Friday, February 1, 2013

Catching up

I'm back and I'm catching up.

Some things have gone haywire, to say the least, but I have watched done enormous amount of TV and I need to get it all out. So over the next few weeks i'm going to be talking about a whole lot of shows.

So stayed tuned.

As Gossip Girl would say, XOXO.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No time to watch

Ugh! The last few weeks have been very difficult for me. I mean not really difficult - it is all difficult in a relative way- but for me its been a battle to 'have it all'. And the all that has not really been fitting into my 'all' is television. Now, as you can imagine, being TV obsessed, that is really not great. Work has been all consuming and the little munchkins have been generally a handful, and this has all left little time for much else.

I did manage to squeeze in some 30 Rock to keep me slightly in the loop but only old episodes I had already seen, watching while doing something else. Its sort of like a comfort thing. Although I think I realized the stress may have been getting to me when I started to think that consider whether all men at work more senior than me could be my Jack Donanghey. They are not. At all.

So I finally resurfaced into the world about two weeks ago and  have embarked on some major catch up time to satisfy all my likes.....

Something horrid - Criminal Minds. Most disturbing show ever. It's hard to pin point exactly the most disturbing of the four episodes I watched last week, but I think I would have to go with the 'unsub' who kidnapped young women, got them pregnant, stole the babies when they gave birth, keeping them if the were boys and putting them up for adoption and then killing the mothers. Oh dear lord really? How did they come up with this stuff???? As horrible as some of the storylines are, it is a fabulous show. So tense, so devious.

Something girly - Gossip Girl. I love teen drama and there is little better on TV at the moment than the exploits of the ridiculously overly glamourous NY elite. It has the most convoluted and overdone story lines, which generally repeat themselves over and over again, and I'm convinced that there seems to be some type of law in the US which says if you have a trust fund you can drink freely in public from the age of 12 (it would explain SO much about child stars). I think the most interesting development for me in this season is how I have changed my allegiance to characters. Serena is self absorbed and self righteous but Blair actually has so much more character and depth, as well ambition. Oh did I say that - I like Queen B more?? Oh I did....wonders, as they say.......

Something educational - The Tudors. Ok, so educational might be a little bit of a stretch, but I do check facts a lot against Wikipedia so that is building my knowledge, that counts, right? The Tudors writers do seem to have taken a liberal approach with quite a few facts though and there are some major departures from history. A few facts here and there I can cope with. The ages of the principal characters is very off (Henry VIII in reality aged for more than 20 years from first to last wife, where as JRM grows more hair but still looks about 25 the whole way through) as is the timescales. But what I've not been able to find in Wikipedia is reference to raucous sexathon that the 1500s appear to be (apparently extra marital and non martial liaisons were not a problem whatsoever). They are doing it everywhere and all the time. Its like soft porn in primetime. Fabulous.

I'm finishing my catch up with some Mad Men repeats (oh Don, oh yes) and Dexter (the epitome of quirky noir) and I'm so looking forward to getting all back on track show wise. Less work more TV, that sounds like the tonic.

But for now, happy watching square eyes.......

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rewind to the far we have come.

I've already told you about my love of the vampire genre. I also love the post-apocalyptic genre which does have links to vampires, but also includes zombies and the general disintegration of society due to plague and war. Things like Day of the Triffids by John Whyndam, 28 Days (and Weeks) Later and Children of the Dust (I've completely avoided The Road as everyone in my unreliable book club hated it but I'm sure it would come in here for many).

So I was delighted to find out that what I thought was a vampire book review in The Age last July turned out to be more to the apocalyptic side of the genre. The Passage by Justin Cronin was a 900 page odyssey through the destruction of America by viral infected blood suckers engineered by the US army. Fantastic. Loved it! Can't wait until the next two books in the series plus the Ridley Scott directed movie.

Upon doing some more research, I was interested to find out that The Passage was in part a homage to Stephen King's epic, The Stand. And so I decided to embark on the mission that is reading the 1300 page extended version of this quite amazing book. Its less a horror (alhough there are some horrific parts) and more a study of the evolution of humanity in the face of darkness and destruction with a bit of the god and the devil chucked in for now.

