Thursday, September 30, 2010

BBC Winter Lineup - My Highlights

By tomorrow, it will be October and the BBC have finally shown us their winter lineup. There are a lot of interesting shows that I'll talk about more over the next few days but here are the four that I really want to see the most and yes, I'm a walking cliche

Accused: Christopher Eccleston was fantastic a couple of months ago as John Lennon in Lennon Naked and now he's back in this six part drama. Christopher appears in the first episode, playing a drug dealer awaiting to hear his fate in the dock. Later episodes will feature Mackenzie Crook, Peter Capaldi as well as Marc Warren, Juliet Stevenson and Andy Serkis. A date has yet to be confirmed.

Single Father: Expect the explosion of fangirls in the next few weeks because David Tennant is finally back on UK television in this four part series from Mick Ford. Tennant plays a photographer named Dave, whose life is turned upside down following the death of his wife in a road accident as he raises their four children and falls for his wife's friend, Sarah (Suranne Jones). Normally it wouldn't be my thing but I'll give it a go and it starts on October 10th 9pm for four Sundays on BBC1.

Christopher And His Kind: I'd be lying if I didn't say I was looking forward to this one. Matt Smith playing a gay writer - Christopher Isherwood certainly appeals to me the most of these other projects from actors who've played/currently play the Doctor and hopefully there'll be some pretty good guy on guy stuff to boot. BBC2 will be airing this one in late October.

Doctor Who - Christmas 2010 Special: I love that the Moff man isn't overly big on spoilers but I wish we would get an episode title for this one already. Both Michael Gambom and Katherine Jenkins look great and the clips in the BBC trailer seem to back up the fact that this special will be a take on A Christmas Carol. And there better be plenty of Amy and Rory as well as the Doctor playing Christmas ghosts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nip/Tuck - Season 6 Review

US Airdate: October 14th 2009 – March 3rd 2010

As the show enters it’s final season, both Sean and Christian are forced to put business above friendship and as Liz prepares for motherhood, Matt hooks up with the last person who should be around kids and Kimber meets an unfortunate ending while Julia occasionally pops up here and there.

Final Cut: They always say that it’s best for a television show to know where exactly to end and I can’t help but wonder if Nip/Tuck’s last year adheres to that rule or if it became a series that perhaps outstayed its welcome. Unwisely spanning the fifth season throughout the space of three years wasn’t the brightest of ideas on Ryan Murphy’s part and there’s something in particular about this season that heightens feelings of fatigue to be perfectly honest.

Hitting on the recession has become such a popular theme with most TV shows at the minute that it’s not entertaining to watch and nor have we heard anything new so watching both the business and Sean’s financial struggles throughout the season doesn’t make the kind of emotional dent that it might have done maybe a season ago to be brutally honest.

Also I can’t help but think that perhaps Ryan Murphy’s reduced running of this series (along with the previous year) may also come into how the quality from this series is noticeably all over the place. While he was off getting Glee off the ground, it seems that the writers were going through a myriad of different storylines that all had differing potentials but never really reached them.

First of all, there’s Teddy. Rose MacGowen replacing Katee Sackhoff in the role was fine – she works well with Dylan Walsh and the character’s still interesting but she’s also too short lived. Only lasting five episodes and then being killed by a random serial killer might have some poetic justice to Teddy but it’s a disappointing way to bump off a character that at least could’ve lasted a bit longer, especially given that this season was lacking in interesting villains.

And there’s the arrival of Sean’s younger brother, Brendan. He’s no sooner on the show, then he leaves again because Christian managed to successfully widen the gap between Sean and his brother during his own little drug spiral, which is another plot that’s poorly developed as well this year. We wait six seasons to see someone from Sean’s family and we barely get time to know the guy – bad move, writers.

Sean and Christian’s relationship is another sour point of this season too. Through thick and thin, we’ve always been left to believe that the two of them would still have a friendship by the time this show would end but every season has seemingly chipped away at it that by the time they both come to their seperate ways in the last ever episode – the show’s 100th, it’s actually a relief. I’m pretty sure that’s not the emotion I should be feeling about their friendship eroding but the show certainly ended their once interesting dynamic on a sad note.

As for Liz, well divorcing Christian was never going to be easy and while she failed to finally find someone to love her, she did at least get a baby out of the deal with Sean as well as becoming a partner in the business, so overall, Liz is probably the only person to have really benefitted from this ending.

Other people who didn’t benefit included Julia being married off to some random English guy but at least she managed to stop both Sean and Christian in their tracks from pursuing her for the umpteenth time and that’s doing much better than either Kimber or Matt to be honest. Julia really isn’t that much of a big deal this season and that’s probably one of the better things about this year.

However, I’m still not sure who got the worst deal – Kimber for marrying Christian again, becoming miserable, having an affair with Sean that was impossible to care about and ending it all off-screen or Matt, who decided to sabotage a good thing with Ramona so that he could be Ava’s whipping boy until she tires of him. That coupled with his complete ease at using Jenna to get back with Ava and that mind numbingly stupid storyline at the start of the year of him being a mime robber were more than enough to make me realise that Matt is still one of the worst TV characters ever written and that this series has had it’s day.

The last episode of the series isn’t horrible and there are some nice emotional beats but after six seasons and 100 episodes, the show more or less came to a whimper of an ending, rather than the bang that it should’ve ended with. It’s not that I’m against the finale being somewhat more subdued compared to the outlandish stuff the series has mostly given us but still, the ending was a major letdown. I can only hope that this isn’t a fate that visits Ryan Murphy again with Glee.

DVD EXTRAS:
This show’s never been awash with plentiful extras and for a final DVD set, don’t expect much here. Apart from deleted scenes and blooper, the only other offering seems to be a feature on the psychology of plastic surgery and that’s really your lot.

EPISODE RATINGS

6x01: Don Hoberman = 7/10, 6x02: Enigma = 7/10,
6x03: Briggitte Reinholt = 8/10, 6x04: Jenny Juggs = 8/10,
6x05: Abigail Sullivan = 6/10, 6x06: Alexis Stone = 8/10,
6x07: Alexis Stone 2 = 7/10, 6x08: Lola Wlodkowski = 9/10,
6x09: Benny Nilsson = 7/10, 6x10: Wesley Clovis = 7/10,
6x11: Dan Daly = 8/10, 6x12: Willow Banks = 7/10,
6x13: Joel Seabrook = 9/10, 6x14: Sheila Carlton = 8/10,
6x15: Virginia Hayes = 7/10, 6x16: Dr. Griffin = 7/10,
6x17: Christian Troy 2 = 8/10, 6x18: Walter And Edith Krieger = 7/10,
6x19: Hiro Yoshimura = 6/10.

Season 6 is currently available on DVD.

Now Are You Scared Of Dolls (DW Series 6 Spoilers)

Okay, there hasn't been a lot of new pictures of Series 6 filming of Doctor Who but some little gems have emerged though.

Like these creepy as hell looking dolls. If you were wondering what the menace was going to be from the Mark Gatiss, then it's this lot. Will this lot actually scare the crap out of me? I'll find out in another seven/eight months presumably.

Filming for the Neil Gaiman has now taken place and while no pictures have surfaced of Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill or guest star Suranne Jones (Idris) yet, this one does seem to suggest that we're getting an episode on the ruins of an alien planet for a change.

Tomorrow's release - The Brilliant Book has some intriguing hints for the sixth series and if you can read them here, then be intrigued. What the heck has Granny Grainger done to terrify Rory though and the ordinary block of flats has to tie into episode 4 of course.

How does the Doctor defeat the Sahara desert? Octavian wasn't lying about River not being trustworthy? And the Doctor will be on trial and get married - twice? Now, I'm worried. And the bones of the TARDIS just sound creepy as well.

