Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Eighth Wonder...!

Would you allow this Man into your Country?!!
Travel Shows on the Telly are like Rabbits. They must be mating and bonking like there’s no tomorrow, because whenever I find myself scrolling through my Sky Plus Listings, there seem to more and more every day!!! Time to call in the exterminator, I think...!

But wait! What be this? A new Travel Show produced by Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant?!! Featuring everyone’s favourite walking Neanderthal Karl Pilkington? An Idiot Abroad (Sky One) they call it?!! Why, this may be the Travel show for me!!!

Premise: Karl Pilkington, the dumb and over-opinionated one from the Ricky Gervais Podcasts visits the Seven Wonders of the World. Which he hates, misunderstands, and complains about!! Simples. There’s not much else to it, really. Revealing anymore would force me to ruin key hilarious moments from the Show!!

But it’s funny. Very funny indeed. Pilkington is a loveable but very flawed host, and his bemusement with everything foreign is extremely entertaining!! The Show itself is so unlike any other travelogues on the Telly, in that it doesn’t actually inform at all. I mean, honestly, who wants to learn anything these days. Life would be so much happier if we all just sat in our Armchairs, watching TV and stuffing our faces with Crisps, whilst blocking all relevant and interesting information from our heads!!

So if it’s an entertaining, laugh drenched, non-educational evening in you’re looking for, then An Idiot Abroad is the remedy I would most recommend!! Pilkington’s ignorance and lack of knowledge is mostly on par with the poor, unknowledgeable viewer, making this the most accessible Travel Show on the Box.

Forget that holiday you were saving for...why bother going anywhere when Pilkington can go for you and get all the Mosquito bites and miserable weather instead!!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Is it Love...?

"You didn't need to paint a face on it, love!!!!!!"
Another Week, another BBC Three Sitcom, crawling out of the woodwork like a Zombie from a grave, ready to knaw on the first leg that dares to step too close and spread its vile disease upon humanity like...well, a vile disease!!!

The latest attempt for the title of ‘an actually genuinely funny sitcom’ this week is Him & Her (BBC Three), a Sitcom featuring George from Being Human and that chick from...erm, er, oooh...OK, her from an Episode of the dismal Hyperdrive (OK, I’ll be nice, she has done other, more regular gigs, but nowt worth mentioning or even remembering). The show is a so-called look at young couples in today’s society, focusing namely on Becky & Steve, two 20 something’s who happen to be in a serious relationship with each other.

That’s actually about it, plot-wise. The main gripe with Him & Her is the lack of...anything!! Sure, it’s funny for the most part, but not laugh out loud original!! Hell, it’s not even laugh out loud.

Watching an Episode, it’s fair to say that you could easily just turn off the TV and go spy on your neighbours or your parents or some other poor couple...at least till the Cops get called, that is. Him & Her relies solely on simple, everyday conversation to rake in the laughs. Sadly, everyday conversation is pretty boring for the most part. Hence why, at times, the Show feels a tad boring and slow. You could easily go make a Cup of Tea, read the Newspaper, and kill a hooker in the time it takes for something big and funny to happen. You won't miss a thing.

The Cast are all rather brilliant, especially Russell Tovey as Steve (although one fears typecasting is starting to set in for the poor lad), who can’t help but be likeable on screen the minute he utters a single vowel or consonant!! The writing is also rather good, though sadly, the show does drag at times to the point that I realised I’d started to grow a beard by the time the Episode ended. Perhaps if the direction had been a bit tighter and snappier, then my interest would have been sustained long enough to enjoy the few solid Jokes carefully hidden throughout the Show.

I’m not saying divorce, but perhaps me and this Show should spend a little time apart and maybe see other people?!

Before I finish up, a quick mention of the New Series of Law and Order UK (ITV1), currently airing on 9pm Thursday nights. The first Episode, Broken, proved to be the best 45 Minutes of Television Drama I’ve seen this whole year!!! Heartbreaking, terrifying, and really rather excellent. Don’t just take my word for it, check it out on ITV Player now!!

That’s an order!!!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Lost in the Line of Duty...!

