Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Of Hancock

Finally a movie I can actually be cruel to. Soon I get to have a go at Heroes. However if you look at my movie reviews I've been stunningly positive to almost all of them (I think the only one below a seven is Shoot 'em Up). I genuinely didn't like Hancock. No offense if you did but if you think it's a better superhero movie than Iron-Man or Dark Knight you are a complete and utter fool. It is nowhere near as good as either of those films.

For starters it genuinely needs to decide on a tone. Seriously you'd think a movie starring Will Smith and Jason Bateman would be funny, which it is don't get me wrong, but I thought it'd be funnier. Yes Will Smith has done drama. He has also done drama stunningly well. I mean in 2006 he was in Pursuit of Happyness which is a genuinely touching movie. In this I honestly don't know what the fuck he was doing. One second he's a drunk the next minute we're supposed to feel sorry for him. Hancock was a dick throughout the first half of the movie, this was also the best bit of the movie. Then he finally manages to get rid of his dick persona, in an admittedly quite a cool scene. However then the movie goes to the shit. There are some incredible lapses of logic. Far more than The Dark Knight. Hancock starts to slowly lose his powers when he meets a fellow superhero. Then all of a sudden being a reasonable distance away means he can get them back. It isn't a slow process like the other it just happens. This happens in what is supposed to be the emotional climax of the film which in effect is just truly mindbogglingly stupid.

Another complaint. There is no clear villain. If anything true love is painted to be a villain in this film. Apparently the two people who are made for each other should never get together. Instead the woman should cheat on her husband with a normal man who is eventually going to die of natural causes whilst you carry on living. Congratulations you've managed to fuck up your relationship entirely. Back to my villain complaint. What we get in place of a villain is a man who wants revenge for having his hand chopped up. Apparently he was a veteran of the war and now wants monetary compensation. Fair enough. However despite being soldiers they try to kill fucking everyone in the bank and most of the Los Angeles police force. So they go away and fight for all these people but then try to murder them all. In fact not only that but that but they try to shoot an injured female police officer and the man who is trying to save her. Then the other two villains are even worse. The only reason they want to get Hancock is because he shoved one their heads up the others arse. Great. So what I thought was a reasonably funny throw away gag turns into a plot point? Lord give me strength.

The special effects in this film seem to flit between "actually quite decent" and "no don't do that again". It just seems in some parts that they wanted to say "look we have an amazing budget" and throw in a completely fucking pointless storm. The flying scenes are obviously green screen and not the cool screen like in Superman where it looks good. Nope it just looks bad. I can appreciate stuff like the train scene or throwing the whale (the movies funniest scene annoyingly spoiled by the trailer). However when you're flying scenes look like Heroes you need to have a slapped wrist.

More complaints!!! The last half of the movie falls into pointless melodrama. If they'd carried on the tone of the first half it could have been a decent movie. Instead it decides to throw us a half decent twist then shit all over the last half of the movie. Honestly I hated that last half of the movie. There's just the fact that it destroyed the tone of the first half. The humour is gone. Which isn't all bad. There are many which can combine humour and drama in a great way (Garden State) but Hancock is either one or the other. Seriously if the people who made Hancock ever read this (HA!) go watch Iron-Man. That movie manages to combine comedy and drama in a great way. This movie could have so easily be great because it's trying to do something original but it fails. In fact Iron-Man is eventually going to have to hit upon the "alcoholic" storyline and I know it's going to be a million times better than this turned out. Hancock has some stunning story issues. I just can't get past them.

Okay time for something reasonably positive. I like all three of the main characters. Will Smith? Great actor. Pursuit of Happyness, Ali and even some of I am Legend. He's shown he can be funny in Men in Black and was the lead in a sitcom in the 90s. However if you ask me they got him mixed up with Tommy Lee Jones because he seems to be gruff in this instead of the sort of comedy that Will Smith can do. In fact the movie is funny. Almost all the scenes Will Smith has with Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) are actually pretty funny. I like both of these actors however I feel stunningly bad for Charlize Theron the OSCAR WINNING actress in an amazingly underwritten role in what can only be described as the antagonist of the film. At least Dark Knight made good use of the their talent with Heath Ledger.

Alright I will say I laughed at certain points. The first half is alright. However the twist that happens destroys the movie. The movie really needed a distinct tone or at least work at making it a good dramedy. With talent like Will Smith and Jason Bateman you'll be excused for thinkig "oooh funniness" and yes there are laughs but not nearly enough. For a good example of how to do a superhero movie for featuring a bit of dick watch Iron-Man, because knowing what I know about the Iron-Man character he only gets a lot more like Hancock. Hancock seems to be a failed experiment. They really dropped the ball on the last half of the movie. Hopefully they can sort out in the second movie (if not I'm only going to review it worse than this one). 5/10

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #07 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Alright it's Terminator's time in the spot light. Terminator is one of only two shows to premiere in 2008 which I thought were actually decent. Okay Mentalist and Fringe are getting there (actually I'm still quite disappointed in Fringe despite an amazing last episode before hiatus). So Breaking Bad and Terminator are the only shows to make it onto this list. Breaking Bad might end up being the better overall show but Terminator has shown some stunning episodes (although recently it's become far too bogged down in just an odd storyline). However I will say that Terminator has had some of the best episodes I've seen in 2008. Season 2 is definitely better than Season 1. I will also say that the first eight episodes of Season 2 are quite possibly one of the strongest strings of episodes I've seen of any show ever. I'll go into that later.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles is the movie that Terminator 3 should have been. For starters we actually have Sarah Connor. Also it isn't uniformly shit. Yes I hate Terminator 3, it is an appalling movie and completely sullies Terminator and Terminator 2, just like Alien 3 and Resurrection sully Alien and Aliens. I have no completely stricken Terminator 3 from the continuity and am happy to believe that this is where the Terminator series will go (although Terminator Salvation has already confirmed that there will not be a cross-over with Sarah Connor Chronicles).

So the story of Sarah Connor Chronicles is that John (Thomas Dekker) and Sarah (Lena Heady) are still trying to take down Skynet. However in the future, Skynet sends a Terminator called Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt) to kill John. However the resistance also sends back a Terminator named Cameron Phillips (Summer Glau) to protect John and Sarah. So really this is exactly the same as all the other Terminator films except that this one has a lack of Arnold Schwarzenegger, however don't fret Summer Glau and Garret Dillahunt make up for him with some amazing performances as their respective Terminators.

Sarah Connor Chronicles adds some new layers to the Terminator mythos. For starters the Terminators aren't just sent back to kill John, instead they're sent back to kill all sorts of people involved in the resistance against the machines in the future. There is also the computer which would seem to be what will become Skynet in the future which is no being taught the difference between right and wrong by the Agent Ellision (Richard T. Jones) and T-1001 Catherine Weaver (Shirely Manson). There's the introduction of Kyle Reese's brother Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green) who plays an important role in the story. Plus there is the romance between John and Cameron. There's also an unauthorised team sent back in time to stop them. Oh and the exceedingly annoying three dots.

Whilst a lot of these are really interesting (the whole story involving the future Skynet is awesome) but other stuff like the three dots have become annoying. However the show is still fantastic. I can let the show off for all of the storylines in the last two or three episodes because it was amazingly strong up until this point and was also going to be potentially canceled which meant that they needed some way to wrap so many questions that had been asked, admittedly by making the story a lot more confusing (and not confusing in the Lost way where it still sort of makes sense). The show was amazingly strong for most of this year and I can't wait for it to come back in February (even if it will probably be it's last ever episode).

The show also doesn't really suffer from "Terminator of the week". Whilst that would seemingly be the only way that a show called Terminator would work, it doesn't. In fact four my favourite episodes: Samson and Delilah, The Mousetrap, Allison from Palmdale and Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today. All are heavily to do with the mythos and all of them deal with one or two of the three characters in the main cast who are Terminators. So I'm just going to go into all three briefly.

Samson and Delilah - One of the strongest premieres of the season. Takes place literally moments after Season 1 finishes and plays amazingly on the concept of "what happens if Cameron goes bad?" The entire 40 minutes is probably the closest to the actually Terminator movies in that it is a massive chase scene. It also has one of the best opening scenes to any season premiere ever (not quite Lost season but still fucking amazing).

The Mousetrap
- The last episode to feature Charley (Dean Winters). In it we get the culmination of that story with Charley's wife being kidnapped (played wonderfully by Sonya Walger or Penny in Lost). The entire episode is just a cool little story about the Terminator taking an active stance in trying to kill John Connor by taking his protectors out of the picture. It's a fun episode that ends on a very bum note in that a character dies.

Allison from Palmdale - The long awaited episode that delves into Cameron's past. Cameron goes crazy in a supermarket and ends up wandering off with some random girl who likes to steal things. Interspersed with flashforwards to the future we find out who exactly Allison is and how she is related to Cameron (trust me it's a great twist to the story).

Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today - This is the episode that made Terminator one of my must see shows. Told through non-linear progression from the point of view of almost all the series regulars we got this stunningly told story that culminates in the death in one of the coolest characters that the show had given us.

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles is everything that made Terminator rock. It is far better than Terminator 3. It is a great sci-fi TV series which is being treated horribly by Fox. Here's hoping that the show continues to be awesome in 2009 and also that if it is awesome that it gets a third season.

