Archive | April, 2013

Suits…Season 1 was great but Season 2 has been phenomenal.

28 Apr

I think the satellite channel Dave has landed a winner with Suits. With the weekly episode regularly pulling in over 700,000 viewers across multiple showings, it has been a  hit for the comedy channel.

We are two episodes away from the end of Season 2 and to say the series has grown on me is an understatement.  What has really been fantastic about this show is how the characters and the interaction between them have grown and evolved since Season 1. In Season 1 it was mainly a comedy set in a legal firm,  but in season 2 it has grown into a more of a character driven drama with moments of light and dark humor. The characters have all grown.

Mike Ross (Patrick J Adams) – He was the smart kid with all the answers, but the questions have became more complex and the answers not as pat in Season 2. Pearson Hardman is under fire and neither he, his mentor Harvey nor the firm’s boss Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) can see an easy way out. His love life is a mess and he has lost the one strong constant in his life – his grandma. He has simply become more like a mere mortal.

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) – Harvey uber-confident, self assured and suave in his Tom Ford suits he is New York’s best closer. This season we find even Harvey has his weaknesses. His legal and personal battles with his ex-Senior partner Daniel Hardman (David Costabile) has sought seeds of doubt about his relationship with Jessica. He wants Pearson Hardman to be Pearson Specter, but is Jessica ready to let go of control and bring him as an equal? We get glimpses into what has made Harvey, we visit his childhood and find out it holds memories he’d rather forget, we see his relationship  with Zoe Lawford (Jacinda Barret) end as family tragedy tear Zoe away. Incidentally Jacinda is Gabriel Macht’s wife in the real world.

Jessica Pearson – Like her protege and right hand man Harvey, she is self assured and suave, but beneath that veneer she is a woman facing an onslaught on her firm. A firm that has become her life is reeling, the battles with Daniel Hardman have left both her and the firm vulnerable.  Her relationship with Harvey is bruised as they find out that their interests are not 100% aligned and she needs all the loyal troops she can find right now.

Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) – Louis was the man you loved to hate, weasily, devious and unethical. Was that the real Louis? In Season 2 the one dimensional villain from season one has morphed in a a more rounded character with many aspects to him. We see that his deep insecurities exploited by Harvey, Jessica and  Daniel Hardman and there are points you actually get to feel sorry for him.

Other main characters Donna Paulsen (Sarah Raffetty) and Rachel Zane (Merghan Markle) have also developed in season 2. Donna ever loyal to Harvey had cause to question if that Loyalty was misplaced and Rachel’s “will she, wont she” relationship with Mike continues to meander along but is unable to come to any conclusion as circumstance and choice keep them apart.

The least two episodes  for the season are going to be very, very interesting

Evian Water…Another year, another cute dancing baby Advert

28 Apr

It has clearly worked before and what can be cuter than CGI rendered babies boogy-ing away, well for the good folk at Evian the answer is nothing and they have launched another ad in their ”Live Young” Ad campaign.

With a retro sound 90′s track Ini Kamoze‘s Here Comes The Hotstepper the new ad hit our screens this week.

 

Britain’s Got Talent…but is it new or even original?

14 Apr

Last night the latest variant of the vaudeville acts we get from Simon Cowell‘s pipeline hit ITV last night. Britain’s Got Talent is back. As usual we fed the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright weird (yes Mr Vicar with a nun on a broom stick, that was weird).

I guess from the producers point of view and also the crowd reaction one of the sensations of the night was the dance troupe from Hungary – Attraction with their innovative and unusual approach to dance, but was it unusual or that innovative?

Here are Attractions

 

 

Here is a similar group Silhouette from another of Simon’s shows America’s Got Talent

 

 

There are in their own right two great performances but I think the for me the problem with Shadow dancing is once you’ve seen it once, it loses its awe. Or am I being too much of variety show snob?

BBC Parliament – How Magaret Thatcher Came to Power.

13 Apr
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

One of the unspoken joys of multi-channel satellite and cable TV is that there is a good chance that there is always a channel which you could end up watching and you’d probably be the only person in the whole of the United Kingdom watching that channel as that time. Whenever I stumble across channels like this I always come away with that special feeling that the entire channel is being broadcast solely for my benefit for the few seconds, minutes or hours that I indulge in what the channel offers.