Bowing out with dignity after 27 Years...
2010’s been a big year for television goodbyes, David Tennant regenerated into Matt Smith in Doctor Who, Gavin & Stacey left our screens for a life of married bliss, and Lost got lost (sorry, couldn’t resist that one). But the biggest loss so far this year is most defiantly the demise of the sublime long running Police Drama The Bill (ITV1).

Cancelled as part of ITV’s rebranding of the Channel, which basically entails getting rid of every Show that isn’t getting as many ratings as The X Factor or has Simon Cowell’s grubby little fingers all over it (he’ll be producing Corrie by next week), last week saw the final ever Episode of The Bill, bowing out after 27 Years on our screens and exactly 2400 Episodes. And thankfully, the Show bowed out with head held high. Most Series Finales prefer to go for the explosive, ‘let’s destroy and kill as many regulars as we can’ route. Not this time though. Instead, The Bill goes down a much cleverer route, telling a controversial and small scale storyline that tackles current issues in our society, much like the Show has done for the last two and a bit decades.

The Bill’s been a staple of British Television for so long, that the idea of the Show off of our screens is a discomforting thought. Whilst the major revamp of the Show last Year was dreadful (changing the Theme Tune...that’s a crime punishable by death in my books), the Show has still managed to be a cut above all the other long running Dramas still taking up valuable oxygen!! The gritty style and writing, combined with some fine acting talent and superb direction has always served the Show well, making it strangely watchable, even if the Show is not really that good that particular week.

The final Episode serves as a great piece of Television – emotional to the max, action packed, intricate and well plotted. A great two finger salute to the ITV bigwigs who axed the Show, this final Episode should go down into the great Books of Television History. ITV should avoid trying to replace it with some kind of great pretender Drama...otherwise they’ll be hearing from me...as I drive the Hi-Jacked Police Car through the Doors of the ITV Studio Building, guns-a-blazing, with the words ‘bring back THE BILL’ scrawled on the sides in felt tip pen!!

In the immortal words of Jim Carver – “OK Matt, let’s do it”.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Matt Versus Bad Telly...!

Can you guess what the Show's about from this Picture alone?!
No?!!  Neither could I!!
Every now and then, there comes along a TV Sitcom with a brilliant, intelligent, and/or intriguing premise. Unfortunately, more times than usual these types of Sitcoms fail to find an audience due to TV schedulers that either have the thought process of a Chimpanzee or just happen to be one. Sadly, Pete Versus Life (C4) is not one of these Sitcoms that shouldn’t be missed. Praise be to the great Monkey Schedulers that this mish-mash of a Comedy languishes in a dead-end timeslot!!

It’s by no means terrible. The concept is good, but the Show lacks one important thing – actual comedy. This for a so-called Sitcom is as terrible a disadvantage as a Jockey riding a Pig in the Grand National!!

The Concept: Pete (Rafe Spall) is a budding sports journalist, who just happens to have his life commentated upon by two Sports Commentators. Pete either makes a pig’s ear of a relationship or screws up a Job, and they comment over his actions. Hilarity ensues. End Show. Repeat.

Yes, the idea is good, but not good enough to sustain a full, Five-Part Series. Perhaps if it had instead been a series of sketches for some kind of Comedy Sketch Show, the idea wouldn’t feel as strained and overused after just two Episodes.

The acting and writing isn’t as good as you would expect from a Channel 4 Sitcom – both are weaker than a room full of Nerds playing Dungeons & Dragons!! Rafe Spall especially seems completely gormless throughout...fair enough, but when watching thirty minutes of a Man being gormless and nothing else, it starts to have an effect upon the viewer similar to what happens to the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

As I said before, don’t bother trying to find it on Channel 4 now...it’s in a dead end timeslot and most probably won’t make a second series. Just as well really. I’d rather watch an actual Football Match with Commentary then watch this drivel. Never thought I’d be saying that. Thus ends the Review. Now over to Bob & Gary for the post-blog discussion...

Bob: Thanks Matt. Well, Gary, a rather short but sweet Blog there this week, one which, I think many will agree, perhaps wasn’t his best performance there. Your thoughts?

Gary: Yes, Bob. He hasn’t been at his peak since that Lee nelson Review, and it’s fair to say it shows. In fact, perhaps it’s time he considered retirement, and forgot about this whole blogging business and got a proper Job, like being a Waiter, or a Salesman, or a Rubbish Collector, or a...

