I am currently watching television programmes

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I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Stephen Morgan » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:41 am

Yes, books might be better artistically, but television is more relevant. Special effects aren't as good. So, in the spirit of "I am currently listening to", I am currently watching. Because, despite CIA propaganda and soap operas and all the dross on the telly, television is the modern popular art form just as Shakespear was in his day.

Anyway, what I have recently been watching mostly, is this:

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Simulist » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:03 pm

There are only two television shows we keep up with on broadcast TV: Modern Family and Fringe (and, starting in January, Alcatraz of course). I totally love JJ Abrams' stuff, propagandistic though it may be (and, sometimes, surely is).

But we've also been having lots of fun on Netflix lately, watching The Tudors. (If Henry Cavill is in something, all he really has to do is just stand there, okay? He doesn't even have to speak! — although movement is greatly appreciated, and he really is quite a fine actor — and there'd be a good chance I'd want to watch it. Hey, I admit to being frivolous and superficial — but, remember, my superficiality only goes so deep!)

But that's about it with us for television. For me, reading is really where it's at.
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Stephen Morgan » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:53 pm

Simulist wrote:There are only two television shows we keep up with on broadcast TV: Modern Family and Fringe (and, starting in January, Alcatraz of course). I totally love JJ Abrams' stuff, propagandistic though it may be (and, sometimes, surely is).

But we've also been having lots of fun on Netflix lately, watching The Tudors. (If Henry Cavill is in something, all he really has to do is just stand there, okay? He doesn't even have to speak! — although movement is greatly appreciated, and he really is quite a fine actor — and there'd be a good chance I'd want to watch it. Hey, I admit to being frivolous and superficial — but, remember, my superficiality only goes so deep!)

But that's about it with us for television. For me, reading is really where it's at.


I'm not suggesting watching Coronation Street. Misfits is excellent. The title is a reference of sorts to the American programme Heroes. They are normal non-heroic people who develop super hero powers. Young offenders on probation, in fact, doing community service. Standard superpowers, telepathy, immortality, timetravel, rape, invisibility. It's won awards, which put me off, but I recently discovered it and am now a fan.



Nice mix of characters, well written and acted. Nicely subverts genre norms while maintaining dramatic integrity.



That makes it look more like a standard late night Channel 4 programme, if you know what I mean, than it really is.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Simulist » Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:32 pm

Stephen Morgan wrote:They are normal non-heroic people who develop super hero powers. Young offenders on probation, in fact, doing community service. Standard superpowers, telepathy, immortality, timetravel, rape, invisibility. It's won awards, which put me off, but I recently discovered it and am now a fan.

:shock:

One of these things is not like the others.

(To say the least.)
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby jingofever » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:02 am

I recommend Childrens Hospital. It is the finest medical drama since Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Stephen Morgan » Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:45 am

Simulist wrote:
Stephen Morgan wrote:They are normal non-heroic people who develop super hero powers. Young offenders on probation, in fact, doing community service. Standard superpowers, telepathy, immortality, timetravel, rape, invisibility. It's won awards, which put me off, but I recently discovered it and am now a fan.

:shock:

One of these things is not like the others.

(To say the least.)


Well, super rape. Specifically the ability to brainwash someone into an insuperable lust for the one with the power. So to make someone have sex with you who otherwise wouldn't have, then to wipe their memory of the event afterward. Described as "you raped me" by one of the victims, so it's not just me characterising it as rape.

Channel 4 aren't stupid, though, they gave that power to one of the female characters to avoid outcry. Also, the powers derive from the characters' characters, so the one who feel ignored can become invisible, and so on.

As of the third series their powers are all different, so no more rape.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Stephen Morgan » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:06 am

The ancient 90s series Crime Traveller, starring Michael French, more famous as "that bloke from Eastenders" (or Casualty, now), and Chloe Annett, more famous as posh Kochansky from Red Dwarf.



Jekyll. A Stephen Moffat programme, who does Sherlock and currently runs Doctor Who, for the moment at least, although he's having a series of increasingly heated confrontations with the BBC.

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby gnosticheresy_2 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:14 am

Silly trashy horror fun, a bit like Misfits in that it's down wid da yoof in a not particularly patronising way:



Egg from This Life's holiday in the US turns sour:



Charlie Brooker is a national treasure:



Guilty pleasure, though the leads rant about the Catholic Church in the last episode was highly amusing:

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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Stephen Morgan » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:29 pm

I shall look up Rev. Looks a bit like Father Ted.

Never liked The Fades, watched the first couple of episodes but disliked it. I have a finely honed sci-fi/fantasy pallette.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Searcher08 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:49 pm

jingofever wrote:I recommend Childrens Hospital. It is the finest medical drama since Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.


Darkplace FTW :lovehearts:
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby justdrew » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:06 pm

Searcher08 wrote:
jingofever wrote:I recommend Childrens Hospital. It is the finest medical drama since Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.


