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|12 reviews in total|
Yes, yes, problems with the script, direction, editing, acting. All of that. Not that bad for something to watch free on You Tube, however. But, damn, that was Sean Young?! Did NOT recognize her for a single second. Until I saw the closing cast list. I thought that character was being played by some amateur fan chick you'd seen at a con! A long way from Blade Runner for her and from Terminator for Furlong. I haven't seen the Abrams films, much-maligned by many long-time Trek fans. His usual arrogance and pedantry and smugness and dissing of Trek which he never watched totally put me off of seeing them. As for the writers of those big screen action fests--those are the same two who ruined the fifth season of Xena with their warmed over Hercules scripts. I'm going to watch the original Star Trek series on Me-TV right now. Those were the days.
I know that Lord Grade (as producer) has been jokingly referred to as "Low" Grade and I knew that Barbara Cartland is supposed to be absolute dreck, but, even given that, this 'film' is so much worse than I expected considering some of the talent involved. Diana Rigg does seem to consciously add a bit of camp to the proceedings and has some very amusing (intentionally? maybe not) lines, but it's a shame that former Avengers writer/producer Albert Fennell couldn't come up with something more worthy of her considering the great genuine wit of that series. We even have music by Avengers composer Laurie Johnson. And one of the New Avengers has a nice little cameo. The dialogue, which I am assuming, comes full-blown from the pen of Cartland (all I can think about is that great Little Britain sketch with Matt Lucas in drag churning out yet another bad formulaic assembly-line bodice-ripper) is some of the most atrocious, cliché, and insipid I have heard in years. I thought they, thankfully, stopped making movies this bad some time in the 1930s. Some of the apparently clueless women who love this sort of coded 'romance' novel and who claim to swoon over the spoiled brat control freaks (not far removed from Cristian Gray) that supposedly pass for men in this odious world of 'romance' are just mind-boggling at not recognizing abusive behavior for what it is. It's anything but romantic.
When I saw (mid)"season finale" at the end of tonight's episode... I said to myself--"hiatus!" And as we all know, that's showbiz teevee talk for dead in the water.
I mean really...writing this bad does not belong on network TV in the 21st century. No wonder cable kicks their ass. I have been a science fiction fan all of my life. I enjoy popular entertainment. But this mess of a series with several actors that I normally admire who deserve much better material is a great disappointment.
Are they really aliens? *yawn* (And isn't that a sad commentary on what should be an exhilarating human discovery?) Did the creators ever watch Lost or The X-Files, intelligently written series that handled this sort of material in a compelling fashion? 'Suspense' should not provoke annoyance. Dialogue should not provoke groans and eye rolling. Actors should not look so embarrassed with the material that they can't wait for it to end no matter what they say to the press.
I was not a "Heroes" fan, but to replace that, at least, fairly competent show with something this atrocious is completely baffling to me. Who green lights something so bad it brings ever decreasing returns every time it airs? Maybe a few network v.p.s or programmers who gave the go ahead for this will be on their way out as well.
We're in a mini neo golden age of TV again with incredibly well written, directed, acted programs like Mad Men and Breaking Bad given to us by AMC who used to show nothing but Maria Montez movies! and NBC, a 'real' network once upon a time, gives us a throwback to the worst kind of scifi schlock, with wooden acting, cliché plotting, and pitiful writing and directing. What were you thinking? I know there are talented writers out here--why employ hacks?! I am sorry for Laura Innes and the other actors who have had previous successful series and I wish you something better in the near future.
Someone has altered my sole IMDb credit on this episode until I (Jeanna
F. Gallo) appear as a pseudonym for Anne Rice. I am not Anne Rice and I
alone sold the story that became this episode, "Sub Rosa." None of us,
myself, Jeri Taylor, or Brannon Braga had ever even read Anne Rice
prior to this episode being made, any resemblance to one of her stories
that allowed some 'imaginative' Trek fan to assume that she must have
played a hand in its production is entirely coincidental. I can
understand such speculation--but it should remain on fan boards and no
mere hunch should be used to actually alter the IMDb database, it makes
one question the validity of all listings when this happens.
Now--as for the episode itself, I was very pleased with the filmed representation of the Scottish planet. That was exactly as I envisioned and attempted to impart to the producers.
Yes, it may be a bit of fey highland fluff, but it has a quirky charm
(a bit reminiscent of a Scottish "Northern Exposure") and would be
worth watching for the lush green scenery and glittering loch alone if
But, for connoisseurs of British TV, actors, and cult TV in general, the 6th series, just made available in the U.S. on DVD, is especially interesting because of the presence of at least 4 major cult figures of British television.
