Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Me and My Monsters (2010)
Another good TV program for kids (and adults) from the UK
I'm not certain why, but the Brits seem to give their kids some pretty good programming where US broadcasters just shove any old poorly-animated junk out and call it "educational". This British kids sitcom features your fairly standard dad/mom/older sister/young son family, but adds a trio of live-action monsters. Okay they're giant puppets and people inside costumes, but they are handled pretty well. And, they are interesting to look at.
The humor is aimed at, I would guess, five through fifteen-year-olds but is actually kind of funny, even for this 55-year-old.
The nice thing is that this show doesn't talk down to kids like a lot of US programming does. I suppose that there is some educational contentsuch as learning to get along with those who are different from you, and living with a sibling that likes to make things hard on you but it doesn't preach these concepts.
It is available on the CBBC channel weekday mornings (in late 2010). With luck, other world- wide BBC channels will get this soon.
Outer Space Astronauts (2009)
You should really give this a chance!
Unlike the previous reviewer I kinda like this. It is a combination of lower-budget CGI backgrounds and bodies with live action heads. The effect is a little odd at first, but the actors do a pretty good job given that they probably didn't know what their bodies were going to be doing when they recorded their parts.
Basically, a crew of not-the-cream-of-any-crop explorers are in deep space doing something (not really explained). In episode one they encounter an alien ship filled with macho red males bent on domination and a cutesy red female liaison person. Our crew blithely shows their crew everything about our ship, including weaponry and shielding, while they refuse to show any of theirs. In the end, we beat them, there is a little implied alien sex, and the Captain's treasured liquor storage unit get destroyed. Bummer!
Is it derivative? Absolutely. Take two parts "Tripping The Rift," add another three parts of the BBC series "Hyperdrive" and toss in a little "fart" humor from National Lampoon movies and you have the idea. The plot of the first episode is easy to follow (read that: sort of shallow and easy to guess how it will end up) but the handling of the presentation animation and faces, remember? help it move right along. Even the juvenile humor can be ignored/enjoyed a bit..
As I said at the top, you should give this a try, perhaps at least 2 or 3 episodes before making up your mind. I'm not sure how long a run this is scheduled to have, but I think the writers/producers could easily get 20-24 shows out of this before it might grow a little weary.
Oh, and careful viewers will spot things that casual viewers may miss.
i've given the show a 7 based on the first episode; I may change my opinion up or down based on the next several of them. Watch with me, won't you?
The Sideshow (2007)
Wonderful Australian show that came and went far too soon
The Sideshow was a wonderful show on ABC (Australian Broadcast Company) that had the misfortune of being shown far too early in the evening - 7:30 - on Saturdays. Featuring a set of between three to five "guests" each week along with regulars Claire Hooper (funny, sexy woman). Flacco, and The Umbilical Brothers. Host Paul McDermott was wonderful with an intro monologue, between act intros, and a closing monologue along with closing the shows frequently with songs. If you ever get the chance to see Good News Week (on Australia's Channel Ten) or see clips of him as part of the comedy trio The Doug Anthony All Stars (DAAS) you will see what an amazing talent he is.
Each show featured a variety of comedy and musical acts plus some regular features like Claire Hooper's "20 Questions" that never seemed to get around to asking the questions... just interacting hilariously with Paul. Flacco segments are surreal and funny especially when Paul sings "Goodnight, Princess" to Flacco's little Danish princess in a crib.
YouTube has some clips that can be viewed of Sideshow as well as DAAS skits and Good News Week episodes (which are available as podcasts from various sources). I only wish that I had more than the 10 Sideshows I have managed to gather this past few months. It was a funny and entertaining program that just got put in the wrong time slot and never found more than a medium-sized audience.
Good News Week (1996)
This Yank LOVES this Aussie program
Good News Week had a successful run a few years ago and then disappeared for a couple years. In 2008 it came back with a bang! Host Paul McDermott, one of the Doug Anthony All Stars troupe (DAAS for those who are familiar) is the perfect, cynical leader over two teams of comedians, actors and even high-ranking politicians lampooning the news of the day and personalities that might just be a bit too much into themselves. Loosely based on the British programme Have I Got News For You, GNW features several different rounds of questions each week directed toward either of the 3-person teams. Points are awarded and go toward absolutely nothing but add to the fun. Mikey Robbins hosts one team while Clair Hooper hosts the other. Both are very bright people and often are the only one on their team with an idea about the subject being questioned.
A favorite segment seen on about one out of each four shows is Tentacles of Death where Paul McDermott holds onto two large sets of severed cables. He asks questions and the first one to "buzz" in sets off a shower of sparks, fireworks and electrical arcing right by the host. Paul has actually been burned before by getting a hand too close to an explosive charge. Usually at least one person buzzes in early just to watch the fireworks and lightning and to see Paul squirm a little.
Practically nothing is out of bounds and nothing/nobody is spared being raked across the comedy coals. GNS is available as podcasts or may be viewed on line at the channel's website.
I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a great laugh.
Return of the Saint (1978)
Fair, but not really The Saint
Sorry if this offends some, but I have major problems with this series. Starting with Ian Oglivy as Simon Teplar. Now, his character name may be the same as the character played by Sir Roger Moore in the original series, but he isn't really The Saint. He is vaguely Saint-like, but is far too much a puppet of the organization for which he works.
