Saturday, 28 April 2012

Made in Chelsea: Series 3 episode 4 - A pardy just for the sake of a pardy

So with Spencer allegedly photographed taking cocaine off-screen and so possibly facing the axe for his bad behaviour (as if no-one else in the cast might do it too!), his on-screen antics in Made in Chelsea appear to be just as doomed - but only for now.

But the fact that he now appears to have lost out to Jamie in the fight for Louise almost makes tv-ooh feel a bit sorry for him, but don't worry viewers: it passes.

Even more amusing is that the show has finally acknowledged that the arbitrarily arranged party in the last quarter of each episode (generally), in order to bring everyone together to create a bit of drama, is just that: completely arbitrary.

"Let's have a pardy!" says Hugo, seen sporting both clean shaven and partially shaven looks in this episode, "for no reason whatsoever!"

"Yeah!" says Spencer. "I'll help."

So they book a hotel suite - this all happens off camera incidentally; party arranging is basically just lots of phone calls and that's not great telly as a rule.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Bridge: Grimly fascinating Danish/Swedish crime thriller with a killer who's good at PR

Grimly fascinating Danish/Swedish crime thriller The Bridge looks likely to be another hit for fans of rain-soaked Scandinavian-produced drama, sucking all the fun out of Saturday night for two hours while simultaneously replacing it with a murder hunt you won't want to take your eyes off. And that's not just because you'll miss a subtitle.

Comparisons to other Danish drama are probably inevitable, and tv-ooh has watched and enjoyed Borgen and The Killing, but The Bridge looks like it's gone darker still: gritty urban landscapes appearing all forbodin', grey washed out colours all over, and a strong female lead - although the additional presence here of some sort of social worker guy called Stefan, dressed like he's come straight from the 1970s, is one of several mysterious elements that still need to unfold.

So there's still many questions to answer in the developing plot, and the murdered women on the bridge won't be the last victims of the killer; but what's strange is that the killer appears to have an eye both for detail and for attention-seeking, as well as basic skills in web design and PR.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve: Absolutely, definitely not a holiday

If you were planning a six month voyage visiting the countries linked to the Indian Ocean, you'd probably include a fair bit of beach time and think it fair enough to do so. It's called 'taking a holiday'.

But not intrepid journalist Simon Reeve. In his six-part Sunday night travelogue-arama-fest, Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve - and there aren't many people who'd get equal billing with an ocean - he's taking it all admirably seriously, despite occasionally looking like he's in a more restrained version of a 1990s Take That video, with a rucksack.

But what's even better is his inquisitive and slightly wide-eyed boy-scout enthusiasm, probably because he knows what a great job he has.

And even though he's not on holiday, he's acknowledged in interviews for the programme that he has to visit the holiday destinations in the area, as much as he has to visit the bad parts. Y'know, in the interests of balance and that.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Made in Chelsea series 3 episode 3: Basically just girls in underwear

'Are you perving on us?' asks Millie of an awkward Francis, while she's trying on some slinky underwear in a girls' underwear shop with Caggie stand-in Louise, in preparation for a pyjama party planned for later in the episode. Or is she actually asking the question of the nation?

It's just that at said party, ostensibly thrown by new girl Harriet who neither of them really know yet, Millie might well be planning on having a brief but reasonably eroticised slo-mo play-pillow fight with new girl and flicky-hair sex object Kimberley - and for no other reason than just because, really.

"I'm just browsing," says Francis, adopting his best Prince Charles demeanour, without the jug ears.

Remember viewers that Francis is in his early twenties, and not, as he sometimes acts, and indeed dresses like, in his early forties. However, tv-ooh won't have a word said against him: the world needs a semi-articulate posh dim-wit.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Four in a bed: 70% less interesting than the name promises; great for nit-pickers

Scenes of bedrooms being meticulously checked for dust or men in anoraks sizing up the dimensions of an en-suite while a stern-faced woman with overly-dyed brittle blonde hair glumly inspects a travel kettle are pretty routine for Four in a Bed.

It's like a peep into a different world of small business: where your home is your work, and your day begins by resentfully making breakfast for strangers, occasionally very badly - and yet you still have to be nice to them.