Matt: OH, PISS OFF!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Great Pretender...!

It’s great to be talented, isn’t it?  Not that I would know.  But I’m sure it’s lovely.  The fame, the admiration, the money, the babes (or blokes, I’m not that sexist)...and, er, the drugs, and the constant press?!  Okay, fame probably sucks a little bit.  But everyone who can get up in the morning and wipe their own Bums seems to think they’ve got some kind of talent worth showing off to the world.  Hence the recent influx of Talent Shows like The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.  With the success of this format growing bigger and bigger each year, naturally a number of challengers and pretenders have begun to crawl out of the woodwork to try and claim a chunk of this current success for themselves.

Hence Must Be The Music (Sky One), a Show so unoriginal that I predict Simon Cowell  suing them for copyright infringement sometime next week.  The Show revolves around the search for the latest next best thing to happen to Music.  Various Acts must audition for a place in the process, which will ultimately lead to the Public deciding who to win (so it’s guaranteed now that the prettiest people will win, not the most talented).  The prize?  A chance to perform live at a concert in the O2 Arena!!

The Format sounds familiar, although, be fair, it does actually try to get out of X Factor’s shadow by trying some stuff differently.  First off, the Show rules allow for not just solo singers, but for musicians and bands as well.  Thus the array of talent on offer is much more varied and makes for a much more interesting watch.

Also, the Judges here are much more likable and human, whilst at the same time being critical where needed.  Consisting of  award winning instrumentalist Jamie Cullum, singer/songwriter Sharleen Spiteri, and everyone’s favourite Rapper Dizzee Rascal, the panel just feels more up to finding talented singers.  No offence to Cowell and the X Factor judges, but they only look at the auditionees from a money making angle.  Dizzee, Jamie, and Sharleen concentrate on finding Talent and talent alone, not a Cash Cow they can Milk until the Cow dries up and resembles Keira Knightly!!

Ultimately, Must Be The Music is the type of Talent Show I want to watch more of...it’s entertaining, the Judges are all incredibly likeable, charismatic people (unlike the plastics and the old fogies on X Factor), plus there’s a decent mix of various genres and styles on display.  Oh, and Fearne Cotton presents.  What?  What?!!!

Sadly, if the Show is to survive and find an audience, it seriously needs to stop trying to be X Factor and find its own identity.  It’s halfway there, but with a bit more of a rethink, it could just be something truly brilliant!!  It’s an enjoyable hour of Telly, a perfect cap to a hefty week of hard work, and by god, I’m on my knees praying it sticks around long enough for us to get to know one another better.  Here’s hoping the Network bigwigs give it a chance and let it grow.

Oh, and keep Fearne.

What?!!  WHAT?!!!!!!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Grow Up...!

When I saw the adverts for it, I almost wet myself laughing at the irony!! Damn it, I think I may have ruptured an internal organ of some kind as a result. What was the Ad for, I hear you ask? Why, BBC Three’s Adult Season of course!! The ironic part of the Ad, I hear you ponder? Well, it simply comes down to the fact that most BBC Three Viewers have the mental age of about 3 Years Old.

OK, I’m being unnecessarily cruel now, but then again, I thrive on being unnecessarily cruel. This Year, BBC Three have bought us The Adult Season, a selection of documentaries, reality shows, and general Grade-Z bulls**t that each explore different aspects of adult life and growing up in general. Don’t expect any Robert Winston types to show up to explain the scientific stuff though – it’s pure, dumbed down, “life is hard when you’re a pubescent kid” rubbish. And yet, despite the dumb nature of it all, some of it is surprisingly watchable. Not enjoyable, but watchable, even if just to get your blood boiling.

First off, there’s Underage & Pregnant, a series of short films following a bunch of teenage girls who got knocked up. I know, fascinating isn’t it?! ‘Yawn’! Yes, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before: it’s an unfocused, plodding affair. It fails to educate and inform, it lacks momentum and heart, and worst of all, chooses to act neutral on the whole controversial matter throughout, refusing to portray the struggle of teenage parenthood either in a negative or positive manner. By all means be neutral in matters concerning politics or race, but teenage pregnancy?!!! C’mon!!! Why not just go a step further and plant hidden subliminal messages in the soundtrack, in order to brainwash every teenager watching this to get themselves or someone else up the duff?!!

