Ed James writes crime-fiction novels across multiple series.
His Scott Cullen series follows the career of a young Edinburgh Detective investigating crimes from the bottom rung of the career ladder he’s desperate to climb.
The spin-off Craig Hunter series focuses on an ex-soldier who is now a cop and how overcomes his PTSD.
Putting Dundee on the tartan noir map, the DS Vicky Dodds books star a driven female detective struggling to combine her complex home life with a complex caseload.
Set four hundred miles south on the gritty streets of East London, his DI Fenchurch series features a detective with little to lose.
His next series takes place thousands of miles west, with FBI Special Agent Max Carter investigating child abductions in Seattle and the US Pacific Northwest.
Formerly an IT project manager, Ed began writing on planes, trains and automobiles to fill his weekly commute to London. He now writes full-time and lives in the Scottish Borders, with his girlfriend and a menagerie of rescued animals.
Where do I start?
The tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) is:
- Senseless, and both the Carter and Fenchurch series can be read on their own.
- For Cullen, Hunter and Dodds, read in publication order, namely Cullen 1-7, Hunter 1-2, Cullen 8, Hunter 3, Dodds 1-2, Cullen & Bain 1-4, Dodds 3.
Here’s a link to my Amazon page featuring all of my books:
Here for the long answer? Okay, settle in.
At the time of writing (7th October 2020), I have published a lot of books. Eight Scott Cullen novels, six Simon Fenchurch, three Craig Hunter, two Vicky Dodds, and three Cullen and Bain short novels (with the fourth out in three weeks). And two Max Carter FBI thrillers (with a third coming in 2021). And Senseless. And that’s not even mentioning the two vampire books (which are currently unpublished).
That’s 25 novels, with at least another two out in the next three months (Fenchurch 7 might be coming too).
And it’s further complicated by the continuity between series, both hard and soft.
So let’s start with the easy stuff. The Max Carter books are out of continuity with the rest of my books. Easy.
Next, Senseless and the Fenchurch books share the easter egg of Charlie the Seahorse, but nothing else.
The Fenchurch books feature some loose continuity with the rest, mainly with some easter eggs e.g. Fenchurch 3 features a bottle of Dunpender whisky from Cullen 3. You can surmise that the gap in the criminal market created in Fenchurch 6 led to some antics in Hunter 3. (You could also link events in Fenchurch 6 to events in the Carter books, if you want. I haven’t, but if you want to, it’s totally cool.)
Now for the hard stuff, and Scott Cullen’s messy tales.
The first novel I published was Ghost in the Machine, back in April 2012, quickly followed by another three in just over a year (Devil in the Detail, Fire in the Blood and Stab in the Dark, originally published as Dyed in the Wool), then a fifth in 2015 (Cops & Robbers, originally published as Bottleneck), which I heavily edited recently (read: rewrote virtually from scratch) and added Craig Hunter to the book. Then I published a sixth in 2015 (Liars & Thieves, originally Windchill), followed by a seventh (Cowboys & Indians).
There was a three-year gap between the seventh and the eighth Cullen books, during which time I published two Craig Hunter books, Missing and Hunted, which feature Cullen in a somewhat adversarial role. Also, Craig Hunter features in the eighth Cullen, Heroes & Villains. And Cullen appeared in the third Hunter book, The Black Isle. Then Hunter appears in all four Cullen & Bain books (City of the Dead, World’s End, Hell’s Kitchen and Gore Glen).
Okay, so that sound complicated, right? But it’s actually straightforward. The optimal way to read them is in publication order, so:
- The first seven Cullens, then
- The first two Hunters, then
- The eighth Cullen, then
- The third Hunter, then
- The four Cullen and Bain books.
Note that Craig Hunter will be back in another solo outing before too long. And I’ve done an outline for a prequel to these books, starring Cullen, Bain and Hunter. Sign up to my mailing list to get a copy when I finish it, at least three months before it’ll be out on Amazon.
