Archive for November, 2008

No Heroics

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

The Guardian has an article on Heroes today that pretty much says what I haven’t got round to saying on here yet:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2008/nov/18/heroes-ustelevision

I agree with most of the review of the current state of play with the show, but not entirely with the reasons behind it. I haven’t bothered to blog about it in the last few weeks as each episode just seemed to add some many more layers of plot that I wanted to see where it was going before laying my judgement.

Unfortunately they keep using cheap tricks and cliff-hangers to keep the audience interested, but it just seems to increase the level of disbelief. As well as the points mentioned in the article and comments there was also Hiro appearing to kill Ando, and Adam coming back only to be killed off (surely he’s actually dead this time?)

I actually like Matt’s “vision of the future” episode - one flash-forward episode per series is a great way of setting out why the heroes are doing what they are doing, and where things are going unless the world is saved (via cheerleaders or otherwise). Of course, the whole point of this season is for the Heroes (Peter, Claire, Mohinder) to go bad, while the Villains show their good sides (Sylar obviously, Matt’s Dad had a moment of redemption, Mrs Patrelli perhaps). I give it 2 weeks before Claire kills someone just for kicks…

However, I think there are two reasons it feels like it has lost its way (or at least gone the way of Lost). First of all, as mentioned, there is little real character development. This is partly due to too many characters, but it is also because the writers feel the need (or are being forced by the producers/studio) to crank-up the action and shocks. The first series was a real slow-burner if you remember - it took weeks to find out who Sylar was, how characters like Parkman or Hiro fitted into the main Peter-based story, or what the point of Nikki was (what was the point of Nikki again?)

When season 2 started and the ratings fell, I remember reading an article saying that fans were complaining it was dull. Creator Tim Kring replied saying that he thought viewers wanted a slow build up again, with new Heroes and plenty character development. So perhaps the blame should lie on those folk who said that the start of season 2 was too slow and boring.

For the record, I actually really liked Season 2 possibly, I say quietly, more than the first series. Also, I wouldn’t quite yet say that they’ve jumped that shark, but there are certainly a lot of fins in them there choppy waters…

And yet I’m surprisingly good at triathalons…

Monday, November 17th, 2008

I’m a pedestrian.

I walk about 4 miles a day (to and from work) and I can walk a good way and at a fair old speed without getting tired. I enjoy my walk to and from work and it’s just about the only exercise I get.

But it’s more than that. Walking just about the only form of transport I derive any pleasure from. Put it this way:

  • I have aerophobia (I take valium on long flights to keep me calm…)
  • I don’t like long train or car journeys much (but then who does?)
  • Not a fan of boats
  • Hovercrafts - can’t really say one way or the other…
  • I can’t drive (failed 3 times when I was 17)
  • I can’t ride a bike
  • I can’t swim
  • I can only jog for about 6 metres before collapsing in a wheezing heap

Wow. When I look at it like that it’s pretty impressive. I suck.

Swimming is something that most mammals can do to an extent - I seem to remember in that episode of Quantum Leap when Sam was a chimp it was said that they can’t swim due to the way they’re built. There’s also probably some random mammals too (surely bats can’t swim?) but I’ll stick my neck out and say that most mammals wouldn’t drown. Swimming has been something creatures have been doing ever since, well, whatever it was we first evolved from first pulled on its amoebic bathing suit and hit the primordial ooze.

On the other hand, there are only a handful of chimps, a few dogs, and perhaps a squirrel or 2, who can ride bikes. And yet people are usually more shocked by my lack of pedal power rather than my absence of swimming skills. But to me the bike is just a thing people can do. Handy, yes, but it’s not necessary. The fact that I can’t swim could perhaps put me in peril one day, but something very strange would have to be going on when my only chance of survival involved me peddling for my life.

I’m sure biking in good exercise, but then so is walking. And, for that matter, so is boxing, bull-fighting, and buggery, and I’m hardly about to become a pugilist, Spanish, or go into showbusiness.

Just to make sure I don’t do anyone a disservice, the blame for this is entirely my own. I did get swimming lessons at school but never seemed to get to the point of taking off the water-wings (which was pretty embarrassing when I was 17 and doing Higher PE…) My parental units tried to get me to ride bikes without stabilisers, and my siblings all learned, but I was never very interested in such things. There was probably something good on TV.

Anyway, maybe now is the time to learn. Perhaps you all want to sponsor me to cycle 5 miles, or swim 10 lengths? (I have no idea how hard 10 lengths would be…) I’ll use the money raised to train up other mammals to ride bikes… just imagine: The Bob and his Amazing Mammals - On Bikes! We’d be a hit on ITV9…

Right, this post has taken a wrong turn somewhere. I was actually going to complain about people who don’t respect pedestrians, ie drivers, cyclists, and joggers. Especially large groups of runners who take up the entire pavement and force the rest of us onto the road. I’ve often been almost trampled by such people on my way home from work. Students by the looks of them.  Young, healthy and, as they’ve probably only been out of bed for 2 hours, full of energy. Lazy/lucky gits that they are.

As I hurried onto the roadside this evening to avoid the stampede, I wondered what would happen if I continued to walk along the middle of the pavement. Unfortunately they all tend to be taller than me so no doubt I’d get flattened. And I bet they’d all be really nice and apologetic about it too. Damn them all.

Maybe I’ll start taking the subway again. Much safer…

Give us this day our Daily Show

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Huzzah! The Daily Show is now free to view on Channel 4’s website. Click on this here link to get there, and tell them I sent you.

Actually, it’s been on 4OD for a while, but it cost £1 a show last time I checked. However, now we are all free to catch up on any episodes missed, and just in time for the election. Winner.

If you’ve never seen it before, shame on you, shame. Every episode manages to make me laugh out loud more than once, which is quite exceptional if you consider how quickly they must have to put it together. And how miserable a git I am.

To give you some background, The Daily Show (or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as it is officially called) has been running for years in the States, 4 days a week, and is shown here in Blightly on More4 the day after it’s aired in America. It’s technically a “fake” news show, although it has been said that people who watch it tend to be more aware of what is going on in the world than those who watch real American news stations. Most of the content is about politics, although at the moment that’s not very surprising. It’s also not exactly impartial, clearly favouring Obama over McCain, but who can blame them really.

Recent political guests include Obama himself last week (see the show from 30 October from my link above), Bill Clinton, and also Tony Blair about a month ago. But don’t let the politics put you off: recent film stars to appear, just from the past month or so, include Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, and Steven Martin.

Ultimately it is just highly entertaining, and if you are reading this then you clearly have 22 minutes to waste online. Go! Watch! Now!