Elsewhere, there’s documentaries such as Glamour Models, Mum and Me, following 14 year old schoolgirl Georgia, whose Mother is a surgery obsessed tabloid glamour model!! Oh, and she’s also an arrogant, self centred, pushy parent who wants to force poor, intelligent Georgia into the world of celebrity!! She certainly doesn’t do the stereotype of Models any favours!! It’s a heartbreaking and infuriating watch, as Georgia is repeatedly pushed by her overbearing mother into the limelight that she abhors!! The documentary is serviceable enough, and is an interesting piece, but only serves to make anyone with a sense of decency watching tear their hair out in fury at the antics of Georgia’s bitch of a Mum!! Poor Kid.

However the real infuriating favourite here is Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum, a great little reality show following a group of lazy, spoilt, rude, needy, whiny teens, whose parents pretty much wipe their scrawny little arse’s for them, as they are forced to fend for themselves for the first time ever. Each week, the group must go out into the world of work. If they screw up, their parents collectively decide who has been the most useless that week and kick them out of the competition (yes, the winner gets a free holiday. For being a lazy little t**t. There’s no justice in the world, is there?!). As a programme, it’s shockingly bad, only helped along by Robert Webb’s narration, and the hilarious stupidity of the teenage layabouts featured. Highlight? When working at a Zoo, one of the Girl’s asks if the Elephants will eat her if she gets too close. Honestly, you couldn’t make this up. The show is entertaining in that respect, but at the same time, watching these brainless little retards struggle to even figure out the basics of independent life is cringe worthy, to say the least.

Overall, BBC Three’s Adult Season is nothing special. All it merely does is highlight and focus on youth related problems that we’ve known about for years, and yet offers nothing new to the table. Here’s hoping the drooling morons watching this are grown up enough to stand up without assistance and turn this crap off.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Elementary, my Dear Reader...!

Earlier this Year, myself and Doctor Who head honcho Steven Moffat had a bit of a falling out. I kid you not; we’ve actually not spoken for months. It wasn’t because I disliked his new series of Who, but I did find it a bit of a hard, infuriating watch at times. Moffat’s a great writer, but his style of writing for the Show was perhaps a little bit jarring for me.

Thankfully, we’re on talking terms again this Week, thanks to Moffat’s latest shining success, the Sunday Night Detective Drama Sherlock (BBC1). Created by Moffat and fellow Doctor Who scribe Mark Gatiss, the Show is a modern retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s super sleuth Sherlock Holmes, whisking Holmes and Watson into the 21st Century for a new set of original adventures and mysteries. Gone are the pipe, the deerstalker hat, and the gothic Victorian setting, instead replaced with a laptop, a modern designer scarf and the bright lights of contemporary London. Watson is now an army doctor who served in Afghanistan, whilst Sherlock is a consulting detective for New Scotland Yard.

What could have been a disaster of epic proportions has thankfully turned out to be a clever piece of TV magic. The modernisation of Sherlock Holmes has been tried and tested many times before in the past, and in the past many times before they’ve all failed miserably. Thankfully, Sherlock is clever enough to avoid falling into a trap full of cheesy clich├ęs, and instead relies solely upon clever writing, intricate plotting, and brilliant humour, as well as well developed characters, and plenty of chills and thrills.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock is a marvel. He gets all the nuances of the character spot on, as well as injecting some of his own in to the mix as well, creating a well rounded & likeable character, whilst at the same time giving us poor viewers a sense of unrest. Martin Freeman is also on fine form as Watson, giving us an interpretation of a beloved character that is both fresh and enjoyable. At first it seems as though he’s playing the same old Freeman-stock character, but he uses that to his advantage, giving us a more real, vulnerable portrayal of Sherlock’s sidekick that adds layers to the character.

The execution is superb. The style daring and imaginative. The casting top notch. The stories bold and exciting. Truly, Sherlock is one of the best, most exciting and brilliant Dramas to come out of the BBC. It would be truly criminal if this Show fails to make it to a second season. Thankfully, it looks more than likely that more adventures for the super sleuth are definitely on the cards. Proof that there is some justice in the TV world.

Steven Moffat? All is forgiven.