Sunday, 31 July 2011

TV

Dragons' Den
9x01 Episode 1
After subjecting myself to an episode of the woeful US version, it's great to have the real Dragons' Den back. Even if new dragon Hilary Devey looks like a Doctor Who monster from the '80s, and her face looming from the shadows in the opening titles is liable to give people nightmares.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Films

Robin Hood (1973)
[multipleth watch]

I can never remember how often I watched things as a child. Not just a precise number -- that's understandable; I was a kid, of course I wasn't counting -- but whether I watched something many times or just once and it made an indelible impression. There have been many films that I can remember with crystal clarity, but I'm certain I've only ever watched once, so any film I feel I must've seen multiple times I always wonder: did I, or did it just imprint itself?

This is, obviously, one of those films. Hence why I have invented the word "multipleth", whose meaning is hopefully clear.

(It's "multiple-th", not "multi-pleth".)

DVD Extras

Super: Behind the Scenes
Aside from the theatrical trailer, the only extra on the UK Super BD. As 19-minute making-ofs go it's decent: as this was an indie film we're not subjected to the usual low-quality, vacant, promotion-focused talking heads commonly found in these featurettes; you might even learn a few things about the production; it's still slightly padded with clips, mind. More disappointing is that a tonne of stuff on the US release is missing. If I can get my hands on the US Best Buy version, I will.

Music

5.1 Inception Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer
Finally had a flick through the Inception Blu-ray and one of the included extras is 39 minutes of Hans Zimmer's score, presented in 5.1 HD surround sound. It's really rather good. I may have to get round to buying the soundtrack now.

this week on 100 Films

Just 1 new review was posted to 100 Films in a Year again this week. It was...

Catfish (2010)
If you have any interest in the Internet and the way so many people now live their lives through it, with all the social networking it offers, and how that impacts back on their ‘real’ lives, then Catfish demands to be seen... As much as I loved The Social Network, this probably has more to say about the actual impact of Facebook on our lives than Fincher/Sorkin’s biopic does.

That's only two all month. Pathetic.

In about 11 hours you can see my summary of July's viewing, which is almost equally pathetic. It'll be available here then.

More, hopefully, next Sunday.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

TV

Castle
1x07 Home is Where the Heart Stops
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Horrible Histories with Stephen Fry
1x05 Episode 5
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Just Good Friends
3x05 The Witness

Lee Mack's All Star Cast
1x06 (23/7/11 edition) [season finale]
(I know I've only got myself to blame for watching all of this, but) I do hope they don't bring it back.

Penn & Teller: Fool Us
1x06 Episode 6
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Films

Super (2010)
[#71 in 100 Films in a Year 2011]
Out on DVD & Blu-ray in the UK from Monday, at shockingly low prices for a new release.
Out in the US a week Tuesday, but with loads more extras, and more still if you get the Best Buy exclusive version. (On the off chance anyone reading this knows of somewhere I can get the Best Buy version shipped to the UK, please let me know. Thanks.)

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Disarray this week, thanks to upgrading a two-disc DVD to a single-disc BD alongside a single-disc BD with two films. And a regular one-disc-one-film release, too.

Look, it's not that exciting, alright, but if you thoroughly considered the numbers properly without knowing all that it might look unusual, all right?

Number of titles in collection: 1,350 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,126 [down 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 224 [up 3]

Number of discs in collection: 3,343 [up 1]
Number of films in collection: 1,424 [up 3]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,005 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 29 July 2011

TV

How I Met Your Mother
6x22 The Perfect Cocktail
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

My Favourite Joke
Episode 1 (of 6)
This would be better if they played the whole routine/sketch/what-have-you either before or after all the comedians' comments. It's fine if you're familiar with the thing they're discussing, but if you've never seen it before it's a chore trying to piece it together from the snippets they scatter about, and it lessens the impact in the process. Shame.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

No Ordinary Family
1x14 No Ordinary Double Standard

The Rob Brydon Show
2x01 Episode 1
I'm glad this is back -- I thought it would be too odd to attract the numbers -- but, thankfully, here it is.
Also, Nina Conti should be on telly more often.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Thursday, 28 July 2011

TV

Grand Designs Australia
1x03 Southport Heritage House
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

No Ordinary Family
1x13 No Ordinary Detention
Or No Ordinary Bottle Episode, as this is essentially three contrived-single-location stories smudged into one episode. Still, by NOF standards it was quite good. Shame they let British Villain Lady escape though.
(Technically it's not really a bottle episode -- plenty of guest actors and a couple of non-standard sets -- but, y'know, near enough.)

