Category Archives: Television

My thoughts on what’s on the box

True Blood 4 Episode 1 with video recap – **spoiler warning**!!

You’ve been warned ‘kay? So if you don’t wanna know, don’t read on!

I was tempted to save up all the episodes and have a marathon, like I did with seasons 1-3 but….I’m sooooo weak!

I watched episode 1 last night and was gutted when it ended – I have no doubt this feeling will haunt me on a weekly basis till the season ends – so many questions!

Gotta say I was really pleased with the first episode. It can’t be easy…making sure you give newcomers enough of a background to the storyline (3 seasons worth!) and also set the scene for the current season. So yeah, bearing that in mind, I was happy.

Very cleverly the writers have managed to manipulate a jump forward in time by having Sookie visit faerieland for what she thinks is a couple of hours. However everyone else back in Bon Temps think she’s been missing for a year. This was needed I think for a bit of breathing space after season 3 and to give the characters, who had been through a lot in a short-ish period, time to get back on their feet.

So Sook’s away with the faeries (literally) and it’s all striking her as a little weird, this paradise garden where everyone is chowing down on Lumiere fruit. She meets her ‘dead’ grandad who has been there 20 years but is convinced it’s only been a day.

To confirm her suspicions of this beautiful garden where everyone looks like a supermodel, she spots a weird ork-like looking creature and clicks on that this fruit is of the ‘forbidden’ variety and doesn’t eat any.  She psychically communicates her fears to her grandad but is overheard by mind-reading queen faerie Mab who is none too pleased to have been rumbled. Apparently everyone there is part of some harvesting project with the aim of eventually closing off faerieland from the rest of the human race.

There’s a bit of a fight, some running away and eventually Sookie and her grandad are pointed in the direction of a portal (by some renagade faerie) through which to return to Bon Temps.

Ok so….back in Bon Temps. Sookie returns to find that her house has been sold to a mystery buyer…..hmmmm! Jason is a fully fledged cop with a uniform and e v e r y t h i n g and is still taking care of the Hot Shot folk (who kindly show their gratitude by locking him in a freezer (!).  Andy has a serious V habit, Lafayette has a cool new ‘do’ and boyfriend Jesus is getting him into witchcrafty stuff, the head witch seems to think there’s something a bit ‘special’ about Lafayette, Tara is now ‘Toni’ living in New Orleans with her girlfriend and cage-fighting to pay the rent, Bill Compton has planted his bum in Russell Edgingtons throne as the new King and Eric is trying to lure humans into Fangtasia in an attempt to further integrate vampires and humans.

Hoyt and Jessica have been living together a year and are having the normal ‘honeymoon-period-is-definitely-OVER’ tiffs. Jess appears a bit bored of the whole human lifestyle and is getting urges to hunt.  Hoyt’s mamma seems to have adopted Tommy (to keep her busy since Hoyt and Jess still don’t speak to her) and is trying to guide him on the straight and narrow whilst his older brother Sam is taking anger-management classes…he says. Turns out he meets up with a few other shifters and they all have dinner, drinks then strip off, turn into horses and go for a canter! Arlene’s baby is showing definite homicidal tendencies – according to Arlene – because he ripped off the heads of some Barbie dolls! She is convinced he’s going to grow up just like his father Rene.

Turns out the buyer of Sookie’s house was Eric so that in owning the house he also owns her as she can’t resend any invitations to enter his own property! Interesting though was that whilst Bill thought her dead, Eric was always sure Sookie was alive, hence investing in the house.  Sookie gets Portia Bellefleur to act as her solicitor to revoke the offer/sale of the house and overhears Portia thinking about Bill.  Seems they’ve been ‘hanging out’ a fair bit….not sure how far their relationship has gone though.

Roll on episode 2!

So….if you’ve read all that then there’s absolutely no harm in watching the video recap by clicking on the link below…nothing I haven’t already told you!

True Blood 4 episode 1 recap **spoiler**

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The Hotel!

I’d heard about this programme on Channel 4 and been told I’d like it before promptly (and typically) forgetting all about it. Apparently it was mentioned by someone who thinks I can actually take these passing comments in…whilst doing the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, loading the dishwasher, preparing lunch, planning dinner….awww – just call me Cinders!

