Daily Archives: April 3, 2010

Doctor Who (5.1): Who da man?

Let us travel in time gentle reader – back to January 1st  2010. I am a heartbroken woman. David Tennant (fantastic actor, nice bloke and for some of us at least, seriously handsome) has left the TARDIS with a plaintive “I don’t want to go.” And yes, I blubbed.

And then I vowed to give Matt Smith a chance – not believing in my heart for a second that he could begin to fill those well-travelled Converse trainers. And now?

Full marks to the Moff-ia. Matt Smith is brilliant. Mad as a box of cats, authoritative, and (I think) funny. I can’t be quite sure because I watched with a very excited Junior Hat (5) who hasn’t quite got the hang of waiting for characters to answer the questions the writers have posed to us all, and insists on asking me instead. She was also very vocal about the nasty worm with teeth.

When the end credits rolled she wanted to know if she could watch more new Doctor Who tomorrow. She was frankly incredulous at the idea of waiting a week (kids today with their mums’ DVD boxsets and catch-up TV eh?). So, it’s safe to say the target market (which IS children not 40-year-old fanbois) is hooked all over again.

Amy Pond looks set to be a great companion. I loved the childhood version – not phased by the mad man with a box eating fish custard – and nearly cried for her when the Doctor’s terrible timekeeping left her waiting on her suitcase in the garden.

Karen Gillan brought the adult Amy to life beautifully – suitably angry with the man who had disappointed her so totally as a child and yet still ready to step into a zinging  new police box and venture out into the universe. I’m betting she’s going to give as good as she gets out there. She is also, frankly gorgeous.

And the plot? Prisoner Zero (nasty alien worm with really sharp teeth) escapes to Earth through a crack in young Amy’s bedroom wall (setting up the series’ story arc too I suspect), alien prison guards with great-looking space ships (like particularly spiky ice crystals with a massive eyeball suspended below) turn up and threaten to incinerate earth unless Prisoner Zero turns itself in. The Doctor, who is sans TARDIS and sonic screwdriver, has twenty minutes to save the Earth and does so using a laptop, a good-looking young man, Patrick Moore, a Smart Phone, a computer virus and the power of Amy Pond’s dreams.

Who da man? Matt Smith da man. Stephen Moffat da man. Seven days suddenly seem an awfully long time for a girl without her own time machine…

Posted by Jo the Hat

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Emmerdale: A Woman Scorned…

It was goodbye to wicked Sally Spode last night but not before she went over the psycho line into complete nuttyville. All of the usual characteristics were there: eyeballs flicking about as if they were following the final of the world ping-pong championships, pasting her face over that of her love rival in family photographs, hysterical screeching, mismatched clothing, harping on about fate, pretending to be pregnant, finding it funny that she’s just been hoisted over a balcony and owning a pink body puff in a cream and beige bathroom ( I mean hello? Hasn’t the fruitloop heard of colour matching!?).

But of course, the Spodester is just another in a long line of psycho soap women. I think if I lived in a soap, I would never turn down the advances of a woman who found me attractive (and let’s face it, I’d come up against that problem A LOT) . Why? Well in real life, the woman would take the rejection on the chin, shed a tear of disappoinment or two and move on. In soap land, she is more likely to do one of the following: drug you and have her wicked way with you, blow up your exclusive chain of corner shops, trample you with a horse, steal your heart medicine or murder your wife or spouse.

Soap producers don’t appear to have a very good view of women. Forget Richard Hillman, Tony Gordon and Archie Mitchell, it’s the femme fatales you really need to look out for. Sally Spode, with her church fire, her pretend baby, her prancing in front of oncoming vehicles and her date raping is relatively mild compared to some. Who can forget Kim Tate, the bitchiest of soap bitches, or Corrie’s Mad Maya Sharma, who needed a whole week of episodes to fit in all of her explosions, hostage taking and hitting people over the head with statues of Ganesh?

Emmerdale does psycho better than any other and one can’t help wondering what the next nutter will get up to.

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Damages Season 3 (6): “A lot of big brothers out there want to steal your mashed potatoes”

Dominic Chianese: keeping the money hidden and the suits sharp

I must report that Ms bold, a Glenn Close and Damages fan, found this episode curiously unsatisfying. I fear it’s because each scene is now on average 4 seconds long and by this point the series is weaving so many multiple strands of story that you’d have to be a skilled Lancastrian loom operator to follow the warp and weft on this cloth.  It will look great when finished, but right now we’re all too close to the threads to see the big picture.

This episode primarily builds up Tommy’s emotional and financial motives for the flash forward ending.  Extra denouement glimpses this week – Tommy and Ellen with vast amounts of cash; new timeline reveal, means we know Patty’s car smash was a few hours before Tommy died.  So it was Tommy … but of course it won’t be this obvious. Never is.