Single-Handed
2x02 The Lost Boys Part 2
Even better second half. Glad to see having to do three stories at once (the previous three were produced over several years) hasn't diminished the quality (yet, anyway).
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Torchwood: Miracle Day
4x03 Dead of Night
"It's fizzy in the UK and flat in the US." "Just about sums it up." A metaphor for the series itself, one wonders?
Ironically, those lines come in what I felt was the best episode of the season so far. Not close to Children of Earth level, true, but it's steadily improving.
The much-discussed sex scene cuts were unnoticeable, of course, but even more importantly, having seen the uncut version I can say we weren't missing anything; we still get everything that was going on -- the very definition of a pointless/gratuitous scene.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

The Tudors
4x09 Secrets of the Heart
What the hell just happened -- suddenly everyone looks about 20 years older! Well, most people -- they haven't bothered with some. Clearly time has jumped forward -- there's no mention of Henry's collapse last time, they've all decamped somewhere else -- but not by that much. And most of the aged make-up isn't that good anyway. I can only assume they ran out of money by this point.
Or maybe they were just too busy rushing through the story. After wasting so much time treading water or seen-it-before storylines in the first half of this final season, it's a shame they've had to speed through some decent plots as it draws to a close. Ah well, almost the whole thing's been a missed opportunity anyway.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

TV

Law & Order: UK
5x03 Crush
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Top Gear
17x05 (24/7/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

The Tudors
4x08 As It Should Be
He won the battle! But now they're going to take the city back! And then he keeled over! The end must be nigh... especially as there are only two episodes left...

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

TV

Dynamo: Magician Impossible
1x02 Episode 2
I don't get Watch (annoyingly), but popping home to my parents' for the day I found an episode of this on Sky Anytime. Dynamo's very impressive, and while I could guess how he did a couple of tricks (which pleases me -- as previously established, I like to know how it's done), there are some that are totally baffling -- how he can push his hand through (apparently-)real glass right before someone's eyes, for instance.
I think now I'll have to see if I can get the rest of the series... somehow...

(By-the-by, the link I've used for the episode title... Interesting and not un-true review/summary of the series, but do note the "This is a sponsored post" tucked away at the bottom. So, essentially, this is a paid-for advert masquerading as a genuine blog post. Sneaky.)

Music

Let Them Talk by Hugh Laurie
[4th & 5th listen]

Articles

Class 4G and the Zygons by Gary Gillatt
(from Squabbling Rubber)
A class of 10-11 year olds watch Doctor Who... back in 1995, when the series had been off air for six years (or "forever" to kids of that age). It's originally from DWM but is reproduced in full here. It might be interesting to re-run the experiment today -- six years isn't that long, really, and a lot of kids' TV at the time still had Who-ish production values; what would a class of a similar age today, weened on masses of slick kids' TV and years of the revamped Who, make of a '70s serial?

Graham Norton, Richard Hammond land BBC America shows by Catriona Wightman
(from Digital Spy)
I do hope they make it over to the UK, because a) it would be daft not to, and b) some of them do sound quite good.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Music

Let Them Talk by Hugh Laurie
[2nd & 3rd listen]

Articles

New Doctor Who picture, series six trailer released by Kate Goodacre
(from Digital Spy)
Same trailer, but ooh exciting new cast photo! Love a long coat.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

TV

I would have watched the second Single-Handed today, but the Virgin Media catch-up service is being stupid again. Other means of acquisition will be required.

But other than that, there was:


Grand Designs Australia
1x02 Very Small House
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

The Tudors
4x07 Sixth and the Final Wife
War, huh? What is it good for? Not much, other than some exciting battle scenes. The speed of the plot seems to have picked up massively in the second half of the series. Shame they wasted so much time during the first half.

Articles

Doctor Who Return Date by Marcus
(from Doctor Who News Page)
As hinted at by Doctor Who Magazine on twitter ages ago, Doctor Who will return for Series 6: Part 2 (as the DVD/BD will brand it) on August 27th. So far only the US date is confirmed, but unless it's on a week earlier in the UK (which seems unlikely) this must be the UK return date too.
Additionally, a selection of UK trailers can be watched here.

Karen Gillan stays with Doctor Who by Marcus
(from Doctor Who News Page)
Relatedly, Karen Gillan confirms she'll be returning for Season 7. There'd been speculation that she and Arthur Darvill would be leaving as both have work commitments around the time Who would normally be shooting, but the recent much-discussed news about its various delays suggest that's no longer a problem. Which will make them the longest-serving companions for goodness knows how long! Maybe the 11th Doctor will pull a 2nd Doctor and retain the same companions throughout his run? (Yes, OK, "more or less" in the latter's case.)

And also relatedly...

Eccleston Expands on Reasons for Leaving by Marcus
(from Doctor Who News Page)
Remember when Chris Eccleston talked about his reasons for leaving Doctor Who the other day? Well, here's a fuller version of what he had to say. Intriguinger...

Saturday, 23 July 2011

TV

Archer
2x12 White Nights
A cliffhanger (sort of)?! Two-part season finales not on the same night suck.
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Castle
1x06 Always Buy Retail
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

The Hour
1x01 Episode 1
Quite a good start, though it could do with getting on with things a bit more. This is where the 40-50 minutes of US series have an advantage: they'll tell the same story, but they'll tell it quicker.
Much was made in the press of the series' similarities to Mad Men, mainly because it's set in approximately the same era, features men in suits, women being kept in their place, and everyone smoking all the time. The makers were right to say such comparisons were inaccurate -- downtrodden, brown British '50s journalism is a very different world to glossy, colourful American '60s advertising -- but I still think the series is trying to be Mad Men-ish. For one thing, Dominic West's character's story in this episode (he's a smooth ladies' man... who actually has a wife and, it would seem, a tricky home life) is straight out of Don Draper's introduction in Mad Men's first episode (s).
Still, on the whole it has promise. Fingers crossed it realises it.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

No Ordinary Family
1x12 No Ordinary Brother
Pretty much everyone in this programme is better than it. Which is kinda depressing. New British villainess is suitably rubbish though.

