Bits and Pieces

  1. We finally have the Reacher we need, over on Amazon Prime. Banish all memories of the diminutive Cruise travesty and enjoy watching a man so muscle bound he has to calculate each step he takes. A very entertaining 8 episode film of the first Reacher book Killing Floor, with just one (1) too-gruesome crime scene and one (1) awkward author cameo.
  2. Chloe, over on the BBC iPlayer, was co-produced with Amazon, and doesn’t quite match Reacher for entertainment value. It has the pacing of one of those stripped mid-week dramas: a strong opening, a dip, and an ending. Only in this case, the opening isn’t that strong, being more of a slow build. The main theme of the show is that disconnect between the perfect lives people project onto the Instas and the reality beneath. Becky, obsessively scrolling her socials, is obsessed with a particular woman, Chloe, who turns up dead. Excuse me if I’m vague on the details from here, because I do tend to half-watch stuff like this—especially when the “stuff like this” is oh-so-dark in terms of visuals. Once again I found myself wondering if my telly is slowly dying. Too much darkness! No dark adapted camera eyes! Anyway, I think Becky is contacted by the police, because Chloe made two unanswered calls before she died: both to Becky. From here, things take a turn, as Becky adopts the persona of “Sasha” and infiltrates Chloe’s world in her obsessive pursuit of what happened. There are four good episodes here. And two others.
  3. Fake Psychic is a BBC podcast based on the true story of scam artist Lamar Keene, a fake medium (well, all “mediums” are fake) who eventually revealed his own (and others’) fakery. Another inexplicable 6 episodes for what might have been (dare I say) one? Also weird voice acting—distractingly weird.
  4. The Trojan Horse Affair is the latest serial from what was once Serial, now really the New York Times team. This is a better listen, especially if you work in education. It’s all about the moral panic of a few years ago, when it was “revealed” that “extremists” were involved in a “plot” to infiltrate and take over schools in Birmingham. And as a UK teacher, I still live with the consequences of that because of some mad scheme of Gove’s to root out extremism in schools. It’s a story that might be about how a certain head teacher, with an alleged penchant for fake letters, ends up giving creepy and dishonest islamophobic politicians an excuse for a crackdown.
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