Category Archives: Film & Cinema

Killing In The Name To Trump Simon Cowell’s Seasonal X-Factor Gift In The UK Chart?

“Cynical” and “stupid” were two words Simon Cowell’s used to describe the Facebook campaign which aims to dethrone the Christmas single from his show The X-factor, before insisting that his hair did not attract felts like Velcro and he was proud of his work as an undercover Soviet agent between the years 1949 and 1975.  For four years in a row Cowell has supplanted the traditional garish and bland Christmas no.1 in the UK charts with an altogether more insidious breed of musical roadkill, giving such X-factor alumni as the anonymous Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson and Alexandra Burke a platform success they would later squander – okay, the Blog has heard Leona Lewis is a success, but the Blog is also unequivocally uninterested in her music, despite the big Avatar furore cooking up.

The group began with the intention to stir up a mass-purchase of arch-protest song “KILLING IN THE NAME” by the arch-protest band Rage Against the Machine. As much as this Blog would like to see an unestablished band being touted with ending this circus regime from Cowell – or even better a Christmas song that’s actually good – we will settle for RATM because we, as you can probably tell, are fed up of Cowell’s crossmedia gashgore machine. As little care as we have for the Christmas chart, let alone the diminutive UK sales chart, we feel that there is something positive in the mass-purchasing of a protest song owned by the same company as the X-factor song. That’s right, even a pro-active campaign to thwart music industry big shots ends up lining their pockets. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

Given as we are to cynicism ourselves, we also see the irony in a campaign encouraging a mass-purchase of one single in protest of mass-purchase of a single – although the latter is dressed up  in lights and Cheryl Cole (we finally found out who she is!).  But we are loathe to shovel them into the same shithole. RATM is and was always about mass protest and people power, a fundamental fact people seem to forget, usually those interpret lines such as “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” as existentialist. Which is by all means a fair enough interpretation:  you can have your little John Wayne boots and play in your fucking sandcastle. But RATM’s spirit transcends the individual and it remains one of the last unifying songs in alternative canon amongst an increasingly fragmented sphere of music. You ask people to get behind Belle and Sebastian and they’ll tell you to feck off. Too right, as well.

The Blog was not too concerned with this campaign however until we heard Cowell’s opinions on the matter. Forgetting the aforementioned “stupid” and “cynical,” Cowell also had the jiffy arrogance to claim that the campaign would “spoil the party” of the three contestants, as if the no.1 spot of the UK chart is roasting chestnuts by an open fire just waiting for the X-factor victor to knock on the door with a bottle of  cherry and recommend they canoodle for the rest of the winter evening, watching whatever forgettable Dickensian drama the BBC waste the Blog’s License Fee on.  It’s not a pre-determined contest*, so why should the X-factor victor be winner be default? Cowell seems to suggest that the X-Factor is an incredibly important facet of the national character, as if the cliffs of Dover will submerge in the Channel, or Bedford will be engulfed by sandstorms should the party be breached by those outside his influence.

*Although if it is, I’ll gladly supply your name to the Police – so put some effort into your ‘talent’.

If anything, forgetting the music, the campaign is simply a gesture towards the established order. The details, trivialities somehow become less important, as they always do with people movements. It goes without saying that little of the 700,000 approximate members of the group care for the UK singles charts but the Blog thinks the chances of something other than a unifying protest song from yesterdecade picking up enough steam to knock the X-factor off course is unlikely.

Some claim that the protest won’t harm Cowell’s finances, and they would be right. But they too are missing the point, for Cowell’s investment in the X-factor is not merely financial.  His formats thrive on their own self-importance and a Christmas no.1 is the de facto prize for 12 weeks of really hard work (auditioning, giving interviews, telling people your dreams, singing). If the dominance of the Christmas no.1 is challenged and Cowell’s shows are undermined then its cultural relevance becomes threatened and thus Simon Cowell’s reputation as music industry maestro is under threat. Has anyone realised that he already has enough money?  He doesn’t need anymore.  Now he’s just playing around, experimenting and trying, in his own macabre way, to affect peoples lives positively. Hence why he’s suggesting ludicrous phone-in elections – the like of which are a staple of dystopic sci-fi – because he truly believes what he is doing is good. And that is why it needs to be an equally self-important campaign that thwarts the X-factor and challenges its monogamy to our society. The more extreme the opposition to the X-factor, the more evident it becomes that a lot of people are fed up.

