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1. Being Human is possibly the best thing on television at the moment. This surprises me because most British made TV programmes tend to come across as being fairly cheaply made with poor dialogue and acting. Especially 'genre' programmes.
When I first heard of the show - about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost living together - I thought it would be either cheaply done and badly acted (such as No Heroics which I did like but it wasn't exactly great TV) or just plain bad. But after watching my first episode (which was actually Episode #2 - I still haven't managed to see the first episode although that's available on BBC iPlayer nor have I seen last years pilot) my opinion immediately changed.
Being Human is a fantastic show. It's currently on BB3 but I hope it makes the transition to one of the main BBC channels soon so more people can watch it. The DVD comes out in April and it's on my 'Must Buy' list. If you haven't seen an episode yet go and check it out. Great scripts, great acting and great production work. 10/10.

2. I saw Frost/Nixon today. It's been a film I've been humming and arring about for the last few weeks. I'm really glad I did though as it's a great piece of cinema and very well done. I can see why it's got Oscar nominations. I don't think it will be to everyone's tastes. I like politics and polictical films and this was a fascinating piece. It was also very odd seeing a young David Frost portrayed on the big screen - it's certainly not a celeb I'd really given much thought to in the past as I grew up with him on TV as a chat show host. Seeing a film about him was a lot mroe interesting than I'd have ever thought possible. One of the really odd things about the film, for me atleast, was actually coming away from it with a bit (even a small bit) of sympathy for Nixon and his life. Ok, he brought it all upon himself and I still think he was one of the worst President s the US has had in my lifetime (toss-up between Nixon and Bush Jnr)  but the film does have him come across as doing what he really felt was right for his country (even if it was very misguided) and as a confused, lost and broken man after the scandals that led to him being the first President to resign in the US's history. Second favourite film of the year (after Slumdog Millionaire - which will really take some beating).

3. Rewatched "The Golden Compass" and Ang Lee's "Hulk" films whilst working today. I still really like The Golden Compass (apart from the ending where the film finishes before the end of the first book did and also the truly terrible Kate Bush clsoing credits song which I just can't listen to). I think the film was very well put together and acted. Now admittedly I'm biased towards the film as the His Dark Materials trilogy is one of my all-time favourite series, but I loved the way they portrayed everything from the Daemons, the Witches, the Polar Bears and the Gyptians. It's such a shame that the following two films will probably now never be made though due to the poor recpetion and box office figures the film received in the States. Ang Lee's Hulk on the other hand is still a steaming pile of poo. I only really watched it because I'm planning on seeing Edward Norton's The Incredible Hulk on DVD either tomorrow or over the weekend and felt I should see the first part again first.

4. Cubicle 7 was, at one point a couple of years ago, actually in discussions to license His Dark Materials as a Role Playing Game. They stalled due to the amount of money New Line was wanting for the license (it was unfortunately before the film came out) and also because we ended up getting another license for something else. I would love to see a His Dark Materials game at somepoint though.

5. The iTunes purchases have continued. Todays purchases have been:

          KASMS - Bone You/Ode to Millers/Taxidermy/Elevator/Siren Sister
          Ipso Facto - Harmonise/Balderdash/Six and Three Quarters/Cirle of Fifths
          SCUM - Visions Arise/Second Sea
          Flobots - Fight With Tools LP (including the great "Handlebars" and "Rise" tracks)

6. I was going to also watch "30 Days of Night" this evening but after I put on the dvd I realised it was actually one I want to "watch" as opposed to just have on in the background whilst working. As I couldn't spare the time tonight to dedicate myself to it the dvd came straight off and I'll try to find time over the weekend to see it instead.

7. Gameforce on Sunday! Come and play games with me at The Black Horse on Rathbone Place (just off Oxford Street) from midday :)

8. Monday night see's the return of our Finchley Pub Drinks. The last couple of occasions in recent weeks have been cancelled due to a very inconvenient Monday for everyone followed by the snow from hell which closed everything (or seemed to) for the day. Hopefully this Monday won't see bad weather or any other problems and we'll actually be able to get to The Cather on The Rye in Finchley Central for drinks. Please feel free to come along if you're available and in the area!

