2020 has seen many people watching more on-screen entertainment than ever before, and it comes as no surprise that the Welsh Film & TV industry has offered an array of impressive productions over the last twelve months. Here are our top ten, as chosen by the Wales Arts Review contributors. Our number one will be announced on Monday 21st of December.
Staged (TV, BBC One – Staged)
Mr Jones (Film)
Perry Mason (TV, HBO)
“Perry Mason stinks alright, and in a way that even its stylistic flourishes and the high shine of its production values can’t mask, but it’s drama well worth holding your nose for. There’s a campaigning champion for the most vulnerable people in society hidden somewhere beneath Rhys’s hard-bitten LA degenerate and I can’t wait to see how, and why, he emerges blinking from the sewer.”
“There’s a certain uncanniness to the world with COVID, plans disintegrate and the future wobbles ahead of us misty and unclear. Is there some parallel world out there where 2020 unfolded as expected? Maybe, maybe not – but in the first episode of the BBC’s second series of His Dark Materials, we’re certainly provided with parallel universes colourful enough to distract us from the one we’re in.”
Creepy Pasta Salad (Short Film)
“In My Skin feels like the real world, these characters feel like people we know, and that’s what the real power in the writing is.”
“The first episode ends with the story being set into motion, and the end product is an entertaining and heart-warming fantasy/drama that viewers of all ages can enjoy, whether they have read the original books or not. And may even inspire some to seek them out.”
“Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm is reverent in its attitude to the irreverence that permeates the Rockfield story. Tonally, Berryman has it just right, filling archival gaps in reminiscences of those who have worked and recorded there over the decades with punky animations and energetic edits. It’s a fun documentary to watch, and not just for those seeking a nostalgia pill.”
Saint Maud (Film)
“Debates about what really happened to Maud aside, Glass’ debut feels fresh and distinctive. Abrupt and unnerving, it will leave you wanting more.”
2019’s number one: The Dynamic Duo (Birdhouse Films/ BBC Wales; dirs. Sebastian Bruno and David Barnes)
Wales Arts Review works to bring our readers the best critical writing from Wales, and the best critical writing about Wales. It is a place where passionate and informed arts critics, from Wales and beyond, can find expression. Our writers are neither drum-beaters nor axe-grinders but simply knowledgeable and dedicated people who care deeply about culture and society.
Founded in March 2012, Wales Arts Review is a media platform where a new generation of critics and arts lovers can meet to engage in a robust and inclusive discussion about books, theatre, film, music, the visual arts, politics, and the media.
Wales Arts Review commissions and publishes content in the English language, yet it proudly acknowledges that Wales is a bilingual nation with a richly diverse bilingual culture. We therefore do not restrict our focus to arts and literature delivered only in the medium of English. We have published reviews and articles examining works by Welsh language artists and companies; from the work of Theatre Genedlaethol Cymru to TV hit crime-thriller Y Gwyll. We have also covered the National Eisteddfod and were proud to announce that the winner of our 2014 ‘Greatest Welsh Novel’ prize was Caradog Prichard’s Un Nos Ola Leaud. Wales Arts Review looks forward to working with partner organisations on future projects that critically evaluate and celebrate all the languages of Wales.
We believe that a vibrant arts scene is the expression of a confident, healthy and creative society. We further assert that a flourishing and vigorous critical culture is vital to its sustenance and development. As such, we regard Wales Arts Review as an important building-block in the new outward-looking, forward-thinking Wales.