Of course, being an internet movement, the campaign is easily targeted by derisive cynics, of which the Blog can understand, even relate to. But Killing In The Name represents a time when the musical sphere was less fractured and music could be a unifying force rather than a divisive shatterpoint in the conversation. So shut up, take stock and buy the single. You may be able to exercise your democratic ability to criticise the Facebook campaign, but you must feel bloody hollow afterwards. What’s more, the campaign is closely tied to the charity Shelter. What’s more appropriate than that; this Blog rates!

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FOR CHRISTMAS NO.1

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FOR CHRISTMAS NO.2 – the original!

NOTE: Yes, yes, I’ve reposted this from a now demolished sister-blog, I know it’s old.

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The death of Have I Got News For You

The satirical news panel show Have I Got News For You has been cancelled by the BBC.

If you greeted that piece of information with hysteria, disappointment or perhaps a dribble of urine running down your corduroy chaffed thigh, then there is no need to worry.  The BBC have not cancelled HIGNFY, nor would they have plans to.  Nonetheless, the Death of Have I Got News For You is upon us, whether you like it or not, sitting there with your fetid Aussie wine and M&S nibbles, in your dressing gown.  Granted, it’s not a quick, painful and obvious death. But its been suffering for a while now, courtesy of a bout of flu, but no matter the current crop of in-vogue germs strutting their stuff about global aerospace, HIGNFY’s problems have been endemic.

In truth, it all began with the dismissal of Deaton.  Now, the dismissal of Deaton was done for the right reasons et cetera et cetera, no need to get into that, but HIGNFY has since become a bit of a circus.  Of course there’s an irrepressible joy at seeing Brian Blessed rolling out the vowels like the gravy train’s delayed at Yeovil Junction and there’s been many other enjoyable guest hosts, but the novelty factor devalues the content.  Ian Hislop remains a difficult man to like, a caricature of the old guard, public schoolboy whose idea of mischief is to recite newspaper stories with a false sense of righteousness, until he trails off somewhere half way through, lost under his own new found modesty.

Paul Merton remains Paul Merton, playing a maverick from a bygone Vaudevillian age, which is all nice and fun, but he isn’t a satirist, and his wandering streams of consciousness and lightning retorts only further detract from the content of the show.  One wonders whether the BBC, in an age of ever increasing scrutiny, has shifted its quota for satirical content silently to Mock the Week, that brilliant,  low rent, ghastlier stand-up vehicle of a show, and left HIGNFY hanging on the laurels of cheeky banter and desensitised caption competitions; I mean really, is mocking the way Gordon Brown’s foggy eyes drift listlessly like a zombie across the picture satire? Is that what it boils down to?

HIGNFY needs to galvanise.  After 12 years (is it twelve years?) of mocking Labour for inadequacy, the Tories for the size of their inheritance and the Lib Dems for trying too hard, this is all getting a bit much.  It’s become too reverent, and reverent satire must not exist, it can’t exist, and HIGNFY runs the risk of simply sending up the whole charade of government as some kind of invite only, nice-but-dim socialite club with its homegrown brand of expensive yet innocuous corruption, rather than cut to any kind of politicised discourse.  They need to reinstate a regular host.  Alexander Armstrong was touted.  He’ll do.  He’s smug enough.  And let’s be happy that when the Tories swing the election and deprive our fair, small and invariably miserable country of art funding and empowerment and pride, our consolation prize will be years of memorable comedy, art and culture.  And this, of course, will lead to the immediate resuscitation of HIGNFY as a spotlight of the primetime BBC schedule.  That is if it isn’t already dead.

The Kaleidoscope of the Noughties – OWW! – Film #2-5

Due to waning interest in the process of making lists, I’ve felt the compulsion to throw out a good four films that have helped define the decade for me, in no particular order, with no significance behind their numbering yadayada.
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#2 – IN BRUGES (Martin McDonagh, 2008)
A fantastic British film that presents a fairy-tale portrait of Bruges (in Belgium for the idjits) while meditating on the inner complexities of Ray (Colin Farrell), dealing with ethics, morality, redemption…pretty much everything actually. It’s also bloody funny and eminently quotable.

In many ways a film of brilliant conversations, Martin McDonagh goes some way to knocking Tarantino off his perch. But In Bruges is more than this, with finely calibrated performances from Colin Farrell (long a figure of detraction to many) Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes (who gets to flex his Estuary English vernacular) who all deliver the wonderful dialogue with aplomb but also demonstrate the cracks beneath the world-weary veneer of the hitmen they are. Bruges looks heavenly, even if it would be more astute to call it purgatorial, with its flock of temptress’, daemons and strange grotesque inhabitants. Definitely not perfect, but it’ll get stuck in your head. The score is fantastic too.