Of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I didn't think that a movie released this year would be able to better The Dark Knight, however yesterday one did. That movie was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and let me say that it is a masterpiece and an absolute classic. Alright many people who read this are going to come away severely unimpressed because to be honest a lot of teenagers aren't going to want to sit through a three hour movie about Brad Pitt aging backwards and finding love. But that's me, I seem to have odd movie tastes for someone my age. In fact Benjamin Button seems to be pretty polarizing but I can say that I loved it. In fact so does IMDB where it currently stands at #74 of their top movies of all time.

At the start of this year I was only really excited for Cloverfield and the new Indiana Jones film. However I did eventually get caught up in the hype for The Dark Knight (I was actually quite late to that party) and I obviously loved that movie. Now I've seen a lot of movies this year I've seen a fair few movies this year, I am Legend, Cloverfield, Be Kind Rewind, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Iron Man, Son of Rambow, The Fall, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Incredible Hulk, Wall-E, Tropic Thunder, Burn After Reading, Ghost Town, RocknRolla, Hancock Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Quantum of Solace and Yes Man. Only one of them actually came close to beating The Dark Knight and that was Wall-E. However three movies were announced which I thought would give it a run for its money and they were Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. As I've said I loved Slumdog Millionaire but didn't think it was quite as good as Dark Knight and I'm saving The Wrestler until it comes out in the UK (trust me it's an exercise in patience because I physically NEED to see that movie). So my hopes rested on Benjamin Button.

It completely blew my expectations out of the water.

Benjamin Button is beautiful. I would say it is the second most beautiful movie of 2008 (Slumdog Millionaire is directed slightly better). I would say that Slumdog and Benjamin Button have some of the most gorgeous cinematography ever in a film. Which really isn't saying much as they were directed by some of the most talented people in direction at the moment. In fact every single amazing movie this year have been directed by some of my favourite directors. Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, David Fincher and Danny Boyle, if you don't know who these guys are then shame on you. Benjamin Button is just phenomenal to look at. Seriously I'm in awe. In the first ten minutes of the movie there is a scene which takes place during World War 1. The entire scene takes place in reverse with explosions going off and people coming back to life and it is just one of the visual highlights of the film.

I'm also going to have to rave about the special effects because honestly they are stunning. I'm big fan of special effects that are so little that you can't really see. Dark Knight also did this because honestly could you see the special effects? There were explosions but you can make explosions. Everything in that movie "looked" realistic as did Benjamin Button. It's also one of the reasons I thought Hancock wasn't very good (review later). No offense to Hancock but the special effects in Serenity are 10x better and they were done by a TV special effects studio. Go hang you're head in shame. Benjamin Button's special effects are really amazing because it is almost impossible to tell where they are. You know they have to be there but it's difficult to tell, there are scenes which are clearly special effects (the sub scene) but all of the characters aging (or in Brad Pitt's case de-aging) are done superbly and amazingly realistically. You can actually see the innocence of a child in 80 year old Benjamin and the world weariness in his 20 year old self and it is astounding. All though really that is all down to Brad Pitt's performance.

Brad Pitt is amazing in this movie. Brad Pitt is a weird thing in Hollywood. He's not like Tom Cruise who has the paparazzi following his social life like hawks and yet when it comes to his movies you can't help but feel that he isn't that great of an actor. Brad Pitt is an astounding actor. He was great in Burn After Reading. He is even better in this film. This performance is definitely Oscar worthy. Problem is he probably won't get it and that is purely because there is much hype surrounding Sean Penn in Milk and Mickey Rourke in the Wrestler. But Pitt is spectacular because he genuinely does make you feel like Benjamin Button is aging backwards. I'm also going to say that Cate Blanchett is amazing as well, even if I thought that she was a complete bitch for a good deal of the movie (trust me she treats Benjamin Button like complete shit at one point and you just want to hit her). She to puts on an amazing performance as someone who has to deal with the love of their life getting younger whilst she gets older.

I would also like to say that Brad Pitt and David Fincher have yet to make a bad movie together. If there is any team up in Hollywood which you should never miss are David Fincher + Brad Pitt and Darren Aronofsky + Clint Mansell. I wouldn't miss these two doing a film together. Ever. Really these two in a film together just spells success. I mean they've done Fight Club and Se7en together, both of which are amazing.

Finally I will say that this movie is genuinely touching. During the last reels of the film I was crying and honestly it was for no good reason. There were multiple times that I teared up but it was those last few moments purely because it goes through every single character that you become attached to over the course of the three hours. I will say that Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin Button's mother is an astounding performance and I sincerely feel that she should win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (because I don't feel that this film will win any other acting Oscars).

I loved Benjamin Button and it currently sits as my favourite film of 2008. It has a distinct message about death that is incredibly touching. It is also a beautiful film with astounding performances. Whilst some people may be "sickened" by the actual content (the fact that Benjamin knows Daisy since she was seven made one reviewer I've seen feel that the movie was wrong). I will say that Benjamin Button is easily one of the best movies that I have ever seen. If you don't like long movies this might not be for you but if you want to see a gorgeous movie with amazing performances and one of the most touching movies ever then go and see this movie when it comes out in February in the UK (yes I've seen the movie 2 months early). 10/10

Also some astute people out there might notice many similarities between this film and Forest Gump, the reason being they were written by the same person, and since Forest Gump is a great movie I don't see any problem with there being a few similarities.

Finally, I aim to review No Country for Old Men, Hancock and Yes Man over the next two days so look out for that.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #08 The Office

Another day another entry in my favourite TV shows of 2008. I'm sort of continuing on a similar run as yesterday with another comedy show (but it's not the last comedy show on the list). So today it is The Office's turn and its not the UK Office. Now I love the UK Office but in some ways I would say that the US Office is a bit better. I'm not going to say it's the better show because coming from the UK that would be social suicide but I will say that I'm glad that the US Office decided to distance itself from the UK version because by far the worst episode of the entire show would be the pilot episode of The Office which is in actual fact a carbon copy of the first episode of the UK Office, except shit. I tried watching this episode a few years ago and I seriously couldn't force my way through it. However I obviously quite enjoy the show now or otherwise it wouldn't be anywhere this list.

First of all the show managed to forge an identity for itself and really came into its own in the second season (which still remains its best). The show maintains a lot of what made the UK version so great (such as the fact that it was set in an office as well as the little romance subplot). It also does some of its own stuff. For starters almost all of the other people in the office are far more fleshed out, more so than the UK Office, however this may have something to do with the fact that the US Office has reached 76 episodes which is about 60 more than the UK version ever got. So really you can't blame them for including more substantial supporting characters than just the main four characters.

The four main characters in the US Office are Michael who is the US version of David Brent (Ricky Gervais). Michael is of course played by Steve Carell who if you haven't heard of I have to wonder where the fuck you have been for the past five years? Steve Carell portrays a different character to David Brent. They still display the same ineptitude in that they clearly shouldn't be doing their jobs, however I definitely feel more for Michael than I ever did for David (especially during the recent Holly arc on the US Office). Next up is Dwight who is the US version of Garreth (Mackenzie Crook). Dwight is portrayed by Rainn Wilson and the character is actually insane, fucking hilarious but insane. So much of the early seasons humour came from this character. There's stuff like the fact that he owns a beet farm with his cousin Mose (who if anything is even more insane). The show has set up Dwight to be the ultimate comic foil in that he takes himself so seriously and whilst they have taken him away from Jim who made him so funny in the first few seasons we can still have fun watching him with Andy and Angela (to of the biggest supporting characters, both of whom are also very funny). Then we have the heart of the show, Jim and Pam, based of Tim (Martin Freeman) and Dawn (Lucy Davis) of the UK series, Jim and Pam are what give this version of the Office so much heart. Whilst their story seems to have taken a slightly boring turn after their proposal (still one of my favourite moments I've watched this year), I can say, that since I watched all of John Krasinski's and Jenna Fischer's performance in one year, it is one of the most realistic portrayals of romance on television at the moment (almost as good as Desmond and Penny on Lost).

As I've said, the US Office has managed to forge so much of it's own identity. Whilst the concept and core characters are the same, the show has managed to expand. For starters it actually leaves the office, not always that successful but still many great episodes take place outside of the office (such as an entire set inside a Chillis). Then as mentioned there are the recurring characters. As mentioned there are Angela who is the staunch catholic woman with a penchant for babies dressed up as adults, Andy the barber shop singing idiot, Toby the HR representative who only Michael seems to hate, Kevin the guy that spawned quite possibly my favourite recurring joke a TV show ever (except for slap-bet of course) and then there's Creed. Words cannot express how much this character rocks. Almost every single thing that he says is comic gold. Here are a few choice examples:

Creed: I'm not offended by homosexuality. In the 60s I made love to many, many women, often outdoors, in the mud and the rain... and it's possible a man slipped in. [shrugs] There'd be no way of knowing.

Creed: Every week, I'm supposed to take four hours and do a quality spot-check at the paper mill. And of course the one year I blow it off, this happens.

Ryan: Last year, Creed asked me how to set up a blog. Wanting to protect the world from being exposed to Creed's brain, I opened up a Word document on his computer and put an address at the top. I've read some of it. Even for the Internet, it's... pretty shocking.

Kelly: I swallowed a tapeworm last night. It's going to grow up to three feet inside of me and then it eats all my food so that I don't get fat. And then after three months I take some medicine and then I pass it. Creed sold it to me. It's from Mexico.
[cuts to Creed in an interview]
Creed: That wasn't a tapeworm.

