol the virtues of cupboards.
And that’s pretty much it for plot. They’re thin and predictable, mostly providing the continuity links between bizarre sketches and songs. Like sketch shows, some pieces work and some don’t but the balance tips in favour of being funny: it’s a warning about the dangers of photocopier owls that got our first out-loud laugh.
This is Jinsy‘s spiritual home is BBC3 and has been drawing comparisons with The League of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh but more than anything, I was reminded of Monty Python crossed with CBeebies classic, Balamory. In the hands of a less skilled team, it would be painful viewing (see Campus versus Green Wing) and occasionally it’s a bit self-consciously weird. As a whole though, it’s an enjoyably silly half hour with endearing characters and equally endearing low-budget special effects.
The first two episodes of This is Jinsy air tonight at 10:10pm on Sky Atlantic.
Mildred Pierce is a new miniseries fresh from HBO in America and shown on Sky Atlantic to prove that America is capable at making a good period drama too, though with less Hugh Bonneville.
Mother of two, Mildred Pierce, played by lovely Kate Winslet, is swiftly left by her husband. Having to fund herself she goes looking for work… and then she finds it. Yes, this is most certainly the first episode; not a huge amount of excitement but plenty of establishing of plot, era and character.
Everything looks great, almost cinematic if not playing in the wrong aspect ratio on my decrepit TV set, and the acting is top-notch… just not a lot happens. Luckily with the quality of production in Mildred Pierce you will most likely look past a lacklustre start with the hope of a more riveting continuing series.
Mildred Pierce airs on Sky Atlantic tonight, 25th June at 9pm.
It’s hard not to notice that HBO’s new fantasy drama starts tonight on Sky Atlantic at 9pm. Every newspaper has endless ads and conversations with the cast. Well, not us! No, but we did get to see the first two episodes so that we could pass on our impartial opinion. And that opinion is… it’s alright. Is that good for a poster?
I won’t even try to get into the plot specifics as it all passed me by a little, Sean Bean’s character leaves his comfortable life to join the king, who seems to be an old pal, and somewhere else a pretty young lady marries the leader(?) of a different tribe, after being groped by her brother, and then has lots of rough sex. There’s also the brilliant Peter Dinklage playing a very privileged man who spends plenty of time whoring around. The rest of the characters it will take me the next 8 episodes to get a grip of.
Though the show is technically in the medieval fantasy realm this consists mostly of silly names, a complicated map and lots of horse riding, the fantasy element has so far been pretty light on the ground. There are no elves or hobbits which is all the better for those not so keen of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Even the bloodshed is pretty isolated, though still contains plenty of arcing crimson to keep you satisfied. What you do get is plenty of talking. Quality talking I’ll admit, that is spoken in a modern dialect, but still for a show of this type I expected more sword waving than witty banter. This can only be a good thing, certainly for the first two episodes, as it allows the unsure viewer not too keen on endless horse-riding and slow motion fighting to get into the series before it goes too medieval.
While the violence may be low-key so far the sex certainly isn’t. From Peter Dinklage being swarmed by prostitutes to the new bride being taught how to please a man by her female servant, there’s plenty of boobs and buttocks to make you wish you hadn’t chosen this as the family’s new Monday show.
In summary I enjoyed the show much more than I expected, any fantasy element is so far on the down low and the show is made all the more accessible for it. It still isn’t for everyone and I’m not sure how far into the run I will make it. But you should probably give it a try, so long as you feel comfortable watching the more rompy moments with whoever is sharing the sofa with you.
Tonight is the night you’ve been waiting for… so it can be over and better shows can be launched. Sky Atlantic, the new Channel from Sky, launches tonight with Boardwalk Empire leading the pack. It’s fair to say we weren’t blown away by Buscemi knocking about in the prohibition era but let’s take a look at a hastily pasted in list of shows that will be on the channel:
Bored To Death
Curb Your Enthusiasm
How to Make it in America
Six Feet Under
Among that list are four great dramas, four original comedies, one OK drama and three shows I haven’t seen. That is pretty good going and with access to more quality American dramas sure Sky Atlantic beats watching Bid TV.
If however you don’t have Sky, it’s back to buying boxsets or searching for torrents.