Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Back in my Day...!

CONFESSION TIME: I watch Cartoons. And not just ‘Adult’ cartoons, like Family Guy or South Park. No, I mean proper Cartoons. The stuff they show on Cartoon Network, Disney XD and the CBBC Channel. Yes, my inner child is alive within me, and he’s desperately trying to tear himself out of my outer child (i.e. me)!!! I am a BIG Kid!!

Sadly, like any older person, I find myself watching the latest televisual offerings for the likkle kiddywinklets and raising my nose in disgust!! There’s no love and care in Cartoons anymore, save for the odd one in about a million, and they usually get cancelled before their time anyways (see the Brilliant Spectacular Spider-Man series)!! Fart Jokes and bad puns make not a great animated series for Kids, and whenever I even smell the foul whiff of Toilet Humour within a Kid’s TV Show, I end up throwing my TV out of the Window, screaming loud, nasty words that Children should never hear until they’re about 18 Years Old!!

Hence, why, dearest Reader, I’ve been forced to turn to the divine one that is DVD to get my 90’s nostalgia fix!! And the Show that is currently making me feel like a happy eight year old again is...Batman: the Animated Series. A true gem of a Children’s Cartoon that deserves a place in every Animation Fan, Comic Book Geek, fun loving Adult and tiny Child’s DVD Collection. Why, you wonder?! Well, because IT’S JUST SO BLOOMING GOOD!!!!

Created by animation legend Bruce Timm, Batman was, and still is, unlike any Cartoon before it. A brilliantly pulpy action adventure series, the Show wiped away memories of the camp 60’s Batman Series with Adam West, and cemented Batman as the coolest and darkest Superhero knocking about.

Cleverly styled so as to resemble a mish-mash of 1930’s and futuristic technology, the Series has a real timeless quality about its look. Oh, and it’s dark. Really dark. Not just in terms of the storylines and characters, but in terms of animation and backgrounds. Watch it in the dark to get the best possible picture quality!!

As for the storylines – well, a rocky couple of Episodes are to be expected, but Batman: TAS isn’t one for making rubbish Episodes. On Leather Wings. Nothing to Fear. Appointment in Crime Alley. Feat of Clay. Almost Got ‘Im. Harley & Ivy. These are just a few of the fantastic Episodes, that not only present great and bold original storytelling, but also fantastic animation, voiceovers and design. And I can’t even bring myself to not mention the Emmy-Award Winning Fan Favourite Heart of Ice, which is possibly the greatest 20 Minutes of Television ever!!!

The Show’s influence is still felt today, in every single Superhero Animated Series, from Justice League to Ben 10 to The Spectacular Spider-Man. There’s nothing else like it!!! You could so easily show this at 9pm on a Weekday Night, and Adults would take to it like Flies to a Wall. It’s a true piece of brilliance that should be re-run on every channel, bought on DVD and treasured forever!!!

Thank God for my inner child!! Now, where’s that Superglue for me to eat?!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Oh Brother...!

When the great Historians of the future come to write the complete history of the entire 21st Century, let’s pray to God that they wisely choose to leave out the words: ‘Big’ and ‘Brother’. OK, perhaps not at every mention, otherwise sentences such as “The 21st Century was very Big” and “You better believe it, Brother” will be left quite redundant. But a combination of those two words, to describe a rather long running, over-hyped crappy reality Television Series? Let’s hope the Boffins of the future choose to gloss over that particular aspect of 21st Century culture!!

In this Critic’s opinion, it’s about bloody time that the makers of Big Brother (C4) finally saw sense and kicked the Show’s own bucket!! What was once an original, clever, interesting TV Experiment has slowly devolved into a big, damn dirty Ape of a TV Car Crash. And as for the ‘contestants’ (by which I mean ‘Freaks’)...well, all one can say is that evolution decided not to bother with their particular Gene Pool.

With this current Series of BB being the LAST EVER (we can but hope), the Producers have pulled out all the stops to ensure that the Series is one to remember. In some cases, it actually works. The House design is cleverly intricate, all see through Walls and uncomfortable furniture, supposedly designed to psychologically effect the poor housemates, although it’s probably more likely that the designer did so just to make it look pretty. The Carnival theme this series is also creepy and unsettling, enough to make even the most hardboiled of folk cower in fear beneath the Sofa (that’s only if they have an uncontrollable fear of Clowns)!! And the decision to select the Housemates on the actual night was also a rather good idea, although it did mean we had to endure looking at seventy-odd disappointed weirdoes for nearly an Hour and a half, a prospect more sickening then watching John McCririck make love!!