Finally I just want to go on about the practical jokes that the series uses. Below is a little compilation video. Although if you haven't seen the show just go watch it. (BTW Nickels + Phone = Funniest Prank Ever).

So yes The Office is funny, luckily it is also more than funny with Jim and Pam who help make it that bit better than 30 Rock or Arrested Development because it feels like there are real characters in this show. Also final note Jack Black is guest starring next year!!! Hells yes.

P.S. Just watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Damn. Review tomorrow.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #09 Arrested Development/30 Rock

Alright I'm sort of cheating here in two respects. One in that one of the two chosen shows was canceled two and a half years ago and the second being that I picked two shows. This was the reason that I decided to shorten my list by one number because I just thought that these shows are both too similar to be listed as separate items. Although at the same time they are both completely different entities.

Both of them are from that new breed of comedy that America seems to be experiencing at the moment. Really they are the most perfect examples of it as well. The Office is based on a British idea so doesn't count, How I Met Your Mother is very much a normal American sitcom with some interesting time altering storyline. Then nearly every other comedy TV show in America is actually quite bad (I'm not going to name the remaining ones I do like, but I will say that Scrubs is one of the few, even if it isn't as good anymore). This new breed is sort of a quirky self referential humour. In fact both shows have a very similar joke about product placement within their shows. You stuff like in Quantum of Solace every single piece of computing merchandise is Sony, in Arrested Development and 30 Rock both shows take the piss of it. 30 Rock for example spends about five minutes talking about one product and how amazing it is and then the main character turns to the camera and asks "can we have our money?" It's hilariously funny and something similar is used in Arrested Development when one of the characters is sat in Burger King and the entire scene plays around product placement of various meals and offers before the character proclaims "it's a wonderful restaurant" and the narrator chimes in with "it sure is!". Similar concept but equally as funny.

Both shows are written superbly and the only reason that they don't fall higher on the list is that this sort of comedy isn't my favourite sort of comedy. If it were both of these shows could have ended up in my top three but as it stands I prefer drama shows and little sly geeky references in my comedy (hence why The Office and How I Met Your Mother fall higher). However I implore anyone reading this to at least check out Arrested Development and 30 Rock. The thing is both shows reward being watched in little chunks, Arrested Development more so. Arrested Development is chock full of little sly references to other episodes. Characters will allude to previous episodes or jokes in obscure ways that only constant viewers will get. Arrested Development also plays with a very funny "punch line before the actual joke" concept. In one memorable episode one of the characters comments on there being a pigeon in the fridge, we then flashback a little while later to security camera footage of the purchasing of the pigeon and the reason it is in the fridge (I won't spoil it for you). 30 Rock doesn't exactly rely on the same methods but it is something of a spiritual successor. The show has some incredibly great moments, one of the characters proclaiming "I'm voting for Osama" and a memorable therapy session in which Alec Baldwin portrays something like six characters. In fact that exact scene is in the clip below.

I'm going to take a moment to talk about the actors. 30 Rock really has two standouts, Tina Fey who if you were following the election at all will realise is the person behind the incredibly funny Sarah Palin impression, she portrays Liz Lemon in the show and whilst not being the funniest characters has a fair share of great lines. However the heart and soul of 30 Rock is Alec Baldwin or for Team America fans "the greatest actor ever" and really if you watch 30 Rock you may end up agreeing with it, the guy is just fucking amazing. That therapy scene above is just one of many awesome scenes that Alec Baldwin is give throughout the show.

As for Arrested Development actors you're bound to recognise at least some of them. My favourite character G.O.B. is portrayed by Will Arnett who you may have seen in movies such as RV or Blades of Glory. How about Michael Cera in Juno or Superbad? Jason Bateman in Hanncock or Juno? Tony Hale who is currently guest staring in Chuck or David Cross in Men in Black and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (that by the way is an amazing film). So many of the actors are instantly recognisable but so many people are surprised to hear that they were in a TV show together, let alone one that ran for three amazing years. All the characters are some of the most detestable characters that you'll ever meet and yet that all plays to their charm.

Both shows also have amazing guest stars departments. Arrested Development managed to get actors like Ben Stiller, Zach Braff, Liza Minnelli, Charlize Theron and Alan Tudyk. As for 30 Rock they got Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, Carrie Fisher, Edie Falco and Rip Torn. Both of these are just the tip of the iceberg but you'd be surprised the amount of times that you can just point at the screen in either show and go "oh my god I didn't know that he could be funny!"

I would love to rant and rave about how amazing these shows are but all I can give is my recommendation, watch just a few episodes of either show (both preferably from the beginning, but give 30 Rock a while because the first few episodes aren't as strong), and you'll get hooked along for the ride. By the time you get to the Goregasm game in 30 Rock or the Mole vs. Man with Jetpack fight in Arrested Development and be fully along for the ride. Finally some great news for both shows, whilst Arrested Development was canceled a few years ago a movie version should be coming back next year (if Michael Cera signs on) and as for 30 Rock, that's still going strong with both Salma Hayek and John Hamm (he's in Mad Men) doing guest arcs.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Of Fucked Up Sleeping Patterns

Swearing in blog titles is always intelligent.

Damn I so fucking tired. Really you can tell when your sleeping patterns are fucked up when you think it would be intelligent to go out at three in the morning to do something (to be honest I can’t even remember what I wanted to do anymore) and then at five at the evening all you want to do is sleep despite only being up for five hours. So I really need to get back into semblance of a normal sleep structure or otherwise my January will be…interesting to say the least.

Alright I’m taking this Christmas to try and catch up with lots of stuff I should really be on top of, I have until about February until life finally catches all the way back up so I’m trying to take it as easy as I can. At the moment I’m trying to finish of Mad Men Season 1 (it is really good) as well as the first season of Damages (I’ve got a daunting task of getting completely finished by January 7th when the second season starts). I’m going to try and get reviews for both of those as soon as my Top TV Shows of 2008 is done (I’ve got the next three already written up so it’s just a matter of copy and paste).

Tomorrow I’m out filming all day which should be make for at least something interesting. I’ll probably go into this in more detail in the coming months, at the moment I know I’m writing the third episode which I want to make so freaking awesome (it’s going to be non-linear and feature a death that’s all I know). My friend also wants me to help write a comedy thingy about serial killers who live in the same house. Could be interesting, I’ve got five days to come up with four uniquely funny characters that are able to play off each other in humourous ways (also their methods of killing have to be comical and sickening at the same time). On top of this I’m also aiming to write something for myself (it’s actual the novel idea from last year which is still fermenting in my brain, I just think it’ll work better as a film script with some sort of narrator which will break the fourth wall, similar to Arrested Development except more sarcastic). I’m praying at least one of these will take off in the coming months.

In terms of this blog I’ve got the rest of my TV shows thingy and then in the New Year I’ve got a whole host of reviews. A review of Heroes Volume 3, Mad Men Season 1 and Damages (at the moment only one is negative). Then I’m finally going to review No Country for Old Men as well as the new Jim Carrey movie, Yes Man. I might also do a review of Mallrats, the Kevin Smith film, or I’ll save up all of his movies and review one a day for a week as soon as I’ve seen Chasing Amy. I also aim to review a book soon, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (it sort of pushed Brisingr from my reading list because I’m having trouble getting into it). Speaking of books, I’m going to at least start the fourth Dark Tower book and also read The Road by Cormac McCarthy who wrote No Country for Old Men, so it looks like this blog is going to be more than just film and television reviews.

Over Christmas I also got a few video games early thoughts on two of them:
= a shit ton of fun and Stephen Fry makes me giggle. I might not be the most creative person, but even I can make a cool level and character in this game.
Prince of Persia
= maybe not quite as good as Sands of Time but a definite return to form after Warrior Within and Two Thrones.

I’m going to get round to Fallout 3, Okami and Shadow of the Colossus very soon (I know bad on me for not playing the last two when they came out).

Well I hope that sounds interesting, 3 television reviews, 2 movie reviews, 3 book reviews and 5 game reviews. As well as a lot of other stuff (if I can find the time to do IasG14’s challenge, because I seriously haven’t forgotten, I’ve just been hella busy.)

Oh by the way I’ve got a question, my iPod is now officially full to the brim of songs and need a new one. So my question is should I get the new nano or the touch? Sound off in comments/new poll!!!!

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #10 Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is superb. It's just a shame that the first season only lasted for seven episodes. If had managed to get it's full season of nine episodes then it might have found it's way far higher up this list. However what we did get was more than worthy of making it onto this list of best television shows of 2008, but really with only seven (albeit stunning) episodes the show really couldn't have gone much higher when compared against shows I watched 60+ episodes of this year.

Breaking Bad is the second new show from the channel AMC. AMC used to have nothing then in the summer of 2007 they aired the sublime Mad Men (expect a review of Season 1 in a few weeks). Then a few months later they followed up with this masterpiece. With HBO losing all of their great shows like The Sopranos, The Wire and Six Feet Under, other cable channels have been able to fill the void that was being left. I'm talking about shows like The Shield, Damages and Dexter. Then AMC came along and with it's first original show completely blew everything else out of the water and then did it a second time. Now if that doesn't show the makings of a great channel I don't know what does. However we're aren't here to talk about AMC, we're here to talk about Breaking Bad.

