Archive for December, 2008

Christmas has come, and The Bob is getting fat

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Huzzah! It’s Christmas!

‘Tis my favourite time of year. Two weeks of holiday, and nothing to do except eat, sleep, and make merry. Plenty of cheese, wine, roast meat, whisky, visiting friends, seeing family, opening presents, laughing, singing, and generally doing as one pleases. It makes me feel like I’m a rich Victorian gentleman who spends his days living the good life. But with better TV.

Of course, Christmas isn’t just about over-indulging - there is the religious aspect of course (but I leave that sort of thing to other people). For me it’s about TV Christmas specials (which are invariably slightly longer, slightly less good versions of all of your favourite shows), the complete anti-climax of who will be Christmas number one (being that the X-Factor winner could release a version of them humming the theme-tune to Animal Hospital and still be the highest selling single of the year); people complaining about the cold weather, the snow, and the ice; or the lack of all these things and the fact that it doesn’t feel festive without them (I’m entirely guilty of this). There are carols and Christmas pop songs, mince pies and mulled wine, parties, gatherings, and staying up so late you become nocturnal. Going back to your home town and bumping into people you haven’t seen for 12 years and trying to make conversation with them. News stories about last minute present buying, followed by news stories about Boxing Day sales ending in riots. The Queen’s Speech, classic films on the telly, fighting with siblings (”get out of my chair and stop eating my smoked salmon!”), and feeling guilty for not sending out Christmas cards again this year.

I love all of these things. There’s only one thing I really hate about Christmas - pantomime. I hate audience participation. I hate the embarrassing attempts to try and make them up-to-date by including jokes about current celebrities or the X-Factor (oh, I did that in the previous paragraph. Damn…) and using well-known songs of the day in an attempt to keep the kids interested (and it’s even worse when they try and change the words to fit the plot). Getting every soap star and g-list celebrity from across the globe to embarrass themselves for 2 months. The “comedy” comes via double-entendres worse than the worst bits of the worst Carry On film, weak references to current celebrities/films/events, men dressed as women, women dressed as men, and a couple of poor schmucks dressed like a horse.

I should point out that I enjoy a good musical, I can suspend my disbelief like the best of them, I’m a fan of good old-fashioned variety, and I love a good punning (as you may have noticed). But I find no enjoyment in a bad interpretation of a classic fairy story with easy jokes, bad music, and performances so mind meltingly poor it makes you want to watch River City just to experience some quality acing. And I’ll say it again - I hate audience participation.

Basically, I find Panto a horrific tradition that has nothing to do with Christmas, and has little to do with the season. It’s about being good to your fellow man, sleeping all day, drinking all night, and eating more cheese than should be allowed. Not comedy donkeys and cross-dressing.

Unless you get really drunk.

Another year over…

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Hello, and a Merry Christmas to you both.

I’ve not written anything for ages, as per usual, due to real life getting in the way. As I’m on holiday at the moment, however, I have no excuse. So I promise to write a whole bunch of pointless crap over the next few days.

For today however, I just want to stick my thoughts down about the last series of Heroes. I realise that neither of you probably watch it anymore, but I just feel the need to document my reaction to how they finished it all off.

(As ever, if you haven’t watched the whole of the “Villains” section of Season 3 look away now…)

Well, that was pointless. Basically with all that happened over the course of the series - Arthur Petrelli coming back, Peter losing his powers, Mohinder turning into the fly, Sylar turning good, etc etc - by the end of the last episode, nothing has really changed. Not only did all the major characters survive, but most of the new ones have been killed off leaving us right back where we started.

I think really we can put the whole thing down to a bad dream and move on. There were lots of good bits, and I very much enjoyed the last episode, but hopefully they sort themselves out for the next volume.

A quick note of seasons/volumes etc. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) season 3 is split between 2 volumes - 3 and 4 - entitled “Villains” and “Fugitives” respectively. So “Fugitives” will still be part of Season 3, but a whole new story arc. The only real affect this has on us punters is that it will be starting in the States in February 2009 (when if it was a whole new season it wouldn’t usually be until after the Summer). The Internet doesn’t seem to want to tell me when it will be on here, but I’m sure the Beeb will keep us informed…

Anyway, let’s not dwell too much on the past; what will Season 4 be like? Well, it seems that Nathan, whose character stopped making sense about 2 years ago, has gone completely off track and has dobbed them all in to the President. But not just the President, but President Worf. If either of you didn’t notice, that was none other than Michael Dorn adorning us (sorry) with his Klingonian presence. Which is probably why we didn’t see his full face (cos of all the bumpy bits…)

A black President though? Didn’t 24 already do that? Oh yes, and the real world has done it too. Though I bet Mr Obama is less handy with a bat’leth. Probably.

With Nathan ratting out all the other main characters to the Feds I guess the next Volume will be about them all pulling together to help protect each other, fighting a common enemy, etc etc. Has this not happened a few times already? It also reminds me of Season 4 of Buffy, which was mostly about the US Government trying to get in on the paranormal action. And it was rubbish.

On the other hand it is also extremely like the rather excellent direction Marvel comics went in a few years ago, in a story arc called “Civil War”, the basic premise of which was that all the superheroes (Spider-man, Iron Man, Captain America, The X-Men, etc) had to sign onto a Government register, stating their real names and powers. Many of the heroes objected to this while others supported it whole-heartedly, leading to the titular Civil War. While this means that there are lots of exciting battles and such like between former allies, it also raises lots of interesting ideas around the idea of being a hero (like, if you destroy half a city while saving the world, who should pay for it?)

But I’m rambling now. In conclusion, hopefully Heroes manages to recapture some of the magic. It needs to have a bit more mystery than recent years, a bit more threat. We know that the main characters are safe, and even if they do appear to die they can always, ALWAYS be bought back to life/saved through time-travel/become another character entirely. A small cull might help with this. I would probably get rid of Claire, Angela, and Mohinder, and not bring back Sylar again (again). But I’d guess that Angela is the only one of the current cast that is likely to be scrapped.

Basically, I’ll probably still watch it but I’m not holding out much hope for the next 12 episodes. Hmm… I think I might start watching The Wire instead…