Thursday, 19 July 2012

New Site

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now as there’s been no new content uploaded here since last year and it never ceases to amaze me just how many visitors the site continues to get.

As regular readers will know, in addition to TV I also have an unhealthy interest in Horse Racing and it got to a point where I felt I wasn’t doing myself justice with my TV work, because as someone who doesn’t download shows I was always behind with reviews etc., so I decided to focus more on the Racing side of things.

As a result, the new site Talking Horses was launched at the start of the year, where you can follow my ramblings on the Sport of the Kings if you feel so inclined.

The old TV content isn’t going anywhere though so feel free to enjoy the archives whilst you’re here and I many still post on here from time to time. For now though, Racing is definitely the main focus and you can visit the new site by following the link below:

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Top 5 Denman Races

There’s nothing sadder than realising that the immortal are just as fallible as the rest of us, and last week Horse Racing was forced into that uncomfortable realisation.

One of the kings of a golden era of staying chasers, the mighty Denman, was unfortunately pushed in to early retirement by injury and with that news came the horrible reality check that we would never again get to see ‘The Tank’ relentlessly galloping his rivals in to the ground.

Denman’s rapid rise to the upper echelons of jump racing coincided almost completely in sync with my ever increasing interest in the sport of Kings and along with his majestic stable mate and great rival (and friend) Kauto Star, he helped to ensure that I fell completely in love not only with these two beautiful equine creatures but also the sport that I now call a very healthy obsession.

With Denman now competitively off the track for good we’ll not have the opportunity to see him blaze any new trails round the great race courses of the UK & Ireland, but we all still have our memories, and Denman is certainly responsible for his fair share of unforgettable moments over the last half a decade.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Glee 3.6 'Mash Off'

“You’re skinny, like all the crops failed on your family’s farm” - Rory


Mash Off managed to showcase both everything that is wrong with Glee and everything that is right with the show in one overloaded, disjointed episode.

The aforementioned good is that the episode focussed most of its attention on the best characters, Puck, Santana, Brittany and Sue all got to reel off some great one-liners with some even getting the sort of attention usually only reserved for Kurt and Rachel.

The bad however was that the episode felt like every currently running storyline had been thrown into a centrifuge and amalgamated in to one overblown mash-up, as the show itself would no doubt label it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to complain when one week a storyline that was heavily focussed on the previous week is dropped completely and not even referenced – like Puck and Shelby’s kiss was last week – but there is a balance to find between continuing to address all of the ongoing threads each week without giving each so much attention in one turbo-charged week that you don’t know where to look.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Community on Hiatus

The critically-adored (and rightly so) Community has been put on hiatus by NBC in the last twenty-four hours as the network announced its mid-season schedule.

The show, one of the best comedies around at the moment (although I’m still currently working my way through the season two DVD I got from the US) has been on a hiding to nothing this season unfortunately, tangling with the likes of the bombproof Big Bang Theory and American Idol/X Factor on Fox.

Community looks seriously in danger now of becoming this decade’s Arrested Development, a critically beloved show with a small but rabid fan base that ultimately just doesn’t pull in enough viewers to viably be kept on the air.

Make no mistake, the show, only a handful of episodes into its third season, isn’t cancelled – well not yet anyway – and will be back at some point for a bunch of episodes.

It certainly is ominous foreshadowing of what lies ahead for Community though and I for one will now be very surprised to see the comedy get a fourth season.

Stranger things have happened though, and there is precedence at NBC for doing a u-turn with veteran shows when a debutant bombs, but I’d be very reluctant to put any money on Greendale opening its doors again when this current term comes to an end at this stage.

Friday, 4 November 2011

How I Met Your Mother 7.1 'The Best Man'

“Get ready Cleveland, the last man to screw you this hard then disappear was LeBron James” – Barney

I appreciate that the nature of How I Met Your Mother is the slow reveal of facts and information that lead to the big teases that have been dropped as the show has progressed.

The use of ellipses allows the writers to keep the viewer hanging with revelations from the future, but after six seasons the lack of any sort of any real progression is starting to get frustrating.

I know that the whole notion of the ‘mother’ mystery is nothing more than a MacGuffin to allow the telling of these tales but it does feel more and more as though the writers are taking the Lost approach and rather than building up to the big reveal as the show, inevitably, starts to wind up they are giving us more questions than answers.

The season seven opener ‘The Best Man’ was another example of this technique.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Californication 4.4 'Monkey Business'

“Dead monkeys and auto-erotic asphyxiation, that’s my cue.” – Stu


I’m a little torn over ‘Monkey Business’, on the one hand it had some of the biggest laughs of this season so far, mined a really dark brand of comedy – which I dug – and had some genuinely great little moments.

On the other hand though, a large section of the episode was devoted to gags derived from an obscene monkey, which firstly felt distinctly cliché and secondly straight out of someone like The Farrelly Brothers playbook.

