Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

TV is a strange place. That little box (although it’s more like a piece of paper these days…) in your living room brings you a cocktail with more ingredients in it than a long island ice tea – and just as much booze. Only on TV can you see a man make a gigantic fondant covered hogwarts cake, and then switch to a chick standing in a plastic cube while trying to blow a ball-bearing into a hole with a straw. Only on TV can you have bad singing and then bad dancing, laced with bad sob stories… and then flick over to the other side and OH MY GOD there’s a man on a desert island giving himself an enema (seriously channel 4? We did not need to see that). We have TV shows were we watch people watching TV, we have shows with dancing ‘celebrity’ dogs… we even have a show were we sexualize toddlers (?!) and make them compete with each other in order to vicariously fulfil some lady’s self esteem issues.

TV can be messed up. But it is the purest form of social commentary and can occasionally be the greatest form of entertainment the world has ever seen. Sometimes though, it takes a lot of delving through the mud and sludge to find those rare tiny gems that are worth switching on the box and delving in.

This is three of the most underrated, underwritten or unknown show’s you’ve never watched – that you definitely should. And with netflix you have no excuse not to.

1) Nikita 

Nikita is unusual in that it isn’t unknown – it is just totally written off. From pretty much the pilot, Nikita got a bad rep. Being on the CW network meant it was never taken seriously by anybody, and totally missed it’s target audience – and likewise, as it wasn’t a teen TV show, no one who ever watched the CW ever gave it a look in. Marketing for the show also ruined its chances, the network wanted us to think this was a show about sexy women wearing revealing outfits yet being super spies and kicking butt. People said it was shallow and against feminism. When in reality, Nikita couldn’t be further away from that. Three of the lead characters are strong, complex women with dark, traumatic pasts. There is no skimpy outfits or overtly sexual scenes unless they have to for a mission, and even then it is rare. Nikita’s bad rep is totally and utterly unfounded, and here’s why.

nikita gifFirstly, it takes a hell of a lot to make an action show. Especially an action show with a full weekly roster of hand to hand combat like Nikita. I don’t think people appreciate just how difficult it is to choreograph it, get the actors to learn it – as well as their lines – and then bring in the explosions, gun work and stunts. Hell – Maggie Q did all her own stunts. And she got hurt a lot because of that. But Nikita never faltered, from start to finish the action scenes, especially the fight scenes, were always impressive and as good as any you would see in an action movie. I guess that’s what happens when you hire an action star. 

alex cage gifSecondly, the strength of the characters meant that it transcended being just an action show. It wasn’t just about a fight against Division, it was about these characters and their lives before, and then after, Division. It was about learning what made them who they are, and what got them on the dark path that led them to end up in prison. Each major character was deeply complex. And in a way, we were probing them all just as Amanda obsessively did over the four seasons. For me, Alex’s story was most interesting. When do we ever have a lead character of a TV show who has a past that involves drug addiction, abduction and sex trafficking? We don’t. These issues are skirted around on a lot of shows, and maybe looked at in depth for an episode or two, but never do we see the soul of a character like we saw Alex. We knew her, and we saw her pain and then we saw her evolve past it and even, in the end, use it. Nikita similarly had a dark past with drugs and abuse, and interestingly we saw how she was moulded by Division into this person who was now so fiercely trying to tear them down. Throughout the series, Amanda goads Nikita by saying Division made her – and in truth they did.

And finally, the writing. It is really tough to write any serial drama, but spy shows have to be complex and they have to keep surprising you. Most of all, the spine of the show has to be the series ark – for a show like Nikita, a mission of the week premise was never going to work without a boatload of story development. Nikita, despite the occasional derailment, did that. The dialogue was great and to cap that, the cast had a great chemistry. Lyndsy Fonsecca – despite her parents having spelt her name wrong – is going to have a long and fruitful career ahead of her. Maggie Q – well, she’s already an action star, but I think she proved she can do drama as well. And that she actually doesn’t need to be wielding her fists to delve some killer blows. Melinda Clarke, as always, plays the slightly odd and manipulative villain fantastically. She’s almost pantomime, and it works. Xander Berkley actually manages to get me to hate him as Percy, even though my heart still aches a little after his (spoiler!) martyrdom in season 2 of 24. Shane West is Nikita’s Romeo, but he also has a painful past and does the tortured soul well. And finally massive kudos goes to Aaron Stanford as Birkhoff who provides some brilliant one liners and at times, some much needed comic relief.

amanda gif

Nikita ran for three seasons, with six farewell episodes added on after it was cancelled to wrap things up. So we thankfully got some closure, and thanks to the great writing you couldn’t tell there was any kind of rushed ending. While it sort of went out without a whimper, with not a lot of people discussing it, and no real fuss – it was sort of fitting. Nikita did the spy thing – pulled off an impossible feat in that it brought three years of possibly the greatest spy show ever on a network usually dominated with teen angst, and with that brought all that badassery (not a word – should be) and then faded into the background. Unseen. Unheard. Untraceable. Sound familiar?

Yes, Alex is drinking milk.

Yes, Alex is drinking milk.