Beginning with the continuing, charming presence of regular "Molly" played by the great Susan Hampshire whose resume reads like a history of the best of British TV. From her appearances in things like "Danger Man" (aka "Secret Agent") to classics such as the original black and white "Forsyte Saga," "The First Churchills," "The Pallisers," etc. etc. We also are entertained with the newly recurring character of Hector's wastrel brother Donald McDonald played by the highly amusing Tom Baker (still my favorite Dr. Who) and the delicious Anthony Head (Giles from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and more recently the Prime Minister in those hilarious "Little Britain" sketches.)
And, best of all, for "Bad Girls" fans (at least those brilliant first 3 seasons which made British TV history thanks, largely, to this actress' landmark performance) we are further graced with the authentically Scottish, luscious Simone Lahbib (who, sadly/happily, was forced to leave the show when she found she was pregnant in real life.) She is a delight in her outdoorsy togs and her scenes with the farm animals. I'd love to see her do more comedy, though she excels as a dramatic actress. She and Tony Head, especially, have a very interesting working relationship/chemistry as well-matched actors here in their unfortunately too few scenes together. Very subtexty, less-is-more, breezy, low-key, naturalistic with a wry little twist and spin on the delivery. Too bad she couldn't have stayed longer, as they were just beginning to develop her character and the rivalry between Paul and Chester for Isobel's affections. I want to live on Isobel's farm, anyone know just where it's located?
Also...another Monarch Trivia Alert: in an earlier season there was a major degrees-of-separation Indy Jones thing happening with the presence in the same series of Paul Freeman from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," plus that other "Raiders" villain Ronald Lacey's daughter, and the new laird, Lloyd Owen is Indy's dad from TV's "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles."
...including the sublime, divine Simone Lahbib. Here all dark and
wind-blown. Exotic. Earthy. Really, the woman is a chameleon. I've yet
to see her play anything near the same role twice. And the only reason
I've seen her in as much brit TV as I have, most of it unavailable in
the states, is the kindness of fellow "Bad Girls" fans. Thank you. Aye,
I'd watch her in anything.
This film has some of the quirk and fey scots charm of the series "Monarch of the Glen"...which Ms. Lahbib also graced for a season.
A simple little romantic comedy for TV, it reminds one a bit of the movie written and directed by actress Bonnie Hunt, "Return to Me," since the plot involves a heart transplant recipient unaccountably drawn towards the widowed partner of the deceased.
The music is lovely and will stick in your head afterwards. It's a confection light as candy floss (or the recurring balloons sent over the loch)but there are some genuine heartfelt moments that will stay with you. Though even romantic comedy in Scottish hands has something of a brash in-your-face tone to it.
If you're ever lucky enough to see the season of this series that features the divine Simone Lahbib as tough little tomboy cop Lucy McCarthy you will be amazed at the versatility of the actress. It's astonishing that anyone who would've seen her in this action adventure would have thought to cast her as the somewhat prim 'straight'-laced (grin) very feminine Helen Stewart in the series she did after this. The not-to-be-missed "Bad Girls." Though both characters possess her tremendous sense of Authority. And she's even believable, slip of a thing that she is, handling a firearm. Sidenote trivia: the chap who plays her boss here (Grant Masters) most recently played the prime suspect in the first episode of her new gig as Robson Green's partner on "Wire in the Blood"...and an even bigger and delicious inside joke is seeing the wonderfully devious Jack Ellis as Lucy's old boyfriend, for those of you in the know--he is the same wicked actor who played Ms. Lahbib's nemesis, the libidinously evil Jim Fenner on those first 3 glorious seasons of "Bad Girls." It's in retrospect, but seeing what her character does to him here makes up for an awful lot. (Big Grin) Also of note to American fans is the other female lead, Amanda Pays, who did 2 notable u.s. series in the 80s & 90s, "Max Headroom" and "The Flash." But Lahbib has all the best lines...or, at least, delivers them with such panache that she steals every scene she's in.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The opening music shamelessly attempts to evoke The Godfather theme.
And it's very transparently also an attempt to make a British
"Sopranos"...and it could've been damned interesting.
You had Martin Kemp with those moody, piercing eyes and great screen presence who's cornered the market in Brit gangster roles ever since he played one of the notorious Kray brothers.
You have Jamie Foreman who was born to play Bill Sykes (in Polanski's Oliver Twist.) Just look at that mug.
