Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This week's new TV shows

The Last Enemy (BBC1 Sunday February 17) is a dystopian five-part thriller by Peter Berry. Peter wrote one of the better Prime Suspects four or five years back but his dialogue has always suffered from prosthetic leg syndrome. That is to say, it looks pretty much like a leg, it does most of things a real leg would do - primarily, it stops you falling flat on your pan - but it can never be as good as the real thing. Peter writes a stonking plot and clearly puts an enormous amount of research into his major scripts - but ear for speech has he none.

Being Human (BBC3 Monday February 18) was a pilot comedy-drama by Toby Whithouse who apparently writes Torchwood every so often. It's a neat but scarcely original idea about supernatural beings trying to live normal lives (see The Canterville Ghost, Rent-a-Ghost, endless Abbott & Costello flicks and specifically the works of Mike Carey). The cast were pretty damn fine, the plot non-existant, the effects surely a breach of copyright re American Werewolf in London. Overall, it suffered the inevitable fate of all comedy dramas, being neither fall-about funny nor particularly dramatic. It was very amiable, though, and I hope it makes a series.

Finally, the funniest thing I've seen in weeks, The Big Bang Theory, E4's new US import. Beauty and the Nerds. Truly fall-down hilarious.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Documentaries and comedies on BBC Radio 2

BBC Radio 2 has rediscovered itself over recent years, largely due to the fragmentation of Radio 1 and the proliferation there of faceless jocks. If Chris Moyles is the public face of your channel, you've got a problem.

Radio 2, on the other hand, is the channel of experienced comedians such as Mark Lamarr (and his stupendous Alternative Sixties show), Paul Merton (currently reading Milligan's Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall), the barkingly eccentric Rowland Rivron (Jammin') and the wondrously droll Dave Quantick (A Blagger's Guide).

Their (music) documentary strand is equally impressive. We've recently had Al Bowlly and Johnny Halliday. Currently we have Alexis Korner and Woody Guthrie.

Small wonder TV is losing audiences back to radio.