A Season Review of Touch

June 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

If you’re a 24 fan, then you’ll have probably been a bit sceptical about Keifer Sutherland’s new role. I’ll admit that I was dubious about Touch before I watched it. It was vital that he chose the right role instead of throwing himself into a show just like 24. This move could ultimately define Keifer Sutherland as a versatile actor or prove him to be a one trick pony.

While Martin Bohm is no Jack Bauer, similarly, his actions impact the lives of others. His gifted son, Jake, can ultimately determine fate by analysing number patterns. However, the eleven year old is a mute and too young to prevent or force events, so it is up to his Dad to follow the numbers.

I think Keifer Sutherland made a wise choice when joining Touch, as the role allows him to play to his strengths. The most touching moments in 24 where the scenes which affected Jack’s family life, and Martin Bohm is very much the family man who would do anything for his son and is mourning the loss of his wife. He also gets to run across the city trying to stop an event from happening – just like Bauer. However, he’s a weaker version of the character we all know and love, and this allows him to be more vulnerable. It’s heartbreaking to watch how Martin longs to have some form of affection from his son, but he’s not even allowed to touch him without him freaking out. Sutherland plays Bohm with an intense desperation which pushes each story forward.

I also think it is important to applaud Jake Bohm, played by the magnificent David Mazouz. While his character only talks in the opening voice over, his facial expressions and body language really allow you to feel for him whilst showing how disturbed he is by his own gift.

If you haven’t seen the show then I recommend you start watching it with an open mind and a little patience. It’s a slow burn but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth sticking with – the best shows usually are. You have to admit that you probably wouldn’t have liked The Wire if you never stuck with it, and if you don’t like it then it’s because you didn’t stick with it.

Despite the comparison to The Wire, I wouldn’t say this show is up there with the very best US dramas, but it’s good all the same. It’s interesting, clever, gripping and insightful. The best moments in Touch are the ones that make you really think about the world and fate. However, there were moments in the season which seem a little cheesy, and some of the new actors in the one episode stories weren’t the best.

So, while this show is no 24, it is still a brilliant drama series that is definitely worth a watch. If you don’t go in expecting it to be all action and bravado then you’ll probably be impressed, but if you are looking for something that fills the gap of 24 then maybe this show isn’t the one for you.

I’ll definitely be tuning in for season two.


The 20 Best Characters on TV

May 26, 2012 § 4 Comments

I love television. If you’re reading this then I’m guessing you do too. So, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe to be the very best characters in television. You will most likely agree with some and disagree with others – as is life. These are the characters I believe make the TV shows they star in worth watching, even though there are so many more I would have loved to add to this list.

20. Jack Bauer (24)

I feel sickened that I have to put Mr Bauer at number 20 but I’d say his personality isn’t as diverse as the following favourite characters. However, how could I not include a character that valued honesty and patriotism above everything else. Who saved thousands of people on countless occasions, spent a few years being tortured in China and still came out fighting. This is the man who rescued his family, stopped a nuclear bomb, recovered from a heroine addiction, stopped a fatal virus, uncovered a government conspiracy, stopped the release of biological weapons and ran away from the US government seeking revenge. If there was a list for the top 20 bad ass characters on the box then you can guarantee Jack Bauer would be number one.

Best moment: Jack Bauer showed how much of a true American hero he was when he had to reluctantly kill CTU Regional Director, Ryan Chapelle for the sake of his country.

19. Moss (The IT Crowd)

So, many people may claim that Moss shouldn’t be in the top 20 because he is a stereotype of what a geek is. However, it takes a true character to still be a stereotype whilst offering a completely different personality to anything that has ever been shown on TV before. He is funny, awkward, socially inept but also kind of cool.

Best moment: When Moss enters a Countdown competition and is challenged to play Street Countdown at the 8+ Club.

18. Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City)

You will probably be either applauding or rejecting my decision to have Carrie in my top 20, but like it or not Sex and the City would be nothing without her. This show is one of the first TV shows with a strong leading lady and this show is god damn funny.

Best Moment: When she works as a model on a fashion shoot and falls on the catwalk in front of the audience. She recovered in the best fashion only Carrie Bradshaw could.