And the flash forward now has some lovely guitar music – maybe Patty sued to stop the shrieking music that sent her eyes into lunatic independent rotation.  It’s a nice 4 seconds of relaxation among the ongoing plotting mayhem.

Best set up scene:  Patty seeking deal with (beautifully Dickensianesque-named) Sterling Biddle, a fraudster she put away in the 80s.  She wants to know how the Tobin cash might be squirreled away.  He promises information in return for a “conjugal visit”.  Patty calls as yet unhired blonde Alex for an assignment: “How badly do you want the job?” Alex is next seen unzipping her leather boots, sitting uncomfortably next to a gently salivating Mr Biddle:  “Patty always had an eye for the pretty ones”.

Would Patty really do that? Such is her hardball status that you think – yep, on reflection she could. And they let you think this, right up to the end, when you see she was in fact smuggling in caviar.  Mind you, he did want her to stay and watch him eat it.  Sicko.

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Lustbox: Alan Rickman

The two most appealing things about Alan Rickman (this sounds like the beginning of a very poor joke I know) are his voice and his mouth, and both of those things make him utterly perfect for playing a villain. I award him, and his curling upper lip, the title of Most Fabulous Sneer ever.

He is, however, a bit of a scene stealer. The film Truly, Madly, Deeply, for example, had some vomit-inducingly winsome moments (an excess of snot from Juliet Stevenson, and the spectacularly irksome hopping scene on the South Bank that had me chewing the arm off the person sitting next to me in the Brixton Ritzy, and I’d never met them before).

And yet, the electric presence of Rickman as the ghost of the dead cello-playing boyfriend raised the quality of the film. He made the new, wet (but having the benefit of a pulse) love interest, played by Michael Maloney, appear terribly dull in comparison.

Richard Armitage has recently thrown down a pretty impressive gauntlet in the Robin Hood villain stakes, but way back in 1991, in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Rickman stole the show from Kevin Costner playing the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham. If I’d have been Maid Marion, hell, if I’d been Friar Tuck, I know whose horse I’d prefer to ride off on. Rickman was also superb as Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

More recently, Harry Potter fans will know him for his role as Severus Snape. I’ve been reading that Tim Roth was actually first choice for the role. This one is problematical for me, because, in the books, Snape is supposed to be physically greasy and repellant. Rickman just can’t play ugly, he’s too damn sexy. But if ever there were a man to convince a nice girl to head straight to the dark side, it would be Alan Rickman.

For more Lustbox entries, see here

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Ashes to Ashes (3.1): More questions than answers

So, we have eight weeks to finally unravel what’s been going on in Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, and we got off to a cracking start last night. From Alex’s new introduction – “My name is Alex Drake and frankly your guess is as good as mine” to our first sighting of DCI Gene Hunt – the Audi Quattro roaring across the screen to the Ride of the Valkyries, Hunt in full-on sheriff mode (it seeems Alex may harbour fantasies of being rescued from various types of badness by the Gene Genie too) – it was good to be back in Gene’s world.

Alex appeared to have gone back to the future… but it was only a dream – one she was literally slapped out of by Gene Hunt, who needed her to clear his name with D and C (Discipline and Complaints) after he accidentally shot her at the end of Series 2. Question one, what’s the significance of the news report of a body dug up in the present day?

Talking of D and C, here enters DCI Jim Keats – is he also from the future? He says he wants to help Alex, but is telling the truth? Questions two and three.

There is also the Case of the Week to solve – a little girl called Dorothy Blond has been kidnapped. Ray Carling has been running the investigation while Gene has been hiding out abroad (“the Isle of Wight. But that was shit, so I tried the Costa Brava.”) but with little success. Lucky for Dotty, Alex (yes, in red shoes) and Gene return to squabble, pull faces and eventually save the day.

Frankly it’s amazing Alex gets anything done however, what with being haunted by a dead policeman who seems to be missing half his face (Q4), stumbling on a file about Sam Tyler (Q5), and being subjected to her worst hairstyle yet.

But this isn’t really Alex’s show – I’m not sure I care whether she gets back to Molly anymore – the beating heart of the show is Gene. It may be the braggadocio and one-liners that go down in history, but it’s the vulnerability that we’re occasionally allowed to glimpse that stops him being a cartoon caricature.

The final shot of him through a rain-soaked window, whisky glass in hand, after Keats has vowed to expose his secrets and destroy his reputation, certainly pulled at my heart-strings, even as I did my best to ignore the seeds of doubt the dastardly writers have planted. Damn you Graham and Pharoah!

Still, having slept on it, my faith in the Gene Genie remains. I can’t wait to see what he makes of speed-dating next week.

Posted by Jo the Hat

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