The result is that the five-episodes-a-week show where four pairs of B&B owners test out the bed and the breakfast in each other's business is both an exercise in fascination and tedium - which in some respects is actually quite an achievement.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

2 Broke Girls: 'We wanted to actually try to do a show where people deal with rent'

It sounds a bit familiar - two girls from different backgrounds thrown together in an unfamiliar situation with hi-larious consequences (probably) - but 2 Broke Girls (here on E4 on Thursdays at 9) has an additional 'plot' 'strand' centring on a need for the main characters, broke Max and once-rich-but-now broke Caroline, both of whom work as waitresses, to raise $250,000 for a super new business idea they have (it's to do with making cup-cakes or something), which could mean the show is, how you say, one to watch.

Especially as it's so full of cute one-liners its almost exhausting, and the fact that it's created by a writer for Sex and the City, Michael Patrick King, along with a standup comedienne called Whitney Cummings, which is a name that college jocks might have had some fun with, perhaps, back at 'high school'. We've seen Glee, we know what goes on.

But this here Michael, he's won an Emmy for his work. But will there be scenes of anyone typing on a laptop while in their PJs on their bed as we hear a winsome voiceover piped in from the ether?

We just don't know (we do: it's unlikely). But let's read about what he and Whitney has to say about the programme anyway (which early indications suggest will be quite good, by the way):

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Undateables: A documentary about people who we think 'don't' date, dating

Tv-ooh has occasionally pondered, in between watching television or eating crisps, if having a learning disability can often be similar to not having a learning disability. The only difference might be that the learning-disabled are equipped with less-advanced social skills or an inability to stop themselves from showing how they might really feel, which in some cases might be a compulsion to shout 'F**KER!" while in Asda.

In other words, people with a learning disability are often not that different from anyone else, and it's this approach, sort of, that forms the basis of the Channel 4 documentary series about people with disabilities, both mental and physical, looking for love.

And as if to hammer the point home a bit more, it's been named The Undateables - if only to highlight our own discomfort about people with disabilities needing love as much as anyone else.

Episode two followed a sweet-natured poet from Bournemouth called Shane, a 31 year old man on a quest for love but equipped with an unspecified learning disability that makes him prone to slightly unfashionable clothes, an inability to talk to women he likes, and a longing for love - again like many of us too, especially the bit about slightly unfashionable clothes.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Made in Chelsea series 3 episode 2: Cheska vs Gabs, Spencer vs Jamie, Jamie vs his sunglasses - MIC is back on form

So Spencer's back to being a drunken old cad, Francis is back to being a nice but posh dim-wit (now with a thing for 'sweatworking' ie networking in the gym while, um, sweating, despite wearing a fresh-from-the-pack new white t-shirt, suggesting he's never sweatworked in his life), while Jamie's walking around with the arm of his sunglasses in his mouth at every opportunity and trying to attract the impossibly smiley Christian girl Kimberley, but Jamie's worried Spencer's going to beat him to it.

It's also good to see Gabriella back and on form, which in her case means wearing an expression that suggests she might do something crazy, like sing, at any minute - but now it looks like she's being positioned by the show's producers as something of a sabotage device, a crowbar if you will, as she could potentially come between the budding new relationship between Cheska, who presumably is still in the throes of her serious man-drought first mentioned in series one, and new boy, and friend of Ollie, Richard, who frankly is wet enough to end the most serious of droughts, with more than enough water left to prevent the hose-pipe ban.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

BBC Breakfast in Salford: An appeal for calm at this difficult time

We know. We get it. We are not ones for change are we? This morning, BBC Breakfast begin its new life in its shiny, bright, high definition home - and some people aren't very happy about it.

Over on the programme's Facebook page, which is where these pictures come from, there are all sorts of gripes and grievances about the new set which, actually, is not a lot different from the old one.

"Hate the background, it's distracting from the presenters!" says one."Why couldn't BBC give the presenters a higher coffee table so the ladies could protect their dignity or let the ladies wear trousers? :-/, " offers another, mysteriously.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Syndicate: If we don't have a lottery win to hope for, what else is there?!

