Monday, 21 May 2012

The Bridge episodes 9 & 10: 'A nagging sense of unease' and some very accomplished striding

So what did you think? Tv-ooh thought episodes 9 and 10 of The Bridge were probably some of the best television so far this year, if only for pace and plot and scary grenade-in-hand acting - and that's all before some very accomplished striding about, too.

But at no point was The Bridge an easy or comfortable ride.

Along with several scenes of Saga and Martin walking purposefully towards various houses, or along a remote, windswept pier with intent in their eyes, there was a nagging sense of unease that not everything would end well.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Made in Chelsea Series 3 episode 7: And on the seventh day God created Francis

You'll recall, won't you, how tv-ooh supposed last time that Made in Chelsea had suddenly become a bleak and damning essay on the intricacies of modern romance and the barren self-destructive hopelessness therein.

So now, our fears that the programme is perhaps approaching near biblical proportions in terms of the size - we're talking width, length AND height here viewers - of its increasingly grim and complicated depiction of those two main pillars of so-called 'structured reality', friendships and love, has now been further acknowledged.

And we're quite loving it, as it goes.

Witness episode 7 and see how it's all been ratcheted up a notch - and further more, Francis is suddenly referencing Jesus.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Daybreak: Aled Jones recruited, Richard Arnold returns. Shall we do a 'LOL'? Shall we?

Where were you when you heard the news, readers? Has your mind been able to comprehend the vastness of it all yet?

Tv-ooh is, of course (given its tendency to talk about things, you know, on the telly and all), talking about the decision to recruit Aled Jones as the new co-presenter of ITV1 morning show Daybreak.

Together with one of television's safest pair of hands, Lorraine Kelly, they will anchor 90 minutes of live current affairs-'flavoured' tv each morning, as the new, permanent replacements to Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, who no-one ever speaks about anymore because sometimes you just have to forget.

And former GMTV telly expert Richard Arnold has also been appointed as something called a 'Showbiz Editor' who says he is "going back for one reason and one reason alone - to cut Kate Garraway's fringe". 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Bridge: Episodes 7 & 8 - That 'software salesman' better not be who he says he is

In what could be the most bizarre plot development yet, Martin's pregnant wife Mette gets an unexpected visit from a slightly creepy software salesman while she's at work, so either this man, Sebastian, has something to do with the killer, or that's one heck of a storyline curve ball.

Mette said she could give him five minutes, but an hour and a half later he's thanking her for the coffee and promising to send her 'further details' for something he says could make her life easier to organise. Surely they already have electronic calendars in Denmark?

Then, later, when Mette develops serious stomach pain, Sebastian is on hand to take her to hospital, having dropped by with a surprise bunch of flowers. But after this we don't see him. Hopes - that is, plot-development hopes, which we could also call 'fears' - that he might turn out to be crazy and kidnap her en route to A&E were unfounded.

So what on earth is this all about, apart from the fact she's got some troublesome kidney stones?

If the writer wanted padding, let's see her pop to the shops.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Made in Chelsea: Series 3 episode 6 - Off to Chelsea-on-sea, but we can't take Ollie

Jeez Louise fellow Chelsea followers, tv-ooh doesn't know where to look. When oh when, exactly, did this light-hearted structured-reality playful telly show about good-looking posh knobs tottering about a heavily stylised and, indeed, fictionalised part of west London (including numerous bars and restaurants getting a bit of free advertising) become a bleak and damning essay on the intricacies of modern romance and the barren self-destructive hopelessness therein?

Well, the answer is that it hasn't - yet. For the complicated three-way relationship between lovely Labrador Jamie, indecisive Louise and shark-like Spencer (but actually just a goon, especially when in ill-advised shorts and smart shoes combo) continues onwards and downwards, but only this time the 'action' has moved to Dubai. But why Dubai?

Well, it looks nice, if a little nippy at times (at one stage Louise is buttoned up to the neck while Milly grins and bears it in a bikini, while the screen's brightness is turned up to disguise the cloudy sky).

And, as long as they don't invite everyone's favourite gay-to-bi-to-gay Ollie Locke (let's not mention Dubai's lack of gay-friendly credentials, it'll ruin the pardy), Dubai is very Chelsea: it fits the whole 'rich' idea of wealth and health and job-free carefree living, and is also another excuse to DRINK CHAMPAGNE, except this time it's on a yacht.

So Dubai is like Chelsea-on-sea. It's the spin-off series waiting to happen.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Bridge: Episode 5 & 6 - Who IS the killer - Ake, Stefan or... Martin (or someone else)?

