Finally finished ‘The Stranger’

I finally finished The Stranger with Richard Armitage and I thought it was the best thing Richard’s done in a long time.

I watched the first two episodes with Mr Esther just after it first came out but then we got stuck with either not the time nor the mood to continue watching together. There’s a lot of build-up with a lot of storylines which was interesting enough to draw us in but didn’t quite hook us completely. We faced the same dilemma that was voiced in this delightful interview with Richard Armitage and Jennifer Saunders: do we continue watching together or not?

In the end, a week and a half later, I proceeded on my own with Mr Esther’s blessingΒ  and I binged the rest of the 6 episodes. I like these mystery/murder shows well enough but they’re not necessarily my go-to genre. Having said that, I did enjoy watching this one. I’m not going into an in depth critique here (no spoilers either); I did have some gripes with long build-ups and some storylines/characters that just fizzled out, but other than that I thought it was properly good. Richard sure made a lovely family man.

My friend, who had come to watch the Oscars live with me on Sunday night, mentioned out of the blue that she had watched The Stranger and that she had loved seeing Richard as a dad. I think that is what prompted me to finally binge the rest of the episodes and she was right! I too loved seeing daddy Richard, which includes that silly dad joke he did in this scene.

Richard does a wonderful job portraying a man falling apart and seeing his whole world fall apart after being confronted by this stranger and the secret she tells him about his wife. The man does anguish so well, his anguish in the final episode was heartbreaking.

For me the real highlight (besides Richard) turned out to be Siobhan Finneran. Apparently she is known for Downton Abbey but as I never watched Downton for more than a few episodes (it was, surprisingly to me, never able to grip me) I didn’t know her. She plays DS Johanna Griffin and I have to say she got to me from the first moment she came on screen. I could watch a whole series centered around her and Heidi Doyle’s (played by Jennifer Saunders) friendship. Thelma and Louise indeed. For all the Jennifer Saunders hype, there was less of her in this than I thought; I would have loved to see much more of her.

I loved when Johanna and Adam Price (Richard) finally joined in their storylines.

I also really liked Hannah John-Kamen as the stranger. That woman is mesmerizing.

I felt that some characters’ stories weren’t really tied up properly and the connections between some people were a bit too coincidental. I also wasn’t sure about the ending for Johanna, I felt that the choice she made wasn’t quite in character for her.

Having said all that, I still thought The Stranger was good. It was suspenseful with lots of twists and turns and surprises, the cast were all truly great and I liked how this homicidal drama happened in such a ‘normal’, mundane world, right up to the conclusion at the end.

The Stranger is apparently doing very well in ratings…

I hope this will open doors to some better jobs for Richard and I hope to see more of Siobhan Finneran and Hannah John-Kamen. I also wouldn’t mind seeing more of Jennifer Saunders in dramatic roles. It’s not perfect but it certainly is a thumbs up from me.

Mrs Maisel, The Stranger & Uncle Vanya

It’s been pretty busy here with little time for blogging this past week. Besides work and family I’ve been binge-watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel which I liked not quite as much as I had anticipated but I still did really enjoy it. I love that it’s all set in Jewish families at the end of the 1950s/beginning 60s and I really enjoy the every day humor (more than the stand up routines). My fave characters are Susie Myerson (played so brilliantly by Alex Borstein, in the left picture on the left) and Abe Weissman (played by Tony Shalhoub) who is Midge Maisel’s (Rachel Brosnahan’s) dad.

ButΒ Mrs Maisel is really just a side note here. I didn’t start this post to talk about that show, I came to gush about the one and only Richard Armitage and his new projects!

Yesterday a more extended trailer for his Netflix series The Stranger dropped:

I’ve gotta say, it really does look good! After the Berlin Station hype (a show I never really enjoyed despite the hype) I have been cautious to get excited about this project. However, after seeing the trailer I have got to say, my expectations have really risen! The Netflix page is already there, looks like this for me:

Netflix The Stranger RA

Guess I know what I’ll be doing with my evenings in two weeks time. It’ll be the first thing I watch on Netflix after watching and re-watching Anne with an E (which still needs to get renewed! Come on, get with the program, Netflix!).

Not only The Stranger is looking good! Richard’s play Uncle Vanya has opened in London this week and the first whisperings are also sounding very good. It’s looking beautiful too.

2020-0117 Uncle Vanya 012020-0117 Uncle Vanya 03

And some really nice and beautifully dramatic stage stills were released today; I just love the look of that decor and the costumes. Here are the images Richard is in (click on images to enlarge)…

I am also very curious to see Toby Jones and Ciaran Hinds. I don’t know Rosalind Eleazar but she does look lovely here.

