BEST SPY TELEVISION SHOW EVER: SPOOKS!


“I wonder if you can even remember the truth of what you were. You’re a killer John, who fell asleep, and dreamed he was a hero. Now it’s time to wakeup and remember the truth. The dream is over now, and the killer… is awake.”—SPOOKS Season 9

I just got done watching 9 Seasons of SPOOKS.

Wow.

What can I say, except… best cliffhangers ever!! And one of the most uncompromising and emotional shows that I’ve ever seen. And notice I say SPOOKS and not MI-5. For the love of God avoid the edited, censored US version of this phenomenal British show (one reason I refuse to watch anything on BBC America, I’ll just wait for the unedited DVD).

Get yourself a multi-region DVD player, buy the original PAL/UK DVDs and see this show as it was intended, in all its uncompromising, and at times anti-US glory. Or else don’t see it at all. Oh and avoid plot synopsis and reviews that give away reveals that are exceptionally important to really being flabbergasted by the series.

Like any series that runs this long, not all the shows are going to be home-runs. An occasional show is going to underwhelm, writing is going to falter become a bit too soapish and irritating (I think particularly noticeable in season 3). It’s a show that while no stranger to the cliches of the genre (to include at times a bit too much style over substance, the slow-mo walks and jittery camera work particularly in season 8 calls attention to itself… and not in a good way) manages to always transcend its missteps and crank it up and deliver and make you care.

The writers and particularly the actors are to be commended for making you care… oft deeply, for these tales of spooks and spies and private eyes.

For those of you who have never seen this series, I envy you the journey. Just start with season 1 of SPOOKS, and keep on going.

I have the last season yet to see, but I tend to take a break after every three seasons, mixing up my DVD binges with book binges, so I’ll probably get to season 10 sometime this spring. Plus I’m hearing mixed things about the last season, so I’m in no rush to get to it.

The show for a decade has managed to keep reinventing itself every season, in a way I did not think would be possible. But it just goes to the strength of the British talent pool, that every irreplaceable actor… could indeed be replaced. That goes to the truth of the fiction the show crafts.

What elevates this show is the courageousness of its scripts, that for the most part resists the simple black and write, good guy, bad guy, lowest common denominator story-lines you would get from a US show. Best spy show ever? I cannot think of one better.

Highest Recommendation. A-.

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