Pointless
4x35 (22/7/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Friday, 22 July 2011

TV

How I Met Your Mother
6x21 Hopeless
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Miranda
1x05 Excuse [2nd watch]
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Pointless
4x34 (21/7/11 edition)
400! Well crikey.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Tudors
4x06 You Have My Permission

Magazines

SFX Special Edition #51
The Top 100 Sci-Fi Icons of the 21st Century

I don't know when this issue is/was released, but I'm a subscriber and my copy turned up today. It's rare I get round to reading much of any magazine I buy these days, and never (with the recent exception of 2000 AD) do I get round to reading all of it at any time... but I read all of this within one day!

Is it that good? No, it's that lightweight. It's 100 full-page (later on, double page) pictures, some of them incredibly poor copies (they're blocky and pixellated, like they've been badly compressed for the web), with teeny tiny articles to accompany them that won't tell you anything new about anything. Ouch.

And that's before we get onto the list itself -- hey, at least no one from Twilight turns up at any point. And that's not devoid from mistakes, either: apparently #6 is "Lanto Jones", who died in an episode written by James Moran. Oh dear.

To rub salt in the wound (sort of), they've decided to include a reader survey with this issue. One of the questions is about if the magazine represents value for money. Normally, I'd be happy to say it does, even if the specials are a bit overpriced these days. But for this edition? Definitely not. It's one completely lightweight article stretched out to a whole magazine... and they're asking £7.99 for it!

I feel like I've wasted part of my subscription.

Articles

Christopher Eccleston: 'I quit Doctor Who over politics' by Kate Goodacre
(from Digital Spy)
More hints emerge on the ongoing mystery of What Went On With Doctor Who's First Season. Read some of my thoughts on the article's commenters here.

Review of Daredevil #1 by Doug Zawisza
(from Comic Book Resources)
Glowing review... which is good, because I've been interested in Daredevil for a long time and decided an issue-one relaunch was a good time to finally try jumping on board.

The Forgotten Part 2: DVD’s hidden depths by James Oliver
(from From the Cheap Seats at MovieMail)
Good article on one of the major benefits of the DVD era: access to so, so many more films in good-quality editions; so many that Oliver suggests we need to be seriously rethinking the canon of great films. And he's probably right.
(I first read this in the current MovieMail catalogue, the full version of which can be read or downloaded as a PDF here. If you've never read one of their monthly catalogues before, it's more like a mini film mag than just a list of stuff you can buy, with new short analytical pieces on some of the new releases (plus pages purely promoting products, of course). And if you're wondering what this article is part two of, the first is here. Not read it myself yet...)

Jurassic Park 4 in two or three years, says Steven Spielberg at Comic-Con 2011 by Daniel Sperling
(from Digital Spy)
They've been saying stuff to this effect for years. I'll believe it when they say they're shooting it. I hope they do, though.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Almost no new titles this week. It should've been more, but... Well, remember that parcel from Amazon US that I mentioned? Still not arrived. They tell me I have to wait "a little while" after the final estimated date before I can claim for a replacement. In this case, "a little while" means four weeks. Ridiculous.

Anyway, at least we've got the running time update -- done accurately, which is why some of my previous discrepancies have shown up -- and that's always exciting!

Number of titles in collection: 1,348 [up 1]
Of which DVDs: 1,127 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 221 [up 1]

Number of discs in collection: 3,342 [up 3]
Number of films in collection: 1,421 [up 1]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,005 [no change]

And this month's running time update tells us the following exciting stuff...

Total running time of collection (approx.):
241 days, 13 hours, and 19 minutes.
(Up 1 day, 20 hours, and 38 minutes from last month.)

See you next week, faithful reader.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

TV

Lee Mack's All Star Cast
1x05 (16/7/11 edition)
I think this is getting worse. Though not having Katie Price this week is a big bonus.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Penn & Teller: Fool Us
1x05 Episode 5
Most of the Metro reviews of this series (which I've generally linked to as the only thing close to an episode-specific online presence I can find) have been half-decent, but this one's just stupid. Witness them prattling on about "amateur magicians" -- it's been clear since the first special that these are almost all working, award-winning magicians, not "some bloke that dabbles" types. At least, I thought it was clear. But I suppose this reviewer does write for the Metro...
At least, unlike 99% of articles on the Internet, the comments on this one are vaguely worth a read (for more of the same eye-rolling annoyance I'm expressing.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Pointless
4x33 (20/7/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Top Gear
17x04 (17/7/11 edition)
A train made from caravans that turned into a fireball?! Awesome!
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Torchwood: Miracle Day
4x02 Rendition
That was much, much better, I thought. Obviously Jack was never in any real danger -- they're not going to kill him off, and certainly not in the second episode -- but there was good Torchwoody fun as they raced around finding everything for the cure. The subplots -- both Oswald Danes and the medical emergency -- are interesting, providing they play them right from now on. Danes has a long way to go, that's clear, but if overdone the medical sob story is going to get dull.
Perhaps best of all, though, was Agent Lyn stumbling along with her head on backwards. Proper Torchwood silliness -- much missed from the first two episodes up to that point, I feel.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Articles

Doctor Who: The Adventure Games returns in October with Guy Fawkes episode by Matthew Reynolds
(from Digital Spy)

The second series will begin with The Gunpowder Plot, and sees The Doctor, Amy and Rory battle aliens in London in 1605. Guy Fawkes will have a role in the episode, which will see the return of two old Doctor Who enemies.