Instead of suave and cunning, Oglivy's Templar is brash. Rather than a twinkle in his eye, this new "Saint" seems to vacillate between looking slightly embarrassed and looking just bit too smug.
True, I am one of those, "James Bond WAS Sean Connery" and "Simon Templar WAS Roger Moore" types. Perhaps that colors my perspective, but watching some of these episodes in 2008-09 hasn't done anything to change my opinion of the show back in 1978-79 when I first saw it. I have also gone back to watch several of the Roger Moore series recently. They hold up. Rather nicely, too.
The plots are paper thin and the supporting acting is sometimes painful. I would give examples, but they would end up being spoilers.
For completists out there, go for the DVD. For Ian Ogilvy fans, go for it. But, if you have warm, fuzzy memories of the original The Saint shows, don't say that one crabby old fart didn't warn you.
The Associates (1979)
A Lesson for TV Producers
The Associates was a wonderful comedy with a great ensemble cast that just seemed to mesh from the start of the first episode.
If there are any television producers or network executives out there looking for a prime example of a truly funny show that was dropped for no good reason, this is the show. Any students out there looking for examples of how a network can manhandle and kill good programming should be given the entire run of this show to watch.
If James Burroughs is out there looking for something from his "vault" to bring out on DVD... this is the one!
Martin Short showed what a brilliant comedic actor he was going to turn out to be in this show. His timing, as well as that of the writing, was spot on. No one actor dominated with each one being given lines and situations that just seemed to fit like a comfortable glove. Even the list o guest stars is amazing: John Housman, Cloris Leachman and others.
Wow. How this one ever "got away" is a wonder.
Something VERY familiar about this wonderful program
Other have mentioned some of the merits of this witty, often funny mystery. It isn't deep, dark and gut wrenching. It IS light, well written and has a fine cast.
But, there is something seriously familiar about the cast and characters. Here's what I mean.
There is the (relatively) handsome male lead and the gorgeous female lead. They are backed up by a long-haired (shaggy) male who provides a lot of the comic relief and a short, dark- haired, bookish, glasses-wearing, female. The team travel around in a large van solving mysterious deaths in out-of-the-way places.
The only thing missing is the dog.
Freddie, Daphnie, Shaggy and Velma?
No... there aren't ghosts and glowing, algae-covered sea Captains rattling chains, but I would bet a bucket of Scooby snacks that the people who created and cast this fun show are real fans of Scooby Do, Where Are You?
And, if you watch these shows with that in mind, it becomes even more entertaining.
Paul Merton in China (2007)
Travel through China with first-time visitor, comedian Paul Merton
Well, let's start with a comparison: Michael Palin has had a good lock on these "travel with me" documentaries for a number of years, but as refreshing as his were in the beginning, they have become a predictable and seem to be a bit "I can do this but you probably never will"; Paul Merton probably best known for his work on Have I Got News For You and Room 101 provides a fresh look and feel and one more in line with what the average traveler can experience. Paul has never been to China, doesn't speak the language, and has a look of perplexity about him when hit with new situations. But, the man is a very intelligent comedian and puts a good skew on everything that happens to him or in front of him. He seems to know when to be serious and when to make light of a situation.
His six-week travels are compressed into four 1-hour programs, each fairly well paced and full of interesting things. The sort of things and experiences that I imagine I would have if I were to visit China. With the same amount of "I'm loving what I'm seeing, but I feel a bit uncomfortable and slightly out of place" that most people would experience. And, he tends to go the same sort of places I would go and you would too (probably) on your first visit.
All in all this series is a good bit of fun. It isn't as magnificently photographed as a Palin epic, but it is well worth your while to search it out in repeats or when it comes out on DVD.
After You've Gone (2007)
Not a laugh riot, but a good, well-written comedy and a good bit of fun
Please understand that I write this following the broadcast of the first show in this new series from the pen of Fred Baron, the Americal behind My Family.
I really love the casting of Nicholas Lyndhurst and Celia Imrie as the ex-husband and mother of a woman who wants to go off to Africa to "help the poor." They, along with the rest of the well- cast cast do a great job with the material. The writing is clean and the comedy comes from the actual "situations," hence the term situation comedy. Not, unlike far too many programs, from forced innuendo, double entrendre, and other fancy words for "if it really isn't funny, make it smutty!"
Shot in front of a live audience, the laughs come in realistic amounts and at the correct times. I'm going to enjoy watching this one develop over the next several weeks.
History Bites (1998)
Everything History class wasn't, but should have been!
Rick Green, co-creator of the wonderful Canadial show, The Red Green Show, branched out in the early 90's to create and star in this "bet you thought you knew what happened" history program. Combining a very good ensemble cast along with the use of humor to get points across, History Bites takes the premise of what might we know about certain points in history if television had been there to record and report it?
Would the Hun really turn out to be a bunch of misunderstood guys who really thought they were doing a good thing by slaughtering thousands as their horde moved across Asia and Europe? Was Genghis just trying to live up to his father's image?
Were the Norsemen who conquered western France shocked when the French just gave them the land and told them the now THEY had to care for the population.
History Bites is a funny show. It should be mandatory viewing for 5th through 8th graders in all schools to help them understand that what me might think of as historical fact is often just what the winners wrote, not what happened. And humor is the best way to get across this kind of information.
Too bad the Canadians keep it to themselves. Or, too bad US networks like The History Channel or even Comedy Central haven't picked this up. There are more than enough individual shows to fill more than a year's programming (at one per week).