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
update 09/07: post updated with some better clips from the pilot episode
For my first full regular length rant i’ve picked Stargate: Universe, a show I’ve already had some success with in getting people to watch. It’s probably only fair to point out that thanks to the bean counters at Syfy the has been cancelled after 2 seasons, but that shouldn’t put you off as there are still 40 episodes of great scifi here, also the season 2 finale works well as a series finale (but that’s actually another rant).
A Stargate is a device which allows travel to other planets & galaxies via a stable wormhole. Prior to Stargate Universe the franchise had consisted of the original 90s movie, the Stargate SG-1 TV show which ran for 10 years and 2 TV movies, and then the Stargate Atlantis show which ran for 5. The cancellation of Atlantis and the pick up of Universe where announced at the same time, much to the anger of some fans who believed Atlantis was being cancelled to make way for Universe.
The early plot for Universe focuses on attempts to dial a gate further away than we’ve ever previously dialled and we will find on the other side. Read more
Just a quick post this week to get into the swing of it. Saw X-Men: First Class last weekend. I went in with high expectations based on a few twitter whispers i’d read, and while it unfortunately couldn’t meet all those expectations, it did pleasantly fill it’s two hour run time and is generally speaking good popcorn fooder. Read more