I was then very excited to find out that there was a mini-series made in the 1990s with a Stephen King written screenplay. I was also very excited to find out Rob Lowe (*swoon*) was one of the stars. Less excited that Molly Ringwald was to play the female lead and really quite bemused that Gary Sinise was the male lead, not at all who I imaged (really, heartthrob?). They were joined by a whole host of names that I hadn't heard since the 1990s (Corky Nemic - I remember him!!) and few that are more well known now!

Being a mini-series, a 1300 page book works much better in 6 hours of TV rather than 2 hour movie, so front a narrative perspective it was a delight. There was only one part of the plot that was quite altered from the novel with the merging of two characters (Nadine and Rita), but it worked as well in achieving the same end. If you haven't read the book, little was lost. So basically, little criticism there.

The main characters were cast generally well and in some instances like they were played by people they were based on. Tom Cullen (Bill Fagerbakke) was just exactly Tom Cullen. Mother Abigail, Glen Bateman and Trashcan Man - all right out of the pages of the book nearly to the most minute detail . The devil's advocate, Randall Flagg, played by Jamey Sheridan was a good choice although I never really got a picture of him in my head and Miguel Ferrer as Flagg's lieutenant was older than I expected but still did the job.

So far so good. Three episodes all pleasing.

Then we come to episode four where all the action happens. This is the part where special effects would come in to their own. However, this is the mid 1990s and I expect that this particular mini-series didn't have a very big budget so really I shouldn't have expected much. But I did and I met with some terrible disappointment. I don't really think that special effects are essential. I watched Star Wars just today and the 'new' effects that George Lucas added in when they did the new edition irk me. I like it looking like a film made in 1977! But when it came to Randell Flagg's change of head from human to horny devil it was reminiscent of Clash of the Titans from from 1981. It looked like a rubber mask (and it clearly was!) and more little relation to the rest of his body! And then there was the 'finger of god' coming down to set off the nuclear warhead which, to be honest, I thought was more figurative in the novel rather than an actual finger coming down from heaven but I seemed to be wrong. A huge golden hand came down from heaven and ended the evil - and left me feeling a little bit 'huh'. 

And with only 15 minutes left they squeezed in a 3 month trip from Las Vegas to Colorado. You can't rush a good ending.....but they did.

I0'ts really a rough diamond of 1990s mini-series but I still can't quite figure out whether I found it a fabulous enhancement of the book, or a distraction, detracting from the book, which was fantastic. I think maybe a second look might be in order......or possibly another read - but only after The Passage sequels are safely under the belt.

Now I'm off to watch The Wire.....happy watching, and stay away from the reality shows - no good can come of them.

The end result

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The non -Event of the year!

Well people, its new years eve (AKA When Harry Met Sally day) and 40 degrees here in Melbourne! For a second year it looks like we will be bringing in a new year with a cool change (fingers crossed it comes before midnight!). It's a time for resolutions and new beginnings.....but before we get there, a little look back to the last couple of months in TV.

It has been a busy few months for me. Work events, social events, birthdays ......and The Event. With the decline of Lost, the cancellation of FlashForward and the simple disappearance of Heroes, The Event looked like a choice pick of intriguing getaway TV to look forward to each week.

It started with only a little bit of hype of Channel 7 at a good solid time slot, 8.30pm, Monday night. The cast was solid - Laura Innes (ER), Blair Underwood (LA Law, Dirty Sexy Money), Željko Ivanek (Damages, True Blood) and Scott Patterson (Gilmour Girls) plus some up and comers, such as Jason Ritter (son of the late John Ritter). There was the hint of aliens....hmmm, I've never been such a big alien lover since Scully was abducted in The X-Files, but I can be open minded.

So the first episode was good. Young couple go on holiday. Meet slightly odd other couple. Girlfriend disappears and everyone denies that she ever existed and that they were ever on holiday! Switch to family of said girlfriend being attacked, father kidnapped and forced to fly airplane into president. Switch to President discovering that there is a secret compound in Alaska where many human like aliens have been living since the 1940s and he decides to let them out. Its one of those flash back type arrangements, jumping back and forth all over the place. You need to concentrate.

Second episode.....more of the same really with some progression. Airplane didn't crash into the president thanks to some alien intervention which meant it ended up in the desert somewhere completely different. All those on board were dead.....but possibly alive too?? Girlfriend is being held by the people who wanted her father to fly a plane into the president. Boyfriend now suspected of murder......and so on and so forth. You get the picture, drift and the gist. Its mysterious, it's got twists and if we are lucky the writers have already thought of an end.