How many times a week might you find yourself fantasising about a lottery win?

And how many times a week is that same thought directly followed by the intention to actually go and buy a ticket, meaning your fantasies are fractionally more likely to come true?

Luckily for Stuart, Leanne, Jamie, Bob and Denise, employees of a supermarket and members of a lottery syndicate in the Kay Mellor-penned five-part BBC One drama The Syndicate, they had bought not only a ticket, but a winning ticket - except, this being a drama and all, it's not happy ever after.

In fact, it's anything but - and not only has the lottery win caused and revealed all sorts of complications in the characters' already quite complicated lives, they - that is, the mysterious tv producing they - have gone for a storytelling technique known as 'quite clever', which over the duration of the series will hopefully reward regular watching, but in the shorter term, it means you have to concentrate. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Homeland: Well that'll teach her to take her men-folk back to the country cabin, won't it

Although a brief and information-seeking fling between CIA-spy Carrie and the returning war hero and suspected potential terrorist Brody was perhaps inevitable plot-wise, what was less predictable is how, now mid-way through its 12 episode season, Homeland has only got more gripping, not less.

Some series can sag a bit in the middle - padding, it's often called by those in the know, possibly - but Homeland's as taut as that scene near the end of episode 7 in the remote log cabin when Carrie let slip a crucial detail about Brody's home life.

They both knew the only way she would know he likes Yorkshire Gold tea is because she's had his home under constant secret surveillance - and bang goes their budding relationship.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Apprentice: So who's your favourite so far (and by favourite we mean irritant)?

Do you have a favourite contestant on The Apprentice yet? Or are they irritating you in about equal measure so far?

Yeah, us too.

It's a particularly difficult one to call this year, admittedly - but an early favourite (and by favourite we mean irritant) for tv-ooh is 33-year-old sales manager Stephen Brady, if only because he wears one of those nose stickers to stop him snoring at night, and then when he jumps out of bed he sort of pretends to air-box, before realising he can't.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Made in Chelsea: Series 3 episode 1 - It's back! But no more Caggie/Spencer, cheers

Oh Caggie and Spencer - can the pair of you just get on with your lives without having to ever speak to each other again please, apart from idle small talk during the end-of-episode all-cast Champagne party that everyone is contractually obliged to go to, even if not everyone gets a line?

If so, tv-ooh will excuse the awkward opening scene of Made in Chelsea's new series.

The pair of them, catching up after Spencer's flying lesson - and him wearing an outfit that was only a stiffened horizontal scarf away from a 'comedy Biggles' look - was so unconvincing it would win the prize in a competition designed to reward something very unconvincing.

It's not about Made in Chelsea being set up - because it always has been, and that's the idea. But when you see it so obviously it ruins the drama, even if we know it's all made up anyway. So there.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Doctor Who: So what does that picture Moffatt tweeted of the 1960s Dalek actually tell us?

We don't really know the answer to that, in all honesty, but what we do know is that series 7 of Doctor Who is currently filming and is due to air this autumn. The 14 part series will begin with an episode featuring not just the Daleks, but every type of Dalek ever featured during the show's 49 years, according to some websites like this one.

Of course, showing the Daleks in all of their various colour schemes will not only present fans with a uniquely particular but unidentifiable thrill many will not even be able to articulate, but also nicely addresses the fact that the Daleks can appear in many different versions.

In fact, it's almost like it's directly addressing the unpopularity of the Daleks' most recent and most radical redesign in 2010. Many fans regarded their new, chunkier, brightly coloured appearance as a tiny bit rubbish - mainly on account of making them look like a cross between a Teletubbie and a Fiat 500.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Titanic on ITV1: "But I'm telling you important plot points that will refer to key moments later!"

The problem with any drama about the Titanic is that we already know the ending: ship sinks, people die. It was a horrible tragedy.

So any drama based on what happened has to have a whole load of other character-based action going on, to take us to the part where the ship sinks and people die.

But for that to pass as entertainment and for it to have an impact as drama we need to be drawn in and involved - otherwise we're just watching nice pictures with hats while trying to spot the green-screen.