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#3 KISS KISS BANG BANG (Shane Black, 2005)
Wonderful, wonderful film that flew completely under the radar in the UK at the time of its release, but slowly (surely?) it will become a cult classic. Its dark, hilarious, playful and at times incredibly sobering. It does fall over its own plotting a little, but surely this is just because of the film noir it champions.

A comedic pastiche of the film noir of hard boiled detectives and femme fatales in showbizarre LA, it marries the very best of Shane Black’s previous work with the perfect combo of Robert Downey Jr. (still on his way up to the top) and Val Kilmer, who displays such a knack for comedy you wish he would do more. It’s hard to qualify such an unnoticed film as definitive of the decade, but it was certainly a bonus for Downey Jr, who looks to conquer all around from now until the end of time.

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#4 The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky, 2006)
Becoming my own epitome of the flawed masterpiece, The Fountain is a woefully powerful film sometimes enamoured by its own grandiosity and at no effort to explain itself. Darren Aronofsky cemented his position as one of the most evocative and interesting directors to emerge in the 00s with 2000’s Requiem For A Dream, following his ingenious Pi in 1998, but this is an altogether more profound film.

The Fountain is a love letter to Aronofsky’s wife, Rachel Weisz, who also stars alongside Hugh Jackman. The film is an expansive affair that weaves its narrative threads with little concern for their significance until – BHAM! – Clint Mansell’s soaring score (the best of the decade, perhaps) kicks in and every little detail of Aronofsky’s story clicks together and makes perfect sense, and then doesn’t again. Its a mystery unto itself, but appears – on the outside – to be a story of grief overcome. Suffice to say, I will admire any film that includes Spanish Conquistadors, Rachel Weisz and an existential nomad living in a giant spherical globe, floating through the universe tending a dying tree.

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#5 Adaptation (Spike Jonze, 2002)
The Noughties were truly the decade when we went meta. Adaptation presents many different characters all at different stages of their career but all at the height of their powers – although Meryl Streep’s never wain. Charlie Kauffman continues his ascent as oddball auteur; Spike Jonze continues his as perfect mediator of Kauffman and vibrant director in his own right; Nic Cage is at his most bearable.

A film about the process of screenwriting, and by extension anything and everything, Adaptation is a cyclical maze of a film that, like The Fountain, leads you on blind until in one moment it all clicks and – voila – it all becomes clear. Kauffman makes his stuggle to craft a story out of flowers he simply thinks are beautiful thought-provoking while accessible, with Jonze arranges the pieces like a true master. Cage manages, quite successfully with his mumbling, bumbling performance of the Charlie Kauffman, to steady the narrative. He’s not quite as good as he is in Raising Arizona, but its the best he’s been since. It’s self-preservational message ends up skewing towards cliche Hollywood resolution at the end – but I think that’s the point.

The Kaleidoscope of the Noughties – OWW! – Film #1

A Christmas season for me nowadays always seems like it lacks something, and that something happens to be a Tolkien film.
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I feel the need to skip the airy, demeaning preamble that usually smears the first half of my posts, but I also want to say that often with these lists there’s a need to juggle the concerns of the demographic, eschuing all manner of qualifiable films for foreign masterpieces or eschuing all of those masterpieces for crowd pleasing extravaganza’s. Many more try to dialetically merge these two modes of film appreciation with varying levels of success, often leading to compulsory choices that tick demographic boxes, from Funny Games to Mission Impossible III, resulting in a strange, tensile list that tries to please everybody and enthrals no one. The upside to this is that we often get to see the tensions of our society played out in the lists. The downside is that the lists just become a farce.

So this is the beginning of my film “list,” which will trundle on until I am satisfied.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (Peter Jackson, 2001)

The problem publications seem to have with adding The Lord of the Rings to their lists is that they are so rife with pedantry, cynicism and cross-examination by their very nature (a nature brought to the forefront of their sensibilities now that the internet allows, even champions the feedback of idiots) that a typically po-faced genre like fantasy tends to fall out of favour because they aren’t in a cycle of constant self-justification. While The Lord of the Rings is by no means po-faced (as its many derivatives are) it bears a sincerity that this post-modern nastiness finds hard to swallow.