Monday, September 27, 2010

SJA Series 4 New Photos/Spoilers/Trailer

So, we're about a fortnight away from the new series of The Sarah Jane Adventures and the promotional stuff is in full swing at this rate.

Above is a picture of the full cast in the first story, The Nightmare Man which sees Davros actor Julian Bleach playing the titular baddie as Luke suffers some pretty bad nightmares in this opening story. It's also noteworthy that this story will see Luke bow out of the series as well. Meanwhile the Androvax are back in the second story, The Vault Of Secrets and this time around, they mean business. Also expect some more links to last year's animated Doctor Who story, Dreamland in that story as well as Rani's mother join a group for people who've encountered alien life forms.

What can I tell you about Death Of The Doctor? Actually a damn lot. Both Sarah Jane and Jo Grant believe the Doctor is dead and the Shansheeth are the alien equivalent of undertakers - that's one thing. I can also tell you that Laila Rouss is playing UNIT lady Tia Karim, Jo has a grandson called Santiago and that some of the action also takes place in Mount Snowdon and will feature a Groske, which looks exactly like a Graske. I still have no idea as to how Amy and Rory are not in this story though.


Meanwhile The Empty Planet is an unique tale because it's one where both Clyde and Rani are the only people on Earth, so they've got to figure how to save the day without Sarah Jane and against some robot enemies as well. Originally this idea was going to become one of the specials for Doctor Who in 2009 but something tells me that it was an idea better left for this series instead. Elsewhere, Lost In Time puts Sarah Jane, Clyde and Rani in three different time periods and also features the return of the Blathereen.


As for Luke, it's been rumoured that he might resurface in the finale, Goodbye Sarah Jane Smith. Written by both Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman, this promises to be one hell of an emotional ender for the season as Sarah Jane contemplates ageing and Julie Graham will play alien investigator, Ruby White. If none of the above isn't enough to sate your appetite for the new series, what will?

Series 4 airs Mondays/Tuesdays on CBBC from October 11th at 5.15pm and is repeated on BBC1 on Wednesdays/Thursdays from October 13th at 4.30pm.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Review of Dexter's 4x06: "If I Had A Hammer"

Written by Lauren Gussis
Directed by Romeo Tirone

Therapist (to Dexter/Rita): “See, what happens when you’re honest? You get what you need.”

So, if I’m super-super-super honest in one moment, I’ll give a lifetime supply of my favourites foods? I have a feeling the answer is probably no there. Honesty is the best policy and being handed a murder weapon can go both ways for Dexter if he’s not bloody careful.

Dexter and Trinity finally meeting was a long time coming and it was as satisfying as I had hoped it would be. Like Dexter, Trinity’s excellent at hiding in plain sight but unlike Dexter, he’s actually a lot better than him with doing so. If I didn’t notice better, there would be no way in hell that I would suspect a sweet community helping deacon of being a psycho killer.

I remember watching the latest incarnation of Sherlock a few weeks ago where there was the commentary on Moriarty’s ability of hiding in plain sight and if Dexter didn’t know who he was looking for, then Arthur Mitchell would’ve slid under the radar. Now Dexter’s made damn sure he’s with Arthur’s radar and that could go either way for him.

I thought it was a little premature for Dexter to be testing Arthur’s resolve and holding Vera’s ashes wasn’t the smartest of ideas for Dexter. Arthur just about managed to stop himself from properly lashing out on Dexter but even then, it’s a little suspect that Arthur would hold back on a complete stranger.

A couple of theories behind this could be that perhaps Arthur spots something of himself inside Dexter. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone’s really spotted Dexter’s dark passenger but if Dexter thinks that holding off killing Arthur is a good idea, then he’s wrong. There might be a lot from Arthur that Dexter can learn but there’s also a lot that can go wrong as well, especially when Arthur learns who his new friend is.

As for the depiction of Arthur’s family life – it’s a hard one to tell really. His son came across as someone rather conditioned to praise his father in an unusual manner and the scene where Arthur stepped into the bathtub with his wife gave me the creeps because I did actually think that he was going to kill her, even though he does appear to love her – something which didn’t escape Dexter’s attention either.

The one thing that Dexter did learn from Trinity/Arthur this week was the power of sharing. He helped on Arthur’s community based project and by opening up to Rita during their second therapy session, he managed to get himself a nice shed in their house in order for him to hide all his dark passenger stuff.

With any luck then, we can go through the rest of the season where Dexter and Rita aren’t arguing over secrets being kept and the like. It’s not that I don’t realise that Rita has a point but I just hate the way that she’s been largely reduced to a nag this season and this episode finally did seem to do us all a favour and snap her out of it.

Speaking of snapping, I keep waiting for the moment where Deb’s grief Lundy would result in her snapping at someone but I guess the closest that’s going to happen was with her little alone time incident with Nikki of all people. And even that wasn’t as disastrous as it could’ve been.

I personally don’t feel sorry for Nikki as a character, not even when Deb laid into her but at the same time, I was glad that Nikki’s words stopped Deb from behaving recklessly as did Quinn’s to a lesser extent. Now that Deb knows that Lundy’s tape were stolen, Trinity killed Lundy and who seemingly was sleeping with Harry, things are somewhat looking up for the character, even if Dexter isn’t particularly happy about Deb’s stellar police work.

Something I’m not happy with was the way that Maria and Angel had their hands forced into breaking up. I think that had been Mathews plan all along for whatever reasons he has (spite, lust for Maria?) and it sucks because while I might be in a minority, Maria and Angel are pretty good couple and better than another steamy session with Quinn and Christine any day of the week.

Quinn and Christine – the only weak link in an otherwise good episode. The more I see them together, the less I care. Eventually though, Christine is probably going to cross the type of line that really will put Quinn in a bad position at the station. Until then, I guess it’s just more mindless tedium between the pair of them. Ugh.

Also in “If I Had A Hammer”

You got to admire Arthur/Trinity’s confidence with the very public way he kept using the hammer in this episode. Now it’s Dexter’s problem.

Dexter: “I could go for a sandwich.”
Rita: “We’re out of bread.”
Dexter (to himself): “She has to forgive me for my apartment eventually, doesn’t she?”

In an attempt to win people over, Dexter got Astor a DVD player, Cody a DS, Harrison a baby grow and Rita a bread maker. Rita’s comments on that one were actually funny.

Dexter: “How do you know so much about hammers?”
Masuka: “There’s not a tool I haven’t played with my friend.”

Rita (re Dexter): “I hoped he would change.”
Therapist: “When you married your ex-husband, did you think he would change too?”

I noticed that the therapist was played by Nip/Tuck actress Roma Maffia in this episode. I wouldn’t mind seeing her again.

Deb (re phone call): “That wasn’t work, that was way personal.”
Angel: “Come on, for you, same difference.”

Nikki (to Deb, re Lundy): “No matter how many times you ask me, it’s not going to change. I didn’t shoot you, I didn’t kill that old man.”

Masuka was on fine form this episode by managing to figure out that the ashes left behind were female. Dexter even slipped up trying to conceal that from Masuka.

Rita: “A bread maker?”
Dexter: “We’re always running out of bread.”
Rita: “We’re always running out of milk, did you get me a cow too?”

Angel: “What do we do?”
Maria: “I don’t know. We’re supposed to decide what’s more important – our jobs or each other?”

We learned here that Trinity’s first kill relates to his sister, his second to his mother and his third to his father in this episode.

Dexter: “We both have skeletons, which means we both get a closet to keep them in. Arthur has a closet.”

Chronology: Two days after “Dirty Harry” and this was the first episode not to feature Harry in it this season.

