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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 19, 2007

Review: Samantha Who? 1x1 (US: ABC)

Posted on October 19, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Samantha Who?

In the US: Mondays, 9.30/8.30c, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Christina Applegate's one of those actresses that people seem to love or hate. The haters generally remember her as the teenage daughter in Married With Children? The lovers are the ones who've seen her in something since - maybe as one of Rachel's sisters in Friends or in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

With such a divided audience, it seems a little strange to create a vehicle for her talents/'talents' (delete according to your attitude towards her). It seems stranger still when you consider the show's obvious creative ancestor: The Bourne Identity.

While Applegate doesn't exactly start kicking people in the head at a moment's notice or start speaking numerous foreign languages, her character Samantha Newly (ooh, a pun, just like Bourne/Born) does wake up one day with no recollection of who she is. As she slowly struggles to piece together her life, she finds out her former self wasn't exactly the nicest person in the world, and occasionally the old Sam's special skills in catty put-downs emerge from the recesses of her mind.

Sam not only has to find out who she was, she has to decide if she wants to be it again or start afresh. And to take out the Treadstone project.

Whoops. Didn't mean that last bit. Sorry.

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October 17, 2007

Third-episode verdict: Aliens in America

Posted on October 17, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Carusometer for Aliens in America1-Caruso-Free

For me, Aliens in America has been the surprise show of this year's Fall season. A programme about a Pakistani exchange student who comes to middle America and encounters prejudice and ignorance wherever he goes? Sounds… great, huh?

However, it's actually been the funniest new comedy of the season so far, and surprisingly touching as well. Much of the comedy stems from Raja's failure to understand the local townspeople's War on Terror-induced fear of him. But it's also his friendship with Justin, the host family's son, and the meaner rules of American High School culture that provide the laughs. Raja can't really get to grips with lying, holding back on declaring his love for his friend in case people think him gay and all the other lessons Justin's already learnt the hard way at High School.

Although we haven't quite re-attained the highs of the first episode, the second and third episodes have been almost as funny and often cut quite near the knuckle, with the third episode in particular raising a few eyebrows with its daring, post-9/11. While Raja is really a little too good to be true, achieving near-Angelic status in his attitudes and behaviour, he's still sufficiently complex to avoid becoming a simple liberal counter-stereotype.

If you fancy a laugh and don't mind watching a show that's mostly about teenagers, I heartily recommend Aliens in America.

The Medium is Not Enough scored a 1 or “Caruso free” rating on The Carusometer. A “Caruso free” rating corresponds to a show that David Caruso might accidentally get sent a script for. After failing to persuade the producers that his acting talents are more than capable of convincing people that he's a 16-year-old Pakistani student, he declares the show un-American and tries to have it banned. The notoriety only makes the show's ratings increase, something that happens even more when he tries to randomly search the cast for 'weapons-grade fertilizer' as they go home each evening.

October 17, 2007

Review: Heston Blumenthal - In Search of Perfection 2.1

Posted on October 17, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Heston Blumenthal

In the UK: Tuesdays, 8.30pm, BBC2

They say it's the journey rather than the arrival that's more important. It's certainly the case with Heston Blumenthal. The proprietor of “the best restaurant in the world”, The Fat Duck, with three Michelin stars to his name is on a quest for perfection in cooking. He mixes traditional cooking skills with science (you can read an interview with one of his natural science graduate-cooks, if you like) to create recipes that can be odd and yet delicious.

In Heston Blumenthal - In Search of Perfection, he decides to create the best versions possible of a dish - this week's was chicken tikka masala - then travels around the UK and other parts of the world to find the best versions that currently exist. Then he returns home to his labs to conduct experiments on how to improve the flavour even more, before an unveiling the eventual 'perfect recipe'.

Trouble is, the journey is far more interesting - and practical - than the arrival.

Continue reading "Review: Heston Blumenthal - In Search of Perfection 2.1"

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