Posts Tagged ‘ #telosvision ’

#telosvision: the killing

so, dear friends, tonight is the night that we finally learn who killed Nanna Birk Larsen. or we better had do, unless my TV wants to be smashed.

yes, it’s the season one finale of the gripping Danish crime drama The Killing, or Forbrydelsen in its native tongue. can it be only ten weeks ago that we first met strong-headed, ambitious Troels Hartmann, grieving but shifty-eyed Theis and Pernille Birk Larsen, and keen minded, self-destructive, Faroe-Islands-snowflake-jumper-wearing sex symbol super-sleuth Sarah Lund? yes, it can, precisely that.

The Dr has been convinced since early on that Birk Larsen employee and surrogate family member Vagn (who she calls ‘Vadgen’ to annoy me) is the most suspicious of the characters. we also distrust Hartmann’s sultry assistant and on-off lover Rie, Theis (who The Dr thinks isn’t Nanna’s real father) and Chief Inspector Brix (who I call Hans Brix, in a Kim Jong-Il from Team America way and who we both suspect of killing Meyer).

who will emerge as a villain, and who (if anyone) will be exonerated? why and how did the killer do it? how will the delicate balance of the familial, the forensic and the political lie once the facts have all been unearthed?

will Lund, Hartmann and the Birk Larsens ever be able to put their lives back together? will Copenhagen be able to trust either their Mayor or his main opponent? will Lund ever get a different jumper? all we can do is tune in to BBC2 at 9:00 tonight and wait to experience the revelations.


#tirednewsflash: midsomer whites dream

the makers of ITVone’s suddenly controversial, but not in an exciting way, crime ‘drama’ Midsomer Murders have hit back at their critics by meating their challenge heads-on.

following a recent interview with the new look RadioTimez in which producer True Brian-May ill-advisedly let slip about the show’s theirtoofour secret “white’s only” casting policy, there has been increasing heat on the programme’s production team and the commissioning executives at ITV to reverse the shame-and-white faced practice.

initially, there appeared to be an initial disinclination to sway in time with the music of popular opinion – exemplified by the bruskly toned and somewhat confused interview Midsomer’s lighting engineer, D’shawn-Leroy Freeman, gave to the TLS yesterday. “if we”, he argued, “wanted browns, moslems or ladygays in it, we would have them, but we just don’t”.

in the early hours of this morning, however, an announcement was made that has rocked the world of dull detective drama to its very soul. in a statement issued (quite deliberately) at 4:44am, series chief Inspector Eamon Cleverly revealed that:

In the interests of a more progressive casting policy, a better future for all children and in immediate and total reversal of our former policy, we have decided that in the episode currently under production – which will air in seventy nine days – the murder (a gritty street stabbing) and the series of brutal muggings and drug-related burglaries that lead up thereto, will be committed by a hooded, but undeniably black, character.

We hope that this move will once and for all end the rumours that Midsomer Murders or its production staff harbours racist prejudices or upholds any racial stereotypes.

In a skilfully crafted piece of plot development, of which we are very proud, a young man, who goes only by the name ‘Blap’, will arrive in Midsomer from one of Britain’s larger urban settlements in order to visit his aunt, Glenys Blap – a Midsomer resident since series 4. It is our hope and belief that this momentous episode will be one of the most dramatic and baffling yet.

while we admit that we have been, in the past, a little reluctant to bring the realities of modern Britain’s ethnic regions to our sleepy corner or middle-bit of the country, now that we’ve forged a new identity, we are very excited about the new possibilities that now lie ahead for the programme.

in addition to this dramatic and revolutionary token, ITV bosses have announced that a new honorary production assistant will be joining the Midsomer team, who despite not being black/moslem herself, is a girl and has apparently watched Bend It Like Beckham twice and most of The Wire.

