It’s 2010 people. Who’s feeling optimistic about the coming year? I’m ‘meh’ about it at the moment. I spent the Christmas period doing some work, meeting some mates and catching up on loads of telly. So here’s a snapshot of what I did TV-wise:
How did I miss this the first time around on BBC Three and the second time around on BBC1? What was I watching instead? No matter – I’m up to date now. The critically acclaimed series chronicles the somewhat complicated lives of a vampire (played by Aidan Turner), a werewolf (Russell Tovey) and a ghost (Lenora Crichlow) living in modern-day Bristol.
Being Human is one of the best home-grown TV dramas it has been my pleasure to sit through in a long time – certainly one of the most inventive. Airing on BBC America, it has become a cult smash stateside and there are already plans for a US version (which I’m sure will be nowhere near as brilliant as the UK incarnation).
I am now up to US pace on hit American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, currently airing on E4 (or E-Friends, as I like to dub that channel). If you haven’t caught it yet, it’s about four brainy scientists with an understanding of the workings of the universe; the twist is, they’re klutzes at life on Earth. It’s a genial sitcom overflowing with geeky pop culture references ("Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock!"). After a relatively steady start, it is now a ratings monster in the US. And actor Jim Parsons’ Sheldon Cooper is rightly on his way to icon status.
I watched David Tennant’s Doctor Who bow out in what felt like an episode of Star Wars. Intentional or not, my mind kept flashing to that galaxy far, far, away. Seriously, was I the only person expecting to see C-3PO pop up in that intergalactic gay bar with Torchwood’s Captain Jack Harkness? Nice bit of continuity with Russell Tovey’s presence though.
But overall, The End Of Time was a tad too self-indulgent Mr Davies. That lonnnnnnnnnnng goodbye to friends and associates was almost as long as Tennant’s tenure as the Doctor. It’s ripe for spoofs too (I’ll have to check YouTube soon). A disappointing send-off overall. I’ll take the breathtaking Waters Of Mars over that ego-trip any day. Talk about emotional intensity! I sat stunned in my chair for a good couple of minutes as the credits for ‘Mars’ rolled.
I sat through an entire day of V on digital channel Christmas 24. Pretty daft considering that I’ve seen it soooo many times. But to a child of the 80s, V is like coke – put it in front of our noses and we just can’t resist. I’ll never forget how I felt watching the original five-part airing when it was stripped daily on ITV. Yeah, OK. It’s got a cheesy ending – but it was the 80s y’all! Cheese was in!
A message for V’s badass villain Diana, leader Juliet, slimy traitor Daniel Bernstein, hunky Mike Donovan, electrifying Ham Tyler and co: you’re still miles better than the new re-imagining due on the Sci-Fi channel soon.
I watched This Is Spinal Tap on digital channel Dave two nights in a row (that’s how blatant the repeat was) – and it still made me cry with laughter. "These go to eleven." "There was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf!" "The review for Shark Sandwich was merely a two word review which simply read ‘S**t Sandwich’." "Hello Cleveland! Hello Cleveland!" Not only a gut-buster, but the best British accents by American actors EVER.
I’ve seen them before but I watched them again. Digital channel G.O.L.D.’s superlative tributes to Blackadder and Fawlty Towers is indeed TV gold. Prunella Scales looks wonderful for her age. Conversely, lord knows what Connie Booth has done to her face (eeek!).
As for the Blackadder peeps – I continue to marvel at how well they’re doing: Hugh Laurie’s scooped tons of awards and made a fortune on American TV thanks to House; Stephen Fry is a national treasure who somehow finds the time to skip over to Hollywood for his recurring Bones role while filming various BBC endeavours; Rowan Atkinson is internationally famous (and super rich) thanks to Mr. Bean and Tony Robinson is the Johnny Ball of archeology. And the comedies that were celebrated? Truly the best of British in every single way.
Over to BBC2 for Not Again: Not the Nine O’Clock News. I remember this show from its first run but I must’ve been watching after Chris Langham got the boot. I didn’t realise he was part of the crew. The line-up that garnered all the acclaim comprised Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stephenson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. It was this group that reminisced about their experiences making the show. A classic episode of Not The Nine O’Clock News followed – talk about memories! It was fab reliving my extreme youth again.
Christmas invariably means watching the BBC so we did The Royle Family (at least it was better than last year’s instalment), Gavin & Stacey (happy endings all around – still very funny in places though) and Outnumbered (which did really well in the ratings despite its awful timeslot). Good old Aunty!
I watched all the list-based TV programmes. Channel 4’s Greatest TV Shows of the Noughties caused some arguments in my house, I don’t mind telling you. No way is Top Gear better than The Wire! No way! Greatest Song of the Noughties went to Snow Patrol. I don’t agree, but that’s the point…
It’s A Wonderful Life appears to have disappeared from British telly; it hasn’t been on for years. I’m not sure if there’s some kind of rights issue but Christmas really isn’t Christmas without this movie. I had to buy the DVD – that’s how desperate I was to see it.
My TV resolution this year is to continue to search for the complete Shine On Harvey Moon – a truly wonderful comedy/drama broadcast on ITV in the early 1980s. It was set just after World War II and concentrated on the lives and loves of an East End family. The cast included Kenneth Cranham, Maggie Steed, Linda Robson, the late Elizabeth Spriggs, Lee Whitlock, Nigel Planer, Leonard Fenton (EastEnders’ Doctor Legg) and Pauline Quirke. From the pens of Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (The New Statesman, Birds Of A Feather) – it’s a bona fide gem.
Today I am mostly hatin’ – It’s a pet peeve of mine: primetime shows in daytime slots that are subsequently cut to shreds. It’s beyond annoying.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – Being Human returns on Sunday. Yippee!