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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.


September 21, 2007

Review: Kitchen Nightmares 1x1

Posted on September 21, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

KitchenNightmaresUS.jpg

In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, Fox
In the UK: Not yet acquired, but you know E4 or More4 are going to poach it, sooner or later. Tee hee. Poach.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Sorry.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Sorry again. Couldn't help myself.

Remember Strike!, that episode of The Comic Strip Presents in which Hollywood decides to make a film of the 1980s miners strike and casts Al Pacino as Arthur Scargill and Meryl Streep as his wife?

Well, we haven't gone to quite the extent of recasting Gordon Ramsay here, but we have a US version of Channel 4's Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares – in which top chef and MAN WITH BOLLOCKS! YES! BOLLOCKS! NOW WHERE ARE YOURS? YOU HEARD ME! NOW GET THE F*CK OUT OF MY RESTAURANT!, Gordon Ramsay, goes to various failing eating establishments and tries to re-engineer them back into life – that does a similar sort of thing to what was quite a low-key sort of show in Britain.

From a new title sequence where Ramsay catches knives thrown at him accompanied by the theme from Pulp Fiction, through the emphasis on soap opera histrionics instead of business management all the way, to the make-over show style additions in which Gordon buys a new kitchen for the restaurant, it's all just so much more... American than the original series.

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September 20, 2007

Review: Back To You 1.1

Posted on September 20, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Back To You

In the US: Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox
In the UK: Channel 4 and E4 from January, probably on Fridays

Y'all remember Zeno's paradox right. Okay, not the actual one, but the one on Knight Rider. You know, the one about what happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object?

Here we would appear to have not one, not two, not three but four unstoppable forces/immovable objects. On the one hand, we have Kelsey Grammer, whose Frasier was a delight to all who watched it. Surely any sitcom he appears in must be comedy genius, almost guaranteed, particularly when one of the exec producers is Christopher Lloyd, who also exec produced Frasier?

But then we have Patricia Heaton from Everybody Loves Raymond. Ah. Not a terrible actress. Some might even say quite a good comedy actress. But exposure to that level of awfulness for so long might have made her radioactively bad – so much so that any sitcom she comes into contact with withers on the vine.

Then there's Fox. Name a good sitcom on Fox. You can't, can you? Because the only returning sitcom they have from last year's crop is Til Death, and I'm not touching that without a full biowar suit and 30 minutes' warning.

So what happens when Kelsey Grammer and Christopher Lloyd meet Patricia Heaton and Fox in a sitcom like Back To You? Comedy gold or comedy doom?

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September 20, 2007

Review: Millionaires' Mission

Posted on September 20, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Millionaires' Mission

In the UK: Wednesdays, 9pm, Channel 4

There's a sort of mini-trend going on at Channel 4. For years, it's been filling our airwaves with reality shows disguised as documentaries, in which various not especially nice people with overly developed senses of entitlement shout at each other a lot (cf Wife Swap, Big Brother, et al). Aware that that does nothing for its public service remit, eventually leads to Celebrity Big Brother and risks making Gordon Brown acutely aware of the word 'privatisation', the channel that likes to say 'Aaah! You slag!' has decided to reverse that with some documentaries disguised as reality shows.

For some reason, all these documentaries have the word 'millionaire' in their title. Last year, we had Secret Millionaire, in which various moneybags went undercover for a week or two in the poorer parts of Britain in an effort to locate needy types deserving of rewards and give them a great big wodge of cash - as well as find the place that would benefit the entire community most if it received a cash injection. There'll be a second series soon, although how they're going to keep it a secret this time, I don't know.

Now we have Millionaires' Mission, which is a somewhat brighter but also somewhat loopier idea. Rather than try to do the whole thing undercover and just put £10k into a local community centre or something, a group of eight millionaires will appear rather obviously in a community, live there for a while, then come up with ideas to kickstart the local economy that charity organisations might have missed. Let them help themselves, as one of the slogans almost goes. That's the smarter idea.

Trouble is, when you get eight bosses, none of whom know each other, and then you ship them off to Uganda for three weeks, it's never going to go smoothly, now is it?

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