Bond is back

Well, after all the mickey taking I did of Daniel Craig, there’s finally some signs of non-awfulness emerging from the depths of Casino Royale. Here’s the English trailer for it. It’s not the full reboot I was expecting, given there’s at least a couple of stupid OTT scenes in there, but it still has some potential, by the looks of it. And I actually think Daniel Craig is quite a passable Bond by the looks of it.

Buckley’s Crime Show Hypothesis needs a new name

On Saturday, I suggested that the producers of US crime shows don’t watch any of the other shows. I’ve now decided to expand the hypothesis to include other genres, thus necessity a name change for the hypothesis, which will now be called “Buckley’s ‘All producers live in Islington’ hypothesis” (so-called because only people in Islington say things like “Of course, we don’t actually watch television. In fact, we don’t even own a television set. Ha, ha, ha!”).

I’m prompted to do this hypothesis-expansion because of Monday’s episode of Prison Break. During the last five minutes of the show, there was an extended montage overlaid with an instrumental version of Massive Attack’s Teardrop. “So what?” you ask yourselves. Well, the thing is Prison Break airs on the Fox network in the US, as does House MD, everyone’s favourite tale of grumpy doctors. And as I’ve droned on about ad nauseum, the theme tune to House in the US isn’t the same as it is in the UK (the UK’s theme is apparently called “Buddha Grass Soul(kpm 548)” and was composed for the show especially, because of licensing issues). The US theme to House is in fact Massive Attack’s Teardrop. Two Fox shows in more or less the same time slot, both using the same piece of music.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have mentioned this to avoid being too anal about it. But Variety picked up on it, too. When quizzed though, Fox replied, “The music supervisor for Prison Break didn’t know it was the theme song for House.” But as Variety’s Josef Adalian points out, surely one of the producers of Prison Break will have watched House at some point.

Except if my hypothesis is right, of course… Still, I feel I need more evidence before I can bump my hypothesis up to the status of theory. And ‘Law’ is going to be a long time coming, I suspect.


He saved Doctor Who. Can he save The Prisoner?

The PrisonerChristopher Eccleston – remember him? – is being hotly tipped to take the lead in Sky One’s remake of The Prisoner. Every few years, there are rumours that the classic 60s series about a spy abducted and imprisoned in a ‘village’ will get remade. Mel Gibson was going to make a movie of it for a while; Granada was hinting at it last year, but dropped it. But this appears to be officially official – another interesting move by Sky’s new director of programmes, Richard Woolfe, who’s actually going to get Granada to make it for him.

I think Eccleston would be a good choice for the role. He may have been miscast as the Doctor, but Eccleston suits the role of “Number 6” perfectly. As played in the original series by Patrick McGoohan, 6 was a shouting, angry man, constantly on the prowl, sarcastic, untrusting, always getting into fights. Eccleston can do all of those things and do them well. Given Eccleston is now persona non grata at the Beeb and many other networks are wary of working with him in case he buggers off after five minutes, a major role in an iconic series would rehabilitate him no end and might help him shed the image of the Doctor.


Ultimate Force: Oh God. We’re rubbish

I’ve been watching The Unit for a while now. It, of course, is based on – but for legal reasons, isn’t actually about – the US’s Delta Force special forces unit. It’s a hard, manly series exec produced by David Mamet. After a cracking pilot episode written by Mamet, the series dipped a bit, but is right back on target (did you see what I did there?), thanks in particular to some nifty scripts by Lynn Mamet, David Mamet’s sister. It’s not fantastically realistic, but it’s still pretty enjoyable.

But on Saturday evening, Ultimate Force returned to our screens for its fourth season. Ultimate Force stars Ross Kemp as the leader of an SAS unit and it’s supposed to be hard and manly as well. So I tuned in to compare and contrast our depiction of our most daring crack troops with the US’s depiction of theirs.

Oh sweet merciful Jesus. We are rubbish. We are the laughing stock of the world.

I haven’t really watched ITV in a long time. Every time I have, it’s been like playing a Lottery scratchcard: most of the time, it’s a complete waste of time and money and a bitter disappointment. Occasionally, you might win a quid, but that’s the best you’ll ever do. And with respected writer Jimmy McGovern (Cracker) arguing that primetime ITV drama is rubbish, I wasn’t going to change my mind on that very soon. Nevertheless, duty called so I watched Ultimate Force.

I don’t think mere words can really convey just how bad it was. As Sam whotsit on The Guardian said on Monday, it’s impossible to watch without a massive smirk on your face the whole way through, it’s just so bad. So to convey our true awfulness when we actually try to compete with the US, I thought I would go for a photoroman approach, in the style of La Jetée (which I actually fell asleep during, so I can’t be sure this is very much like it).

This is Dennis Haysbert, the star of The Unit

Dennis Haysbert in The Unit

As I’m sure you’ll agree, a hard, manly man. Or at least convincing as a hard, manly man.

This is Ross Kemp

Ross Kemp in his pants

To quote the lovely Marie, “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA” .

Or if you prefer, “hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha”

Now let’s look at The Unit‘s attempts to do abroad. I’ve already commented on this once but they’re getting better:

Rio de Janeiro

You could kind of believe that was a favella in the background, couldn’t you? Now let’s look at Ultimate Force‘s stab at ‘abroad’:

Ultimate Force's laughable attempt to do abroad

It’s a caravan site in the New Forest! They couldn’t even be bothered to use a real country! They’ve made one up. Dear God, we’re rubbish.

It’s just depressing. Any country insane enough to buy Ultimate Force is going to think Ross Kemp is the best action hero we’ve got! The Germans have more action-packed police shows than this: they have Der Puma – Kämpfer mit Herz and got Donnie Yen to direct the action sequences. We have Ross Kemp in his pants.

It’s disheartening to say the least.