The next hard continuity is in the Vicky Dodds books. The first one, Tooth & Claw, came out in 2015, but I heavily edited it back in 2018, though didn’t introduce any continuity with other books. Vicky features in a brief cameo in Heroes & Villains, (yes that’s her on the training course). But there’s a lot more continuity with the Cullenverse in the second book, Flesh & Blood, finally published this year. And the third, Skin & Bone due out in May 2021, will feature a bit more continuity and will be set just after the second Cullen and Bain book, World’s End.
So, to summarise:
- Senseless, and both the Carter and Fenchurch series can be read on their own
- For Cullen, Hunter and Dodds, read in publication order, namely Cullen 1-7, Hunter 1-2, Cullen 8, Hunter 3, Dodds 1-2, Cullen & Bain 1-4, Dodds 3.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the books.
Final note is that I’m committing to make the first books in all of the main series I publish at the lowest price Amazon will let me, which is currently 79p/99c, and also all of the books I publish are available in Kindle Unlimited to read free.
Again, here’s that link to my Amazon page with all of my books:
Hey, hope you’re holding up well during all this madness.
Just a quick note from me to say that Hell’s Kitchen, the third Cullen & Bain book, is out now in ebook and paperback.
“Ach, it’ll be fine.” Famous last words that leave DS Brian Bain trapped across the other side of the Atlantic from where he needs to be. Recording a podcast while the world ends.
“This a nightmare.” Shoved back into operational policing to manage the lockdown in Edinburgh, Acting DI Scott Cullen is faced with some ghosts from his past. Ghosts that kill. And with Bain thousands of miles away, can his long-standing plan come to fruition? Or will events dictate his actions?
Buy it now at Amazon! The fourth, Gore Glen, will be out in November.
I hope you’re keeping well. I’ve just finished the third Max Carter book, which will be out in late January 2021.
Just a quick note to say that “Flesh & Blood”, the second DS Vicky Dodds book, is FINALLY out and available to read.
A dead body in a golf bunker. A serial killer back from the past. A daughter learning about her father.
When a body turns up in a golf course bunker, covered in blood and sand, DS Vicky Dodds must switch her usual Dundee patch to search her home town of Carnoustie for a murderer.
But when a second, connected body turns up, Vicky must confront the one who got away from someone close to her — the serial killer her cop father lost his mind hunting down back in the 90s.
As Vicky is torn between her job and her family life, other figures come out of the distant past. But can she stop this killer before he strikes again?
It’s available in ebook (£1.99/$2.99/€2.99) and paperback (£9.99/etc). Buy on Amazon now or read for free in Kindle Unlimited.
And if you missed the first book, TOOTH & CLAW, it’s currently 79p/99c in ebook!
(Note that I’ll be using this website a lot more over the next few months, so please keep checking in, and sign up to my mailing list to keep updated and get free, exclusive books!)
This year, my biggest writing focus has been on continuing the Scott Cullen series, but in a way that freshens it up for me.
Right now, I’m just away to start editing the third book in the series, “Hell’s Kitchen”, available to preorder here, but let me tell you how I got there.
Back in November 2017, I published a short story called “Travel Is Dangerous” in the CWA’s Anthology. Part of the agreement was that I could republish the story after two years. So, me being me, I had a little edit of the 4,000 word story. And it became a 25,000 word novella. And on the way, I somehow started writing from Bain’s perspective. Anyone who’s read one of those books, will know how… interesting that would be. And it was. That came out in March.
And what was next for the pairing? Well, World’s End. A few years back, I learnt that one of my friends was a “yellow item fiend”. You know what I’m saying, the type of guy who hangs around the price reduction section of supermarkets, waiting for the guy with the pricing gun to reduce the prices. In fact, my friend has gamified the system and doesn’t seem to buy anything above 5p.
When I was at high school, I had a part-time job in the local “Willie Low’s”, aka Wm Low, who were bought out by Tesco in 1995-ish. My pay went from £2.02 an hour to £3.90 in one move. Boom!