#telosvision: friday night dinner

Friday Night Dinner has put the proverbial cat among the pigeons of my knowing what to think about things.

as the experts – Bill Oddie, Chwis Packham, Leona Lewis, Jonathan Dimbledor etc. – will tell you, unlike their real counterparts, proverbial cats are no match for pigeons, and, soon after being put among them, die from an excess of peck wounds.

the problem is that it is a new Channel 4th sitcom (or ‘sit-down comedy’, for long) written by Robert Popper and starring, among others, Mark Heap and Simon Bird. now, while that might not sound like a problem, but merely a description, it is a problem for reasons that are as follows:

Robert Popper and Mark Heap are in my eyes like some kinds of geniuses.

Popper ran Channel 4’s Comedy Lab, was, along with Peter Serafinowicz, responsible for Look Around You – one of my favourite ever comedy series – and has also produced, edited and written for hilarious things like Peep Show, South Park, The IT Crowd, Spaced and Black Books.

Mark Heap is one of my favourite comedy actors, who brought life to brilliant characters in Spaced, Green Wing, Skins and The Great Outdoors, as well as doing top-notch sketch and bit-part work in (the amazing) Big Train, Look Around You, Brass Eye, Jam and Miranda. weirdly, he was also in Lark Rise To Candleford.

still, though, you might be thinking, there doesn’t yet seem to be any sign of that problem that you clearly mentioned earlier. well, the problem is Simon Bird.

i can’t nobbing stand Simon Bird. i think it’s mainly his stupid, grinning face. but it’s also his ridiculous affected posh-nerd voice and his utterly annoying wanna-be clichéd-geek shtick. he’s really annoyed me in every role i’ve seen him in and also in the several interviews/appearances as himself that i’ve caught. in particular (as i’ve mentioned here before), and (disappointingly) to many people’s apparent surprise/disgust, i HATE The Inbetweeners. i hate it, i hate it. i know most of you disagree, but i think that (despite having some top people involved) it’s really poor.

the uncomplicated conceit of FND involves two twenty-something Jewish sons (straight away it’s a step in the right direction to see Bird’s playing someone who isn’t supposed to be 16) who go back to their parents’ house each Friday for tea. presumably to comic effect. like a Jewish cross between Butterflies and Open All Hours, without the shop or butterflies, and more Friday based.

so, there we go – Friday Night Dinner: will it be brilliant, or will it be too Birdish to bear? well, i’ll be watching with badger-bated breath, expectant, but also plagued by the knowledge that, at any minute, he might make me have a stroke out of annoyance.

> Friday Night Dinner starts Friday 25th Feb at 10pm on Channel 4

#telosvision: 2011 in telly

right >

it’s more than high time we all had a little look together at what kind of telly-based treats will be coming our way this year.

remember, sensible TV fiends always live by the motto of both the scouting movement and, somewhat less congruously, Aston Villa FC – Be Prepared.

as such, here is a little run-down of some things that are already on our screens/internet catchup facilities, and some others than are worth planning ahead to catch later on:

☆ now and next

>Penn & Teller: Fool Us [ITV Player (first broadcast 07/01/11)]
we start with the ghost of Christmas past as celebrity atheists Penn & Teller – the fat one and the silent one from gruesome magicland – held a competition which they kept saying wasn’t a competition to see if anyone could fool them with a magic trick. whoever could fool them, would get to go to Vegas and open P&T’s show at the Rio – but that wasn’t a prize, ‘cos it’s wasn’t a competition. anyway, when i watched it, i assumed it was a new series, but in fact it was a one-off, which, actually, on reflection, makes it quite a lot worse. however, it’s worth a look on ITV Player, even if it’s just to see how well a man with a wandering (neigh, intrepidly exploring) eye can shuffle-about some cards.