17. Tobias Beecher (OZ)

What I love about Beecher is the development of his character over the seven seasons. At first he starts out as this quite weak and naïve person who has been thrown into this crazy, violent world, but he rises up, goes a bit mad for a bit, and then becomes a harder version of the character that we fell in love with. Oz was a fantastic TV show, but Tobias gave it a heart and made me actually care about his freedom in comparison to most of his inmates.

Best moment: When he finally stands up to Schillinger in Season 1 and throws the chair through his cell.

16. Chandler Bing (Friends)

Ask anyone who the best character in Friends is and they will most likely say Chandler. While I love all of them individually, it is Chandler’s personality that stands out amongst the others. You couldn’t help but root for him even though at times he didn’t deserve it – remember how he cheated with Joey’s girlfriend Cathy?

Best moment: The episode where he tries to keep his relationship with Monica a secret and ends up kissing Phoebe and Rachel to cover it up.

15. Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)

What would The Big Bang Theory be without Sheldon Cooper? He is everything we don’t want in a friend, yet we all want to be friends with him. He’s rude, he’s sarcastic (without trying) and he’s selfish – and yet we still love him.

Best moment: When he flees Pasadena after his apartment is burgled and attempts to start a new life in a new city, only to be robbed the minute he steps in the coach station.

14. Liz Lemon (30 Rock)

Unlucky in love Liz Lemon is the sensible one at The Girly Show, which is saying something. Her lack of style, self respect and her ability to always fall for the wrong man makes us love her all the more. She’s awkward, she’s silly but she’s strong – and we love her because there is a Liz Lemon deep down inside all of us.

Best moment: When Liz meets Oprah on a plane only to realise that it wasn’t the chat show host at all.

13. Roger Sterling (Mad Men)

The silver fox is the king of one-liners. When he’s not attempting to woo a new woman then he’s dumping one. His eye is always firmly on his next conquest or the next glass of scotch, but he’s honest and smooth and you can see exactly why all the woman fall at his feet.

Best moment: When Roger is sick in front of an office full of clients after climbing hundreds of stairs.

12. Christopher Maltisanti (The Sopranos)

He killed gangsters. Dealt drugs, beat his girlfriend and even got her killed – so why the hell do we all love Christopher so much? However, you can’t help but root for the aspiring writer and want him to be Tony’s go-to guy when things get a little tough down in New Jersey.

Best moment: When he shoots the pastry guy in the foot for not serving him quick enough.

11. David Brent (The Office)

Everyone works with someone like David Brent. You know the guy, he thinks he’s funny and craves attention. That is the reason why he is such a fantastic character as he is extremely realistic and a little too close to home.

Best moment: It’s hard to choose one but I love the moment when he jokes with Dawn that she’s fired and makes her cry (or when he sings Free Love Freeway).

10. Carrie Mathison (Homeland)

There is no character like Carrie on TV. Her obsessive nature cause by bipolar ultimately makes her the best in her field – but it also makes her the biggest liability. She’s almost like a female Jack Bauer, except smarter and with less brawn.

Best moment: When she begs Brody’s daughter to ring her Father to stop him committing a terrorist attack on the Vice President.

09. Maggie (Extras)

I love Maggie for everything she is – silly, dim and kind. Her friendship with Andy is heart warming and her naivety is endearing. Jensen really does hold her own against Gervais whose characters have a tendency to dominate the scene. She’s like a brainless Liz Lemon which makes her character even more likeable.

08. Don Draper (Mad Men)

What’s smooth, stylish and charming? Don Draper, that’s what. This confident, handsome and no-nonsense character makes the 1950s look cool, and makes alcoholics look sexy. While you can’t help but hate his philandering ways, his dedication to his children and his job makes him both likeable and attractive. Men want to be him and women want to be with him.

Best moment: When Don meets Roger and begs for a job.

07. Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)

Tony Soprano kills mobsters. He takes money from the poor. He runs a strip club. He cheats on his wife. He likes ducks.
Tony Soprano doesn’t take bullshit. He swears a lot. He kills his family members. He can drive a girl to suicide. He gets a little bit dizzy.
Need I say more?

Best moment: When Tony kills Ralphi.

06. Dexter Morgan (Dexter)

This serial killer is one of the most complex characters on TV – even he doesn’t have a clue who is. The fantastic thing about Mr Morgan is that he constantly learns things about himself every season, and often discovers that he is more human than he gives himself credit for. Therefore, he takes us on a journey each episode.