And that was the start of it. My friend’s deviancy, and some history. The story soon bloomed and blossomed into something different, something new. And it’s a 33k long novella now. “Hell’s Kitchen” draft 1 is almost 40k, so they’re getting longer!
Think of this format is like an episode of a TV show. Frequent episodes with a long-running story arc. They’ll be shorter but also cheaper.
And I’m loving writing these. I was in a bad place with these books. You might’ve noticed that it took three years for “Heroes & Villains” to come around, for instance. And no book nine. Well, here it is. Here they are. I’ve got a solid idea for a fourth book. And a fifth. I’ll keep these coming as long as you keep buying them.
Have a look at the books on Amazon now.
Book 1, City of the Dead.
Book 2, World’s End.
Book 3, Hell’s Kitchen.
Finally, hope you like the website. It’s a bit neglected, and I’m trying to simplify things so you can find stuff, but have a look and let me know if there’s anything you hate!
The first Max Carter book is out now!
FBI special agent Max Carter is on the hunt – he’ll stop at nothing to catch a kidnapper with a taste for danger and a need for revenge. Fans of Lee Child and David Baldacci will be gripped by this heart-racing thriller from bestselling author Ed James.
As Senator Christopher Holliday walks through the halls of the US Federal Building in Seattle, his phone beeps with an alert. Frustrated by the interruption, he takes a quick glance and is horrified by the image on the screen – his two children, Brandon and Avery, unconscious. The message simply reads: Meet me or they die.
The race is on to find the children and leading the investigation is Special Agent Max Carter from the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team. He will stop at nothing to find children stolen from their families – after all, he was once one of those taken children, so he knows exactly what’s at stake.
Rushing to the Senator’s home in Washington State, Carter faces a wall of police cruisers and blacked-out SUVs. Megan Holliday, the senator’s wife, was ambushed by a man with a gun as she returned home from taking her kids out for ice cream. Bound and drugged, the attacker left her unconscious on the doorstep before messaging her husband.
When Senator Holliday flees the federal building, but fails to show up at home, Carter grows suspicious. The busy politician has vanished without telling anyone what he’s up to. If Carter knows one thing, it’s that Holliday has something to hide. And he just became Carter’s prime suspect.
You can buy it everywhere!
I do hope you enjoy it, and please leave a review. It’s incredibly helpful!
In a possible bout of insanity, I have started a free weekly newsletter. Not for everyone, but maybe it’s just right for you? Sign up at https://edjames.substack.com and you’ll get a blast from the innards of my skull straight into your inbox. Starting tomorrow. Get to it!
PS Hunter 3 is on preorder now. Out 1st December. Preorder on Amazon now!
A brutal murder. A haunted detective. A case that unearths monsters.
When a young woman is killed, squashed between a London bus and a white van, DI Simon Fenchurch is called in to investigate, soon discovering the case has deeper roots than initially appears.
With new gangs wrestling to take over east London and a fresh wave of innocent victims exploited by new monsters, Fenchurch must work with old friends and new foes to unpick a web of lies and deceit.
As Fenchurch and his wife Abi struggle to reconnect with their daughter, Fenchurch comes face to face with his worst nightmare — the man who allegedly abducted Chloe eleven years ago, now out having served time for another murder. But is Fenchurch just playing to his own prejudices? Is he looking for the real killer? And will he have to pay a high price to catch a brutal murderer?
Available now from Amazon on Kindle (read for free using Kindle Unlimited) and paperback.
And thanks for all of the support over the years — I couldn’t do this without you.
So I thought I was finished with Fenchurch. I really did. But no.
I finished my contract with Thomas & Mercer with the August release of “Kill with Kindness”, and left Fenchurch and his family in a good place. Certainly compared with where he was when we met him in “The Hope that Kills”, it was almost like Fenchurch had found happiness.