2) American Gothic

The 90s was a revolutionary period in terms of TV. We were gifted with strongly written feminist shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena. The face of procedural and medical dramas changed forever with the beginning of Law and Order and the brilliant ER. Comedy got two of the greats with Friends and Frasier, and science fiction changed forever when Captain Janeway took the bridge and Mulder and Scully opened their first X File. But one revolution that never took off was in the horror genre with the highly underrated American Gothic.

Before there was American Horror Story – the 90s gave us American Gothic. Sam Raimi – before he made us all hate him with Spiderman 3 – had quite the repertoire. Evil Dead, Darkman and this extremely underrated series. CBS are the idiots in this story, after cancelling American Gothic after one season. Ahead of its time, and therefore still watchable now, American Gothic revolves around Caleb Temple (Lucas Black) and the town’s corrupt sheriff, Lucas Buck (Gary Cole). Though appearing affable and charismatic, Sheriff Buck is a murderous rapist whose powerbase is backed by apparent supernatural powers, which he generally uses to manipulate people to “fulfill their potential” and make life-changing choices (usually for evil). Gary Cole plays a villain so well in this show that he literally ruined himself for me in anything else he is in. A very young Lucas Black is fantastic as Caleb, making himself the anchor for this wierd, anything goes series.

American Gothic was basically American Horror Story, but it was the 90’s and the world wasn’t ready for it yet. Hell – it even had Sarah Paulson in it to boot just in case you weren’t sure. The show was the epitome of strange, dark and disturbing all rolled into one. Had CBS had a backbone, no doubt it would have become a cult classic like the X-Files.

Despite its short run, it is still worth a look, and it really is a timeless hidden classic. I first saw this show when I was a teenager, about ten years after it first aired. And I remember being astounded when I discovered it was made in 1996. You really couldn’t tell.

If you get a chance, give this one a look.

3) Vikings

Vikings may be an Emmy nominated show, but I don’t know anyone but me who watches it. Where did this show come from? I didn’t even realise the History Channel made dramas, never mind dramas so breathtakingly shot, wonderfully acted and superbly written that it makes you want to sell all your worldly possessions, grow a beard (I’m a chick and I want one that includes a rather dashing mohawk), live off the land and kill a bunch of English people – a problem when you are actually English.

Vikings follows Ragnor Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) an actual 9th century notorious Viking famous for exploring the west and visiting all parts of Europe and fathering some very famous Viking sons. More notable however, at least in my eyes, is Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), Ragnor’s shield maden wife who strides into battle even more fiercely than her husband, and is by far the strongest female lead on any TV, in any country at this current time. Winnick, who had a part in the hit show Bones, was otherwise a relatively unknown actress before getting this part. However, she shines as Lagertha, really bringing the character to life and managing to portray a character both ferocious and fragile at the same time. The supporting cast is also flawless. Special mentions go to Gustaf Skarsgard – another Skarsgard, just what the hell was Stellan feeding these kids? What ever it was, keep doing it! – who plays the eccentric Floki, and Jessalyn Gilsig who plays the manipulative Siggy. Fimmel, meanwhile, leads from the front. He gives a solid performance as Ragnor, bringing a light shade to a character that could potentially have been all dark. He does the misunderstood, persecuted farmer well, while always eluding to an arrogance that eventually leads him to lead.
But it isn’t that acting or the weaving storylines that makes Vikings a stand out show. Instead, it is just how breathtaking the show is visually. Week in, week out, we the viewers are treated to shots that surely belong in a photography exhibit or on the big screen. But it isn’t just the lovely scenery gifted to us by it’s Irish location, it’s the vision created by the cast and crew, and the impeccable direction and care given to each and every episode. It makes Game of Thrones look visually unstimulating, and when you can say that about a show as fantastic as Game of Thrones, you know Vikings is bringing something very special to the screen.

It should be noted however, this is a show about Vikings, so expect a lot of violence and sex, tons of Norse mythology and a general distaste for morals. The Viking women were strong, merciless and often rode into battle alongside their male counterparts. They were still looked down upon, but were seen as much fiercer individuals that could earn respect on the battlefield. In their own way, the Vikings were more advanced than any of their Western counterparts – and despite being reviled as bloodthirsty barbarians, it took the rest of us a thousand years to catch up (and in a lot of places in terms of combat – we still haven’t).

Overall, Vikings is brilliant and refreshing and needs to be your newest show.

What is your most underrated show?

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Something occurred to me today, while I was laughing away to the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory. Being a geek… has definitely become a lot cooler. When I was a kid, if you so much as mentioned something about ‘Comic Books’ or ‘Star Wars’ you were either immediately ostracised, forced to spend the day undergoing a make over (actually happened) or compulsory left to get picked last in P.E. class. It was never a positive experience. And so I found myself – especially because I am a girl – purposefully hiding the real me.

“Oh… what music do I like? Erm… Oh what’s that new song they were playing on Juice FM… yeah I listen to Juice.” When in reality I had a room with head to toe pictures of Jimi Hendrix and I liked listening to metal when I did my homework. I know this isn’t unusual – the whole hiding your true self, I mean – pretty much every teen in history has experienced this at some point in their lives. But there is definitely much more acceptance for someone with more geekier tendencies these days than there were, say ten years ago. Take this for instance…

Source: weknowmemes.com

^That, right there, pretty much summarises what I mean. People are actually buying glasses with no glass in them, to simulate the fact that they look slightly nerdy! Why? Do you think it makes you look smarter? …I’m pretty sure it achieves the opposite. Then you get the people on facebook who are actually pretending to like ‘so-called’ geeky stuff. Holding up x-box controllers, or writing statuses like – “Just watching Star Wars… wow I’m so geeky.” …Erm, I have news for you girly. Watching a sci-fi flick doesn’t automatically make you geeky. Being like me and owning a replica light saber, a life size R2-D2 and spending your nights questing on The Old Republic… yes, then you could possibly be a nerd. But you’re not doing those things to be geeky. You’re doing them because you God damn genuinely love them.

