As drama addicts and box-set junkies I’m sure you’ve had the problem of trying to describe a great show to someone whose not quite convinced. It’s a problem with a lot of the best shows because often what makes them great is the part that can’t be covered in a standard synopsis or format and genre description. On top of that some of the best shows go ahead and call themselves ‘Battlestar Galactica’ (or ‘Stargate Universe’) so that as soon as you mention the title people tend to look at you like you’ve grown a second head.
Of course since they are great shows and you know friends and family would love them if only they’d give it a chance so you try various descriptions to see if any work. “Imagine a cross between Lost and Deep Space Nine!” was one such description I tried for Battlestar to no avail, possibly because everyone to who that description is appealing was already watching. “It’s really great drama that just happens to be set in space!” seemed to be the most effective one for BSG. “It’s similar to BSG” worked to get a certain audience to try Stargate Universe.
But as hard as its been to get people on board with ‘Drama that happens to be set in space’, another genre has proved monumentally harder to get people interested in. Teen Drama. “A teen drama?” people will say before you apparently vanish into thin air. There is a massive stigma. I am guilty of giving someone the odd sideways glance when they recommend a Teen Drama as worth a watch. That’s despite 3 of my favourite shows fitting squarely in the genre. Of those 3 shows I’ve never been able to get anyone to watch them, nada, not one single person. Read more
It was recently announced that 24 will return next year with a 12 episode miniseries titled ’24: Live Another Day’, the below is an article first published on my other site 24fans.com which explores the possibilities for the new series.
Hello 24 fans, long time no talk. Well i’ve posted the odd drip of movie non-news. But now, their is stuff to discuss! So I thought i’d bring my thoughts on the recently announced ’24: Live Another Day’. Read more
Momentum, thats what the key word for this blog, so i’m going to try and cut a lot of my usual waffling pre-amble. This blog is about the New Yes, Prime Minister Series which has just finished showing on Gold. I’ll cut to the end and say overall I was disappointed.
To understand what was wrong with the new show you have to look back at why the original worked so (seemingly) effortlessly well. The original was about machinery, the machinery of whitehall, of government. Jim Hacker, first the Minister and then the Prime Minister tries to put the machinery to good use (to secure his position in cabinet, win votes and to make peoples lives better, in that order). Read more
Slightly different from my usual posts, the above is a poem that I ‘composed’ during a university module on identity. Thought I’d post it up here because it speaks to how much TV, Film & Music can shape the language we use to discuss ourselves and the things around us.
I’ve just finished watching all 13 episodes of the new ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix. It’s taken me 4 days. I’m surprised it took me that long. Thats my recommendation in short form but allow me to go into a bit more depth.
First just a bit of background. ‘House of Cards’ was first a book, then a BBC TV Series and now a Netflix original drama starring Kevin Spacey. I saw the original BBC TV show about 2 years ago and loved it, in a ‘how haven’t I heard of this before’ kind of way. It follows the almost Shakespearian anti-hero Francis Urquhart (Underwood in the remake) as he devises a plan to take revenge after the newly elected Prime Minister/President goes back on a promise to make him Secretary of State (citing his influence as Chief Whip being too important to lose with a tight majority) and he sets his sights much higher than the cabinet post he feels was rightfully his. Read more
After writing up my top ten of 2012, I looked back at it and realised it didn’t include any films. I thought I would correct that, so here is my top ten films of 2012. Thats right, I’m really bending the rules.
10. That film you can’t believe I’ve forgotten/left out.
Released earlier this year, starring thingy from that other thing. Some people didn’t like it but what do they know?
One of the best things about the sadly departed UK DVD Review podcast was the poll William did every year where he encouraged people to email in and rant at him about their favourite DVD of the year. He’d then tally the votes (giving extra points for the better the rant and the more creatively you bent the rules) and then put them into a nice top 10 countdown. Alongside that he’d also give you his top 10 of the year.
It was patently unfair, you got 1 choice, he got 10. I tell you what though, I thought picking just 1 was hard, picking 10 it turns out is 10 times harder. You see i’ve decided that I want to let you know about a load of things in one go, instead of the 1 every 6 months pace i’ve previously being keeping. So i’m doing my version of the end of year top 10. My rules are slightly different to William’s, this is quite simply the top 10 things i’ve been watching on DVD/iTunes/Tivo this year. So lets get started.
Build up to Skyfall has reminded me of my memories of sitting in the cinema watching Casino Royale. Die Another Day had been a bitterly mediocre disappointment, but we were promised a clean break with Daniel Craig, expectations were high. MGM logo, no gun barrel, black and white scene, all very calm, considered. Some clever dialogue intercut with a flash back to earlier tense action. Wasn’t sure what I was seeing, certainly didn’t look and sound like Bond, but it was definitely intriguing. Suddenly the dialogue stops, a double agent neatly dispatched and the earlier action isn’t over. Bond has too put a bullet in his first victim to finish him off, as we cut to a new angle the end of the scene doubles as Craig’s first Bond gun-barrel. Cue the music and a massive smile from me, I’m in I think to myself. The first two or so minutes of Casino Royale show off everything which was great about the film, this was Bond the character and the franchise boiled now to its bare essentials, they’d use what was useful, what had a place. This all continued into the title sequence itself, the silhouetted dancing-girls had gone, the theme tune had a hard self-assured edge to it. A truly terrific first impression. Read more
Before I start I’m really keen I don’t spoil anything about Rises for anybody who hasn’t seen it (or even colour anyones expectations). So to summarise, i’d highly recommend seeing The Dark Knight Rises in the cinema, but i’d also suggest watching or rewatching both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before you do.
If you have seen Rises read on for why it’s a much better final act than it is a film, and it’s a pretty damn good film.