When I was editing it, I found a little plot hole in book four, “In for the Kill”, that I wanted to plug with a novella. And novellas are nice and simple, no complexity, just fifteen to twenty chapters, 30,000 words. Easy.
I should’ve known myself by now. Two Cullen novels, book 3 “Fire in the Blood” and book 6 “Liars and Thieves” (previously known as “Windchill”), started out as novellas, but grew arms and legs as I explored them. Just like this one has.
Chronologically, the action occurred between books 3 and 4 but, rather than open up the numbering or lose some commercial jiggery pokery, I decided to put in two “bookend” chapters in, set after book 5, where Fenchurch arrives at court to give evidence on a case, then the drama was his testimony.
A few bits and pieces kept growing. Some opportunities presented themselves as I wrote. Before I knew it, my thin bookend chapter at the end had become three. And they didn’t really flow that well. So I had another look at the whole thing, and I could shift some of the drama out of the flashback section, partly because there wasn’t enough reaction and reflection between certain plot points, and…
Well, “Kill the Messenger” is a full novel now. Two parts. One set in the past between “What Doesn’t Kill You” and “In for the Kill”, and the second after book five, “Kill with Kindness”. It’s also a bit of an experiment to see if the self-publishing model works for a series this far advanced — if enough people buy this, then I’ll do more books. Simple. I’ve got ideas on how to make Fenchurch more miserable than he already is.
And it’s on pre-order now, with release on Feb 27th, 2019. For the whole of December, you can buy it for £1.99 (or the local equivalent) on Kindle, after which it’ll go up to £2.99. Which is a bargain. There’ll be a paperback on day one (Amazon don’t allow print-on-demand paperback pre-orders), but sadly no current plans for audiobook (the previous narrator has retired!). And if you’re in Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free when it comes out.
Anyway, hope you enjoy it when it comes out.
UK Amazon link — https://amzn.to/2BJwhWn
Rest of work — http://mybook.to/EJMessenger
And in case you’ve missed them, the rest of the series is 99p this month (UK, AU, DE only):
And you have read the latest Cullen, right?
You lucky, lucky people!
“Heroes & Villains”, the eighth Scott Cullen novel, will be released on 3rd November, 2018.
Pre-order it now:
Amazon UK | Rest of the world
After a previous case got him sidelined to a drugs investigation, DS Scott Cullen of Police Scotland’s Edinburgh MIT closes in on a long-time adversary. Dean Vardy, Edinburgh’s latest drug kingpin, and notorious rapist. Every time they close in on him, he gets off, aided and abetted by his lawyer, Campbell McLintock. But this time Vardy goes too far.
Or does he? After a witness dies, Cullen is soon desperately trying to hold the case together, with Vardy’s conviction dangling by a thread. Will McLintock get Vardy off yet again?
But soon, Cullen and his team are facing a different threat. A brutal vigilante, doling out frontier justice and obeying no laws. Can Cullen catch a killer who could be one of their own?
A sadistic killer. An infamous victim. A crime that gets darker and darker…
The body of a young woman is found in a London hotel room, the victim of a suspected poisoning. Called in to investigate, DI Simon Fenchurch soon discovers the case is far more sinister than he could have imagined.
He should have recognised the woman at once—a teacher at a local school, her scandalous affair with a pupil has been splashed across the tabloids. As Fenchurch interrogates those closest to her, a web of suspicious connections begins to emerge.
Meanwhile Fenchurch’s own life is still in turmoil: his family fragmented, his baby son in intensive care, and his mentor replaced by an unsympathetic new boss. The streets of London are in chaos too, with a spate of acid attacks on seemingly random victims.
Struggling to hold on to hope on both fronts, Fenchurch faces the toughest few days of his career. Can he keep his family safe and catch whoever is behind the murder before more lives are lost?
Buy it now!
UK — https://amzn.to/2nhcxkL
Rest of world — http://mybook.to/Fenchurch5
Quick new post from me to update you on what’s happening in my world. Realise that I’ve been very quiet since April, so let’s fix that.
