Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

Hey, you over there!!!!

I'm not very keen on most of what the BBC puts out as drama these days - Who and Life on Mars aside. I've never quite fallen for Hustle for example, though I can see the case for it, and the only classic serial I've liked in ages was Bleak House.

However, the show I love and which I get the impression a lot of my US and Canadian friends don't watch is Spooks which is the show that 24 might aspire to be if it had any brains, and was not just a neocon apologia for torture and god knows what.

Spooks is a constantly escalating series about a group of British intelligence operatives in which, every so often, people we care about are killed in action, or have to go into exile or hiding forever. It is also a show in which there are no friends, only interests - the CIA are as liable to be the villains of the piece as the Iranians and it is often a mistake to think you know what is going on. It is a show in which an embassy siege might be mounted by what appear to be Islamic extremists and are actually Mossad - in that one, with a grim sense of humour, the British sent the surviving Israeli agent off to Guantanamo.

It is a deeply cynical and pragmatic show - even when I disagree with its politics they are always intelligent and thoughtful. Some of the time it has been scripted by writers who are definitively of the Left, but it is never ever comfortable to any orthodoxy. The current series is tightly arced and deals with the Iranians getting nuclear triggers and joining the nuclear club - the episode which aired on digital this week, and will be on terrestrial next, had a group of fascists taking hostage the Q&A broadcast in which an appeasing trade deal was being announced as tools of an intelligence faction prepared to start WW3 rather than do business. Next week, apparently, the shit really hits the fan and a major character dies - I rather fear it may be the 'decent British chap' male lead, Adam.

In its time, it dealt with suicide bombers long before they hit the streets of London, and has included an attempted coup, what seemed to be a UFO and an attempt to destroy London with flood; it is full of lovelorn brilliant operatives and, as I say, kills beloved characters. The technogeek boyfriend of the unit's top techno guy was casually murdered during the coup attempt for example, and in the first series someone we were encouraged to think of as a long-term character ended up face down in a deep fat frier.

Also, the unit has the best boss ever - Harry Pearce, the cleverest man on the planet.

You really should watch it.
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