Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: Christmas & New Year Special 2012-2013

Finally getting round to posting this: if I wait any longer it'll be next Christmas!

So, all in all, it was a rather smashing Christmas and New Year break, very relaxing, and helped along by my employer's decision to close on Christmas Eve and not reopen until 3rd January: one of the better decisions anyone could make, I think you will agree :)

So let's finally put 2012's telly to bed tonight with a review of the Christmas and New Year period, which, true to form, was pretty rubbish and relied on pre-recorded stuff/box sets etc etc. 
Saturday 22.12.12

Strictly Come Dancing: THE FINAL!! There was the 'chosen one' (Denise van Outen) versus 'the underdog' (Dani Harmer) versus 'the contender' (Kimberley Walsh aka 'Nimble Kimble') versus The Olympian (Louis Smith) and guess what???? The Olympian won.  Yes, it was a very well received victory for Olympic gymnast Louis Smith at EuropeCrazy HQ for several reasons: a) Flavia Cacace was his partner and was well overdue the Strictly glitterball; b) Louis finally learned to let himself go and enjoy himself over the latter weeks of the competition, and c) that showdance,  Now that was what you call a showdance.   And if you've got a physique like that then you might as well show it off.

Very happy for Louis and Flavia, although slightly disappointed that the Beeb didn't reveal who was second.  Although I would also be very happy if Kimberley and Pasha were (well-deserved) runners-up.  But we will never know...!
The Nation's Favourite Christmas Song (ITV): more of the same-old, same-old, but if I recall it was "Fairytale of New York",  a pretty refreshing choice by the way.  The boys of the NYPD choir will always be singing 'Galway Bay'.

Olympics 2012: 50 Greatest Moments (BBC3): yet another opportunity to wallow in Our Greatest Summer of Sport.  And why not?  However the programme did go on a bit too long. 

Sunday 23.12.12
Ade's Christmas Crackers (ITV): firstly, Melodifestivalen fans will not have escaped Ade Edmondson modelling his look on the Rongedal brothers.  That aside, it was yet another clip show, this time Christmas themed, and a fun way to pass an hour.  Especially if you are old enough to remember those Christmas TV shows from your childhood.  

Homeland (Channel 4):  overall, a disappointing second season which brought an inevitably disappointing conclusion.  I don't know where Season 3 will go from here, although I will (inevitably) look forward to it and watch it when it hits our screens.  So many unanswered questions, such as: why does everyone call Brody 'Brody'???

Monday 24.12.12

The Grinch (ITV): home from work just in time to watch this.  One of the best Christmas films of recent years, an awesome performance by Jim Carrey at his best and just the perfect treat to set you up for Christmas Eve.  Love it!

The Snowman and the Snowdog (Channel 4): Can it really be 30 years since Channel 4's first Christmas, and the legendary cartoon "The Snowman"?  Well, yes.  So here, finally, is the sequel. Out goes "Walking In The Air", in comes some nice music by Andy Burrows (ex-Razorlight) and then of course there is the Snowdog.  Who wouldn't want one of those?  Very nice, all in all, but a rather vague and unsatisfactory ending.
Mrs Brown's Boys (BBC1): this programme polarises opinions like no other.  I haven't seen much of it in the past, but it strangely appeals to me as there's something reassuringly old-fashioned, and 'panto' about it.  I'd rather have this as one of those overrated 'modern' comedies or silly panel games on Channel 4.  Yes, I'm probably getting old.  By the way, whenever I see 'grandad' (pictured left) he always reminds me of Thomas G:son!!

Tuesday 25.12.12

Top of the Pops (BBC1): atrocious.  That was 2012's chart pop for you, or at least only the ones that the Beeb could afford to put on in the studio.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (BBC1): that strangely unsatisfactory annual one-off anomaly where various celebs do a Christmas-themed dance.  This time round, won by JB from JLS. Despite the reappearance of various contestants from the past, culminating in the return of series 1 winner Natasha Kaplinsky, it all fell a bit flat for me. 

Coronation Street (ITV): Leanne and Nick getting married (again) on Christmas Day - oh wait - no, they didn't,  because it's one of those attention-seeking soap weddings and they got some more mileage out of the Nick-Leanne-Peter love triangle.  Hmph.  (only they did later go on to get married after all).  Distraught after your wedding's cancelled? Then why not sleep with your sister-in-law!  Nick spent the night with Kylie, with inevitable repercussions...

