Category Archives: TV Shows

TV – All bad things must come to an end…

Dear loyal viewer of television,

I have something very important to share with you, so I hope you can keep full concentration and read with open eyes and an open mind. I don’t know when you’ll get this letter. It may be days or weeks or months. It may even be years. But time is no matter. Not for a timeless subject such as this.

This year is 2013. There hasn’t been much to celebrate so far this year. Well, I’m sure there actually has been some sweet stuff going on, but it hasn’t been a great year in terms of global glorification. It’s been my best year yet, though that’s not entirely the point of this letter.

I bet you’re wondering what is the point of this letter? What is this guy droning on about?

5 years ago (2008), a show premiered on television called Breaking Bad. The show is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It’s based around the life of a man named Walter White, a chemistry teacher who, upon finding out that he has inoperable lung cancer, decides to begin cooking meth as a way of providing for his family. Walter has a wife, Skyler, a son, Walter Jr., and later in the series, Skyler has a baby, who is named Holly.

Throughout the series, we follow Walt as he grows more deeply involved in the meth business. He meets a fair few interesting characters along the way, including Gustavo “Gus” Fring, a meth kingpin who also owns a chain of fast-food chicken restaurants called “Los Pollos Hermanos”, and Mike Ehrmantraut, a sort of clean-up guy who also happens to work with Gus. These characters, along with many others, end up showing us who Walter White really is, or really can be.

Partners.

Partners.

Walt is played by Bryan Cranston, an actor – no, a brilliant actor – who worked on such things as a show called Malcolm in the Middle, and a great movie called Argo. If you ever get around to seeing Malcolm in the Middle, let me just tell you that it’s a far cry from Breaking Bad, at least tonally.

In fact, there is not a single weak link in the show.

When Walt first goes into the meth business, he partners with a former chemistry student of his, Jesse Pinkman, who is played by Aaron Paul. He was relatively unknown when he started the show. Next year he’ll be in a movie called Need for Speed. It’s based on a racing car game. Play the game. Don’t see the movie. That’s all I’ll say.

Walt will probably be your most loved and relatable character through the first 3 seasons or so, but after that you will begin to love Jesse just as much as Walt. Jesse is given fantastic emotional depth throughout the last 2 or 3 seasons of the show (there are 5 seasons, just in case you didn’t know). All the people cherished in his life end up harmed by his actions. This is one of the huge things about the show. Jesse slowly learns through the pain he and his partner Walt causes, that actions really do speak volumes.

The show starts out showing you just how average a man Walt really is. His bank balance is low, his living quality is relatively low too. The only thing he seems to enjoy is spending time with his family. But then, once he gets into the meth business, he transforms. As the seasons progress he appears happier, more in control, and thus his alternate personality is born. That alternate personality has a name. The name is “Heisenberg”.

Heisenberg and Walter White are two completely different people, let me assure you.

There are plenty of fantastic moments in every season, 1 through to 5. The writing on the show will never cease to amaze you, I’m sure. You never really know what will happen next, or how the show will end, or begin for that matter. Some episodes begin with flashbacks that seemingly have no relevance to the situation, but be patient. It may take a whole season for it to be explained, but it will happen. You will get it. And you will be amazed.

When you finally finish the show, you will think back on it with such wonder and amazement at how a show this brilliant could ever come from nothing. How was this piece of magic built from the ground up? You may think about this for days. You won’t be the only one.

He just really likes chicken.

He just really likes chicken.

The final episode of the show is perfect. It wraps everything up perfectly. Everybody gets what they seemingly deserve, and even if you don’t agree that everyone gets their fair share, you will agree that the main people get what they’ve earned. It’s a perfectly written episode, simply shot, but finely acted. It’s not flashy or over the top. It’s the basics of good storytelling; a resolution that leaves us satisfied.

The main question you will ask yourself will be: what is Breaking Bad really about? Is it simply about the story of a man named Walter? Or is it deeper than that? Is it about the quest of redemption? Is it about the blurring of the line between what’s right and what’s wrong? Is it about choices? Is it about consequences? Is it about friendship, or love, or the power of the human will?

