Bodyguard” (2018, BBC and Netflix), the six-episode British suspense series, starts with police sergeant David Budd (Richard Madden) trying to talk down a terrorist bomber on a train and mostly maintains that level of intensity throughout its run, but in a different way than its obvious point of comparison, “24.” The teeth-chattering suspense sequences are strong, but what makes “Bodyguard” stand out is its intricate plotting. Budd might not be in peril 24/7 like Jack Bauer, but there’s always something sinister going on that at least tangentially relates to him.
The ABC Murders,” a three-part miniseries that aired last year on BBC and is now on Amazon Prime, is a case study in the creativity and/or annoyances that come from reinventing source material in an adaptation. I’m not much of an Agatha Christie historian, but writer Sarah Phelps’ previous adaptation of the mystery author’s work, 2015’s “And Then There Were None,” rates an 8.0 on IMDB compared to a 6.6 for this one. My mom is a big fan of David Suchet’s work in “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” (1989-2013, ITV), and she found the reinventions here to be strange, making John Malkovich’s turn essentially PINO – Poirot in Name Only.
Afriend mistook “The Little Drummer Girl” for a Christmas series, and I explained that’s not what it is. As for what it really is, there’s the short version and the long version. Simply, it’s an espionage drama set amid the forever war between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the 1970s. AMC’s seven-hour miniseries has all the twisty spy intrigue you could want, but its strongest elements are the character study of English actress Charlie (Florence Pugh) and the amazing set and costume design. A viewer feels every minute of the run time, though, and often might desire to watch something more upbeat, like Norwegian death metal videos or snuff films of kittens being strangled.
Next, here are my top 10 TV shows. Some started in the ’90s, but for this list, I am just showing the years they aired during this decade. This top 10 is front-loaded (the most recent shows ended three seasons ago), reflecting the downhill trend as the decade wore on.