As for the Housemates though – well, let’s hope the U.S Military accidently launch a fully primed Nuke in their direction soon. Much like the elements mentioned above, it feels like the producer’s have gone all out to deliver as many misfits, freaks, weirdoes and arseholes as is humanly possible. Shame there’s no one really interesting in there this Year. Their so bland and boring, there’s actually no one in there for me to full-on hate!!! Seriously, I despise them all, but there seems to be a complete lack of complete arseholes in there this Year. It’s as if they’ve exhausted Britain’s supply of arrogant t**ts!!!

That said, there’s still enough idiots in there to make me spit some venom – top of my ‘must kill’ list is posh git Ben, who drags his arse across the carpet like a fat, arrogant overfed poodle who thinks he’s god’s gift to everything; Dave, who’s basically a useless drunken tubby Christian minister who CAN’T. STOP. F***ING. LAUGHING; loudmouth squatter Shabby, a failed punk filmmaker who had me thinking she was a bloke for the first 15 Minutes; and spoilt medical student Sunshine, who just brings out my sociopathic side just by talking!! Elsewhere, there’s a Jordan lookalike, a Beckham lookalike, and a Beyonce lookalike (basically, three people with no personality so they have to steal someone else’s), a poor War Veteran who has just been put in to be a walking freakshow, and a random contestant who has to dress up as a Mole!!!

As always, the latest instalment of Big Brother turns out to be more of the same: a walking, talking carnival freakshow, a glass cage for us perfect folk to point and laugh at the monkeys within!! As phenomenal and controversial as it has been in the past, there’s no doubt that its imminent demise couldn’t have come any sooner. Who knows, maybe Satan will wake up one morning and decide to do something really evil, and resurrect the goddamned franchise, streaming on every channel, 24 hours a day!! So make the most of it till then. Maybe start writing that ‘Complete History of the 21st Century’?!

Just make sure you don’t mention the word’s Big Brother...!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Recycling...the Possibilities Suck...!

Ricky Gervais. And with the writing of those two words, half the people who browse this Blog have probably skedaddled and legged it for the comfort and safety of Facebook (yeah, good luck there)!! Let’s face it; Gervais is one of those celebrity types who inspires either unconditional devotion or absolute blood spitting hatred in people. Understandable, really. Gervais may have talent, but he doesn’t shut up about it. Extras & The Office are pure brilliant, shining examples of noughties Television at its best!! But those aside, there’s no getting past the fact that Gervais is a bit of a t**t, a Man so up his own arse that you can see his Head back almost in its original position, albeit a bit more dirtier then when it originally was.

Those who spit venom whenever the words ‘Ricky Gervais’ are uttered will no doubt be living in a bubble of pure hate lately, what with HBO’s latest televisual offering – The Ricky Gervais Show (C4), a brand new animated series featuring none other than everyone’s favourite fat boy from Reading. Except that it’s not brand new. If anything, it’s about as new as a Birthday Cake made for Hitler’s 1st Birthday (and it’s just about as tasty too).

The Series premise is simple: it’s basically the original Podcast recordings featuring Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington, edited and enhanced with old school 2D Animation. So simply put, it’s a bunch of stuff people will have heard many times before, with a little bit of extra to hook them in. Well done, HBO, you sure do spoil us!!

That said, I personally find the Series slightly more entertaining than others will, merely because I for one have never listened to the Ricky Gervais Podcasts before now. To me, this reeks of 100 percent originality. Though I am fully aware it’s not. It does seem like a pointless Show, basically a series of repeats of material Gervais fanatics (pretty much half your audience) will have heard many times before. Could HBO not have instead gathered Gervais, Merchant & Pilkington together to record some new Podcasts exclusively for the Animated Series instead?!

The Animation is the true selling point here. Lovingly created and sumptuous to look at, it definitely adds to the production enormously, giving the series a scope that enhances the original podcast recordings. The Hanna-Barbera style is an excellent choice as well, evoking memories of Saturday Mornings for many an older person, I’m sure.