I honestly think The Big Bang Theory has kind of added to this trend. People who know absolutely nothing about half the things the guys of the show are into still watch the show. Which, I am not ridiculing. It’s a great show and I don’t care who watches it as long as they keep it on the air. But, my boyfriend is prime example of what is wrong with this. He is not a nerd. He hates Star Wars, comics, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, MMORPGs, Star Trek… etc. He despises it all. Yet he loves The Big Bang Theory. Again, nothing wrong with that, I love it too and we have it in common. The only problem I have with it – is this – He doesn’t get half the jokes. In the beginning, especially, The Big Bang Theory had more geeky references than comicon. Sheldon would say a joke about both Star Wars and Star Trek that would only make sense to you if you’d seen either of them. But still… my boyfriend laughs. I don’t get it… on what level is he watching the show on? Because there is no way he understood that joke.

THESE are geeks! And FYI, I hope sincerely that if you watch TBBT you can at least name all the characters/species they’re imitating! Too much to ask for? Damn. Source: TV Fanatic

So this is my point. People watch a hit show about geeky guys and now, suddenly, they think they’re geeky. It doesn’t work like that people. I mean, in a way, I applaud The Big Bang Theory, for making it mainstream and essentially okay to like Star Trek, and to go to comicon and dress up as a Hobbit. The ridiculing has definitely decreased. I once went to a screening of Star Wars episode I with a face painted like Darth Maul. I was 8. But still I was ostracised for it. I got called names at school. And it was then that I started hiding the real things that interested me. Just for an easier life.

Okay, so I can kind of see why I was bullied. This isn’t exactly normal. But it’s what I wanted to do, so I did it. And I don’t regret it. I just regret hiding my love of all things Star Wars all through my teens.

Things like that seem easier now. At least on the surface. Maybe if you pretend  to be a geek you are cool. It’s a strange phenomenon. I definitely like that you can seem to be more yourself now. That kid with the Star Trek lunch box isn’t going to end up eating its contents in a bath room stall, hiding from bullies. Or at least, he’s less likely to.

I think the true moral of the story it this. Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something your not. This cuts both ways. Don’t hide what you truly like, and don’t pretend to be a nerd so you look cool. It’s a hell of a lot more admirable to be yourself, and be self confident and comfortable in your own skin. Because at the end of the day, no body wants to really end up lying to themselves. Life’s too short.

…And on that note, I’m off to go play with my lego star wars set. Because I’m an adult and I can damn well do what I please!

“Look sir… Droids!”

Hello there – friends, enemies, cyborgs… The ‘You better abide by my TV guide’ series is back this week. And boy… have I got some quality TV picks for you. To get us going, I thought I would just start by saying a jolly old Happy New Year to you all – yes, I realise I am 10 whole days late, but it’s the thought that counts. I hope you had a good one, and that your Christmas was filled with family fun – because after all, that is what it’s all about.

Anyway, that’s enough jibber-jabber. Let’s kick 2013 off in style and get this show on the road.

1) American Horror Story

Jessica Lange in one of her two roles – as Sister Jude. Source: Collider.com

Wow. How this one stayed so low on my radar for so long, I do not know? American Horror Story starts off as a show that follows the Harmon family as they move into an house that has one hell of a famous history. American Horror Story is as much horror as it is mystery, and the plot is surprising and intricate throughout. Every single character is layered – from the occasionally seen ghost to the outstandingly played Constance (Jessica Lange… you most certainly still have it). As season one progresses, the house itself is nurtured into a character all of its own, and by the climax, you can only really guarantee one thing – anything can happen. We travel through time each episode, and are treated to all the previous tenants of the aptly named ‘Murder House’, and at the core of it all, is the Harmon’s who are so desperately trying to regain some sort of control and normality where there is none. What makes American Horror Story so compelling though, is the writing. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk stated from the beginning that each season would feature a new story and a new cast. The brilliance of this, is every season is like an outstanding well written and complex movie. There is no expectation to peak the series into having some sort of a cliff hanger… the whole show, after all is surprising enough in itself week in week out. Instead you expect this well crafted story to come to some conclusion, and then you – as a viewer, turn a page and eagerly await what new Hell the writers will dream up in the next season. It’s such an interesting way to do a show. And highlights to me that good writing is the backbone to any successful program. Season Two centres on ‘Briarcliff’ – an institute for the criminally insane run by nuns. Just the very premise of that is scary, especially, if like me, you’re Catholic. Thankfully, we have the amazing Jessica Lange back as Sister Jude – the care taker of the institute, and we are led through the complicated definition of ‘insanity’, not just through the patients, but through those tasked with housing them. Once again, I am surprised, week in week out, and with actors such as Joseph Fiennes and James Cromwell hopping on board, American Horror Story manages to not only maintain the successes of the first series – but perhaps even surpass them. But it doesn’t stop there, Evan Peters proves how utterly versatile he is, having taken two lead roles in both seasons, and Zachary Quinto reminds us all how easily he can play both the hero and the foe. A special mention also goes to Sarah Paulson, who plays journalist Lana – as it is essentially her journey we follow through the Mental system as she finds herself held at Briarcliff against her will when she gets too close for comfort.