>10 O’Clock Live [Thursdays, Channel 4, 10pm]
this has been getting me excited for quite a while now, so much so that i erroneously announced to my tweeps that it started last Thursday. in fact, it starts tonight. incase you’ve not read about it or seen the adverts, it’s got Charlie Brooker, David Mitchell, Lauren Laverne and Jimmy Carr and is going to consist of live satirical reflection on the news.

it’s an interesting proposition in many respects. usually satire enjoys the liberty of prerecorded polish and deliberately shies away from confrontation with its targets, preferring to sling funny mud from a distance. herein, however, the 10 O’Clock team are not only going for a live performance, but are also planning interviews with politicians and the like. it sort of sounds like a comic relief night version of The Day Today. if it works, it could be brilliant. if it doesn’t, well, it’ll still have the lovely Lauren Laverne on it, so i’ll keep watching.

>The Brain: A Secret History [Thursdays, BBC4, 9pm]
staying with tonight, i’ve been rather enjoying Michael Moseley mumbling his way through the history of experimental psychology, the third part of which goes out at 9. while he’s been knocking about for a while, all of a sudden Moseley seems to have become the BBC’s top go-to-guy for biological science, which makes sense given that he’s a doctor turned presenter. this series, however, has been a significant cut above other stuff i’ve seen him do, perhaps because it touches on some really meaningful issues for him – apparently it was the nature of psychiatric practice that made him turn his back on medicine.

>The Killing [Saturdays, BBC4, 9pm]
no, not Kubrick’s classic film, but a police drama that’s taken a few years to work its way from Denmark around to the rest of the world and has been garnering all sorts of compliments on the way, even comparisons to The Wire. the Americans have remade it (of course) so that their people won’t have to sit through images of places outside of America, or get to grips with reading, but for those of us on this side of the pond, this is our chance to see the proper thing. it’s twenty episodes (two ten episode seasons) and they’re showing them on Saturday nights in double bills – no doubt with several repeats in between. i’ve been told by friends in the know to get very excited and not to dare miss it.

>The Justice Season [starts Sunday, 9pm, BBC4]
BBC4 has a season of programmes examining notions of justice in the modern world which seem as though they might be quite interesting. the season begins with a debate about the role and nature of fairness, liberty and rights.

>How TV Ruined Your Life [Tuesdays, BBC2, 10pm]
as of this coming Tuesday, the above mentioned moan-faced whingebag, Brooker returns to BBC2 following his Channel 4 exile with a 6 part series about how the conceptions of the world we find in film and TV are so wildly different to the drab reality of actual existence. given that it’s Brooker, it’ll probably be worth watching, but i can’t help feel that, conceptually, it seems like the weakest of all his vehicles so far.

the segment ‘If Pens Got Hot’ from the first episode – focussing on fear – bodes fairly well, with a nice line or two from the actor Kevin Eldon, but it does seem high-maintenance. also, if, in the in-between bits, he’s persisted with the same ‘my fake shitty flat’ set and has regular annoying contributions from Barry Shitpeas, i might not be able to stand it. if we must have talking heads – then more Stanhope, less Dent and no Shitpeas, please.

☆ for your diary

>Twenty Twelve [TBA, BBC4]
we were promised this six-part mockumentary about the London Olympics as part of BBC4’s autumn/winter schedule, but as far as i can see, no start date has yet emerged. given that it’s from John Morton, the writer and director of People Like Us and stars, among others, Jessica Hynes, Olivia Colman and Hugh Bonneville, i’m very keen to check it out. whatever happens, it certainly can’t be worse than BBC2’s witless Episodes with the off-form Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Grieg and Matt ‘I’m Not Actually A-List So It Doesn’t Make Sense’ LeBlanc.

>Archer (Season 2) [starts 27th Jan, FX]
dry your eyes fans of funny, all is not lost, laughs are on their way. as long-standing readers will know, here at RQT we loved Adam Reed’s ironic, post-feminist spy cartoon from the first time we clamped eyes on it. while it airs on FX in the U.S., last year’s first season was quite quickly picked up over here by Five. whether or not they plan to show season 2, i do not know, but if not, then those of you who are sensible enough to have a U.S. based VPN will be able to watch it on Hulu like me. in order to whet your appetites, i created a little video made up of all the short promo clips they’ve released – enjoy.


