OK, seriously excited now…

    The joy of Due South


    It's a programme that can't see a fine line without walking towards it and treading catlike along it until it vanishes over the horizon. It moves from light to dark between scenes and within scenes. Benton is a naïf, a compulsive truth-teller living within an absurdly strict moral code and pathologically polite and literal mindset without ever being idiotic or unconvincing. He has impossible skills (tracking people through the mean city streets as he used to track caribou through the northwest territories as a boy) in a determinedly realistic setting. Ray is a hardbitten, cynical motormouth with an idealistic soul struggling wearily to shine through.


    This article goes a long way to capturing what I loved about that series.

    The many people within Emmy Rossum

    The demure Emmy Rossum

    If there’s one thing that make me fall in love with a FashMag photoshoot, it’s when they take one person, and create many people from them. There’s no single image, but a range of looks, or moods that show you different sides of a person’s personality. This shoot of Emmy Rossum, found via Forever a Fan Girl, is just a perfect example of that. The look above is sexy, yet with an edge of sophistication, and demureness. (Is that a word? It should be.)

    This look, though?

    The Sext Emmy Rossum

    Despite the white dress, and all the connotations that brings, this is a sexy image, almost to the point of raunchiness. It’s a lovely shoot from Zooey Magazine.

    The video’s a fun watch, too. It’s exactly what a behind-the-scenes video should be:

    Reggie Perrin Redux

    I watched last year's remake of The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin with some trepidation. I loved the original and, while it hasn't aged well, it was a pretty seminal piece of sitcom work. Updating it as Reggie Perrin seemed doomed, frankly.

    And yet, by the end of the season, I had come to enjoy it. Underneath the traditional sitcom production values, there was something far bleaker and darker than you see in conventional comedy, and more so than there was in the original. The main arc was quicker back then, with the original fall and rise played out in a single series, with the later ones having to explore further from the core to keep it going. in the 2009 version, we were left with an angry, despairing Reggie quite possibly on the brink of committing suicide for real, rather than just staging it. 

    News that a second series of Reggie Perrin is coming leaves me with equally mixed feelings. The final episode left it quivering with potential, with the chance to explore the frustrations and fallacies of modern life in more detail as Reggie shed the trappings of the ordinary. Yet the press release suggest that something of a reset. That would be a shame. Here's hoping it's better than that. 

    Acoustic Serenity

    From the series that was cancelled too soon…

    UnTrendy TV: Last of the Summer Wine

    It's not cutting-edge, it's not fashionable and it's certainly not innovative, but I'm not afraid to admit that I love Last of the Summer Wine. In a bizarre mix of modern and old, I recently used our BTVision PVR to record the whole of the most recent series of the gentle comedy - its 30th. 

    Yes, for over 30 years, the misadventures of a bunch of elderly folks who seem to have reverted to childhood in the Yorkshire dales have been entertaining people. And I've been enjoying it ever since, as a child, I watched it with my father. He dreamed of a retirement in the Last of the Summer Wine mold. He never got that chance - cancer took him in his mid-60s - but the programme endures, and I still enjoy it. 

    Most of the original cast are gone now - an inevitable consequence of a show featuring the elderly. Clegg and Ivy are still around, but there's a new trio of Entwistle, Alvin and Hobbo, roughly taking the roles of Compo, Clegg and Foggy from the classic trio of old. But, on the whole, the show hasn't changed that much. It's still an ensemble piece around a central trio, and the humour is just an exaggerated version of the mishaps of ordinary life. There was a period about 20 years ago when the stunts got more and more extravagant, but then the original cast got older and older, and the jokes slowly returned to the more conversational, situational humour in which it excels. 

    Yes, it's slow, childish and fundamentally unimportant. But that's the point. It's tried and tested humour, performed by actors with more comedy experience each than many TV comedies have amongst the whole cast. It's cosy, predictable and familiar.  And that's why I love it. There's a place in life for both trendy urban design and an old blanket.

    Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 trailer


    There have been two scifi series that have really redefined the genre in TV terms over the past couple of years. Doctor Who has proved that it can be a mass-market, mainstream hit, topping the viewing figure charts on main national TV stations. 

    And Battlestar Galactica has proved that it can be serious, adult drama with as much emotional weight and political focus as any drama produced on either side of the pond. It's a shame that we're only half a season from the final end of the show, but I'd rather it finished well than drifted into cancellation.

    In Praise of Lucy Saxon

    [caption id=“attachment_2708” align=“alignright” width=“288”]Alexandra Moen as Lucy Saxon Alexandra Moen as Lucy Saxon[/caption]

    I don’t watch much TV right now. I’m the archetypical 30-something who is caught between a busy lifestyle, family commitments and the internet. But one show that I do watch religiously is Doctor Who. The reasons why are fodder for another post but, for now, I’d just like to spend a few moments congratulating the combination of Russell T. Davies and Alexandra Moen for bringing us the character of Lucy Saxon (pictured right from next Saturday’s episode).

    Giving the Master an evil companion to match the Doctor’s good companions is an inspired idea, really pushing the idea of the two Time Lords being dark reflections of each other. And her clearly sexual (as far as anything can be clearly sexual in a family show) relationship with The Master-as-Harold Saxon mirrors the Doctor’s endlessly chaste relationships with his travelling companions.

    Moen’s contribution? She’s managed to make a relatively small part compelling, and give a character who is excited at the idea of the rapid slaughter of 10% of Earth’s population a staggering credibility, in the circumstances. Davies has used the character as a powerful tool to underline the horrific nature of what’s happening, which has proved necessary with John Simm’s so-far-over-the-top-he’s-likeable portrayal of the Master. She gives a human edge to his alien villainy that brings it all so much closer to home.

    So far we’ve seen her as the stereotype politician’s wife, with sensible hair, and buttoned-down outfit. From the looks of the picture, we’ll see her as a much more typical villain at the weekend.

    Dramas like Doctor Who often stand or fall on their guest cast. So far, Moen’s Lucy Saxon has been one of the best.