Hopefully, the answer to that question is all of the above. Because Breaking Bad isn’t about just one thing. It’s about a collection of things, piled together, to make the greatest drama series of all time.

Geoffrey Chaucer once said ‘All good things must come to an end.’

I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s to television.

Best wishes,

Elroy Rosenberg.

* * * * *

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TV – What’s On (August 2013)

WENTWORTH

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10 (445 votes)

Prisoners.

Prisoners.

Wentworth is a new Australian drama based on the classic Aussie drama “Prisoner”. It tells the tale of Bea Smith, a new inmate getting adjusted to her drastic change in environment.

The TV promos looked good but that, and the opening sequence of Episode 1, is as far as the quality went, because after that it all went a bit sour.

I felt immediately disinterested in the characters once they got all lesbian-y (I’m not against lesbians, it just wasn’t fitting for me). Doesn’t that all feel cliche? And the script isn’t particularly fantastic. It’s a very Australian script – rugged, and wouldn’t work in any other country. But I guess that’s our problem, isn’t it?

The woman playing Bea, Danielle Cormack, is actually very good and I understand how difficult her character is to play. Conveying emotion using lots of silence and facial expressions is no easy feat, and she does it well. But then it feels like the rest of the acting misses the mark, it’s all too generic and dull, a bit like the characters they’re playing.

The intro to the universe was fantastically done. But then the rest of it came, and it fell away from there.

MY RATING: 5 out of 10.

FAMILY TREE

IMDB Rating: N/A

Rear end.

Rear end.

Family Tree is one of the year’s best new comedies.

As a concept, it works on the interest level. The basic premise is as follows:

Tom Chadwick, after losing his job and his girlfriend, begins to explore his ancestry when he receives a box from a dead Aunt he’d never met.

It’s a good premise for a good show.

The show is very funny and features some hilarious characters. Tom is very well played by the mega-talented Chris O’Down (Bridesmaids, The Sapphires). Tom’s father Keith, my favourite character, is played perfectly by Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap, Whatever Works). Tom’s sister Bea is played by Nina Conti – and let’s not forget that her psychiatrist has told her to let her true feelings out through the voice of Monkey, a handheld puppet, who Conti must voice as well.

That’s just stupidly good.

It’s the perfect writing and comedic timing that makes this show worth viewing.

Creators Christopher Guest & Jim Piddock have assembled a great cast for a show I can see going a long way – because it’s quality viewing for anyone interested in having a laugh.

MY RATING: 8 out of 10.

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1 year later…

1 post.

0 likes.

No traffic.

That was 1 year ago TODAY.

Since then, this page has exploded; over 3000 views, 37 subscribers, 41 posts and a hell of a good time has come of it.

I just wanna thank you all, my loving readers, for bothering to flick through the page and take a peek at my opinions. Isn’t that one of the great things about film – it can be interpreted in so many different ways, and it’s open to opinions from all sides of the scope.

Thanks for reading, my friendly friends. I’ll have some more stuff up soon.

All the best,

Elroy Rosenberg.

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TV – The Top 15 episodes of The Simpsons (Part 3)

There are countless good episodes of “The Simpsons”. From Homer failing miserably at his attempts to build a Barbeque, to Ned and Homer’s rivalry reaching such a point that they force their sons to fight it out in a game of mini-golf, “The Simpsons” is more than a meaningless animated laugh.

Nearly all the early episodes – many of the listed are from Seasons 2-10 – convey a special message.

But, if I had to pick 15 that I’d watch over and over again, these would probably be the ones I pick.

So, let’s see which episodes made the cut.

* * * * *

NUMBER 5: And Maggie Makes Three (Season 6, Episode 13)

Do it for her.

Do it for her.

Touching.

An emotional and empathetic thrill-ride, And Maggie Makes Three teaches us that family is our most important asset, and it gives children an appreciation for the sacrifices that parents make for us every day.