The content of the Podcasts themselves are entertaining enough, although never laugh out loud hilarious. Gervais is a prick, Merchant is smart and funny, and Pilkington is dumber then a monkey. Everything revolves around getting Pilkington to make himself look stupid, which is easily achieved. Oh, and Gervais laughs. A bloody lot (well, someone’s got to, the audience sure as hell isn’t).

If you’ve never even heard of Ricky Gervais before now, then The Ricky Gervais Show is not the best introduction to get you hooked onto his material. It’s like a prostitute – occasionally nice to look at, but once it speaks, you want to tear your ears off and ram them down her throat to stop her bloody talking!!! The Show lacks originality and is perhaps a bit too slow paced to get people laughing like Hyenas on crack. You’ll be questioning just why HBO commissioned it, and why the producers made it in the first place, and why Ricky Gervais is considered so godlike in the states that he can get away with dressing up old material as something new and hip and cool. So, basically, it’s worth a watch if you’ve never heard of Gervais, but let’s face it, the chances of that are about as slim as this series’ chances of getting a second season!!!

This Week, TV Wasteland is celebrating the re-commission of Torchwood. A brilliant Show that has come on leaps and bounds over the Years, developing to become one the highlights of the BBC’s current Drama output. If you’ve never watched it before, check it out on DVD.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

He's in the Best Selling Show...!

A couple of weeks ago, a TV Series that has kept Telly Critics and Viewers alike completely baffled for so long reached it’s amazing climax, bringing over Five Years worth of brilliant storytelling to an end!! And the name of that brilliant show?!! What was that? Lost?!!! What are you bloody babbling about?! What crap have you been injecting (apart from Episodes of Lost that is)?!! Piss off; I’m talking about Ashes to Ashes (BBC1)!!!!

It’s taken me over a week to write and publish this latest Review. Why? Because the Series Finale of Ashes has somewhat shocked me to the point that thinking about it too in-depth could possibly cause my Brain to rupture!! It’s not often that a piece of TV Drama can do that to me!! But Ashes is a special case. I’ve followed the adventures of both Sam Tyler and Alex Drake, and the mystery of DCI Gene Hunt since the beginning, in Life on Mars, and now to finally discover what the f**k is actually going on after Five Seasons is just ...sooooo exciting!!!

It’s difficult writing this review though. Trying to explain the whole thing to the uninitiated will be one hell of a long slog. Likewise, just catering to those who already watch the Show and know what I’m talking about seems equally pointless.

So for now, all I say is that the Ashes to Ashes Series Finale was absolutely spot-on, love it, love it, and love it fantastic!!!! It’s extremely clever, tying up all the Series loose ends in spectacular fashion. (Although be warned: you will never be able to watch Life on Mars in quite the same way again!!) Phillip Glenister as Gene Hunt is on fine form, giving us new dimensions to a character that is just so amazingly wonderful!! There’ll never be another character like him, and in fact, there mustn’t!!!

Forget Lost, Ok?! Ashes has it all – wit, charm, action, guns, a solid engrossing mystery, clever plotting and scripts so fantastic that they most probably have to be kept under constant, 24 Hour Guard, lest the hack writers of CSI: Wotever they’re calling it this Week try to steal them!! The constant twists and turns will have you glued to your screen, so much so that afterwards, you may have to peel of your own facial skin in order to get up and go boil the kettle.

I highly recommend that those who don’t watch the show already go splash out on both Seasons of Life on Mars and all three Boxsets of Ashes to Ashes, lock themselves in a cupboard with a pack of Garibaldi’s and hipflask full of scotch, and have a good Boxset binge!! You won’t regret it. Unless you’re a Nancy Boy, that is!! Those who have already embraced the world of DCI Gene Hunt should do likewise, and binge, binge, binge; just like the Guv himself would at the Railway Arms!!

Well, what are you waiting for, you great, soft, cissy, girly, nancy, french bender Man United supporting poof?!

This Week: TV Wasteland is intrigued by the Pilot for BBC3 Hospital Horror Drama - Pulse. Written by Doctor Who scribe Paul Cornell, it looks to be scary, entertaining stuff. Check it out on June 3rd, at 9pm and leave your comments relating to it below.