Most of my time in 2017 was spent on that old rascal. Two novels, now called IN FOR THE KILL and KILL WITH KINDNESS, out in April and July respectively. They progress the Fenchurch story in a satisfying way, given what happened in book three, hopefully enough to buy me a little time and not have to write any more of him for a while. You’ll forgive me in time. I know you will.
Cullen & Hunter
I’ve started work on the eighth Cullen book, HEROES & VILLAINS. Given the release of the two Fenchurch books, it won’t be out until October. I’m trying something new with this one, so hopefully it’ll work well. There won’t be a Hunter book this year, but expect one next year assuming that book 2 keeps selling as well as it has.
Watch out for a new edit of book 1 to drop in the new month or so. New cover, a ton of editing (it’s almost a new book, goddammit) and hopefully enough energy to make people want a sequel. Book 2, FLESH AND BLOOD, will be the next Scottish cop book I do after Cullen 8. Both are long overdue, but Cullen is the one I get messages about every day, so . . .
What else am I doing?
Aha. Two big things. New things. As for what they are, you’ll have to watch this space, but they’re both going to be brilliant, even if I do say so myself.
Hope 2018 has been good to you.
The third DI Fenchurch book is out now. NOW. NOW!
What doesn’t kill you only serves to make you stronger. Or does it? Questions are answered, wounds reopened.
The body of a young City lawyer is discovered on an East London building site, assaulted and brutally murdered. Initial enquiries lead DI Simon Fenchurch to a driver employed by Travis, a controversial new app-based cab company. Within days another woman—a Travis driver—is found murdered.
As the body count goes up, DI Fenchurch and his colleagues on the East London Major Investigation Team delve into the crimes and unveil a murky conspiracy that some will do anything to keep hidden.
When familiar faces begin to emerge from the shadows, Fenchurch realises this case is more personal than he’d thought. Could he finally be on the brink of solving the mystery that has dogged him for over a decade: who abducted his daughter, Chloe—and where is she now?
UK link — http://amzn.to/2piriXl
US link — https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M1EOQDS/
AU link — https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B01M1EOQDS/
I seriously hope you enjoy the book and are still talking to me after it’s all done and dusted.
Hey. A quick note to say that “Hunted”, the second Craig Hunter novel, is out today.
DC Craig Hunter of Police Scotland’s Sexual Offences Unit. Ex-Army. Back doing the work that drives him, that makes a difference.
Private Sean Tulloch. Squaddie. Monster. He charms women. Moves in, dominates them, abuses them. Under investigation by the Sexual Offences Unit and the Royal Military Police, his partner Paisley Sanderson receives a threat. Soon she’s in hospital and Tulloch is in the wind.
Now, Hunter and DS Chantal Jain must hunt Tulloch down before he can strike again. Where is he? How did he know they were investigating him? A simple trip to Portugal soon grows out of control. Will Hunter take down Tulloch before his already horrific crimes escalate? Are the Army Police really on their side? Is DI Bruce really hunting a missing child or do his intentions lie closer to Chantal? Can Hunter and Chantal overcome their very different but very similar demons? And, in Sean Tulloch, has Hunter finally met his match?
U.K. link — http://amzn.to/2msvi64
US link — https://www.amazon.com/Hunted-Craig-Hunter-Police-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B06XFB123F/
Hope you enjoy it. I’ll be posting some stuff over the next few days to shed some more light on it.
Hope everything is good with you and yours.
First, happy new year. I hope 2016 is a thing of the past, but I suspect it’s going to just keep rolling and adding newer, shitty months to it. Ahem.
Anyway, I’ve been getting a load of emails of late asking when the next Cullen will be out. I think I might’ve promised about now. Well, I’ve got some bad news. I’ve not even started it. With a good wind behind me, it’ll be May/June before it comes out, depending on what other stuff I get asked to do.
But, there will be some new stuff from me very soon.