It’s a flashback story, explaining Maggie’s birth, the lead up, and giving backstory to Homer, really well actually. It’s one of the better flashback episodes that The Simpsons ever did, and it’s very emotional. Homer’s backstory is both makes you laugh (to be expected), and makes you feel for Homer. Not always feeling sorry for him, either, but feeling really happy for him.

The best thing about And Maggie Makes Three is the ending. When asked why there are no pictures of Maggie in the family photo album, Homer replies “I keep them where I need it most.” The plaque in his office, given to him by Burns, that says “Don’t forget, you’re here forever”, is covered by photos of Maggie; the letters are rearranged to say “Do it for her”. It’s one of the best endings to any episode ever.

NUMBER 4: The Raven — Treehouse of Horror (Season 2, Episode 3)

Quoth the Raven: "Nevermore".

Quoth the Raven: “Nevermore”.

Why is this the only Treehouse of Horror segment on the list? Because it’s the best one by a mile.

On a rainy Halloween night, Lisa recites Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven to Bart. We are then thrown into the world of the poem itself, with a lonely homer sitting in front of a fireplace. Then The Raven (Bart) interrupts the peace, and the story goes on.

It’s a fascinating, thoughtful, and beautiful poem. Poe, thought of as the master of horror/thriller poems, constructed one of his most chilling poems in January 1845 – that’s right. 1845. 4 years later, Poe died in somewhat mysterious circumstances, but that’s beside the point. Poe wrote this gem in 1845, and seems to be so relevant to any time. It’s the story of mourning, and remembrance, done ever so well.

The Simpsons did it great justice. With a chilling voice-over from James Earl Jones, and a brilliant depiction of the mourner’s room and the events, The Raven makes for a quick yet thoughtful, and emotion-inducing ride.

I’m considering putting it higher…oh, but I can’t. The other 3 are so good as well!

NUMBER 3: Cape Feare (Season 5, Episode 2)

*Shudders* Rakes.

*Shudders* Rakes.

Has there ever been a better intro to a character in any episode?

I’m of course referring to the chillingly beautiful pan sequence, from Bart’s room, across the Springfield sky, and to Springfield State Prison. It is a beautiful sequence, and the timing of the cuts in tandem with the lightning is so well done. And the music, oh, the music. Divine.

Cape Feare, a kind of parody of the 1962 and 1991 films starring Gregory Peck and Robert De Niro repsectively, tells the tale of Sideshow Bob’s release from prison and stalking of The Simpsons. Bart recieves death threats in the form of letters, unbeknownst to Bart, written in Sideshow Bob’s blood. The situation forces the family to relocate, coinciding with Bob’s release from prison, as he follows them out to their new home, Terror Lake.

It’s a great episode, for sure. They decided to use Leonard Bernstein’s original score from the film, in the episode, cut up in little sections. It worked perfectly. The score is fantastic, and the story is fascinating. Sideshow Bob is a brilliant villain, largely because he is so likeable. The eerie character study and feuding rivalry between Bart and Bob is highlighted in Cape Feare, and due to it’s success in this episode, was used time and time again.

Of course, for Bob, Bart comes second to rakes.

NUMBER 2: Mother Simpson (Season 7, Episode 8)

Gone...forever?

Gone…forever?

To say the ending comes with 20 used Kleenex’s doesn’t do it justice.

When watching Mother Simpson, one only hopes that the ending which eventuates doesn’t – that makes no sense, so let me rephrase: When you watch Mother Simpson, the last thing you want to see is her leaving again, because the relationship has been so hard done by, it doesn’t deserve to be kicked down one more time. Well, that’s what happens. The ending  adds an incredible amount of emotion to the story; it’s one of the few episodes where Homer is the one we feel really, really sad for.

It shares all the characteristics of a normal Simpsons episode PLUS the emotion, which kind of makes it a super-episode. I guess by now, you’ve realised that I’m one for the emotional side, which doesn’t coincide with my normal personality, actually (I basically live off the tears  of other people).

