Posts Tagged ‘tv’

This is the first time I’ve watched network tv live in forever. Commercials – how quaint! It’s like the 90s. I’ll just nip to Central Perk for a coffee.

I was pretty excited about ‘Agents of Shield’ as I’ve enjoyed Agent Coulson in all the films but you know what – Coulson works best as a (quirky) straight man against Thor and Tony Stark, not so much against a cast of straight men and women. Oh I know they are hinting at “dark stuff” but he needs more quirk to play against. Unless… he is the quirk?

Overall, the pilot was just too vanilla for me. It felt like a safe version of all the genre shows I’ve enjoyed that were cancelled over the years:

Agents of [enter agency rouge or otherwise] travel the [world/continental US] saving [mutants/superheroes/mortals].

It’s not Continuum. It’s not Alphas. It’s not Fringe. It’s not a lot of other shows i care(d) but it’s tied to Marvel so it has legs.

Alex’s feed back was why do the geeky nerds have to be geeky nerds at all. Think about Peter in Fringe. Deep stuff.

Here’s my thoughts: what if Joss Wheldon peaked at Buffy. Was I the only one who felt like The Cabin In The Woods could have been an extended Buffy episode.

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In the last two years my TV watching has dropped off somewhat dramatically (and don’t even speak to me about films), and of the many shows I simply didn’t have the capacity for was Doctor Who.

Now, I loved the reboot. Absolutely loved it.

Christopher Eccleston – loved him.

David Tennant – loved him (despite him reminding me of an ex-boss).

Matt Smith – loved him but didn’t love the plot lines. Somewhere in the swampy swamp that was the whole River Song-Amelia Pond saga I just stopped caring. So I’m a season or two behind in Matt Smith Who mythology but I still keep an eye out for Who stuff on Twitter so I was following along with the announcement of the new doctor. Would Who be a woman. Would Who be black or another ethnicity. Would Who be a number of people I’d never heard or and didn’t fancy googling.

The new Doctor is Peter Capaldi which is fantastic because I know who he is. He’s a joy to watch that is who he is!  He is also an Oscar winner which must be a first in Who-land, and played a transvestite on Prime Suspect. Which I reckon is another first.  (You know who else was in PS? Ralph Fiennes. A very young and cocky Fiennes.)

If anything is going to lure me back to the land of Daleks and Cybermen it’s Capaldi. It’s a bit like Roger Allam on Endeavour. He pretty much just wears a hat and lurks about. Coming to the forefront when Morse needs encouragement or a slap on the wrist. His mere presence makes everything better. Patrick Stewart on TNG is another example. Can you imagine TNG without Sir Patrick? If Riker had be in charge the crew would have been permanently stationed at Risa for research.

Now whilst I’ve watched pretty much everything Capaldi has been in I’m guessing most people haven’t so here are my favorites:

  • Local Hero   – a quiet film about a proposed American business invasion of a small Scottish coastal village
  • Dangerous Liaisons  – yes, he was in this as a servant to Malkovich but he speaks and has a subplot
  • Neverwhere – geeky geeky geeky nerdy heaven
  • The Crow Road  – gloriously dark drama
  • The Thick of It – fuckety fuckety sweary goodliness
  • In The Loop – more sweary goodliness on a bigger budget with TRAVEL

Capaldi has of course already been in Who and Torchwood if you are keep track but since it’s all pretend I don’t think that matters too much, right?

Holy moly I did not expect it to take TEN MONTHS before I would update my blog rather than the family blog but hey that is life with two babies. (Not much life just lots of babies.)

So what am I going to be watching this fall well not much. Time is really limited so no watching what ever I want. I’ve dropped so many shows as I’ve either lost interest or don’t have the time to invest emotionally. Sure I’d love to give Game of Thrones a go but not yet. So it’s quality over quantity for the next few years and then lots and lots of box sets…

Sunday: The Good Wife and Homeland

Both shows left the viewer hanging at the end of their respective seasons. Will Kalinda shoot the shit out of her ex and will Carrie remember anything post electr0-shock treatment?

Monday: No Reservations/Layover, Castle and Revolution

I love me some Bourdain so will continue on with No Reservations slash Layover till he packs up for CNN (curious to see what they do with the show – hasn’t he been everywhere?), and he also has a new show with Nigella that is filming in LA at the mo. Curious but will his sardonic wit be too much for NBC? Castle is on the cusp as I am growing weary of procedural crime shows (shocker!) I don’t even bother to DVR just catch it thru On Demand if there is nothing else on. Revolution is new and by Eric Kripet who steered the first 5 seasons of Supernatural (if only they had ended then!) it’s about electricity stopping working and what happens. I assume the Amish take over, right? I’ve got one episode on the DVR so will give it a whirl.