I was with it. I was in. I was getting invested. And then......

......Channel 7 bumped it to 10.30pm replacing it with repeats of Criminal Minds and I was out. That is the official sign of impending death for all shows on commercial TV. The next step was to give it a new night, then it would be switched to a random digital channel (7Mate??) and then it would disappear altogether......much like one of its characters. I canceled my IQ. I avoided the disappointment that would be to follow. I let it go while I still could.

Luckily there were other things to keep me interested. Season 3 of True Blood was a corker, the show just keeps getting better and better as time goes on. The second season of Stargate Universe has taken us long with the crew of Destiny well. And the return of some old favorites - Gossip Girl, House and Criminal Minds - brought some new surprises and a blanket of security in TV form.

And so we look to next year and what will it bring? Will Meredith survive in Grey's? Will Sookie forgive Bill? Will I ever get to see the rest of Flashforward. My predictions - yes, yes and possibly not!

Happy new year.......see you on the other side. :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Was it my so called life?

I think I had good teenage years.

I remember dying my hair red, getting into all sorts of crazy scrapes, all the partying and that boy. That beautiful boy. With floppy hair and dreamy eyes.

The angst. The confusion. It was rad. It was cool. It was memorable.

Weeellllllll, actually that wasn't so much my teenage years. I would have liked it to be - I mean there was hair dying (not mine - my friend Jo and her sister and I'm still in trouble with their mother I think), there were crazy friends and scrapes (the above mentioned partying and at least one other parent who possibly hasn't forgiven me) and there were some boys (not sure if beautiful would really be the word though) - but then that isn't my teen years described above, but that of Angela Chase (Claire Danes in her debut role).

My So Called Life was the show to define a generation of teens in the 90s. It centered around Chase, a 15 year old normal mid-American teen and her transition into adulthood dealing with changes in interests, friends, family and herself. It has an dynamic mix of characters - her A type mother, her emasculated father, the oversexed best friend, the gay other best friend, the childhood best friend now cast off and odd boy over the road. And most importantly, the new love interest - the divine Jordan Catalano (played by an unknown, Jared Leto, pre-emo makeover), who took wistful gazing into space to a new level and made it seen sexy and vulnerable and not just vague.

For the teenage me it was a revelation in programming. A teen focused show that had a deep level of realism, mainly driven by the fact that it didn't deal in happy endings or neat resolutions. Unlike the Gossip Girls or Glees of today, MSCL characters weren't those you wanted to be like, you were actually them. The story lines weren't exciting and alluring, but more like day to day - unrequited love, parental disapproval and just wanting to be treated like a grown up and not a child. And just to clarify, they may not have been aspirational, but didn't mean that they seemed more exciting than my own.

MSCL is a gem in the television hall of fame, much helped by it being a one series show. Due to poor ratings (which has always amazed me) and the fact that Claire Danes didn't want to do a second season (hmmm and if running off with Billy Crudup wasn't bad enough!) it wasn't renewed. It will never get old, dull or attempt to jump the shark. It's just liked an unopened 1970s Star Wars figurine - undamaged and retained its value. Sometimes (but only very rarely) being cancelled can be a good thing.

MSCL is now 15 years old. I recently bought the DVD and am re-watching for the fist time as an adult. For something I last watched over a decade ago, I can't believe how much I (a) remember and (b) still enjoy. It hasn't really aged, the story lines are still relevant (although I'm not a teenager, so maybe they aren't!) and they acting is still skillful and subtle. The only thing that has altered is the parents. They have changed from being the enemy to being unfairly maligned and very sympathetic. While Angela's mother, Patti is still controlling and critical, its now so apparent that is it driven from love and the desire to protect her daughter. She, and her husband Graham, are also attempting to deal with the reality that her little girl has grown up and changed. Angela doesn't want their comfort, and doesn't want to confide in them at all. There's a real undertone of sorrow at the dinner table and discomfort with the kitchen.

Just by coincidence I've been downloading by late 1990s CD collection onto iTunes. Ahh nostalgia. It brought it all back and I'm glad that is where is going to stay! Being a teenager was great, but better left where it was!

Later dudes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The end of the season (finally!)

This has been a momentous week. My little one turned 1 (my god, where did that year go!) and no one won the AFL Grand Final. WTF?????