It’s gut-wrenching viewing. Here, I’ll link you to the end theme, which could bring a tear to your eye alone. Listen HERE.

Don’t be afraid to let it all out when watching this one. You’re not alone.

NUMBER 1: Lisa’s Substitute (Season 2, Episode 19)

You are Lisa Simpson.

You are Lisa Simpson.

When Lisa’s teacher Ms. Hoover contracts a dangerous illness, a substitute, Mr. Bergstrom (voiced by Dustin Hoffman) comes in to replace her while she’s gone. Lisa quickly develops and affection (non-sexual, you sickos) for her new teacher, and the relationship grows. Meanwhile, Bart is involved in the race for class president.

This is the closest thing to a perfect episode I’ve ever seen.

It has brilliant, interesting narrative. The story is wholly original, and keeps us interested. The jokes are flowing, especially involving Ms. Hoover’s unfortunate condition. Bart’s side story is a little subdued, appropriately too, so that the focus is nearly all on Lisa’s touching story. The ending will bring a grown man to tears, and his wife will almost certainly be upset at his constant sobbing. Everything is just so strong.

We feel so much for this sub teacher who we’ve only just been introduced to. Just look at this final conversation between Lisa and Mr. Bergstrom. Such depth:

MR. BERGSTROM: But they need me over in the projects of Capital City.
LISA: But I need you too.
MR. BERGSTROM: That’s the problem with being middle-class; anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more.

Maybe one of the elements that makes this such a good episode is the realistic dialogue. (Oh, and you can watch that teary goodbye HERE)

Lisa’s Substitute is more than just another episode. It’s one of a kind.

* * * * *

Well that’s my list. Thanks for sticking around! If you missed the rest of the list, here are spots 15-11, and 10-6.

Who knew a series that most don’t take seriously could have such a profound effect on one person (me)?

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TV – The Top 15 episodes of The Simpsons (Part 2)

There are countless good episodes of “The Simpsons”. From Homer failing miserably at his attempts to build a Barbeque, to Ned and Homer’s rivalry reaching such a point that they force their sons to fight it out in a game of mini-golf, “The Simpsons” is more than a meaningless animated laugh.

Nearly all the early episodes – many of the listed are from Seasons 2-10 – convey a special message.

But, if I had to pick 15 that I’d watch over and over again, these would probably be the ones I pick.

So, let’s see which episodes made the cut.

* * * * *

NUMBER 10: Rosebud (Season 5, Episode 4)

"As easy as taking candy from a baby."

“As easy as taking candy from a baby.”

He loved that bear.

Rosebud is the story of Mr. Burns’ childhood affection for his bear Bobo. But after losing sight of his bear for only a short while, he leaves his home without it, and realizes he may never see it again. Bobo goes through a whole lot of trouble in the next few decades, and eventually ends up being excavated and identically put in a bag of ice, to be shipped to the Kwik-E-Mart. Bart finds the raggedy old bear, and gives it to Maggie. The story then expands on the feud between Burns and Maggie for ownership of the bear.

Oh, how we can all relate to the theme of never wanting to let go. Rosebud does this perfectly, and executes first-class dramatic irony multiple times; Maggie never wanting to let go of the bear much like Burns, Burns leaving the bear as a child to go live with a “twisted, loveless billionaire” – the very thing he becomes in later life, among other things too.

It’s unreal how the writers make you feel for a seemingly loveless, world-hating old geezer like they do. Rosebud is an emotional rollercoaster that you won’t want too forget. It may even make you cry.

Not me though. I’m stone.

NUMBER 9: The Boy Who Knew Too Much (Season 5, Episode 20)

*shivers in his boots*

*shivers in his boots*

By now, I hope you’ve realized that Season 5 is my favourite season.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much, a sort of adjustment to Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”, details Bart’s hectic day when he decides to skip school. After just escaping Principal Skinner’s grasp, he arrives at Quimby Manor, and witnesses an important event. The event leads to one of Springfield’s biggest ever trials, and even though Bart knows the man on question is innocent, confessing would mean Skinner would nail him for skipping school.

