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Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


October 6, 2009

Review: Stargate Universe 1x1-1x2

Posted on October 6, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Stargate Universe cast

In the US: Fridays, 9pm, SyFy
In the UK: Tuesdays, 9pm, Sky 1/Sky 1 HD. Starts tonight!

It's odd how genres change. Look at science fiction. For over 10 years, Stargate SG-1 was it as far as sci-fi was concerned, having in turn inherited its mantle and style from Star Trek: The Next Generation: amiable wisecracking soldiers with no personal lives turn up on planets full of primitive people, have fights with bad aliens in silly costumes then kill them all. Everything's right in the world again. Nothing truly bad happens. The end.

Then Battlestar Galactica came along. Suddenly, all that went out the window, in favour of grittiness, misery, handheld cameras and terrible things happening to everyone. And Stargate started to look silly - well, sillier. Stargate Atlantis suffered even more from that and as a result, only made it to half the run of Stargate SG-1, despite its best efforts.

Now we have Stargate Universe, which while pretty impressive in a lot of ways, is kind of like 'Battlestar Galactica lite' - it's BSG but with half the depth. While it's light years ahead of Stargate in tone, it's still not quite the show it wants to be. But you never know.

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October 2, 2009

Review: The Middle 1x1

Posted on October 2, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Middle

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30c/7.30c, ABC

Huh. The Middle. Is there a Malcolm in out there somewhere?

Actually, hold it right there. I was going to go into a big long comparison between this and Malcolm and the Middle, but then I realised this starred Patricia Heaton from Everybody Loves Raymond and Back To You, not Jane Kaczmarek from Malcolm in the Middle. So it all fell apart.

Putting that slight issue to one side, there are some obvious comparisons. We have a slight loser mom married to a regular type, loser dad (Neil Flynn from Scrubs). They have three kids. The youngest kid is a bit strange and looks very much like the youngest kid in Malcolm in the Middle. It's all about the chaos of family life…

You see? It would have worked so much better with Jane Kaczmarek. Why isn't she in this to make my life easier?

Actually, The Middle (a reference to Indiana, middle America and the middle class not child) is not quite the same as Malcolm in the Middle, even if the tone is the same. Here the focus is very much on the far more regular parents, doing their level best not to cock up in rearing their children - and the rest of their lives - and failing hopelessly, just as their children are.

How much you enjoy this will therefore depend on whether you have kids - and whether you feel like you're failing in life.

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October 2, 2009

Review: Hank 1x1 (US: ABC)

Posted on October 2, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Hank 1x1

In the US: Wednesdays, 8/7c, ABC

There are plenty of reasons to sorry for Kelsey Grammer. Let's confine ourselves to the TV ones, though.

He's been in two of the most popular and best sitcoms in history: Cheers and Frasier. So, everything since has been something of a comedown.

He's been involved in some truly awful drek since, including Back To You. You've got to feel sorry for him for that.

And whatever he's been in, he's played a character you're not exactly supposed to love. In fact, he always plays some pompous twat who has to experience major humiliation with almost every episode.

Now we have Hank, in which Grammer becomes a human piñata for America's viewing pleasure: a former CEO ousted from his company and forced to downsize in the country. He gets a crap house, a family bitter with him for never being there, and an everyman brother-in-law who takes great pleasure in seeing the misery that Hank now has to endure.

And it's rubbish.

Poor old Kelsey.

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