First, I’m deep into the second Craig Hunter book, “HUNTED”, just now. It’s not far off completion, to be honest, and I plan to just stick it on Amazon when it’s done. I’ve had it with pre-orders for my self-published stuff and just releasing it worked really well for “MISSING”, the first book. Anyone suffering Cullen withdrawal can see him in both books; also, the eighth Cullen will start off with the events in the background of “MISSING”…
Second, the third Fenchurch book, “WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU” is out on 20th April 2017 (it’s on pre-order now as it’s published by Thomas & Mercer). It’s been an ordeal, I have to say, but I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. Needless to say, poor old Simon will be getting a complete battering in this one, in so many different ways.
(I suppose I should let you know that, for anyone who’s not read the first Fenchurch book “THE HOPE THAT KILLS”, it’s in Amazon’s best books of 2016 deal just now, priced at £1.25!)
Finally, I’ll have some more news about Vicky Dodds coming soon, so keep an eye out on that one. I’m also toying with featuring her and DS MacDonald in Cullen 8 in a minor role…
Oh, and please subscribe to the mailing list to get my latest news and stuff, particularly about upcoming releases!
Hoping that you’re all enjoying the first Fenchurch book, “The Hope That Kills”, which came out last month (ish).
A quick note from me to say that book two, “Worth Killing For”, is out next Tuesday, 11th October 2016 —
I *love* that cover. Can’t stop looking at it.
Also, a little bit of news… I finished the third Fenchurch book last month, “What Doesn’t Kill You”. It’s due out on the 16th March 2017 and oh looky, while there’s no cover art yet, it’s ready for pre-order now —
News on some other releases soon — I’m working on the second Craig Hunter novel right now, “Hunted”. Hope you enjoy that London stuff.
Interview with me over at Rebecca Bradley’s blog, where I splaff about my writing process. Might be of interest to some of you…
And a spooky coincidence was, while I was doing that interview, my other half told me she was reading Rebecca’s debut novel (she recommends it highly).
A new series from the bestselling author of the Detective Scott Cullen novels.
Meet PC Craig Hunter of Edinburgh’s Local Policing Unit. Ex-Army. Ex-CID. Back in uniform.
A straightforward domestic call out twists out of control when 16-year-old schoolgirl Stephanie Ferguson alleges her stepfather, Doug Ferguson, has been abusing her. Hunter is soon working with DS Chantal Jain of Police Scotland’s Sexual Offences Unit to kick off the prosecution. But before a full statement can be taken, Stephanie disappears from hospital.
Now, Hunter must hunt the girl down before anyone else can. Where has Stephanie gone? Did she run? Or did someone take her? Will he get to the truth before it gets beaten into lies? Or before Stephanie is silenced for good…? And why does this case keep throwing up old enemies from Hunter’s past?
MISSING is a fast-paced police procedural, full of action and suspense that will grip you until its breathless conclusion.
Apologies for how late this has been, but I’ve been flat out with stuff since the start of October and it’s only now that I’m resurfacing. Hurgh. Anyway, I did a review of my TV watchings of 2014 in, erm, July, so here’s 2015’s in March.
Let’s start with something I missed from 2014, Silicon Valley (HBO, Sky Atlantic). Just the funniest, geekiest programme you’ll ever see. Set in the titular Silicon Valley, it features a gang of start-up millenials, who accidentally stumble upon an app everyone wants. As someone who loves following all that geek culture and is fascinated by the way the Googles and Amazons have changed the world, it’s pretty much perfect and shows HBO can still produce brilliant shows.
One of the best binges I had last year was Six Feet Under (HBO, DVD), which was the most astonishingly good thing I’ve ever watched, I think. Set in an LA funeral home, it tells the story of the Fisher family, initially dealing with the loss of the patriarch, but expanding into rich territories. The writing and acting was pretty much perfect, setting a standard few shows have ever met. In fact, few artworks have ever met. Classic HBO.
