Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Being Human, Heroes, Lost... TV's All Gone to Sh*t

Once in a while, when I'm not off cavorting at gigs, skulking around seedy cabaret clubs or entertaining the unsuspecting streets of Kemp Town with impromptu showtunes outbursts, I sometimes quite like to stay home and watch TV. Ever hopeful for something new and exciting on the box, a few months back we downloaded and watched the pilot episode of Being Human, a new BBC3 drama about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost sharing a house in Bristol. It sounded fun, and the pilot was excellent - a bit This Life, a bit Buffy, a bit ER (the werewolf and the vampire both work in a hospital) - in other words everything I could possibly want in a the way of televisual entertainment. At last, I thought, a decent fix of intelligent dark-humoured fantasy drama and with eye candy to boot.

To my immense disappointment, when the actual series finally launched some time later and the two strongest main characters had been replaced with new actors - including a distinctly less edgy and not at all sexy vampire - it just didn't do it for me any more. It wasn't just the actors though, the whole thing just felt cheaper and lacking in the essential cool factor which the pilot had delivered in spades. Somehow they had managed to break what I hoped would be my new TV addiction. I don't watch a lot of telly, but I do love to have something absorbing and distracting on the go and there hasn't been anything that ticked all the boxes since Joss Whedon's ill-fated Firefly.

Last night I half-heartedly started watching the new series of Heroes, knowing full well that just like the previous ones, it would be certain to disappoint. When Heroes first came on our screens it had all the makings of being exactly my kind of show, but then just kept going round and round in tedious circles, ever dangling the promise of something better over our hopeful little heads. It so should be good, but in reality it never quite hits the spot. Nevertheless, I keep watching and hoping until something better comes along, sucker that I am. And judging from the largely dissatisfied Twittering going on during last night's episode, I am not the only one trapped in this endless cycle of disillusionment.

On the DVD-front, we just finished season seven of Smallville (big 'meh') and are currently watching series one of The Sarah Connor Chronicles (whose duo of boot-clad leading ladies keep Ant happy) as well as season four of Lost. Despite having jumped the shark some time ago, Lost at least keeps the heart pumping with non-stop action-packed adventure, and plenty of bare-chested male totty action (yes I am that shallow), and I am intrigued to see where they will take it from this confusingly convoluted point. Next up on our LoveFilm rental list we have (in no particular order): Mad Men, Six Feet Under, more Dexter, True Blood, Wonderfalls, Dollhouse and Veronica Mars - all recommended by friends with SkyPlus who get to watch all these things as they come out and go on about them until I am worn into submission. And let's hope I'm not being led astray, because if there's nothing decent in amongst that lot, I may have to throw the TV out of the window and take up cross-stitch instead.


  1. four words: the wire and mad men. dammit that's five. but, grammaticallarily correct.

  2. Yep - stopped watching Heroes after the end of Season 1 (knew it would be shit after that just KNEW it).

    Sci-Fi nerd that I am have only been watching Battlestar Galactica otherwise and haven't bothered with any recent episodes just because...couldn't be bothered.

    TV is quickly becoming a rarity, such that, when I do turn it on, its a novelty!

    Yay for TV at last!

  3. I'm hearing you on this. Heroes annoyed me after just 2 episodes, couldn't get into Dexter & we too bailed on Being Human after 3 weeks or so. Even Lost is going through another dull patch but I'll stick with it. This week we finished the final episode of The Wire season 5 & I'd happily sit through the entire run again right now. Looking forward to catching Generation Kill...

  4. Have you been sticking with Being Human? Like you, I was really disappointed with the cast changes and the general feel of the first couple of episodes, but in retrospect I think that I was wrong to write it off.

    In many ways the new angle is far superior to the pilot, I think, although I wish that they'd kept Andrea Riseborough's more damaged take on Annie. The biggest improvement is the re-writing of the vampire movement, which was glossy and high-achieving in the pilot and is now much more agreeably backstreet and unglamorous; somehow that makes it more believable and frightening.

    And in fact I think the series seems to have got both funnier and darker in recent episodes; and I thought the last one was quite brilliant - really heavy and intriguing.

    Not sure if its met its potential, certainly, but I think it's one of the best things on telly at the moment, and infinitely better than, say, Heroes.

  5. Jonathan - since you have so ardently defended it, I shall give Being Human another go. But I will blame you if I still hate it...


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