...The new series will see several gameplay enhancements, including non-linear routes, more sophisticated puzzles and a more complex lighting system.

I've still only played the first of the original four games, because I didn't think it was much fun -- so hopefully these "more sophisticated puzzles" include "making it good". I ought to go back and play the other three games, mind -- some of what I read suggested they did get better. Plus, Cybermen! Yay Cybermen.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

TV

How I Met Your Mother
6x20 The Exploding Meatball Sub
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Law & Order: UK
5x02 Safe
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Pointless
4x32 (19/7/11 edition)
And another winner! I spoke too soon.
Shame I didn't like the team again.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

TV

Castle
1x05 A Chill Goes Through Her Veins
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Pointless
4x31 (18/7/11 edition)
Having just commented on how hard it was to win, someone goes and does it! Wasn't sure that ever happened, to be honest. Shame I didn't like the team.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

DVD Extras

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Maximum Movie Mode

The final forty minutes or so, then.

It's a pretty good track when it's actually sharing info, and sometimes the flow of information is quite constant, but there's the odd long stretch which you feel could have been filled. Surely someone involved had an anecdote or production snippet to slot into all the dead time? This is particularly annoying when the track offers you the option to leave the film to watch Focus Points -- short featurettes, only a couple of minutes each, on specific elements of the production. Invariably the MMM track itself offers nothing else for several minutes after the offer, so why not just play the full featurette PiP instead of a bitesize 'trailer' and forcing you to exit to watch it?

Also, the MMM is often used to fill in backstory or impart trivia, reminding us of events in previous films and extra detail from the books. It's nice, but also a shame: there's plenty of room for more behind the scenes information, be it director's/writer's/actors' intentions or how-they-made-thats or anything else along those lines. Even stuff familiar from the countless making-ofs we've almost all seen in the DVD era would be more welcome than the silence (well, "just the film") that this track ends up reverting to; and I'm sure there's actually plenty of unique stuff that could be discussed, if they put their mind to it.

So the track starts well but gets thinner as it goes on. That said, a couple of the best bits emerge late on. For instance, there's a good selection on the making of the Three Brothers animated sequence, plus the reveal that the film's ending was originally placed earlier -- when Harry & co arrive at Malfoy Manor and Bellatrix sees his scar -- but was moved to capitalise on the emotion of Dobby's death. Smart move.

Articles

Potter postscript: 10 great, and 10 not-so-great, things about Harry Potter (Plus: The best scenes) by Genevieve Koski & Tasha Robinson
(from A.V. Club)
An interesting, agreeable list of the highs (and lows) of the Harry Potter series, both on the page and the screen.

Monday, 18 July 2011

DVD Extras

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Maximum Movie Mode

Watched the first two hours (almost) of this (nearly) three-hour presentation. More comments on it tomorrow, when I finish it (probably).

(Apologies for the link, by-the-way -- I hate that site's reviews (mainly for their stupid section titles). I'd've linked to the relevant bit of the Blu-ray.com review, but because of their fancy schamncy layout coding you can't.)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

TV

Archer
2x11 Jeu Monegasque
Another fantastic episode! Go Archer!
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Grand Designs Australia
1x01 Bushfire House
Noticed More4 have started showing this just in time to catch the first episode on catch-up. Super.
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Mock the Week
10x06 (14/7/11 edition) [mid-season finale]
The regular mid-series highlights/outtakes/bloopers episode. On the one hand I always feel cheated out of a new topical edition; on the other they delete some pretty good stuff from the rest of the series.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

MythBusters
5x24 Confederate Steam Gun
Happened across this on random TV browsing. Rather addictive good fun.

Single-Handed
2x01 The Lost Boys Part 1
As I hoped, it's back. Hurrah! And as good as ever, too, though this time we have to wait a whole week for the second half. Scheduled against both Torchwood and The (US) Killing, I fear slightly for its ratings, but perhaps it'll be different enough to succeed.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Films

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
[#70 in 100 Films in a Year 2011]

Part 2 may be smashing (almost) every record going, but I'm just catching up with Part 1. It was good, but I expect I'll still wait for the second half on Blu-ray.

Articles

Weekend Report: Harry Makes History by Brandon Gray
(from Box Office Mojo)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 soared into the record books with the highest-grossing opening weekend ever. The series finale drew an estimated $168.55 million... dethroning The Dark Knight's $158.4 million.

[It also achieved a new] opening day record of $92.1 million on Friday (buoyed by a record-shattering $43.5 million midnight launch) [and] the second biggest-grossing 3D opening yet, behind Alice in Wonderland's $81.3 million. In IMAX alone, Deathly Hallows Part 2 delivered the top-grossing start ever, generating $15.5 million versus Alice's second-place $12.2 million.

