Tag Archive | Life on Mars

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What did you watch this week? Including Perception, Under The Dome, World War Z and A Good Day To Die Hard

Posted on June 28, 2013 | comments | Bookmark and Share

It's "What did you watch this week?, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I've watched this week that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.

First, the usual recommendations:

And here's what I thought of them and others:

Graceland (USA)
Only just started last night's episode, so I'll let you know next week what I thought. Sorry.

Perception (TNT/Watch)
Last summer's slightly surprising combination of dull old procedural and interesting examination of psychology and mental health returns with a new character, the probable loss of at least one character, the surprising return of another character and the same old dull procedural. However, as well as the usual mind-bending issue with the show that you're never sure what's real and what's hallucination, we have a possible slight departure from format – this first episode was less concerned with investigation and more concerned with the philosophical question of whether someone who's had a brain injury and resulting personality change is still the same person they were before the injury. It's a question that other shows probably wouldn't touch with a barge pole but the show was all the better for it. Rachael Leigh Cook is still the least plausible FBI agent in TV history, though.

Under the Dome (CBS/Channel 5)
Based on a Stephen King novel, this mini-series sees a small town full of Diverse People With Issues And Secrets suddenly enveloped by a forcefield dome that blocks everything from sound and cars through to radio signals and electricity. Why's it happening, who's behind it, what's going to happen next and will everyone sort out their issues before their secrets are discovered? Probably.

Full of people who've never been the stars of things but you'll have seen being really good in loads of other shows – Rachelle Lefevre (Life on Mars, The Deep End, Twilight), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and Mike Vogel (Bates Motel, Pan Am) – as well as Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle, Life Unexpected), this is very odd flashback to the 80s, when Stephen King mini-series were all the rage. As back then, you'll spend all your time working out who's going to end up dead next and what precisely is going on. It's pretty much exactly what you'd think if you've seen any such mini-series before, with dodgy dialogue, stock characters but an intriguing central idea. It's also surprisingly gruesome at times.

With ratings of 12m, hopefully it'll boost the careers of at least Lefevre, who's needed a breakout role for ages and was unceremoniously dumped from the third Twilight movie in favour of the somewhat inferior Bryce Dallas Howard, and Norris, now that Breaking Bad is leaving us. I could do without the dodgy stalker bloke, though.

And in movies:

World War Z
Brad Pitt travels the world looking for a way to fight the zombie plague that's broken out. Taking in Korea and Israel, he eventually finds his solution is… Torchwood. Well, maybe. You'll get that joke if you ever watch the movie.

Not great, doesn't make huge sense, Mireille Enos (The Killing US) is largely wasted and as in movies such as Contagion, a plethora of stars turns up for five minutes only to disappear almost as quickly. But it's tense all the way through and has a few funny moments. Better than the average zombie movie, anyway.

A Good Way To Die Hard
Bruce Willis goes off to Russia when his wayward son shoots someone in a nightclub and is put on trial. However, all is not what it seems and soon Willis and Willis Jr are double-acting their way through numerous shoot-outs and car chases around Russia.

The best that can probably be said about this is that it's probably the second-best of the Die Hard movies, with at least some intelligence on display in places throughout the movie. But it shows nowhere near the level of human involvement and innovation of the original, and the constant CGI effects mean that nothing feels real enough to care about.

"What did you watch this week?" is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid - and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I've watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you've seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?

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Your handy guide to true religions on TV - Judaism and Christianity

Posted on May 10, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Castiel the Angel in Supernatural

This entry is one of a series of articles covering religions depicted on TV as being true. For full details and a list of the other religions covered, go to the introduction.

Judaism and Christianity
Christianity has been the dominate religion in most of the West, especially Europe, for hundreds of years. There are, of course, many denominations of Christianity, each with their own beliefs, and much of Western literature either includes Christian figures or embodies Christian values in some ways. It stemmed from Judaism and the two religions still share certain core beliefs and figures: God, angels and so on. However, Jesus is particular to Christianity, of course, while Mary and the saints are really only prominent in Catholicism and Orthodox religions. 

Mormonism, a (debatably) Christian denomination, almost gets its own show - Battlestar Galactica, which is based in part on the Book of Mormon - but that show doesn't prove Mormonism's truth or show Mormon teachings.

In terms of TV, God actually shows up surprisingly infrequently - or unsurprisingly, given he doesn't have a physical form in the Bible - although he appears in metaphor in shows such as Home Improvement. Jesus shows up occasionally, but far more common are the Devil and demons. 

As for shows that show the truth of Judaism and Jewish religious stories but that couldn't also be Christian stories, there aren't any that I can think of, beyond an episode of The X-Files featuring a golem that despite trying very hard, gets a whole bunch of stuff wrong.

Continue reading "Your handy guide to true religions on TV - Judaism and Christianity"

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The Russian Life on Mars finally sees the light of day as Dark Side of the Moon

Posted on May 9, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

They've been talking about it for years, but finally Russia's version of Life on Mars - Обратная Сторона Луны (aka Dark Side of the Moon, since Bowie was unknown but Pink Floyd was big in those days) - has emerged, with a modern day Russian policeman travelling back in time 30 years to work with a KGB officer and work out what he's doing there: is he mad, in a coma or back in time?

The big change, apart from it being set in Russia? The KGB lot very much played by the rules so it's the modern-day cop who's the fast-and-loose Gene Hunt to the KGB Sam Tyler. Here's a trailer (no subtitles, I'm afraid).

And if your Russian is good, you can watch the entire first episode (and others), too:

Further reading: BBC Worldwide

[via @stuartamdouglas]

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