Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Ice to See You...!

Whilst the Weather outside is about as delightful as the thought of getting bear hugged by Jackie Stallone in an airplane toilet whilst crashing towards the polar ice caps, the alternative (sitting indoors watching the Telly) is just about as bleak and nightmarish (especially if Jackie Stallone is on TV that particular night...should I drop this now?!). But none are as bleak as Dancing on Ice(ITV1), which just wrapped up its Fifth Series on Sunday. Praise the Sky Bully that it’s finally over!!

OK, so it isn’t exactly the dramatic downfall of Human intelligence that I’ve made it out to be. But it is boring beyond belief, and the fact that it’s made it to a fifth series must surely have something to do with a pact made between ITV Execs and Satan himself!! The first series was watchable enough, but that was largely down to Holly Willoughby’s low cut tops more than anything else, if the papers are to be believed. And yes, seeing annoying, washed up Celebrities ice skating is rather funny, especially when they fall over and plant their smug, punchable faces upon the cold, hard ground. But if that’s as far as its appeal goes, then it really isn’t worth the effort.

It would help if there were any worthwhile celebs actually appearing on the show...but unfortunately, the richer and more famous celebs appear to be a degree smarter than we actually give them credit for, so instead we have to make do with a bunch of soap stars that no one will remember six months down the line; Simon Cowell’s personal aide (because apparently Simon Cowell is now god, not just a showbiz mongrel who thinks he’s god, so there now has to be some sort of reference to him on every ITV show, lest we forget this); the GMTV Doctor (who probably thought she was just going to be on the sidelines in case poor Bobby Davro cut his face open with his own Skate); and Gordon Ramsay’s Wife (old Gordo must have been too busy making a decent TV Show to take part)!! Oh, and also there’s that screaming, back stabbing Harpy who married Paul McCartney from The Beatles. You know, the one with the wooden leg?! It’s Dancing on Ice, love, not Hopping on Ice.

Anyway, jokes aimed at the physically handicapped out of the way, we move on to the judges...and my god they’ve scraped bottom of the barrel so hard this year that they’re halfway to Australia. Every Year they add a new judge to proceedings, and you’d think they’d add someone with a little bit of knowledge about Ice Dancing to the panel. But no, they only go and add Emma ‘Baby Spice’ Bunton instead. That’s right, Emma Bloody Bunton!!! I feel sorry for the contestants now – if I had to have a bloody Spice Girl tell me how to dance, I’d probably impale myself on my own Skating Blades, right there in front of her. And I’d bloody well make sure that plenty of my Blood would splatter her!! Right in the face. That’ll learn her. Bloody Spice Girls; think they’re God’s gift to the universe, grumble-grumble...

But honestly, I really can’t understand why so many people watch this week in, week out. Yes, it’s different to many of the other Celeb Talent Shows on telly, but still, it’s repetitive and stale. Torvill & Dean are brilliant Ice Dancers, but they are merely cheapening their profession by attaching themselves to this crap!! One series was fine, but sadly, in TV World, you milk an idea for all it’s worth, and now each new series of Dancing on Ice feels exactly the same as the previous...there’s nothing new. The routines remain the same each year, and whilst every year you get a new set of Celebs, it’s always a bunch of ITV Soap actors who you’ve never heard of, or a Celeb whose career died the same time as the Dinosaurs!!

What has this Show got to offer (apart from Holly Willoughby’s cleavage)?!!! You want the answer? Nothing. Jack Squat. Dead Air and nothing else. There’s nothing new each series, just a very samey format that has been stretched about as far as it can go, and yet is more than likely to be stretched even further until it breaks, like a piece of Blue Tac. And even then, they still won’t cancel the bloody show for another three years!!! So if it’s originality and fresh ideas you’re channel hopping for, then leave this junk well alone. It will only end in extreme boredom and possibly suicide!!

However, if they want to try something original, maybe they could do a spin off?!! Dancing on Fire, perhaps?! Sounds like it could work. Let’s see Heather Mills survive that one!!

Burn, Bitch, BUUURRNN!!!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A Spin-Off too far...!

Spin-Offs are a tricky thing to pull off in the TV World – they need to appeal to the legions of fans that worship the parent show like Russell Brand worships his own Dick, whilst at the same time be completely original in both its content and storytelling. It may sound easy, but look at the number of extremely successful spin-off series over the years...see, you can count them on your fingers. Hell, one hand is all you require!!!

For every decent spin-off, there’s about a million other miserable failures burning in the darkest, foulest pits of hell, waiting to be tortured with thumb-screws, nipple clamps or endless reruns of Ghost Whisperer. Finding a spin-off that is both imaginative and entertaining is akin to finding Jesus in a strip club – it’s possible, but a rare concept, and highly unlikely. Hence the multitude of god-awful claptrap that passes for spin offs. And sadly, the floodgates for absolute drivel remain open, with the latest pointless and unnecessary Spin-off hitting the airwaves, and proving that some ideas should be destroyed, along with their creator!!!

The Cleveland Show (E4) is a spin-off to the popular animated US sitcom Family Guy. For those unaware of what Family Guy is (in which case, you must either be a prisoner in a mental institute, or Osama bin Laden), the best thing to do is fart, vomit, and follow that up by making a couple of inappropriate racist/sexist jokes. That s the best way to sum up what Family Guy is all about. And The Cleveland Show is pretty much more of the same...except much worse. And not just in terms of the quality of it’s so called jokes, but also in terms of its entire concept!!!

