The Good Karma Hospital (2017 -)

Dr Ruby Walker (Amrita Acharia), a busy doctor working in city Britain, struggles to balance her career and personal life. When her long-time boyfriend leaves her, it’s the last straw, she gets on a plane and flies half across the world to work in another hospital in rural India. From one hospital to another, Ruby has a large shock to her change in career and has to adapt learning quickly to new customs and new procedures.

Another medical drama, but one rather different from any I’ve seen before. Forget the white walls and bright lights, this hospital is open pouring in the sunlight and captures a different side of medicine. The staff are overworked having to specialise in every branch of medicine, the hospital is also under resourced leaving some patients without. Nevertheless, the doctors will always go to all extremes to help all those in need in any way they can, even if rather different to treatment in England. Dr Lydia Fonseca (‘New Tricks’ Amanda Redman) is at the heart of this hospital trying to hold it together and designate all of her resources and minimal staff to the patients of this tropical rural India.

As one of ITVs dramas, ‘The Good Karma Hospital’ isn’t one well-known. I’d only recently heard of it as my mum clicked onto its most recent episode in season three. Although after watching this episode, I knew I was hooked into this hospital. It’s a relatively easy watch, although it has the realities of hard issues faced in a hospital particularly one low-funded and in desperate need of resources and money. Dr Walker is a great character to quickly attach to as she struggles to come to grips with the realities and differences from England which gives an easy access point for the audience to also understand along with her.

Having only six episodes in each series, it’s a quick watch for a little escapism. It’s not the best television show I have ever seen, nevertheless, I’m enjoying the drama, little moments of romance and smiles along the way. It’s lovely to capture a different type of medical drama and it doesn’t feel as hectic as many others where attention is always needed. It’s a simple, easy watch; I’m invested into the realistic characters now with all their flaws.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003)

As a late 90s and early 2000s television programme, I believe that ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ needs to be recognised for the great show that it is. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a sixteen-year-old, has been told her life is all planned out for her. She is the slayer, therefore whenever there is a strange occurrence, she is the one to save the day. Along with her trusty friends, Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and the school librarian Giles (Anthony Head), Buffy fights the demons, vampires and other unnatural creatures that wreak havoc in the little town of Sunnydale. To make things worse, proving that being the slayer is an everyday job, Sunnydale is on top of a Hellmouth – the door to all things evil.

The show really does have an eclectic range in mystical creatures that cause each episode to descend into hectic chaos. From demons and vampires, the usual suspects, there are also witches and werewolves, spells and curses. There are episodes of animal possessions, living in nightmares, wishes coming true and so on. Each episode is episodic, meaning there is a different story told in each episode, however there is still a recurring story arc across each series (usually revolving a larger entity of evil which is more difficult to be defeated).

One of the best things about ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is that, when relating to other shows around at that time, ‘Buffy’ is so fresh and diverse. Even now, I don’t think there is another show that could hold up to ‘Buffy’s potential in creativeness. There are a few episodes that are so artistically different that it just adds a whole fresh appeal and unique dynamic. There is an episode which is a musical, which may seem random but makes perfect sense in this Buffy universe. It also happens to be one of my favourite episodes in the whole show. Again, another episode is completely silent, another in black and white. All of these episodes stand out from the crowd. They are all so stylistically creative that it brings ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ on another plane to other vampire shows.

The themes of the show are entirely realistic, despite the demons and vampires, the show tackles real teenage struggles, particularly when dealing with Buffy herself. The show has no limits, anything could happen, no one is safe. This only adds to the unpredictability of life and the tragedy of the slayer’s duties. There are some heart-breaking scenes. Furthermore, the characters of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ all have sophisticated and well thought out backgrounds which add so much depth to the programme. They aren’t characters on the screen for no reason. Even Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), the “popular” girl of the school, has a dedicated character development throughout the series which adds a lot to her initial rude, stuck-up and selfish persona.

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is a fantastic escapism show. Do remember it is 1990s and early 2000s so the graphics aren’t great, you can also see Buffy’s body double quite a few times, nevertheless this doesn’t retract from the amazing qualities this show brings. It is definitely one of the shows of its time, in fact I do think it was probably ahead of its time. There’s even lots of references to pop culture, such as Spider-Man or Scooby-Doo, which again is just fresh in its nature.