I loved this one a lot. “If I Had A Hammer” definitely moved things along in a nice order and with Dexter and Trinity within proximity of each other, the next few weeks should be something of a rollercoaster ride. All I hope is that Deb doesn’t become a potential victim of Arthur’s at the same time.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Brothers And Sisters - Season 5 And It's Not Looking Good

This would normally be the point where I would be talking about the gorgeous cast shots for the new season of Brothers And Sisters but ABC decided not to do any this year, so erm, that's one of many troubling things about the new season that seems to be lying ahead of us.

In the space of a few months, we've had four cast departures - Rob Lowe (Robert), Luke Grimes (Ryan) and Balthazar Getty (Tommy) are all people not returning this season and after a two episode stint, Emily Van Camp will be leaving the series as the writers finally put viewers out of their misery and end the Justin/Rebecca dynamic for good. Another thing that's being ended is Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Scotty's (Luke Macfarlane) plans to have an infant - instead it'll be a teenager named Matteo, whom Kevin meets now that he's back working as a pro-bono lawyer - one of the positive things about the upcoming season. Plus there's something 'risque' that will happen with Kevin/Scotty this season but I'm not sure what that will be in particular, though producer David Marshall Grant has said you can rule out an open marriage with them.

Other storylines in the 18 episode fifth and (more than likely) final run include the writers decision not to run with the implied HIV storyline with Saul (Ron Rifkin) - though both him and Scotty will be running their restaurant this year, Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) deciding to possibly sell up Narrow Lake, Nora (Sally Field)becoming a radio host (that could have potential) as well as Kitty (Calista Flockhart) trying to reinvent herself after Robert's death, Justin (Dave Annable) returning from another tour of Afghanistan and Luc (Gilles Marini) becoming an underwear model as the show follows a trend and flashforwards to a year since the fourth season finale.

I don't want to be uber-critical but I can't see this show coming after this fifth season to be honest. I know it's never generated the same type of acclaim/discussion from ABC that the likes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy or even Modern Family has but it's a shame that it's being so shoddily treated in the last few years. All I can hope is that the show is allowed to end things on a satisfying note and repair some of the damages that past storylines have done to the series.

Ron Rifkin Advocate Interview: http://advocate.com/Arts_and_Entertainment/Television/Ron_Rifkin_All_in_the_Family/
Exclusive Scene Of The Homecoming: http://brothersandsisters-tv.com/sneak-peak-of-the-homecoming

Season 5 starts tonight on ABC at 10pm and will air in the UK, courtesy of More4 from January 2011.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Desperate Housewives - Season 6 Review

US Airdate: September 27th 2009 – May 16th 2010

In the sixth season of the ongoing show, a new couple’s arrival onto Wisteria Lane generates it’s own mystery as the main wives deal with the collapse of a marriage, a neighbourhood strangler, money woes, a new baby and the death of a loved one all over again.

The Almighty Edition: Isn’t that a kick in the nuts? I stop reviewing this show on an episode by episode basis and the bloody show only goes and improves astonishingly well, doesn’t it? It might be time for both Marc Cherry and ABC to be sitting down and coming up with how to end this show full time but for me, this was certainly a season that was worth watching.

First off all, the mystery of the piece – the Bolens. After hitting the skids with Dave’s painfully obvious season long arc, it’s nice that the writers actually sat down and thought this one out. Casting Drea deMatteo as Angie was a brilliant choice because not only is she a terrific actress, but she actually fitted with the cast rather seamlessly as well.

I wouldn’t have pegged Angie down as an eco-protester responsible for the death of an FBI agent and I certainly wouldn’t have seen John Barrowman ending up playing the very guy that Angie would keep uprooting her family just to get away from him but that was where this season was a pleasant surprise.

Angie mostly clicked with all of the women at the start of the year and while she wasn’t above using Susan and Katherine’s rivalry against them to keep herself safe from suspicion at times, she still managed to actually be a decent neighbour. Who else would’ve been quick enough to have scored a job working for Bree and covering for her adulterous new boss in one episode? Okay, I guess a lot of people might have but it still doesn’t stop Angie from being made of win.

Another thing was that made of win was actually getting Gabby of all people involved in Angie’s mystery. After five seasons of largely Susan and Bree being tied into the mysteries, it was a welcomed change of pace and the last couple of episodes managed to build a rather convincing friendship between Gabby and Angie to boot.

John Barrowman as Patrick Logan was an interesting choice for the actor. As someone who’s profoundly had enough of seeing the actor behind Jack Harkness presenting dodgy Saturday night shows, it was nice to see him a pretty untypical role for a change. Patrick might not be the greatest of television villains or even on this show but his five episode stint was impressive and being blown up by a bomb in the detonator itself was a fantastic way for Angie to get rid of a dangerous obstacle in Patrick Logan.

The fact that Angie and her family are forced to stay on the run and leave Wisteria Lane was surprisingly sad but made a lot of sense. Between husband Nick and son Danny, both of them aren’t as dynamic as Angie but they’re decent enough characters, even if Nick had an affair with Julie and Danny was mostly involved with the rather self-involved Ana but it really is Angie who left the bigger impression throughout the season.

That being said, Angie’s storyline wasn’t the only major mystery this year. Having Julie strangled (thankfully she didn’t die) in the opening episode and subsequent murders later on meant that we had another story to solve, and again, props to the writers for using Lynette on this one.

Feeling sorry for the sociopathic Eddie was something of a hard one. Okay, his mother was rotten to him and he did thankfully bump off Porter’s annoying fiancĂ©e but on the flip side, he also held Lynette hostage in the finale and there was the worry that he was going to kill her newborn baby as well, even if it was Lynette’s words of wisdom that did force him to hand himself over.

With the Eddie plotline only involving Lynette towards the end of the season, the start of the year wasn’t as great for her. There were arguments with her and Tom over having twins, losing one of the twins, antics with a crappy therapist, Carlos being a dick to Lynette when he learned she was pregnant and the rivalry between Lynette and Irina certainly won’t go down as one of the series more engaging one to be honest.

However a rivalry that was excellent was the one between Katherine and Susan at the start of the season over Mike. I’ve never been the biggest Katherine fan out there but Dana Delaney did a terrific job this season – first as a psychotic Katherine tried her damndest to break Susan/Mike up, then as a more fragile Katherine trying to make amends to everyone in the neighbourhood as she began to fall in love with stripper Robin.

I was cynical over a Katherine/Robin hook-up but the four episodes used to explore their relationship worked quite well (and even allowed Bob and Lee a chance to shine) and while Julie Benz and Dana Delaney are now on different shows for ABC, I do hope that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Katherine and Robin on Wisteria Lane.

Outside of Katherine and Angie, Bree probably has some stronger storylines as well. Her relationship with Karl certainly had much needed spark to it but it was cut too shortly with the plane crash event episode wiping Karl out and most of her scenes with Orson are painful to watch. It’s actually a godsend when he decided that their marriage should end in the finale but it’s also a season too late as well. Plus the storyline with Rex’s other son, Sam could’ve been spread out a little further as well and Andrew was savagely underused as well.

Apart from the Angie stuff, most of Gabby and Carlos’s stuff this season isn’t that great. The amount of time dedicated to Gabby trying to home school Juanita or deal with Ana could’ve been better utilised but for some odd reason, I did like the inclusion of Heidi Klum reminding us how badly behaved Gabby used to be and did I mention that Gabby’s friendship with Angie was fantastic?

Susan and Mike’s plotlines this year was largely boring to be honest. Mike’s always had financial problems but the fact that it’s resorted to him, Susan and MJ having to leave their home felt more annoying than distressing. That being said, I can’t wait to see the look on their faces when they realise that Paul Young of all people has bought their house and therefore has also set up the mystery for the seventh season along with the baby swap drama. It’ll be more shocking than Karen getting a boyfriend, which funnily enough she actually did this season or Bob and Lee splitting up after a dumb kid subplot with Gabby went predictably awry, which funnily enough did and there’s that odd ‘what if’ episode that also doesn’t serve any overall purpose to the season as well but it’s possibly best not to think about that one.