9. Epic Fails of the day - Doing as much Dragonmeet stuff as I had intended - that's a job for Friday night and Saturday now. Also phoning John Wick (sorry mate) in the States for a chat (I'll mail you and rearrange). Also failed to talk to/reply to a couple of other people I needed to.

10. Ordered Adulthood, Gomorrah and Burn After Reading on DVD. I failed to see any of those at the cinema last year and really want to see them. Especially Gomorrah which I've been wanting to catch for ages (and seem to have missed entirely on the big screen).



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
I've seen the pilot of Being Human on youtube (crappy quality) and was sorely disappointed when I heard it was being aired on BBC3 (I found out whilst watching BBC middle of the night, and screamed NOOOOOO so loud I'm surprised Bert slept through it!).
I'm definitely getting the DVD when it's released.
Feb. 13th, 2009 08:24 am (UTC)
Have you seen Path to War - about Lyndon Johnson's presidency - long and wordy, but a fascinating insight on how his presidency got distracted and then consumed by Vietnam. Alec Baldwin as Bob Macnamara is spot on.
Feb. 13th, 2009 08:59 am (UTC)
If they don't put the pilot on the DVD, you can find it easily enough as a torrent file (assuming you use such things) as it went viral fast.
I actually think the casting for the pilot was far far stronger than it is for the series itself though. A lot of people who had seen the pilot were a bit disappointed with the casting and found it detracted from our enjoyment a bit just because we had such a strong image of the original characterisations in our heads when watching.

It is certainly still brilliantly written though, and generally well acted. My own take on the quality of both scripts and acting (though it might actually be a change in the style of directing rather than poor acting) in British TV is that the general fall in quality is actually fairly recent and unfortunately the worst of it seems to hit the more imaginative series (generally but not always sci-fi/fantasy themed shows) hardest. I have recently been watching a fair bit of old TV shows from the 70s and 80s and even some of the children's TV then showed more respect to the intelligence of the viewer than a show like Demons (or even, *gasp* Dr.Who these days)does. OK-some were still terrible, but often it was because they had no budget and had to make do creating everything from the Blue Peter DIY handbook. They were generally still more original and interesting than most of the current output.

I wonder if the dumbing down and weakening of scripts over the last decade or so in the UK is actually because they are trying to copy successful American shows and formats rather than sticking to the sort of things we do best? When UK shows don't seem to care about viewing figures and DVD sales much they have a freer reign to just 'be' and tend to be better for it. In the past shows were commissioned on the merit of a strong script or an original and interesting idea, but now it feels like they are all 'trying to be Buffy' and 'yoof friendly' with beautiful people walking in slow motion and bonking monsters.
Feb. 13th, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)
I was lucky enough to catch the pilot when it aired and was really happy it made it through to a show. The guy playing the werewolf (the only one to appear in both) does it really well and the vampire character has quickly supplanted the one from the pilot in my head. The ghost is the biggest jar but it's good that they have found good plots for her. My biggest worry at the moment is that they appear to be going for the 'monster of the week' approach with the A plot which gets old fast. Having said that the B,C & D plots are all really interesting and have plenty of twists and turns still in them by the looks of things. In the whole I'm really happy that it has concentrated more on the 'black' than the 'comedy' part of its stated intention.

As for TV in general, most modern TV has been striving to fill the big hole left by Buffy and hasn't managed to come up to standard which I think has to be laid firmly at the feet of the procurers. There seems to be a constant aim to create the next big thing instantaneously and no willingness to give something a season and see how it goes. This is especially dumb when you consider Buffy & X-files both got huge despite a slightly shakey start and few of the 7 series shows would have made it to 2 in the current environment.

You hope the Beeb would be able to fill that slot, and I guess it's BBC3 that's giving them the chance, but thanks to the need for the BBC to keep ratings (because without them they'll be called worthless and lose their funding which is slightly less of a problem than being called ratings chasers and keeping it...) it's unlikely to transfer across to the major channels until it's managed to be successful.

