Best and worst of TV – April 2009

Arron roasts - and praises - a full month's worth of TV output. Is even Matthew Fox becoming redeemable...?

I’ve been away for some time, due to birthdays, work, interviews and concussions…and as such, haven’t had the chance to put my thoughts about any television out there for a while. Whilst it’s not necessarily all geeky, everything that follows has been rattling around my head for some time…

The Worst: 

1. People flying in Heroes.

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Why is it every time someone flies in Heroes, it has to turn into a miniature display by the Red Arrows? Why do we require a puff and stream of white smoke? Why do we need people to rise slowly, and then zip off into the distance? This is beyond annoying to me now; it doesn’t happen with Superman in any of his incarnations – so why drift so far from the textbook superhero flying technique? It’s annoying, and it does nothing for me aesthetically either.

2. Prison Break

I actually enjoyed this show, for some considerable time… then I started to think about it. I could just about accept a man on death row’s brother somehow conning his way into the same prison as the man on death row. But from there, it’s all kind of gone ridiculous. The clinching point for me is Michael’s magical disappearing tattoo trick. First we had him covering himself in a long sleeved jumper for an entire series-which I was fine with – as I had no overwhelming desire to see another man bare-chested to show something off which was only relevant to the first season’s plot; however, now he’s parading around in whatever he pleases without one iota of ink on his body… to think, everyone else has to laser away unwanted tattoos, when apparently you can simply worry and sweat them off throughout a series of improbable events happening relating to various alive-again family members-who knew?

3. Red Dwarf

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Like most dwarfers, I went into the three-parter over the bank holiday weekend with at best “low” hopes. Although I can, to some extent, empathise with Den of Geek’s other reviewer – in that it was a vast improvement on series 8, it still fails to live up to anything from series 1-6. As such, to most fans of the show Red Dwarf on Dave was simply an hour and a half that I’ll never get back. Unfortunately due to a concussion, I had to watch each show at least twice in order to get my head around things-as such, it was over 3 hours that I’ll never get back again, which makes me loathe this even more. 

4. The Inbetweeners

Series One was simply fantastic. It was original, it was rude, it was funny-it was basically a combination of the first American Pie, The Office and Bottom – without the Mayall/Edmondson slapstick violence. Series two has simply failed to live up to the billing. The people behind Inbetweeners seem to believe that if being awkward and rude is funny, then being more awkward and more rude is funnier. Whilst normally they might be onto something, it doesn’t seem to be working in this case. 

5. Time Travel

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I realise that I’ve made this rant before, but please, I’m begging now… can someone just come out and say that this is the story-and it’s what we’re sticking to? Hurley from Lost seems to feel my pain -sitting at the table, and wondering whether he’ll disappear. however, whilst Lost has almost poked fun at the fact that the whole thing is simply theoretical at present, everyone has conflicting ideas on everything. It’d be really nice for television junkies everywhere if two shows essentially exploring the same ideas (in this case Heroes and Lost) could stick to the same rules. Why is it that everything that has happened or will happen in Lost seems to be set in stone and completely unchangeable, and yet in Heroes every action taken affects the future? Watching the two back-to-back (as I often do) often leaves me feeling a little like Forrest Gump, unsure whether life is like a box of chocolates, or if fate is like a feather floating in the wind. 

The Best: 

1. Family Guy doing more Star Wars

I couldn’t help but sit down again and re-watch Family Guy: Blue Harvest when it came on television over Easter. Playing it uninterrupted was a stroke of genius, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only fan of the show to appreciate this. When I saw on Den of Geek that Family Guy were doing another Star Wars episode, I was a very, very happy bunny, and am now (like most fans of both Family Guy and Star Wars) looking forward to this as much as just about anything else I can think of. 

2. Heroes

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I’ve sat back and stayed quiet throughout the series-despite a very wishy-washy beginning, simply hoping that it would all come together in the end; and aside from the attempts to show the “good” and “bad” sides of Sylar almost simultaneously, which I’m finding a tad annoying, the series has been slowly building and improving episode by episode to what I can only hope is an ending to reward the remaining fans of the show for their enduring loyalty. Over the past few weeks, Heroes has become the only thing on the television which I’ve ranked as unmissable – ahead of even Lost. Although I’m happy that it’s all building towards a predictably unpredictable and climactic finish, I don’t really want it to end just yet. 

3. Lost

Being laid up gave me a chance to revisit some of the earlier episodes in the series, and come to a realisation – Lost has been as good this season as it ever has been. I realise that for anyone who’s read anything I’ve written about this previously, I’m pretty much going against everything I’ve said so far; however, I think that there’s some reasoning behind this… Lost as a one-off show can be horrible, which as a fan of the show, I have had some trouble accepting. However, having rewatched episodes in bulk over the past few weeks I’ve accepted something that I already really knew; each episode isn’t a show, it shouldn’t be viewed or rated as an event in itself. Every episode is simply another piece to the puzzle, and for me, the way that the survivors have been implanted into the world of Dharma has really helped me to accept this far more readily, because Lost is no longer in any way a linear storyline. The show always jumped around within episodes, first backwards, then forwards, then both. Now that we’re simultaneously in the present for these characters and the past of the island, it’s making a whole lot more sense to me. Even Matthew Fox hasn’t been as irritating of late-perhaps because I’ve quietly enjoyed the thought of him being a doctor and a janitor simultaneously, as well as finding solace in the fact that he did what any of us would have done with regards to Ben being shot – nothing. 

4. Two & A Half Men

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My love for this show isn’t something I often profess to. In fact, almost every show I’ve stumbled across in the daytime (from Ed, to Cheers, to Frasier) has eventually irritated me beyond belief. However, this show seems to be the exception to the rule for me. Perhaps it’s the fact that I secretly long to be Charlie Harper – a booze-addled layabout being paid handsomely to do very little while bedding women at a rate unseen since the days of George Best. However, as most guys feel the same, I can only fall back on the primary redeeming grace of this show: that it has the best one-liners in any sitcom on television today, and as such another new series on TV just gives me even more new one-liners to reel off. 

5. The Big Bang Theory

Ok, so it’s another sitcom, and is almost certainly to be classified as a geek-romcom, but this is perfect. It’s a little bit out-there, to be sure, and is the only show of note (other than Spaced) that I can recall having a robot-wars centric episode…which was hilarious. Why this is billed as a warm-up act for The Inbetweeners is beyond me, but it’s another show that is simply too good to miss at the moment.

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