Thursday, January 08, 2009

Watching What?

I have to say, I am with Alex on this one. I thought the idea was sound, but was ruined by Hollywood's insistence on casting big names - names who, unfortunately, cannot sing or dance. The only one worth listening to was the (unknown) daughter of the Meryl Streep character, who was the only one with a singing voice. Had they cast this with people who could actually sing and dance, I am sure they would have still drawn the viewers, and they could have always given cameo roles to the "big" names. Anyhow, ultimately unsatisfying and in many places deeply cringeworthy. Don't buy it - rent it at your peril.

In contrast, I hugely enjoyed "Wanted", starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman. Based on the cult comic book (aren't they all these days?) it borrowed heavily from The Matrix, but that's no bad thing. Amazing effects and a good story - anyone who liked The Matrix will love this.

Another derivative work which is no less entertaining for that is the new TV series from the creator of Lost, called "Fringe". This one is a huge X-Files rip-off, which also borrows from Lost, Alias, CSI, Bones - you name it..... Anyhow, the jury is still out on this one, but I am liking it right now 'cos I am a big X-files fan - if you are then you will too.

Finally, iTunes/AppleTV makes it so easy to dip in and out of series and sample before you commit to a full series that I am starting to go back and revisit older titles. It has taken me a long time - mainly because Tom Baker put me off for life - but I have got into the new Doctor Who in a big way. Jon Pertwee was to Doctor Who what Sean Connery was to James Bond, so when Tom Baker made a mockery of the whole thing (only to be followed by "actors" who made him look good, including the likes of Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy) I gave up on it.

Despite taking most of the first series to warm to Christopher Ecclestone (which was unfortunately the length of his tenure as the Doctor!) I did start to enjoy his performance, and Billie Piper was a revelation. David Tennant has been excellent, and the writing is streets ahead of the earlier series - for the first time we have loose story arcs that last en entire series or more and the whole thing can be incredibly dark on occasion. Added to that the most incredible score I have ever heard on a TV series performed wonderfully by the Welsh BBC Orchestra and you have a series well worth watching.

It is unfortunate that Tennant has decided to leave, and I am not at all sure about the new guy they have cast - could be another Tom Baker moment coming. We shall see.

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