Posts Tagged ‘pbs’

Between Alex starting a new job, and my inability to be on my feet for any length of time I think it’s safe to say that we’ll be having a pretty quiet summer. Netflix, TV and air conditioning will feature heavily (as will iced coffee, cake and swollen ankles) but given that once our little hybrid cylons arrive in October it’s probably good to cherish this time… of being able to watch TV uninterrupted.

Traditionally summer isn’t the greatest for new programming as the Networks shut-up shop but thanks to basic cable it doesn’t look too bad (even though there will be no Mad Men) and the shorter seasons makes for tighter plots (hurrah for no filler episodes) . A mix of returning favorites and some new shows, plus I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll end up working our way through some of our favorite box sets (e.g. From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific) will get us through till fall.

Covert Affairs (June 7th, USA) – A candy floss spy show with Piper Perabo as the naive rookie agent, and the criminally underused Anne Dudek as her homely sister. This is the second season and it’s not overly taxing though you can loose yourself trying to figure out how Perabo manages to run and fight in her super high heels (one for the Mythbuster team me thinks).

White Collar (June 7th, USA) – A Manhattan fairytale about an FBI agent and his ‘Catch Me If You Can’ “reformed” art thief side kick. Beautiful shots of NYC, charismatic leads but not enough con artist trade craft for me.

Outcasts (June 18th, BBC America) – I am somewhat on the fence about humans escaping Earth to resettle a new planet but it does have Jamie Bamber (BSG’s Apollo) so will have to give it a shot.

Falling Skies (June 19th, TNT) – Humans vs. aliens with Dr. Carter. Again will give it a shot but sadly Spielberg’s association does not guarantee that it will be entertaining especially after his awkward MTV Movie Awards appearance to push Super 8.

Burn Notice (June 23rd, USA) – Everybody’s favorite yogurt consuming burnt spy is back. The plots can get silly but it’s hard to tire of glamorous Miami, explosions and Bruce Campbell.

Leverage (June 26th, TNT) – The fourth season of the adventures of a band of merry con artists. This does have enough trade craft but I felt like the series has lost it’s way from the first season (I think Nate’s ex-wife needs to reappear and more Mark Sheppard).

Royal Pains (June 29th, USA) – This is probably as close as I’ll ever get to bespoke medical care and holidaying in the Hamptons. It’s patient of the week formula mixed with medical MacGyver high-jinx make it an enjoyable frappucino.

Torchwood (July 8th, Starz) – (Captain) Jack is back! Am so wary of the Americanization of Torchwood but given how hit and miss the BBC series was this could be the adrenaline injection needed but then again it could be a right mess.

Alphas (July 11th, Syfy) – Okay so I am still pissed at Syfy for canceling Caprica AND Stargate: Universe, and I ignored their version of Being Human on point of it being non-original programing but I’m curious about Alphas. Could it be a better version of Heroes? I’ll give it an episode or two.

Eureka (July 11th, Syfy) – I love Eureka so much that I am willing to re-locate there to sling coffee at Cafe Diem, and they’ve probably got the best public schools in the US. I know it’s formulaic with the geniuses causing a different world ending disaster every week and normal old Jack having to come to the rescue but it’s just so much good hearted fun.

Haven (July 15th, Syfy) – I haven’t read the Stephen King novella from which Haven is based so I don’t know how faithful it is or where the story is going but the twist at the end of last season was intriguing enough to have me tuning in this summer.

Zen (July 17th, PBS) – Sadly the BBC canceled this Italian detective series after one season but I still think it’s worth watching if only for the excessive consumption of espresso.

I feel like I have barely seen Alex this week as he has been off at one nerd event or another, and today was no exception. He sneaked out of the flat around 6:30am to spend the day with some agile Prodigy fans or something.  So I got to spend the day tied to my desk trying to sort out my Pompeii study notes (ugh – I am so behind it is making me quite wobbly but there is still time!).

Whenever I study at my desk I stream BBC radio shows as my background noise. My preference is for crime dramas as I love mysteries, and every week there is always a fresh batch of shows from various BBC Radio stations. I have found that I never tire of Agatha Christie (no matter how familiar I am with the story), but I am willing to try detectives I am less familiar with. (I discovered Donna Leon’s Inspector Brunetti through a radio adaptation for BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon Play.) Today I listened to Hercule Poirot – Five Little Pigs,  some Paul Temple and then a repeat of a contemporary police drama set in the British Museum (double score!). After that I stumbled upon Clarissa with the dreamy Richard Armitage as the dastardly Lovelace. Oh it was such a good adaptation. Richardson is such a dry writer but they really pumped it up so you were left hanging after every beat.

By 6pm I was starting to loose my concentration to I decided to switch my base of operation to the sofa, and watch a bit of telly whilst pulling out all the articles I need to read through and mark up tomorrow. Oh tomorrow is going to be so much fun, and I’ll be running through highligher pens like there’s no tomorrow (except there is and it’s Monday). I ended up watching two episodes of Survivors (BBC America) and The 39 Steps (PBS’s Masterpiece Classic aka BBC).

I honestly haven’t made up my mind about Survivors.  Some story threads and characters I find really compelling, and others I find myself fast-forwarding through. I like that there are flashes to the creepy lab where they are working on a cure for the flu that has obliterated the population but I don’t want it to become the focus now that Abby is trapped there. I will say that I think this is the best thing Max Beesley has been in since Bodies, and it’s almost as disturbing.

I’ve got a feeling that I am going to get some stick from my mum for actually liking the latest adaptation of The 39 Steps. There have been countless adaptations of John Buchan’s spy caper (including an amazing stage version that is well worth seeing – even Alex enjoyed it!) and if you grew up in the UK one version or another of it was always on the TV at Christmas. In fact, a Bond film, The Great Escape and The 39 Steps is the holy trifecta of Christmas Day movies.  I can see why some may have thought this version was a bit limp but I like it being over stylized, and enjoyed the chemistry between Richard Hannay (Rupert Penry-Jones) and the chick he picks up in Scotland.

All in all I’ve had a productive study day, and soaked up lots of drama via the Beep. Tomorrow Alex will be around but hopefully distracted enough with F1 so I can break the back of my Pompeii reading pile.


Posted: 11/12/2004 in television
Tags: , ,

Question: When is a reality television show not a reality television show?

Even though it contains a number of contestants, trapped in a hostile environment, governed by rules not of their own choosing and trying to find their ‘soul mate’.

Answer: When it is on PBS and they are transported back to the 19th Century for a Regency House Party.

I can’t describe how excited I got whilst watching it. Absorbing anthropological television. It even caught Alex’s attention – but, who can resist heaving bosoms, rigid social etiquette, pretty frocks and that’s just the chaps. Will the young bucks manage to outwit the moral watchdogs and get some ‘alone time’ with the pretty ladies? Is the hermit the best catch? Makes you wonder what your social position would have been a few hundred years ago……