Archive | September, 2012

‘Person of Interest’ has sparked my interest

30 Sep

The plot has often had more holes than a truckload of polo mints, and more cliched than a panel of X-Factor judges but you know what? I love this show.

The show taps into the huge growth of powers available to government  in monitoring its citizen post 9/11, but against this back drop it throws up an old school action hero.

It introduces the mysterious Mr Finch who has a access to a system which processes vast amounts of data, phone calls, emails, cctv footage etc and predicts when serious crimes are about to occur and feeds these to the US government but it also predicts crimes that may not affect national security – so called “irrelevant” crimes.

Enter John Reese, an ex-CIA special operations agent recruited by Mr Finch to prevent the occurrence of  irrelevant crimes predicted by the computer.

Each episode he follows up on an irrelevant crime passed to him by Mr Finch and in the process blasts his way through an assortment of Russian Mafiosi, ruthless security guards employed by dodgy pharmaceutical firms,  Iraqi war veterans turned bank robbers and more.

John Reese is stern, generally humourless, troubled but most importantly a seemingly invincible all action hero.  Whether its a gang of  Brooklyn arms dealers or dreaded terrorists from eastern Europe, it takes more than being simply outnumbered to get one over John Reese.

It is good fun but was getting a tad repetitive till this weeks episode. With strong undertones of the film the Usual Suspect,  John Reese ends up rescuing a victim who it turns out is less victim, more maniacal homicidal gang kingpin. Fortunately even though he has John Reese at his mercy in the final scene like many of us he has enjoyed his all action no nonsense persona and respectfully allows him to live.

Good news for the rest of us as well, cos it means John is back on our screens Tuesday next week (Channel 5 9pm)

X-Factor ten things you will hear tonight

30 Sep

…cos you hear them every bloody year at the Judges Houses

  1. “It is not good news….[dramatic pause]….it is great news!”
  2. “[With pleading puppy eyes] This means everything to me…”
  3. “[Also with pleading puppy eyes] I have wanted this more than anything…”
  4. “[Look of professional concern from years in the industry] I am not sure who will buy your records…”
  5. “[Look of professional concern from years /months /days as an X Factor judge] I am not sure who will vote for you…”
  6. “I’m sorry….[dramatic pause]….but you’ll have to do it all again in the live shows!”
  7. “You’re such a risk….[dramatic pause]….but I am ready to take a risk tonight!”
  8. “I just don’t think you’re ready…[While gently holding the hand of the rejected contestant]“
  9. “[Earnestly raised eyebrows] What does this mean to you?”
  10. “[Through tears and an occasional runny nose] This could be my last shot….”

Come Dine With Me…but no Lamb

29 Sep

I would not say I am a big fan of Come Dine With Me (CDWM to its fans)  but when I feel like watching a bit of TV, if its on with nothing else on any of the other channels I will definitely give it a watch.

While it does throw up a memorable dinner host now and then, the real star of the show without a shadow of doubt is the “mickey taking ” narration of Dave Lamb.

His narration verging from sarcastic to withering to comically excited all over an episode of Come Dine With Me is as they would say in fine dining circles the jus that makes the meal.

It is so on point and  binds together what would otherwise be a mildly entertaining  dose of everyday cooking into a reality TV tour de force

What’s really remarkable about the don that Dave Lamb is, is that most of the narration we get to hear  is ad-libbed.

The mark of the cult hit that CDWM has become is that it is leaving our shores and  rolling out to other countries, but can it really work without the Lamb? Evidence from Australia is a resounding NO!!

Come Dine With Me without Dave Lamb is to stretch a pun like a Lamb roast dinner without Lamb. Pretty pointless. That was the Australian version in a nutshell. Pointless.

The dinner hosts were sufficiently catty, cliquey, blindly in awe of their limited culinary skills, all the things we expected from our Come Down With Me contestants but the narration was just flat. It just did not work.

Contrast that with Come Dine With Me (Ireland) currently showing on Channel 4 where they had the sense to retain the services of Mr Lamb. What you get is a faithful recreation of essence of the original. So to Channel 4, let’s not have any more Lamb-less CDWM please…

I can’t decide if The Audience is genius or not…I might need 50 people to help me decide

27 Sep

The Audience. The concept is simple. Find someone who has a dilemma  preferably one that on casual inspection any one of us could have. Add 50 normal people who are prepared to listen, gently question and offer their collective opinion into the mix. Blend together, liberally adding oodles of emotion. Pop onto the TV for an hour and outcomes the beginning of a mega TV hit.

If you missed the Audience so far you missed one of the most emotionally powerful TV programmes on at the moment. Seriously I think Channel 4 might just have landed themselves a slow burner with the potential to become a massive hit.

Today’s episode introduced us to Anthony Powell a twenty something scouse lad. His dilemma  Should he quit his job and travel the world? The 50 good men and women chosen by Channel 4 were promptly dispatched to Liverpool to mull over the dilemma and ultimately present Anthony with their collective decision.

Initially I was left thinking after two very good episodes the format run out of gas? Dude get yourself down to Thomas Cook they will sort you out with a round the world trip sharpish.