Best moment: When Dexter headbutts Doakes.

05. George Costanza (Seinfeld)

There is no one in the world that is more unlucky than George Costanza. This pompous idiot doesn’t deserve half of the good looking girls he manages to bag, and he still always messes it up or doesn’t want them. While many people would argue that Kramer is the true comic genius of the show, I would fight until the death that George is the true comedy talent. In fact, they should have just renamed the show to George.

Best moment: I was in a pool!

04. Ari Gold (Entourage)

You won’t find snappier dialogue than Ari Gold’s. He loves good rant and isn’t afraid of saying what he feels – unless he needs to lie to a client to keep them onboard. The family man with a mouth as dirty as a swamp, you won’t find a more passionate and ruthless man on TV.

Best moment: When he gets Lloyd back together with his boyfriend Tom in Season 4.

03. Walter White (Breaking Bad)

There’s only so much a man can take until he decides to sell drugs with a former student – and that moment was when Mr White was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The once mild mannered goes all gangster to make sure he makes enough drug money to fund his medical treatment. Think Jack Bauer except on the wrong side of the law and a cool nickname.

Best moment: When he battles two gunned men unarmed in a parking lot and wins.

02. Omar (The Wire)

Omar is a gangster who dislikes any form of profanity and lives by a strict moral code. He’s a proud gay man who doesn’t care about the world knowing about his sexuality – and this can only be admired in such a violent and unpredictable gangland world. His intelligence ultimately makes him a force to be reckoned with. Like Batman, you don’t see him coming, but you know about it when he arrives.

Best moment: When he goes out to buy some cheerios in his bathrobe.

01.    Niles Crane (Frasier)

You’ve either just wholeheartedly agreed with my number one choice or feel like throwing your computer across the room. If it’s the latter then you clearly have never seen Fraiser, and if you have then you really don’t appreciate it. Niles Crane is the ultimate character because at every point in this long series he offered us something new whilst always remaining true to the original character in season one. He can be many things at one – a hopeless romantic, a pompous fool, a selfish idiot and incredibly intelligent. He is also one half of the best TV romances of all time, and one half of the best brotherly-love relationships ever.

Best moment: When he can’t see how Daphne has put weight on and keeps feeding her chocolate.

Did the Season Finale of Homeland Deliver?

May 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

If you love good telly then I defy you not to love Homeland. It’s intelligent, it’s compelling and it has a bloody good story. I’ve been hooked since the first episode, so you can imagine how excited I was to see what the outcome would be.

Please be aware that this blog may contain spoilers, so if you have not watched the final episode or intend to then it’s probably best to check out some of my other blogs.

I’ve read that people are disappointed by the season finale and at first I was but, when I think about it, it ended kind of perfectly. Sure, nobody found out about Brody and everyone thinks that Carrie’s theory is part of her bipolar, and yes it’s frustrating, but isn’t that what good TV is all about?

Think about it, if Brody was caught and Carrie was hailed a hero, would you tune in for the next season? Would you hell. We need to know more, we want to know more and secretly we like that feeling of frustration.

I think it would be wrong to talk about the series without commenting on Claire Danes’ portrayal of mental illness. I doubt if a depiction has been done more successfully on television – unless you count Mildred Pierce which also featured Danes.

I will most definitely be tuning into the next season, and I’m happy that Damian Lewis will be back next season. The scene where he was about to kill the vice president but received a phone call from his daughter was nail biting, and honestly shown a different version of a terrorist’s mentality.

Awake Review – Does it Put You to Sleep or Have Your Attention?

May 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

The latest US drama to hit the UK screens is Awake, and stars the wonderful Jason Issacs who most people will know as Lucious Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies.

In the opening five minutes you’ll be completely perplexed by the story, and it takes about twenty minutes or more to really get a grasp on it. So, let me break it down for you. LAPD Detective, Michael Britten (Issacs), is stuck in two parallel universes – one where his son is dead but his wife is alive, and one where his wife is dead and his son is alive. Britten also visits two different psychiatrists who both try to convince him that they are real people. Confused?

Once you’ve got your head around the complicated plot, you’ll be hooked in. The idea is ingenious and different, and it’s not hard to see why the joint production companies, 20th Century Fox and Teakwood Lane Productions, picked it up.