Sunday evenings are usually put aside for catching up on my American favourites. My HBO fix. Whilst getting settled with my spag bol and lining up the vodka and cokes for the evening, ‘The Hotel’ began…so I thought I may as well see what the craic was.

I don’t think I’ve ever complained quite so much the whole way through a programme. At least not since the first Big Brother over 10 years ago….which incidentally turned out to be the last time I ever watched that programme! I have a feeling my Sunday nights will be returning to normal too and that last weekend was a mere hiccup.

The programme is a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary (although there’s plenty of drama in it too – particularly from the manager!) about life for the staff and fleeting guests at at the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite near Bowness in the Lake District. Manager Wayne seems permanently stressed, always on his feet, always rushing somewhere, usually to locate another member of staff (a mixture of Polish and Romanian people) and mostly to reprimand them for their latest faux-pas.

So much of the dialogue between Wayne and his staff is completely lost in translation and amusingly (although not for the poor soul on the other end of his ranting) this just makes him say the same thing repeatedly….but LOUDER. There are a small group of Polish cleaning staff, who obviously all speak the same mother tongue and are able to comfort each other, explain things to each other and slag off Wayne telling each other to ‘ignore him’. My heart went out though, to Amos.

He is the only Romanian and really struggling to understand and be understood. He is certainly the most appealing character and the cause of many sympathetic ‘awww’s’ and shouting at the tv telling Wayne off on his behalf! Amos is such a hard-worker, relentless in fact, despite being incredibly clumsy and a little bit clueless. At one point Wayne asked him if he could possibly carry three rounds of toast out to the dining room and I heard myself screaming ‘No! Don’t ask him to carry three – he can’t!’. It was too late though as a slice of toast predictably fell to the floor ensuing in Wayne grabbing the third round and storming off with it. However, despite repeatedly pissing Wayne off by dropping things, spilling stuff and trying to drag huge tables across the floor with a glass vase on top…Amos never says ‘no’. He is so eager to please and do any task he is set. Often saying ‘yes, yes’ when he hasn’t a clue what he’s just been asked.

Cut to a studio interview where we hear about Amos’ childhood. Never knowing his father, sleeping rough, not receiving a proper education and from that moment on I have an excuse for him at every step of the way! I know, I’m such a pushover.  He’s lovely though and tries so hard to do a good job despite the language problems.

Onto the guests! Oh my word! Another kettle of fish altogether. The episode I saw had a Christian couple come and stay a couple of nights. For a nice break you might think? Some romance maybe? Or just a dirty weekend?? Nope! They were on a complete mission to convert as many people as possible to Christianity! I couldn’t believe what they were doing. We saw them often praying in their room, sometimes just general stuff, one time praying to be protected from the ‘evil’ woman that was coming into the hotel that evening to do a seminar on angels!  The next thing you know the guy has asked at reception if he can have a word with Amos, who is promptly summoned and directed to the dining room where the guy is waiting. My jaw hit the floor when this guy started questioning poor Amos on his religious beliefs. Asking him if he understood what it was to be a sinner and telling him that he ‘needed to turn away from sin’!! Seriously?? All because Amos’ mother had deigned to saddle him with a biblical name. It made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

A lighter moment followed though when the Christian couple returned to their room to find the bathroom door locked and the shower running. There was a bit of a moment when staff were trying to find a wire coat-hanger to pick the lock (master-key anyone?anyone?) to no avail, so Wayne was drafted in to kick the door in! Who was in the bathroom? No-one! I still don’t know what happened there…I must have been in the kitchen getting another drink to see me through to the end!

I think, its actually a great programme. Like a real-life Fawlty Towers…although the owner Jonathan Denby is none too keen on that comparison but come on! You can’t watch a flustered, frustrated, intolerant Wayne and not think ‘Basil’. Just as you can’t watch a well-meaning but often confused Amos and not think ‘Manuel’!

I think we all know I’ll be watching it again next week….I’m a terrible liar!



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BIG love – season 1 catch-up

Just watching the last episode of Big Love Season 3 and realised I hadn’t written about it!  Shocker…not often I don’t have anything to say about something.  Since I’ve already given a short brief of the background to the overall series in an earlier post, there now follows a short synopsis of each season in before starting on number 4!

Just to remind you though, Big Love is about a family of mormons who follow ‘the principle’ of polygamy. That’s it! That’s your recap!