DVD EXTRAS: The DVD is due for release in October and it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot in the way of extras to be honest. From what I’ve researched, you can find the usual smattering of bloopers and deleted scenes, an amusing feature involving Miss Piggy in Wisteria Lane (undoubtedly no stranger than the Oprah one from the Season 1 DVD) as well as some specifically picked moments from series creator, Marc Cherry but apart from that, it’s a limited bunch.

EPISODE RATINGS

6x01: Nice Is Different Than Good = 8/10, 6x02: Being Alive = 9/10,
6x03: Never Judge A Lady By Her Lover = 7/10,
6x04: The God-Why-Don’t-You-Love-Me Blues = 6/10,
6x05: Everybody Ought To Have A Maid = 8/10, 6x06: Don’t Walk On The Grass = 9/10, 6x07: Careful The Things You Say = 7/10, 6x08: The Coffee Cup = 7/10,
6x09: Would I Think Of Suicide? = 9/10, 6x10: Boom Crunch = 10/10,
6x11: If = 5/10, 6x12: You Gotta Give Me A Gimmick = 7/10,
6x13: How About A Friendly Shrink? = 9/10, 6x14: The Glamorous Life = 8/10,
6x15: Lovely = 8/10, 6x16: The Chase = 8/10,
6x17: Chromolume No 7 = 7/10, 6x18: My Two Young Men = 8/10,
6x19: We All Deserve To Die = 9/10, 6x20: Epiphany = 9/10,
6x21: A Light Night Music = 7/10, 6x22: The Ballad Of Booth = 8/10,
6x23: I Guess This Is Goodbye = 9/10.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Bunch Of Slackers

I've had to make a hasty edit to this blog because I foolishly forgot to talk about The Road To Coronation Street. Apart from the fact that this should've been on ITV instead of BBC4, this was powerhouse television as Daran Little broke down into 75 minutes, creator Tony Warren's struggle to get the longest running British soap on television. If you've got any interest in the series history or want to be a writer in general, then I strongly recommend seeking this excellent one-off, especially for Jessie Wallace's convincing turn as Elsie Tanner actress, Pat Phoenix.

It took me a few days to catch up with the second part of Merlin's two parter season premiere and while it wasn't as good as the first half, it certainly was a delight. The use of the dragon in this episode was a nice one but it was Merlin and Morgana's sparring that really set the episode apart. Even though I'm liking the fact that she's finally embracing her darker nature, I thought I could see some doubt shrouding Morgana as well. Also I got a sense that Morgause might have felt betrayed when her plans to get rid of Uther and take over Camelot were squandered as well. The second episode was certainly solid on action packed moments and Morgana keeping within Uther's favour but the Merlin/Arthur dynamic really needs to switch gears at this point.

When it comes to reality TV, The Apprentice might be one of the few left with a point to it - people actually get a job from it and while I'll have to wait next for Alan Sugar to return on BBC, the third series of Bill Cullen's one certainly kept me entertained. As for the contestants, it's hard to go on much with the first episode, apart from Cathal's 'oopsy daisying' himself out of the series and Tara and Barry being the more obnoxious of the bunch. The magazine shows You're Fired and At Home are also a pretty nice addition to a franchise that's becoming a success for TV3.

BBC3 seem to have a habit of comedies that only take place in largely one set. Their latest addition, Him And Her is another one of them. Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani play lazy couple, Steve and Becky who spend the first three episodes coming up with plenty of reasons not to work, avoid birthday celebrations and fancy dress parties. It's not the funniest series on TV but it's definitely a diverting half-hour and I have seen far less funny programmes on that particular station.

The X Factor's move to two nights a week for the rest of the year certainly is going to be an obstacle for a lot of programmes in the next couple of months but seeing as we're heading for boot camp, things shouls get a lot more interesting in the next while as well. Nicole Scherzinger was a decent enough judge ("I think you need to work on your vocals" - indeed) and whether or not there is a prostitute amongst the contestants, you can still guarantee that the Dark Lord Cowell is laughing his way all to the bank as the tabloids obsession with the series remains intact.

I have not seen one but two new episodes (for me) of The Vampire Diaries recently and I'm still enjoying the series. It's a pity that Vicki couldn't have had a similar plotline like Jessica in True Blood and remain on the series as a newbie vampire but I'm sure the series will eventually go there. As for Stefan's old friend Lexie and Bonnie's increasingly showing of powers - this is way more exciting stuff than the Stefan/Elena/Damon triangle.

- Teri Hatcher will be appearing in Smallville as the mother of Lois Lane. Well, she did play the intrepid reporter once upon a time. Justin Hartley's wife will also appear in the 8th episode of the final season.
- Dave Annable's real life fiance, Odette Yustman will appear in Brothers And Sisters as a potential love interest for Justin after his marriage to Rebecca collapses.
- Nancy Travis has been cast as the mother Brian Austin Green's character for Desperate Housewives. It's also rumoured that Bree will have menopause this year.
- The current series of The Inbetweeners is to be it's last. The producers have announced that the show will not be returning for a fourth run.
- Gwyneth Paltrow is rumoured to be appearing in two episodes of Glee as a love interest for Will and a replacement teacher. Channel 4 will be airing Season 2 in January 2011.
- Amber Benson will be appearing in the new series of Grey's Anatomy, playing an estranged daughter of one of Cristina's patients. She's already appeared in spin-off series, Private Practice.
- ABC have decided not to make a US version of Gavin And Stacey after all. Now if Showtime's version of Shameless could not suck, then we'd be home dry.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Rachel Berry Would Do For Love - Glee S2 Spoilers

Warning: If you haven't seen the opening episode of the second season of Glee, then this blog is going to get fairly spoilery. I won't be doing this every week. Every other episode will be talked in my usual TV highlight jumble.

Appropriately titling this episode, Audition, this was an opener all about new beginnings for many of the characters. The Glee club desperately needed new members and Rachel's jealousy got the better of her when Sunshine proved too good a rival to be in the club. So, it's no surprise that Rachel's act of sabotage ended up resulting in Sunshine switching schools and signing up with Vocal Adrenaline instead. A lot of people online have cited this episode as a bad one for Rachel but her behaviour is alarmingly consistent, actually. Rachel is that determined to be Queen Bee of Glee club and it was Finn who got her to admit that she ruined Sunshine's chances of joining the club for her own end than anything else.

There seems to be an ongoing theme of rivalry in this episode as well. When Rachel wasn't getting rid of her own competition, both Will and Sue struck up a temporary alliance to try and get rid of new football coach, Shannon Beiste after she got Figgins to cut budgets for both the Glee club and Cheerios. Surprisingly, Beiste is actually a likeable enough character in this episode. Okay, she did kick Finn off the football team but I felt bad for her when Sue was using Beiste's obvious insecurities to try and get rid of her and the stunt with getting to falsify sexual harrassment claims was a bad move on Sue's part. So, for the time, it looks like Beiste is here to stay.

Quinn and Santana - both of these girls love being Cheerios but I have to hand it to Quinn - the bitch has returned. She used Sue's budget cuts and blabbed about Santana's boob job in order to get back on top of the cheerleading pyramid and their scrap was a nice sight to behold. Much better than new power couple Rachel/Finn or Artie brooding over Tina dumping him for Mike Chang. If you're a Kurt, Puck (who got snipped) or Mercedes fan, then this episode is a damp squib with them. Neither of them did anything of interest in this one.