The story: (so-called) popular recurring Family Guy character Cleveland Brown moves away to his old home town, where he and his overweight 14 year old son meet Cleveland’s old high school flame, who has a teenage tearaway for a daughter and an infant son who is both smart and dangerous!! The two get married, and settle down, kick starting all sorts of hilarious adventures!!! A simple Sitcom idea, with tons of supporting characters, makes this sound rather watchable. Well frankly, it isn’t!!!

Like its parent show, The Cleveland Show prefers to go with juvenile and frankly unfunny humour to get its audience laughing. Saying the F-Word about 19 times in a row hardly constitutes comedy; it’s just pure playground pratting about, and something I stopped laughing at when I was 15. One Episode’s main comic moment is when the lead character vomits about six times before collapsing in a pool of his own filth...I’m sorry, that’s not funny, that’s just disgusting, and about as funny as setting your trousers on fire whilst sitting on a pile of dynamite!!! Racist jokes seep in from all angles, and instead of making you laugh, merely leave you sitting there, staring at the screen, feeling uncomfortable!! A 5 Year Old could have wrote this better, and made it funny as well!!

Both The Cleveland Show and the long running Family Guy are absolutely not funny, the latter having become stale and predictable over the years, whilst the former has decided to follow suit from the get go. The Cleveland Show's main problem is that it simply feels like something we've seen been done before!! And in todays cash strapped TV Industry, it's a travesty that this is favoured above more original and worthy ideas!!! A sitcom that only makes you laugh once or twice an Episode cannot and must not be deemed a success, regardless of how many idiots hail it as the greatest thing since the discovery of sex!!!!

There are a number of things that are greatly wrong with The Cleveland Show. There’s no originality, no ideas, no imagination, and worst of all, no humour whatsoever!! If it had been a straight faced new show, and not a spin-off of an already successful sitcom, then no doubt it would have been canned by now!! Unfortunately, extremely dedicated Family Guy fans are not known for their smarts, and are sadly watching this poor excuse for hilarity like the mindless drones that they are.

The Cleveland Show now joins the ranks of unsuccessful spin-offs, that fail to bring something new to the table, and instead just sit there feeling unwanted and useless. Hopefully cancellation will follow swiftly. At least that way there’s more of a chance to get a decent spin-off commissioned for once...

Anyone else excited by the prospect of a Cash in the Attic spin-off?!!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Button It...!

In the TV Industry (and any Industry, in that case), when times are tough, the TV Executives prefer to go with what we refer to as a ‘safe pair of hands’. Example, I hear you ask? Well, where to start?!! Simon Cowell seems to resemble the Emperor out of Star Wars, what with his Empire of Talent Shows, and subsequent domination of ITV, whilst Graham Norton and Fiona Bruce must surely have brutally murdered everyone working for the BBC, and divided up the TV Schedule between them. Joking aside, it doesn’t surprise when Terrestrial Channels wheel out a new Show with no originality and Presenters who seem to always be a permanent fixture of your Telly Screens, even when you’re Telly is switched off. Now that’s scary when that happens.

Case in point: Ant & Dec’s Push the Button (ITV1), the latest step in the British Public’s two favourite Geordies attempt at world domination (next step: the assassination of all the world’s leaders during an Episode of Saturday Night Takeaway. Stay tuned). Each Week, two Families compete against one another in a series of Games which involve pushing a big button. That’s right, you heard, all they have to do is push a button. Winning a Game allows the Player to press the big button and lower the amount of Cash the opposite Team could possibly walk away with. Simple really. Perhaps too simple.

There’s no denying that the Show is both lively, and in places, a bit of a laugh. The Games contestants must participate succeed in raising a smile, and Ant & Dec are their usual huggable, entertaining selves. However, the whole thing stinks of so-so samey-ness. There’s hardly an original idea here, and the whole thing comes across as a hybrid of both Family Fortunes and The Generation Game, two Game Shows that were, and still are, absolute genius. The concept of Family’s competing for cash is a stable mate of both Shows, whilst the actual Rounds feel like a big glossy CGI remake of something we’ve seen done before and has been produced so much better in the past as well.

Push the Button reeks of desperation, and the inclusion of Ant & Dec as hosts doesn’t make it appear any more confident. Great as they are, we’ve seen them on our Telly Boxes for years, and that sense of cosy familiarity has twisted and mutated into something boring and perhaps a little too familiar. Why not get some fresh, new talent to host these brand new shows, instead of repeatedly hugging the safety blanket like some kind of infant?!

You want new, fresh ideas ITV? Well, how about this? A Game Show in the style of the Saw Movie Franchise, in which contestants (especially very annoying ones) are put in near inescapable death traps, and must struggle free in a set time limit, to win big cash prizes, like a Car, or free of charge therapy?! No one dies, obviously, that would be cruel, and after the fifteenth contestant gets splattered, a bit boring. But still, imagine the possibilities. Celebrity Editions, Christmas Specials...god damn it, commission this now!!!

So, Push the Button? Fun Saturday Night Entertainment? Yes! Boring, samey old drivel with a lack of originality? Indeed!!! Not one to avoid, but to be honest, it’s not something you’ll be tuning in for every week. Hell, watch just one episode and you’ll never have to watch it again.

However, tune in for the first edition of Kill Me Now, the hit game show presented by loveable host Matthew Dennis and the gorgeous Fearne Cotton, where 10 Contestants must race against the clock to save their own miserable lives, and escape a grisly death...for big cash prizes!!! Coming to ITV1 this Autumn...hint-hint?!