Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

RantTV

Life support

Getting a new script must always be a tense situation for an actor playing a supporting character in any kind of drama. Death is around every corner. You’re not loved-by-all enough to be essential but you’re well liked enough so that your death would resonate (or so the theory goes).

I can just imagine turning the pages and finding out that your chipper and up-until-that-point rather danger-averse character has suddenly decided to put themselves into harms way for no conceivable reason. Your stomach must sink as you continue through the script seeing tenuous logic dictate that rather than the heroes of the show, it’s you who is sat defusing the bomb, saving the kids from the burning building or facing off against the psychopathic villain. “Noooo!” they must be thinking, “I just put a down payment on a condo!”.

Then it happens. Blammo! Your character is dead and unless the show has a serious flashback fetish, you’re going to be cashing your last pay check soon. The main characters will show up after the bad guy has hustled or they were all stood just outside the blast radius. One of them will hold you in their arms, looking teary as the writers try to squeeze the last few drops of empathy from this ‘sudden’ loss.

This sort of thing must be like the sword of Damocles hanging over an actor’s head, the hair suspending it twanging each first reading of every new script. The idea that you’re just a bone the writers can throw the audience any time they have a lull in the ratings weighing heavy on your performance as bumbling comic relief. All the time, knowing you’re one cheap ploy away from unemployment.

RantTV

Chuck Versus the Product Placement

Chuck AdvertIt’s hard to complain about product placement in Chuck. It was built on a foundation of product placement. The Buy More is almost literally wall-to-wall product placement. It’s the ‘quiet’ kind though – shelves full of brands sat in the background, peacefully minding their own business and not tripping up the plot. But as each season continues towards the inevitable question of whether or not the show will return, it’s the more blatant advertising wedged painfully and obviously into the plot that made me wonder if I was really that bothered any more.

I used to think that Chuck was a great show. Comedy, action, a plot not a thousand miles away from the sadly cancelled Jake 2.0 and a very likeable cast (with Yvonne Strahovski being all Yvonne Strahovski all over the place and the always fun-to-watch Adam Baldwin, ex-space-thug). It had it’s fair share of cheesy silliness, yes, but even that was charming in its own way.

Chuck, it seems, has been renewed for a fifth (and final) season. We can only hope that the writers spend more time on their storylines and less time trying to figure out excuses to awkwardly force a scene featuring a sandwich or a car somewhere into each episode. Maybe they were cutting budget costs by selling their souls to the advertisers but for whatever the reason, I have very little respect for TV shows that follow this route.

It’s a trend that seems to be seeping into more and more shows these days and it’s so blatant that it pulls you out of the moment. In an instant, you’re no longer following the story and enjoying the show. Instead, you’re painfully aware something is wrong – that the show’s producers are trying to pull a fast one. There’s no finesse to these in-show-ad-breaks, and really, there never could be. You’re just sat there feeling sorry for the actors having to whore themselves out like that.

Over the years, the audience accepted the idea that TV shows tried their utmost to avoid showing brand names if they could. For so long we had products turned away from the camera, mocked up brand labels or worse case scenario – black masking tape inexpertly applied all over the place. Slowly but surely, paid product placement started seeping back into soaps, dramas and comedies and before long there were the odd prominent laptop logo here or a very distinctive touch-screen mobile phone there. These I don’t mind quite so much. It’s when there appears to be a scene specifically included simply to show the characters interacting with a product, commenting on how great the features of this specific product happen to be and ending with a shot lingering for just… a… little… too… long… to… be… natural… of the product’s logo that I feel the rage building.

Will things change? I have my doubts. If anything it’s probably going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. Do these antics stop people watching a show completely? Probably. I know that I’ve got to the point where I’ll seriously consider binning a show that included such shitty advertising gimmicks. But the question is, will the dipstick execs be able to correlate a drop in viewers with their increasingly unwelcome advertising bootprints all over our once-favourite shows?

MoviesRantTV

Remakes

BeesJust… seriously. Get the fuck over it. Yeah, there’s a film you really, really like. Maybe it defined your childhood, maybe it got you through a time of difficulty in your life or maybe it’s just a film you consider one of the all-time classics. Good for you. We all have films we love but then along comes some asshole in a suit who hasn’t had an original thought in his boss-pleasing, yes-man life and he’s decided it’d be a good idea (read: Ka-ching!) to take another swing at your cherished film. Remake, re-imagine, reboot, recycle – whatever the term-de-jour happens to be, they’re going to get that writer of some Sundance indie flick you never saw, attach a director who has only ever made music videos (did you see his last one? It went viral!) and cast a bunch of unknowns with more enthusiasm than talent, two currently hot TV actors who’ll return to the small screen with their tails between their legs after the film bombs and one fading legend destined to pop his clogs with this turd at the end of their illustrious résumé.