When you first watch Breaking Bad you can be excused for thinking "Oh look it's Bryan Cranston, he was funny in Malcolm in the Middle, this will be a funny show". However Mr. Cranston is definitely stretching his comedy muscle in this show, he is going all out for the drama, and he is stunning. Bryan Cranston is perfect in the role of Walter White, the chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He is so superb in this role that he was recently awarded an Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and he deserved it. In my eyes there only two actors who come close to this guy in terms of acting and they are Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Michael Emerson (Ben in Lost). Really if there is one reason to watch this show it would be Bryan Cranston's performance.

Luckily there is more than one reason to watch this show. For starters every single episode is brilliant. So brilliant that I had a hard time choosing an episode for my top ten episodes list. The overall concept for the show is that a man who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer decides to become a drug dealer to try and help his family after he inevitably dies, it also helps that he's a chemistry teacher and cook some damn good meth. Along the way he makes a sidekick in the form of Jesse Pinkman a "streetwise" drug dealer. The first season follows along through Walter's struggles at trying to get his product onto the street, whether or not he will tell his family that he has lung cancer and whether or not to go in for chemotherapy. Whilst people might think this seems overly sentimental the series is packed with oh so many amazing and cringe worthy moments. In the second episode Walter and Pinkman decide to get rid of a body using hydrofluoric acid, however a massive mistake is made causing the half dissolved body to fall through the ceiling!!! In the third episode Walt spends the entire episode debating whether or not to kill a rival drug dealer culminating in on the most disturbing scenes ever put to television. Then there's the infamous explosion scene in episode six.

Breaking Bad also suffers from a similar conundrum to Dexter, whilst all the stories are incredibly interesting, it seems that every other actor is outshone by the main actor in the series. In this case Bryan Cranston is so amazing in this show that you wish he were in every scene. Whilst the story involving Walter Jr. and Walter's wife as well as Jesse are all great, this is Bryan Cranston's show and I can't wait for the second season in March.

In fact so should anyone reading this. If you have a few spare hours track down those seven episodes of Breaking Bad and just watch them. Breaking Bad is one of the two best shows to debut in 2008 and whilst the other one is higher up this list I would recommend Breaking Bad that bit more, purely because I know that Season 2 of this show is going to knock my socks off.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #11 Chuck

Here we go as promised, my favourite shows of 2008. So we start here, as any good list should, at the beginning.

Chuck was on and off this list quite a bit during my draft copies. I knew I liked the show, I just didn't know whether or not it was one of the best shows of 2008. The show is fun, the acting is great and the story is always interesting. I just didn't feel like it was "amazing" however this all changed on the 15th when Chuck aired its Christmas episode "Chuck versus the Santa Claus". This episode was superb. Every so often every show is bound to hit upon their amazing episode, the one that will stick with you after the show has finished, Heroes has "Company Man" and Lost has "The Constant", Chuck will now have this episode. Really the greatness of this Christmas episode should come as no surprise seeing as it comes from Josh Schwartz, the guy who invented Chrismukkah on the O.C. However I would say that this episode is better than those Christmas episodes of the O.C (I will go more into this episode on my favourite episodes list, I will however say that Die Hard crossovers are always a good thing).

Chuck has always been that fun little show and one that I have definitely enjoyed ever since the first episode. I mean a show about a geeky guy who has the greatest collection of criminal knowledge ever, downloaded into his head so now he battles crime in Los Angeles with the help of the CIA (Sarah Walker, played by the gorgeous Yvonne Strahovski) and the NSA (John Casey, played by Adam Baldwin (Jayne in Firefly)). Together they make an awesome team however it is Zachary Levi's portrayal of Chuck which really brings it together, his little verbal sparring sessions with Casey or the way he longs for Sarah really help make this show.

Each episode isn't all about the spies though. A large portion of the episode will focus on the Buy More or Chuck's family. It's the episodes that tie this portion of the story into the spy story that come off best, but it doesn't mean that the B-Story featuring Chuck's friends isn't funny or a nice respite from the explosions and gun fights of Chuck's other life.

Chuck Season 2 so far has been better than Chuck Season 1 in many ways (only reason its lower down is because I've watched too many great shows this year). For starters the Fulcrum story is coming together incredibly well (although Bryce Larkin's appearance wasn't anywhere near as good as last years). Then there all the little guest appearances by actors. Proper film actors like Michael Clark Duncan (Green Mile) playing a Fulcrum agent and that's just the tip of the iceberg, John Laroquette, Melinda Clarke, Nicole Richie, Ben Savage, Tony Hale, Jordana Brewster, Carl Lumbly, Gary Cole, Michael Rooker and Reginald VelJohnson. That's in just 11 episodes and there are still actors like Dominic Monaghan from Lost and Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica are still to come when the show comes back in 2009. So I'm going to say that Chuck has without a doubt the coolest guest star casting department in the industry. Shows like Friends and 30 Rock are able to get incredibly big name people (Brad Pitt, Oprah) but Chuck gets really good actors who you'll recognise and gives them really good parts without it feeling like stunt casting.

Finally the soundtrack of Chuck is superb. Whilst many people find that all the best TV soundtracks sound the same (apart from those ones able to get their own orchestras like Lost and Doctor Who), I would like to point out that they all use similar songs. "How to Save a Life" is used on both Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs, bands like Spoon are on Veronica Mars and The O.C. However just because the soundtrack is similar to the O.C or Grey's doesn't make it any less good, however to be honest I love the of music that they use on these sorts of shows, they nearly always get that little ending montage just right and can introduce you to another great song (also massive props to Chuck for using not one but TWO Frightened Rabbit songs, I love for that reason alone). Chuck has a stunning soundtrack that just perfectly encapsulates the mood, but then again it is from the same people that brought you the O.C which was another show with a great soundtrack.

So in conclusion Chuck is an incredibly fun show, an incredibly fun show with a lot of heart. The romance on the show is actually one that you get invested in (similar to Desmond and Penny in Lost). The show does occasionally gets lost in trying to be geeky but it's always fun. Also if you haven't seen "Chuck versus the Santa Claus" I implore you to, it's simply one of the best episodes of an show that I've watched all year.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Of Slumdog Millionaire

This Christmas Eve I got to watch a movie. A movie which won't be out in the UK till January 9th. This movie (if you haven't read the title) is Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog Millionaire is a great movie. So far the best (and only) movie of 2009. In America critics have been throwing awards at it and it's getting serious Oscar buzz. At this point in time it stands as four critics favourite film of 2008 and has been nominated at the Golden Globes for directing, the screenplay, the original score and overall best picture. If you can't tell the critics love this movie and so do I.

I first heard about this movie in the middle of last year. I'd gotten round to seeing Danny Boyle's Sunshine (in case you're interested it's a phenomenal film). I was hooked on this guys direction, so I decided to see what else he'd done. Because of that I checked out 28 Days Later and Trainspotting, two other amazing films. However I also watched Millions which I didn't like. Then I heard that he was directing this movie Slumdog Millionaire which was then just about "a kid who wins Who Wants to be Millionaire". This turned me off instantly because of the whole "kid" and "millions" aspect of the plot made me think of Millions. So I just sort of discarded it and thought I'd wait for him to finish it and see what he does next.

Flashforward to a year later. I was incredibly interested in how the new Darren Aronofsky movie, The Wrestler, was faring. It premiered in Venice and got took home the Golden Lion for Best Movie. Then it went to the Toronto film festival, where another film was playing, Slumdog Millionaire. I got curious to see what people thought of it and to my surprise they loved it!! Now the critics liked Millions as well so I didn't much of it, but when words like "Oscar worthy direction" were thrown around my interest definitely piqued. I saw the trailer and followed the buzz and eventually it made it into the five movies I knew I needed to see. So now I've seen I'm going to try and sell it to you.

Slumdog Millionaire is set in Mumbai in India. I've never been to India but this movie sort of makes me want to go (but it also doesn't because it shows a lot of the bad side of India as well). The plot focuses on a boy names Jamal who goes on the Indian Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in an attempt to find his lost love. Along the way we flashback to his past where we find out how he knows the answers to the questions. This might sound like the most gimmicky plot ever but it's surprisingly good. Many peoples biggest complaints is that they don't like the plot and it is gimmicky or how come the answers to the questions come in chronological fashion, but when the surrounding movie is this good, all I can say is "go fuck yourself".

The movie is done in a very Bollywood style and is sort of a fairy tale. It's a fairly horrific fairy tale but if you've read the original Brothers Grimm versions you'll know what to expect. Nothing "weird" happens in the movie (apart from one brief dream segment) and throughout it's incredibly down to earth and realistic, showing us what life in the slums is like. Whilst a lot of the movie is positive and very happy, there are the occasional distressing moments. There are scenes showing the prejudices against the Muslims living in India and a scene showing the treatment of orphans at the hands of men only interested in money. Both of these scenes stick with you throughout for being that haunting (especially the part involving children).

Danny Boyle's direction is superb as it always it is. I was surprised to see him use a similar style to what he did with Sunshine. Not that that is a bad thing as I thought that Sunshine was beautifully directed, however one is set in space and the other in India, I was expecting a more Trainspotting style of direction. However the direction and cinematography is superb. It is a gorgeous movie and I'm definitely going to be seeing it in the cinema (Sunshine was very much a cinema movie). The cinematography is beautiful and has to been seen to be believed, I would say that it is by far the best directed movie that I have seen in 2008 (despite not being out till 09).

