Wed, Apr 22, 2009
[Photo by Jeremy Ryan]
An irregular and random snapshot of various ‘entertainment’ formats across different media that I’ve been absorbing over the past few days/weeks.
The Wire Series
After several months of intermittent multiple episode sessions, I’ve finally finished The Wire: fantastic, fantasic, fantastic! Felt sad to have come to the end of this particular televisual track but it’s one of those programmes that you could watch again and again. Well, again at least. Especially loved the season five DVD bonus feature that gives a startingly accurate round-up from a couple of years ago about the state of the US print media industry. Absolutely relevant to the here and now and completely parallels what’s happening on this side of The Pond. Cracking!
One box-set finished, another started: Entourage. Yet another amazingly well-written offering from the US. Well cast too – relative unknowns in the main, at least to me – although I do find it slightly offputting that Kevin Connolly – Eric in the show – is a dead ringer for Nicky WatchDog Campbell only slightly less lined. This is perfect, snackable telly – 24-odd minutes per self-contained episode, sexy, funny and with the added bonus of continuing narrative arcs running through the season. Oh, and some awesome sleb cameos too. My local branch of Blockbuster only holds season one annoyingly – which, said the store manager, “is strange, because it is a VERY popular rental. You should write to Freepost Blockbuster and tell them!” Hmmm. Freepost Lacklustre more like. Which is a direct nick from…
Family Guy – the latest season’s episodes airing on BBC Three at the moment, kicked off by a Family Guy weekend which was peppered with a couple of incredibly annoying behind-the-scenes shows, awfully narrated by Matthew Horne [why?] and hamfistedly edited by the Fox/BBC co-pro crew who are seemingly non-fans of the show. With, I’m assuming, unprecedented access to the legend that is Seth MacFarlane and the rest of the huge [in number] cast and production team, all we got was random clips of previous seasons, intercut with the odd piece to camera from the cast members – I’m so in love with Meg/Mila Kunis, btw – with heavily bleeped dialogue [again, why?] and annoying cut-outs of the main characters popping up in the background. No real substance to either of the shows, which was very disappointing to this particular FG fan.
So that’s three imports from the US, now three from us.
in The Loop
I indulged in a cheeky afternoon cinema session last week for the truly brilliant In The Loop – the cinematic incarnation of Armando Iannucci’s The Thick Of It, sadly missing the superb but shamed Chris Langham [I may have imagined this, but I’m sure I spotted one Christine Langham as the credits rolled – hmmm, I wonder…]
The film was co-written by, amongst others, Jesse Peep Show Armstrong – and saw an excellent expletive-heavy performance by Peter Capaldi and the rest of the ensemble cast, including the living legend James Gandolfini. I did think that the move from Whitehall to Washington might have been laboured but Iannucci seamlessly weaves strands of gold into his transatlantic tapestry. Go see it.
BBC Radio 4: Twin Sisters, Two Faiths
Meanwhile, to the wireless – I’m Mr Multiplatform, me – and a heartfelt 40 minute doc on Radio 4: Twin Sisters, Two Faiths which told the story of identical twins who have chosen different paths of enlightenment – Christianity and Islam. By choosing to wear a full hijab, twinny tweeness has been replaced by torrents of racial abuse and ignorance and caused conflict within the family as both sisters came to terms with the deteriorating health of their mother. I can’t do the programme full justice here but would urge you to listen to this wonderful piece of radio documentary – well done to Anna Scott-Brown and Ladbroke Radio.
Britain’s Got Talent: Susan Boyle on You Tube
Next, to the interweb, and of course the Susan Boyle circus on YouTube. I had to see what 10/50/100 million [delete according to your news channel or paper of choice] people across the globe have been gawping at. Seven minutes of a rather hirsute woman banging out a tune from Les Mis. The woman has an undeniable talent which undoubtedly would have remained dormant without the help of an eagle-eyed and shrewd researcher or production assistant. Good on her – and her new-found [but, we know, sadly shortlived] fame. I for one, am really looking forward to hearing about her first waxing and all the other notable ‘firsts’ heading her way…
Talking of Inboxes, my immediate thoughts go out to the other Susan Boyle – Susan K Boyle – the artist who registered susanboyle.com way back in 2002, long before the online charlatans who snapped up every other susanboyle domain in the four-day period from the 10th-14th April this year. Just spare a thought for her and her increased hosting costs and site overloads…
As a final sign-off, I’m ‘eagerly’ awaiting the return of Reggie Perrin later this week. My blood boiled when I read that they were giving Martin Clunes the chance to front the resurrection of this cult show – Leonard Rossiter was and is one of my all-time comedy heroes: Rising Damp was TV platinum in my childhood – during the power cuts of that time I read the books by torchlight – and even went through a rather camp phase of Cinzano Rosso and lemonade consumption after the long-running ad campaign with Joan Collins. Until I see what Mr Clunes and Auntie are offering in this remake, I’ll hold back on pre-judgement and self-harm.