It’s your classic moral dilemma, and a good one at that. I mean, anything taken from real life and put in a Simpsons world is good, right?. I think that’s a fair statement. Things play out beautifully in the story, and the episode as a whole makes you think. Would you take a risk like skipping school? And would you confess?

Ever heard of Freddy Quimby? Ever joked about French people saying “chowder”? Ever wanted to know how bad-ass Seymour Skinner can really be? Then watch this episode.

NUMBER 8: Funeral for a Fiend (Season 19, Episode 8)

Just as mad as each other.

Just as mad as each other.

It’s all apart of the plan.

Funeral for a Fiend starts out normally. Simpsons going out to buy TiVo. Seems normal enough, right? NO. WRONG.

It’s another fantastically planned Sideshow Bob scheme. Unusually, he plans to kill the whole family instead of just Bart – a trait this episode can definitely call it’s own. But Bob fails in his plan, and is accidentally killed. Though after his death, Bart still believes he is alive. His theory remains unproven, until Lisa steps in. Then the genius of the episode unravels.

This is easily the latest episode on the list, but it doesn’t run from the origins of the show. Sideshow Bob’s whole plan is simply brilliant, and so close to fantastically executed. But the way his plan is unraveled by Lisa is equally brilliant. There’s an element of cunning seeping from both sides of the fight in Funeral for a Fiend.

NUMBER 7: Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song (Season 5, Episode 19)

"Then GREASE ME UP, WOMAN!"

“Then GREASE ME UP, WOMAN!”

The Simpsons’ 100th episode. But the chalkboard said “I will not celebrate meaningless milestones”. So there. Get over it.

After Bart decides to bring his dog, Santa’s Little Helper, to school for show & tell, it eventuates to a point where Superintendent Chalmers has no choice but to fire Principal Skinner. It leaves Bart feeling understandably guilty, and he tries to connect with Skinner outside of school as a way of feeling better about himself.

The plot of Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song is the most important part of the whole thing, though it does feature fantastic humour. One thing leads to another so fluently, it’s incredible. Then everything ties in with each other too. It’s well written, like many Simpsons episodes. But there’s a nagging sense of “what if” that it brings about. What if Bart and Seymour were actually friends? What if Ned stayed as Principal?

The writers ingeniously bring a likability to Skinner, who beforehand was a little soulless. It depicts him as a meaningless man without the school, shown beautifully in the scene where as he walks past the school, Skinner cries. Even though all ends well, it does a great job of bringing the two “enemies” – Bart and Skinner – together, only for them to part, but not before they realize just how close they had become.

NUMBER 6: ‘Round Springfield (Season 6, Episode 22)

So sad.

So sad.

‘Round Springfield, an exploration of the profound effect a person who you barely know can have on you, is a truly gut-wrenching piece of television.

Revisiting the story of Bleeding Gums Murphy, this episode does more than enhance the relationship between Lisa and Bleeding Gums. It takes it that extra step. It makes it special. It establishes Lisa’s love – the saxophone – as a shared love between the two, more so than the previous Bleeding Gums episode. This episode is all about one person’s impact on you even though you’d forgotten about them for some time beforehand – much like Rosebud.

Bleeding Gums’ death is completely heartbreaking. The relationship between himself and Lisa crumbles at the very word from the nurse who tells Lisa what she never wanted to hear. How he died is unclear, but not important. What is important is that he’ll never be forgotten; not by Lisa, and not by me. Lisa’s rendition of “Jazzman” while looking up at Bleeding Gums’ face in the clouds is nothing short of heart-stopping. The emotion is insane.

Oh, and anything Lionel Hutz says in this episode is gold. It rivals only that of Kent Brockman in “Deep Space Homer” for the best writing for one character in one episode. Hilarious.

I’ll admit. This episode has made me cry before.