Downton Abbey (ITV):  Whisper it, but has Downton finally jumped the shark?  After an unsatisfactory third series, the big TV event of Christmas night turned out to be a damp squib, with the family heading up to a Scottish castle and some mirror-image relatives and servants, meanwhile we had a silly sub-plot about Branson being torn between 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' and the servants heading off to the county fair.  And then of course there was that finale, which will probably provide enough storylines for a fourth series, but I think the series has run its course.
Wednesday 26.12.12

Most Shocking Celebrity Moments of 2012 (Channel 5): I guess this will have to do as a replacement for my old favourite "Most Annoying People of..." list which is conspicuous by its absence on BBC3 this year.  You know the score: irritating celebs, commented on by ....vaguely irritating non-celebs.  

Neil Diamond: Hot August Night (BBC4): Massive respect to The Diamond, the man who has written so many legendary songs, yet points deducted as for some reason he fell into the trap of so many 'older' artists by talking rather than singing his way through so many of those legendary hits.

Thursday 27.12.12

Len Goodman's Dancing Feet: the British Ballroom Story (BBC4): oh let's award at least a 'se-ven' for the Strictly judge's warm and enthusiastic look back at the golden age of ballroom dancing. 

Strictly Ballroom (BBC4): haven't seen this for about 15 years at least, but we just kept BBC4 on after the Len Goodman documentary and ended up watching this again.  Didn't watch many films over the Christmas/New Year period, but as feelgood factors go, this definitely hit the spot yet again and was arguably the best non-Christmas-themed movie on telly over Christmas. 

Friday 28.12.12

World's Most Dangerous Roads (BBC2): a couple of telly-celebs - one of them I recognised as that Hugh Bonneville bloke off Downton - on a road trip through Georgia.  Sadly not playing a loop tape of "We Don't Wanna Put In" and "Visionary Dream" on their way.  I got bored with it very quickly and didn't hang around.

Saturday 29.12.12

Superstars (BBC1): those of us old enough to remember the original format with the likes of David Hemery, Kjell Isaksson and Ties Kruize and of course Brian Jacks, will also have been glad to see its comeback and nodded our enthusiasm at the one-off revival featuring the British Olympians.  It was pretty entertaining stuff which saw boxer Anthony Joshua and rower Helen Glover come out on top this time round.  With so many jaded TV formats on our screens I think it's about time to revamp Superstars.  How about it BBC?

Climbed Every Mountain: the Story Behind The Sound of Music (BBC2): you think you know everything about The Sound of Music, but what happened after the Von Trapp family singers climbed that mountain?  Sue Perkins set out to investigate the real story of Maria and the family.  It was a very entertaining and informative documentary but what really surprised me was Salzburg's uneasy relationship with the film: only now is the city finally coming to terms and staging their own musical version. 

Sunday 29.12.12

The Hotel (Channel 4): Yay!!!! A new series of The Hotel will be a perfect start to the new year.  For the uninitiated, it's a reality show set in the Grosvenor Hotel in Torquay, a modern-day Fawlty Towers, run by manager Mark and his assistants Alison and Christian.  You couldn't make it up, although increasingly I'm beginning to wonder just how real some of the scenarios and situations are.  But with a show as good and laugh-out-loud funny as this you don't really care. 

Monday 31.12.12

Coronation Street (ITV): wedding shenanigans over, it's all about Fiz :(  This time a recycled carbon monoxide poisoning storyline (it's already been done with Rita) and this time Fiz's life hung in the balance.  (Sadly, she lived).

Scots on the Box (BBC1):  you know it's Hogmanay as BBC1 Scotland brings out the usual suspects (more of that later) but this time they tried a two-part quiz with Scottish celebs and let's face it folks, it was a good excuse to bring out some embarrassing old TV clips.  This wasn't bad actually, and got me thinking back to "Superscot" - remember that one?

Only an Excuse? (BBC1): heh-heh-heh!! It has its critics, many of whom say the show is past its sell-by date.  OK so it's not as funny as it once was, but it still has its moments (notably the Gangnam Style sketch) and I'd miss it if it was to end.  However there is a big gap left by the absence of "Still Game" which I always loved on Hogmanay:  Kiernan and Hemphill need to put their differences aside and get back together and write another series.  Well, The Stone Roses did it, so why can't they? 

Scotland's Hogmanay Live (BBC1): OK, so there is this fantastic big street party going on in Edinburgh which attracts tourists from all over the world.  So why does the BBC not go down into the street and bring us some of that atmosphere?  No, why should they, when we could go back to the studio for some Phil Cunningham and some folkie murdering a Franz Ferdinand song? 

I didn't watch Jools's Annual Pre-Recorded Hootenanny this year either.  I started 2013 as I meant to go on: with an early night.  Off to read a book and listen to a bit of Radio 5 Live.  The rock 'n'roll lifestyle of this blogger eh!!


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