Archive | Featured articles

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


October 2, 2008

Review: The Border 2x1

Posted on October 2, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Border

In Canada: Mondays, 9pm, CBC

Not so long ago, there was a writers' strike in the US. Faced with the unthinkable prospect of watching British television, I decided to have a look at some of the programmes available from other countries - in particular, Canada. CBC's The Border was one such programme and to my incredible surprise, it turned out not just to be a good programme "by Canadian standards"* but a good programme, full stop.

Seemingly intended not just to demonstrate that Canadians easily have what it takes to make good TV but to show that they're not all the liberals stereotypes would have us believe, The Border is a cross between Spooks and 24, right down to the shaky cam, with Canada's heroic Immigration and Customs Service (ICS) defending the country against all kinds of threats - all of which seem to be American or Muslim.

Although by no means the best action-thriller series ever made, it was reasonably clever, albeit a touch low budget, and didn't dumb itself down like Flashpoint did to attract an international audience. The inter-departmental conflict with Canada's CSIS - the country's equivalent of MI6 and the CIA - was interesting, even if it was cast in strictly black and white terms, with CSIS boss John Bennett (Forever Knight) almost twirling a moustache during every appearance. And the usual conclusions to stories were a touch, ahem, Canadian, with the villains either misunderstood or American.

But now it's back after just six month's absence - it was that popular - and changes are afoot.

Continue reading "Review: The Border 2x1"

Read other posts about: ,

October 2, 2008

Review: Chuck 2x1

Posted on October 2, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Chuck

In the US: Mondays, 8/7c, NBC
In the UK: Probably Virgin One again

Chuck was a show that had a lot of initial promise that it never quite managed to live up to. Chuck (Zachery Levi), a tech support guy for a consumer goods superstore, accidentally gets all the CIA's and NSA's intelligence data dumped into his brain and so gets thrown into the deep end of spy work. Assigned to protect him are the NSA's John Casey (DanielAdam Baldwin), a Reagan-loving, gun-worshipping hard man; and the CIA's Sarah Walker (Yvonne Stahovski), an aggressive-passive high-kicker whom Chuck would quite like to date (and vice versa) and not just for their cover story, if only it weren't for the rules of the job.

Anyway, despite the fun premise of spies working undercover down at the local shops among all the IT slackers and fast food flippers, the show never really grabbed me. It was always close to being very good, but never quite made it. There wasn't a whole lot of chemistry between Levi and Stahovski, both of whose characters are quite dull, despite all plot indications to the contrary, and I gave up after three episodes - only for my wife to start loving it on Virgin 1 and so I ended up watching the rest anyway.

So with a good few months to think about the show and how to fix it, have the producers managed to tinker enough with the format to make it more appealing?

Continue reading "Review: Chuck 2x1"

Read other posts about:

October 2, 2008

Review: Life 2x1

Posted on October 2, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Life

In the US: Mondays and Fridays, 10/9c, NBC. Moving to just Fridays from the 3rd.
In the UK: Still not yet acquired, unless Hallmark hasn't told me something

There are so many cop shows out there that each needs its own gimmick to differentiate itself from the other. The traditional way of doing this is with the lead cop - Columbo, the down-at-heel, working class detective; Ironside, the detective in a wheelchair; Raines, the detective who imagines he can see dead people; and so on.

Life is no different, although it's always had a confusing focus. On the one hand, Damian Lewis's Charlie Crews could be 'the Buddhist detective', following some intensive reading of Zen books on enlightenment.

"Have you ever shot anyone?" a kid asks him on the subway when he sees Crews' gun.

"Why would I do that? Violence against another is violence against everyone. Violence against everyone is violence against the self," replies Crews.

But Crews was framed for a murder he didn't commit and spent over a decade in jail. He's picked up some odd skills and tendencies inside; he's missed out on the Internet and other modern inventions; he's also a multi-millionaire and a cop again after the lawsuit for wrongful imprisonment was settled. And now he's out, he wants to find out who framed him then punish them.

"Yes, I have. And they all had it coming," Crews further explains to the kid.

The 'Buddhist, ex-con, multi-millionaire, out-of-time detective"? That's not easy to get a handle on.

With that schizoid attitude, Life has always had a tricky time working out what to do with its life. Should it focus on the cases that Crews solves with his Buddhist insights? Should it focus on Crews or build up the supporting cast of not quite so interesting regular-type people? Should it stick with the general story arc of who framed Crews?

Lots of questions - has it worked out its happy place in the second season, and what is the sound of one hand pressing the buttons on a Nielsen box?

Continue reading "Review: Life 2x1"

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400  

Featured Articles

Twin Peaks

Lynch at his best in years