Monday, January 04, 2010

What I saw on the telly this Christmas

Didn’t watch as much Christmas telly as usual this year but I did catch The Royle Family, which the BBC managed to squeeze into one of the rare respites from David Tennant. Oh dear, I’m afraid Jim and the family well and truly jumped it. Leapt the leopardshark. Hurdled the hammerhead. Gaily galloped and gambolled giddily over the Great White. Pity, as The Royle Family used to be a treat. At its best it employed a dash of crude humour without relying on it, poked fun at the (non) working class without sneering at it, exaggerated reality but still rang true. This instalment blew all that. In particular, by making all the family as dim and selfish as Denise – who was always the only totally absurd one ­– the characterisation, so painstakingly constructed over many great episodes, was swiftly wrecked. Shocker. What else was there? The Gruffalo was a bit of a let-down. They dragged the wee story out to half an hour simply by reciting the dialogue very slowly. A gruuuuufalo?...



what’s



a


gruf



fal



o? This meant that the bouncy rhythm of the book was lost, which is the best thing about it. And what the hell was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End about? I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. Lots of unpleasant characters standing about haggling over a bewildering array of MacGuffins, quadruple-crossing each other and then having a swordfight. Repeat for three very long hours. Doctor Who was alright but I hope they go back to normal-sized peril wherein a few people are endangered, rather than having to save THE UNIVERSE and TIME ITSELF amid shouts and explosions every week. Gavin and Stacey was ok.

11 comments:

worm said...

managed to escape all xmas TV entirely! A first for me! Did see a programme on Steve Coogan at some point though, which was underwhelming

Willard said...

Surprised to realise that I watched very little TV and I think I feel better for it. I read in a paper that, apparently, Tennant was on 75 times over Christmas.

David said...

Couldn't agree more about Dr. Who. Basically, Tennant and Davies had piled up the monumentalness of the Dr so high -- we get the sense that God turns to Dr. Who when He is in over His head -- that they barely got out before the whole thing collapsed.

I'm fairly hopeful that Moffat sees this and will bring it back down to Earth.

Brit said...

Yes the last good episode was that one on the space bus - claustrophobic and low-budget. The best ever was Blink, about the stone angels, which I believe was Moffat so there is hope.

Gaw said...

Brit, I copied you here. Sincerity is the most flattering form of imitation. Or something like that.

martpol said...

David:

Now you've done it, mentioning the divine whatsisname. That'll be the next end-of-season special, mark my words: the Daleks and Cyberman team up and actually try to destroy God. Despite the exorbitantly budgeted peril, Captain Jack Harkness still manages to slip in (arf) a number of unfunny sex references.

Agree with you both on Moffatt, though: not only did he write Blink, but also The Empty Child duo - the ones in WW2 London with the creepy gas mask faces.

David said...

Blink was excellent; scary and funny and intricately plotted.

A season with a couple more like that is all that we can ask.

Gadjo Dilo said...

I was tempted to watch the Royle Family special, but I'm glad I didn't now after what you're said about it. The repeat of the Victoria Wood special from 2000 was enough for me this Crimbo.

Susan said...

As my own family gathered around the idiots' lantern, I refused to be subjected to the Royle family, or Gavin and Stacey. However, I was persuaded, against my will to 'join in the fun' and watch a re-vamped version of A Christmas Carol, starring Catherine Tate. I was appalled by this extraordinary travesty of a great literary work with indescribably poor acting and abominable language. I'm simply astounded that such a programme should be aired on Christmas Day by the BBC - and paid for by us! Disgusted of Putney.

Brit said...

Poor old "A Christmas Carol". That sucker has been given more dodgy revamps than Joan Rivers' face. (As Joan Rivers might say.)

malty said...

Recorded for our later consumption..the last Wallander, the proper one, not the version fronted by pretty luvvie Brannagh.
Possibly the most harrowing television I have ever seen, knowing that Johanna Sallstrom committed suicide not long after the programme was finished. She was disintegrating in front of our eyes, her face a sad mask behind which the lassie was tearing herself apart, her mind tumbling into the abyss. When the episode finished we felt like voyeurs.

Modern times, don't you just love 'em?