The best of entertainment from March 2020, as chosen by Red Bee’s entertainment experts.
BEST COMEDY: INTELLIGENCE
This new Sky One sitcom, which broke late last month, hasn’t enjoyed the best of reviews. We’re puzzled by that because we think it has made a really strong start and a second series has already been green lit. The brainchild of comedian and writer Nick Mohammed, who also plays one of the key characters, Intelligence sees David Schwimmer swap Central Perk for suburban Cheltenham when he turns up at GCHQ, having been transported from the National Security Agency. Mohammed’s character, a geeky, socially-awkward analyst, is star struck by Schwimmer’s Jerry, whose interactions with a group of eccentric GCHQ employees lead to some genuinely funny gags and moments. In essence a traditional workplace comedy, Intelligence has been compared to The Office, but it reminds us much more of Green Wing. If the first couple of episodes don’t grab you, it’s worth persisting with.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: TIGER KING – MURDER, MAYHEM AND MADNESS
Wow, where do we start? Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness is a bizarre true crime docuseries chronicling the feud between eccentric big cat enthusiast Joe Exotic and his long-time nemesis, animal activist Carole Baskin. The show really has it all - heartbreaking tales of animal exploitation, murder plots, cults, mysterious disappearances, suicides, arson, revenge, polygamy, drug kingpins, sexual misconduct, tiger attacks, country music and mullets - that’s just for starters. Episode after episode, just when you think you've got a handle on things, a fresh revelation appears and things get even crazier and darker than before. The magnificent tigers are constantly on screen but they quickly fade into the background as a wild bunch of cartoonish characters take centre stage. Littered with WTF moments, Tiger King offers viewers a timely escape from reality.
BEST EVENT: VIRAL FILM FESTIVAL
Viral Film Festival runs Thursday through to Sunday, bringing film fanatics together with a virtual mass-watching film club organised via Instagram. The festival hosts are playwright Brian Mullin and Irish film festival programmer Seán McGovern, who select the film, provide links to watch and, afterwards, run a post-film analysis and thought-provoking discussion on the making of the film just watched via IGTV (Instagram’s live TV). The first in the series featured Thelma & Louise – followed by fascinating insights and behind the scenes commentary about the costume designer who worked on the film, and how the clever use of colour palettes and accessories, like a rugged baseball cap, was used to chart Thelma’s character development.
BEST TV DRAMA: BABYLON BERLIN
Now in its third series, Babylon Berlin is the most expensive German TV show ever - the first 16 episodes costing €38m took six months to film in 300 locations, using 5,000 extras. Set in 1920s Weimar Republic, it’s a crime drama following police inspector Gereon Rath, a World War 1 veteran addicted to morphine to hide his shell shock. The backdrop is Berlin at a time of extremes, politically, socially and sexually. There’s hyperinflation, desperate poverty on the streets, and night club scenes of drugs and decadence. It provides much needed escapism right now with a dazzling cast of characters, sumptuous set design and smoky jazz music score. Bryan Ferry collaborates and makes a guest appearance in episode 10. But as the narrative unfolds about a populist far right gaining momentum, you start to wonder if it is quite so escapist after all.
BEST FESTIVAL: DEFECTED Virtual festival 2020
As the Ministry of Sound club is now closed to the public, Defected Records decided to put on a festival in our living rooms instead. It consisted of a 12-hour YouTube live-stream on 20th March with a variety of DJs and artists broadcasting from inside the club from midday to midnight. Now available on Spotify, it’s an energetic soundtrack, perfect for a run or workout, as background music working from home or even for a big Friday night in, and a great way to stay connected with other ravers.
Stay tuned for more in April