Category Archives: Television

The Daily Rant: Raving on ‘Misfits’.

The concept of the television show Misfits is simple. Take a disparate group of dysfunctional young men and women, give them some super powers, and then watch as they come to terms with their new responsibilities and hopefully put away some bad guys. So far, so very X Men and Heroes, right?

Well, kind of right. Throw in some exceptionally foul language, a bucket or two of blood, a heap of sexual shenanigans, as well as the most quotable dialogue this side of The Princess Bride, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for the freshest television series I’ve seen in many a year.

Last Sunday saw the premiere of Misfits‘ third season. Already it had its back against the wall because it had lost its leading star Robert Sheehan (Nathan) and many fans had claimed the show would suffer for his leaving. Enter Joe Gilgun, an accomplished actor in his own right. The show would sink or swim on his performance and character.

I am delighted to report that none of the spark has gone. If anything, I think Gilgun’s addition to the cast can only be a good move. His character, Rudy, is certainly more sympathetic and much more likable than Nathan. His power – the ability to create an identical copy of himself – is intriguing, especially when each copy has a personality of its own, and will lend itself to some interesting stories this season.

My favourite character, though, is Kelly. For me, and I think for most of the viewers last night, she had the best line. Check out the clip below and you’ll witness her deadpan response to an offer of brunch.

Exquisite.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 98. On Series Finales.

Harry Pearce and the spies of MI5: Spooks.

We put down our favourite book, one that has travelled with us for nearly ten years, and we can’t help feeling sad. The writer says there will be no more new stories involving characters we have come to love and care for. It is time to move on. There is of course a closure of sorts; but we know in our hearts that their stories go on. Only no one will write about them anymore.

So it is with our favourite television shows. There will be no more Spooks after last night. I am sad. But life must go on.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 72. On Smiley.

No, not the emoticon but the character: John Le Carre’s famous spymaster, George Smiley. Coming out of a screening of the recent adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I thought about fictional characters authors are most famous for. Fleming has Bond, Lee Child has Jack Reacher, Conan Doyle had Sherlock Holmes.

For people of a certain age, Sir Alec Guinness’s portrayal of Smiley was the benchmark by which Gary Oldman would be judged. But now Le Carre’s creation has a new lease of life, and  I would love to see him return for another adventure.

Classic characters will live forever.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 66. On Downton Abbey and Period Dramas.

What better way to learn about history than to check out quality televised period dramas. Last weekend saw the return to our screens of the excellent Downton Abbey, the kind of programming the British seem to do so well.

The first series began with the sinking of the Titanic and ended with the outbreak of World War I. These historic events are seen through the eyes of well-written characters that live and work in the stately manor of Downton Abbey.

As a writer, I find it challenging and refreshing to see history unfold through fictional characters.Who says television doesn’t educate?

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 64. On Spy Stories.

With the release of the movie version of John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the return of Spooks to the BBC (its 10th and final season), there is, for me, a renaissance of the spy thriller. The Bourne trilogy of movies resulted in a more pared-down, gadget-free James Bond, focusing more on the people involved in the business of spying than outrageous plotting.

You see, spying is a sleazy industry: keeping secrets from some, extracting them from others, without letting your emotions get in the way. It can come at a price, though.

You may lose your humanity.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 59. On Critics.

Everyone’s a critic, or so they say. But there’s a difference between breaking a text, movie, television series, play or opera down into pieces and analysing them until the cows come home – and hoping the writer or creator burns in hell for killing your baby.

Newsflash, hotshots, it was never your baby to begin with. So what if you thought the finale to Torchwood: Miracle Day was terrible? You are entitled to your opinion, I grant you that. But please be more eloquent in your criticism.

Either that or go write your own version. For the record, I loved T: MD to bits.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 58. On House.

Dr Gregory House is an asshole, an arrogant, self-satisfied pain in the butt – and I can’t get enough of him. Not many shows make me want to sit down and view whole seasons all at once, but there’s something about the anti-hero that resonates with the writer in me.

Hugh Laurie’s award-winning portrayal of House notwithstanding, there’s more to his character and the show as a whole that causes me to think long and hard about it, even well into the early hours of the morning. Ethical issues come to mind and I will write more on this very soon.

 

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 51. On History.

History can be as dull as a October day in Leitrim and as dry as the Saharan landscape. But when all else fails, and stuff needs to be learned, add sex to the mixture and, Hell’s Bells, watch the application forms for history degrees arrive in the post or online.

It all started with HBO’s series Rome, if you ask me. A place where togas were optional rather than required attire. Then you had Henry VIII and The Tudors gallivanting their way around medieval England. Now with The Borgias along for the ride, maybe there’ll be an influx of new priests.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 50. On Television Licences.

By law, every household in Ireland must pay €160 for a television licence. This payment goes to RTE, our national television and radio broadcaster. For this money we get Ryan Tubridy and The Late Late Show, interminable reality TV shows, awful attempts at comedy and quite risible drama, with very few exceptions.

In Great Britain, for £145.50, viewers get Doctor Who, The Hour, Merlin, Being Human, Ashes to Ashes and plenty of quality one-off drama like last week’s Page Eight, starring Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon and Ralph Fiennes.

We get Pat Shortt, repeats and imports. I’d rather go to jail.

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 46. On Septembers.

The ninth month of the year brings with it many treasures. A return to normality, for one: with schools reopening, gridlock once again becomes a feature of early morning traffic. The longest-running television chat show The Late Late Show, hosted by Ryan ‘Ding Dong’ Tubridy, leaps back to our screens on Friday evenings.

There is a chill in the air and the nights draw in slowly but surely. Vampires get to head out earlier and stay out later. But for me, September means one thing: my television licence is up for renewal. Someone has to pay Tubridy’s salary I suppose.