Darkplace FTW :lovehearts:


you see Snuffbox? mindblowingly good

Matt Berry did two very nice albums related to the music in it. (the first album is best)
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Stephen Morgan » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:26 pm

A 2004 BBC miniseries called Conviction, about the police investigation into a murder.

It has a very strange start. It really feels like you've missed something, like there's been a previous episode and you haven't seen. It's a very effective technique, certainly, for immediately familiarising you with the characters. You immediately know that Joe is a rogue, Chrissy just wants to be popular and make everyone happy, the boss is bossy, the woman is a stereotype of insecure womanhood and the other one is otherworldly. Makes it feel like an established series, not the first episode of a one-off.

Chrissey's desire to be popular and his characteristic of being easily manipulated by his seniors and being overeager to please is particularly clear. Just in the brief bit before the opening credits he has a bit of banter spoon fed to him, mouthed to him, by his brother and boss Roy, then when he tries to improvise a bit of wit himself he drops a clanger by basically calling the girl a slut, followed by silence from the group.

He reminds me a bit of Melvin Smiley, from the film the Big Hit. Not a very popular film, there are disparate opinions as to whether it was meant to be a spoof or not, but I certainly enjoyed it. Starred Mark Wahlberg as an assassin who suffered terrible digestive trouble if he felt that people didn't like him, so he, for example, kowtowed to his fiancee and gave all his money to his other woman and let his fellow hitmen take the credit for what was overwhelmingly his work. A very clean cut sort of professional gangland killer, which is the sort of character Wahlberg generally plays. And very nearly played in real life on September the eleventh 2001. He plays the morally upright action hero, like the patsy in Shooter, not an amoral hero like a Schwartzenegger movie or a morally ambiguous but basically good hero like one of Bruce Willis' drunken and disgraced characters, a la Die Hard. An action hero for the modern age, because you don't really get that sort of corrupt cop so much anymore. Still plenty of corrupt cops, but they're corrupt in that they take money from drug dealers and stick it in Liechenstein trusts these days, but the more unprofessional type of cop who gets drunk on the job and takes harmless freebies is a lot less common now that it was even at the time of the first Die Hard movie. Nowadays a corrupt cop gets paid to look the other way by some multinational and takes a job writing for the papers on retirement as part of his payoff. Andy Hayman, I'm looking at you. I'm drifting.

He's meant to be the hero of the piece, too, the sympathetic character, is Chrissey. Really one of the most pleasant things about this programme is that it's a very ensemble piece, every one of the characters has their own bit of story and they don't get shoved into the background only to be taken off the shelf when the plot demands it. Mind you, the plot always needs all the characters, it's one of the most densely plotted television programmes I've ever seen.

The main theme is originally the murder of a young girl, found stabbed a few dozen times and dumped in a playground. I believe it's set somewhere in the north of England. The female rozzer, Lucy, is obviously Scottish but the rest seem to be local to that place and broadly northern. Doncaster is mentioned.

The rapid characterisation continues as they get to the murder scene and look around. Robert the outsider heads straight for the top of the half-pipe to scream at passing aircraft. The rest do the usual TV police at a crime scene stuff. A phone rings, turns out to be the girls, and Lucy answers it. She does seem ineffective and lacking in confidence and comes across as the most junior of the cops except for Chrissy. In fact I was astonished when the second episode started, with her fobbing off an old man who was worried about a gang who had previously attacked him, saying to his question of "what if they come back" nothing but "they won't". The best fisherman isn't the one who catches the most fish, he's the one who enjoys fishing the most, according to Robert the outsider, who they call "the Buddha". Anyway, the girl doesn't know what's been said over the phone and the boss is very harsh about it. Later, when she's got a pat on the head from the boss, the Buddha says "I bet if I asked you now you could tell me what that lad said on the phone", and she can. He just waited, he says, till she was feeling good about herself. In fact throughout the first episode those two pal around with him taking a somewhat paternal interest in her, which is why it's astonishing that she turns out, as a great shock at the start of the second episode, to be a DS, a sergeant, while he's only a DC. Okay, he insists that others take the credit for his work and refuses promotions, but what possessed them to write her as a DS?

They quickly find their first suspect, not based on any evidence but rather on doing what they call a "perv check". They check, turns out there is a perv in the local area, previously imprisoned for exposing himself to schoolgirls, so he immediately becomes their prime suspect in the non-sexual murder of a random child. They quickly build quite a compelling case against him, he knew the girl who came into his shop, he didn't have an alibi, the girl's bracelet, which her parents said she was wearing when she went out never to return, was found in his flat. And he's the local paedo. Joe and Chrissey, the rogue and the impressionable youngster, are sent to arrest him and stop at the side of the road on the way back to intimidate him a bit previous to questioning. You can tell the perv is crazy because he's praying. He manages to get Joe's goat up, not a great achievement, by saying "that which we hate most is that which we fear in ourselves", thereby implying that Joe is a paedo. He certainly had an unhealthy obsession with sex involving young girls, whether obsessing about a previous case of a raped and murdered young girl, to whom he keeps a shrine, or assaulting the boyfriend of his young daughter.