Impressive... but can it overtake Avatar to become the highest grossing film of all time? I don't see it. Cameron's uber-blockbuster had the advantage of being Something New, rather than the 8th film in an (admittedly extremely popular) franchise, plus the big boost of being so promoted as The 3D Film that everyone flocked to see it in more-expensive 3D. HP7.2 is in 3D too, but the technology no longer has that "must see" factor.

Indeed, HP7.2 is the latest film in a trend that sees 3D pulling in a lower percentage of the gross than 2D -- despite 68% of its US screens showing it in 3D, and all those tickets being more expensive than 2D ones, 3D only accounted for 43% of its gross. Ouch. And that's likely to drop off even more as time goes on.

this week on 100 Films

After nothing at all to report last week, there wa's just 1 new review posted to 100 Films in a Year in the past seven days. It was...

Easy Virtue (2008)
Director Stephan Elliott adds something extra to the wit with his choice of a wonderfully inventive soundtrack. Standards from the era are present and correct, but Cole Porter-styled reinterpretations of modern songs like Car Wash and Sex Bomb raise a smile whenever they turn up unexpectedly. It’s fabulously cheeky.

Hopefully, more next Sunday.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

TV

Pointless
4x30 (15/7/11 edition)
Crikey Pointless is hard to win! Today's final -- "directors who have won more than one Oscar" -- was as up my street as any have been, but I didn't come close to any of the nine winning answers. (A list of the 18 correct answers can be deduced from here.)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Music

Alpocalypse by "Weird Al" Yankovic

I don't recognise most of the parodies on Weird Al's latest (his first in half a decade), which either shows I'm out of touch or how lacklustre modern music is. Even this album's polka -- normally full of recognisable snippets from the biggest songs of the past few years -- is a wet affair of unfamiliar lyrics. Shame.

For me, then, this album is at its best when parodying a style rather than a specific modern song. Craigslist takes on the Doors, for instance; Ringtone is a riff on Queen; and, best of all, Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me emulates the work of Jim Steinman to marvellous effect.

Of the direct spoofs, only opener and single Perform This Way -- which lampoons everything about Lady Gaga via her recent hit Born This Way -- sounds familiar and, therefore, and more importantly, works.

Friday, 15 July 2011

TV

Miranda
1x04 Holiday [2nd watch]
It doesn't happen very often, but if I ever stumble across any of Miranda for more than about 30 seconds, I can't help but watch the rest. I have to say, though, I do think the first series was, on the whole, better than the second. Fingers crossed for the third.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

No Ordinary Family
1x11 No Ordinary Friends
Oh, far too much coincidence in this plot! Ouch.

Pointless
4x29 (14/7/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

I've been waiting well over a month for a parcel from Amazon.com. I've known for weeks it won't arrive, because they always arrive well before the final estimated date. Today is that date... but all Amazon say as advice is "give it a few more days". So I'll "give it a few more days", it won't turn up, and then I'll be able to contact them for a replacement. Which I do hope they'll send.

Number of titles in collection: 1,347 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,127 [up 2]
Of which Blu-rays: 220 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 3,339 [up 2]
Number of films in collection: 1,419 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,005 [up 5]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

TV

Pointless
4x28 (13/7/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Torchwood: Miracle Day
4x01 The New World
Nearly a week behind the US, Canada and Australia, then, but at least our version is several minutes longer. Maybe that was why it felt surprisingly slow? And I miss the theme music. And what technical bod messed up and caused that nasty visual 'echo'?
A raft of other niggles niggled, too, so I can't be certain what I actually think of it yet. It got "Americanised" trending on twitter though, so I guess it didn't go down too well generally.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

The Tudors
4x05 Bottom of the Pot
I don't know if it's just the fault of history, but this was awfully like the demise of Anne Boleyn. Even if essentially the same stuff happened, couldn't they have found a different angle on it for the sake of drama? Maybe that's why it was rattled through in a single episode.

Magazines

2000 AD #1741
Guess my decision! Though I ought to read quicker -- 1742 was out yesterday.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

TV

No Ordinary Family
1x10 No Ordinary Sidekick
I'm not sure if this is getting a little bit better or if I'm just becoming a little immune...

Pointless
4x27 (12/7/11 edition)
Today's edition was my favourite kind of quiz show: one where I could have a reasonable go at most rounds. Got the best answer on the Wallace & Gromit one, but the most obscure Kevin Spacey films I could come up with wouldn't've been obscure enough.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

DVD Extras

Easter Egg on Doctor Who: The Dominators
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre do a sketch related to Doctor Who serial production codes. Yes, it's as fan-only as it sounds -- that's why it's an easter egg, I should imagine. But I thought it was very funny, so there.

Trailers

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Trailer
I loved the first Downey Jr/Ritchie Holmes film, this one looks... interesting. Lots of exciting stuff and funny stuff, but will it work as well as a Sherlock Holmes film as the first one did? Could be they've crammed the trailer full of all the film's action and the Holmesian stuff will occur in between it; could be they've gone too far down the blockbuster route. Only time will tell.
That said, maximum points for using the same awesome music as the first film's trailer.