I remember the first time I saw the teaser trailer for The Lord of the Rings. I had had no interaction with any of Tolkien’s books until then – although I firmly remember my cousin, who will forever be five years my senior, mentioning it as a literary classic. After seeing the trailer, I read The Lord of the Rings, then The Hobbit, then The Lord of the Rings again, all within a matter of months – which was incredibly tough for a child of my stupidity. I read it religiously, effecting a kind of pseudo-cool position within the realms of geekdom at my school; the acceptable face of geekdom if you will, for being gifted as I was at running like a bellend and naturally skillful with the football, the rugby ball, the basketball and the tennis racket, I served as a kind of emissary to the other schoolchildren, for I could deal on their level and then retreat back into a cabal of couplet speaking outcasts and bask in their favour for a time.

But if I thought I did a good job of representing a long maligned (and long po-faced) genre, then The Fellowship of the Ring was the 9/11 of fantasy movies; it was a complete game changer (probably a more appropriate reference somewhere). People – more specifically men – more specifically men born in the late 60s/early 70s – – often go on about the first time they saw Star Wars, seeing the Blockade Runner shoot past the screen followed by a dagger shapped ship that just got bigger and bigger and bigger. After this experience, they saw, everything changed: the possibilities of cinema opened up for them. They knew then, they just knew, that they were destined to regional sales manager for Enviromow Lawnmower Delivery LTD for the rest of their lives. Well, firstly screw them for helping ensure the infantilisation of the sci-fi genre, and secondly, allow this to happen, but third and most significant, I’m going to borrow their anecdote and apply it to Fellowship: I feel The Fellowship of the Ring performed a similar ritual to the young minds of the early 00s. From the first few seconds of the first film, you just had to be impressed with what had been achieved.*

Out of the three films, the first remains my favourite. This is not a detriment to the latter two films, for they continue the journey in unrivalled quality, but the first retains a charm for me, whether it be the whistful Hobbits, the stirring formation of the Fellowship, the riotous last ditch efforts of a heroic Sean Bean as Boromir (long my favourite character) or the ethereal disquiet of Lothlorien or even the cerebral beauty of Rivendell. But most of all, what guarantees its appeal to me is probably that it’s a magnificent statement of intent from Peter Jackson. It is truly a wonderful, life-affirming achievement to have adapted a book so unwieldy and troublesome into such a deserving and worthy film, evoking the spirit of the book at the same time. I mean the prose of Tolkien is a literal nightmare; it makes mine look like that of a poet bloody laureate.

But what’s also fascinating and magnificent about the trilogy as a whole, is its construction of Middle Earth in our world (for which New Zealand will always be a place on my “to visit” list); the visualisation of all these spectacular, serene or terrifying locations; the designs of the Uruk-Hai, brutish and jagged; the men of Rohan in their rich Saxon get-up; the Elves in their brilliantly rendered, gorgeously executed armours and costumes. And all this was clear from The Fellowship of the Ring. Middle Earth was brought to life with such confidence and aplomb that any conceptions of Tolkien’s Middle Earth I gain while reading the book are articulated through what I know to be Weta’s aesthetic.

* To me this began with the prologue, a wonderfully economic but exciting look into the masses of armies clashing on the slopes of Mount Doom. In particular, the Blockade Runner moment occurs when the Elves of the Last Alliance unsheathe their massive swords and play synchronised ninja with orc.

Reflecting back on the decade, it is feasible to see how we all became bigger wankers.

There’s a nauseating outpouring of retrospectives on the decade that was, but still really IS, entering the public sphere at the moment, reflecting on these past 9 years with various insights, some of which are interesting, others vaguely hollow and glib but most simply leading you to a state of realisation: 10 years have past and I have achieved nothing. Literally nothing. You’ve only just started taking global warming seriously, because Leonardo DiCaprio told you to, let alone rescued the planet from it. You’ve not found a cure for AIDS yet, because lets face it, cancer was in vogue this decade, but you didn’t manage to find a cure for that either. You haven’t brought a stop to oppression, you’ve not stopped global conflict and you certainly haven’t managed to find any level of contentment. And 10 years have passed you by.

Many may have watched Big Brother, but in the end, Big Brother was watching us.