* * * * *

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TV – The Top 15 episodes of “The Simpsons” (Part 1)

There are countless good episodes of “The Simpsons”. From Homer failing miserably at his attempts to build a Barbeque, to Ned and Homer’s rivalry reaching such a point that they force their sons to fight it out in a game of mini-golf, “The Simpsons” is more than a meaningless animated laugh.

Nearly all the early episodes – many of the listed are from Seasons 2-10 – convey a special message.

But, if I had to pick 15 that I’d watch over and over again, these would probably be the ones I pick.

So, let’s see which episodes made the cut.

* * * * *

NUMBER 15: You Only Move Twice (Season 8, Episode 2)

"I don't expect anything from you, except to die and be a very cheap funeral."

“I don’t expect anything from you, except to die and be a very cheap funeral.”

It’s practically impossible to forget the staggeringly evil super-villain Hank Scorpio.

Homer, accepting a job at the mysterious yet prestigious Globex Corporation, finds himself in love with his new workplace. His new found confidence gives him the kick in the backside he needed, resulting in him buying Tom Landry’s hat. The rest of the family struggles to adapt to their new surroundings and end up convincing Homer to leave his job and return to Springfield – not before Scorpio seizes the West Coast and buys Homer the Denver Broncos.

There are countless witty gags in this episode. From Hank’s explanation of where Homer can find a hammock…in the “hammock district”, to Homer ending James Bond – Bont actually – once and for all. This one, in all its profound weirdness, cannot be forgotten.

NUMBER 14: Lisa the Iconoclast (Season 7, Episode 16)

"This is nothing but dead white male bashing from a PC thug."

“This is nothing but dead white male bashing from a PC thug.”

Introducing one of the great Simpsons quotes ever, Lisa the Iconoclast deals with the subject of “heroes and villains” exceptionally.

It’s not the funniest episode ever, but it’s got soul and purpose. Donald Sutherland’s role as Hollis Hurlbut, the town historian, is as good a cameo as you’ll see in any episode. The role was written specifically for Sutherland, which further enhanced the powerful meaning of Lisa the Iconoclast.

Dealing with the public perception of everyone’s hero, Lisa’s brain wants everyone to know the truth about the vicious pirate Hans Sprungfeld, but her heart knows the legacy of a hero is more important than the hero himself. After all, “…a noble spirit embiggins the smallest man.”

NUMBER 13: Homer’s Enemy (Season 8, Episode 23)

"Because I'm Homer Simps-ZZZZZZ"

“Because I’m Homer Simps-ZZZZZZ”

Classic Simpsons.

Homer’s Enemy introduces Frank Grimes, a seemingly normal guy who grows incredibly annoyed and frustrated at Homer’s “half-assed” attitude towards the workplace. In the end, Grimes never ends up effecting Homer’s attitude. Instead, Grimes ends up killing himself imitating Homer’s sloppy performance at work.

It’s certainly one of the darker episodes, but it doesn’t back off. It’s a seriously sad episode and it’s a favourite of many of the writers – including Matt Groening and Bill Oakley. Even Ricky Gervais has said it’s one of his favourites. The thing about Homer’s Enemy is that even though Homer, our basic protagonist, feels nothing for Frank, the viewer ends up feeling a lot for him – a lot for a man who was, in essence, driven to death by another.

Then, later down the line, Frank’s son tries to kill Homer. It doesn’t work.

NUMBER 12: Lemon of Troy (Season 6, Episode 24)

"So this is what it's like...when doves cry."

“So this is what it’s like…when doves cry.”

“…you must be stupider than you look!”

“Stupider like a fox!”

The best thing about Lemon of Troy is undoubtedly it’s wit. The writers didn’t back off, and delivered line after line of clever jokes and puns. It’s among the best episodes in the humour category for sure.

Lemon of Troy dissects the origins and enhances the already fuming rivalry between neighbouring towns Springfield and Shelbyville. But in the end, the fact that the towns are so similar gives the story that much more of a kick. It’s a very well written episode and goes further than just a story about a Lemon Tree – it’s about the importance of heritage.