The acting is also top notch. Employing a cast of entirely India children and a few adults, the film gets some surprisingly good performances. Normally child actors piss me off no end (particularity Dakota Fanning) however the children in this film give some deep performances, which is great considering that a lot of the cast are locals who lived in Mumbai. The main cast is mostly made up of Bollywood actors with the particular standout being Anil Kapoor as the presenter of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The main trio of adult actors are also great however the biggest nod has to be given to Dev Patel who plays Jamal and if you watch Skins you might recognise him as the guy that plays Anwar. His performance is the grounding piece of the entire film and it's great fun to watch every second that he has in the movie.

Overall Slumdog Millionaire is a feel good movie. Whilst there are a few disturbing scenes, it all comes together in the end in a hugely satisfying way (although maybe if you're not into romance). Slumdog Millionaire is a triumph of a movie and one that deserves every bit of good press it has gotten 9/10

Tomorrow marks the start of My Best Shows of 2008, see you then.

Of Doctor Who - The Next Doctor

Another year, another Doctor Who Christmas Special. Now I've never been a massive fan of the Christmas Specials. Whilst the first one was a great introduction to David Tennant (and I mean that). Catherine Tate at the end of Season 2 almost ruined the finale and Rose's exit (it took Mr. Davies another two years to succeed at that). Both the Voyage of the Damned and Runaway Bride seemed to just lack something that put them at the high end of Doctor Who episodes (and I mean stuff like Blink). They're decent Christmas specials but never pop in the way the best of Who does. So what about this year? Does the lack of a proper companion, Cybermen and an interesting title make for a great episode?

Sadly no. It makes for a good episode with some quite frankly stunning CGI for a British television show, but not a great episode. Something which I've been praying for since that dismal Season 4 finale. I had the same problem with this episode that I do with all the Christmas specials, it just doesn't feel right. I don't know why, but they don't. It's not because they include deus ex machina endings like the finales do (although they do introduce a plot point which towards the end so that something emotional can happen which I've never liked). Last year all of a sudden Kylie drives a forklift truck into the villain and dies to pull at our heart strings as she fades away (I didn't come close to liking her in that special, she was nice but I didn't feel for her). This the son plot point is brought up and wrapped up too quickly. I don't know why it bugs me, but it does. Also the CGI in that scene was appalling, especially when compared to the giant robot scenes (yes I did say giant robot).

Now the story of the Christmas special wasn't bad at all, the story was interesting and it tied up a lose end of what happened to the Cybermen during the events of the Season 4 finale (it also means that *groan* the Daleks can come back through the same plot hole). Plus the story made sense, the only even remotely annoying thing was the introduction of the son and even that was set up to happen (although oddly convenient he was the only child too scared to move despite being in there the longest. All the stuff that was used to take down the Cybermen in the end was set up wonderfully. My one sticking point is apparently being hit by a belt full of infostamps has far less effect than being hit by just one which cause David Morrissey to think he was David Tennant's reincarnation and kill three Cybermen at the same time. Yes I know she blew up but it's only said that that was because "her mind was open and she could see the Cybermen for what they were". Still the giant robot was cool.

I've briefly mentioned David Morrissey and I can safely say that they have wasted him. He was great in this episode (although I did think that he didn't have a lot to do). He was one of the front runners to take over for Tennant and now he can't be unless they make up some bullshit with sciencey talk about how "people who make a large impact on our lives can effect our regeneration" but then why not Billie Piper? or even John Simm? If you ask me they've shot themselves in the foot there, but knowing political correctness at the moment they're probably going to have a black Doctor (in which case it had better be Chiwtel Eijiofor) or a female Doctor (which will take an awful lot of explaining). David Morrissey would have been perfect. Bah.

Alright the Christmas Special was decent but like Wallace and Gromit failed to reach some lofty expectations (less lofty than Wallace and Gromit, especially after the Season 4 finale). Compared to the previous Christmas Specials it was par for the course, but in terms of overall Who, a disappointment. 7/10

Of A Matter of Loaf and Death

Alright I lied. I'm starting my top television list today. It is in fact coming tomorrow, mostly because I've changed the list ever so slightly so that there are now only eleven places. This was because 11 is closer to 10 than 12 is and also it gave me this extra day to not worry about how I'm going to review all of the Christmas television without it becoming redundant. It does also mean that I have two specials to review today (Doctor Who and Wallace and Gromit) as well as a movie review (a movie which doesn't actually come out in the UK for a while so you can get an early recommendation from yours truly.

So on with the show. It's been 3 years since the last Wallace and Gromit adventure, and 10 years since the one before it. This also makes it the first "for television" Wallace and Gromit adventure in 13 years. That's longer than my brother has been alive for!!! Now if you live in Britain you'll know who Wallace and Gromit are, they're one of those institutions that we have in place. Like football, cups of tea, the Queen, Doctor Who and the BBC, Wallace and Gromit are just one of those quintessentially British things and they have never disappointed. So it was a joy to have them back in a brand new adventure. It's just a shame that the 30 minutes seemed to just fly past, because I wanted them back for so much more.

Now it has been 13 years since A Close Shave and even longer since The Wrong Trousers, which I'm fairly sure are not only two of the best pieces of stop animation ever, but also two of the best pieces of animation, period. They are decidedly up there with Toy Story, The Lion King and Snow White (note the fact that they're all Disney). So A Matter of Loaf and Death has a lot to live up to. Curse of the Were-Rabbit almost did but I do feel it fell short in a few places (don't ask me where it just didn't feel as whole as the two preceding shorts). So where does A Matter of Loaf and Death fall? Well above A Grand Day Out but just below Were-Rabbit, for reasons I will now go into.

A Close Shave and Wrong Trousers are perfect. They are incredibly funny and inventive. Chocked full of parody and little sight gags (I mean a penguin that puts a rubber glove on its head to become a chicken is just genius). Then there's the chase scene that ends each adventure. The Wrong Trousers has the incredible high-speed chase scene on the model railway (genius) whilst Close Shave has the whole sheep on a motorcycle followed by a flying sidecar and the chase inside the dog food machine (also genius). A Matter of Loaf and Death has a little bit of a chase inside the bakery with a giant bomb. I'm not saying it wasn't funny, it just lacked the inventiveness of the previous adventures.

Then there is the fact that it "felt" 30 minutes long. I know this seems an odd complaint, but I feel it's valid. For Wrong Trousers and Close Shave you could sit down and get lost in it and come out thinking "oh has it really only been 30 minutes?" because you just get lost in the excitement and inventiveness of it all. A Matter of Loaf Death felt 30 minutes, in fact it felt 20 minutes long. It was a great 20 minute feeling, it's just I wanted more. Something that would make me slap my head and go "damn that's fucking awesome!!" but it just didn't happen.

Now I'm saying it wasn't funny. All the film references were great (and there were a lot, Aliens, Ghost etc.) and so were Wallace and Gromit themselves (Gromit still rocks). The new characters didn't feel fleshed out enough though. Feathers McGraw was utter, utter genius (I'm saying that a lot) in Wrong Trousers. Shaun the Sheep was amazing, Wendolene was fleshed out enough and you just knew that Preston was an evil bastard in Close Shave. For this short Piella and Fluffles didn't feel as fully rounded.

Damn I keep complaining. Right if you want your humour from Wallace and Gromit you're still going to get it, a murderer you only wants to kill a bakers dozen, a bit of a romance sub plot and lots of bread puns. This Wallace and Gromit was incredibly funny from start to finish, but if you go in expecting Close Shave or Wrong Trousers prepare to be disappointed 8/10

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Of My Favourite Albums

Alright I feel like one more blog before Christmas. Really I should start writing up by blog posts for after Christmas, but I'm lazy and work better a) when I can be arsed and b) at the last minute. Surprisingly neither of them occur at the same time ( A. normally happens afterwards). So randomly I have decided to list my favourite albums of all time. This isn't songs, this albums, also one of them happens to be from this year so we'll see if that changes over time. So on with the list.

5. Oh, Inverted World - The Shins

Oh, Inverted World is The Shins first album. I would say that it is there best. Chutes Too Narrow and Wincing the Night Away are both great albums, but I feel that Oh, Inverted World shows the sound of The Shins off the best. Now you might have heard a song of this album without even realizing it ("New Slang" is featured in an episode of Scrubs' first season), however the biggest way that The Shins showed up was in Garden State when *shockhorror* one of the characters mentions the band by name!!! I will admit that this where I heard of the band first and that I feel sort of band for hopping on the bandwagon (albeit an awesome bandwagon). Oh, Inverted World is one of those indie pop albums that sort of hearkens back to the 60s, but it was written in the 00s and I would say remains one of the best albums of the past decade. Whilst probably not for everyone The Shins are just a good sunny day record. It makes me think of the summer even during these winter months.

Recommended Songs: New Slang, Caring is Creepy

4. The Midnight Organ Fight - Frightened Rabbit

If you can't tell I've really fallen for Frightened Rabbit. I only heard them a few weeks ago and I already heart them more than most bands. In this their second album, Frightened Rabbit have perfected their sound. Whilst their debut Sing the Greys is a good album it just doesn't compare to this. This is probably due to the fact that The Midnight Organ Fight is far more "intense" than Sing the Greys, however any band that says that they're about "heartache, blood donation and fucking". Whilst this probably paints them as some sort of deathcore band, Frightened Rabbit are in actually an indie rock band...who happen to swear, a lot. You may have heard them in Chuck with two (yes two) of their songs have been used to finish episodes, and since Chuck has an awesome soundtrack, I think that speaks for their awesomeness.