With a strong female protagonist in the forefront and the honest themes of the show, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is understandably a brilliant show to watch. There are moments of tension and moments that are quite creepy (particularly with the alive puppet), there’s also moments of pure sadness (yes, I’ve cried), but moments of heart-warming and bubbly happiness. One thing though, never think you can predict the entirety of this show. There are many unpredictable moments which again just adds to its simplicity that anything can happen in life and in the Buffy universe.

White House Farm (2020)

Now I am a big fan of crime television programmes, as many of my tv reviews would tell. But the ones that become even more interesting is when they are invested in a bed of truth, reflecting something in history. ‘White House Farm’ is one of these programmes, imbedded into the past. August 1985: a house in Essex took a horrendous, heart-breaking turn. The police discovered what looked like a murder-suicide of Sheila and her young twin sons along with her parents. ‘White House Farm’ follows this tragic event and the police investigation that followed.

The investigation follows one police officer in particular, DS Stan Jones (Mark Addy), a phenomenal character dedicated to his job. Jones is determined that the crime scene that looked like a murder-suicide is in fact not one. Even though the house was locked in from the inside, that Sheila was placed with a gun under her chin, this DS is convinced that what the scene looks like isn’t the one that tells the truth. With his DCI opposing the complete opposite, that this tragic case is closed, Jones tries everything to rebel against what his superior tells him to. It really is surprising the turn of events that happens after this incident is brought to light, how evidence is burnt and disregarded as the case is deemed closed.

At the age of 23, I didn’t know this story before the programme. Although my parents did and once I had told them I was watching it, I then got the full story of what had happened back in 1985. When speaking to people who remembered this horrific event happening, the response I got was that this programme was a good representation of what happened tying closely to the facts of the case. In particular, the way the characters were portrayed. Even at the end of the programme, after the six episodes, photos flashed up from 1985 and the closeness to the show is really well executed.

I found myself waiting for the next episodes of ‘White House Farm’ to be released as I really wanted to discover what happened. Even when I knew the end events of what actually occurred, I still wanted to watch every episode to find out how each element was going to be uncovered. It truly is an interesting case, devastating and heart-wrenching as it is. The event was horrific which meant I did cry in some episodes when the families were told of the incident. Overall, I thought it was a well-executed crime programme that seemed to be tied closely to the real events from 1985. You definitely become invested into DS Stan Jones’ case and determined for him to catch the horrible person who would do such a thing as murdering a whole family which included young children.

Chicago P.D. (2014 – )

First of all, there are a selection of these programmes; ‘Chicago P.D.’, ‘Chicago Fire’, ‘Chicago Med’ and ‘Chicago Justice’. Therefore, there are some interlinks and crossovers which excites fans who have watched them all. The idea is that you watch them in a certain order in time for the crossovers. However, I watched the first episode of ‘Chicago Fire’ and found it very confusing, I felt like I was watching an episode mid series rather than the pilot. Instead, I started to watch ‘Chicago P.D.’, watched the first episode and ended up binge-watching eleven episodes in one sitting, oops… There are also some crossovers with the show ‘Law and Order: SVU’. It is annoying with these crossovers as some episodes can become confusing if you’ve not watched the previous from another show as they link. Additionally, it’s very irritating when they leave an episode on a cliff hanger but don’t finish it in ‘Chicago P.D.’ ever! But I can’t be dealing with watching multiple shows at once just to understand a few episodes.

Chicago PD - Season 1

At the 21st District at Chicago Police Department, a group work as intelligence detectives. The first thing you recognise is that these aren’t any normal cops. They would do anything, and I mean anything, to get crime off the streets. In particular, this involves the sergeant of the intelligence department: Hank Voight (Jason Beghe). He is the one that does go to extreme limits which I do not agree with, he is an extremely flawed character. Nevertheless, some things he does do right. He takes a lot of weight on his shoulders for solving the crime in Chicago. ‘Chicago P.D.’ feels more realistic to human emotions and the boundaries people will cross when pushed to their limits.