But the paedo has an upturn in fortunes, turns out they haven't got any of what you might call "evidence" against him, and the modern police procedures handbook frowns upon taking prisoners for some private softening up before interview. So he's released back to his house where he lives with his mother and from which he issues forth only to work, pray and booze.

That night is Joe's anniversary party, which he slightly disrupts by assaulting his daughter's boyfriend so that his family leave and he stays behind drinking with the police, before he, Chrissey and Chrissey's senile former cop father leave to drive home, an angry drunk, a cowardly drunk and a senile drunk driving away from a group of coppers. Unfortunately the father had said something unwise, that in his day they just took suspects "into the woods" and soon they'd be "confessing to shagging their own mothers". This gives Joe ideas and Chrissey, Mr Easily Led, drives him to the paedo's home where they watch, follow, and then kidnap him. Take him for a drive. Into the woods. He manages to slip his bus pass into the sleeping senile father's pocket before making a break for it into the woods. He's chased down and made to dig his own grave, purely as a form of intimidation, and told that if he wants to live he has to promise, cross his heart and hope to die, to go and confess first thing in the morning. HE agrees to do so, but then Joe realises he might be lying and asks how he can be sure. The paedo says "For Real", a reference to a mysterious tattoo on the dead girl which they'd been speculating about. Joe snaps at that and lashes out with the spade, leading to the paedo dying in the arms of Chrissey saying "I love you". Because he's crazy. Luckily there's a handy recently dug grave right there to receive the body.

Joe gives the impression that he knows what he's doing, straight away gets down to business, "go home, burn your clothes", so on, you'd think he'd done this before. He hasn't though, in fact the guilt takes about ten minutes to destroy his fragile psyche. So the paedo is dead. Not the plan when the night started, but one less kiddie killer in the world. Chrissey goes off to see his woman, who agrees to marry him after a bit of murder-fuelled emotional honesty. Apparently the best quality in a marriage proposal is "not flippant".

Meanwhile his sister has been busy, she, unmentioned by me until now due to all the other plot points, has been the paedo's defence brief and has found some CCTV footage establishing an alibi for the time of the killing. So he was innocent all along, meaning they now have no suspect and a mysterious disappearance of their former suspect. The episode ends with the senile old man asking "who was that man in the woods".

And that's the first episode. It takes until the end of the third to find out who killed the girl, after a long list of suspects including some young lads she was fucking, at twelve, her abusive mother, sex mad father and mild mannered stepfather. As I say, the series is excellent. Good writing, realistic characterisation, nice premise, excellent cinematography, plenty of drama, involvement of all the characters and an extremely intricate plot. Laura Fraser is good as the girl, Reese Dinsdale is excellent as the Buddha and Jason Watkins makes a very compelling hallucination/crazy paedo.

Also, a somewhat happy ending. Obviously the kid is still dead, two other damaged children are in prison, the innocent pervert is dead, the innocent pervert's family has lost her only family, Joe's daughter is in intensive care and Joe has lost his family, his job and ultimately his freedom. And his mind, with all the hallucinations. But for the rest, it's happy. Chrissey gets the girl and get married, even though she had to spend half of every episode talking him out of turning himself in and he spent to other half of every episode trying to help the paedo's mother catch him for killing her son. Joe was right to call him a streak of piss, too cowardly to turn down steak and chips from the old woman to go and choose a ring with his wife to be. Because he wants her to like him. Like he always does, he says. Very Melvin Smiley. Lcuy gets the boy too, having seduced a fence turned police informant, which as with all the various plot threads eventually ties back into the dual murder investigation. And the senile old man eventually realises that he didn't murder his wife's long ago lover, and his daughter isn't the spawn of another man's loins.

It's just a pity Chrissey, who really wasn't sympathetic at all, didn't get the jail sentence. Reminds me too much of scrappy doo, or Harry Kim. Needed locking up.

Seems to be totally missing from youtube.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby gnosticheresy_2 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:02 am



Second episode of Black Mirror, quality X-Factor crossed with 1984 dystopian satire. Highly recommended.
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby Stephen Morgan » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:46 am

For Charlie Brooker fans, the Screenwipe of the Year, aka 2011wipe, is currently on the iPlayer website.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Re: I am currently watching television programmes

Postby gnosticheresy_2 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:04 pm

Stephen Morgan wrote:For Charlie Brooker fans, the Screenwipe of the Year, aka 2011wipe, is currently on the iPlayer website.


Was good. Also enjoyed the new episode of Sherlock, though

Spoiler:plane full of corpses to be used as a prop for a faked terrorist atrocity

was a bit jarring in terms of the rest of the episode. Almost RI-like.
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