Other stuff of noteworthy interest in this episode - well there was Finn's embarassing attempts at auditioning for Cheerios, Jacob's blog discussing Rachel's diva behaviour and Will's abysmal rapping, absences from Emma, Terri and Burt, Sam chickening out of trying out for Glee club due to peer pressure (when he wasn't replacing Finn as quarterback). In terms of the song choices - Rachel/Sunshine's bathroom square-off with Telephone and the predicted Rachel solo of What I Did For Love are good standouts along with the group's efforts on Empire State Of Mind but the boys (lead by Sam) take on Billionaire wasn't my favourite choice. As an opening episode, it wasn't bad, solid in places but it's going to take more episodes to decide whether or not this show has real staying power or if it is a one season wonder.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DW Series 6 Filming In Bristol/Massive Spoiler Alert

I swear I was going to lay off filming pics after yesterday but one more from this episode, eh? First of all, a promotional still for the Doctor Who Live tour, which you can follow the progress off, courtesy of Twitter (http://twitter.com/DoctorWhoLive). The tour starts in October and those lucky enough to attend should see some exclusive scenes at it.

I should've mentioned in the previous blog that filming for the Mark Gatiss episode is actually taking place in Bristol this week and that the Neil Gaiman one begins production next week. Amy's looking rather spooked in the above photo, isn't she?

I'm not sure what is inspiring this leap from Amy here but I certainly cannot wait to see it nonetheless. It's brilliant how you wait ages for some decent filming pics and then all at once, you're inundated with loads of them. The TARDIS still looks the same from last year and the Doctor's uupdated outfit is nice looking as well, though I wasn't expecting a radical change anyways.


I love this one of Amy, the Doctor and Rory musing over a photograph - the three of them have really come together as a team, haven't they? That being said, Issue 426 of DWM's Production Notes has one almighty spoiler in relation to the season's cliffhanging seventh episode ....

"So what can I tell you about next series? The startling truth about Idris' new soul - even the Doctor doesn't believe her! The frankly appalling revelation concerning the one person in the universe the Doctor trusts the most? Would you like to peek inside a cupboard that will chill your blood, or meet a workforce that will haunt your dreams? Have you ever wondered about Apollo Ten and a half? And have you already guessed that River Song is ..."And:"The calamitous and frankly shocking events at the climax of Episode 7 will still be ringing in your ears when Doctor Who returns in the Autumn for a futher six episodes. Oh, yes, feel our cruelty - you will see the Doctor's life change forever, you will gasp in astonishment at the true nature of his relationship with Amy Pond, and you will cry out in horror as Rory Williams stumbles to the brink of a tragic mistake..."

EDIT: Surranne Jones has been cast as the mysterious Idris. The actress has already appeared last year in The Sarah Jane Adventures, so it's not too big a shock that she'd wind up in Doctor Who, is it?

Reaction: Oh fuck? What the hell is Apollo Ten and a half? Is River going to be revealed as a villain and will we get a companion death this year that sticks? I guess Steven Moffat wasn't kidding when he mentioned that Series 6 really does have a game changer on it's hands. As for Amy, I love the girl but it makes sense that her storyline isn't entirely finished up and I'm so looking forward to finding out what the hell the Silence is, after the mystery surrounding it this year and I'm worried for Rory - again!

My Review of Dexter's 4x05: "Dirty Harry"

Written by Tim Schlattmann
Directed by Keith Gordon

Deb: “You have everything and you’re doing your goddamn best to throw it away.”
Dexter: “Rita told you about the apartment?”

Much as I hate to disagree with Dexter but Deb is right on this one. There was a time when Dexter was better equipped at keeping things from Rita but that time seems to have passed and once again, another issue reared its head – the apartment.

When Rita found out that Dexter hadn’t gotten rid of it, it did seem to be a safe indication that not only would she confront him over but that she’d also go and see what was the fuss with him keeping the apartment. The story with Harry’s gun didn’t wash with her and now it seems that Dexter’s marriage is in trouble.

I want to care about this storyline and there’s a part of me that gets where Rita was coming from but I just find their scenes so draining nowadays. There was a time when the writing for Rita was a lot better but now, all she ever seems to do is be constantly suspicious of Dexter and nag him to the bone.

I don’t actually want to see them divorce but why did Rita have to force the issue of him selling his apartment? Dexter moved in with her and has been a hands on father to Harrison, Cody and Astor. Maybe Rita should actually ease up on Dexter or dedicate her hours on something else. At this point, Rita becoming a victim of Trinity might actually be a good thing for the show. After Quinn, she’s become the weakest character on the show.

Still, that being said, I actually enjoyed her scenes with Deb this week. She might have put her foot in it over the comforting advice she tried to give in regards to Lundy’s death but Deb had enough awareness in her to realise that Rita was trying to help and promptly did not blow up on her as I was expecting her too.

This was something of a bad episode for Deb on the whole. She survived being shot but struggled to cope with Lundy’s death and rejected Anton by telling him that she cheated on him as well as summing up her bad luck. Some of those lines could’ve came out really badly had it not been for Jennifer Carpenter who was excellent this week.

The scene with Deb and Dexter at Lundy’s final spot were a nicely done sibling interaction. Both Dexter and Deb believe they’re broken people for different reasons and while there’s some truth in their assessment of themselves, they’re also far better people than either of them want to admit to being.

Deb certainly has her share of fuck ups but she’s also improved a lot as a copper and is a lot more of a nicer person than she actually gives herself credit for. I’m still despairing over the fact that Lundy’s gone from the series now but I’m also rather curious to see how his death will spur her on from next week onwards. She looked unconvinced when Quinn had told her that there was closure on the whole shooting incident.

And so was Dexter. Dexter didn’t believe for a second that the shooting was down to Johnny Rose and the fact that it took Deb nearly being killed to seek out Trinity more aggressively was much needed. I still don’t think that Dexter will actually kill Trinity straightaway and that was before the rather interesting reveal at the end.

Both Dexter and Lundy assumed that Trinity was a loner so the reveal of him being a family man makes his cycle of killings even more interesting. I understood why Dexter chose not to intervene during the bludgeoning of the unfortunate coffee guy but he could’ve at least praised a fire alarm or something to generate attention but then again, Dexter wasn’t willing to risk Trinity being caught and arrested.

For the first time this season, Harry’s appearances actually worked the best. Constantly goading and encouraging Dexter to look deeper within Lundy’s research and recorder was great but the acknowledgement of Deb’s near death really does show much Dexter cares for her. Granted, I already knew that but the reminders are nevertheless appreciated.

Something else I also appreciated was Maria and Angel vowing to be honest with each after their relationship was disclosed. I did see Matthews forcing Maria into pulling Angel off homicide coming though but I’m not sure if he was just being professional or trying to spite Maria. After all, it’s not like the two of them like each other.

As for Angel, he should give Quinn tips in handling Christine. By getting the intrepid journalist to out Johnny Rose’s STDs, he managed to wrap up the whole Vacation Killer plot, even if it meant that Johnny ended up as a body. It’s kind of too bad that we never got any dialogue scenes with the guy but overall, at least that storyline is now done and dusted.

Finally, Quinn’s relationship with Christine – this is one that I don’t care about in the slightest. I still think it’s the pair of them mutually using the other (Quinn for sex, Christine for scoops) but at least Christine was useful in this episode and Quinn was actually alright for the most part as well. I don’t doubt that he’ll be back to his annoying self in the next one though.

Also in “Dirty Harry”

I’m not sure if the title really matched the episode to be honest, unless we’re supposed to see Dexter like Clint Eastwood’s famous role.

Dexter: “Lundy was a worthy adversary. He deserves better than to be faced down in a hotel parking lot.”

Even though he didn’t have much to do, I found Masuka’s concern for Deb really effective. Underneath the dirty jokes, he’s a decent guy.

Deb: “I expect those kind of questions from Batista or Quinn but you’re my brother.”
Dexter: “You said you were fine – twice.”
Deb: “Doesn’t matter anyway.”
Dexter: “Just tell me what you wanna do.”

Deb: “I slept with Lundy.”
Anton: “I thought you were happy.”
Deb: “I thought I was too.”