Servetus has already been to 3 performances of Uncle Vanya, she wrote about them here, here and here. Guylty has written about stage door experiences here and here. There has been some sharing on Twitter, among others by the lovely Linda Sechzig (one of my partners in crime when we saw Richard in Newcastle two years ago)…

And now more than ever I am looking forward to next month, when I get to see all this for myself in London! I will only be going to one show (yeah, just can’t do more, I have a family budget to consider) but one is far better than none, right? This Richard Armitage year is starting out really well. πŸ™‚

Richard on a Monday morning…

I’m working from home today but it’s not that busy and I came across this article published today in The Telegraph that I just had to link to here. If you register you can read one article per week for free, so I registered and read the article. I liked it far more than the one from yesterday because it gave me quite some new information. Yay! I took screenshots, so I’ll just copy and paste the article here:

RA Telegraph 01RA Telegraph 02RA Telegraph 03RA Telegraph 04RA Telegraph 05RA Telegraph 06RA Telegraph 07RA Telegraph 08RA Telegraph 09RA Telegraph 10

Of course, there is the mandatory beefcake reference but there’s much more too, like how he uses his body to fit his roles (contradicting being ‘way past taking his shirt off’ with examples of how he still does take his shirt off – LOL!), talking about Uncle Vanya coming at the right time when he too is in a mid-life crisis, referencing a relationship he’s in and that’s it’s a good one which makes me very happy for him (I suspected as much after seeing this photo, although he doesn’t mention who he’s in a relationship with), and I was surprised that he’s been ‘based’ in a hotel for the past 5 years when I thought he had bought an apartment in New York. Also, he mentions optioning the Joy Ellis novels and working on a pilot for The Taking of Annie Thorne. I don’t know in what capacity he’s working on the projects but it’s interesting nonetheless. And reading his description of what The Stranger is about makes me more curious to watch it than I was before, it sounds quite good! Yes, this article is a nice mix of not so new and new information and I like it.

I just now saw a tweet from Richard referencing the article and finding the title misleading…

I think he may regret talking private life now, and creep back into his shell, but I kinda like getting that little glimpse in. This new year is starting well with all the Richard-content we are getting. πŸ™‚

Richard in 2019 – my fave pictures

I was just going through some images I saved of Richard this year and thought I’d post my fave ones of 2019 here.

I’ll start with screenshots I took of him in Berlin Station, season 3. Techincally they are from 2018 but I only braved watching the first 2 episodes of season 3 at the beginning of this year (never bothered watching the rest) and I made these screenshots. I really liked domestic Daniel Miller in bed with Esther Krug (Mina Tander)…

… and this image was my favourite:

Berlin Station s03e01 RA (4)

Suffering Daniel looked good…

… as did party Daniel with Valerie Edwards (Michelle Forbes):

Berlin Station s03e01 RA (47)

But that’s pretty much all I enjoyed about Berlin Station season 3. On to other pictures…

At the end of January Richard was at the Sundance Film Festival for The Lodge (a movie I have yet to see, even though I’m not too keen on it or the genre). He didn’t look so comfortable with his co-star so I have no pictures with her that I liked, but I did like these:

He looked more at ease with Amy Ryan and Mindy Kaling, whom he had worked with before…

At the beginning of February he did the Hannibal Red Dragon Con in London, which gave us these lovely images that I really liked. He often looks best when he interacts with people (as opposed to just posing):

I saved this picture of him that I really liked in March, although I’m not sure anymore what the particulars were surrounding this image:

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There was a lovely candid taken on a plane during the filming of The Stranger at the beginning of May:

RA on a plane 2019-0502

In August more lovely travel pictures of Richard arriving in Seoul were shared by fans. I, like many others, instantly thought, “ah, grown up Harry Potter!” and found them adorable:

There was a fun The Stranger wrap picture:

2019-08 RA The Stranger bts wrap

And on his 48th birthday on August 22nd, Richard shared this sweet childhood picture:

2019-0822 Childhood picture posted on 48th birthday

My brothers totally had that same haircut in the 1970s (yes, that’s me aged 3 on the right)!

09DE KINDEREN 1973

In September, Richard was at the Toronto International Film Festival, premiering and promoting My Zoe with Julie Delpy. My fave images:

And these two daddy-Richard stills from My Zoe made my heart go pitter-patter:

I also liked this September image of Richard in New Jersey at the Audible office there:

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This image of Richard in October at a charity function with a guy called Jim Gibb had him looking so relaxed and happy:

2019-1021 Jim Gibb and Richard Armitage attend the 13th Annual Golden Heart Awards -gettyimages

And most recently in December I enjoyed these images of Richard at a screening of The Stranger in London (I love that he is in this with Jennifer Saunders!):

I also quite liked his Christmas message photo:

RA Christmas 2019

But my absolute favourite 2019 photo of Richard, one of my fave ever of him, is this one from October taken by Dr Gotts:

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This image I just can’t get enough of! Maybe I should have it signed at the stage door if I am fortunate enough to meet him there after the Uncle Vanya play next year? In any case, I adore the longer hair and beard, I think this is my fave Richard Armitage look. If he starts 2020 continuing to look like this, then maybe that is the sign of a good year coming up? πŸ˜‰ I sure hope so, in any case! For him, for us, for everyone…

The Stranger, first screening

Apparently, there’s been a screening in London today of the first episode of Richard Armitage’s The Stranger project. Some nice pics of the man were shared on The Stranger’s Twitter page. There was a q&a as well.

There’s the writer Harlan Coben and there’s Jennifer Saunders! I love Jennifer Saunders. More than anything, I’m tickled pink that Richard’s in a TV show with her.

The Stranger screening 07

I really like Richard in a turtleneck and with the longer hair and beard, he looks just as I like him to look. πŸ™‚ Here’s Richard alone (click on images to enlarge):

… modified to add one more picture, nicely up close…

2019-1210 RA The Stranger screening (10)

… and Richard with Dervla Kirwan and Hannah John Kamen…

… and another group picture with this time Richard right beside Jennifer:

The Stranger screening 06

These two ladies really liked that first episode…

I kinda like the idea of some funny moments in this as well. I so wonder whether I will like this… It will air on Netflix on January 30th, 2020.