The story of poor teenage runaway Anja - horribly gunned down in a creepy underground car park by the killer (or one of his henchmen) - is probably one of the saddest parts of The Bridge so far, and, given the generally bleak and downbeat nature of the programme as a whole, that's actually quite a feat.

And even though a reaction from both Anja's parents to her death felt like a scene that should have been included (although it wouldn't have added much to the plot given her virtual estrangement from them),  Anja's murder has also done the job of highlighting what passes for Saga's own sadness at losing her 15-year-old sister to suicide, 15 years or so ago, even if her visit to the snow-covered cemetery seemed to be more of a quick stroll through on the way to that nightclub she likes to visit to pick up guys.

"Did you see any signs of depression?" asked fellow cop Martin, thinking that she might want to talk about her sister's death.

"I don't see signs," she said, blunty, which in some ways is the biggest, and most thought-provoking,  insight she's been able to offer into her behaviour (and its consequences) so far.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Homeland: Series 1 episode 12 - We're quite glad he didn't blow himself up as it goes

So Brody didn't blow himself up in the bunker with the Vice-President and his inner circle in full attendance, and, frankly, tv-ooh is relieved.

During those tense, nail-biting scenes where we waited for Brody's fellow marine and accomplice Walker to carry out what emerged to be his side of a two-stage plan - the assassination of other members of the group gathered for the VP's event, which meant everyone else would be shepherded into a 'safe' room - we almost felt like we were in there with Brody, as he waited until he was close enough to blow him (and everyone else) up.

Fortunately, at least for tv-ooh's nerves and the prospect of a second series, the switch on Brody's vest of explosives failed to ignite, and the slightly skew, extreme close ups of his sweating face and reddening eyes put us right there in the action.

Any one else age about five years?

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Killing (US) series 2: We really, really needed a re-cap

So did you watch the new series of the US version of The Killing, now at the, ahem, plum mid-week Wednesday 10pm time-slot on Channel 4?

Tv-ooh did, and tv-ooh didn't have a bletherin' clue what the hell was going on at first.

Even after tv-ooh re-positioned an angle-poise lamp away from the screen that was causing all the dark scenes to get lost in the light's reflective glare. Even after that.

Of course, we understood the general narrative direction about the hunt for Rosie Larsen's killer and all that, and the fact that Sarah had jumped off her flight to LA, but what we struggled with was remembering the exact point we were left at last series.

What we really needed was a recap.

We needed a reminder of what went on before. We needed a re-cap. We needed a reminder of what went on before. We needed a re-cap.

The world is now a very very different place from the time we were last in the merry old land of The Killing, and that's partly, perhaps, down to everyone going on about how much they love Danish drama all the time. It's like we've moved on; changed. Like, somehow, this US remake needs to fight for our love again. Doyouknowhatwemean?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Ooh I say... EastEnders' Dot Branning is going off for six months

News that Dot Branning actress June Brown is to take a six month break from EastEnders is good - not because we won't miss her flapping about or smoking fags and referring to passages from the Bible as a thought-provoking solution to other characters' woes, but because a six-month break from work is something that we'd all like. 

And if you're a long running character in EastEnders, it seems to be getting easier to take one, too, which may be an acknowledgement of how hard a job on a soap can be.

We don't know the details of June Brown's break - whether she'll be paid, if she'll have to live off her savings, or if she'll have to go and sign on down Walford job centre, but, according to a report in the Daily Mirror, the break is mainly so she can write her autobiography.

We want to believe that, but there's a sneaking suspicion that it sounds like the kind of reason we'd all give, ie really not very convincing.

And in reality you'd end up spending most of the time watching Homes Under the Hammer with your feet up.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Bridge: Episode 3 and 4 - A furrowed brow, a creepy atmosphere and some quite nice interiors

Dark and absorbingly complicated crime thriller The Bridge is continuing to draw us deeper into its dark and troubling murder investigation to find a serial killer trying to make some sort of point about the ills of society or something - but sometimes it's not quite clear what exactly is going on.

And while that's a characteristic of its genre blah blah blah - in a thriller we're not meant to know everything, and sometimes it's enough to just enjoy the thrill of the ride - the densely plotted and multi-stranded events take a fair bit of concentration to keep up with, and it's likely your brow will be furrowed by the end of each two-episode chunk.

That's not a problem of course, and in fact it's partly why we're all here: we all secretly feel a bit clever about enjoying subtitled Scandinavian drama, meaning we love it all the more.

But it's unusual, at least for tv-ooh, for the source of a weekend bedtime headache to come from challenging foreign drama rather than, say, a pitcher of mojito.