“Wait a minute! There’s a lemon behind that rock!”

NUMBER 11: Homer Goes to College (Season 5, Episode 3)

"NERD!"

“NERD!”

Homer Goes to College, Conan O’Brien’s last sole writing credit before leaving to host his own show, has a distinct wit and relatability about it. In the episode, Homer must go to college and get a degree in Nuclear Physics in order to keep his job. Seeing as he never passed his college tests when first taking them, Homer’s perception of college is entirely built around film and television. Expecting frat parties and misbehaviour, Homer finds anything but.

It’s one of the few episodes where Homer stays true to his character – childish sense of humour, displayed when Homer stops in the middle of an important meeting to chase a dog with a leg of Ham in its mouth – and must overcome his completely overestimated perception of college life to pass the tests.

But whats great about this episode, is that Homer takes it upon himself to find the fun in college life, and undergoes a crazy prank to kidnap the rival university’s mascot – Sir Oinks-a-lot. That’s a really fun inclusion into the story.

It’s a fantastic episode with classic Simpsons writing in every sense.

* * * * *

In the coming weeks: Numbers 10-6 in the Simpsons Best Episodes list; a review of The Place Beyond the Pines, and a review of a Kubrick Award recipient!

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TV – What’s On (April 2013)

THE AMERICANS

IMDB Rating: 8.1/10 (7,105 votes)

Americans....or not? Don't worry, that guy who was in one episode of The Walking Dead will find out.

Americans….or not? Don’t worry, that guy who was in one episode of The Walking Dead will find out.

I really like this show.

The pilot showed just how good a show set in the past, filmed in a somewhat noir fashion, can be. The show has a rather dark and seedy feel to it. Understandable, seeing as most of the scenes occur at night.

Of all the shows out right now, The Americans seems to have the firmest grasp on audience interest and character motivation. They’ve set the plot up to be not only understandable to a guy like me – who has no idea about the Cold War and Russians sleeper spies – but also enjoyable to experience.

Each character seems just right to me, in terms of what I imagine people from the time to be like. Of course, I may be wrong, therefore rendering the characters as awful. But if I’m not mistaken, the characters are developed in such a way that is historically correct. Good job, writers.

There’s a lot to like about The Americans. Sure, I’m not quite down with how the Sleepers sneak out at night without their kids ever finding out. Or how they developed poisons and/or antidotes (watch Episode 2). But what I do know is that The Americans is a good show at heart, with interesting characters, and a thinnish plot that does seem to expand the further into the episode you get.

If you enjoyed he first 10 minutes of the pilot as much as I did, you’ll fall in love with The Americans.

“Why is everyone so punctual in this business?”

MY RATING: 8 out of 10. I’d get on this one before it gets big.

HOUSE OF LIES

IMDB Rating: 7/10 (8,423 votes)

The stars of this super sensual show.

The stars of this super sensual show.

This show has just about as much crap as it does sexual themes. And there’s a LOT of sex in this show.

House of Lies follows the story of management consultant (I think that’s right) Marty Kaan, played by Don Cheadle. The story progresses through some of the multiple firms he and his crew visits, but is not limited to that. The plot also revolves around Marty’s relationship with his ex-wife, his almost certainly gay son, his family, his crew, and the women he sleeps with.

Cheadle is very good in this show. He has a great sense of humour and adds a great deal of depth to what seems like a one-dimensional man. Kristen Bell is also quite good. Her character shares a fair bit of banter with Marty and the two act it out in good style.

On that note, the script for House of Lies is PHENOMENAL! Every line just jumps off the person’s tongue and into your head. It is quite a fantastic piece of writing. All the dialogue is witty, all the characters are interesting, and all of Marty’s situations are intriguing.

House of Lies doesn’t fall short of the mark set by other comedy-dramas. The great script and well thought out plot makes this a winner on all fronts. Don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself.

Do you like inappropriate comedy? This’ll just about do it for you.

MY RATING: 8.5 out of 10. A winner in my books.

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