Both C4 and RTE2 are showing the latest hopeful hit from the US – The Event – and there is media hype and chatter to suggest it will be as big as Lost but I don’t think so. It won’t even make The Fringe numbers. It is billed as mystery thriller sci-fi. The hero is Jason Ritter as Seán Walker, a video games programmer who stumbles on a government conspiracy when his girl Leila mysteriously disappears during a cruise. This quickly opens up into a plot to kill the President because he is aware of a plane that crashed (oh yes another dodgy plane) carrying passengers who appear to be human but are aliens or extra terrestrials who age much slower than humans. They are apparently, held in a secret facility but some escaped at some time and live among the population. Cue the music. The President decides to tell the world the true story but his intelligence agencies do not want this.
An assassination attempt is foiled by alien intervention and over the next few weeks Seán Walker will set out to find his girl, save the world and make sense of it all.
Now, I should tell you that the pilot episode ran in what is now called retroversion in two different time frames, which was the puzzler in Lost. The promo-sound the trumpets, roll the thunder – promises big reveals and big clues in each episode.
Paul O’Grady Live is on ITV1 is one of the few shows going out live but for how long? BBC has severely limited even radio talk shows since the Jonathan Ross fiasco and now ITV must be wondering what will happen as O’Grady did an unscripted rant at Conservatives as bastards who took pleasure in cutting welfare benefits. He did apologise for his language after no doubt, a producer or floor manager rebuked him off screen.
You would think if that happened on the Beeb, O’Grady would have been suspended. Apparently, there were only a few complaints and no more than callers who were upset by a mock sign of the cross with water and a joke about Cilla Black and incontinence.
The two-part psychological thriller, The Little House, had such a low key fear factor as it explored the troubled or imagined relationship between Ruth, a nervous teacher and her mum-in-law, straight out of Rosemary’s Baby. Add to the mix a weak, mother-dominated son and you get the shivers as Francesca Annis, a mum-in-law, takes over Ruth’s baby and slowly but surely creates such doubts that Ruth thinks she is going mad or that her past life is catching up with her. The camerawork dwells on houses and objects like it is a gingerbread house to be frightened of.
It is the cold pretend normality that grates in these type of shows where you know too much too early on. Yet you either switch off or dread to watch your worst fears be confirmed.
The UTV/ITV1 series Wild Britain with Ray Mears gives him a change to take to tranquil lowlands like the boglands of Somerset. The pace is leisurely and the photography is stunning as Mears enjoys the slow pace without the difficult survival tasks that initially brought him fame. He spots rare egrets and still has time to make a tasty pancake. Good stuff indeed.
Don’t know what BBC2 are up to with the odd comedy, if it is a comedy. The Trip, featuring Steve Coogan as himself, pretending to be a restaurant critic for the Observerand he brings Rob Brydon, also as himself, as a friend and they sit and eat and do improvs of Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins and a bad Al Pacino. Don’t know what to make of it and seeing it’s going out 11.50pm late, neither do the BBC. Are they adlibbing everything or is it just loosely scripted to just do funny voices, self-indulgent messing would sum it up, I suppose.
Over on C4 in another newish series Coppers, I learned that a Chatham Pocket to hide drugs is actually a person’s backside. Apparently some prisoners can conceal two mobile phones and two chargers up there as well as a stash of drugs!
Now you’d have to wonder which is the comedy programme?
A Top 50
Around this time you get these lists and competitions to nominate the top best evers and the current one getting the biggest hype of is The Guardian top 50 television dramas. Sometimes I think it is a cynical ploy to sell expensively packaged boxed sets for Christmas. But what surprises me is how up-to-date the top ones are. For example, the top 10 in this competition were: The Sopranos, Brideshead Revisited, Our Friend in the North, Mad Men, A Very Peculiar Practice, Talking Heads, The Singing Detective, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, State of Play and Boys From The Blackstuff. Coronation was 26, Brookside was 38 and Eastenders 48. Lost didn’t make it and The X Files was 45.