Given that Maria and Angel’s relationship was outed this week, I’m surprised that no-one actually commented on it.

Coffee Guy: “Can I get you any?”
Trinity: “No, no, caffeine makes me a different person. Appreciate the offer though.”

Deb (to Rita): “God, it’s like a Morgan curse or something – make the worst choice possible. At least Dexter’s don’t get people killed.”

Astor seemed a little bratty in this episode than she has been all season along. Maybe the writers will ease up on her pre-teen rebellion phase.

Dexter: “My sister doesn’t deserve to be in this kind of pain but I know who does.”

Chronology: Pretty much from where “Dex Takes A Holiday” left off.

Not as good as the previous episode but “Dirty Harry” was a solid enough tale. Dexter’s advancing on Trinity was nice along with most of the scenes with Maria, Angel and Deb but the Rita stuff really bogged this one down I’m afraid.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Skins - Season 4 Review

UK Airdate: January 28th – March 18th 2010

Another Generation Gone: Maybe it’s fatigue setting in, maybe it was a series of bad choices but for some reason, the fourth series of Skins just doesn’t cut the mustard like it’s previous three years had managed to. It’s a shame because while there are some good moments within this season, the bad ones seem to dominate proceedings all the more.

First of all, let’s talk about that finale – what on Earth were the writer’s thinking? Why the hell would anyone on the writing staff think it would’ve been a great idea to have ended the season on a cliff-hanger that won’t get answered because when we’re watching Series 5, it will be with a new cast? I’ve never been a fan of Cook but having his fate hang in the balance at the hands of a nutty shrink (Hugo Spear winning the best guest star this year, Will Young being the weakest as that guidance counsellor) is a bit of a slap in the face to any fan of this show and also very bad writing.

But as a finale itself, it couldn’t have lacked anymore closure if it had tried. Emily and Naomi just barely got back together, Effy’s mental state was still up in the air, no-one was aware of the fact that Freddie had been murdered and similarly, no-one was aware of Cook probably ending up the same way, thanks to Dr Foster. I have to admit that out of all the finales this show has done, this one was by far the worst of the bunch.

That being said, Series 4 had another big problem – Emily and Naomi. Of course, it’s like Sid and Cassie all over again – great in the first season but virtually destroyed beyond repair in the second, only at least Emily and Naomi did get back together but Sid and Cassie didn’t have the death of a girl on their hands either.

Having Naomi cheat on Emily with Sophia and poor Sophia die in the opening episode was something I could’ve dealt with but I hated that after it had been revealed that all Emily did for the season was constantly lash out at Naomi, who in turn waited until literally the last minute to actually show Emily how much she really loved her. I suppose I should be grateful that their relationship did generate more screen time this year compared to Thomas/Pandora or Cook/Effy/Freddie.

The writers didn’t even try this year with Thomas and Pandora. They literally broke them up in the first episode and Pandora was practically absent for the rest of the season. That might have been a good thing if Thomas and Katie had actually tried something on with each other but even that managed to be something of a dead end as well.

And then there’s Cook, Freddie and Effy. I could’ve done without knowing that Freddie had a thing with Cook’s mother but I have to admit that despite Freddie still being something of a bland character, I did have a lot of sympathy for him this season.

His episode was definitely one of the darkest of the bunch and it was actually quite horrifying seeing his attempts of trying to save Effy from herself blow up in his face. Even his death at the hands of Dr Foster was a little too brutal for my liking and I’m usually okay with brutal deaths. As for Effy, I guess her breakdown was a long time coming but in some ways I wanted to see her pull through and thanks to this season, we don’t get that pay off.

In things about the season that I actually liked, I have to admit the initial mystery surrounding Sophia and the way she was connected to Cook, Naomi and Thomas was a nice enough twist but out of those three characters, I ended up being surprised that Cook was the one to show some actual character growth.

He took the rap for Sophia’s death by drugs in order to set an example for his little brother, tried to keep Effy and Freddie together and even uncovered what happened to his friend. All in all, these things endeared Cook a lot more to me than anything at all in the third season with him and again, it’s a shame that his fate was left the way it was.

Other positive aspects of the season was Katie’s smackdown of an obnoxious WAG in her own episode, whilst dealing with her own infertility as well as JJ finally getting himself a girlfriend but there are only minor stuff in an otherwise depressing and disappointing year. The fact that we also had less episodes (with Pandora and Naomi missing out) also didn’t help matters in the slightest either. With any luck, the third generation in the upcoming fifth series will give this show a much needed boost that it desperately needs right about now.

DVD EXTRAS: Past seasons have been better on this front but there’s enough to keep fans going. A few commentaries are there along with an animated feature, a Bonus Skins Story and behind the scenes videos.

EPISODE RATING FROM 1 TO 10

4x01: Thomas = 7/10, 4x02: Emily = 9/10,
4x03: Cook = 8/10, 4x04: Katie = 8/10,
4x05: Freddie = 7/10, 4x06: JJ = 7/10,
4x07: Effy = 7/10, 4x08: Finale = 5/10.

DW Series 6 Filming - Back To The Estates

Filming for Mark Gatiss's episode is going on right about now and it seems that we've taken a trip back to the council estates that were so important to the RTD era. Matt Smith is also wearing a different shirt for this one.

Anyone notice that Amy's attire is a little different for Series 6? Well, it does make sense that her skirts are somewhat longer than before. After all, Amy is going to grow up a bit more this year, especially after Karen Gillan mentioned wanting Amy to evolve this season.

And it also looks like that Amy and Rory (Arthur Darvill) are facing off against an old woman yet again. The episode, titled What Are Little Boys Made Of? also has cast actor Andrew Tiernan, playing a character called Mr Purcell as well.

And a snapshot of the TARDIS here as well. Although there is still more to be revealed about this episode, this is the first time we've had some proper set pictures for anything related to the upcoming season.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Glee - Season 1 Review

US Airdate: May 19th 2009- June 8th 2010

When a Spanish teacher tries to man the Glee club, little did he know how much his life would change as a result.

Don’t Stop Believing – I actually have to give FOX their dues. If you’re going to nab a writer to creator a hit show, Ryan Murphy in a lot of ways is a perfect choice. He’s hardly going to give you something you’ve seen before. After all, hits like Popular and Nip/Tuck themselves have actually added something new to the respective genres/target audiences they were aimed for and while both of them were hits, neither of them became as explosive as this one.

Every year, there’s at least one breakout show and for the 2009-2010 season, it had to be Glee. Why, you ask? Musicals are hardly something new but apart from the odd TV show experimenting with the genre and mostly getting it wrong, Glee actually managed to get it so right, which is a good thing considering that the premise of the show is about a Glee club being ran by a hopeful teacher so therefore musical numbers are expected per week.

The songs themselves are largely contemporary numbers with the odd musical added here and there and with episodes dedicated to Journey, Madonna and Lady Gaga as well as funk music and songs that are so bad they’re good, the show definitely does its level best to experiment as best as possible to try and keep everyone entertained.

For the most part though, this works. Some of the music numbers are amazing, some are less so and the same can be said about the characters/actors and their vocal performances, depending on the episode/ditty in question. Rachel herself can excel with something like “I Dreamed A Dream” and then hit a bum note with “Poker Face” the next week but every episode at least has one or two songs you’d happily want to listen to again.

But it’s not just about the songs with this show. Sure, they’re a big asset in setting this show apart from virtually everything else on television and they’re mostly used as part of a theme within Will’s lesson plan (respect women, finding your soul, etc) but its the characters that are also important as well and while they all fall in obvious categories, they’re all for the most part an engaging bunch.