Obviously any new drama needs to initially introduce the primary characters, which is exactly what this first season is about.  Meeting them, finding out what they’re about, how they live and a kind of general overview building up to a final episode which makes you want to watch the next season.

The series begins by introducing us to the family at home and work and see Bills struggle to expand his business as well as taking care of three wives and nine children!  During this time we’re also shown the contrast between life on the compound and life for others like Bill and his second wife Nicki, who were thrown out of or escaped the compound to live on the ‘outside’ where the whole family are forced into keeping their polygamous ways a secret.  A strained relationship is apparent between Nicki’s father Roman Grant as he tries to gain more and more of Bills profits from his successful chain of stores.  In order to stop him, Bill and his brother Joey, a former NFL player who has returned to the compound after an alcohol addiction, seek to gain a seat on the mormon churches board of directors.


Meanwhile the three wives at home are struggling with their own individual issues.

First wife Barb, is the only one who is married to Bill legally thereby empowering her with a particular status and rank within the family.  Barb struggles with the polygamy and it’s revealed that before becoming second wife, Nicki was actually Barb’s nurse, taking care of her through cancer.  So the suggestion is that at the time Barb agreed to the ‘sealing’ of her husband with a second wife, she was in a vulnerable state and may not have ever been fully on board.

Nicki herself struggles to fit in with life outside of the compound and develops a shopping addiction accumulating a large amount of debt.  She is intelligent and strong willed and constantly seeking to establish her values on the rest of the family which are a little more orthodox than the more relaxed attitude of the others.

Third wife Margene is very young, 24.  She has to cope with her opinions and ideas being somewhat dismissed by the other two wives as they have little respect for her, considering her immature and inexperienced.  Her positive disposition and to a certain extent her naivety, ensure that she perseveres however and slowly finds her place in the family.

The final episode (the one I said makes you want to watch season 2!) ends with the family being exposed as polygamists when Barb is nominated for a ‘Mother of the Year’ award.

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I am NOT a Trekkie…..but…

I finally watched the new (ish) Star Trek movie.  Now, before I’m judged I must point out that I am not, nor have I ever been a ‘Trekkie’.  I could not stand the tv series, for totally unfounded reasons, since I would see it on and flick to the next channel, never actually giving one episode more than 10 seconds of my precious toe-nail-painting time!  However if like me, you were put off watching the movie by the tv series I urge you to give the movie a chance!

It was really quite good.  I like sci-fi generally as long as there’s some substance to it but this also had just enough action in it for me (no not that kind of action!) and just enough delving into the characters personal relationships to keep me interested.  So interested in fact that I barely noticed the lovely cast of fit fellas such as Chris Pine,  Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Eric Bana….not forgetting the beautiful Zoe Saldana (who I first saw in ‘Guess Who?’, a remake of the groundbreaking for its time, ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967)‘ –  starring the excellent Sidney Poitier).  Anyway, point is, WATCH the Star Trek movie (2009).  It’s good.

The film starts (don’t worry I’m not going to give anything away!)  way back before the tv series.  Before James T. Kirk is even born in fact.  A significant event occurs which will shape James’ future and then we are briefly guided through a somewhat troubled childhood until he joins the Academy to become a cadet at Starfleet Academy.  We see his ups and downs and learn the history behind his training, initiation and of course his and Spocks relationship. Also revealed is a young Spock suffering discrimination, as he grows up, from Vulcans for being half-human.  The two of them have a tempestuous relationship as they struggle to understand each others ways as much as they are simultaneously trying to be understood by the rest of their crew members.

Aside from the personal conflicts there is also the ongoing battle Romulans which takes place at various points in time and space….

…..aaaaand s t o p.

There – told you I wouldn’t give anything away! It was so hard to censor myself though!

Which is why I thought I should shut up…right about……now!


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Finally finished my Mad Men marathon.  I must admit I was a little apprehensive when I double-clicked on S04E13 knowing that there were no more waiting to be transferred from my dropbox folder. It was a hectic couple of days, what with trying to fit in work (the kind I get paid for!), bathing, eating etc. around finishing Season 4.  I powered through however and now just have to sit twiddling my thumbs until summer (ish) and new seasons of True BloodSons of Anarchy and hopefully…Mad Men.   Or do I??