Fiction

Planetary by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday
#0 Nuclear Spring

My first (purchased) digital comic! The complete collection of acclaimed series Planetary is currently available for just £15/$25 from comics-app-of-choice comiXology -- but only until Friday -- and it includes this 8-page introductory tale, which I don't believe is available otherwise. (It doesn't include the three spin-off/tie-in one-shots though, which are available for £1.49/$1.99 each.)

One of the main criticisms of digital comics from Those In The Know is that they're currently sold exclusively in individual issue form -- great for day-and-date new releases, no use for classic stuff newbies might actually want to buy. For one high-profile example, search a comics app for one of the most praised Batman stories of all time, Year One, and you won't find it (see). It's not available as a collection titled Year One, only as Batman issues 404 to 407. Useless.

In this case, buying the omnibus gives you all 27 individual issues (the complete series), which is better than being given one single 633-page file! Buying the same number of issues in collected real-book form would be a lot more expensive, and these can be read online, on iOS devices (iPads, iPhones, etc), and even Android I believe, should you care for that. The one thing that really buys me is that you can't seem to get prices in anything other than dollars on the website. Why? They're in pounds on the iPhone app! But that seems to be temperamental and prone to crash while browsing, making searching to buy stuff on there a real pain.

If you're interested in how it all works in practice ("reading a book online?! what?!", etc), just check out comiXology for full details. They even have hundreds of free comics should you want to give it a go.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

TV

No Ordinary Family
1x09 No Ordinary Anniversary
This has to be one of the longest-feeling programmes I currently watch. And yet I stick with it. Even though there's more left to go than I've already sat through. Sometimes, I baffle even myself...

Pointless
4x26 (11/7/11 edition)
Seems I may have changed my mind. Oh, but it is good fun though.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Tudors
4x04 Natural Ally
Will they get rid of Wifey #5 soon? God I hope so. On the bright side, more Brandon is always good.

Monday, 11 July 2011

TV

Me watching TV one day behind instead of one week behind? What is the world coming to?!

Law & Order: UK
5x01 The Wrong Man
⅓ of the lead cast are replaced with nary a mention. That's the L&O way.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Top Gear
17x03 (10/7/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Sunday, 10 July 2011

TV

Friends
10x14 The One With Princess Consuela [goodness-knows-what-th watch]
10x15 The One Where Estelle Dies [goodness-knows-what-th watch]
I've not watched Friends for goodness knows how long, but I just happened to see these two episodes on E4 today. I think it's not so fashionable to like it any more, but boo, I've always liked it, so there. Really ought to watch it all again, actually.

Horrible Histories with Stephen Fry
1x04 Episode 4
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Lee Mack's All Star Cast
1x04 (9/7/11 edition)
This is a pretty weak show anyway, and then you add Katie bloody Price... And then you reach the always-dreadful sketch, throw in a Dragon -- none of whom can read any kind of script convincingly, and neither can Price -- and... Oh, why do I subject myself to this? More fool me, I guess.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Mock the Week
10x05 (7/7/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Penn & Teller: Fool Us
1x04 Episode 4
A couple of good bits tonight, but next week's looks better. Look forward to that, then.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

The Shadow Line
Part 7 (of 7)
I suppose it was inevitable given the amount of pure stuff piled into this series, but this was a disappointing conclusion. An over-complex last-minute Explanation Of Everything; twists and reveals that were mostly twisted or revealed episodes ago; and a nihilistic desire to almost exclusively kill off anyone nice and leave standing the evil and/or irritating. Sure, some of them are Great Characters who we Love To Hate, but they still need their comeuppance in the end.
All in, it was at least an episode too long and should have ended differently. Shame.

Films

Tangled (2010)
[#69 in 100 Films in a Year 2011]

Saturday, 9 July 2011

TV

Castle
1x04 Hell Hath No Fury
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

No Ordinary Family
1x08 No Ordinary Accident
I watched episode 6 in February, episode 7 in May, and now episode 8 in July. Originally I was hoping to watch this at more or less the pace of the UK airings. I imagine those finished months ago.
I'm intending to be more regular, though: lots of TV's shut up shop for the summer, so now it's catch up time (there are a couple of things like this on my books to get through now). OK, maybe I should just give up -- NOF isn't that good and it's already cancelled (unsurprisingly) -- but once I've started a series (and got a fair few episodes in) I feel like I've got to complete it.

Pointless Celebrities
Episode 4 (of 5)
Episode 5 (of 5)
[Watch episodes four and five (again) on iPlayer.]

The Shadow Line
Part 6 (of 7)
If I didn't know better, halfway through this episode I'd've been thinking it was the last one! But no, an hour of story still to go... hopefully with all the answers... and maybe the questions, too.

The Tudors
4x03 Something for You
Even worse than No Ordinary Family, I haven't watched any of this for five months. Not hard to pick back up on, though it'd be nice if it got a wriggle on -- especially as a UK viewer, we know where it's all going.

Films

Doom (2005)
[2nd watch]
This was #25 in 100 Films 2007 and I didn't give it a very good review. So why did I re-watch it? Not entirely sure, really. It was on TV, I was there, I let it play. I didn't pay attention to all of it, which probably helped. I do stand by my original review too, even if (as it's from the blog's first year) it's rather short.