Rachel’s ambition to be the best can be both understandable and annoying in equal measures but sympathy can be generated for her when she’s betrayed by rival club member/ex-boyfriend Jesse or rejected by her own birth mother. Similarly Sue Sylvester embodies the whole meaning of playing a cartoon villain but Jane Lynch’s consistent performances and Sue’s quieter moments with her sister or stopping Figgins from disbanding Glee are nice and surprising moments to counterbalance her unabashed ruthlessness in wanting to take Will.

Will himself is a character who can be very annoying most of the time, even though he’s the good guy wanting to encourage his kids into sticking with the club while popular kids such as Quinn, Puck, Finn, Santana and Brittany have their moments along with Kurt and to a lesser extent, Artie, Tina and Mercedes. No-one’s ever good or bad on this show all the time but unlike Murphy’s last show, at least people aren’t having organs stolen from them either.

The 22 episodes in this first season are a fantastic rollercoaster of madness. The Glee club goes through peaks and troughs, having moments of great support and moments where it seemed destined to be dropped and while the finale went the predictable route of having New Directions lose out at Regionals, it’s certainly not the most disappointing or eventful of things to happen in the first season.

This is a season alone that saw Will’s marriage collapse and his attempts of being with OCD Emma blow up in his face, a season where Rachel found and was spurned by her own birth mom, where Quinn gave birth and gave up a baby, where Kurt being gay and proud had both positive and negative times for him, Artie dealing with the reality of being stuck in a wheelchair and also, it was a season where Sue Sylvester made so many obscene one liners in regards to Will’s hair and unpopular Rachel was bouncing between Finn, Puck and Jesse at different times in the show.

Love it or loathe it, Glee has quickly become a television show that it’s inescapable. Originality can be argued left, right and centre but at the same time, I’d rather have a show like this on television that pull the likes of Kristin Chenowith, Neil Patrick Harris, Olivia Newton-John and Joss Whedon than another bout of boring medical/cop/lawyer dramas on my screens.

As for my favourite songs, there are certainly way too many to choose from but most of the groups take on things such as “Like A Prayer”, “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Bad Romance” are certainly up as well as Finn/Puck’s “Loser”, Mercedes/Santana’s “The Boy Is Mine” as Jesse’s blindingly brilliant version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and thankfully most of the bad numbers (“Poker Face”) are few and between.

EXTRAS: The full season DVD just got released this month and the extras were certainly keeping all Gleeks amused. There’s a Sing A-Long Karaoke, as well the full “Audition Pieces” with the cast, “Unleashing The Power Of Madonna” delves into that particular episode while other features look into the clothing of the characters, making a showstopper and a rather nice interview with Jane Lynch.

EPISODE RATINGS

1x01: Pilot = 8/10, 1x02: Showmance = 8/10,
1x03: Acafellas = 7/10, 1x04: Preggers = 8/10,
1x05: The Rhodes Not Taken = 9/10, 1x06: Vitamin D = 9/10,
1x07: Throwdown = 8/10, 1x08: Mash-Up = 7/10,
1x09: Wheels = 9/10, 1x10: Ballad = 7/10,
1x11: Hairography = 9/10, 1x12: Mattress = 8/10,
1x13: Sectionals = 9/10, 1x14: Hell-O = 6/10,
1x15: The Power Of Madonna = 9/10, 1x16: Home = 8/10,
1x17: Bad Reputation = 7/10, 1x18: Laryngitis = 8/10,
1x19: Dream On = 7/10, 1x20: Theatricality = 7/10,
1x21: Funk = 8/10, 1x22: Journey = 9/10.

Season 1 is currently available on DVD.

Glee - FOX Gets Photo Fabulous (S2 Spoilers)

FOX are certainly amping up the promotional pictures for all their latest shows but there's only one series from them that has my undivided attention - Glee, naturally.


Matthew Morrison - Will annoys me from time to time and I certainly go without him rapping songs but I'm going to hope that the triangle between him, Emma and Carl (John Stamos) won't be entirely predictable and dull either and there's also Terri wreaking her own brand of havoc as well this year.

Jane Lynch - Sue is without a doubt the funniest character on TV nowadays but it seems that her and Will will team up together when a new coach manages to get Figgins to cut the budget for both Glee club and the Cheerios. Now that's one team up that could be entertaining, amidst Sue's teasing of Will and his stupid hair. Plus Rachel manages to drive foreign exchange student, Sunshine to Vocal Adrenaline as well.

Kevin McHale - looking a lot better than the uncool look he usually has to don for playing Artie. Another triangle for the second season does seem to involve Artie, Tina and Mike Chang, which might be a better watch if there's music involved. Maybe a three-way, song wise? Still relationship wise, there's Rachel/Finn, Santana/Brittany, Kurt/Blair(?) and I don't doubt that Puck and Mercedes will be on the shelf either.

Dianna Agron - Quinn might be heading back to her bitchy ways such as scrapping with Santana in a bid to get into the Cheerios (something which Finn will be doing as well when he's kicked off the football team - no, I'm not kidding) but as long as she's not a bitch to Mercedes, she can trample everyone else if she pleases. More importantly, I am seriously looking forward to The Rocky Horror Picture Show episode. I intend to watch that musical before seeing the Glee take on it. The second season premieres on FOX on Tuesday and Irish viewers will see it the very next day. I plan to do a DVD review for the first season before then.

FOX Pictures: http://www.spoilertv.com/2010/09/fox-so-fresh-20102011-photoshoot.html

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Review of Dexter's 4x04: "Dex Takes A Holiday"

Written by Melissa Rosenberg And Wendy West
Directed by John Dahl

Zoey: “I asked you nicely to leave me alone.”
Dexter: “You threatened me.”
Zoey: “You think that was a threat?”
Dexter: “What, are you gonna murder me too? Like you murdered your family, your own daughter?”

The one thing that’s been noticeable about this show is that Dexter hasn’t been seen to kill that many female villains in this series and since Lila, we haven’t exactly been given any for him to go toe to toe, well until now that is.

I have to admit that I like Christina Cox as an actress and as a guest star; she was a perfect fit for the role of Zoey. Zoey served as an obvious mirror to Dexter and was responsible for the death of her own husband and daughter and just Dexter, she’s every bit as clever at creating a narrative to make sure that no-one suspected her.

Okay, another blood spatter guy certainly suspected and had no issue with voicing his concerns to Dexter and Dexter certainly wasted no time in doing his own research. Of course, he was going to find a trace of police gloves in the garbage disposal but normally, while anyone would’ve realised the game was up, Zoey wasn’t going to give up that easily.

She certainly showed a lot of gumption by threatening Dexter twice before her own botched attempt of killing him in his own home. When Dexter finally killed her in the episode, I sighed because truth be told, I actually liked the character.

Zoey might have been a nutter who preferred to get rid of her own family to regain her freedom but she was an interesting character that easily could’ve lasted another episode or two. Heck, even the brief flirting between her and Dexter and the insights she had with him were better than Dexter’s usual moments with Harry.

Dexter understood exactly why Zoey killed her family but his own skewered morality didn’t accept her actions to the core. The most telling moment of the episode came when Dexter admitted that he would risk Rita and the kids learning of his secret life than losing them. If this revelation had occurred in the first season, I don’t know if I would entirely have believed Dexter but right now, I absolutely do.

Dexter might have his doubts about juggling everything in the air but it’s clear that he doesn’t want to be alone anymore. He might have started the episode relieved that Rita and the kids were going on vacation without him but he was certainly glad to have them home safe and sound by the end of this one as well. Maybe now Harry might ease up with the goading he’s been so far this season.

Speaking of goading, why did the episode have to end that way? Both Deb and Lundy finally realised they wanted each other and both were gunned down. I’m not worried about Deb one bit – she’s safe but I fear that Lundy probably is dead and while I expected him to die, I was hoping that it would happen later in the season rather than this early.

