Large billboard ads are everywhere for the news series of 24: Live Another Day. It was shot and is entirely set in
London, giving Sky and added selling point ahead of its debut on that Channel and on Fox in the next week. Bet your life it'll contain a shot of the London Eye (every film or TV show shot in London has to contain the London Eye) and a dramatic action scene on the Underground (see Skyfall, Sherlock: The Empty Hearse, The Fast and the Furious 6, lots of episodes of Spooks etc). A large section of US will be destroyed during a major sequence (see Star Trek: Into Darkness, Thor: the Dark World). London
It also features 24's most horrifying torture scene yet - Bauer spends an entire episode stuck in a London cab with the cabbie mouthing off his opinions: "I don't care if there's a nuclear bomb about to go off, I'm not going south of the river at this time of night. I once had that Jason Bourne in the back of the cab."
And Live Another Day is just the latest in a long line of ‘Must see’ TV events which makes modern television so compelling. Brilliant as many TV shows were in the 1970s (and I've got quite a few on DVD), on a night by night basis you'd be shocked how little there was to watch. ITV always appeared to have on endless piss-poor US TV movies and mini-series, or shows with Cannon and Ball or Jim Davidson and game shows. The late Barry Took dismissed the rose-tinted view of TV past when he said that people forget that for every Morecambe and Wise there were 20 Mike and Bernie Winters. I've no time for people nowadays who moan 'There's nothing on TV'. If you've got 400 channels and can't find anything to watch, I think that means you just don't like TV.
So here are some of the best recent shows to chas up on I-Tunes or Netflix.
BAD EDUCATION made me roar with laughter longer and louder than anything on TV in 2013 and will probably do wonders for recruitment to the teaching profession
DEREK offeres Ricky Gervais's best performance (though I thought the series itself disappointing, rather like watching a Play for Today from 1976).
LINE OF DUTY. If you think what the police do to the public is bad, you should see what they do to each other. The brilliance of Jed Merchurio’s scripts is that he constantly takes you by surprise with the totally unexpected, like he’s reinventing the wheel. It confirms the belief that there's one sure fire way to know when a policeman's lying - their lips move.
DAY OF THE DOCTOR. Some things were sublime: the opening recreation of AN UNEARTHLY CHILD, the Tom Baker cameo, the final shot of all the Doctors and even the second long glimpse of the next Doctor. Smith, Tennant and Hurt were all compelling as the various Doctors. I suspect it's one of those episodes which needs to be seen more than once to take everything in
BROADCHURCH - good, though I guessed the killer by episode 3 (superfluous supporting character who gets more screen time than they should - it's a common device in detective drama).
CURTAIN - the last Poirot was amongst the best ever.
THE HOUR. Great 50s-set conspiracy thriller. Only 12 episodes were made (in 2012/13). Disappointed there's not going to be a third series.
Best American show of the last few years is VEEP.
The most overrated drama of 2013 was SOUTHCLIFFE - slow moving, depressing and full of dislikeable characters.