Chicago P.D.

I also have to mention a few of the characters as they bring so much to the show: passionate detective Erin Lindsay (Sophia Bush – who most recognise from ‘One Tree Hill’ but to me she’s Beth from ‘John Tucker Must Die’), my favourite Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), dedicated Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda), patrol officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati) and quiet yet loyal Alvin Olinsky (Elias Koteas). There are many other brilliant characters in the show, but they were just a few that should be mentioned. All of the characters have some excellent storylines, which just hooks the audience in more. You discover an element of one’s life and you need to watch more episodes to discover the whole story. The show is very skilled in creating some complex character backgrounds that intrigues the audience.

Chicago P.D.

The intelligence detectives become a family trying to protect their city from the dangers in the world. Each episode follows a new case, always high-profile and dangerous. All of the episodes are very explosive. The mystery and action within each episode are phenomenal and addictive to watch. The cases are often heart-breaking and feel very real and you quickly cling to this police department in their flaws and glory. The first episode definitely gives you a flavour of the type of programme this is, yes it is just another cop show, but I would say it is one of the better ones.

The Witcher (2019 – )

Based on the book and game, ‘The Witcher’ has come to screen on Netflix. However, I cannot compare the three medias, as I have not read the books nor played the game, so this review will be based upon the programme alone. Firstly, this is definitely for older ages as it contains strong language, gory violence, nudity and sex.

‘The Witcher’ as many are saying, is a lot like ‘Game of Thrones’. There are a lot of similarities in the fantasy links, castles, worlds and creatures alike. I do think that if you’re a fan of ‘Game of Thrones’ as many are, then this would be a show that you would also enjoy. The themes are very similar, as a fantasy show that has been set years in the past. Although, characters are different as are the plots within ‘The Witcher’. It doesn’t tell the same story whatsoever as ‘Game of Thrones’. The problem is, when you are looking at a show that has some sorts of fantasy elements, magic, and unknown creatures, I don’t think any show can be that different from ‘Game of Thrones’ due to its vast knowledge from audiences and success! However, I don’t think that it is a bad thing, ‘The Witcher’ can stand away from ‘Game of Thrones’ and be appreciated for what it is still.

There are multiple storylines throughout the show. The first follows Geralt of Rivia (played by Superman Henry Cavill). Geralt is The Witcher of the programme, the man who likes to walk the earth alone collecting his coin to rid the monsters of the world. Although, everywhere he goes he seems to learn that humans are the monsters behind all monsters, and they keep reminding him that he must follow his “destiny” instead of ignoring it in his solidarity. He does not say much in his wonderings, but his gruntled swear word when he acknowledges something has gone wrong becomes a hilarious catchphrase. I also cannot forget one of the best characters of the show: Jaskier (Joey Batey) who is funny and sings his songs on the way.

The Witcher - Geralt of Rivia

The second storyline involves Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). We learn about her complex past which is necessary to build the love from the audience. A trainee witch at the beginning, this character only begs and yearns for more power and greed. Desperate to become a powerful witch and something more than original, Yennefer is a very complicated character and is adored by the audience. She is an excellent actress, in which the audience can feel all of her emotions making her able to connect to so superbly.

The Witcher - Yennefer
Lastly, there is the storyline involving Princess Cirilla of Cintra (Freya Allan). Her storyline starts in pain, agony and fire. A war has taken over Cintra and fallen to the enemy. Cirilla, as the Princess, is marched out of the gates and into hiding. She spends most of her journey on the run from those who are chasing her, but also running towards her “destiny”: to find Geralt of Rivia. Ciri is a great character who you discover through the show has an unknown power inside.

The Witcher - Ciri

The cinematography is amazing. The whole aesthetic is visually pleasing and stunning with landscapes. The programme looks expensive in spending the time in the little things such as how each episode looks and feels for the audience. The fighting scenes are somehow mesmerising to watch. It is a very good show and becomes very addictive to watch. Each episode lasting an hour long, you find yourself hooked in each little story wanting to find out everything you can. It is a programme that needs attention paying to it as it can become confusing at times particularly involving the timeline of the show. Nevertheless, ‘The Witcher’ is phenomenal, even if just for the last two episodes of season one make it amazing. It didn’t take me long to watch, I could have happily done it in one sitting but sleep was needed.