You had David Calder, a superb actor, who I adored as Gemma Redgrave's kind, patient, elegant, and supportive papa, the distinguished Harley St. physician, Dr. Robt. Bramwell, in the excellent "Bramwell" series as well as a gay Russian double agent on "MI-5" aka "Spooks."
And, best of all, you have the exquisite Simone Lahbib...who deserves another successful high-profile series after making "Bad Girls" the classic it's become in its first 3 seasons. Watching her painfully vulnerable, sexually frustrated (because her brothers won't let any man get close to her) borderline alcoholic character here brimming with barely repressed rage and resentment...and then the surprising turn she takes at the very open-ended, up in the air finale, to become more, not less, involved with the running of the family business would've made a continued series a more interesting prospect. But they overplayed their hand with the melodrama.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's unbelievable to me that I only heard of this series several months
ago when it's been running, and quite popularly and notably, in Britain
going on 8 years now.
I've only seen the first 3 seasons. Only the series one DVD set is available in the U.S. This is absurd for such a significant show in British TV history and one which should be seen and appreciated by all, but especially by a discerning gay viewership. I wanted to see what happened next so badly that I had to send to the UK for series two and three and get a DVD player on which I could watch region 2 dvds. But it was worth it. As Helen Stewart says to Nikki Wade, "I wouldn't have missed it for the world." The significance of the Helen/Nikki love story is of immense import as I am quite sure that the vast majority of the viewing audience (huge, at its height, for British prime time) was actively rooting for the lesbian couple to get together and, somehow, stay that way. Despite the impossible circumstances in which they fell in love from opposite sides of the prison bars.
It was a remarkably romantic love story and a pleasure to watch these superb actresses work together. (And what a great alternative to something like "The L Word.") One comes to care about all the characters here...even the truly wicked 'bad' ones, though they are all quite recognizably human, and all have their vulnerable, or likable moments. And the actors, including the villain of the piece, Jack Ellis, are all uniformly superb.
This series turned me into a Simone Lahbib and Mandana Jones fan for life. Ms. Lahbib, especially, is a rare actress of supreme nuance. I never failed to be moved by her intelligent choices in her portrayal of Helen Stewart, the 'warden' who finds herself unaccountably (at first) falling in love with one of the inmates in her charge and does something so proactive about it that one watches in wonderment and can only wish they knew someone like her. She is a stalwart, stubborn, honorable, feisty, little scot, and it's easy to fall in love with the character (and her incredibly sexy accent--who knew?! Craig Ferguson and Billy Connolly just make me laugh) right along with Mandana's heartfelt turn as the hot-tempered lifer (and out lesbian) Nikki, a woman who's inside for killing the corrupt cop who was trying to rape her girlfriend. A passionate (and, at times, jealous) woman with deeply felt (and expressed) emotions. When she decides she can't live with the current situation with Helen anymore she does something, at once, so reckless and yet so Romantic that leads to one of the most wrenching cliffhangers I have ever seen on TV. There's literally no way out...I was so hesitant to move onto series 3...I didn't see how it could be 'satisfactorily' resolved. Actually, there are 4 cliffies at the end of series 2, bambambambam, one right after the other. Audacious stuff.
I found series 3, tho very compelling, not as thoroughly excellent (after the melodrama hit the fan it just kept coming) as the first 2 seasons, and thought, what a shame, they pulled back a bit on the love story in order to begin new threads and sub-plots and introduce new characters and give the rest of the ensemble their due, I suppose, but it was the Nikki/Helen story which was the heart of the show and put them on the map as must-see TV in Britain, but, still, it's a fascinating drama and I defy anyone not to become involved in caring about the fates of these people, and they do become very real.
In a way it's sort of like an "Upstairs, Downstairs" set in a women's prison, and that's about the highest compliment I can pay to a serialized British TV drama.
who says this smacks of creeping americanism in brit TV (and we Americans love brit TV because of its britishness, we don't want to see slick American 'product'when we watch it) but I think, much more than copying any American template here, it's a copy of a copy...it's trying to be MI-5 aka "Spooks" with its flash cutting, 'black-box' multi-screen technique, and self-consciously arty camera-work. And it ain't no "Spooks." Worth watching, for me, for the lovely Simone Lahbib (can't wait for the new season of 'Wire in the Blood') who is interestingly cast here in what seems, for most of the piece, like a totally thankless role. I figured out the denouement early on based on non-scripted deduction and intuition, *G* but got absolutely none of the usual clues from a story peppered with rather obvious red herrings. And I would defend the unemotional way this wonderfully emotional actress played (and was cast deliberately I'd guess) against 'type.' It was the only thing the 'mystery' (which seems to have been a pilot for the lead actor?) had going for it.
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