Demons. Hmm, I'm still watching it and whincing at the accent.
Feb. 13th, 2009 10:42 am (UTC)
Monster of the week - well, they've done it twice, and it's been characters who are the same type of beastie as one of the mains and have helped them find out about who they are.
Feb. 13th, 2009 11:49 am (UTC)
Its a bit of an obvious plot strategy-but it does work. Perhaps it would have been less obvious had they mixed them in with other stories over a longer period, but I suspect thats where our shorter show lengths can be a problem at times-less room to do that.
The episodes were so well written that even I knew they were doing it, it felt OK though.
Feb. 13th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
Hopefully it's just a bit early to see where they are going and they chose those links as ways to flesh out who the characters where. Or more to the point how they differed from both humans and their own kind.
Feb. 13th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
I think you are spot on there - they actually covered all three already (John with the girl he 'turned', though the vampire one was a bit less obvious and is also continuing on a bit more at the moment). I feel they did flesh out the characters rather well, which is why I didn't mind my knowing that's what they were doing. Had they been written to the usual standard of most shows I suspect I would have winced though.
I like the story with Gilbert a lot - a great character who seemed very apt as a counterpoint to Annie. Tully also worked well (I was struck that he would have been right at home in 'Dog Soldiers' whereas George would have just hid).
Feb. 13th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)
I agree - the ghost is the let down casting-wise. Partly because the original had a quirky sort of British ordinariness that just worked very well (especially with an obsession in making tea) whereas the new one just feels like a Hollyoaks reject.
They do seem to be following a bit of a pattern at the moment script-wise -but I think that is about to change largely because the pattern has been one of looking at each of the main characters through their relationship with another of their 'monster' type and now they have done that its time to move on.

Buffy and X-files were both just let run, which was great -though I feel both shows actually ran on for far too long- I prefer the British approach of short seasons and not too many of them because it leaves you feeling you want more in a good way without ever feeling the show jumped the shark. To me unless you have a very big story (like Babylon 5 did) four seasons should be an absolute max though, after which its time to move on and innovate again with something else. Pushing Daisies is a tragedy though - dropped far too early. I actually tend to find that if I like an American show its bound to get axed after one or two seasons and generally just left unfinished like Carnivale was.

My other big gripe with genre TV shows is a bit of an odd one - I think they let fans and popularity have too big an influence on the shows these days. I think shows should be created with attention only to the vision of the show as an independent entity. I don't think they should either try to be another show that was popular, a show designed to appeal to fans of particular shows or a show created to 'get ratings'. In the past this was the greatest strength of British TV. It didn't give a f;*&k about any of these considerations so you got some amazing ideas and strong stories that all stood on their own merits, lasted as long as the idea needed to be expressed, and then disappeared into a fond cult status while they were still brilliant.

Demons, alas, just strikes me as weak on every count. I watched it all, but it felt little better than watching my washing go round in the washing machine.
Feb. 13th, 2009 10:33 am (UTC)
Blimey, didn't realise that a DVD of Being Human was coming out so soon. Loving the series- I've been recording it on the DVR and watching it in my own time, and I still have the pilot episode recorded.
It is a bit wierd having two of the leads played by different actors in the series, but they're doing a good job, although the guy who played Mitchell originally certainly had much more of an unearthly vibe to him.

Definitely catch up with the first episode of the series as it covers the 'origins' of the three main characters.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 13th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see the new Hulk with, you know, a story... rather than a collection of really nicely made chase scenes and fantastic action. I heard it was edited down quite a bit, so I hope to see an extended cut one day. Until then, I will still stick to the Ang Lee version out performing it in story and substance. :)
Feb. 13th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
So after Doctor Who, would you be willing to work with BBC Licensing to get a Being Human RPG into game stores? :D
Feb. 13th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
I check oot Being Human...


Thank you so much! I'll certainly pick up the DVDs when they're released. :)

On the flip side-- I still like Ang Lee's Hulk... even better than the latest one. So there.
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