>The Bible’s Buried Secrets [TBA, BBC2]
another series that is definitely due late winter/early spring (March?) sees real-life’s answer to Lara Croft, and my former PhD supervisor, Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou drawing on her textual and archeological expertise to unveil some controversial truths about the Bible. undeterred by having been slagged-off by Ann Widdecombe for pointing out the rather trivial fact that it’s unlikely that Moses ever existed, on last year’s The Bible: A History, this year Dr Stavrakopoulou is back to reveal that King David is probably a fictive character too, that the God of Israel once had a wife, and several other juicy tidbits of biblical scholarship. incidentally, you might also want to watch out for her near-accidentally making one of the most important ancient near eastern archeological discoveries of modern times.

>Mildred Pierce
[starts 27th March, HBO]
Kate Winslet heads up a quality cast for what looks set to be one of the best mini-series of the last few years. this adaptation of Cain’s classic novel, set as it is during the Great Depression, seems a timely, if somewhat clichéd choice. however, given how much raving and praise has followed the series about since it was commissioned, i for one am not only expecting the political overtones to be sensitively handled, but also the performances to be something rather special. Mildred could well end up being this year’s Boardwalk Empire.

>Game of Thrones [starts 17th April, HBO]
another heavily anticipated series from the-almost-always-makes-brilliant-shows network HBO, GoT is based on some books i’ve not read by fantasy George R. R. Martin, who i’ve not heard of. apparently, however, it’s a dark, medieval-esque fantasy saga starring a majority British cast including Sean Bean, Mark Addy and Michelle Fairley. i’m not sure what to expect, but i’m hoping for something perhaps a bit like the brilliant BBC Gormenghast adaptation from yesteryear which starred Jonathan Rhys Meyes and Christopher Lee. we’ll see.

☆ a word about Sky Atlantic

for those of you who never put any hard yards searching for ways to watch all the great U.S. TV that doesn’t get shown over here, and who already have a Sky subscription, then Sky Atlantic is good news. it’s a new channel which launches on the 1st February and promises to bring you the best of American TV (so basically HBO plus a few extras).

soon enough, without doing anything, you’ll be getting treats like Boardwalk Empire (Martin Scorsese’s slow-burning, twenties gangster series, which was one of my favourites from last year), Treme (the utterly brilliant show from the makers of The Wire, all about post-Katrina New Orleans and how through all its loss, it kept its soul, just) and (at some point) season 5 of Mad Men (which y’all know all about – or should).

for those of us who don’t like to give Mr Murdoch any money, i imagine it will still turn out well, as i imagine webstreams on Veetle, Justin TV or via sopcast will be easy to find.

and finally …
☆ three things to remember to look out for in the summer

>How To Make It In America (Season 2)
>Entourage (Season 8)
>Louis (Season 2)

#showertune: ‘ophis le serpentaire’ by vincent geminiani

remember nostalgia?

boring, wasn’t it (like this overlong post)

given that i’ve come to the end of the project that had been keeping me from reflecting too much on the future, how old i was getting, or the fact that life was steadily moving on and becoming serious without me being ready, at the moment i’m coping with the terror of these realisations by means of romantic remembering.

as i’m sure you all know, nostalgia literally means home sickness [from the greek νόστος (homecoming) and ἂλγος (pain)], and was originally coined in the 17th century to describe what was thought to be a serious medical condition. the condition was also referred to as mal du pais or mal du Swisse, due to its apparent prevalence among Swiss mercenaries who (emotionally and physically) pined for their Alpine homes whilst fighting on the various lowlands of what are now Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

isn’t it interesting that as well as the fact that homesickness is no longer thought of as either serious or ‘medical’ (except perhaps in extreme cases, where it probably be counted as a symptom of wider mental illness), nostalgia has come to mean a wistful remembrance of/longing for the past? what was about place, has become about time.

despite the fact that my studies and understanding of history have (i hope) been usefully guided by the notion expressed in the famous opening line of The Go-Between by
L. P. Hartley – “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there” – and that both ancient experience and modern physics point to intimate connections between time and space, i think something valuable might have been lost in the transition expressed by the shift in the colloquial meaning of nostalgia.

however globalised the world becomes, however easy travel and communication become, i don’t think, as humans, we can have story without also locatedness. as such, i feel it is not only necessary to talk about how great all the 60s/70s TV programmes that i used to love as a kid were (for it is these that have recently exercised my nostalgic juices), but also to speak about Edie and her house.