Ahhh… the Rubber Man. Just one of MANY terrifying characters.

Essentially, American Horror Story can be shocking and repulsive – as most Horror’s often are – but when it isn’t being genuinely terrifying, it is wielding itself into a masterpiece of modern television. If you like your frights big and your drama raw – then I couldn’t recommend American Horror Story more. …And given it’s structure, there’s no need to watch the seasons in any sort of order. Enjoy!

You can catch American Horror Story on FX and Season 1 is on DVD now. Or if you’re naughty (hehe) check out TV Links. 

2) Chicago Fire

Beautiful peopleeeeee…. Beautiful peopleeee… Uh ohhhhhhhhhhh

Okay, so never have two shows been more different! Don’t ever accuse me of not giving you variety at Rather Be Mental…! Now to a show by NBC… meaning it could essentially get canned at any time so enjoy it while you can. I’m surprised a show like this took so long to get onto a major network, after the hugely successful E.R. and the totally underrated Third Watch, I thought for sure we’d have a totally focused fire department show. But it took a while for the idiots over at the network to catch up. Thankfully – they did.

Did I also mention I am in love with Taylor Kinney… Yeah, prettttyyy BIG factor! Source: Shayson (Tumblr)

Chicago Fire follows a Chicago fire department, meaning we get a lovely action packed insight into both muscly fire men and kick ass female Paramedic’s. A little slow getting off the ground at first, Chicago Fire is finding its feet half way through the season. The writers seemed to have realised that, like so many NBC shows before it, the characters are what is most important. Therefore, we are treated to many a layered soul, with many a complicated relationship. There is a chance occasionally that Chicago Fire falls into the ‘soapy’ trap from time to time, but when ever that seems to be happen, there’s a huge explosion or a plane crash to avert us back on course. While I am not raving over this show like I was American Horror Story, I can definitely see it has potential. What I would like to see more of is – a) more time on the street; and b) a little more of that smart humour that made shows like Third Watch so God damn good.

While it certainly ain’t perfect, I would say that Chicago Fire deserves a look if you are prone to a hospital/cop drama. Even if it’s not your thing, the whole show is full of beautiful people – who can act – which, makes a refreshing change. I am sure, as the season progresses, the show will just keep getting into its stride.

Like I said, Chicago Fire can be found on NBC or Sky Atlantic. Or online. Again. Hehe. 

3) Miranda

Oh look at that face… how could you dislike her?!

Ah… Miranda Hart. Every time I say her name I feel a rising urge to shout… “For Prime Minister!”. She encompasses everything I could ever want in a female British comedian. It’s hard to believe that I took so long to watch her sitcom, I just kept seeing her on TV wondering, “Who is that woman?” Then one day, my cousin told me that I absolutely must be watching Miranda as it was

“Move along…!” Miranda slightly illegally impersonating a police officer.

totally hilaire! (A word you’d understand if you saw the show). The reason I love Miranda so much, is she is basically every normal thirty something woman if you stripped away all their inhibitions and made them 12 again. I’m only 22, but how I longggg to be bold enough to ‘gallop’ down the street – because, after all it is such a more efficient form of transport!  Watching Miranda, I find myself thinking, “Oh dear… I’ve done that too.” Not exactly great when she’s constantly acting insane and humiliating herself. Because, as Miranda Hart so puts it in her book, ‘Is it just me?’, she always gets stuck at the little moments in life. The big ones – weddings, deaths, births etc. She can do fine. There is a mandatory guide book for how to behave for each and every one of those moments. But it’s the little moments – like accidentally losing your skirt at a job interview and passing it off as a deliberate move to show how smooth your legs are – that she gets so so wrong (genuinely happened to her… ). The sitcom can be ridiculously silly at times, but I think we all need that in our lives. Not afraid to use the odd catch phrase, and most certainly not afraid to let the world know her biggest, cringiest moments, Miranda is a breath of fresh air and a hark back to the silly comedy we would at times get from the likes of Morecambe and Wise. Except that, Miranda is a lot truer to life and definitely makes the odd ‘misfit’ like myself feel a lot better about themselves. Just for clarity Miranda… No, it isn’t just you. 

Watch Miranda on Tuesday nights on BBC1. I have no clue whatsoever if your treated to it in the USA (although it’s so British I’m not sure you’d get it…) but if not, again – ONLINE.

Special mention

Also, if you happen to be British, and are checking out Miranda, keep the tele on BBC1, as Mrs Brown’s Boys is an Irish sitcom that definitely gets a good few laughs.

That’s all from me now folks. Wow, definitely covered the spectrum of TV fiction. Give us a like on facebook to keep yourself well in the loop for any more of my recommended shows. Chow!

Lafayette: Do something!
Pam: I am doing something… laughing!

