Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato

Not a proper end-of-month edition, but just a few loose ends to be tied up.

Typical, you wait ages for a Swedish detective drama, then two come along at once..."Wallander" (BBC-1) was the English-language adaptation of the popular Swedish detective novels by Henning Mankell, starring Kenneth Branagh in the leading role. Good though he was, the whole thing was a little too "English" and just not Swedish enough - the pronunciation of Wallander's name for example - and it was extremely slow, stretched out to 90 minutes when 60 would have done. Despite all this, I'd like to see another series!

Above: the Swedish Wallander cast.

It was left to BBC4 to show us how it should be done. They broadcast a couple of the Swedish "Wallander" episodes and I managed to catch one of them. It was extremely watchable with more character development and it was much more pacy than its British version whilst retaining the 'mood'. More please BBC4!!

As Kylie might have sang, "Your country...your country...your country needs you!!" Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has been charged with the responsibility of masterminding the United Kingdom's Eurovision entry in 2009, and last night the selection process kicked off. Part 1 of "Your Country Needs You" (BBC-1) was basically a little bit reality-bootcamp and a lot of The Lord ego-tripping his way through meetings with Vladimir Putin and other movers and shakers to beg for votes in May. Note to ALW: why not buy up a gas supply mate, then the votes will flood in!

Oh and there were a couple of Dima Bilan sightings too!!

The main issue of concern is that ALW, despite being one of the world's foremost composers in musical theatre and not exactly down to his last five quid, has got himself a taste of reality-tv fame over the past couple of years thanks to his Maria, Joseph and Oliver searches. Make no mistake - this is all about The Lord and his hunger for fame and continued exposure which will come his way from now until May, and you can bet he'll love every minute of it.

Admittedly the six final contenders are of a pretty decent standard: Jade, Damien, Mark, Charlotte, Emperors of Soul and The Twins. Aah, The Twins. Took a wrong turning and got off at X Factor Central instead. Will you please stop crying girls - Eurovision is not for cry-babies! (And remember what happened to the last "Cry Baby" in the contest...!)

The competition begins next Saturday in earnest. I'm just happy to see the BBC do something different this time and give Eurovision a higher profile than the shameful efforts of the last couple of years.

Hold the front page. Never mind the world wars or the credit crunch, because the announcement of the new Doctor Who made the news yesterday. It was all a bit like "Who Shot JR" in Dallas, wasn't it??? Since the announcement that Matt Smith would replace David Tennant, who's decided to quit while he's ahead, the predictable debate has been all over the internet: he'll be great/he'll be rubbish/Doctor "Who?"/he's too young/he's too ugly/he's too predictable. We went through all this stuff with Christopher Eccleston then David Tennant and look how it all turned out. I've never heard of Matt Smith, I don't know how good a Doctor he will be, but I'll reserve my judgement till he actually hits our screens in that role. One thing's for sure though, Eccleston and Tennant will be hard acts to follow, and Doctor Who fans are a notoriously hard to please lot so it's a pretty big responsibility.

Tonight I watched "Celebrity Big Brother" (Channel 4) for possibly the first time in years just because Verne Troyer (Mini-Me from Austin Powers) is in it. I'd forgotten just how boring it was though, a load of Z-listers all sitting about, not doing very much.


Poster Girl said...

Ooo, a Swedish detective show! That'd be something worth watching.

You did a good job summing up what people should be thinking about the Doctor Who announcement--I agree with all of it: there are big shoes to fill (and I'm missing David Tennant already, when we've still got a bunch of specials to go!), but skepticism is the usual and it's always turned out well so far, I too have never heard of Matt Smith, but it only makes sense to wait and see how he does in the role.

I hope Your Country Needs You ends up with a better result than what I'm currently expecting it will :-/

Rachel said...

I loved Wallander,well the 2 British episodes I saw anyway.Firewall is one of my favourite books so I was quite excited to see how it would turn out on screen.Was as good as you can expect a 90 minute adaptation of a pretty complex 500 page book to be I suppose.Gutted I missed the Swedish versions though,it's so rubbish not getting iPlayer outside of the UK!

Also disappointed I'm missing Your Country Needs You- what sort of national final isn't shown on the internet these days?! Sounds like it'll be pretty good,although from what I've heard already,the twins should be the first to go!