Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: September 2012

It's not back properly till this coming weekend of course, but "STRICTLY COME DANCING" (BBC1) popped it head round the door earlier this month to say hello, to introduce this year's contestants and match them up with their professional partners.

On paper it appears to be between the Olympians and the pop stars.  In the Olympic corner we have gymnast Louis Smith and cyclist Victoria 'abs-to-die-for' Pendleton, whilst in the pop corner we have Nicky Byrne, from the recently-demised Westlife, and Kimberley Walsh from the soon-to-be-revived Girls Aloud. I wonder who'll be the pre-ordained judges' favourite this year?


Above: Louis & Flavia.  (Picture courtesy of www.metro.co.uk)

I haven't really picked my own favourite yet, however a win for the wonderful Flavia Cacace is long overdue so I will probably be cheering her and Louis on.

Strictly being Strictly of course, don't write off the 'national treasures' or the 'underdog' getting in the way of the 'proper dancers'.  It is an entertainment show after all, rather than a professional dance contest.  And I wonder who this year's John Sergeant or Anne Widdicombe will be?

There is also a new face on the judging panel this year (no jokes about Craig Revel Horwood, folks!!) and that is the retired ballerina Darcey Bussell.  As for the professional dancers there's one change to the line-up: out goes Katya Virshilas, axed by new producers for seemingly no reason other than being too low profile.  In comes Venezuelan-born Karen Hauer who should bring some sizzling Latin style to the show.

In my part of the world the biggest telly story of the month was the 10th anniversary of "RIVER CITY" (BBC1) which I wrote about in a separate post last weekend.  After the recent massive gritty storylines which were more 'Taggart' than a cosy soap, it will be interesting to see where the show goes next.  According to this Daily Record article http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/tv-radio/river-city-chief-insists-show-1342055 more humour is on the way.


Above: Steven Van Zandt!  Knitwear!  (Picture courtesy of www.guardian.co.uk).  

It's not quite Nordic Noir, but I'm really enjoying the latest Nordic import, "LILYHAMMER" (BBC4).  It's a very original idea - New York mobster relocated in a witness protection programme to Lilyhammer in Norway, purely because he enjoyed watching the 1994 Winter Olympics there.  Reinvented as Giovanni Henriksen, he proceeds to integrate into the local community encountering all the cultural differences along the way.  The jobcentre guy reminded me a little of Georg from N√¶turvaktin and the eccentric local life recalls Northern Exposure.  Oh, and there is some serious knitwear going on too.  One more thing: did any of you MGP fans notice a guest spot by Cocktail Slippers performing during episode 2?

Good comedy is hard to find, so its a very warm welcome to "MOONE BOY" (Sky 1) which is an absolute treat.  Chris O'Dowd, whom we remember from his role in the hit comedy film "Bridesmaids" stars here as the imaginary friend of little Martin Moone, his semi-autobiographical younger self.  Set in 1989 in a small town in Ireland, it's packed with warmth and laughter and has the same slightly absurd appeal which made Father Ted so great.


Talking of hit comedy films, "THE HANGOVER PART II" was recently screened on Sky Premiere.  Having absolutely loved the first one, I was bemused to read so many negative reviews of the sequel.  Ignoring the critical backlash, I watched the film with an open mind.  Only to discover very quickly that a) the critics were right; b) it's not the least bit funny and c) sequels should be avoided.

There continues to be a massive amount of food/cooking/baking-themed shows on TV, but I wanted to particularly mention a great show for lovers of Turkey and in particular, Turkish food.  "TURKISH DELIGHTS WITH ALLEGRA McEVEDY" (Good Food) took us on a tour of the vast country and its excellent food.  I love Turkish food of course so needless to say I've been hooked on this show.

Looking ahead to next month, I'm mega-excited about season 2 of Homeland which will be back on Channel 4 next Sunday.  I'll be reviewing it in next month's Square Eyed along with the Downton Abbey backlog and a Strictly update!

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