Oh Pam. You spent last season single handedly holding the series together with your quippy remarks. I’m glad to see she carried on were she left off, with both this weeks scorcher and the very memorable line from last week…

I’m wearing a Walmart sweatsuit for ya’ll. If that’s not a demonstration of team spirit I don’t know what is.

Haha! Brill. Kristin Bauer van Straten’s delivery of every single line is so flawless, she is a credit to the show. Anyway, to the episode!

I started with Pam, so I will continue. She’s having a tough time dealing with this rift between her and Eric. And it isn’t helping that the she doesn’t know the Authority has him so she clearly thinks he’s ignoring her. We saw a little of Pam when she was human, and honestly, if it wasn’t for all the eating and the drinking – I could have sworn she was exactly the same. I think that was why Eric turned her eventually. He saw who she was, and liked it. She interested him. I know if I was going to spend an eternity with someone, I’d definitely want to make sure they had a sense of humor as razor sharp as Pam’s.

This week we finally got to meet Christopher Meloni’s new character – Roman. And when he began speaking, I found it uber weird. I can’t help but see Elliot. He looks the same, he sounds the same. He even has the same cockiness about him, a fact I always loved in Stabler. But, myself, like many, need to let it go. Stabler is gone, and unless the world starts reversing on it’s axis, he’s never coming back. He’s all about the fangs now… And I need to get used to it!

Chris Meloni as Roman. Source: Small screen scoop.

So did he do a good job?

Honestly, I think it is too tough to tell. You don’t just shake off a character you have played for 12 years. And so I think that will take time. But I enjoyed the religious aspect he brought. The fact that Vampires, or Vampyres as they kept referring to them, are as culpable as humans are when it comes to believing in some sort of omnipotent creator. His feeding of his disciples with his blood had obvious similarities to the Christian mass, and Meloni delivered each line in such a way that you really believed Roman meant every word. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him as the season progresses, and I think his character is likely to lose his cool way more than he did in last nights episode. And, even more than that, I want to learn more about this guy – how old is he, for instance?

Tara is now even more crazy…!

In other news, Tara is a messed up, crazy, violent, epileptic Vampire. And she’s pissed. Unsurprisingly. Really Sook? Really? You thought, “Oh I know, we’ll turn her?” Neither you or Lafayette got Pam to turn Tara for her own good, it was for selfish reasons. She was hardly likely to be happy about the fact, given the fact she was kidnapped, raped and almost murdered by a Vampire – several times. She hates them. She spent the whole of the last season trying to bring them all to an end. Yet you think she’d rather be a Vampire than dead. It is down right selfish of them. And in all honesty, I would have been happier if Tara had have died. Last season we had Eric on the rampage, unable to control himself. Before that we had Jessica adjusting to life. And now Tara? This could get old fast. I hope the writers do their best to keep it upbeat, and turn Tara back into the “La la la la” character from Season 1.

We were treated to several Vampire torture scenes this week. The authority were intent on interrogating Eric and Bill. I found it interesting that they felt keeping Nora’s secret worthy of such a fate. Yes she and Eric share Godric as their maker. But if she has already betrayed the Authority, them knowing that can’t do more harm if she’s already facing the true death. If anything they would understand that bond. The bromance twins – Bill and Eric – also revealed the fate they gave Russell Edgington in order to prevent their own demise. It was a risky move. A more reckless leader no doubt would have killed them there and then, and for a moment, I thought Roman would. But it looks like we make get some more delightful scenes between Russell and Eric when the pair go and track him down – I hope.

Source: Stephenmoyer.net

There was some stuff going on with Terry this week. Honestly, I won’t lie, it doesn’t interest me. Something about fires and what happened in Iraq. So I found it hard to follow that. Jason got in a little bit of hot water for splitting up a boy’s parents this week, and he also found Debbie’s car. I reckon we’ll be hearing more about that real soon. Sam fell out with Nula over her little girl possibly being wolf. It turns out she is… bummer. How cute though! Alcide renounced any association with the pack. I don’t know for how long however, as they don’t really seem the kind of people you walk away from…

And Jessica got bored with playing teenage girl, finally throwing out her groupies. But now before a visit from the newly Vampiric and gay Rev.

Child vamp needs a nap. Like his suit though…

Newland. I enjoy him a lot more now he’s gay and a Vampire. I really do. I know Jessica is older than him, but I do worry she will end up underestimating him. He was a slimy and slippery, and sometimes dangerous little critter before he became a Vampire. I can only see him getting worse now he’s stronger. That being said, I loved Jessica’s teasing of him, when she was all talk about Jason’s butt etc. And her defense of him was as cute as ever. I do think she has feelings for him. But like what happened with Hoyt, she’s not ready for that. She wants to be just Jessica for a while. I guess she’s more like a teenager than she realises.

Finally, one more point. Children vampires? We’ve seen them before on Buffy. But that was because he was the annointed one. You have to wonder what qualities you see in a child that would make them a good Vampire… Also he was quite snappy. I think he needs a nap.

Overall, a solid second episode. Slightly below par compared to last week, but I have a feeling we’re just beginning to set up the many threads this season has to offer.

Let me know your thoughts on this weeks True Blood below.

It’s part 2 of the “you better abide by my TV guide” series, meaning today I will be looking at all the TV shows I will be watching over the coming weeks. All of which are of particular interest if you a) hate sport or b) live in the USA and already miss your fall TV.