Of course not! There’s  a whole new w o r l d  of shows waiting for me provided by my HBO dealer who keeps feeding my FX habit….PLUS some other series that I found on Sky Atlantic – a channel I’ve only just, accidentally, noticed to be honest. They’re showing Big Love, another HBO offering about a mormon family headed up by Bill Henrickson,  his three wives and nine (combined) children, living in Utah, U.S. (where else?).  I’ve only seen the first episode up to now and it was pretty much an introduction to the family, ascertaining the individual members roles and basically introducing anyone who was unsure about it, to an initial overview of what polygamy involves…as accurately as can be done in a fictional tv drama created to entertain!  Drawn in enough to make me want more, I think it’ll take a couple of episodes to get into this one. Unlike the next little gem….Treme (HBO).

I was actually on my way to bed (after a hard nights MM drama)when I heard the music of the opening credits. Curious, I came through from the kitchen, plonked myself down on the beanbag (yes I know – ‘grow up’ right?) and then couldn’t actually drag myself away. The music may be what did it originally but the storyline had me hooked surprisingly fast, as well as the great cast.  A group of actors about whom I found myself saying (out loud mostly….to myself) ‘oh my god I love him/her’ but couldn’t name them. Apart from John Goodman of course, I knew his!

My inability to name them though was no reflection on their talent. It was simply because I’ve seen them in small roles, which have obviously had an impact, but also because……I’m sure there was another reason….oh – because I have a terrible memory.

Treme (pronounced tray-may – French accent entirely optional) is set in New Orleans 3 months after Hurricane Katrina.  It follows ordinary people living in Treme setting about putting their lives back in order after the devastation of the storm but also explores, from a political angle, the real-life issues and controversies surrounding the aftermath. It is not however, a documentary remember! It’s fictional drama based on true events. It is effective and emotive though. Not that any of us who have never experienced such a tragedy could fully understand…Treme certainly encouraged me at least, to empathise and be reminded of how fragile we are at the same time as being able to show amazing strength and an ability to pull together as communities when it hits the fan.

So there it is. Thats why I’m watching it anyway!

Now, as in right this minute,  I’ve gone and started watching The Closer. A little different to the other shows…I don’t usually go in for cop shows, but I really really like Kyra Sedgewick, so I’m giving it a go. Couple of episodes in and all is going well. More about that some other time though…

By the way…you can ‘Mad Men’ yourself here – if you’ve got 5 minutes to kill and want to create a Mad Men inspired avatar!

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Mad Me…

…n seem to be the only thing  getting me through the insomnia lately. Although it’s possible they’re actually contributing to it too!  Unfortunately the writers will insist on doing the whole cliff-hanging business at the end of e v e r y episode! How am I supposed to just decide it’s time to switch off…this requires willpower I simply don’t have after a long day at work.

Not complaining really though.  It’s how I love to watch all my recently discovered tv series courtesy of  HBO – one after the other. No pauses, no waiting a whole week to find out what happens next. Just save them all up and dive in. Lose myself in another world for a few hours…or even a couple of days on a free weekend! Purely indulgent…and why not?

So, having spent November in Bon Temps, Louisiana and Christmas in Charming, Northern California…I’m currently killing time on Madison Avenue, NYC.  Oh, and it’s the 60’s.

Four episodes into Season 3, I’m very happy to have discovered that even when I’m done with Season 4, there IS a fifth due to air this year! Phew!

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true blood

True Blood 4!

I don’t know how long it’s been common knowledge, or how it’s managed to pass me by till just now, but True Blood Season 4 is due to air in the U.S. on the 12th JUNE!  Cannot wait! Although I do realize I’ll have to of course.

Since being introduced to the delights of TB I have actually created a dedicated little corner in my mind solely for the inhabitation of vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters and the like.  At the end of my first episode I was politely asked if I wanted to watch something else or another TB…obviously I said another TB and continued to respond the exact same way for another 24 episodes! Stopping only for refills of Jack Daniels and coke (tequila and coke when that ran out….surprisingly good, will expand another time!) and to answer the door to the delivery guy bringing much needed Chinese food.

If you haven’t seen it, drop everything…NOW….and get on it! You won’t regret it. If you do, well you obviously weren’t paying attention!

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