Saturday, 7 March 2009

The TV Set

A few meaty reviews, some long awaiting, some that I was bursting to get onto the Internet, and have been for a while. All are juicy and succulent, with layers and layers of tasty morsels for you to savour and digest.

I am incredibly hungry. Strap in, sports fans...

Being Human

You asked for it, and it came to you in a blaze of glory, the long awaited review of Being Human (BBC3, Saturday 9.00pm), a series which brought people together, then broke them apart, and then, big surprise to everyone, brought them together again.

Things got weird.

Being Human was one of those sorts of shows that comes around once every blue moon. A show with a low production value, relatively unknown actors, a basic premise, and compelling story lines. First of all, it had vampires. And werewolves. And Ghosts! but what was incredible was that these three mythical creatures seamlessly translated from screen to real life, as though it was a natural thing for them to be there. Its a weird way of putting it, but the fact that these creatures are living in such a familiar place as Bristol gives a perspective into the idea of secret lives, as well as the show giving deep parallels to the way people cope with disabilities, or addictions. It was all, as the title suggests, about being human. Which was cool, I guess, if you like that sort of thing. You Nerd.

On a final note, the man who played Herrick was fantastic. And his comrades. And the Vampire hierarchy. Honestly, I cant speak highly enough about it, Its on the increasingly handy BBC iplayer, so just watch it, ya lughead.


Ahhhh, Dexter. Where on Earth can I start with this meaty subject. It'd be like starting the worlds best sandwich without any mental preparation. I like American TV. I like it so much I am prepared to sit and wait for the damn Internet to load it just so I can watch it. I like it so much I considered paying for sky, even though I didn't have a satellite, just for the possibility to get channels that might provide me with the great shows being churned out of the US. This migration of great shows was a strange occurrence considering how monumentally shit American TV shows were not 20 years ago.

Dexter was one of the first breaths of fresh air that I had wafted in my pudgy Anglo-Gaelic face, just after Battlestar Galactica, which sort of gave me a bit of rebirth, in the same way that I was revitalised when I discovered Rock music. Except I wasn't 12. Dexter has a strange mystique that resembles the feeling when you watch a hero on screen. Remember when you watched Han Solo in Star Wars? No? Alright, remember when you first watched a really, really cool character in a movie or a TV show. Remember the way it made you feel in your mind, the feeling that you want to be them, to emulate them, to give the same impression on people that your character does. The same curious thing happens with Dexter, to excellent dramatic effect. We're drawn into the characters mind. We want to be the charismatic, cool, attractive Dexter, but he's a serial killer. We know we shouldn't, but we're still captured. It's enticing, and its fantastic.

The characters aren't the only thing that's good, theres the storylines. Each series unfolds slowly, gradually, like a novel, which is actually what the series was adapted from in the first place, which means that instead of having non-sequential episodes, one after another, we have a series of meaty episodes, that take a week to digest. However, despite the clear dramatic aspect of having every episode full of juice, this means that its a very difficult series to get hooked onto. Despite the long-winded recaps, you never get a full sense of whats going on if you miss an episode, so you're pretty much boned if you want to keep watching, leaving you to the inevitable need to surf the crap-pile of the Internet for a streaming episode.

Which will be covered in Japanese writing. And shit.

Jacob Bronowski's Ascent of Man

A truly remarkable series. A little sketchy at times, in the sense that it makes you feel like you're on a science induced drug trip. The idea of seeing a giant head, and several methods of wave and frequency reading equipment on a beach, whilst a man talks in soft mild mannered scientific tones is incredibly weird, but this is only one of the first of the potent, and often brilliant examples of how the series is able to capture you. By using the unusual scenarios, Bronowski is able to capture an audience in a way that many of the most famous presenters haven't done today, with the ever increasing abundance of technology.

The whole series is soothing, like being dipped in a large cup of just-right tea, that's lined with pieces of a science textbook. Bronowski gives an amazing amount of perspective in a very short time, the lecture style format is something that seems to have died out along with the mainstream broadcasting of traditional documentaries, and I believe that this is really something to be admired. Considering that I haven't seen many of these sorts of things, in all my 18 years on this planet, as well as the fact that I'm very cynical about many, many, many things, I think that my opinion is justified. Essentially, people need to watch it. And its on YouTube. So you have no excuse.

You lazy bastard.


Test Blog said...

bronowski was a genius. back in those days it was thought that TV could be used to educate people.

So maybe not such a genius after all...

Your Friend and Colleague said...

I completely agree. The death of proper documentaries giving way to mission documentaries like "Jamie's school dinners" is a travesty, Considering they contain no actual knowledge whatsoever, and are purely for entertainment.