First up, we have True Blood; Sundays HBO at 10.

Source: Entertainment weekly.

Christopher Meloni on True Blood
Source – Entertainment Weekly

I’m a firm believer that if it’s on HBO, it deserves at least a look. We’re talking the channel that brought us the Sopranos, Sex and the City and Game of Thrones. That’s bucket loads of quality right there. And while I wouldn’t tar True Blood with the same brush as it’s channel pals, it is still miles ahead of the competition.

Into its fifth series, it’s coming off the back of a disappointing season filled with too many witches, not enough Sookie and an anti-climactic end to Sookie’s origins. But the show runners have brought in SVU super lead Christopher Meloni to spruce up the cast, plus the return of the outstanding (and my personal favourite) Russell Edgington – that alone will keep me watching. And I am hoping he turns up sooner rather than later…

If you’ve not caught True Blood, purchase season 1 immediately if you like your vampires sexy and dangerous and not like they’ve just swallowed some pledge. Anyway, check it out and enjoy!

Next up is the BBC drama Silk; iPlayer

Silk is the most fun I’ve ever had (with a TV…) while being utterly clueless about what is going on. It’s a British legal drama following two barristers trying to get silk – a prestigious level among the justice system that takes years to achieve. Confused? Well to be honest, I don’t really get it either. I find myself watching long periods of legal mumbo jumbo with no clue whether the leads of the show are doing well, with just each characters reactions to gauge the plot. But that’s doesn’t matter. I don’t watch silk as it would probably help me pass the bar, I watch it because it’s the most honest look at any legal system I have ever come across.

Being a big time Law and Order fan, it takes a lot for me to enjoy other legal dramas because no show quite weaves and ducks like L&O. It makes you question things you thought were simple lines of the moral code. And it is the true embodiment of the fact that life is never black and white.

BBC’s Silk – Source: The Telegraph.

Silk however shows that our legal system really isn’t about right or wrong. In fact, that couldn’t be more untrue. Instead, the law, and justice is much more about how wealthy you are; how good your barrister is; and the roll of the die when it comes to the jury. We can kid ourselves into thinking it is about justice, but so often the courts are a far more shady affair.

Week in, week out Silk shows that. And shows the politics involved in every case. It is horrible to imagine yourself in the dock, accused of a crime. But it is even more distressing to realise that in our county – the most important factor isn’t whether or not you did it.

Finally, a very different Crime drama – Rizzoli and Isles; Tuesday’s, TNT.

Jane and Maura's first meeting.

Jane and Maura’s first meeting.

If you have ever waded through my blog posts, you would already know I love this show. Its not only my favourite Summer show, it’s one of my favourite shows full stop. Funny, well written, heart wrenching and with a stellar cast, Rizzoli and Isles follows two best friends as they solve homicides, one being a detective and the other the chief medical examiner.

The thing I like the most about this show is the humour. It makes me laugh equally as much as Family Guy and the Big bang – which, given it is a drama is über impressive. The chemistry between Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as the two leads sizzles (enough to get a considerable lesbian following) and the amazing use of Lorraine Braco as Rizzoli’s mum makes this the perfect show. If you like your crime dramas with a bit of sass then look no further (except if you’ve never experienced Veronica Mars…).

 

Jesus. When will I ever watch a Private Practice episode without crying like a little bitch?

To be fair to Shonda Rhimes, Private Practice’s finale was never going to be all sunshine and rainbows. Not when we’ve spent the past half a dozen episodes leading up to the birth of Amelia’s brainless baby. As expected, Amelia went into labour, and instead of her friends rallying to help her, as usual a moral debate began. When the gang discovered from Jake that Amelia’s plan was to harvest her baby’s organs in order to save other dying children they were all shocked, and reacted in different ways. Keeping to recent form, Charlotte set about consulting the hospitals lawyers about what the course of action was. Sam blurted out that it was murder and was hostile to everybody, particularly Addison and Jake given him witnessing their little dalliance in Jake’s office, and Addison was shocked but remained calm and quiet – clearly thinking of Amelia above all else.

As the episode progressed, the dilemma went back and forth between the warring parties. Jake was clearly conflicted as he obviously didn’t want to be involved either – but as usual he was putting his patient first and reminding himself he’d promised Amelia. There was a touching scene between the pair of them, as Amelia struggled through the pain in her hospital room – alone. He placed his hand into her back, to try and alleviate the pain a little – given Amelia obviously refused any and all drugs. When he did this Amelia reacted as though his hand was made of ice, explaining that she couldn’t have anyone touch her or she’d cry. And if she started crying, she wouldn’t stop. It was a classic Amelia scenario, refusing help to stay strong. And in all honesty, one I was glad to see rather than her recent bouts of making people feel awful for her, and then being hateful. I like the strong Amelia, but I like her even more when she is strong enough to accept help. In the end Jake ignored her pleas and helped her, proving she was realising that this time she couldn’t do this alone.

Sam, once again, pissed me off for most of the episode. Don’t get me wrong – I like the guy. But I’m so fed up of his brattish, moody behaviour. He allows his personal feelings to interfere with everything, and because of that could have been responsible for not harvesting Amelia’s baby’s organs – thus killing the babies they would have helped. I get he was mad with Addison. I get it was a really tough decision. I expect that. I just wish he would start making them objectively.

