"Art is not a mirror with which to reflect the world; it is a hammer with which to shape it"

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Channel Zero #6

Life still moderately dull… dull is still far better than attacked by giant killer kangaroos- exciting it may be but high on the to do list… I don’t think so!

I have finally decided to stop tinkering messing about with Untitled Conspiracy Thriller’s story and finally made the decision to actually get some opinion on it. I’m not entirely happy with the way it’s ended up. But it may just be paranoia. Untitled Revenge Thriller now starts to take the foreground in the frontal lobes which strangely is one of the places that domestic appliances will take the foreground in Untitled Revenge Thriller. Spooky!

Misheard quote of the week: While Friends burbled in the background I heard Joey quote, ‘badgers, we don’t need no steenking badgers’. Presumably this was from the previously unknown Treasure Of Chipping Sodbury… a tale of greed, madness and one farmers fight for possession of his land.

I’m still kicking myself for missing the Derek Jarman documentary: I may not like the guy’s films but I would have liked to have found out some more about the man himself. Presumably in this multi-channel hell it will be repeated before too long… On the other hand I was unexpectedly surprised by Freezing… even if it was only three episodes. Swings and roundabouts!

The new Sunday night drama, The Last Enemy, was pretty much as I feared: the sparks of interest and ideas that it touched tended to be crushes by the sheer length of the piece: to put this in perspective by the end of the first episode we knew someone was dead, there was a bad computer system, a disease and a possible conspiracy… this took an hour and a half… a half hour after the end of the programme the same channel showed Runaway Jury, which managed to present all facts, characters, deaths, conspiracy, etc. and wrap the whole thing up in less than two hours. While the one is the opener of a TV serial and the other a mainstream film it did serve to highlight the former’s big flaw. Again this was another programme featuring ‘top’ people: the top mathematician, the top doctors, the top government girlfriend, the top scientist… nobody I (or many) could remotely relate to. There were also two very obvious plot twists which I predicted about 10 and 25 minutes in- and I’m remarkably dense! However, it was that sheer length that was killing it- why is it that if a programme is important it slows right down and everything is imbued with meaning? However, despite these misgivings, something tells me though, a feeling, that it may well pick up greatly in episode two, especially when they bring Robert Carlyle into play. So, I’m suspecting perseverance may pay dividends.

So, even though I still don’t know whether this is of any use to man or beast, possible telebox heaven in the outer reaches of digital hell…

BBC2: 12.35 am: Felicia’s Journey: a wonderful creepy low-key film from Atom Egoyan; disquieting and, for me, ultimately moving. Superbly judged performances from Bob Hoskins and Elaine Cassidy (so good in the unjustly maligned and highly enjoyable Ghost Squad) to a finely crafted script from Egoyan. Rarely has loneliness, lost love and isolation been so well captured.

BBC1: 9.00 pm: The Last Enemy: the person in the Radio Times says appositely “I suspect it’s something Spooks would dispense with in a third of the time and with a lot more style”. Mind, they also say it’s “knotty” and that they “have no idea what’s going on”… Why? It’s hardly been difficult so far.

BBC2: 10.50 pm: Storyville: Dance With A Serial Killer

BBC1: 9.00 pm: Life In Cold Blood: Of course…

BBC4: 9.00 pm: Portillo On Thatcher: The Lady’s Not For Spurning: Portillo reportedly bashes Thatcher…

BBC2: 11.20 pm: A Satellite’s Tale: the story of satellite technology that may just remind me how geostationary satellites actually ‘do their thing’.

C4: 1.10 pm: Seven Days To Noon: a super little British thriller from the Boulting Brothers; the British take on the absurdity of the Cold War and M.A.D. Being old and worse, in black and white, it’s being shown in the middle of the day so that next to no-one can watch it.

BBC4: 9.00 pm: Storyville: Tito’s Ghost: Timely.

BBC1: 10.35 pm: Imagine: Richard Rogers, Inside Out: a profile of the architect behind the Pompidou Centre and Millennium Dome: whatever you think of the profligacy and waste the actual design and engineering of the place was nigh on unique.

BBC4: 9.00 pm: The Worlds Of Fantasy: The first documentary (of three) on the art of fantasy of writing with contributions from apparently anybody who is anybody: first part on child heroes and heroines and their enduring appeal. But why aren’t programmes like this on mainstream channels like BBC2?

ITV1: 10.35 pm: Dexter: Terrestrial showing of the highly regarded US show.

BBC1: 9.00 pm: Ashes To Ashes: …and why not?

BBC2: 9.00 pm: Spartacus: drama-documentary on the rebel slave: no matter how entertaining and informative it may prove, I suspect Kubrick’s legacy may remain unchallenged.

BBC4: 9.00 pm: Rob Brydon’s Identity Crisis

BBC2: 2.05 am: Thirst: cracking Aussie vampire film to which I gave an honourable mention here.

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