Recommended Songs: Modern Leper, Keep Yourself Warm

3. The Red Tree - Moneen

Ahhh Canadian rock. Whilst Canadians are normally the but of many peoples jokes (see How I Met Your Mother for proof), they make damn awesome music. I mean the country that can produce Arcade Fire, The New Pornographers, Alexisonfire, Sum 41, Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, Hawksley Workman and Tegan and Sara are bound to be quite talented (I don't actually listen to all of those bands, if you can guess the ones I do you get some internetz). Moneen are just one of those random bands that I picked up randomly (through Lost actually). I didn't think I'd like them and in fact I'm not a big fan of their other stuff but The Red Tree is just a superb album, it's less math rock than the other two albums and it's just an awesome rocky/punky album. Probably wouldn't appeal to everyone but it's wormed its way into my all time favourite albums.

Recommended Songs: The Day No One Need To Know, The Song I Swore To Never Sing

2. Plans - Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab are indie gods for a reason. Whilst many people think that Narrow Stairs or Transatlanticism are better than Plans, I would say that not only is Plans their best all round album, but it also has some of their best songs. In fact it has quite possibly my favourite opening track to an album ever in "Marching Bands of Manhattan" (Along with "Modern Leper" and "The New Year" on Transatlanticism). Whilst many people get turned off by Death Cab for Cutie's name for seeming "emo", once you get past it you realise what awesome music they make. The lyrics are superb and song beautifully by Ben Gibbard. The lyrics, whilst often depressing, are the highlight of the album as there really is no faulting them. Death Cab are one of my favourite bands ever and this is their best album. I would say that no album is better but there is, just one and I think if you've read my blog before you'll know what it is.

Recommended Songs: I Will Follow You Into The Dark, Marching Bands of Manhattan

1. Pinkerton - Weezer

Weezer recorded a perfect debut album with their Blue Album. Then two years later they recorded a more perfect album. This album was Pinkerton. Pinkerton is just incredible. In a completely different turn from their debut, Weezer went emo. In no way is this a bad thing (I actually have no problems with emo as a genre or a culture), it especially isn't a bad thing because it is perfection. Whilst at the time of release it was derided mostly because it was so different to what was being listened to at that time, and then came hindsight. Pinkerton is not heralded as one of the best albums of the 90s and I would say that's the best album of all time. Rivers Cuomo just bares his soul on this album which is more or less a biography of his time after recording their debut. How he gets tired of the sex with groupies, enrolls back into college after a painful surgery on his leg, not being recognised by people wandering around with Weezer shirts on, the letter from a Japanese fan and the end of his writers block are all documented in this album, all done in the style of Puccini's Madame Butterfly (it's an opera). Pinkerton is raw, the guitars are distorted and the album benefits. There's the odd random sound from Matt Sharp (especially on "El Scorcho") and it just makes the album that much better. There isn't a single note I would ever dream of changing on this album and whilst Weezer haven't released an album to stand up to this one in the 12 years following its release, I can rest happy knowing that they have recorded the perfect album.

Recommended Songs: THE ENTIRE THING!!!

So I'm going to wrap by wishing you all Merry Christmas. I'll be back on Boxing Day with the start of my favourite shows of 2008. Speaking of which those living in the UK remember to check out the last episode of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe tonight. Also I hope to have reviews of the new Doctor Who, Wallace and Gromit (YES THEY'RE BACK!!!) and Slumdog Millionaire (it's a movie not Christmas television) up soon. Probably in the middle of my favourite shows thingy. Damn I'm going to be busy.

BTW tomorrow = presents.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Of Swiss Airports and Dissapointments

Well I've just gotten back from wonderfully snowy Switzerland/France (it really is too close to call which country I was in the most). I had a good few days skiing before I got sick and spent the last few days wrapped up in a bed wishing to go home. However now I am home and I want to get an "end of the year thoughts" post out of the way. There might be 10 days left in the year but since the last few will be taken up by appropriately epic "Best Shows of 2008". I'm aiming to make this a yearly thing until I get bored of it, it is also what I will be running through in the below passage.

So here is the run through of how my best of list will go this year. Instead of 1 post for all 10 shows and 10 favourite this year I will have 15 individual posts starting on Boxing Day. The "12 Days of Christmas" will be where I am posting my top 10 shows of 2008 (with 2 extra shows thrown in). Followed by my top 10 episodes of 2008, then top alternative media shows (i.e. interent/cartoons) and finally my top 5 dissapointments of 2008. You might notice that cartoons have gone into "alternative media" and that is mostly due to the fact that I had so many shows to fit into a top 10 list which I struggled to do and there are still shows I wanted to mention. So they get to go into their own little section which is less crowded. Top 5 dissapointments will be 5 shows which could have been so much better this and just weren't (if you read this blog often you'll know that Heroes and Doctor Who are shoeins for this list).

As a short aside Swiss Airports are really, really boring. However that have more to do with the fact that being from Britain we're spoilt with some of the best airports in the world (even if they are busy as hell). At least in Heathrow/Gatwick I can look in the shops for new books/music/games/DVDs, in Switzerland I was stuck looking in a chocolate shop and feeling ill because I'm still stricken with some sort of evil disease which wants to make sure I wither away due to an inablity to eat but still makes me unbelievably hungry. Rock on you tiny invisible bacteria, rock on.

Now I've covered the Airports and some of the Dissapointment section of the title, I'm going to delve even more into the dissapointments. This year I finally found my little niche in the music world (yes I know it took a while but up until about 13 I didn't give a shit about music). Now I also found "Death Cab for Cutie" who are joint top for my favourite band of all time (along with Weezer who I've already talked about). Of course Death Cab released a new album this year which I bought, and sort of loved (it's not as good as Plans, but still a really good album). Then I had an oppourtunity to see them live, which I passed on. I was kicking myself afterwards and then I looked at the people who were playing backup, a little band called "Frightened Rabbit" whom I vowed to track down them down and give them a listen. I am now contemplating suicide for missing the concert*. Frightened Rabbit are a really awesome little indie rock band from Scotland and I think I've found a new all time favourite album. Why oh why did I pass up that concert!!!

Strop over I'm going to go into something which certainly doesn't dissapoint, Fables. OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!! Issue 79 is quite possibly one of the most unsettling and at the same time awesome things I have ever read. Issue 75 may have left have the characters all happy that they had beaten the Adversary, but now stuff has gone to shit more so than I could have ever imagined, at the moment Fables is a must read, I mean that more than I have meant anything ever. Drop whatever you are reading and read ever single issue of Fables until you have caught up, it is that unbelievably awesome. What is not unbelievably awesome is this cover. It is the cover for Issue 82 which is scheduled out till late March, whilst perhaps an awesome birthday present, what it spells out for my favourite character in the series is quite possibly one of the most depressing things that I can imagine (although the art is truely great, I really can see why people want to become artists, if I could paint like that.)

*not seriously, I'm just trying to be hyperbole

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Of Death Note

Here we go. I'm getting ready for a massive rave about this show. I fucking loved Death Note. It is quite possibly one of the greatest stories to be told during the 21st Century. Up there with The Wire, Lost, No Country for Old Men and American Gods (it's a novel). Death Note is about as amazing as any form of media will ever be able to aspire to. It also proves that Japanese are some of the most creative people in the world (they've created some of my favourite media of all time with The Legend of Zelda, Ring Cycle and Battle Royale). Death Note is utterly, utterly superb. I really don't think that a more original or compelling story has been told this decade. Over 38 episodes we are told a near perfect story and it doesn't matter whether you pick up the original manga or watch the anime series. I watched the anime series but I'm going to pick up the manga just because the story told is oh so compelling.

Death Note might be anime, but it's fucking good anime. It's not Pokemon or Digimon. I would also say it's better than anime like Dragonball Z and Naruto. However my anime knowledge is limited. As a kid I watched a little, stuff on Toonami and CITV. Then I kind of lost it. Sure I'd watch the occasional episode of Yu-Gi-Oh or Shaman King. But I sort of lost all interest about 4 years ago. Then I got recommended to watch Naruto. It was a bit kiddy at first but then because I was watching the Japanese dub it was really really interesting (I've also learned a small amount of Japanese). So I found a sort of new love for anime. Since then I've watched stuff like Akira and some of Studio Ghibli's work but I'm still a noob when it comes to anime. So really I have no right to say "greatest piece of anime ever", at least until I've watched stuff like Fullmetal Alchemist, Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion. However I know what I like and I freaking loved Death Note.

I decided to watch the English dub this time around (I've heard conflicting reports of which is better so I went English because with the Nartuo it was all negative, plus I'd be about 100 episodes behind where I am now). The voices I would say are really damn good. Yes as with all anime there is an annoying character (Misa) but really you can see why, I mean they need to have some degree of suck in everything don't you (Lost has Nikki and Paulo and The Wire has a weaker fifth season). The voices are all really good. Brad Swaile who plays Light Yagami is great and you'll also recognise him as the voice of Nightcrawler in X-Men Evolutions and Gohan in Dragonball Z. Alessandro Juliani is absoultely superb and you might recognise him as Felix Gaeta in Battlestar Galactica. Then there is Brian Drummond who voiced Vegata in Dragonball Z, in it he plays Ryuk and is absoultely perfect in the role.