Tuesday: Nothing

We dropped NCIS last year as it’s just too samey-samey.

Wednesday: Nothing

This is the new night for Supernatural but I dumped it at the end of last season as the plot had got too convoluted even for me and it should have ended seasons ago.

Thursday: Last Resort, The Big Bang Theory and Scandal

The Last Resort has submarines so I might be able to entice Alex to watch it; we are one season behind on TBBT so will be DVR-ing and catching up, and Scandal was trashy fun with a good cliff hanger.

Friday: Fringe

It’s the final season! Very excited to see how everything wraps up but if they pull the same stunt that X-Files did with the dullest final episodes every I will weep real tears.

Saturday: Date night!

Watch a movie via Netflix Instant or iTunes

So that’s it. The least amount of TV I have ever watched. The Cylonettes better get early admission to MIT for all this TV sacrificing.

Monday

Season Pass: House

Episode by Episode Probation:  Terra Nova

Guilty Secret: Castle

I really hope that this is the final season of House. Please let it end so that we can all be released from this endless cycle of abuse – Cuddy managed to escape why not us? The premise of Terra Nova looks interesting: dystopian future plus dinosaurs. So we’ll see how that goes. As much as I love my weekly hit of Nathan Fillion charm I don’t really want Castle clogging up my DVR so I watch it via On Demand.

Tuesday

Season Pass: NCIS

Guilty Secret: Body of Proof

NCIS is like a pair of really comfy furry Crocs that you know aren’t stylish and should throw out but you just can’t. I was going to watch Buffy in Ringer but I missed the first episode, and I think I can live without it as it sounds like a re-hash of an Agatha Christie story. Okay, Body of Proof isn’t a particularly innovative police procedural but it’s nice to see Seven of Nine boss Dana Delaney around.

Wednesday

Season Pass: Top Chef Texas

Got to wait till November for the next season of Top Chef with the shiny Tom Colicchio and glamorous Padma Lakshmi. I just hope that Anthony Bourdain will be guesting as a judge slash blogger as his acerbic wit is most needed (especially if foam rears it’s foamy head again).

Thursday

Season Pass: The Big Bang Theory & The Mentalist

Episode by Episode Probation: Person of Interest & Prime Suspect

Alex and I have fallen so far down TBBT rabbit hole that there is no return, and it’s one of the few shows worth watching live. I *loved* the season finale of The Mentalist and it will be interesting to see how they handle it. Even though I don’t think Prime Suspect needed to be re-booted I will give it a whirl since the cast is led by Maria Bello. I’m curious about Person of Interest – could be good (Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson and JJ Abrams) or could be a crap Minority Report style knock off.

Friday

Season Pass: Chuck, Fringe & Supernatural

Episode by Episode Probation: A Gifted Man & Grimm

Friday is genre programming night because only geeks and nerds (and the heavenly pregnant) don’t go out. Out of all the fall shows (new and returning) I am most exciting about picking things up in Fringe’s alternate time line. It’s the last few episodes of Chuck so that’s a must watch. Supernatural is on my personal bubble. I hated the ending of the last season, and what they’ve done to Castiel. They either need to shake things up or start winding things down. A Gifted Man sounds a little bit Joan of Ark-ish – not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Now Grimm I have a bone to pick with as I have a sneaking suspicious that this got picked up by NBC instead of Ronald D. Moore’s pilot 17th Precinct but I am curious about how they will blend the mythology of the Grimm fairy tales.

Saturday

Nothing! Netflix night.

Sunday

Season Pass: The Good Wife & Homeland

Episode by Episode Probation: Once Upon a Time

The new show I am most excited about is Homeland with the most excellent Damian Lewis. It sounds like it’s a combination of Band of Brothers and Life – w00t! The trailer makes it look really good. I’m not so sure about CBS moving The Good Wife to Sundays but hey what do I know about TV scheduling! Can’t wait to find out what happens between Alicia and Will, and Alicia and Eli. Alan Cumming is TV gold – he doesn’t need lines to steal scenes he just glares at the other actors. Once Upon a Time is another show blending fairy tale mythology and “real” life so curious as to how they approach it.

DVDs:

Bride and Prejudice: A Bollywood take on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with lots of dancing and singing. Austen is a perfect fit for an Indian make over, and I think I prefer it to the monsterification which is the latest trend for Austen’s work. It’s a definite improvement on the Joe Wright – Keira Knightley flick which took it’s self far too seriously.