Eventually, Amelia gave birth. And finally Addison – upon hearing Amelia losing it in the birthing room – was by her side. Amelia fought it at first, but Addison did what she does best and ignored her stubborn pleas for her own good. It was nice to see Amelia back with Addy, even in such traumatic circumstances. When the baby was born – well that’s when the tears came. Given I’d just watched Grey’s Anatomy’s finale, I was already pretty much a mess. So it didn’t take much to get me blubbing. The baby looked like I expected him to look, thanks to me doing a little research a few weeks ago. But it didn’t change the fact it was heartbreaking when Amelia held him for the first time and then said goodbye. If I was in the same situation, I think I’d have to hold him. If only to let him know how much I loved him, and how proud I was that he was saving all these lives.

After that, we watched the heartbreaking harvesting of his organs, which was only made better by the fact they kept shouting out the various cities they were taking them, and therefore the babies they would save. By the end of the episode, Amelia woke up to find Sheldon by her side, and the two finally reconciled. And it was touching to see her comforting him, instead of the other way around.

The finale also had some continuality in terms of Pete being arrested last week. I got to tell you, there was so much else going on – I wasn’t too bothered to see him locked up. I felt like that could have been given a little less air time, and left for when we come back in the fall.

Mason continued to adjust to life without his mum this week. And there was another blubbing scene (by me anyway) were he told Charlotte that he didn’t know what to call her. When he decided on Momma, it was really nice to see that he was coming to terms with things.

But it was the last few moments of the episode that we will all be wondering about until the show returns in September.

Will she, or won’t she?

After Addison falls apart when the events of the day sink in, Jake is there to comfort her. And eventually the pair end up having sex. Afterwards, he asks her for dinner and they arrange to meet up at Addison’s house, with Jake bringing the food. To be honest, it seemed a bit awkward after their little tryst, and I think they should of maybe talked a little first rather than planning a date.

But when Addison gets home, she finds Henry (officially the cutest baby of 2012) in the arms of Sam. And finally, Sam tells Addison what he should have told her weeks, maybe even months ago – How much he loves her, how he wants to be a family with her and Henry, and then he gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him. Addison’s initial reluctance was replaced by a huge grin – not really the reaction you’d expect of someone who was sleeping with a different guy just hours before. But she doesn’t answer.

We then cut to Jake, innocently driving along in his car with flowers in tow. Ouch.

I think Jake’s a better guy for Addy, I really do. He would be good for her. But that doesn’t mean I think she belongs with him. She belongs with Sam. That much is evident. They keep being pulled back to each other (it doesn’t help that he lives next door) and I don’t think she could ever have something with someone else, without still having feels for Sam. There is just too many unresolved issues.

So will she say yes? Well I will be surprised if she’s not engaged when we come back in the fall…

What did you think of last night finale? Who do you think Addison will choose? 

It is that time of year again when we all start looking forward. I know what your thinking – “It’s May – what is this bitch on?” Well I’m on a healthy diet of TV, TV and more TV – and so for me, May is essentially the end of the year for television. Those shows that keep us all warm and cosy are ending, and networks are canning the shows that didn’t make them enough money weren’t very good and releasing the trailers for those new shows that will be starting in the fall – that’s Autumn to us Brits. So, where am I going with this? Well, I got thinking about a few of the shows that the brain dead networks have in store for us when the new fall season starts. And I noticed an interesting trend.

Brit shows being remade into US shows. 

Is this a new phenomenon? Hell no. The Office, Shameless, Skins, Prime Suspect and Kath and Kim are all examples of shows that were remade from international imports. The thing I will point out though, is that 3/5 of the shows I just mentioned, didn’t make it past the first season. Now this isn’t exactly a strange thing, given how many shows in the US don’t make it past that all important number. But it begs the question – Why do they keep putting so much stock in remade shows? Not just Brit shows, but shows copied from all over the world. Trying to understand the logic of the people who commission US TV shows is like writing a book about a baby’s opinion on the current economic climate. But when I saw the line up for next years new shows – well I couldn’t help wondering further…

Three up and coming shows piqued my interest. And it wasn’t because I was excited for them. But because all of them are British remakes. And that’s the thing about US TV that I don’t understand. Every country in the world that has any sort of freedom within the media, watches shows from around the world. In the UK, we enjoy several US imports – yes – but we also watch shows from other countries. Forbrydelsen or The Killing, a Danish crime drama, was particularly successful in Britain. The US, instead of enjoying the original product, remade it. Kath and Kim, a particular favourite of mine, is an Australian comedy following a mother and her daughter. Its so hilarious, and works so well because they are Australian.  The US remade it, and it was cancelled after one season.

I’m not saying the US are alone in their remakes. Lord knows every country does it occasionally. But the US does it so frequently, and usually so badly that I just can’t understand the trend. Sometimes the remakes work. Take The Office – there are many who consider Steve Carrell’s version as superior to Ricky Gervais’ original. However, its important to remember, Ricky Gervais was totally on board with the production of the US version, hence why it was so successful.

