Bev is a downtrodden housewife who's failed her driving test eight times, having only been instructed by her impatient husband Ian. After registering with a driving school, she develops a crush on her instructor, Chris.
Despite some reservations, a marvellously engaging and enjoyable programme
After watching bits of "Queer As Folk", a season of the new "Doctor Who", the "Doctor Who" Christmas special (also listening to the accompanying commentary) and the three parts of "Casanova", I think I've figured out what it is that frustrates me about Russell T. Davies's writing: its inconsistency. If it was merely mediocre, I'd simply dismiss it as such--but it's not.
His stories do have characters, scenes, and story arcs that are absolutely wonderful; his attention to detail can be minute; his dialogue can be scintillating in its irreverence and vivacity and his plot development can display astonishing originality. But these moments of brilliance are offset by under-developed secondary characters, unconvincing gaps in the plot, frankly ridiculous surprise twists, huge leaps of logic, jarringly crass jokes, lines intended merely to shock and unexplained dialogue non sequiturs. When I watch his work, I find my reactions alternating between, "Wow, this is great!" and "WTF?"
As for "Casanova" specifically: on balance, I love it. It's funny, engaging, exciting, romantic, sexy, and devastatingly sad at the end. It portrays a compellingly sympathetic Casanova and makes me curious about the real historic figure. While I personally already enjoy a lot of "costume dramas", I applaud this production's efforts to bring a younger and hipper audience to the genre. The acting is fine across the board and the leads (David Tennant and Peter O'Toole especially) are excellent. The innovative direction is effective. Since I knew beforehand not to expect historical accuracy, most of the anachronisms didn't bother me.
My chief complaint aside from the Russell T. Davies stuff mentioned above is probably with the music, the quality of which, like the writing, varied widely in my opinion. Some of it was fantastic, to be sure, but a significant amount was irritating and intrusive. And, call it a personal pet peeve if you will, but I really really dislike the sound of synthesized strings and brass. If it's a choice between what are obviously synthesizers and minimal or no instrumental accompaniment, I almost always prefer the latter.
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