Valentine’s Day: Slightly embarrassed by this rental. It was bad, so very bad. But I was in need of a chick flick, and I thought it would be passable but it was a pure mortgage flick for all concerned. The tangled love lives of a bunch of pretty LA inhabitants as they celebrate or mourn their way through Valentine’s Day. It’s only saving grace was the 3 minutes of screen time that Bradley Cooper was given.

Stephen Fry in America (2 discs): A couple of years ago Stephen Fry drove a London cab through all 50 states and made a documentary about it. I was actually disappointed by the documentary – there were some interesting bits (like at the Body Farm). But in comparison to Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations gastro-travel docs it came off as slow and dullish.

The Big Bang Theory: Season 1 (3 discs) We’ve completely fallen down the Sheldon et al  rabbit hole (or should that be black hole?). Love ’em all, and their quarky quirks. I started dipping into TBBT this year. Then thought we should go back to the beginning not that it really matters as you can dip in and out but it’s fun seeing how all the characters developed and their adventures. (Planning on doing a longer post as it has become apparent that I have married Sheldon-lite.)

Castle: Season 2 (1 disc) Again this is series I started watching this year, and have gone back to watch the first and now second season. On the surface it’s a fairly standard police procedural but it has Nathan Fillion on full charm offensive. What can I say?

Instants:

TV: The Good Guys (pilot episode), Top Shot (season 2 – 13 episodes) & The Glades (season 1 – 13 episodes)

Let’s skip over The Good Guys, and concentrate on the total awesomeness of The Glades and Top Shot. I have a soft spot for police procedurals especially quirky ones that aren’t too forumalic. The Glades fits that bill.  Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) is a Chicago cop who is forced to relocate to a different police force after an unfortunate run in with his boss and he choices Florida for the good weather, and golf. Matt Passmore is so charming as Longworth it is delight to watch him solve crimes, and flirt with Callie (Kiele Sanchez) the nurse slash medical student slash single mother slash jailhouse wife. I’m not quite sure how Callie manages to juggle everything but she is not annoying and you find yourself rooting for her and Jim to get together.  What I like the most about Callie is that she doesn’t whine. One of the reasons I stopped watching Nip/Tuck was that Joely Richardson’s character Julia McNamara drove me mad with her constant moaning about wanting to go back to medical school (amongst the many other things she moaned about), not doing anything about it, and then when she takes a pre-med class she ends up dropping out and goes back to moaning. Ugh.

I know that a reality TV show centered around gunman-ship is not everyone’s cup of tea but Top Shot it is one of the few skills-based reality show competitions. It’s really interesting as you learn about the history of different weapons and see the contestants pushed to their limits with difficult challenges. Generally the contestants are fairly respectful of each other there is bickering, and some plotting but you are saved drunken hot-tub antics.

Films: A Private Function, Possession, Maybe Baby, You Again, Weather Girl & I Capture The Castle

I’ve seen A Private Function many times over the years, and couldn’t resist this dry comedy of social climbing in the small northern town when I spied it on Netflix Instant. Possession is again a film I’ve many times – there is something about Aaron Eckhart and Gwynnie Paltrow as academics on the hunt for missing historical letters that I find charming. The Da Vinci Code this is not but a gentle romantic story unfolds with our academics, and the subject of their obsession.

Maybe Baby is a Brit infertility rom-com. Despite a strong cast the premise is as bad as it sounds. You Again is an awful awful rom-com and it makes you want to stage an intervention for Veronica Mars. What went wrong? Why does she get no decent roles? Weather Girl on the other hand is a quiet indie flick that went straight to Netflix Instant (I think). It’s slow in parts and overly earnest in others but a refreshing change from all the crappy rom-coms chocked full of stars doing mortgage flicks.

I Capture The Castle is one of my favorite books, and I love the film adaptation as well. An eccentric family living in a crumbling castle in the 1930s, and the cast is so good: Bill Nighy, Romola Garai, Rose Byrne and Tara Fitzgerald. Love it!

Stats for August: DVDs (8) & Instants (33)

Since my monthly Netflix payment is going up, and I need a push to review the stuff I’ve seen I figure that a monthly review is a good way of making sure I am still getting value for money from Netflix.

DVDs:

Nights in Rodanthe – Awful, awful film. It’s all about “old” people finding love post-divorce and medical malpractice suits in the midst of storm. I honestly only rented it because James Franco was in it but he is barely present. It’s one of his homeopathic films where you just get essence of Franco, and frankly it is not enough.

Just Go With It – An Aniston-Sandler rom-com that isn’t actually as bad as it should be, and the kid actors are the least annoying I’ve seen in a long time (they are actually clever, manipulative and funny).