Really I can’t help begging the question about networks opinions on their viewers intelligence levels. Do they think Americans can’t read? Hence last years The Killing remake? And also the countless movie remakes that happen every year. Do they think Americans don’t understand an accent unlike their own? I just don’t get it. If anything, it is an insult to their own country. The BBC’s very own Dr Who has done amazing in the US – proof that imports can work, and do work, better than remakes. Top Gear, a show I love whole heartedly, also did well in the US – and the US remake of that is absolutely terrible.

I honestly could go back and forth questioning this all day. And I don’t think it takes a genius to realise I have a hatred of remakes in any form. And so it is hard for me to see any future in those three special upcoming shows that I’m subconsciously earmarking for failure. However, I’m going to preview each show, and compare it to the original and basically weigh the pro’s and con’s on whether I think it will survive the season. And then in a years time (or longer if its a Summer show) I will look back and see whether I was right or not.

And so to the first show.

Mistresses; ABC – adapted from the British BBC series of the same name (2008-2010)

First off, I should probably divulge the fact that I love Mistresses. Refreshing, well-written, and with a superb cast – Mistresses was a series about the trials and tribulations of four friends. None of them were perfect by any sense of the word, but that was what made the show so watchable. Each woman had a complex relationship with men (and in some cases – women) and while the plot twisted and turned, the four women’s friendship remained stead fast. My personal favourite was Orla Brady’s Siobhan who was fabulously portrayed from beginning to end. And while I found the final series to be a little below par, I still think it is one of the best BBC drama series of the last ten years.

The remake is similar, but not quite a copy of the UK version. And while I was initially sceptical about the remake – I am slightly more optimistic because of the cast who are on board. Alyssa Milano has been a favourite of mine since her time as Pheobe Halliwell on the hilarious series Charmed. And I honestly think Alyssa is a highly underrated actress, and so I think she will fill the ‘Siobhan’ role well. Also in the cast is Lost’s Yunjin Kim who impressed me from her time on the island, and I am very interested in seeing her turn her hand to something totally different. So lets take a look at the trailer…

From the trailer however, the remake looks totally totally different. Not in terms of story – but because it looks far less dark than its UK counterpart. I can understand that – us Brit’s like our serious drama and that wouldn’t necessarily translate, but I’m still a bit dubious. I think it would be best for me to go into this with an open mind and wait and see…

Odds of renewal: 3-1

Elementary; CBS – Not quite a remake but can’t be a coincidence given the success of BBC’s Sherlock. 

Lets get stuck in – BBC’s Sherlock:

CBS’s Elementary:

Firstly, I must be one of the few people in the UK who doesn’t watch Sherlock. And for me, that really is an achievement. But I’ve never really been into the Sherlock franchise, and upon watching snippets of the show – well it wasn’t really for me. That being said, I can still appreciate how well it has done, and how well made it is. And so, CBS has a big challenge. Not only does it have Sherlock to live up to – but it has Robert Downey Jr.’s movies to overcome as well. My first thoughts on seeing the trailer for Elementary went something like this – “Hey, that’s Lucy Lui… Wait…? WHAT?! She’s playing Watson?!” Yup, CBS cast a female Watson. Why do they do this to themselves? Sometimes I feel like networks like pushing treacle up a hill. They make it deliberately tough on themselves. If they learned anything from last fall, it should be this – Charlie’s Angels was remade. Bosley was young and hot. It was cancelled after a few weeks. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be daring. I’m not saying change is a bad thing. But there are a few guidelines that you should use to ease yourself in at first. Elementary has ignored that.

I like Lucy Lui. She’s talented, and I usually like her shows and movies. But having a female Watson is an issue that the creators made for themselves that needn’t have been there. I just don’t get it. And so it is for that reason that I’m sceptical about Elementary’s chances…

Odds of renewal: 5-1 ouch. 

Unnamed Only Fools and Horses remake:

They want this guy to play Rodney?!

When it was announced that the US were in the process of remaking the absolute BBC classic Only Fools and Horses, I think the whole of Britain screamed. Actually I think there is a good chance a large portion of the world screamed. Picture this, I once was in a jewellery store in a small town in Egypt. A man approached me who spoke no English, and started repeating the words – “Lovely jubbly! Lovely jubbly!” Now if your not familiar with Fools and Horses, that will mean nothing to you. Just know that it is a very famous ‘catchphrase’, for lack of a better word, from the show. Fools and Horses is that much of a classic that people who can’t even speak English quote it when they meet Brits. That is the task that the US version faces. It is pretty much destined to fail before it has even begun. On top of that, legend and lead Sir David Jason has came out and denounced the remake of the show, and the two rumoured leads are John Leguizamo and Dustin Ybarra. Its like they wan to fail.

If the show even gets picked up I will be surprised. If it gets renewed – well then I do believe in miracles. And possibly the Devil.

Here’s a preview of the amazing original. And I don’t have a trailer for the remake as it hasn’t got that far. Enjoy!

If you’ve never seen the show, get on it immediately. Its the best of British comedy, a show made for everyone, and one that I grew up watching.

Odds of renewal: 100-1 – That’s if it even gets picked up in the summer…

And so that’s it for now. I hope I’ve enlightened you a little bit! I will leave you with some of the trailers/clips for the original shows I’ve mentioned in the post for your entertainment. Enjoy! 

  • Kath and Kim
  • Skins
  • Prime Suspect (with the wonderful Dame Helen Mirren)