Monday, March 10, 2014

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: February 2014

February was all about catching up with the unmissable second series of "THE BRIDGE" (BBC4).  Shocking, upsetting, riveting.  As with series 1, it was loaded with layer upon layer of complexity and red herrings, eco-terrorism and people in pig masks.  In the meantime, Saga and Martin were dealing with family/relationship problems and establishing a new level of trust in each other.  The partnership of Martin and Saga is an incredible one which is hard to beat.  But just as they built up trust, even the best friendships end in betrayal.  Poor Martin :(

The good news is that there will be another series, but after that ending, just how can they put everything back together?

Telly chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall headed off to Sweden, Denmark and Norway to celebrate the highs (and occasional lows) of life there, and to find out why they've been voted the happiest countries in the world.  In a too-short series, "SCANDIMANIA" (Channel 4) he covered Abba, flatpack houses, lagom, Nordic Noir, the law of Jante, and the Ylvis brothers.  What does the fox say?  We probably wouldn't find out as HFW would have cooked it.  Great series, but I could have done with all the hunting stuff.  And don't even start me on the smoked sheep's head. 

Managed to fit in a couple of films in February too.  "ROCK OF AGES" (Sky Movies) was based on a stage musical set in the 80s, about a couple of rock music-loving hicks from the sticks trying to make it in Hollywood.  My main gripe was that the two leads, Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta, were just a bit too 'nice' to be convincing, and some of the soundtrack of American hits may be unfamiliar to British ears.  Russell Brand did what he does best - being Russell Brand of course - and Tom Cruise was a revelation in his role as over-the-top rock idol Stacee Jaxx. 

Another music-related film, but it couldn't have been further removed from the bright lights of the Sunset Strip.  "VINYL" (Sky Movies) was a film I'd never heard of, however I decided to check it out because it seemed to be an interesting story.  Remarkably based on a true story too.  The main plot was about a rock band making a comeback, but no-one was remotely interested until they came up with the bright idea of putting together a young band to front the song.  A very interesting concept and an observation on the image-obsessed music business.  Well worth watching, and I guarantee that "Free Rock n'Roll" song will be stuck in your head for ever. 

I'd hoped for more from "RUSSIA ON FOUR WHEELS" (BBC2) a timely pre-Sochi travelogue, however it was less in-depth exploration and more 'Top Gear'-ski.
Talking of the Winter Olympics, this brings me on to "DAN SNOW'S HISTORY OF THE WINTER OLYMPICS" (BBC2), a very interesting documentary which took us through the years of the unmissable winter event.  Sadly, it was only an hour long - it should have been a series.

And proving that I am the queen of the backlog, I'm still working my way through the Winter Olympics coverage.  Should be finished in time for the next one.  One of the most shocking things about this Winter Olympics - apart from the IOC deciding to award it to Russia in the first place - was the lack of atmosphere/cheering by audiences, notably in the ice skating arena, which only came to life when the Russian competitors appeared.  This time round, it was the 'extreme' sports which grabbed my attention: the slopestyle snowboarding and freestyle/halfpipe events. 

On "WHO DARES WINS" (BBC1), the dominance of Chrissy and Joe completely wasted the early weeks of the 2014 series.  But then in February....the impossible happened and they were finally knocked out. 

Whilst on the subject of quizzes, two words: fantastic fun!  Yes, that old quiz from the early days of Channel 5, featuring a younger version of the wonderful 'punslinger' himself, Tim Vine - I refer to "WHITTLE" which resurfaced on the home of classic quizzes, Challenge.  It's time to put on your Whittle masks. Are you ready to be whittled?  Whittle away!

Time for an ad break.  Followers of the Compare the Meerkat saga - yes, I am one - are delighted to welcome a new meerkat to the fold.  Oleg has been adopted by Alexander, but once again it's poor old put-upon Sergei who's been left to bring him up :( 

And just when you think you couldn't get anything cuter than Oleg, along came the McVities kittens.  Awwwwww.......

1 comment:

Raquelita said...

Ah you've been watching Whittle! I remember it the first time around but it cracks me up now- it's just so bad.Tim takes it so well considering nobody laughs at his jokes.And I love that the top prize is £250 :)

I was wary of The Bridge after the finale of last series.This one was flipping devastating,although I did prefer it overall to series 1.Think I'll definitely stick to the Cabinn hotels in Copenhagen.You wouldn't get that sort of nonsense happening there!