Unlike True Detective season 2 (HBO, Sky Atlantic) which was just horrible on so many levels. A lot of words have been written about how bad it was, but I’d say it’s largely because HBO dispensed with their tried and trusted method of an Exec Producer Showrunner, i.e. lead writer, supported by a writer’s room and put too much on the shoulders of Nic Pizzolatto. Nothing worked. The world-class acting from season one was replaced by fumbling performances by Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. The misogyny might’ve been lessened but at the expense of suspense, mystery and anything you would care for. Just terrible and an example of how not to do story and plot and character. If there’s to be a third season, I hope they let it stew for a while.
Showing how it’s done were two shows I watched on Netflix. Fargo (FX) and Better Call Saul (AMC). I was never a fan of the Fargo film, but the TV show was incredible. It had everything — comedy, action, tragedy, suspense, mystery, and excellent performances from Martin Freeman and, especially, Billy-Bob Thornton. Such incredible writing — the scene where the two henchmen argue in sign language was just, wow. And I was a huge fan of Breaking Bad. So much so that I was concerned about BCS. The first couple of episodes might’ve been a bit too cute with the BB references, but the series evolved into one of the richest and most heart-wrenching stories I’ve ever read/watched. Just sublime. [Note, I’ve watched the second season of Fargo and it’s just as good, and the second season of BCS might be even better — time will tell]
Another Netflix gem, this time a self-produced one, was Daredevil (Netflix). You’ll know that I’m an uber-geek and fell out of love with Arrow as it got blander. No such worries with DD, capturing the darkness and brutality of the comics after Frank Miller’s work, arguably perfected during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on it. The show does away with a lot of the camp of superheroism but still retains warmth and humour. It’s arguably a better crime story than superhero, but it’s still brilliantly watchable. [Note, a lot less convinced by Jessica Jones]
Other comics-related stuff is my devouring of The Walking Dead (AMC, Amazon Prime/Fox). Don’t be put off by the zombie setting, this is about people and how bad they are. There’s gore, yes, but it doesn’t really follow horror tropes, instead focusing on selfishness and alienation. There are plotting problems, mainly to do with the pace and frequency African-American characters are killed off, but it’s ludicrously compulsive watching.
Not so good was Fear The Walking Dead (AMC, AMC), which shifted the action from rural Georgia to LA and promised to show the apocalypse happening, something the parent show skipped over with Rick’s coma. Well, it did and it didn’t. Suffice to say, there must’ve been studio interference because they did the old time-jump trick just as things got interesting. Other than that, the show was okay. I didn’t really attach to any of the characters, which is the real strength of the other series.
I had a good bit of sci-fi catching up to do and watched Firefly and Stargate Universe, both of which were entertaining, if heavily flawed. Another great comedy show we watched all of was 30 Rock, Tina Fey’s seemingly autobiographical series set behind the camera on a weekly sketch show. Funny and insightful, what more can you ask for?
Terrestrial watching highlights were few and far between. British TV has got so bad that The Bridge III was the only decent thing worth watching and that was Scandinavian. Thanks for that, Tories. Everything else we tried was either scene-chewing Shakespearean tedium (focusing on the language rather than the stories) or just shit. Sorry. A decent gem was The Fall, an authentic Northern Irish serial killer drama starring Gillian Anderson, which stuttered a fair amount in the second season but was still pretty compulsive viewing.
And I’ll end on one of my highlights, The Good Wife. It must rank as a guilty pleasure, but it’s so very good. Really strongly written and tightly plotted, reflecting current events and breakthroughs. Makes you care about a firm of scumbag lawyers. Really. Unlike Damages (FX), which did the opposite — every character in it is horrible. One of the things that irk me about it is the creation of false suspense by a tedious flash-forward device — gruesome scenes are peppered in amongst some fairly low-key law-y stuff. Shows a real problem with the writing, in my opinion. Glenn Close is decent as an immoral lawyer but everyone else, meh. But watch The Good Wife. I’ve got seven eps of the final season ticking around.
And there you go.