As for the gunman – it has to be Trinity, right? I know this show is good at confounding expectations but I just can’t see anyone else doing it. Trinity himself deliberately aroused Lundy’s attention when he felt that he was about to get caught and even the most organised of killers will act out of their cycle for self-preservation.

Still, it does serve as a kick in the teeth. Deb had finally made the right decision about her romantic life and her happiness gets shattered. I remember when I watching the second season of this how much I worried about the professional aspects of her and Lundy hooking up but all these last four episodes have done was to show how good they are together. Now she’s going lose the guy she loves and may or may not stay in a relationship with Anton, whom she cares about and doesn’t love.

Also on the love angle, I found myself more annoyed with Christine’s declaration of love to Quinn. Why would anyone fall in love with Quinn? He’s a complete fuckwad as Deb would put and his blabbermouth has only caused problems at the station. I didn’t even feel all that bad when Quinn dumped Christine because I have a feeling that if she’s not a Trinity victim that she’ll find some way of getting her claws back into the idiot detective.

Better handled this week though was the Maria and Angel relationship. I’m actually finding it a little better, if only for Maria wanting to tell the brass about her and Angel and the latter’s reluctance to label what they have. I’m probably in a minority of people who actually care about this coupling but I don’t think it’s a bad relationship. Both Maria and Angel do seem to want their relationship to be more than a fling, so that’s something that works in their favour, doesn’t it?

Also, I just had to laugh at both Maria and Angel seeking Dexter out for relationship advice. Granted, Deb was largely with Lundy (or avoiding him) and I think you’d have to be pretty desperate to ask either Quinn or Masuka for relationship advice but you know there’s something telling when Dexter of all people is seen as the guru for love problems. Dexter himself didn’t even see that one coming.

Also in “Dex Takes A Holiday”

I’m actually a little surprised that Rita wasn’t all that bothered in the end about Dexter smashing up the security light. You’d think she would’ve made a bigger deal out of it.

Dexter (to himself): “Everyone needs a vacation. In my case, it’s time off for bad behaviour but I intend to make the most of this family trip they’re taking without me.”

The guy who played the other blood spatter analyst also played Father Jack in Six Feet Under.

Lundy: “Do you ever feel like you’re this close to nabbing somebody?”
Dexter: “Sometime in the next 72 hours.”
Lundy: “It’s a good feeling.”

Maria (re relationship): “So, this could be just a passing thing?”
Angel: “It’s not a passing thing.”
Maria: “Then what is it?”

Anton sensed quite obviously that Deb was being drawn more and more to Lundy this week, which was the most obvious hint this week that she and Lundy were going to have sex.

Zoey (to Dexter): “If you were my husband, I’d hang on you. You’re so handy.”

Angel: “Painted mugs?”
Dexter: “It’s a metaphor.”
Angel: “For what?”

Cody, Astor and Harrison all made Dexter an ‘I Love Daddy’ mug that Zoey smashed when she attacked Dexter in his home.

Zoey: “I’m not going anywhere.”
Dexter: “I know something about creating a narrative too.”

Deb (to Lundy): “I knew from the second I saw you at the station, I knew how I felt. Its how I always felt. I just wouldn’t admit because I’m a fuckwad.”

Chronology: Some time after “Blinded By The Light”

Easily the best episode of the season. “Dex Takes A Holiday” worked for the lack of Rita, the Deb/Lundy scenes together, Trinity continuing his killer patterns and obviously the back and forth with Dexter and Zoey. Shame about the lack of Masuka though, We could’ve used some inappropriate wisecracks.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

DW Series 6 - Casting News

You wait ages for some spoilers and then they come all at once. Newcomer Jamie Oram has won the role of Harry in the Mark Gatiss episode (apparently the Neil Gaiman one actually begins next week) and playing his parents are Emma Cunniffe and Daniel Mays as Alex, according to new rumours. Also, it's heavily being suggested that the episode will be called What Are Little Boy's Made Of?

More details can be read here .... http://gallifreynewsbase.blogspot.com/2010/09/casting-news.html

Richard Clarke, the director for episodes 3 and 4 of Series 6 posted the above picture on his Twitter page a couple of days ago and has also been updating his tweets with some interesting enough tidbits. I'm also finding myself intrigued by this 'Bob' character as well and whatever madness is surrounding the family of the episode as well.

Richard Clarke Twitter: http://twitter.com/rclarkie

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hollyoaks - Ste/Brendon Spoiler

I promised I'd start talking more about gay plot in soaps storylines, so here's another blog, following some news concerning Hollyoaks.

It seems actor Kieran Richardson, who plays former bad boy, Ste Hay has come out as gay. Although I had sort of already guessed, the actor announced his sexuality on This Morning today as a plotline concerning his character has also been revealed.

It seems that Ste's volatile relationship with employer/gangster, Brendan Brady (Emmett Scanlan) will take another turn when the pair kiss and Brendan then rejects Ste. The scenes are due to air next month as executive producer, Paul Marquess promises that both Ste and Brendan will have different viewpoints on their mutual attraction to the same sex. I like Ste but I've struggled to find Brendan all that interesting but I'm intrigued by this storyline.

More Details: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s13/hollyoaks/news/a276979/oaks-actor-comes-out-confirms-gay-plot.html

Katherine

The Vampire Diaries continues to get better each week. Last week, Elena copped onto the fact that something was amiss with Stefan and this week after learning about him and Damon's true nature, she elected to dump Stefan. Granted she'll probably be back with him in the next episode but I liked that her reaction to the supernatural world was done in a mostly realistic manner. Nina Dobrev however was a lot more fun donning the Katherine role of the episode, the vampire responsible for manipulating and making both Stefan and Damon into the vampires they are. Looking forward to seeing more of Katherine as well as the newly sired Vicki, whose struggles with her new unlife could be very interesting in the next few weeks.

Merlin, after a nine month wait finally returned to BBC1 on Saturday and it felt like it had never gone away. While the previous year had played it a little too safe for my liking, it does loo like this year won't be doing the same thing. It could be argued that Morgana might have revealed herself too early as a baddie but I am certainly enjoying the havoc that both her and Morgause are brewing up - driving Uther mad, invading Camelot and also leaving Merlin chained up in a forest with various nasties. Of course, the dragon appearing ensured that Merlin wouldn't meet a grisly end anytime soon but aside from that (and Gwen having nothing to do), this was a fantastic opening episode for the new series.


What is it with this Checkmate lot - don't they ever watch television? If Waller is that desperate to get superheroes on her side, why doesn't she just ask them for help instead of kidnapping them like she attempted to/succeeded with Oliver and Chloe this week? Smallville's ninth season is getting closer to it's end and after episodes involving Scottish entities and Lois still desperately needing a clue, last night's episode was a welcome change of pace. Tess is at something of a crossroads as a character and I have a feeling that she's going to lose out, regardless of what side she chooses to allign herself with. Shame because I like Cassidy Freeman and want her to stick with the show for it's last season at least.


Ooh, remember a time when Channel 4 did dramas? Sometimes it can be hard to forget because too often, it's makeover shows that seem to dominate the schedules too often and apart from Shameless and Skins, This Is England 86 finally gave us something gritty(ish) to gawp at. The movie isn't one of my favourites but there are some good actors on this show and the characters are mostly likeable. I might need to see another episode or two before I'm totally sold on this series though but it's a promising one.

- It turns out that Luc will become an underwear model in the second episode of Brothers And Sisters fifth season.
- Here's Glee's take on Empire State Of Mind ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfjv4IZFLUo and expect Barry Bostwick and Meatloaf in The Rocky Horror Picture Show episode.
- Both Michael Gladis and Kevin Alejandro are set to appear in the new season of Law And Order: SVU.
- Matthew Lilliard will be appearing in House, playing a bass player struggling for years. He's scheduled for one episode of the new series.
- John Schneider will be appearing in Desperate Housewives, playing the father of Brian Austin Green's character, Keith.