Now onto the story. Death Note is about the story of Light Yagami who one day finds a notebook. If he is to write the name of any human being in this book whilst thinking of their face, they will die 40 seconds later of a heart-attack. He can also right down the circumstances of the death in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds and they will die in that way. So with this power Light decides like a responsible to kill ever person he judges as a criminal in the world. It's a bit like Dexter but the series is entirely about the tracking of "KIRA" (the name that Light's alter-ego is given) insteady of on the actual personal relationships that Dexter has. In fact it feels like the second season of Dexter in a lot of ways apart from the supernatural element and the fact that the show has ended with a definitive ending.

The fun of the show however comes from a second character, L. Quite possibly one of the coolest characters ever concieved. He is up there with Desmond in Lost, Logan in Veronica Mars, Omar in the Wire and Dexter in Dexter. He is completely eccentric and yet it is just amazingly cool and riveting to watch this mind play behind to amazing strategists. Both thinking they are one step ahead and trying to kill the other. The series is constantly tense because you really have no clue where the hell it's going (in fact about 25 episodes in a major curveball is thrown which completely changes the show). The show is completely unpredicatable and whilst ever few episodes there might be a short lul, the show will a few episodes reveal exactly what was being planned during that time and you'll slap yourself in the head for not realising.

Finally there is the supernatural element. It is obvious that show about a notebook that kills people will have some sort of supernatural element, you'd be surprised how downplayed it is. The way the show is set out it makes it seem almost natural (although the way that people just go along with a notebook that kills people is a bit wierd). So we have the Shinigami or "Death Gods". These are the only real supernatural characters in the show but also serve as a sort of introduction into the rules of the death note (and trust me there are a lot). I'm not going to go into the rules because that is half the fun of the show, just watching them figure out to get the notebook to and what happens when they do.

Apparantly the Japanese are excellent at a thriller/horror genre. Thats what The Ring Cycle is and sort of what Battle Royale is (both highly recommended by the way). So if you want something truely gripping and interesting to watch then get off your arse and watch. It is quite possibly one of the most compelling stories ever. I don't care if you don't like anime this should be the sort of necessary watching that is put in place by the government. Overall a perfect 10/10.*

Fianlly a little clear up. So first off here is what sucks about Heroes at the moment (definately worth a listen)

New Lost promo is appropriately epic

Finally also awesome is the new Terminator: Salvation trailer. Damn it looks good (shame it doesn't tie in with the TV show).

* I know I give out 10s a lot but thats because at the moment I'm going through stuff I like. Sooner or latter I'm going to get to the shite.

Of Dexter Season 3

Alright I said that I would be reviewing this and I keep my promises. It's up a bit late because at the moment I'm in France and whilst there is wi-fi out here, my laptop packed up half way through a music binge (I think I've downloaded 500 songs since Sunday.) So that sort of delayed this post, however here it is, Dexter Season 3 in all its glory.

A brief summary of Dexter is that Dexter is a serial killer. A serial killer that only kills other serial killers. The fun of the show comes from the fact that even know you know that Dexter is evil, you can't help but root for him. Part of this comes from Michael C. Hall's superb perfmormance that actually makes you feel for the character. Each season introduces a season long arc for a paticualr serial killer, season 1 was the Ice Truck Killer, season 2 is the Bay Harbour Butcher and this season it was The Skinner. However this isn't the only story, each season introduces a little personal story for Dexter and how is supposed to interact with the "normal" people around, along with personal stories for the rest of cast (because they too must have something to do).

Dexter Season 3 another great season for Dexter, however I'm going to get my first niggle out of the way, it isn't anywhere near as great as Dexter Season 2. Yes the finale of Season 2 didn't keep up the awesomeness of the rest of the season, but overal Season 2 of Dexter is about as good as television will ever get. There is a real tenseness to Season 2 due to the fact that it is Dexter that is being hunted this time instead of some other killer. It is season 2 that just leaves you on the edge of your seat at the end of each episode just wanting to know what happens next. And that is my biggest complaint for Season 3. It just lost something from Season 2, mostly due to the fact that Season 2 could have easily been a last season story-arc which was instead used for the shows second season. Instead Season 3 focuses on a story of friendship.

Whilst that sounds completely rubbish (I mean the serial killer makes a friend doesn't sound like the greatest pitch ever), the writers of Dexter make the story a great watch. Whilst the tension is mostly gone, it doesn't mean the show isn't a great watch. You are constantly guessing whats going to happen next. This season Dexter isn't actually involved in the big serial killer of the season story, instead the show focuses almost all of Dexter's time on his making friends with Miguel Prado (played superbly by Jimmy Smitts). Oh and a wedding. That's what makes the show fun, Dexter dealing with normal life problems whilst going out and murdering people at night. He has a girlfriend, he has a job, he has an appartment and he even has daddy issues but the show makes it fun to watch this seemingly normal stuff just because of who Dexter is.

Whilst the Dexter storyline this year is fun from start to finish, I will say I enjoyed the serial killer storyline that bit more. Yes Dexter's girlfriend Rita and Miguel Prado are great characters, it was just more fun watching Dexter's sister Deb and the rest of the police force try and track down the Skinner. Then with excellent form the storylines merge and you end up with a great finale. It was also nice to see some plot points left over for Season 4 because both Season 1 and 2 wrapped up everything in an over wrought way (if you've watched Season 2 you'll understand what I mean).

It's a fantastic season of television just not as fantastic as Season 2 or 1. Definately watch it for Michael C. Hall and Jimmy Smitts performances and also for this seasons police storyline just because I'm a fan of a good murder mystery (hence my love for Veronica Mars) 8.5/10.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Of Veronica Mars Season 1

Here we go. This is where I get to rant and rave about how fucking amazing Veronica Mars is. I’m going to start off by saying that the first season of Veronica Mars is television perfection. Better than any season of Lost, better than any season of The Wire. That is a big statement to make considering those shows stand on a lofty pedestal of all time television greats along with the likes of The Sopranos and Buffy. However I would like to put this show up there with them. It is just that amazing, whilst the second and third season lose some of the grandeur of the first season (second because of an incredibly complicated plot and the third because it’s just too watered down) they are still amazing television. But I’m here to talk about how perfect the first season of Veronica Mars is.

This show perfects the season long arc far better than other shows of the same ilk (it even surpasses the seminal second season of Buffy, which Veronica is a spiritual successor to in some ways). To start with I think I need to run through the story. Veronica Mars is a girl in high school. Now I know what you’re thinking “gah not another teen drama” but wait there’s more! Veronica Mars’ dad is a Private Investigator and she helps him with his cases. Okay the basic line of the show “teen girl solves crimes in spare time” sounds like the most god-awful plotline for a show ever but Veronica Mars makes it work. The first episode introduces everything you need to know. Veronica is an outcast, the reason she’s an outcast is because her dad went after the richest man in town as a murder suspect. Veronica Mars’ dad (Keith) accused Jake Kane of murdering his own daughter, who also happens to be Veronica’s best friend. This serves as the backbone for the entire season as it is all about “Who is Lilly Kane’s killer?” The show does this perfectly by having clues laid out in every episode. That isn’t the only big story either. There’s also the “Who raped Veronica?”, “Why won’t Lily’s brother and Veronica’s ex-boyfriend talk to Veronica anymore?” and “What happened to Veronica’s mother and why was she sleeping with Jake Kane?” Yes this really doesn’t sound that interesting but these stories are intertwined spectacularly well and the show makes you invested in all of these stories, in no small part to the characters (who we’ll get to later on).

Now the entire season isn’t just about these bigger storylines but instead in each individual episode there is a mini-crime to be solved. Stuff like “What happened to this boys dad?” and “Who stole the poker money?” Really this show uses a lot of normal stuff to teenagers and introduces it in a neo-noir world that would make Sherlock Holmes proud. Veronica Mars is just a good a sleuth as the old boy himself and does it with a far sharper tongue. There is no denying that part of the fun of watching Veronica Mars is wondering what wonderful put down or snarky comment she is next going to say. One of my favourites comes from an episode where Veronica has a flat tyre and someone asks if she needs any help:

Troy: Flat?
Veronica: Just as God made me.
Troy: Are you always this persnickety?
Veronica: Sometimes I'm even persnicketier.

Obviously it works better in the context of the show but it makes me laugh every time I hear it. Whilst not all of the mysteries of the show are “the greatest mystery ever” many of them make for exceedingly entertaining episodes (the Christmas special being my personal favourite).

