What Kind Of Day Has It Been

For a few people, the title of this will already give you a strong indication of what this is going to be about. For the rest, heres a ‘previously’.  In all of Aaron Sorkin’s first 3 TV shows, the final episode of season has been titled ‘What Kind Of Day Has It Been’.  It’s one of a number of things you can find repeated through-out his TV work (some you have to look for, and others will likely hit you in the face). Anyway it appeared to be something of a tradition, but it’s a tradition that his most recent (and apparently last) TV show ‘The Newsroom’ broke. That shows season 1 finale was titled ‘The Greater Fool’.

But as it turned out, it only bent the tradition, instead of broke it. As the Newsroom’s series (and season 3) finale used the title. So at some point I had the idle thought of ‘wouldn’t it be interesting to what all 4 versions of ‘What Kind Of Day Has It Been’ in one sitting and use that as the spine for a discussion of the similarities of the shows and how Sorkin’s writing has evolved. So that’s what i’ve just done. All 4 episodes in one go, roughly 3 hours of TV.

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What I’ve Been Watching in 2013

Following on from last years ‘What I’ve Been Watching in 2012‘ I give you the imaginatively titled ‘What I’ve Been Watching in 2013’. My hope is that some others might follow suit and post on their blogs a similar list. If you do just drop us a note and I’ll try to keep some index of them updated. Potentially if enough people post them I’d do a compiled list. As per last year the inspiration for this remains William Gallagher‘s Poll of the Year on his UK DVD Review podcast.

My criteria for my list is simple, anything I’ve watched in any format in 2013 is eligible. Things are ordered 10 – 1 based on how much I’ve enjoyed them in 2013.

10. Homeland (Series 3)

Had a slightly shaky start to its third series, but the last 6 episodes really motor. Damien Lewis and Clare Danes continue to put in spellbinding performances and Mandy Patinkin relishes an expanded role as Saul. Highly recommend  giving Homeland a watch if you’re yet to give it a try. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Watching in 2013”

12 Songs To Get You Hooked On Bob Dylan

A little while back me and a colleague went to a film festival screening of “I’m Not There”, I’m a minor Dylan obsessive, he didn’t know a lot more than the average person might about Dylan. The film piqued his interest in more detail, but in conversation afterwards it became clear that the sheer size of the back catalogue proved something of an obstacle. Just where do you start? The conversation concluded with me set a challenge, come up with a list of 12 tracks which would help him test the waters.

Now you can debate exactly what such a list should be, is it the “best of”, is it my personal favourites?, is it the most popular? Or perhaps the 12 best examples of each of Dylan’s various styles? I eventually boiled it down to this. For me Dylan is something of an addiction, so for me the list had to be Dylan in his “purest, most concentrated form”, the songs where I don’t want them to end. This by and large meant the songs which initially hooked me on Dylan.

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It’s A Teen Drama?

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. Continue reading “It’s A Teen Drama?”

24: ‘Live Another Day’ – Hopes, Thoughts & Possibilities

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.

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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’. Continue reading “24: ‘Live Another Day’ – Hopes, Thoughts & Possibilities”

Yes, Prime Minister

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). Continue reading “Yes, Prime Minister”

Somebody Has Already Said It Better*

I don’t know which way i’m going, i don’t know which way i’ve come

and all the roads we have to walk are winding, and all the lights that lead us are blinding

no direction home, a complete unknown like a rolling stone

everyone seems to know the score, they’ve seen it all before

i came in from the wilderness a creature void of form

how can I know that and not know who i am?

so let us not talk falsely now the hour is getting late

but all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity

i offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn

look at what they make you give

well I know what i’ve been told, gotta break free to break the hold

i wanna know if all you need is love

try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm

put your hands in your pockets looked away and smiled

 

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.

*even that

House of Cards

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. Continue reading “House of Cards”

What Films I’ve Been Watching In 2012

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?

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