What you could do to better form some kind of contentment and happiness would be to draft a list, a countdown, a ten commandments of music, films and books that have infiltrated and successfully manipulated your decade into a kind of roller coaster ride of different emotions, all secured via financial means, that give meaning to your sad, pathetic life. This is precisely what I’ve done. I form my world view and then reinforce it with corresponding materials which give credence to my observations, from the politik of xenophobia and combating terrorism to paranoia and coincidence to the grotty halls our nocturnal selves inhabit at the weekends, gulping at malty beer and playing urban poetry in our heads as we resist and allure those of the opposite sex.

But even though I subscribe to this notion of representation and image governed by my tastes, likes and choices, I still do not like lists. Especially numbered, countdown lists, competitive lists that lift a piece of music, an album for example, out of its context and its specific time and place and supplant it in a sort of chronology of the decade, full of contrivances which all incite pedantry and naysaying because of the very nature of having lifted these albums from their belonging and putting them where they don’t. I’m struck by Paul Morley’s article. I’ve been following his series Showing Off… for a while now on the Guardian website for the Observer. I’ll readily admit that not all is to my taste, but I reserve enough humility and self-ridicule not to scoff at some of the people appearing in its many interviews in much the same way as Morley does not himself.

I’m going to write my own retrospective soon, on the music, films, games and books which have shaped my particular decade, whether they were made of this decade or not. My criteria is wide, but that’s because lists, especially competitive lists are so bloody reductive. There is no such thing as an objective list and as Morley says, even should there be great care taken with the choosing of such a list, the results will always reflect the readership and status of the publication it’s being written for, thus the Guardian’s will differ vehemently from that of Ok! magazine or the Daily Mail. So I’m going to make a consciously subjective list. No, hopefully my “list” – I would prefer to think of it as a kaleidoscope to be frank, documenting my tastes, triumphs and failings – will simply be reflective of me and my own, no one else.

I feel relatively blessed, having been born on at the fall of one decade and the eve of another. It affords me an easy way of judging such decades as they correlate with my own transitions to 30, to 40 and so on. The two decades I have spent in waking life have informed me a great deal and will, I suspect in more autumnal years, be full of nostalgia and golden meadows buried with gold and drizzled in Liefman’s Goudenband. No doubt this last decade shall appear integral to what later comes, and thus I, in the present, feel a great desire to reflect on the wanky “Noughties” – OW – while I can to learn what I can.

And if you’re wondering why we’re all become wankers, then remember to hit yourself in the face the next time you see, hear or write – OW – the “noughties.” The “noughties”…what an infuriatingly pathetic monicker for our infuriatingly pathetic days. Now I’m going to run off and grab a tissue to stop my nosebleed. It’s the step up from The Game. No only have you lost The Game, but you also live in the Noughties.

Just a little review on Stargate: Universe “Water.”

Ah. Another week, another elementally themed SGU episode. As expected – and mentioned, in the review of Light – the premise of these episodse are becoming a little draining for the discerning viewer, despite them delivering the goods in the end.

This week saw the crew search for water as they gather up the ingredients for the extragalactic picnic basket that is the good ship Destiny. Turns out that the water is running out at a frantic rate on the ship, sowing malcontent among the military personnel and the civilians as they search for the cause. Again, the fact that these disagreements seem petty rather than reasonable are indicative of the writers being unable to match the intensity of the rather more rationally motivated disagreements of BSG. Yes, I’m mentioning BSG again. But it’s really very good. The cause of the water evaporating (see what I did there) happens to be the sentient like ‘Dust’ from a previous episode, that seems to have stowed away on the ship.

This unexplained entity, presenting Scott with a mirage that ultimately saved him on the planet, should always have been more than a device to give us Scott’s backstory, and definitely more than the cause of water leakage on Destiny. It presented us with that rarest of things: a harmonious alien. It was peculiar because its interaction with a dying human, mimicking the devils of Scott’s past (ironically a priest: HAHAHAHA) was part of its very nature and for that, much, much more than our idea of the alien as a man in costume and prosphetics. Should the ‘Dust’ have remained a permanent feature of Destiny’s interior, it would have become a fruitful device for both exploring the stories of our characters pasts, but also for encouraging the larger narrative arc of the season to rear its head.

Which, of course, brings us to that unknown beast. We know our characters aren’t going to make it home for a long time yet – if they ever do – so give us something, please, anything to cling on to. Marauding Aliens will do, contact with ‘something else’ will do, mysterious happenings within the ship will do or things awakening inside the ship will do. The world is your oyster writers. The use of such a potentially fruitful sentient in this way was entirely redundant. A chance missed.

