Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Do you remember the 1990s TV series Sabrina the Teenage Witch? If so, forget everything you’ve seen. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is nothing like its predecessor

And no matter how much Riverdale wants to be a supernatural drama in its third season, it has nothing to do with that either, even though it is a spinoff and the town is mentioned a few times.

CAOS, as the show is known for in short, is a retrolicious homage to classic horror and simpler times, and that’s what we’re here for.

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SS-GB

SS-GB

The BBC’s television adaption of Len Deighton’s SS-GB (1978) sees Britain under German occupation. Operation Sea Lion has been a success. Winston Churchill is dead. An ailing King George is held prisoner by the Nazis. His wife and daughters have escaped to New Zealand. Neither the Soviets nor the United States have entered the war. A British government-in-exile is struggling to win diplomatic recognition.

The plot focuses on a Scotland Yard detective, Douglas Archer (Sam Riley), who is caught up in a rivalry between his two SS supervisors as well as a British Resistance plot to exploit competition between the Germany Army and the SS. (The title refers to the branch of the Nazi SS that controls Great Britain.)

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The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

Christine is a beautiful retro-style gal, living all alone in a house that wouldn’t look amiss in the latest incarnation of the horror classic The House on Haunted Hill.

She doesn’t live alone, however, sharing her home with a variety of monsters (literally) ranging from Rankle, the mummified cat; Rose, who is assumed to be mostly a raccoon; and Edgar, who looks like he could be a retro-style werewolf.

Top that off with ghostly roommate Vivienne, played by none other than Dita von Teese and several other wacky characters.

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A Very British Coup

A Very British Coup

In 1988, Channel 4 adapted Chris Mullin’s 1982 novel A Very British Coup for television. Although the country was well in the middle of the Thatcher boom at the time, the three-part miniseries harkened back to the 1970s and early 80s and its post-industrial gloom.

Under the last Labour government before Margaret Thatcher came to power, Britain had been plagued by strikes and energy blackouts, culminating in the humiliation of the world’s former superpower requiring a bailout from the IMF.

In Mullin’s story, it wasn’t Thatcher who won the election but the socialist Harry Perkins. The character is loosely based on Tony Benn, the real-world leader of the Labour left.

Perkins (played in the miniseries by Ray McAnally) is determined to make good on his election promises: (re)nationalizing industries, breaking up big media, withdrawing from NATO and scrapping Britain’s nuclear deterrent. His program spooks the British establishment. Spymasters, business tycoons and career civil servants conspire to bring Perkins down.

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The Alienist

The Alienist

Based on the novel of the same name by Caleb Carr, this ten-episode Netflix original brings you the story of the early days of profiling and CSI as we now know it.

Like many other period pieces, The Alienist makes use of a combination of fictional and real people, including Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan.

The story itself is not something I will go into too much, as we have a longstanding tradition of spoiler-free reviews here at Never Was.

What I can say is that this is not just a period crime drama, nor just another crimi where they try to find a particularly atrocious serial killer, nor your typical SteamGoth show.

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The Frankenstein Chronicles, Season 1

The Frankenstein Chronicles

Netflix has brought us another beautiful example of SteamGoth TV: The Frankenstein Chronicles, a British series which started in 2015 on ITV and was continued last year for a second season. Some areas already have season 2 available on Netflix as well, but we’re still waiting for that where I am. So I shall limit my review to season 1.

The show opens in London, on the River Thames, where we meet inspector John Marlott from the river police at his job. A grisly discovery on the riverbank brings an investigation into both the high society and underbelly of London to discover who is playing God, much like in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and to find a missing child in the process.

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Penny Dreadful, Season 3

Penny Dreadful, Season 3

Premier SteamGoth/horror series Penny Dreadful is back.

Season 3 takes place a few months after the events of the season 2 finale. If you haven’t seen season 1, it’s not the biggest issue in the world (although it does help to have seen every episode), but you really should watch season 2 before starting season 3 or else you’ll have very little clue about the background leading up to events in this season.

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Deutschland 83

Deutschland 83

Deutschland 83 is Germany’s answer to the highly successful American television drama The Americans. Whereas the latter follows two well-trained KGB “illegals” in the United States, Deutschland 83 centers on a young East German border guard who is unwillingly thrust into the middle of a nuclear standoff.

The two series have a powerful theme in common: the way in which the extreme polarization of the Cold War could tear families apart.

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Agent Carter

Agent Carter

Agent Carter is one of Marvel’s recent additions to their cinematic universe. Peggy Carter was first introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger, not only as Captain Roger’s love interest but as a lady of flawless class, style and competence. It’s no surprise the character became loved enough to earn her own TV series.

The time is 1946 and things have radically changed for Peggy. Where she was a valued part of anti-Hydra and -Nazi actions during World War II, she is now the sole female field agent of the Strategic Scientific Reserve — and grossly overlooked by her male co-workers.

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