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May 12, 2009

Season finale: The Unit (season four)

Posted on May 12, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Unit finale

The Unit's a strangely schizophrenic show. On the one hand, it tries its level best to be realistic about the US special forces, its procedures, what it must be like to be married to a special forces soldier and so on. It's quite conservative - about the only conservative show on mainstream TV other than 24 and maybe 30 Rock (debate anyone?)  - yet will quite happily have a Latino president. It's also quite ruthless, with our heroes frequently making quite nasty decisions (yes, we will sell you, helpful lady, into prostitution) to get the job done.

But it's also depressingly escapist and silly at times, with this season's David Mamet cluster-f*ck of the Unit being forced to retrieve the spear that was used to stab Jesus, and being visited by the spirit of departed Unit member Hector.

I kid you not.

So was the finale of season four one of those times when silliness outweighed true grit?

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May 11, 2009

Season finale: Dollhouse

Posted on May 11, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

So I stuck with Dollhouse. I wasn't sure I'd have the energy after the first three episodes, but I stuck with it until the sixth, the promised game-changer, which did indeed change the game enough for me to want to stick with the show, just to see if it would get better.

Well, we're here at the end. We have seen the face of Alpha - and Omega. Was it worth it?

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May 7, 2009

Lost Gems: The Aphrodite Inheritance (1979)

Posted on May 7, 2009 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Aphrodite Inheritance

After Christianity became the dominant religion in the West, the Greek gods could have taken it easy and had a rest. Some suggest they did; others, however, tell a different story.

Modern US television suggests that right now, they're off running their own companies in Valentine, trying to matchmake mortals in Cupid, or both. Back in the 90s in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, they were either trying to make television shows while trying to rescue innocent mortals or sabotaging their relative's TV show so they could sit back and watch Millennium and Cop Rock in peace:

But if we go back to the late 70s, back when they were still in Greece (or Cyprus at least), they were busily helping to solve crimes - in their own inimitable way.

When David Collier arrives on Cyprus following the death of his brother, Barry, in what Collier believes was an accident, he meets the beautiful Helene and her mysterious companions, Basileos and Charalambous, who appear to know a great deal more about his brother's death than anyone is admitting. Slowly Collier is drawn deep into a complex conspiracy until neither he, nor the viewer, know who he can trust, particularly when it becomes apparent that someone is trying to kill him. The police, in the form of Inspector Dimas, don't believe a word Collier says, since every time he finds something, or someone, that could substantiate his story they inexplicably vanish.

When all is revealed and Barry's murder is solved, there's one last mystery: Collier discovers that rumours of the deaths of the gods Aphrodite (Alexandra Bastedo from The Champions), Pan (Stefan Gryff) and Dionysus (Brian Blessed in full Brian Blessed mode) have been greatly exaggerated.

It's not been repeated since UK Gold showed it a decade ago, it's never been released on DVD, although you can find it on YouTube (playlists later): it's The Aphrodite Inheritance and it's a Lost Gem. Here's the title sequence and for those who want to cut to the chase, the final ten minutes of the final episode in which the gods' game with the poor mortals is finally uncovered.

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