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
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
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.
Previously on Can’t Shut Up About:-
Veronica Mars, I can’t shut up about Veronica Mars, and it’s all Williams fault. But I have to admit that at first I didn’t take to it, and that’s Williams fault as well, he as well cant shut up about it and gave it a lot of praise which it frankly deserved but had be thinking “go on, impress me”, when I sat down to watch the first episode…
If I have convinced you … your homework is to watch as much Veronica Mars as possible so next weeks follow up post makes sense to you.
Last week I waffled on at you about Veronica Mars, telling you to go on, watch, it’s great. I also promised a follow up piece this week. So hopefully you’ve gone away, become a hermit and watched all 3 seasons in a week and you can now read this follow up piece with some understanding of what i’m talking about and without me spoiling anything for you. Yes, for the first time on Can’t Shut Up About i’m going beyond the basic introduction to tell you what I didn’t like and things the reasons I didn’t get into it when I first watched. Read more
Veronica Mars, I can’t shut up about Veronica Mars, and it’s all Williams fault. But I have to admit that at first I didn’t take to it, and that’s Williams fault as well, he as well cant shut up about it and gave it a lot of praise which it frankly deserved but had be thinking “go on, impress me”, when I sat down to watch the first episode.
It’s my belief that the show is best watched cold, without any preconceived ideas, because so much of the core of the show is best discovered slowly, by yourself as the layers slowly unwrap in front of you.
So if you have heard about Veronica Mars and thought it intriguing, don’t read further, go watch, its great. Read more
A term coined in the late 1950s to describe the advertising executives of Madison Avenue.
They coined it.
If you only watch one fictionalised American 1960s period piece make it Mad Men, no other TV show i’ve seen gets under the skin of the period and the American Dream quite like. From a distance the American Dream has always seemed like some of a enigma, a contradiction. It’s roots in the desire to be free, independent and (financially) self sustaining are hard to argue with, but from the outside looking in it can also look like greed, naked ambition and consumerism wrapped up in patriotism to mask its true meaning.
Is the American Dream achievable? Or is it a mirage? Does achieving it bring happiness or is it all a front, a cover to sell soap flakes? These are all the questions you’ll likely be contemplating whilst watching Mad Men. That Mad Men is able to have all of these questions bubbly just below the surface without it being obvious, or preachy or sounding like a history lecture it what makes the show so remarkable. Read more