Friday, 8 July 2011

TV

The Graham Norton Show
9x12 (1/7/11 edition) [season finale]
Only two guests, and the show worked much better because of it -- less crammed. Doubt that means they'll continue with it though.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Pointless Celebrities
Episode 1 (of 5)
Episode 2 (of 5)
Episode 3 (of 5)
Surprisingly fun daytime quiz show Pointless has moved to BBC One, and to mark that it began with a week of 'celebrity'-filled specials (a format tweak first seen last Christmas, I believe). I have no intention of wasting my life with the regular edition, however addictive it may be, but everything's more fun with 'celebrities' though, eh? TV ratings certainly seem to suggest so...
[Watch episodes one, two and three (again) on iPlayer.]

Shark Tank
1x01 Episode 1
The US version of Dragons' Den. And it's rubbish. The 'sharks' are all too annoying, most of the people looking for money just as irritating, no one as nice or intelligent as their UK counterparts. Damn them.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

This week, TV episodes lands squarely on 5,000! Wow! Nice round number... nice big number too. Quite daunting, actually. Ought to get stuck in to a few more of those...

And, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long, no Blu-rays!

Number of titles in collection: 1,345 [up 5]
Of which DVDs: 1,125 [up 5]
Of which Blu-rays: 220 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 3,337 [up 8]
Number of films in collection: 1,419 [up 6]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,000 [up 8]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

TV

Six series today, five of them including the last of the series / last ever. Coincidencetastic!

How I Met Your Mother
6x19 Legendaddy
I know some have been critical of HIMYM in recent seasons, for not getting anywhere with its arc plot, or for not being as clever or funny as it used to be, but I think this season is really hitting new highs. Good for them.
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

James May's Things You Need to Know
1x03 The Weather [final episode]
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Luther
2x03 Episode 3
2x04 Episode 4 [season finale]
The second two-parter in Luther's truncated second series. A good idea in this one, well (and violently) executed, even if it did remind me of one of the Thorne stories. Most surprising, though, was the happy ending. How un-Luther-like. Don't know how this run went down or how it rated, but fingers crossed for a third.
[Watch episodes three and four (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

The Sex Researchers
Episode 3 (of 3)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

$#*! My Dad Says
1x18 Who's Your Daddy? [series finale]
Bleep My Dad Says (as they insist on calling it) wasn't the greatest sitcom ever -- far from it, if we're going to be honest -- but it was decent-enough brain-off watch-once fare. Plus, the longer it went on the more it grew on me, so in those respects it's a shame it was cancelled.
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Spirit of Wimbledon
Part 4 Splendour on the Grass [final episode]
All-in, it was definitely much better than that other one. I may write to the Radio Times. Why? I dunno. Because.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Magazines

2000 AD #1740
I haven't bought 2000 AD in a very, very long time, but word reached me this issue (last week's, as it happens) contained all-new stories and was the perfect jumping on point. Well, that struck me as an opportunity not to be missed, so here I am. Decision time on continuing must be quick though: 2000 AD is still a weekly anthology, meaning the issue after this is not only out now but also already 28.6% through the time it will be on shelves!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

TV

Archer
2x10 El Secuestro
Archer seems to be going from strength to strength this season -- though, in fairness, it did in the first two. Indeed, this is currently sitting pretty as the best-rated episode ever at TV.com (see above link).
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Lead Balloon
4x06 End [series finale]
Jack Dee says this is the last episode ever. If so, I can see how that works as an ending. Despite the excruciating moments, I'll rather miss Lead Balloon. I think I joined it sometime in series two though, so I probably ought to go back and catch up on the beginning...
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Penn & Teller: Fool Us
1x03 Episode 3
Some absolutely brilliant magic tonight... but Penn & Teller weren't fooled once. Damn they're good.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

The Shadow Line
Part 5 (of 7)
See yesterday's Luther. Bit of a longer gap on this one, though -- five weeks (to the very day!), to be precise.
[The Shadow Line is out on DVD and Blu-ray as of last Monday.]

Spirit of Wimbledon
Part 3 Grass Rivals
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

TV

Horrible Histories with Stephen Fry
1x03 Episode 3
Some (I believe on the Radio Times letter page) have complained that these re-edits slow the pace too much with the Stephen Fry interludes. But you can never have too much Stephen Fry!
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Lee Mack's All Star Cast
1x03 (2/7/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Luther
2x02 Episode 2
Catching up on dramas like this now that six weeks of tennis is over. I believe this series of Luther finishes tonight, so... yeah.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Scott & Bailey
1x06 Episode 6 [season finale]
Not quite what I was expecting from the final episode, which is often a good thing. It's been mostly enjoyable and pleasantly different to most cop shows -- second run please, ITV.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Spirit of Wimbledon
Part 2 Pastures New
They've not bothered to put this on series link, so if you're interested you need to get on to it quick-sharp:
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Top Gear
17x02 (3/7/11 edition)
I'm not a Formula 1 fan any more, but even I appreciate how amazing it would be to drive round the Monaco circuit.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Articles

Review of 100 Silent Films by Bryony Dixon by Pamela Hutchinson
(from Silent London)
I do enjoy some silent cinema, and this sounds like a great book on the subject.