The acting is also superb. Issacs has an excellent American accent and is a professional scene stealer. BD Wong, most famous as Father Ray Mukuda in Oz, is also an excellent introduction and his relationship with the detective is compelling viewing. It also features Wilmer Vanderrama, you may know him as Fez from That 70s Show, and he is surprisingly good.

As pilots go, this is intriguing and I’ll definitely be tuning in for the next episode. While I can’t see it hooking me in quite like Homeland, I think it’s definitely worth a watch.

Why Glee has Lost its Charm

May 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

Glee has lost its charm. I’m sorry to say it but it really has. The musical show used to be about fun, amusing one-liners and tongue in cheek plots. It put musicals on the map, made geeks look cool and allowed you to enter a world where some people’s lives sucked a little bit more than yours.

Now, it’s like watching an episode of Saved by the Bell but without Screech and Mr Belding. While this show was originally targeted at teenagers, it also received an older demographic which once upon a time it catered for. Now it’s just trying to teach me something, and as a fully grown adult I don’t need to be told what’s right and wrong. I learnt all that myself when I was younger.

You might be reading this and thinking “well it’s a show for kids” and you’re right – but it also became a show for adults and now it’s in fear of losing half of its demographic. What happened to Sue Sylvester? She’s about as cold as a hot water bottle. What happened to Brittany’s brain? She seems to be showing sense. What happened to Rachel’s annoying attitude? She’s actually liked by the rest of the New Direction kids.

I understand the show has to change in order for it to still appear fresh for the audience, but they are changing the characters and not the storylines. How tiresome it is to watch Rachel and Finn look into each other’s eyes all sickly. How boring it can be to see Blaine or Kurt come close to having another affair. Do something different!

Glee is also full of the most useless characters in the world. Think about it, what exactly does Tina do? She says the odd line when Quinn isn’t around. Where’s Puck? Has even had a storyline this season? The one saving grace this season was the newbie Rory and even he seems to have dropped off the radar.

The fact that Rachel, Kurt, Finn and Puck will all be bowing out this year too also makes me really wonder what will become of New Directions. As this show is seriously running out of storylines, and the characters left can’t match the big personalities of Lea Michele and Chris Colfer. The only thing that might give this show one more season is Darren Criss, and even he is lacking his usual energy.

Glee needs to go back to its roots. It needs to be everything we watched it for. It needs to be different.

Is Smash a Smash Hit or a Crushing Fail?

April 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Smash is the latest musical TV series to hit our TV screens and has received a lot of hype in the US. So, I was interested to find out whether or not it lived up to all the publicity surrounding it.

While the birth of this TV show has definitely been inspired by Glee, it could not be more different. That doesn’t mean that the principal isn’t the same, as it’s basically about a group of good looking, talented singers with dreams of making it big. However, the whole Broadway/Marilyn Munroe aspect gives it a touch of sophistication and it is clearly Glee for adults.

While Karen Cartwright (Kathrerine McPhee) is no Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), she is endearing and vulnerable – just like Marilyn Munroe. However, she has a competition from Ivy Lynn who is confident, ambitious and attractive – also like Marilyn. While we don’t see these characters together in the pilot, I’m assuming that we will definitely see the competition heat up as the series continues.

It’s also unlike Glee because most of the characters are unlikeable, don’t have a specific journey or their own personality. The only person I’m interested in is Karen but I can tell that even she might start to bore me. I was particularly disappointed in Debra Messing’s character whose character was full of so much life in Will and Grace. She’s a stereotype of the passionate artist who loves theatre. I want to inject some life into her – make her an alcoholic, make her hate the theatre and only in it for the money, make her do something more than say cheesy lines that I don’t believe.

One thing that annoyed me about the show is that they went with the old stereotype of incorporating an English theatre director who just so happens to be an absolute sleaze. Seriously, when will American shows stop doing this?

So, is it worth a watch? If you’d asked me within the first twenty minutes of the show would I watch the next episode, then my answer would probably have been no. However, as the episode continued, the characters really started to come into their own, the songs got better and the plot seemed as if it was actually heading somewhere.

So, yes, it is worth a watch. Look beyond the stereotypes, the slow start and the age old cliches and you probably won’t mind it. You might even enjoy it.

It’s no Glee.

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