With Channels 4’s recent on-demand service 4oD rebranding to All 4, here’s a look at three shows that you should definitely watch if you missed them last year.
Cucumber ( & Banana / Tofu)
Writer Russell T Davies’ natural successor to 1999’s legendary drama Queer As Folk, Cucumber was the centre-piece of ambitious three tiered output along with E4 sister show Banana and online documentary Tofu.
At times incredibly dark, but often laugh-out-loud funny, it divided the viewers and critics about the reality of its depiction of the Manchester gay scene, but nevertheless the underlying story arcs were one of genius.
Deliberately a slow-burner, all the characters, both main cast and peripheral, are given real depth through back stories in early episodes and interwoven narratives in Banana.
This means when the last three episodes really come to life, they do so with a huge impact often lost in other shows. A must watch – in tandem with Banana – if only for the superb writing and performances throughout.
Already mentioned in my 11 Great Things From 2014 list, Scrotal Recall is a poignant, but humourous modern twist on a romantic comedy. Although certainly not the best name for a TV show, the performances from the relatively new cast more than make up for it.
What looks at first like a brash E4-style comedy soon becomes more of a Gavin and Stacey style will-they-wont-they, told through the medium of whole flashback episodes rather than conventional narrative.
It stands alone as great series of only six episodes, and although a second series would be great, what we have is near perfection in its genre.
Quite simply, Utopia is one of the most innovative, genuinely shocking, mysterious and groundbreaking dramas to have hit our screens in a long time. Despite this, several awards and an up coming US remake, it’s now been officially cancelled, so you have a mere 12 episodes over two series to enjoy.
The plot revolves a set of ‘normal people’ dragged into a strange world of Government cover-ups and spy games all centred around a mysteriously powerful graphic novel. The visuals too often reflect these aesthetics with highly saturated coloured sequences and detailed camerawork.
It’s not afraid to shy away from controversial aspects of governmental decisions and their effects on human life across the world, including an incredibly unique flashback opening episode to the second series that intertwined the fictional drama with real-world events in the 1970s.
At times its more like a piece of art than drama, that you could – and probably should – lose yourselves in for hours.