‘Game of Thrones’ has just ended and I think this is what is needed after its underwhelming season eight finale.

Gavin and Stacey: Christmas Special (2019)

Oh what’s occurring…

Everything we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. A little bit more of Gavin and Stacey – the boy from Essex and the girl from Barry Island in Wales. From one place to another, the quick romance that flourished. We haven’t seen any of these fabulous characters since 2010 and it’s all we’ve been waiting for, a Christmas special with all the originals coming back to make us giggle.

Happily, we were not disappointed. And I tell you for why. All the classic comedy and romance springs back to screen not missing a bit. There’s reminiscing and nostalgia. Comedy and romance. Everything that the original series had.

Oh and everyone’s all grown up. Gavin and Stacey in their 10 years of marriage, now with three children! The brilliant Nessa is back, and of course Neil the baby. Smithy obviously returns. Lovely Gwen and panicky yet hilarious Bryn returns. With Bryn being given the task of Christmas Day dinner, his classic mannerisms are selected perfectly. We can not forget Gavin’s parents, Mick and Pam! Pam as superb as ever, judgemental and manipulative (but we all love her!). We even get a glimpse return from Dawn and Pete in their familiar hysterics. What more could you ask for? If you could ask for a song between Nessa and Bryn, you won’t be let down!

Gavin and Stacey is a perfect way of stepping into Christmas! I’m just begging they’ll give us some more episodes – it was all too good!

White Collar (2009 – 2014)

FBI Agent and Criminal Informant – Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) and Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer). Agent Peter Burke, the man who caught one of the greatest bond and art forgers of all time, Neal Caffrey. While Caffrey is spending his four-year sentence in prison, he begs with the man who caught him (twice) into a deal which would be mutually beneficial – Neal to become a criminal informant for the FBI with Peter as his handler. Strict rules are put into place where Neal is restricted to a two-mile radius around his house and he is tied to a tracking device around his ankle.

White Collar 1
Every episode brings a new white collar criminal for the new unlikely pair to take down. While suspicion of what Neal gets up to grows and grows in Peter’s mind, Neal is indeed giving good reason as he plots and plans his own heists. Both protagonists are incredibly intelligent, always trying to be one step in front of each other. Testing each other to extreme limits, hiding secrets, suspicious in both directions. However, this partnership between Peter and Neal, unlikely as it is, becomes a formidable team, one that is loved by the audience. The partnership only develops throughout the series, making them one of the best teams to watch (in my opinion).

White Collar 2
Peter and Neal aren’t the only two characters of the show to be adored. In comes Peter’s wife, Elizabeth Burke (Tiffani Thiessen). Elizabeth is an amazing character, her and Peter’s relationship is brilliant and any episode where she is involved in taking down the criminal just makes it that much better. Secondly, there’s my favourite character of the entire show, Mozzie (Willie Garson). Mozzie is hilarious for so many reasons; his conspiracy mind, his desire of the criminal world, his reference of the ‘suits’ and distrust of the FBI. At the FBI White Collar division, there is also two other agents, Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins) and Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason) (she does randomly leave, but happily rejoins the team again). Both are excellent additions to the team helping solve the day-to-day cases of forges and other crimes.

White Collar 3
Every episode is completely different, although a story arc continues throughout the series, so it is needed to be watched in order. Now, I watch a lot of tv shows, for example, this one is very similar to ‘The Blacklist’. However, a big difference is there seems to be a higher quality of crimes within ‘White Collar’, less underbelly of the city and much less death and guns. Neal Caffrey is a phenomenal character, whose cons are magnificently intelligent or even simple in their sophistication. His plays on his good looks to charm anyone and every episode is exciting to see how his mind works on each case they solve. What is brilliant is that there are so many shock moments, moments you can’t guess what’s going on, they were shocking in the delivery and leaves you baffled constantly in execution. I would definitely recommend this show, it has comedy, romance, crime and classic FBI scenes.