Edie was my next door neighbour growing up. She was a short, brash, thick-black-frame-spectacled, late-sexegenarian cockney, ensconced in our small, remote corner of West Cornwall. given her passion for London, she should have been more out of place, but she embraced the difference like a fish not only out of water, but sunbathing.

the porch that had been added onto the front of Edie’s otherwise-identical-to-ours house was filled with Mills and Boon books, piled high flat on their sides. she called everyone ‘babe’. before I was deemed old enough to have a house key, when my mum was at work, i used to go round to Edie’s after school. we didn’t talk that much, but when we did, i practiced charming her in the way i liked to do with adults.

her lounge was dominated by a thick, white-tassled rug which carried on its back a gilt-legged, glass-topped table with a scalloped edge. she sat in a high-backed green armchair, positioned so that it shielded the wooden TV cabinet from the afternoon sun. i sat to her left on the rug and placed my orange squash on the table, matching the fluting around the bottom of its glass tumbler to the curves that ran the table round. always.

we used to watch Countdown and 15 to 1 together, and then she’d put on children’s programmes for me and retire to the kitchen table to drink tea and smoke. despite the fact that it killed her Tom, smoking was Edie’s favourite hobby. that and cards. and erotic novels. sometimes we’d play cards – she taught me stud and draw poker, brag, cribbage, rummy, whist and even bridge and newmarket. some of the games we played properly, some of them she just explained to me because you can’t play them with two.

mum would usually get back mid-Blue Peter, but on some days she’d be late. at home, the once firm no-TV-during-meals rule had been relaxed in about 1990. the downside was that mum insisted on always watching Neighbours, then The Six O’Clock News, then Spotlight (shonky local news). as such, i liked the days when she was late – Edie didn’t care for the news and let me watch Thunderbirds while she smoked.

very occasionally mum would call Edie to say she was going to be unusually late, and ask whether she could make my tea. it was during one such occasion that it was suggested that at 6:30 we watch The Man From U.N.C.L.E. on BBC 2. i didn’t know what it was and had never ventured to watch it at home, but was immediately transfixed. Edie told me that she’d watched it when she first got a TV in the 60s, and that she liked the dark-haired one (Napoleon Solo played by Robert Vaughan). Edie was never really one for too many details – surprising, given the books she read.

once i’d been given reason, and courage, to watch one old programme that i didn’t know, i started to watch more, and it turned out that there was lots of 60s/70s TV that i loved: Mission Impossible, The Avengers, Ironside, The Prisoner, The Saint, Hawaii 5-0The Invisible Man, Batman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the list goes on and on. soon enough, i was videoing these programmes and watching them the next day instead of the kid’s crap.

when i was 11, my mum gave me a key so that i could let myself in when i got home from big school. i was pleased for the flexibility – i could get out of my uniform straight away for one thing – but i missed going round to Edie’s. sometimes i’d go anyway. that was fine with her.

one of the things i now realise about the TV programmes that i discovered because of Edie was that almost all of them contained the kind of music that i now love: Lalo Schiffrin, Quincy Jones, Morton Stevens, Jerry Goldsmith, Walter Scharf, Henry Mancini, Alan Moorhouse, Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker (all the Alans), Ron Grainer and many more gave these shows their edge by means of jangling brass, running baselines and rasping drums, often all at the command of deliciously strange time-signatures.

