Category Archives: TV
So, as you know, I recently attended an Invasion convention (which I blogged about HERE) and clearly it has reignited my love for binge watching TV sessions.
Last week, himself and I immersed ourselves in a Game of Thrones marathon – every episode from the beginning.
Actually, I think it’s better watched this way. Every season feels like an oldie style film* and it’s impressive how well the various story lines overlap, while remaining autonomous. The exception that proves the rule being the ham-fisted stand-alone shambles that was the Sand Snakes (heck, I’d throw in Dorne as a whole) in the most recent series.
Himself and I thankfully share a number of favourites – from characters (DRAGONS!!!, Arya, Tyrion, Jaime, Cerci, Brienne, Varys) to pairings (platonic and otherwise – Tyrion and ANYONE, Jaime and Brienne, The Hound and Arya) and a number of loathings (Joffrey, Littlefinger, Ramsey, The Boltons and – recent addition – Stannis). And as an ardent resident Know-It-All; I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to fill in additional bits and pieces from the A Song of Ice and Fire series of books (and thank the skies for online wiki sites!).
Of course the highlights were probably exactly what you’d expect.
Most of season one was just superb. The amount of subtle scene setting and world building was phenomenal and of a far greater scale than I’ve seen in a long time. While violent and explicit; every scene felt as though it was building to a greater whole – not something that we’ve felt across all the series. Adding to the ‘real’ feel of the show are the intergenerational stories. While not all of the cast match the ages as depicted in the books (which I don’t have an issue with. The books are the books; the show is a different reflection of them.), a real effort has been made to show characters of all ages. It’s been such a novelty especially if one is a regular viewer of US network shows which seem to strickly hire hotties from the 18-35 age range. Or CW which seems to near exclusively cast hotties of roughly 20-25 years!
We were less enamoured with season 2, though still glued to the screen. Sadly, Daenerys growth and development was squandered a touch as it all degenerated into her screeching ‘where are my dragons’ for episodes at a time. Though to be fair, these scenes seemed less grating and fewer in number than when we originally watched them – residual resentment might be playing a part here – I’ll let you know in 5 years if I get over it. The pace certainly picked up though and where we were given a lot of time to get to know characters in season 1; this time round, the viewer was expected to hit the ground running and keep up. The Tyrion and Arya arcs were pretty awesome. Watching a disguised Arya serve under Tywin Lannister for example was a particular highpoint. While poor old Jon Snow learning all the things he doesn’t know from the wildling Ygritte was just such a crowd pleaser in our house at least.
I love season 3 – take a bow Jamie and Brienne and the brilliantly realised Kingslayer redemptive arc and of course the much lauded Red Wedding – but I can’t deny that it drags for me. The Theon story took far too long to sort itself out while Tyrion took to his books rather than…you know…the cool stuff from last season. Even Daenerys doesn’t excite as much as I’d hoped though she was all fabulous and victorious. Yes, yes, I know the Red Wedding was just spectacularly gruesome and fabulous and Does Not Disappoint but overall this season just fell flat for me.
Season 4 pulled it all back together again and introduced some brilliant characters. However, it’s becoming difficult to care too much about the new crop since few of them seem to have much staying power. One bitten…then raped, burned, dismembered and/or dragged bloody and broken across a stable yard floor; twice shy.
Season 5 has been the most uneven so far but with some epic high’s! Himself must have watched the final scenes of episode 9 at least 4 or 5 times now – he finds it that compelling! I’ll say more no doubt once the finale has aired and I’m less worried about spoiling anyone!
So far, Game of Thrones is one of the few shows that seems to be going from strength to strength and is just as enjoyable during a rewatch (and possibly a little bit more). Well worth the withdrawal pangs that we’ve experienced since.
Next up is Dollhouse.
*FUN FACTS – Gone with the Wind (1939) runs for just under 4 hours including intermission. The Satin Slipper (1985) is 6 hours and 50 minutes long. Meanwhile the three Lord of the Rings (2001 – 2003) films run for a mere 11 hours and 20 minutes, which almost looks as though it wasn’t even trying.
So, about three weeks ago, a mate of mine mentioned that he had caught an episode of Poldark on the Beeb the other day and that it was just terrible.
Then, a fortnight ago, this same mate pointed out that there was a new series, called Poldark and it was the worst sort of bodice ripper.
Last week, my mate out rightly asked me to start watching Poldark as he thought that I’d enjoy it and he was just HOOKED.
Three episodes in and it’s just glorious. A shining steaming pile of crap that I find myself utterly addicted to!
Ross Poldark returns to England after fighting in the American Revolution. His family and friends thought he was dead. The woman he hoped to marry is now engaged to his cousin. His father is dead, and the property he has inherited has been allowed to deteriorate. It is the late 1700s in Cornwall, England. This is a family drama, but is also about the challenges and conflicts between the rich and the poor. It is a time when fishermen are not catching much fish, tin and copper mines are closing down because prices are too low, but the price of food and rents are high. Ross faces the challenge of making his land productive, caring for the tenants who rely on him, and trying to win back the woman he loved – or finding a reason to live without her.
