There are two TV series that I’ve recently discovered and that I strongly recommend for various reasons:
Moyashimon Live-Action Drama
The story is based on the Moyashimon manga (first adapted into an anime in 2007: see ANN, Wikipedia and we had a nice article about it in PA #96) in which we follow the young Tadayasu as he enters an Agricultural University. Of course, he finds himself in all sorts of situations because of the special ability that allows him to see and communicate with micro-organisms like fungi and bacteria. I heard about the live-action drama adaptation several months ago, but I was surpised to discover yesterday that it was already available in North America through the Korean drama streaming site DramaFever.com (so far five episodes can be streamed for free) and FUNimation’s YouTube channel (also five episodes available so far; click here to see episode 1). It is both funny and very educational as it is relatively faithful to the original story (the choice of the cast is amazingly close to the original character designs).
Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth
A friend recently recommended me Ken Follet’s book The Pillars of the Earth. I downloaded it to my iPad from Apple’s iBookstore ($6.99) and started reading it. It is a complex and dark historical saga set around a medieval stonemason named Tom Builder who dreams of building a cathedral (for more details see the Wikipedia entries on the novel & TV series, the IMDb entry as well as Ken Follet’s website). Then, by chance, I discovered that it had just been adapted into a Germano-Canadian 8-hour TV series showing on both Starz and The Movie Network. I’ve seen three of the eight episodes so far (a fourth is airing tonight) and I think it is a compelling historical epic well worth watching. Of course, as for all adaptations, it is not entirely faithful to the novel, but, despite the relatively somber subject, it’s a good piece of entertainment with great actors. I’ve seen a really bad review in The Washington Post, but USA Today give quite a positive impression, as well as talking about the show production and even about an “amplified edition” apps available for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch! If you like historical drama, it is certainly worth checking out.