today’s #showertune doesn’t come from any of the programmes above, or any at all as far as i know, but it is beautifully evocative of precisely the right mood and sounds to me like bits of all their soundtracks blitzed in a blender and served over french ice.

as such, it’s dedicated to Edie Collins, who eventually moved back to the South East and is now probably dead.

it’s Orphis Le Serpentaire by Vincent Geminiani


#showertune: ‘beat me till i’m blue’ by the mohawks

yes? what?

i was put into a rage this morning by an idiot from off TV. The Dr insisted on putting on that one about getting a job, over breakfast, and one of the group of unbelievably stupid and annoying people thereon is a woman who apparently thinks that ‘manoeuvrement’ and ‘professionality’ are words. she was fired, but, according to her, the universe will avenge her death.

‘if the universe is on the side of such people, then all hope is lost’, i mused as i crunched my cornflakes.

speaking of pain, on, erm, recommendation from Dave Cameron, Nick Clegg recently made today’s #showertune the official song of the Lib Dem cabinet.

it’s Beat Me Till I’m Blue by The Mohawks


#showertune: ‘brain’ by N*E*R*D

congratulations, and welcome to the week beginning today

“The problem with Feminism” Bono once observed “is that is has made clever women less attractive”. whether or not the South African-born quiz show host and international backgammon champion is not just a chauvinist or not, is, in both senses, moot. what could be true, however, is that of the people we see regularly on television, it is easier to think of men who are intelligent, articulate and engaging than women (who are).

where i you ask are the female Stephens Fry, Jons Snow, Jeremys Paxman and Davids Attenborough? Jnn Bnd? urrrrmmmm, she can’t say vowels. Fiona Bruce? well, perhaps. Kirsty Wark? ok. Clare Balding? look, stop ruining my point. one aspect of the Sue Barker? seems to be that we are far more open to men growing ‘wiser’ on our screens than we are women. once women get to a ‘certain age’ they disappear to Radio or Hades to be replaced by younger, glossier, often hollower specimens. of course, while age commands some sense of gravitas and experience can make you wise, being older can’t simply summon cleverness that was not previously there. it’s not just about the lack of older women in the media that effects all this, it’s also the apparent barrier to women who done got some smarts in they heads.

it wasn’t always like that though. when i was young, TV seemed stocked with middle-aged women who carried themselves with an air of seriousness and commanded at least some sense of intellectual authority: Judith Hann, Esther Rantzen, (how much wood could) Lynn Faulds Wood (fold, etc.), Valerie Singleton, Maggie Philbin, Angela Rippon, Sue Lawley, Judith Chalmers. i’m not saying these people were geniuses, but if Judith Hann explained something on Tomorrow’s World, it stayed splained. then, things all went a bit Philippa Forrester, Michaela Strachan and Tess Daly.

female presenters got younger and more attractive, but also fulfilled different roles that ranged from the ‘make it light-hearted, accessible and simple’, through to the ‘we just need you to be a clueless smile-pony’. it wasn’t important for these ones to be authoritative, even in science or current affairs programming, that aspect could be added elsewhere, by men in serious glasses. then the wind changed and it stayed that way.

whereas for a while a space had opened up for women to be more than just the ones in that hold the giant cards on Play Your Cards Right, it seemed to some extent to close up again. of course, it’s no where near as blatantly sexist as it used to be, but the dominance of the aesthetic over the intellectual does seem to prevail when it comes to women on TV.

if, however, you are both clever and attractive, then you probably can get in: Carol Vorderman played the role of ‘thinking man’s crumpet’ on TV for many years before recently having to be decommissioned and responsibly recycled into plastic cups and water bottles. now it seems her mantle has been grasped by Victoria Coren. however, as the looks begin to fade, it seems that as a woman in TV you will need to either inject yourself with every chemical known to humankind (Anne ‘the Ronsealed robot’ Robinson), and/or just slip away and die, please (Arlene Phillips).

today’s #showertune, by the way, is Brain by N*E*R*D