Yes, it was a draw and while for many Collingwood and St Kilda fans that meant their dreams were still alive, for the rest of us that it means ANOTHER week of boring football shows. Really, how many people are being employed to just talk about football? If they pulled half the shows off the air, the national unemployment figures will go up a percent. Really, it's true!!

Much to the relief of many people out there the Grand Final was replayed and Collingwood won (go pies!) and the season is finally over. YAY!! So onto the real tv.....

I've been having a bit of a 30 Rock revival week and, boy, its been pulling me through. It's been a crazy work week and a bit of old Lemon and Donoghy was the only thing pulling me through! There is something a little disturbing about my admiration of Liz Lemon. Such dysfunction. Yet so cool. (And she is a fellow lover of television!).

In my desperation to get an even better Lemon fix I went and got season 3 on the weekend. Now I have to admit it does begin to loose a little something here but there are still some moments of comedy. The Oprah episode. The high school reunion. The retreat to move forward. G-O-L-D!

On the flip side, something that is generally not funny but is having a roaring 3rd series is a favourite of mine, True Blood. I have spoken much about this before so I won't go on, but OMG Eric, Bill and Alcide (werewolfs now apparently). Another level has been reached.

So onto this week's main feature and my new love, Spirited (W, 7.30pm Wednesday). It has this amazing combination of things that to me say 'stay away' - its a Foxtel production (eek!), post Secret Life of Us Claudia Karvan and there's a ghost - but all together they work. They work so well it makes me slightly emotional.

Let me bring you up to speed. Suzie Darling (Karvan) is an anally retentive dentist who decides to leave her cheating chauvinist husband Steve (Rodger Corser) during a dinner party. She and their children, Elvis and Verity, move into a luxurious apartment in the building above her practice which used to be a hotel. As it turns out they are not alone. The hotel is haunted by the ghost of a British 1980's punk rocker called Henry Mallett (Matt King) who can't remember how he died and only Susie can see. The story has the dual focus of Susie trying to build her life while everyone around her thinks she is going slightly mad, while Henry tries to remember what happened to his. It combines a sublime mix of comedy, drama and incredibly touching moments, in particular those where Henry is slowly reconnecting with his past and in doing so realises what and who he has lost. TV magic!

Now, I have to apologise cosmically about this one. I was prepared to hate it. I was prepared to say 'geez Claudia Karvan has lost it'. I prejudged. I thought I knew it all. I did not. And for that I am sorry.

It has beautiful writing (on and I realised it is in part written by one of be most loved TV writers Marieke Hardy), fantastic acting and the spot on period punk tracks are fantastic.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out. While I hate the ending of a good series too soon, I also think it is important to know when to call it a day. Will it be a one good series show, or will there be a cliff hanger to take us to the other side (so to speak).

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And now for something different......

As it turns out I'm not too good at the whole blogging thing. I think I confused it with crafting a coherent overview of my thoughts on TV rather than simply an outlet for my TV related frustration. So I'm having a TV terms I'm replacing the star of a new sitcom with someone funny (but I can't guarantee I'm going to be funny).'s the TV week of my house:

The boys have watched about 40 hours of Playschool and Wiggles. OMG. Now I really like them both as children's TV but really do I have to watch too and slowly star to care. The big questions being asked in our house now are - does Alex Papps' ability to play the pantomime dame suggest anything about his sexual orientation (I think not but others beg to differ) and how much has the blue Wiggle changed in the last 12 years??

The LSOH's TV watching can be summed up in two words - sport and news. Its on when I get up and when I go to bed. Occasionally there are some mega structures and some American Chopper. But not much.

I on the other hand have been striving to get to the end of BSG series 3 and it was all I ever imagined it to be, and more! Shame I spoiled it already - DAMN YOU WIKIPEDIA!!!!!! Now I just have to get hold of S4.....

The joy of True Blood S3 continues. The question remains though - is there anyone apart from Sookie who would pick Bill over Eric??

I've just dipped into another episode of Flashforward, but I can feel the appeal waning as it feels more and more like a second rate Lost. Such potential, such a disappointment.

Well in the US its Autumn preview season so lots to look forward to shortly now things are being fast tracked.....YAY!

Better go but here's a show idea to leave you with: A child TV star grows up to be either school teacher. It could be called Acting Out. Hmmm, now its on paper it looks lame. Well better think of something better for next week.