Sunday, December 23, 2007

Naughty teenagers, flying nurses and desperate housewives...

It can only be my 2007 TV Review!

Shows I loved this year:
Desperate Housewives
Season three of Desperate Housewives was just what we all needed to beat those Lost-recession blues. For, as J.J Abrams’ island mystery got more and more out of its depth, adding more characters, more flashbacks, more layers, to a point where the audience were past caring, Desperate Housewives succeeded in what it did best: show the lives of 5 sassy women. The main mystery of season three revolves around Bree's new husband, Orson Hodge (played with a swarmy quality by Kyle McLachlan that quite a few of my friends found a turn on), and whether or not he murdered his ex-wife. Meanwhile, Mike Delfino is still comatose after being hit by Orson, and Susan, in tending to him, meets the handsome Ian Hainsworth (Dougray Scott, the British accent is gorgeous), and the two begin dating, just as Mike begins to awake from his coma. Gabrielle, meanwhile, having divorced Carlos, embarks on a some (hilariously) dreadful dating choices, ending with her marriage to Victor Lang, a politician who only married her to secure the minority vote. Edie uses her son to get Carlos, and Lynette has her marriage tested to the limits as her husband opens a pizzeria and a long-lost love child of his enters the scene.

The acting in season three is top notch, the plot, though ridiculous, is wildly entertaining and nothing makes a show more watchable than the combined eye candy of Dougray Scott, Jamie Denton, and various other hotties. Bring on season four!

The adverts for this 9-part drama following a group of Bristolian teens featured clips of rampant and illicit drug-taking, boozing, partying, shagging and basically, anything but studying for their AS levels. Nicholas Hoult, once so adorable in About a Boy, takes centre stage here as the hugely unlovable Tony, the gangleader, who bullies his best friend Sid about being a virgin and cheats on his delusional girlfriend Michelle with an array of girls (and boys). Other characters include Maxxie, a boy struggling with his sexuality, Chris, who’s struggling with his crush on his psychology teacher, and best of all, Cassie, an anorexic ditz.

Despite the amoral advertisements and insufferably smug pilot episode, I grew to really enjoy Skins. Jamie Brittain and Brian Elsey cleverly weaved the fundamental human element into the show, so that no matter how annoying we find the teenagers, it’s hard to loathe them completely, as we remember that they are, after all, just teenagers. And the finale, showing how Sid and Cassie do eventually find true love, is particularly endearing. Nice guys don’t always finish last.

Ugly Betty
Here’s a show that I’ve only started getting back into recently. I saw the first few episodes of season 1, and now I’m just bunging in into season 2. What I love about this show is its insightfully scathing look into the fashion world, America Ferrera’s natural charm, and that camp man. I’m still playing catch-up with the plot, but as far as I can tell… Alexis used to be a guy, right?

Without a doubt, one of the best shows ever to grace BBC 2, Tim Kring’s creation is a superb amalgam of all the superheroes and superhero powers an overzealous kid could imagine, bunged into a melting pot, and with the age-old good/bad divide. Unlike with Lost, every single character in Heores has something interesting about them, whether it be superpowerless-but-inquisitive Mohinder, Hiro Nakamura, a computer programmer who can stop time, Peter Petrelli, an idealistic nurse who can fly, Claire Bennet, a cheerleader who can never die, or, most terrifyingly, Gabriel “Sylar”, one of the baddies who goes round killing all the other heroes and then accumulating their powers. As the season goes along, the heroes of the show discover that they can use their powers to good, and in doing so, often have to take part in thrilling, life-threatening showdowns with other heroes. The interweaved plots give the story a lot of cohesion and the performances from the entire cast are so convincing that we as the audience grow to care about them as more than just people with superhuman strength. It’s edge of your seat stuff with important messages of the importance of friendship, family, and how being different is never a bad thing. (gah, I sounded like I was quoting High School Music there.)

Not the classiest of choices, but Hollyoaks is compulsive shadenfreude TV. Gilly and John-Paul aside, there isn’t a single person on this show that I don’t hate, and that’s what makes it so fun to watch. Take Amy Barnes, for example. Obtuse to the point of farce, she’d gotten knocked up at 14, had the baby in the middle of a car crash, given the child to her parents because she was so ashamed, then, in the middle of the summer holidays, her maternal instinct kicks in and she walks out on her parents to live in a council estate with the lad that abandoned her in the car crash, a revolting boy by the name of “Ste”. Other storylines include Nancy and Jake, a college student and her brother in law, whom she’s recently gotten engaged to; Craig, a boy who was engaged to a Sarah whilst carrying on behind her back with a John Paul; Warren, a bartender with a gambling addiction; Steph, an awful actress who thinks she’s star quality…

I mean, honestly. You can see why if I’m in a bad mood at school, half an hour of Hollyoaks can cheer me up.

Mock the Week
Simply put, it’s the most entertaining way to catch up on current affairs. Russell Howard is a comedy legend.

Without a Trace
It’s all about Anthony LaPaglia’s brooding coolness, the slick execution and the human element to finding missing people.

Drop Dead Gorgeous
Pure trash-TV, it’s a rags-to-riches story of two Evertonian twin sisters, one of which is an outgoing and chatty, the other mild and self-deprecating. The latter gets selected to become a model, and jealousy, bitchiness and scheming follow. The performances by the two playing the sisters are convincing, and there’s something rewardingly domestic about the show.

Fanny Hill
Based on the bawdy novel by John Cleland, this drama tells the story of a girl who was almost going into prostitution before meeting her true love Charlie. He’s then cruelly taken from her, and she’s forced to sell herself to make ends meet, but unusually, Fanny enjoys her sexual escapades, and the fact that she’s resourceful, witty, yet not self-pitying, makes her a very likeable protagonist. The ending of this drama was a little hurried but overall, it was very funny, pretty sexy and hugely entertaining.

Would I Lie to You?
This is basically a game show where celebrities claim to have done something, and the opposing teams have to work out whether or not they are lying. A pretty simple concept, but David Mitchell’s rants are hilarious, and hey, you get to learn some unexpected facts about C-list celebs.

Gossip Girl
Ugh. I'm running out of time so I'll just give you this.

And of course I've been catching up with all the repeats Channel4 shows of my favourite TV programme, but I don't have Sky so I haven't seen any new material from The Simpsons. Except, of course, the movie, which I really enjoyed.