Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Voice UK: Entertaining, yes; but how long can the 'voice-only' judgements last? Eh?

Looking like a diversity-aware take on the modern day nuclear family seated in slightly kinky-looking over-size swivel highchairs amid an enormous blacked-out cavern decorated with countless reflective surfaces and a complicated lighting rig, the judges on The Voice UK might well turn out to be the show's biggest asset, and certainly the most comfortable.

Big daddy Sir Tom 'seen it all' Jones, the immaculately presented Jessie J, the preposterously punctuated and the Irish guy from that band who had that hit the other year*, are working together nicely, but all seem to be quite matey in their rivalry right now.

Of course, that's all bound to change as we progress through the show's 11 week 'journey' as 'the competition' 'heats up'. If anything, they - that is, the mysterious tv-producing they - should exploit the hoped-for developing actual rivalry between them, especially if all the singing bits turn out to be a bit 'meh'.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Oh! Ben in EastEnders: Why are you and other gay soap teens basically a bit crazy?

Once it may well have been the key defining aspect of a character, but now, across several soaps, there are a few young gay men for whom their sexuality appears to have led to a troubled and disturbing life. In other words, they sometimes act like complete and utter loon-bags.

The main culprit is Ben in EastEnders: admittedly having Phil Mitchell as a father would set any kid off on the wrong foot, but Ben's descent from gentle fan of tap dancing to glacier-eyed psychopath via an appearance-changing stay at Borstal has sometimes been a stretch to understand for even the hardiest fans of Albert Square Adventures.

Recently we've seen him frame his father for the death of Phil's ex, Stella, resulting in lots of scenes involving shouting and storming off, and then Ben bragged to his half-brother Ian that he lied to police. 

Lord knows what his poor ma Kathy would say.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Upstairs Downstairs: So that was series 2, but will there be a series 3? UPDATE: No

So in the end, tv-ooh can safely announce that the revived Upstairs Downstairs turned out to be a bit of a 'slow burner'. It took a while to get there, mind - and by 'there' we mean getting its audience to care about what happened to the characters.

But once it did (around about episode 4 or 5, to be precise), it all sort of worked out - even if at times the whole thing felt like it's only one digital-treatment-to-make-it-look-like-it's-shot-on-film-and-not-video-tape moment away from being a House of Eliot for the 2010s.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Blakes 7 DVD rewatch: Season 1 Episode 6 - Seek-Locate-Destroy - Enter Servalan and Travis, straight from a fetish club

What happens in this one?
Having finally reached Centero, Blake and the crew sabotage a Federation communications base and steal a device, called a cipher, that will allow them to listen to its messages. They succeed, but Cally gets left behind on the planet and is held as a hostage to lure Blake back. Servalan, the Supreme Commander of the Federation, is introduced, and a nation sits up. Responding to concerns from the Federation's president that Blake is becoming a hero among its opponents, she reinstates a space assassin called Travis, who has had previous run-ins with Blake, to seek, locate and destroy him. DO YOU SEE?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Blakes 7 DVD rewatch: Series 1 Episode 5: The Web - a moral dilemma with an easy solution

What happens in this one?
During a bit of down-time on board the Liberator while en-route to Centero, Jenna notices the ship is mysteriously increasing speed, while new crew member Cally is overcome by an alien power which makes her punch Vila, who had just changed into a new outfit and was rather pleased about it. The Liberator is directed into an uncharted area and becomes trapped in a spooky space-like web. Cally is freed from the alien control, but then Jenna is taken over - and the alien force uses Jenna's body to insist on a visit from Blake, which in turn will enable the crew to free the Liberator from the web. Blake discovers a pair of humanoid creatures called Geela and Novara who are channelling the consciousness of a strange withered creature called Saymon who exists in a tank of goo and is known as 'The Lost'. They want some energy cells from the Liberator in order to wipe out some of their own creations known as Decimas, who at one point Blakes describes as 'dwarves'. Blake feels sorry for these fluffy squeaky if rowdy animal creatures after he notices that they mourn their dead (like humans do), and a moral dilemma ensues.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Made in Chelsea series 3 official trailer: But what does it all MEAN? And where is Binky?