Macross: Vol. 3 – This was an Alex rental so I dozed through it.

Leverage: Season 3 (disc 2, 3 & 4) – More adventures from our con men with hearts of gold. Still not as good as the first season but helped me dodge the heat.

Battle: Los Angeles – LOVE IT! All those reviews trashing it were obviously expecting a sci-fi movie rather than a straight up war film. It is really good war film. The soldiers methodically figure out how to defeat the enemy (aliens).

Mamma Mia! – What can I say I needed a hit of Greece and ABBA. Blue skies and catchy lyrics made not being able to go on vacation this summer bearable.

Unknown – AWFUL! I thought this was going to be cool fightie film like Taken instead it’s dull. There is zero chemistry between Liam Neeson and January Jones before, during and after amnesia.  Avoid it like the plague as you will never get those hours back.

The Adjustment Bureau – Not bad. It is of course based on a Philip K. Dick short story than the powers that be decided to romanticize.

Source Code – Definitely one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Kudos to Duncan Jones for producing a solid follow-up to Moon. It’s so much more than “Jake on a train”. It is a much smarter and layered film than the trailers had presented. Like Moon I don’t want to give any thing away but by the end you will be craving coffee and donuts.

How Do You Know – Terrible film about a women (Reese Whitherspoon) with low self esteem who is still playing soft ball professionally into her 30s (or is it late 20s I forget when women are over-the-hill), and then gets cut from the national team or something. She dates a man who treats her badly, and Jack Nicholson keeps randomly appearing but doesn’t really aid the plot.

Instants:

TV: Hoarders (1 episodes), No Reservations (6 episodes), Firefly (2 episodes), Farscape (1 episode), Sherlock Holmes (3 episodes), Coupling: Season 4 (1 episode), and Sports Night: Seasons 1 & 2 (33 episodes)

Wow I watched a lot of Sports Night last month. I must have been on a serious Dan Rydell and Aaron Sorkin high after all of that. No Reservations is Alex and I’s go to Instant on the weekend when there is nothing to watch, and Bourdain’s adventures are always amusing. Everything else I watched must have been whilst I was overheating on the sofa is something of a blur.

Documentary: Art & Copy

In honor of Alex going to work for a branding agency we thought we should watch this documentary about movers and shakers of the industry and how it’s evolved. It’s pretty interesting and worth a watch.

Films: America’s Sweethearts, Blue Crush, & Blue Juice,

These were “vacation” substitute films. America’s Sweethearts is set in a lush hotel, Blue Crush is in Hawaii (again with a lush hotel), and Blue Juice is set in Cornwall (the Hawaii of the UK). Roll on next year when we can have an actual vacation – even if it is to my mum’s in Scotland.

Stats for July: DVDs (12) & Instant (51)

Looks like July was a really heavy Netflix month thanks to the soaring temps and limited mobility. Source Code and Battle: Los Angeles were definitely the best things.

I am still a devotee to USA Network, and enjoying White Collar, Covert Affairs, Burn Notice and Royal Pains.  They are all very silly: rat pack con man helping out the FBI, ex-Coyote Ugly gal spies for the CIA with her blind side-kick, burnt spy sets up A-Team in Miami, and doctor makes house calls to the working class of the Hamptons. Candy floss TV at its best.

I haven’t been bothered to watch either Falling Skies or Outcasts. Falling Skies got so-so reviews, and from what I’ve read is fairly forumalic. With Outcasts I accidentally read a spoiler and I found out that the one cast member I was most excited about being in this series dies in the first episode. Given how prominently he featured in the promos that was a total bait and switch. Leverage episodes are piling up on the DVR as I want to finish watching season 3 first, and I’m hoping that the new Torchwood epis will end up on Netflix before too long.

Eureka is probably the show I am enjoying the most. The crazy adventures of the scientists in Eureka, and good old sheriff Jack trying to keep up and fix all their messes. It’s such a cute nerd fest, and funny. I’ve started to dip into Warehouse 13 but I am not sure about Alphas. Two episodes in, and I fear it will end up going to the way of Heroes. I don’t really care about any of the characters or their super powers. The flip side of Alphas is Haven which has such well drawn out characters, and a solid underlying mystery that it is worth staying up for.

And finally PBS/BBC’s Zen about the Italian detective Aurelio Zen. My word those Italian cops are corrupt but so well dressed and good to their mammas. Loving Rufus Sewell as Zen who because he is a Venetian is not fully accepted by his Roman colleagues. It’s beautifully shot in Rome and I can almost taste all the espressos being consumed. It’s a shame that the BBC cancelled it so we will only get three episodes.