I should have known better, one of the hallmarks of the show is the gradual reveal of the true nature of the dilemma  It was no different today. Gradually it was revealed how Anthony how first lost his mum, then his dad, then his grandparents, leaving behind just him and his two brothers. This was gradually teased out over the hour. The circumstance in which his lost his parents were bad enough, but hearing and seeing him talk through this was so emotional.

Anthony was in tears, the 50 wise men and women were emotional wrecks and I sure millions at home were just blubbering wrecks.

Yes you can argue it is exploiting and toying with our emotions, using carefully researched stories, but these are real people and their stories are real.

The 50 good people eventually decided he should not travel but by that point it was almost secondary.

If you missed it and you got a box of tissues to spare head over to  4OD  (http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-audience) now!

p.s. If that was bad enough, I caught this on the end of the X-Factor USA on ITV2…

 

Trip down memory lane : Frasier

26 Sep

Occasionally I will take a break from what I watched recently to reminisce about what I watched quite a while ago. Nowhere better to start a trip down TV memory lane than Frasier.

Frasier has to be one of my all time favourite programmes. If I was to choose my best episode it would probably be every single one of them. It was that good!

It had so many great story arcs, but probably the greatest was Dr Niles Crane and Daphne. He was madly in love with her for years and everyone but Daphne knew…Well it all comes to a head and it is a great TV moment.

 

 

An English man’s home is his castle, side extension, loft conversion, outdoor decking,…

25 Sep

We are back on the subject of porn, this time property porn. Once a staple of TV programmes from the suave ‘Location, Location, Location’ to the more pedestrian ‘Homes Under the Hammer’. We simply could not have enough of these programmes.

They presented a simplified but appealing story of ‘wrecks to riches’. A typical edition would feature a bloke (or lady) who had spent the last ten years trapped in some unfulfilled deskbound job yearning for something exciting and decides to have a go at property development.

Off they go to an auction. Bidding on, and winning the auction for a house they never visited. Cue the obligatory melodrama, the house is sinking!

Somehow the situation is rescued and the project is delivered generally not on time and often over budget. Such was the state of the rising market that at the great reveal, despite doing pretty much all the wrong things, a handsome profit is still made and we are all thinking I could definitely do this.

It was not to last. Cue 2007 and the Credit Crunch brings all the property speculation to an abrupt end, but the yearning is still there and the TV companies know it needs fulfillment,  just tweaked to have a slightly more pragmatic approach.

Who better than Sarah Beeny to lead this revival, a lady who even in the heady days of 2005/2006 never got carried out away as property investors (should that be speculators) revealed their more outlandish plans. Her new show on Channel 4 is the not so snappily titled – “Double your home for half the money”.

The premise is straightforward. Envious of your neighbours double fronted, semi-detached Georgian home that cost twice yours. Well you don’t have to rob a bank to buy something similar to move to. All you need is to rustle up the odd  £150,000 for a new side extension and loft conversion and voila you have the same house as your neighbour (Property programmes don’t focus on minor issues like where to get the money from).

Today’s episode had a North South divide to it. Up north in Sheffield the family were focused and the project ran smoothly, the end result was their  £600,000 home was turned into a palatial five bedroom, seven bathroom show home (presumably a bathroom for each day of the week).

In the north London suburb of Wembley it was all a bit more chaotic, the decision-making was fluid and architectural design was at times “bold”, typified by the debate as to whether it was ok for the downstairs toilet to open directly into the middle family lounge.

It may be 2012 but a happy ending it still in fashion and despite the setbacks the Wembley family got the home of their dreams, more evidence if any is needed that any type of porn is recession-proof.

The Queen of Food Erotica is back

24 Sep

Nigella Lawson is back. Some people have labelled her the queen of Food Porn, but that would suggest what she was offering was brash, vulgar and in your face so to speak.

Despite the liberal use of words like “luscious”, “indulgent, ‘lip-puckering”,”squishy” and filmed in soft rich colours Nigella’s new series on BBC2 – Nigellissima – is as with her previous shows, beautifully presented with mouth watering dishes.

As the name suggests it focuses on Italian cuisine and this introduced me to something I had never heard of before – a Meatzza.

It might sound like something you would get from you local Doner Kebab shop after a night out, but in Nigella’s hands it became a fragrant delicately presented plate of Tuscan delight. A tribute to her ability to make pretty much anything sound desirable..Long live the Queen.

So what’s the blog about?

23 Sep

Pretty much everyone around the world enjoys watching TV.  It entertains, it shocks, it surprises, it educates, it even babysits for those days when only endless cartoons  will keep the kids quiet.

As TV takes up such a prominent slice of our social lives and the increasing number of  TV channels compete to catch our attention  it is common across the world for newspapers, blogs and other media to keep us up to date with what to watch (or what not to watch in some cases).

Uniquely in Britain the mass media also tell us what we all watched the day before. A look back at last nights TV.  You might be thinking “I watched it already, why do I need anyone one to tell me what I watched”. You don’t, but it is fun to share…no?

That’s what this blog is about. My take on what I watched.

I will share my view of programmes I watched, what I enjoyed and what I didn’t and hope you enjoy it too.