What To Think About Television (For Busy People)

And not just because we're too incompetent to formulate proper reviews of television programmes. Cough.



Jekyll

Surprisingly good. Despite giving Jimmy Nesbitt an excuse to do his ‘wacky’ acting, and despite the infuriating zoomy-bit-slow-motion-bit direction, it seems pretty good. And the performance of Zoe Slay-taaah Off Of EastEnders is good enough to make us want to see The Bionic Women when it gets made too.

Golden Balls

A disappointing return to our screens for The Carrott. Just because Deal Or No Deal is huge, it doesn’t mean every new game show needs to have a winner pretty much at random. Whatever happened to skill? No, lying about the number written inside a little ball doesn’t count as skill, and nor is it really anything like Poker But With Balls Instead Of Cards. No-one plays poker saying “woo, I’ve flopped trip tens, you may as well fold” every other hand without getting punched up the bracket. Also, the entire Share Or Shaft bit at the end just leaves a bad taste in the mouth – did they learn nothing from racism’s Robert Kilroy Silk’s downfall? We demand ITV put repeats of Shark Infested Custard on every day in place of this.

Would I Lie To You?

The BBC’s latest panel show that will get cancelled after one series due to poor ratings is actually pretty good. It’s helped of course by having just about the best two captains you could hope for in such a situation – David Mitchell and Lee Mack, but slightly hamstrung by having three members per team. One of the reasons HIGNFY has survived for so long is by having just one guest per team, if they aren’t very good Paul Merton or Ian Hislop can carry the show that bit more. If the guest is a good one, such as Danny Baker or Sean Lock, they get more time to themselves with which to entertain the nation. With two guests per team, inevitably one comedian and one non-comedian, more time is lost to giving everyone a say, whether they’ve got anything interesting to offer or not. That’s why Have I Got News For You and QI are better than 29 Minutes of Fame, Bognor or Bust, It's Only TV... But I Like It, Mock The Week, The Best Show In The World Ever... Probably and The Best of the Worst.

There is the option of filming a seemingly entertaining panel show with entertaining guests like David Mitchell, Richard Herring, Alexei Sayle or Griff Rhys Jones, but only actually broadcasting a few minutes of it every week, with the remainder of the running time devoted to a disappointingly weak facsimile of The Larry Sanders Show and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Or, if you’d rather, Bob Mills’ The Show, which was a much better example of the format, and the only Bob Mills thing we’ve ever really liked.

6 comments:

sonofajoiner said...

I watched the first ep of Golden Balls and once they cracked out the creaky anti-french jokes I shook my head for Jasper's folly. Having said that, there is some enjoyment to be had at guessing which of the greedy gits will screw the other over. Perhaps ITV can work that into some sort of phone-in competition.
Also, 500 bonus points for using the phrase 'punched up the bracket' in this post. If you could work 'up the wazoo' into a post somewhere in the future, I'd be grateful.

Mark X said...

Personally, I've little interest in seeing members of the public very, very nearly winning a life-changing amount of money, only to see another member of the public somehow win the whole lot because they've decided to be a bastard. But then, I'm fussy like that. The method used by Poker Face was much better, where devious MoPs are more likely to lose out than profit from their misdeeds. And, of course, with Poker Face, there's an actual element of skill involved. Come on, Jasper, go back to comedy.

The reference to a punch up the bracket is a result of listening to lots of Tony Hancock radio shows lately - it was either that or a 'punch up the hooter'. Anyway, your request has been noted and acted upon.

BrokenTV: Acting on the requests of Commentgoers since, ooh, about ten minutes ago.

trendthrift said...

You didn't like In Bed With MeDinner? I thought that would have been up your alley, if you'll pardon the expression.

I've only caught 10 minutes of Golden Balls, but it was pretty painful. I have absolutely no problem with a grade A toss fiend like Nicky Campbell fronting a terrible Deal Or No Deal knock-off, but Jasper's better than this.

Mark X said...

I think the fact that it was the sort of show I'd usually love made Bob Mills' annoyingly smug interjections such a distraction. Looking at TV footage from decades past and sneering at them has become a staple of insipid clip shows over the last five years, and just because Millsy did it yonks before I Love The [Decade X]'s hit BBC Two doesn't make it right.

In my opinion, natch. I understand loads of people loved the show.

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