Next on my list are the characters (yes I made a list). We’ve met Veronica (Kristin Bell), the loveable yet sarcastic blonde girl. Then we have daddy, Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni). Much of the fun of this show comes from the incredibly realistic between Veronica and Keith. Their relationship is a lot of fun and much of the emotion of the show is built around the connection that these two have. There is no better ‘parent-child relationship that I have seen in television, movies or books ever. Veronica Mars perfects it and it’s pleasing to know that this same relationship is carried throughout the entire run of the show. Then we have the characters that go to Veronica’s school. There’s Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III), Veronica’s best friend who regularly helps her out throughout the season with the many mysteries (however funnily he never really seems to know what the actual cases are about). There’s Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn) who is Veronica’s ex-boyfriend and Lily Kane’s (Amanda Seyfried) brother, whilst he is far from the most compelling actor on the show (Kristin Bell has that one in the bag) he is still integral to the storyline of the show and has a fair few great moments throughout the season (the second to last episode where he reveals that… I really can’t spoil it, you need to watch this show!) There’s Weevil (Francis Capra) who is the head of the ‘PCH’ biker gang and is Veronica’s contact into the world of semi-organised crime (seriously even though he’s the head of a bike gang doesn’t mean he doesn’t go to school). Veronica and Weevil share many a cool scene throughout the season and Weevil is a very interesting character, however his storyline isn’t made bigger till Season 2 and in Season 3 he’s more or less relegated to the side lines (however we do get he wondrous Piz during this time). Finally we have Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) the “obligatory psychotic jackass”. I love Logan. Logan is my favourite character (after Veronica of course). He starts the season off as quite possibly the biggest dickhead in the world (he takes a crowbar to Veronica’s car in the first episode). However, like Lost and the way that it changed our impression of Sawyer from the first time we saw him, Logan evolves into something far more interesting. He has a reason to be the “obligatory psychotic jackass”, this reason being his father, Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin). Aaron is a movie star and is there to prove to us that Logan isn’t such a bad guy (and makes the twist later on in the season that much better). Then are the characters who would later become regulars such as Dick Casablancas and his brother Cassidy “Beaver” played by Ryan Hansen and Kyle Gallner, Hansen plays the surfer dude to perfection and is exceedingly funny in many of the episodes he is in, Beaver is introduced later on in the season but still deserves a mention as he is key to one of Veronica’s many investigations (as well a hinging mystery of Season 2). Tina Majorino from Napoleon Dynamite plays “Mac”, Veronica’s computer whiz and is another fun character (whilst she is nowhere near as witty as Logan or Veronica she still comes out with many a great piece of dialogue). Finally the last character I’m going to mention is the detestable Sheriff Lamb, played by Michael Muhney, he is by far the shows most consistent hate figure and is just another character that Veronica is able to outsmart with ease. God I’m only just touching on all the fantastic actors who are in this show. Kyle Secor as Jake Kane, Alyson Hannigan (Willow in Buffy and Lily in How I Met Your Mother) as Trina Echolls, Max Greenfield as Leo D’Amato, Chirstopher B. Duncan as Clarence Wiedman, Daran Norris as Cliff McCormack (trust me you’ll recognise his voice). If you can’t tell I love the cast of this show. There is hardly a misplace character at all (although some people do think that Teddy Dunn’s Duncan is a tad wooden, I just didn’t see it at all.) The cast of Veronica Mars is one of those perfect things, other shows like Lost and Heroes have the occasional dud in terms of characters (more so in Heroes than Lost) but Veronica Mars doesn’t have an awkwardly placed characters because by the end of the season they’ve all played their role in the overarching mystery of the show.

The writing of the show is also seminal. There is not a single dud of a line; every line is perfect and so much to the show itself. The wit of the show is razor sharp and will regularly lead to glorious exchanges between the characters like this:

Weevil: If you’re looking for my trophy, it’s back by auto shop.
Veronica: A lube job? Or can you medal in stealing hubcaps?
Weevil: Is this 1970? Rims, baby.
Veronica: So you got a trophy for a rim job?
Weevil: Forget it. Look, I got some information for you.
Veronica: Finally, a Deep Throat to call my own.
Weevil: I’m not going to touch that one.

It’s not just the character interaction as well that makes the writing so superb. Shows like Heroes seem to have forgotten what a cohesive storyline is. Whilst even Lost has pacing issues (particularly season 2 and early season 3), Veronica Mars knows exactly how to lay it’s story so that viewer is perpetually left wanting more but is never frustrated with how slow the story is going. All of the key plot points (apart from perhaps one) are introduced within the first episode of Veronica Mars (one of the best first episodes of any show ever by the way). From then on we got little clues until eventually the crimes of the week start to relate back to the main mysteries of the season until it call comes together into an earth shattering revelation (although not quite as earth shattering as Season 2’s mystery). Really if you want to see the turning point of the show, it comes in episode 10 “An Echolls’ Family Christmas” which also happens to be my all time favourite episode of the show. Not only does it have an amazing crime of the week story, but is the most “mystery novel” like episode of the entire show. When I say that I mean “four people locked in a room none of them could have left and no one could have gotten in and yet all the money has been stolen”. The answer to the case is deliciously simply and has some choice lines that I’m not even going to begin to spoil it. From this episode onwards we get that much from the crimes each week as they just get deeper and we learn more about our characters. As I said the pacing of the show is perfect. Clues are drip fed at a slow rate and whilst it would be impossible to figure out who Lily’s killer is until the actual reveal, it is still an exhilarating feeling to try and figure it out before the end. As I said Season 2 is a bit too complex for its own good and Season 3 lacked a proper mystery, but Season 1 is the pure crystallisation of what makes this show so amazing.

The show is fantastic in so many other ways; the soundtrack is up there with the likes of The O.C, Scrubs and Chuck. There have been times where I have just heard a few bars of a song and I’ve just felt compelled to download the song (although it is a complete bitch to try and find the name of the song). The way the show is shot is also superb. Whilst it’s hardly the best directed show on television (The Wire/Lost/Pushing Daisies three way tie), the visual style of the show is unmistakable. Veronica Mars borrows heavily from its neo-noir heritage by dealing with some very dark plots and the visual style represents this incredibly well, whilst at the same time subverting it. The show is set in California, the rich part of California. Everyone who lives in Neptune (the town Veronica Mars is set in) is either rich or works for rich people. Because it is set in California it is almost always sunny, even during the Christmas episode, and yet the show manages to keep this feeling of detective noir. One of the coolest parts however is how they deal with some of the visions. Yes, I know it is just a collection different filters but it still comes of a very cool little visual flair for the show that is used in incredibly well.

Now for my two minute niggles:
1) How they dealt with the main cast member leaving – She might never have been integral to the show, in fact I won’t ever class her as main class. However the fact that she was in the opening credits and then just left because of budget issues is a sore spot to me (although her characters story was probably given to Wallace’s mum)
2) The fight scenes look a bit meh – This is such a small complaint but it needs to be said. The fight scenes occasionally look like complete arse. You can see the fake punching and they’re just not riveting. The show takes three seasons to get fight seasons down (Piz vs. Logan is still a great scene), however luckily the show never hinges on fights so it’s a bit of a non-entity.

In conclusion Veronica Mars season one is perfect (well obviously not or I wouldn’t have those complaints). There is so little I would change about this show. I might go back and redo the fight scenes and maybe try and sort out the character just disappearing rather than have a line saying “she got pregnant” five episodes later. However the combination of superb characters, writing and plot development make this the perfect television season. There are storylines left open for Season 2 (which is amazing just not as amazing), but really the story is entirely self contained. Every question that is asked at the beginning of season 1 is answered by episode 22. If you want a show that doesn’t treat you like a complete retard (*cough*Heroes*cough*) then Veronica Mars is for you. If you want an incredibly funny show that doesn’t skimp on the character development or the drama then Veronica Mars is for you. If you want a little show that you can just get lost in for a day or a week or a month then Veronica Mars is for you. Fuck it, if you are looking for a good piece of quality entertainment then Veronica Mars is for you, and even if you’re not you should still be watching this show because it truly is that amazing.

I’m going to give Veronica Mars the highest praise I can possibly give. It just has the perfect everything and it has something for nearly anyone. Veronica Mars is as close to an 11/10 that you can possibly get. However because I simply can’t do that I have to settle for 10/10.

And if you don’t take my word for it then here’s a direct quote from Joss Whedon:

“My peeps and I just finished a crazed Veronica Marsathon, and I can no longer restrain myself. Best. Show. Ever. Seriously, I've never gotten more wrapped up in a show I wasn't making, and maybe even more than those. Crazy crisp dialogue. Incredibly tight plotting. Big emotion, I mean BIG, and charismatic actors and I was just DYING from the mystery and the relationships and PAIN, this show knows from pain and no, I don't care, laugh all you want, I had to share this. These guys know what they're doing on a level that intimidates me. It's the Harry Potter of shows. There. I said it. People should do whatever they can to check out this first season so the second won't be a spoiler fest. I'm nutty.”

If you won’t take the guy who created Buffy’s word for it then whose word will you take?

More reviews of Veronica Mars Season 1:

Finally I’m going to have a bit of a wrap up. Next I may or may not have my season review of Dexter up by next week (depends whether the Swiss have the Internet). Honestly I hope I do because it means I don’t have to wait a week to find out the conclusion to the Dexter/Miguel storyline.

Now for some cool news. ABC has confirmed that they have greenlighted a pilot for Fables (you know the comic series I’ve raved about in the past). Whilst the may have cancelled Pushing Daisies, I really can’t blame them for it, the show was performing terribly. They are also the channel that made Lost, have got Cupid coming out next year and a new show with Nathan Fillion plus the potentially cool Flash Forward (a bit like Heroes in terms of “save the world” but without the superpowers). So I’m officially excited, whilst it will in no way be as cool as the main book series it could be a cool show that I will be checking out if it airs next autumn.

I'm also going to start the hype train for my top 10 shows of 2008. Starting after Christmas I'll be starting my countdown, and this year there might be a few surprises (not many but hopefully it'll be interesting).