The TV Week That Was #5

26 Sep

It’s been a slow week in TV. Barely anything new. Barely anything of interest aside from This Is England 86, Mad Men and Dexter (shock aftermath this week!)

So I ended up watching The Special Relationship (BBC2). It saw Michael Sheen reprising his role as Tony Blair for the third time. But this wasn’t about the famous special relationship.

No, the film decided to focus it’s attention to Blair and his friendship with Bill Clinton, played convincingly by Dennis Quaid. I swear if you shut your eyes you’d be able to hear the real Clinton. He was that good. We followed the pair from 1992, to the 1996/1997 elections, the Monica Lewkinski scandal and most interestingly of all, the Kosovo crisis. Unfortunately, it takes a bit too long to get to the situation involving Kosovo and when it did finally come around it all seemed a bit rushed. Plus, Sheen wasn’t the most magnetic Blair, particularly by his own standards. He was a bit flat and the script seemed to place Blair as more serious in comparison to Sheen’s previous portrayals.

So we were left with an hour of build up to a climax that dusted it’s hands a bit too promptly. Clinton’s last line in the show was very telling and perceptive though. After telling Blair he’d have to be less of a centre-left progressive politician with Bush, he says “But then again, I’m not sure you were one in the first place.” So commences a montage of news footage showing Blair and Bush getting on like a house on fire. We learn they use the same toothpaste. Thus ends a bit of a disappointing mini-movie that tried to be a Brit-centred West Wing and fell short of the mark.

Also new this week was Seven Days (C4), billed as “a new kind of reality show”. Hmmm, yeah, well it does seem to go over some suspiciously familiar ground. A brief group of people from Notting Hill are filmed over the course of seven days.

The audience gets to mail in and tell them what they think about the people and what they should do next. So you could tell the young interior designer (who irritatingly calls her mum “mummy” in the most annoyingly middle-class way possible) that she should get back together with that bloke she met for a drink down the pub. Or you could tell the dark-haired model to get a grip and stop crying just because she got told her hair wasn’t tidy enough for the event.

I only actually like 3 of the people on the show: the interior designer with dreadlocks, the wannabe rap star and Moktar, the only one of the whole lot whose name I can actually remember. He’s a student at Brunel Uni. Everyone else is either irritating, pathetic or completely stuck up. Hopefully some emails will come in saying what I’m thinking just so I can see them squirm.

Thrown into the mix is a combination of sweeping panoramas, sudden close-ups and a terrible megamix of commercial power pop that makes it all a bit of a disorienting experience. In the interludes everything is neon and exciting but when we actually follow the various people they have awfully dull lives: we see tiny bits of them on the phone, them walking down the street or sitting in cafes… And that’s kind of it. It’s like Big Brother Live. But at least BB had some conflict/excitement to show in the hour long show at the end of the day. These guys do bot all in a whole seven days: no wonder they had to inject some hyperactive music in there or we’d all gouge our eyes out with boredom. A BB successor this ain’t.

Not that it’s going to stop me watching their reactions next week. But if the interactive element doesn’t make this more interesting it’s getting ditched.

On a side note, in Jamie’s American Food Revolution this week, our happy chef tries to encourage the kids to eat healthy. But his plans backfire as the little tykes still wanted to eat cheap chicken nuggets free learning they were all giblets, gizzards and connective tissue sliced together like Frankenstein’s monster. Oh, and thought a potato was a tomato. It just gets more depressing….


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