Television

Revisit Cold War Espionage in the BBC's 'The Game'

Tish Wells / McClatchy Washington Bureau (MCT)

The 1970s have become trendy again on TV.

The Game

Airtime: Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET
Network: BBC America
Amazon

In BBC America’s six-episode series The Game (Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET), the gray days of the Cold War, the fear of possible nuclear elimination by the Soviet Union is alive and well in the UK, and MI-5, the domestic counter-intelligence agency, is tasked with preventing it.

All of this comes out slowly in The Game where agent Joe Lambe (Tom Hughes) meets with a Russian defector who says that Britain is in danger from “Operation Glass". Lambe takes this to his boss, known as “Daddy” (Brian Cox) whose team has to tell whether the threat is real, fake or just spy-vs.-spy manipulation. It is all set in the 1970s, characterized by drab boring buildings and lighting, constant smoking, and much drinking.


During the Cold War the U.S.S.R and its allies dueled with the West — the UK, U.S. and others — for ideology (Communism vs. Democracy) and power.

One of the great strengths of the better British dramas is well-rounded characterization.

In The Game, each man and woman have their foibles and flaws but the real question boils down to is are they loyal to their country or to the Soviets or just to themselves?

One man is ruled by his ambitious mother’s demands. The team’s mousy secretary has gotten a promotion and hopes for more. The nuts-and-bolts technical genius is married to a rising star, and the work is stressing their marriage. Daddy has fallen for a Chinese ballerina in the days when China was totally Communist with absolutely no taint of modern capitalism. Is she a plant by the Chinese to infiltrate the Security Service?

The past haunts Lambe, a past where he was planted in the Soviet Union as a traitor and watched his girlfriend and lover be murdered by the Soviet spy he is now hunting. He acts more like a PTSD survivor spouting a MI-5 government line that he scarcely believes.

The office is a tangle of conflicting ambitions and wounded agents while the Russian bear is on the prowl outside.

Is the threat of nuclear warfare real or a trap? Are the Soviets really activating “sleeper agents” to make “Operation Glass” succeed? Will everyone in MI-5 die of alcohol poisoning or cigarettes before the nuclear strike? It’s worth tuning in to The Game to see.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.

Books

90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.

Music

Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

‘The Avengers’ Offer a Lesson for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.

Music

Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.

Music

Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.

Books

First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?

Reviews

HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.

Music

Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.

Music

How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.

Music

Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.