Sunday, July 29, 2007

TV at Comic-con

Time to change the name, perhaps?

        •        Lucy Lawless to return to Battlestar Galactica for a three episode arc in S4
        •        Joss Whedon hopes to (finally) make Ripper, with Anthony Stewart Head, as 90 minute BBC film in 2008
        •        Kevin Smith to write and direct an episode of Heroes: Origin
        •        Bryan Fuller talks Pushing Daisies

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A woman is only a woman, but Mad Men is a Smoke

You may have seen this new show from ex-Sopranos man Matthew Weiner mentioned on one or two blogs lately. Michael Sullivan gave us the heads up some time ago, and DMc and Kay have weighed in recently with lavish praise.

Don't look at me to rock the boat. I loved it.



Set within the advertising world of 1960’s New York, Mad Men is a period piece so well done it could almost pass as a contemporary of Sweet Smell of Success and The Apartment. With less than a minute gone of the opening scene I was there - late night bar, whisky, Lucky Strikes; oh, and later, racism and sexism so ingrained that even expressed in the most blatant tones it barely musters a reaction. Difficult material for an actor to pull off.

The pilot drops us into this world just as Don Draper, mid-level executive at Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, is preparing to face his worst work day ever. With younger rivals lining up to challenge his supremacy, and beginning to feel washed-up, Draper tries not to think about the meeting he has with his biggest client. Government has ruled that cigarette advertising can no longer promote the spurious health benefits of smoking, and Lucky Strike need a new approach to their campaign. Draper, he’s got nothing.

As this is a pilot episode, it has to be someone’s first day on the job, and here’s Peggy, Don’s new secretary. Peggy begins by resisting the lechery of the men who see the office as their playground, but then later listens to the advice of her female co-workers - who see snatching an executive as their ticket to the good life - to cozy up to them.

Just as we think we’re getting to know Don and Peggy, Weiner shows us something of each at the end of the show that makes us reconsider our perceptions. Nothing shocking or gratuitous; no-one gets whacked or anything. We’re just reminded that occasionally, people do unexpected things - sometimes because we think we know them better than we do, or because they think they know themselves better than they do. Presented with Freud’s idea that all human beings harbour a death wish, Salvatore - clearly a closeted homosexual - scoffs “people are living one way and secretly thinking the exact opposite? That’s ridiculous!” Actually, it appears to be the essence of Mad Men.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Into the sunset

Anyone interested in seeing how Tim Minear’s most recent ill-fated project may have continued may like to know that the final two episodes of Drive have been dumped by Fox onto their myspace page.

It’s only available in the USA, but I expect webrips to show up within the hour, a la the excellent Daybreak.

The final two shooting scripts of the season are also available at timminear.net, where you can also read scripts from The Inside, a show I thought would have got a lot better had it continued (and did, as the entire production run of 13 eps ran on ITV4). However, the opening episodes were boring, so it got what it deserved.

Scripts for Wonderfalls can be found here.

Firefly scripts are here.

Oh, and don’t miss Wonderfalls’ Bryan Fuller’s confectionary new delight, Pushing Daisies, coming soon. The pilot’s had all kinds of wonderful buzz, and the script was terrific.

Dexter: Season Two preview

Some of the old men of my tribe led me to a place where I could watch the first two episodes of Dexter’s second season, due to air in September.

I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone - which means, as Season One is currently airing in the UK, that there’s not much I can say at all.

I think it’s pretty safe to report though that Showtime’s serial killer thriller picks up five weeks after the events of season one’s finale, and I’m pleased to say is as dark and twisted as ever. Michael C Hall remains as compelling as he did throughout the first storyline, playing a monster with maybe more humanity than he’d admit to, retaining our sympathy even as he commits (or angsts about being unable to commit) atrocious deeds.

The main serial-killer storyline for the season looks like it’s going to hit very close to home for Debs and Dex, and Dexter’s relationship with Rita is primed to go to very strange places, as he makes a surprising admission to her in episode two.

Frankly, I’m really psyched for the rest of the season. Good times!

Monday, July 09, 2007

A fool and his money

I’m not going to the pub again. I popped down after yesterday’s woeful game of footie for one pint and a spot of post-game analysis/mutual self-recrimination and left some time after closing, thirty quid poorer.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Alternative Pitch Fever

Across the way on Write Here, Write Now, Lucy has been inviting people to post their log-lines and synopses (hence the post below). Now that all the entries are received, she has gathered them all together in one massive post for everyone to mock vote for. Some were quite obviously knocked off the wrist and shouldn’t be taken seriously, others need just a little more work to get there, and one or two are really quite good.

See what you think.

I'd rather go blind

News in from the BBC:

Catherine Tate is set to return to the TARDIS for the complete 13 week run of Series Four of Doctor Who.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Silly things to do

If you haven’t been listening to I’m Sorry I’m Haven’t A Clue, then you’re loco, ese. It is, as they say, made of win.

Luckily, because the BBC feel sorry for those of you who have yet to recognise this self-styled “antidote to panel games” is Great Britain’s crowning contribution to Western Civilization, they’ve given you a chance to catch up using the runner-up in Great Britain’s crowning contribution to Western Civilization poll, the BBC Radio Player.

Cherish Humphry Littleton’s timing for as long as we have him, and be prepared for your jaw to hit the floor when you hear what Samantha’s got planned for dinner tonight.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Lucy made me do it

The Life You Make

When cranky spirits torment a boy for defacing their graves, they accidentally doom reality. One delinquent and his granddad’s ghost must help them fix it.

Will may be trouble, but he’s not a bad lad. He loves his nan; but wishes his baby step-brother would go back where he came from.

Unhappy at home, he falls in with a notorious gang of hoodies, and becomes a public menace.

As his nan’s health worsens and his mother neglects him, his acts of petty crime escalate, and he vandalises a cemetery.

An affronted group of spirits decide to teach him a lesson by showing him how the world would be better off with his troublemaking arse out of the picture.

What the spirits haven’t understood is that the universe doesn’t like people disappearing, and because of their actions the barrier that protects the living from mindless ghouls that prowl the borders of reality is failing. Now they need Will to save us all. But why should one miserable teenager care if the world ends tomorrow?


See Lucy’s Blog for explanation.

Bleeding fingers and broken DVD cases

My brother and I have a birthday tradition of buying each other films on DVD we really want to watch, and then viewing them before we wrap and gift them.

This year I bought him Kurosawa’s reimagining of King Lear, Ran (it’s okay, he doesn’t hang out here, I’m not spoiling the surprise). The film was magnificent: a fearfully oppressive retelling, mostly filmed on a wide open plain, in which every shot manages to be horribly claustrophobic. It’s a really unsettling film that does great justice to its source.

BUT, getting to the stage where I was able to watch it involved half an hour of self-mutilating contortions, battling with a DVD case that still had its red tag attached and was therefore locked tightly shut, beyond all human ken to open. Stupid HMV monkey.

Brute strength and a penknife eventually won the day, though I’m not sure I could give even my brother this as a present: