There’s a good entertaining look to the new RTE Autumn schedule, with old favourites holding the slots. Even the dodgy All Ireland Talent Show will return. The Late Late Show has a new sponsor and presenter, a new theme tune, same old owl and one for everybody in the audience.
Big emphasis on cookery shows and Raw, the bonking restaurant, is back but can it still be steamy and not boil over? The Clinic looks solid with a medical tribunal and the characters are memorable. The Mentalist returns with Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and CSI, with a new comedy/hospital drama, Nurse Jackie, featuring ex-Soprano star, Edie Falco. Out of five new medic shows you’d wonder why RTE went for this one that seems like a female House, with Falco as a pill popping (bad back) health-care worker. Black humour hasn’t a long shelf life.
But overall, it’s a good line-up.
It’s sad when even the student drug counsellor in Louis Theroux’s : The City Addicted To Crystal Meth, admitted she gets high on the stuff with her husband, at least four times a day. This was Fresno, an American city, where the country, flat Californian farmland meets an average almost non-descript urban setting of neat rows of same-housing and a cluster of shopping malls. This drug scourge is a variation on methamphetamine or speed that is completely chemically created. It is predicted to be the next big scourge in Europe where people will use it to stay awake and perhaps party, but in Fresno, it seemed people were like slow-motion zombies.
Even the rehab centre he visited looked like a movie set with people spaced out for the camera. The overall impression was deeply sad and it was hard to understand how this dull flatlands city could become the crystal meth crystal. It was the no-hope matter-of-factness that got me – a laidback hell.
At one point, you think, why bring Jam And Jerusalem back to BBC1, as it is not all that funny. Less funny-haha and more odd to quirky. Yes, I know Jennifer Saunders wrote it and Dawn French is in it as a scatty League Of Ladies frump who nurses lambs at her breast in the pub. At times this Devon-set sitcom, that isn’t a classic sitcom, more a Nutter of Dibley meets The Royle Family. It has a first rate cast of Saunders, French, Sue Johnson (as the falling down posh-drunk). Charles Dance is a suave sex symbol. David Mitchell is a limp possible politician of a Lib Dem stripe and Pauline McLynn as an ah-go-on-have-another-drink landlord or pub lady. Mostly, it’s just jolly for a Sunday night. Its got vicars and doxies, nutters and nature lovers and an eight o’clock setting.
It’s a nice touch the way BBC4 is showing the original Swedish versions of the detective series, Wallender, to no doubt show how the taciturn tec operated. BBC gave us the mean moody and sometimes magnificent Kenneth Brannagh as the deep thinking, slower acting policeman. The Brannagh stuff was weirder, more philosophical, with more emphasis on the psychological state of Wallender’s mind or character. The original is more methodical and filmed in a different style but it is novel to get the chance to see both. Curiously, we, by this week, will have seen more subtitled Wallender than the British version.
To The Dogs
ITV could be accused of going to the dogs with an eight-part, hour long, series about dogs. Send In The Dogs is mostly about police and security dogs and you would want to be a fanatical dog-lover to watch eight hour-long shows, with lots of repeated images, from what seems like a previous series. In one sense, the police seems to use dogs as a feel-good deterrent or to frighten thugs and criminals into surrender. Would you argue with a thirty kilo plus German Shepherd running at you at speeds of up to thirty miles an hour? No wonder ITV are losing millions in revenue with shaggy dog series like this.
A Brazilian tv show on Canal Livre, that features graphic footage of live shoot-outs or hostage scenes, has been accused of ordering murders to boost ratings. Host and presenter Wallace Souza featured indignant presenters giving out about lawlessness while broadcasting exclusive and graphic footage of crime scenes. Souza was a police officer who became so famous through tv that he ran for political office and won a third term in the Amazonas state assembly.
In a raid on Souza’s home, guns, ammunition and currency, were found as well as evidence to link him to a criminal plot to accuse him.