While we wait around for another (possibly tedious) season of True Blood and what surely can't be another brilliant season of Dexter, there are some strange things on telly at the moment (or not as the case may be).
The much talked about Game of Thrones has grown on me, but only like Athlete's Foot. I watch it with the feeling that perhaps I'm not treating it with the same gravitas I would something else (hence why I tend to refer to it as Game of Thongs) and while it finally seems to be getting somewhere, I tend to agree with my friend Kelvin who seems to think that this series has been about setting scenes for future series rather than actually getting on with it.
Sean Bean has also grown on me, probably because his Eddard Stark is not Boromir. The dwarf played by Peter Dinklage is probably the best thing about the series, yet didn't appear in the best episode so far (last week's). It seems to have an abundance of nudity, homosexuality, sword play, incest and intrigue to appeal to most fantasy fans, plus it hints at future storylines where we might actually get to meet proper fantasy creatures. All in a HBO series - quite extraordinary.
Over on the rival PPV station Starz, their attempt at out-Gaming GoT is drawing to a close. Camelot is due on Channel 4 in a few weeks and if you like naked girlies and Joe Ffiennes growling his way through the role of Merlin then you will love this (in fact, Ffiennes is the best thing in this series by a country mile, but he is an actor, unlike the rest of the cast...)
Camelot is a load of shite and I'm only sticking with it because next week is the finale. It has been thoroughly 90125 in its approach and to be honest you wouldn't take King Arthur that seriously if you lived there, especially with the dodgy ponytail. People wearing dodgy ponytails should have their ability to procreate severed. This is a series that is pure soap opera. Eva Green is quite fit in a real women kind of way. Avoid unless you're on your own and fancy a wank (but only for the first few episodes, the nudity dries up like the story after episode 4).
I've been banging on about how poor Doctor Who has been and I feel I should quantify this. I really like Matt Smith and I really like his Doctor. I feel Steven Moffat has attempted to bite off more than he can chew and if, as several of my friends are true, and this is a two series story arc, then he should know better because it's a kids' programme and if you're going to do this then it needs to be able to be followed and shouldn't rely on the viewer to have to fill in gaps in the narrative. I like it, but I actually find more problems with it than I ever did RTD's run on the show. Yes, Davies and Tennant were responsible for some crap episodes, but put it all in context. it isn't Sylvester McCoy; the sets aren't wobbling and some of the aliens actually look alien. If I was giving it a mid-term exam, I'd say B- 'can do better'.
Something the wife has been enjoying, but I'm struggling with is AMC's US version of the Danish series (translated) The Killing. I have several problems with this and they are: it is literally chock-a-block full of SyFy alumni. So far I've counted no fewer than 10 people who have been series regulars in cancelled SF shows - it makes it difficult to believe when you have characters from The 4400, Battlestar Galactica, various Stargates, Star Trek and a bunch of other shows. Nothing seems to be happening in the show apart from it rains almost every minute of the day. If I lived in Seattle, I would be complaining about the bad image this series gives the city. Not only do the policemen seem inept, but so do the politicians. I desperately want to like this series, but it's just hard going (and that's what I expected if I'd watched the Danish version first).
This seems to be endemic of AMC, who are responsible for The Walking Dead and a few other shows I've been recommended. It seems to promise much and deliver bugger all.
Someone commented recently when I was badmouthing some TV show that I couldn't talk as I'd sat through 10 seasons of Smallville. Fair point, but I can't remember publicly stating that I ever enjoyed the series. I watched it because it killed 45 minutes after the wife went to bed and was there when I was off work recuperating from a shoulder op. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless I really didn't like them and even then it wouldn't work because they'd have to be imbecilic to stick with it like I did. Oh...
I have witnessed a lot of extremely dodgy films in recent weeks, to the point where the wife views anything I put into the DVD player with the utmost suspicion. There have been few films I can honestly say that have impressed me.
We both thought that Voyage of the Dawn Treader felt like an easy way to end the Narnia films. it left it open at the end, but would anyone really be that bothered, especially as the next three books have little or no connection to the kids who have featured prominently in the first three films?
Speaking of films that looked like they were designed specifically for future sequels; we watched Priest last night - based on a manga comic and starring Paul Bettany (who seems to have reinvented himself as an action hero) as the eponymous vampire hunting hero, Karl Urban and a few familiar faces like Madchen Amick, Christopher Plummer and Steven Moyer. Visually it was excellent, but it never seemed to reach a climax and sort of petered out at the end. It ended with a set up for a follow up, but my guess is that it probably won't be successful enough for that to happen.
One film that did impress us also featured vampires. Stake Land is possibly one of the top 5 films I've seen this year and the only person in it you would have heard of was Kelly McGillis and she was so aged and dowdy you had to look hard to see the fit bird that starred opposite Tom Cruise in Top Gun. What a stunningly good film? It was made for about $500, but conveyed a real feeling of menace and the sets were remarkable. It reminded me of Monsters and that isn't a bad thing. The vampires in the film were also pretty good; a cross between zombies and characters from the Evil Dead; the only thing that spoiled it was the contrived villain at the end. A villain, it should be noted, who was very similar to Karl Urban's character in Priest.
Sitting on the pile of 'to be watched' are the two David Essex films from the early 70s - That'll Be the Day and Stardust; Tideland, A Cock & Bull Story, True Grit, six series of Ideal and in the same vein Smiley Face by the man who subjected us to Mysterious Skin. That's then; now it's time for something else...