Californication should be, and is, capable of much better than cheap laughs from Charlie (who else?) getting monkey faeces thrown at him.

The majority of the episode was spent with Hank, Charlie and Stu at the Fucking and Punching movie’s sugar daddy Zig’s house. Zig of course was about the most off the wall character the show’s ever depicted and was no doubt a swipe at Hollywood big wigs that live these abnormal lifestyles.

After a meeting at a bar where we got a flavour of Zig’s eccentricities – “I haven’t had an erection in the past decade but that’s another story” – it was back to his mansion for a reading. Cue surreal humour, a barrage of one liners and an asphyxi-wank death.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Walking Dead 2.1 'What Lies Ahead'

“It’s all about slim chances now.” – Rick


Zombie epic The Walking Dead’s TV return has been one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year, and not just amongst fellow geeks – the series really seems to have captured the imaginations and attentions of the wider public in a way I personally would have never expected.

A lot of that has to come down to the fact that this isn’t just a show about a zombie apocalypse, in the same way Lost was much more than a show about some plane crash survivors on a mysterious island, this is a character piece seasoned with a variety of social, psychological and spiritual themes.

Of course we can never totally relate to what these people are going through, but everyone knows how they would deal with adversity and the side of them that brings out – some lead, some follow and some go through a crisis of the soul that changes them for either the better, or tragically the worst.

The characters in The Walking Dead are facing an impossible situation but they are all real people and even those who may seem the strongest are struggling to come to terms with a world that no longer resembles anything even remotely like what they are used to.

The first season of the show was at times slow but for the most part having only a six episode season pushed things along at a quicker pace than perhaps the writers would have liked. It certainly would have satisfied action-junkies’ appetites, but as a result there felt like a lot of dead weight being dragged around by the surviving group in terms of character development – a lot of that got trimmed as the season progressed but many characters outside the main family dynamic felt under-developed.

‘What Lies Ahead’, like it’s season one counterpart, premiered at a feature length running time but felt decidedly less epic in scale than the series premiere but that wasn’t a bad thing necessarily.

Curb Your Enthusiasm 8.6 'The Hero'

“I wonder what Sully would have done if he was in my shoes…” – Larry


The subject of far more hype and advertising than Curb usually gets on these shores due to the Ricky Gervais guest appearance, ‘The Hero’ was probably the most anticipated episode of Curb’s eighth season on both sides of the pond, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The episode kicked off where we left off at the end of last week’s episode, with Larry on the plane opposite Jeff and Susie shovelling fro-yo in to his mouth. Predictably, at least in the post divorce era, for Curb who should end up sat next to Larry but an attractive woman who, again predictably, he didn’t exactly hit it off with straight away.

I love the fact that even when presented with a beautiful woman, Larry won’t let something as trivial as her drink being on his half of the arm rest slide.

Monday, 24 October 2011

30 Rock Season 5 on Comedy Central

There are a lot of fans of the brilliant 30 Rock in the UK, in spite of the abhorrent treatment the show has received from UK broadcasters thus far.

To be fair to current broadcaster Comedy Central, since they picked up the show they’ve actually showcased the show in a fashion befitting a show of such quality, which is something Channel 5 never did when they had the rights.

That’s why it was so disappointing when part way through its airing of season 5 of 30 Rock, Comedy Central suddenly pulled the plug with barely an explanation as to why.

It later became apparent that the flawed logic behind this move was that as season six had been delayed in the US due to Tina Fey’s pregnancy, that Comedy Central had decided that rather than have a gargantuan gap between seasons five and six, they would break up season five into two parts thus closing the gap between the end of season five and the start of season six. Somewhere, to someone, that logic does actually make a modicum of sense.

All that is ancient history now however, as Comedy Central have finally announced a return date for the second part of season five of 30 Rock and it’s as close as next week! Rejoice!

30 Rock Season Five will return on Friday 4th November 2011 on Comedy Central UK.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Alphas 1.1 'Pilot'

“Like a Peyton Manning, with a gun…?” – Bill


Given the subject matter, fairly or unfairly, Alphas was always going to draw comparisons to Heroes.

With Tim Kring’s show losing its way so spectacularly in later seasons, it doesn’t feel like we’ve been over-saturated by a ‘people with abilities’ show, so there is still a lot to be explored in this genre, hence why I had high hopes for Alphas.

Alphas feels more like a TV X-Men though than Heroes, with an older scientist (Dr. Rosen) helping a young group of people with abilities to harness their power in the best way and also discover themselves along the way. Of course being a TV show there is the obvious air of Heroes about Alphas, but it’s X-Men that I would really draw the most comparisons too.

The problem with being so derivative of other high profile series’ is that Alphas comes across as a cheap knock-off, if Heroes was a blockbuster then Alphas feels like the B-movie rip-off.