Meanwhile, some other stuff happened. Scott and Young went ice fishing; a red jersey got a facelift courtesy of the ‘Dust’; Eli got a little ratty at Rush; Rush was being difficult as per the norm; Dead Senator’s daughter got to cry a bit more. It was all a bit wishy-washy really. Not much to see, not much to ponder and our thirst for more is a little weaker than the week previous, hence why I was so lazy in typing up a review. Hopefully SGU can shrug off its slight dopiness and throw us up in the air a bit next week – with something other than a malfunctioning shower curtain and a look at a periodic table.

First impressions of V

I’ve not seen the original series of V, and when I heard it was being remade by ABC, I thought they were remaking the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. But that would be bloody treacherous to adapt in the first place. And foolish to remake it even then. But whatever the character of the original V show, the first episode of this remake is brimming with confidence and polish. That said, it’s conventional to the bone, and nothing is particularly spectacular. Oh, and the dialogue is, at times, dreadful.

The plot is that aliens reveal themselves to Earth peacefully but the slickness of the Visitors (Hence the V – tadah!) belies a more heinous intention and manner. We see, as ensemble shows love to do, all the characters we will follow through the course of the show, in their daily lives – the single mother badass cop, her bratty teenage son, the enfranchised black-american businessman, the priest with a strong jaw and the Journalistic lovechild of Tom Cruise and Michael J Fox playing an amalgam of Tom Cruise and Michael J Fox characters – before the events which send everybody into turmoil.

Everybody is, as US drama would have us believe, a normal working human in V, with the compulsory cautionary past, familial issues and wanderings of faith that typify us as a species, in comparison to, say, Goats, which are just stupid animals. There’s nothing really wrong with this – you can’t expect ABC to pull out anything resembling realistic characterisation like a BBC, HBO or AMC program would – but again, it feels same old, same old. Most are likeable, conventional types, even if the writers lack the spirit to push the Priest (name unimportant) to the level of Jesse Custer or the balls to make him anything other than a Mddle-of-the-Road beefcake with a lot of scepticism. The bratty son of the cop is annoying however; too sappy, too wet, and too full of himself to like. Of course, he’s want for frolicking with an attractive female Visitor and generally expatriating to the Other side, so there’s no loss for humanity there then.

As said however, ABC shouldn’t be expected to overcome the hurdle of dramatising realistic familial relationships in a way that doesn’t wreak of cringeworthy sentimentality. Things do get more interesting though, with Morena Baccarin as Anna, the seeming head honcho behind the media-frenzied visitation of the aliens, whose beauty often so distracts from her solid performances. Here, she is framed in such a way that her angelic features become stretched beyond normal human possibilities to reveal something entirely alien and frightening. The compulsary monstrous feminine she may be, but it’s a wonderful performance, and slightly unexpected for those used to seeing her doll about as a foil to Captain Hammer.

Alan Tudyk is always great to watch, and although he isn’t given much to do here, his presence is always reassuring in a sense – although this is in the sense that he looks like he feels just as marooned as us, and not in the sense of ‘everything is going to be alright for I, Alan Tudyk, am here’. Suffice to say, playing around with our affections for Tudyk worked brilliantly in that one decent episode of Dollhouse – swooping from jabbering pot-head architect to sinister mastermind in one of the biggest Ohhhhh! moments of recent memory – and the same device works great here too, if less masterful.

There are interesting places to go with V. The first episode sets up threads we not only anticipate, but actually want to follow; we aren’t teased in sick ways and told to endure horrific bouts of boredom before we are given answers (that’s for you David Goyer: Flashforward could take lessons from V on the subject of developing characters alright), but instead are fondled with in ways quite appetizing for a viewer. I’ll end the metaphor there, as it could go a tad blue. There’s also what appears to be a swipe at Obama’s healthcare plans in the show – although I hesitate to condemn it because the first episode seems to suggest that there’s more to the Visitors than a palatable lust for genocide – as the Visitors suggest a worldwide health service. This was nearly lost on me to be honest. Good idea, I said. Extend the NHS and that. And then I realised that the US is way behind on healthcare to those who need it. Silly me. I’m rooting for the Visitors now.

There’s a lot of asides and parallels to a staple of sci-fi themes in V, from the manipulation of the masses to the purpose of the media, and it could be rich territory for the show to mine in the future. I’ll be watching probably. Tuesday nights are pretty drab on the whole.