Hands up who had a minor asthma attack at the new Made in Chelsea series 3 trailer then? No, tv-ooh didn't either. But it's still all quite exciting though, so one will admit to a certain... breathlessness.

You see, for the trailer, the producers have gone for a 'concept'. So rather than clips and teasers from the actual episode, they've put the cast, and a lot of extras but we don't care about them, into some sort of posh party situation taking place in a period mansion (with a billiards table) while dressed in 18th century King Louis XV-style costumes.

Do you see? I mean, DO YOU ACTUALLY SEE? A posh party - it's Made in Chelsea's whole thing? Mix that up with lots of slo-mo and the cast doing crazy things as befits life when you're in a 'structured reality' drama set in Chelsea, and away you go.

But what does it all mean? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Let's look at some stills from the trailer and make some fatuous observations try and decipher some of the coded meanings:

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Upstairs Downstairs: Series 2 episode 5: War is coming.. via cook's Lady Fingers

Hallam has gone all cad-like and is now meeting his sister-in-law Pershie for quite improper afternoon romps in the Dorchester hotel, while Persie's pillow talk involves a desire for tea, cream cakes and tiny sandwiches, the kind, she says, she dreamed of having in a hotel when she was a little girl.

Persie doesn't specify if also she dreamed of having her elder sister's husband at the same time, but none of that says much for Hallam's bedroom prowess.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Nazi Titanic: A documentary about a little-known Nazi version of the Titantic story

A Channel 5 documentary on a little known World War II Nazi propaganda film telling a heavily altered story of the sinking of the Titanic is like many documentaries about this period - sombre narration, grainy archive footage and talking head interviews with pensioners - but in this case the story itself is probably one of the most unusual to ever get the WWII documentary treatment, not least because it tells how the Nazis invented a fictional German officer for the film, to act as the only hero on board against the greedy, immoral British. Of course they did.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Blakes 7 DVD rewatch: Season 1 Episode 4: Time Squad - Enter Cally the telepath. Hmm

Join tv-ooh's sci-fi-loving second cousin tv-ohh on his Blakes 7 DVD rewatch space odyssey voyage through late 1970s space type thing...

What happens in this one?
Blake convinces the crew that it would be a good idea to destroy one of the Federation's communication sites on a planet called Saurian Major. Despite some objections from Avon, everyone else takes very little persuading, and while on their way to the planet where it can be found, they pick up a distress call from a floating pod, which everyone refers to as 'the projectile'. Blake and Jenna teleport onto it to investigate, but when the air runs out and the teleport fails to bring them back, Avon manoevres the Liberator around the pod, while Gan and Vila hold their breath. Later, four inanimate 'protectors' on the pod come alive to menance Jenna and Gan, while Blake, Avon and Vila get beamed down for the bits on location and meet new crew member Cally, followed by some nice jogging scenes with Vila carrying the cool-box.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Homeland: Key points from an interview with its writers and creators Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa

Clare Danes was first choice to play Carrie
Howard: Claire Danes was our first choice from the moment we sat down to write the pilot. She had just appeared in Temple Grandin and we were blown away by her performance. We even named the character Claire in our first draft. As much as Alex and I were fans of Damian's from Band of Brothers, he became our first choice when we saw him in an independent movie called Keane.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Upstairs Downstairs series 2 episode 2: Dinners, oysters and violet macaroons

Well, it's all going on in Upstairs Downstairs, and it's only episode two. Much of it is food related, however, and we all know the dramatic potential of a perishable: limited.

So we have stroppy but dependable Cook Thackeray and her violet macaroons, or mixed-messages maid Beryl and her oysters, as well as general food preparation drama about missing desserts and eggs used without permission. Like tv-ooh says: it's all going on.