As many people have discovered, there’s nothing quite so satisfying in the evening as finding a good box set to watch. Nevertheless they are addictive so I try to ration myself to one or two episodes a night. But sometimes I get totally gripped, which is what happened last night with Press.
I’d come across Press before on Netflix due to that charming way they have of flipping little clips at you while you browse (I’ve got into the habit of pressing the mute button while I do this else you’re blasted every few seconds with incomprehensible snatches of conversation, a bit like the old days when you used to tune a radio. There’s a bit in Wallace and Gromit but I can’t find that so enjoy this clip instead.) Anyway as I was doing a bit of the old scrolling I came across a series I’d previously dismissed. Let’s give it a try, I thought. OH is forever saying I’m too quick to make up my mind, so determined to watch at least ten minutes, I clicked play. And did not click another button until bedtime.
Press is a slightly sensationalist take on two rival newspapers, The Herald and The Post. More than loosely based on The Guardian and The Sun, these papers represent the polar extremes of print news, the Post (handily signalled by red tops on all their office computers) unprincipled, unscrupulous and rich, and the Herald (blue tops) principled, conscientious and struggling for cash. The series follows the journalists of both papers as they chase up stories, often competing for the same scoops. Things come to a head when the Herald takes on a wealthy entrepreneur accused of sexual abuse (remind you of anyone?) They go to press but unknown to them the Post has stolen the story and the entrepreneur takes out an injunction, forcing the Herald to pulp the entire day’s papers. And that’s where I left them.
The best series are those which build a world for you to enter, a believable place with a sense of location; peopled with characters to root for, lament over or boo at; a world you can inhabit for a few hours. I inhabited this world all evening; in fact I inhabited it for too long, because when it came time to return home I didn’t want to leave, and instead of doing the sensible thing and reading my book for ten minutes, I went straight up to bed where lo! I did not sleep for at least a couple of hours.
Ah well. It’s an addictive series and only slightly OTT which doesn’t matter because it’s believable. Box sets are like dreams really – it doesn’t matter how preposterous they are, so long as they’re believable. Then you can inhabit them and they can teach you something. I’m not sure what Press taught me but I had a great time learning – and there’s more to come…