One of the channels that often leaves me with this feeling is BBC Parliament. A channel you can imagine even at its best would struggle to hold the viewing interests of the great British public and on a cold Saturday night with the Voice on BBC and Britain’s got Talent (and its sibling Britian’s got more talent) on ITV you expect it viewing figures to be almost statistically immeasurable.

It may not have had many users tonight but it had me. Why was I watching it? Well one of the big news items of the week is the passing away of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and as I was channel surfing I passed by BBC Parliament and their transmission caught my attention.

It was a re-run of the 1979 election result night, the election night that gave Europe it’s first female Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher. It was like opening a televisual time capsule. Britain in 1979 looks a much grayer place that it is today. No flashy Jon Snow graphics, no snazzy studios, old style phone calls to correspondents in the field, lots of middle aged men and precious few women and ethnic minorities about, a much different and visually more austere time. One constant was the presence of Mr David Dimbleby who if you are even mildly interested in politics will know he still covers the election night for the BBC 34 years on.

That however was not what caught my attention it was the discussion they were having about the fall of James Callaghan, the then Labour Prime Minister who had called the election in 1979. He had to call the election because he had lost the support of the Scottish Nationalists in Parliament and in a minority government which is what he was running that is a death sentence.

It turns out the Scottish Nationalists were unhappy about the plans for a referendum on a Scottish Assembly. They wanted the referendum to pass or fail on a simple majority of the votes cast. However a Labour MP, George Cunningham himself a Scot but opposed to Scottish devolution, pushed that the referendum should be only pass if 40% of the registered voters supported it.

A subtle but important change especially given the traditionally relatively low turnouts in British elections, so it was not a shock when the referendum failed to pass. Enraged the SNP pushed for a vote of no confidence. Given the rules of the Parliament as the the the official opposition, the Conservatives led by Margaret Thatcher, also pushed for a vote of no confidence which with the support of the SNP and brought down the government.

Paradoxically this brought in 11 years of Conservative government and almost a wipe out of the SNP’s vote in that elections. Today the Conservative party is almost extinct in Scotland due mainly to the reaction of Scotland to policies of the Conservative Government in the 80′s and 90′s and the Scottish Nationalist Party heads a devolved government in Edinburgh, kind of ironic.

There were of course other issues around the whole situation, such as the Winter of Discontent which also had and influence on the situation back then, but I found this little snippet of history quite interesting.

Live At The Apollo…How ethnic do you have to be to tell ethnic jokes?

3 Apr

I am a big fan of comedy shows especially live stand up and love comedy in all its guises, with the odd exception. Yesterday I caught an episode of Live at The Apollo. It was fronted by Simon Brodkin better kno’wn as Lee Nelson who gave a pretty good performance as host and link man. He is quite funny but you do wonder how many jokes you can milk out of the “chavvy lad about town” persona.

Anyway it was not Lee I wanted to talk about. It was an aspect of  Paul Chowdhry‘s performance. Now despite Paul being an incredible Doppelganger of pop rocker Prince I think it would safe to say Paul is of a heritage that has roots in the Indian sub continent. If the name was not a give away the jokes were. Last night we got a lot of Indian jokes all quite funny and entertaining.

Now having done the Indian jokes his humour sat nav moved further to the east as he regaled us with jokes about a perpetually exasperated Chinese takeaway Restuaranter - “Wha you wan? One rye’ or 2 rye’?  Make up your mine!”.

Now I have often thought there is an unspoken, but widely accepted rule  in comedy, if you are of a given ethnic origin or racial background you can do jokes about your background, but if you are not then you are threading on dangerous ground. So we have black comedians engaging us with jokes about the Black British, African or Caribbean experiences. Same with Iranian comedians with Iraninan jokes, Jewish comedians, Irish Comedians and so on.

I don’t know if this really the case or just my perception, but if it is true how wide is the “remit” of a comedian with extra-heritages as it were. Paul reached out into the Chinese community, but if he told jokes about Somalian  could that be deemed offensive?  Anglo-Iranian comedian Omid Djalili for instance does Nigerian jokes, albeit fairly poorly, and don’t recall him getting any grief for that.

Or is this rule something I have just dreamt up and comedy is really universal with no boundaries.