This is not the BBC at its best. This is not on a par with the superb 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice that made Colin Firth a household name – the sets are neither as impressive nor as meticulously authentic. Though closer in terms of subject to the 2004 version of North and South; Poldark never quite manages to maintain the same build up of tension and anticipation.
This is much more swashbuckily.
Much more raunchy.
Much more ‘lets-build-up-tension-across-three-minutes-and-then-have-them-act on-it…by-getting-their-kit-off’.
The show itself is pretty good. Upstairs and down are well represented. There is a not terribly subtle social commentary on the treatment of workers and women (which frankly makes a nice change. Also – Ruby Bentall is simply enchanting as the much maligned Verity). Our intrepid hero is not only all moody and dramatic; he is also honest, choc- full of integrity (if you ignore the smuggling that got him expelled from the army) and actively works to better the lives of his tenants. Occasionally this involves…threshing of …wheat…or other grain based foodstuffs while totally, utterly and completely topless. Out of the goodness of his heart.
The Cornish setting is just gorg and clearly every effort has gone into ensuring that the audience doesn’t get bored. The pacing is just MENTAL. Months fly by in the blink of an eye – a character announces a pregnancy in episode 2 and is a mother by the mid-way point of the third. This is actually a huge mistook. Aside from rushing the various situations, actions and consequences, I would argue that it is – after all – the build up and will-thy won’t-they that we period drama aficionados can’t get enough of. Mind you, that’s the same argument that I had with season 2 Downton Abbey and that became completely turgid and self obsessed by its third.
Aidan Turner takes on the titular role – that of Ross Poldark. Turner has been a delight to watch over the last several years (Being Human, The Hobbit, Desperate Romantics, The Hobbit) and it’s terrific to see him in such a prominent role and receiving acclaim! Demelza is played by Eleanor Tomlinson as all light and music and joy – a terrific heroine that just about manages to avoid the manic pixie dream girl trope. In supporting roles are veteran actors Phil Davis and Beatie Edeny, who provide not only local colour and flair, but also the comic relief portion of the show.
Recently at our Medusa book club, we discussed the new TV series Stalker and it’s soundtrack which primarily consists of re-imagined 80’s hits performed in the creepiest way possible.
I thought that it might be fun to gather them all in the one place. Which it was, for I am all the contentment at a good bit of compiling lists.
Then I listened to it… and yup, CREEPY is the word!
*I’d have included a Spotify playlist but unfortunately most of the songs aren’t included on it.
So, maintaining my tradition (of a year ago *ahem*), I am officially calling in 2015 with a Canadian.
Last year it was the delightful Leah Cairns (who I will absolutely be bringing back for a chat!)…this year, Culturally Fixated is joined by the equally fabulous and hilarious
Where to start!! There’s something about Magda that made it just *IMPOSSIBLE* for me to stay in interview mode – she’s that sort of person that I immediately started chatting to as though we were life long friends!
We discuss Christmas and her two Christmas TVM for Scifi (I refuse to call them siffy) – Snowmageddon and the 12 Disasters of Christmas.
Then we took a meander down ‘genera’ lane and chat about the appeal of Sci Fi and the huge emotions and stories that can be told. Kyle XY, Caprica, Caontinuum, Battlestar Galactica – it’s so wonderful to find an actor that loves ‘my’ shows as much as I do.
Oh, and did I mention she’s a Buffy fan. There’s a point where you can almost hear us swoon across two different continents over Spike…that is to say James Masters.
We cast a quick eye over two of her recent (released if not shot recently) films – A Reason and The Green Inferno and Magda compares the mediums of TV and film to come round to a favourite medium for telling stories.
We briefly touch upon some of her hobbies outside of acting – including travelling and both her Canadian and Polish roots. Finally we chat about the upcoming year!
Some of the music that we both love!
Once again Culturally Fixated is joined by our Special Correspondent in LA to celebrate Christmas!!
Welcome back to the fabulous, the funny, the festive
What a chat!! We cover all sorts of everything – we dove straight in and began discussing Marvel, comics, Agents of SHIELD and Reed’s reunion with Jed Whedon, Mo Tancharoen and Dichen Lachman. From there – it was a hectic head first trip down the rabbit hole as we covered Rossum, Hydra, the spectrum of TV villains and the parallels of the fictional and real world.
Then onto Reed’s insanely busy 2014 – from Wayward Pines to the final season of Franklin and Bash, to working with Malcolm McDowell and his first foray in comedy (on TV anyway), then onto State of Affairs and back again.
All the while joined by Monkey (an actual magical monkey) and Donald (the inebriated and obscenely snobby elf). Daniel Whitehall – yup, heartless evil Nazi Hydra leader – even serenaded us with a chilling rendition of Jingle Bells.
Oh and I taught Reed how *not* to say Nollaig Shona (Merry Christmas in Irish).