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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.


June 20, 2008

Preview: True Blood

Posted on June 20, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

True Blood

In the US: HBO, some time in the Fall.

Vampire series, hey? Apparently, we can't get enough of them. Well, we can, otherwise Moonlight wouldn't have been cancelled.

But as soon as one dies, others swoop in on bats' wings to take their place: BBC3's got the partly vampiric Being Human on the way (YouTube trailer) – as soon as they can sort out cast scheduling issues – and HBO has True Blood due in the Fall.

What's up there? It's like they're proxies that enable repressive societies that won't allow proper sex on tele to explore desire and the id in a semi-fantastical, metaphorical and therefore safe way.

But it can't be that. Don't be silly.

Vampire shows largely fall into two categories: group one, by far the more popular, is when vampires are secret. They skulk in the shadows, occasionally popping up to say things like "I want to suck your blood." Then they suck your blood.

Group two, in which True Blood falls quite neatly, is when vampires aren't secret. They creep around in the exact same way rock stars don't, take on the language of oppressed minorities and promise to be good.

"Don't mind us," they say. "We're just vampires".

"Really?" the humans respond. "You don't want to suck our blood?"

"Oh, no," reply the vampires. "That's a terrible, terrible stereotype."

"Ah," the humans nod sagely. Then they pause. "Excuse us, but aren't you sucking our blood?"

"Oh yes. Sorry about that. We're vampires. We lie. Don't mind us…"

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June 19, 2008

Today's Joanna Page: Gideon's Daughter

Posted on June 19, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Joanna Page in Gideon's Daughter

Today's Joanna Page is Gideon's Daughter, a film Stephen Poliakoff made for the BBC in 2005/6. 

Despite the fact he somehow manages to assemble fantastic "to die for" casts for his projects and in many ways he's a very good writer, Poliakoff and I have never got along. To me – how shall I put this? – he's a bit too Islington.

Either he spends all his time writing about things that might be of major concern at dinner parties in that particular London Borough but aren't anywhere else. Or he's writing dire political tracts with sub-texts so obvious they're basically the text – which they'd need to be since the texts aren't actually about anything.

Close My Eyes was my first stab at getting into Poliakoff. Clive Owen and Saskia Reeves shag a lot. Only problem: they're brother and sister. See it's all a metaphor for how in the time of AIDS people might turn to a safe option, like a sibling. Erm, okay. So they shag a lot more, while Reeves' husband (Alan Rickman) ums and aahs, suspecting something's up. And then they stop because they realise it's a bad idea. And that's that.

It's all about nothing.

It's been downhill since then. He's done entire series and films that could and should have been précised down to one line: apparently the Victorians had more sex than we thought (Century, if I recall correctly); he did an entire series (whose name I can't remember but which was in The 50 Greatest TV Dramas) that was deliberately about nothing "to undermine convention"; and with Gideon's Daughter, we have the staggering revelation that PR and spin-doctoring is all about the surface when really it's substance that matters.

Close my eyes – and ears – Stephen.

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June 18, 2008

Review: The Middleman 1x1

Posted on June 18, 2008 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Middleman

In the US: Mondays, 8/7c, ABC Family

Danger, Will Robinson! The engines canna take it, Captain. There are simply too many pop culture references, Mrs Peel, and unless you fetch Skippy right now, Commissioner Gordon is going to be in serious trouble.

Welcome to The Middleman, a show that pelts you with a 1,001 ironic references per second without ever really knowing why or what it's even satirising. It's still funny, though.

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