It’ll be shit. We all know it. Sure, it’ll do well, with the fans of the original propping up the numbers along with the regular popcorn munchers but it’ll never be more than a nice try. To top it off, it’ll probably be in ‘3D!’ too because we all know the mindless fuckwits out there gobble that shit right up.

But… so what?

This is my problem. Whenever a remake is announced and yon fansites post the news, you’re guaranteed that 99% of the comments that follow the article will display a subtle “you muthafuckers shot my dog!” type of vibe. The wailing and gnashing of teeth, the how-dare-theys and clichéd ‘noooooooooooooo’s will be deafening. There’s just a few little things I want to point out to those idiots.

  1. You’re not being forced to watch the remake. No-one is holding a gun to your head. Mr. A Hole isn’t going to jet over a platoon of besuited thugs to frog-march you into your local cinema, strap you down and Clockwork Orange your ass into seeing this flick. There’s a very good chance that you could probably go your entire life without ever seeing the remake.
  2. The original will not cease to exist once the remake is made. Easy one to forget. Keep checking your DVD/Blooo-ray collection during the development and upon release of the film and I’ll almost certainly guarantee that your beloved film will not vanish. I say ‘almost certainly’ because the type of moron we’re talking about here probably loses shit on a daily basis so spontaneous evaporation of prized possessions is not completely off the books. But my point is, even when this turkey is released, the original will still be around, available and still standing head and shoulders above the weak pretenders to the throne.
  3. It might be… good? Okay, so chances are it’ll define new depths to which celluloid can sink but there’s always the ever-so-small chance that it might not suck. And even if it isn’t the best thing since freeze-dried instant happiness, it might just be different enough to be entertaining in it’s own right. Remember, Cronenberg’s ‘The Fly‘ and Carpenter’s ‘The Thing‘ are both essentially remakes.

On top of all that, they’re forgetting one of the most important upsides – once the film comes out and their friends go see it, they’ll be able to prance around saying “It’s not nearly as good as the original” with a few “Oh, you haven’t seen the original? You should. You really should!” thrown in for good measure. Yeah, they’ll be able to feel superior off of that doozy for good month or two.

So, when you hear about a remake of a film you consider to be a classic, take a couple of deep breaths, calm your mind and for a change of pace, shut the fuck up.

RantTV

Angus freaks me out!

Charlie Sheen, Angus T. Jones and Jon CryerThis post is about Angus T. Jones, one-third (or should that be one-fifth?) of Two And A Half Men. I’ve nothing against the kid and it’s not even that Angus specifically, as a person, that freaks me out. It’s that damn title sequence for the show. It’s gotten decidedly creepy and all evidence points to it getting worse for some time to come.

If you were one of the imaginary visitors who used to read my old site, you’d know I sometimes get a bit obsessed with TV show title sequences. I mean, we’re into season 5 of ‘Lost‘, people, and the BASTARDS still haven’t fixed the god-damned gaps in that rendered logo that flies past. The only way I could forgive it now is if the thing was integral to the plot and given how screwy the show has gotten, there’s actually a fair chance of that being true!

Anyway, back to Angus. Like I said, I’ve no problem with the actor. Sure, he’s no Olivier but that’s not really what the show demands. My gripe is with that morph they do when the little ditty they’re lip-syncing to comes to an end and ‘cute as a button’ little Angus goes all you-wouldn’t-like-me-when-I’m-angry and stretches out into teen Angus. Then he grins. Yeah, maybe that last little bit of creepiness is all Angus but the morph? Ick!

And it’s only going to get worst. This morph is something they’re updating every season, so that as Mr. Jones growth-spurts his way further from the cherubic mug that started this gig back in 2003, I can only assume he’ll start disappearing off the top of the screen. They’ve already announced the series has another three seasons all signed up. It’s going to be grotesque!

The series creator, Chuck Lorre has joked that the show remains ‘Two And A Half Men’ despite Angus becoming a ‘whole’ all to himself since both his co-stars are shrinking as age takes it’s toll. Given how he’s grown, I think either Charlie Sheen or Jon Cryer are going to have to lose a limb or two by season 9 just to even things out.