Monday, 4 July 2011

TV

Castle
1x03 Hedge Fund Homeboys
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Lead Balloon
4x05 Blade
An excellent two-hander, with just Jack Dee and Robbie Coltrane, that seems to be bringing some of the series' themes to a head. Which as this week's is supposedly the last ever seems like a good idea.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Spirit of Wimbledon
Part 1 Grass Roots
Now this is what the big, primetime 125th anniversary documentary should've been like! Instead, we got that disorganised lightweight fluff scheduled prominently while this was buried at 10:30am on weekdays on BBC Two. Shame on you, BBC.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Sunday, 3 July 2011

TV

Mock the Week
10x04 (30/6/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Top Gear
17x01 (26/6/11 edition)
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Wimbledon 2011
And today was the gentlemen's final... and not much else, because that's all-important, and it's the last day anyway. Wasn't particularly supporting either, so I guess the best I can say is at least Nadal didn't get any closer to taking any of Federer's records.
[Watch the gentlemen's final, and many other matches, on iPlayer.]

this week on 100 Films

4 new reviews were posted to 100 Films in a Year this week, as part of a sort-of-themed 'vengeance week'. They were...

Harry Brown (2009)
Michael Caine killing hoodies. How great does that sound? As a film premise, that’s awesome. If it doesn’t get you excited about seeing this movie, then what kind of film fan are you, eh? A mentally mature one, probably. But hush, don’t spoil our fun — those of us who may occasionally hanker for a morally simple form of voyeuristic vigilante justice want to see Sir Michael shooting yobs

High Plains Drifter (1973)
As the story progresses we get a gradual unveiling of a mystery in the town’s past, hinted at in flashbacks and dreams; who was responsible for it, what the others did about it — or didn’t do. It’s all revealed nicely across the course of the film, leading to a finely staged conclusion in a vision of Hell.

Jonah Hex (2010)
It’s difficult to know where to begin trying to praise Hex because, as I’ve implied, there isn’t much to praise. Unless you’re a 12-year-old boy, that is. Horses with Gatling guns! Giant cannons firing explosive balls! Corpses coming to life! Megan Fox’s corset-boosted cleavage! The undemanding pre-/early-teen is well catered for here. Possibly the undemanding child-minded adult too.

Law Abiding Citizen: Director's Cut (2009)
the setup makes it more interesting than your regular revenge movie... we’re presented with a situation where there are no clear-cut heroes and villains. Butler wants the killers of his family to suffer — normally, this vigilante is the hero. But... he’s a terrorist, normally the villain. Similar goes for Foxx — he’s the attorney, the good guy, he locks up criminals… but he’s part of a corrupt system that let a guilty man go free.

Also this week, the monthly update covering June, the halfway point of the year. Are we there already?! Crikey.

More next Sunday.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

TV

How I Met Your Mother
6x18 A Change of Heart
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Scott & Bailey
1x05 Episode 5
Not the kind of stuff you expect from the penultimate episode. Which is probably why it's there -- more surprising. That said, I'd guessed the 'twist' right from the start.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Wimbledon 2011
Ladies' final day... though more interesting (certainly more fun) was the senior doubles between Mansour Bahrami & Andrew Castle and Pat Cash & Mark Woodforde. They relegate that kind of thing to red button and don't put it on iPlayer though, sadly.
[Watch the ladies' final (again) on iPlayer.]

Films

The Locket (1946)
[#68 in 100 Films in a Year 2011]
Most of it, anyway, until BBC iPlayer Desktop started being a bastard with its eagerness to delete things. I'll finish it off as soon as I can... get hold of it again...

Fiction

Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver
Friday: Down to Gehenna, Chapters 53-72 [the end]

Deaver's plotting is quite good -- full of twists and reveals -- even if he has a tendency to describe events then in the next chapter reveal he'd left out a small detail that completely changes the situation. A neat trick, but one rather overused here. Plus his dialogue is too on the nose, especially the swathes of exposition.

And though his twists and reveals are clever, they're rather packed in and rushed through at the end. Perhaps they should've been spaced out and used more, rather than dispatched in a handful of chapters. Or even pared back entirely. By rushing through them it makes for too much of a change of pace, feels wasteful of decent ideas, and undermines the (apparent) villain. It'd probably work in another novel, but it doesn't fit Bond. Indeed, the whole novel becomes less Bondian as it goes on.

Also, this makes for two new Bonds in a row that have finished with slightly drawn-out after-the-apparent-climax conclusions. Odd.

The subplot about the death of Bond's parents is quite well-handled, though. It reveals enough that it's wrapped up within the novel, but also leaves enough threads hanging if it's decided to continue the Bond novels as direct sequels to this one. Neat.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

A few late arrivals (quite a few, actually) have led me to bump this to Saturday again. I ought to just move it permanently, it's not as if anyone's going to object. This week's lot include a DVD-to-BD upgrade, except it's not an upgrade as I'm keeping both (the BD includes none of the extras sadly, but was part of a very attractively priced box set), and a pile of stuff from Masters of Cinema's recent bargain-packed sale.

Also, a nicely round set of numbers in this first block. Lovely.

Number of titles in collection: 1,340 [up 14]
Of which DVDs: 1,120 [up 8]
Of which Blu-rays: 220 [up 6]

Number of discs in collection: 3,329 [up 17]
Number of films in collection: 1,413 [up 15]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 4,992 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.