Best Cinematography: 1964

Actual Nominations: BW: Zorba The Greek. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. The Americanization Of Emily. Night Of The Iguana. Fate Is The Hunter. Colour: My Fair Lady. Becket. Mary Poppins. Cheyenne Autumn. The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

The category was split into BW and color again this year with epics, musicals, and historical dramas featuring heavily. Zorba The Greek picked up the official BW win this year, with My Fair Lady picking up the color counterpart. Fate Is The Hunter is the odd one out here, a film based around the aftermath of a plane crash which has the odd inventive flashback. Rounding up the BW nominations are the more recognizable Hush Hush, The Americanization Of Emily,  and Night Of The Iguana. Once again the color category is more interesting as new techniques arrived making films even brighter, costumes and scenery more vibrant, and bringing characters and stories bursting to life. Narrowly missing out on the win is Mary Poppins, a film famous for its sights as well as it’s sounds. Becket and Molly Brown follow with a large scope, while Cheyenne Autumn is an undeservedly forgotten John Ford epic.

My Winner: BW: Night Of The Iguana (Gabriel Figueroa) Colour: Cheyenne Autumn (William H. Clothier)

My Nominations: Dr Strangelove. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. A Fistful Of Dollars. Onibaba. Zulu

A completely different list for me this time, mostly focussing on colour. Zulu’s wide shots offer breathtaking views of a deadly landscape and serve to compare the scale of the wilderness, ‘the enemy’, and the stronghold. A Fistful Of Dollars welcomes several Leone standards, with thanks to Massimo Dallamano and Federico G. Larraya, showcasing a much more seedy, yet typically sweaty Western world. Roman Empire gives a more traditional tour de force, while Onibaba and Dr Strangelove provide cold, chilling, almost stilted visuals

My Winner: A Fistful Of Dollars (Massimo Dallamano and Federico G Larraya)

Who is your winner for Best Cinematography of 1964? Let us know in the comments section!

July 1, 2015 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment

Sh*t I Used To Watch – Friends

In this new series of posts, I’m going to talk briefly about some of my favourites TV shows of yesteryear, and some which I’m watching at the moment. In ‘Sh*t I Used To Watch’ I’ll reminisce about some TV shows that I used to watch, from my childhood up until roughly the time I graduated from University – by and large these will be shows that I haven’t watched since that period, or have only caught a small numbers of episodes of. In ‘Sh*t I Watch’ I will talk briefly about the shows I’m watching at the moment, and will deal with both current series which have not yet been cancelled or completed, and those which I am catching up on having missed first time around. I’ll try to post one of these each week, but as regular Glancers will be aware, my regular posts are fairly irregular. Some of the shows in both categories which I’ll talk about will be ones you should all be familiar with, while others will be extremely niche and I can only imagine about three other people will have ever heard of.

So no-one told you life was gonna be this way? Either a question or a statement, the opening words of one of the most recognisable songs of the 90s spoke volumes about the show it appeared on – the all-conquering Friends. The show was about 6 twentysomethings living, working, and loving in New York and followed their various relationships and tribulations over 10 Seasons. It rejuvenated the stale sitcom format, launching the careers of its six main cast members, garnering rave reviews and massive worldwide audiences, and remains incredibly influential. On paper, the shows sounds like something I would never choose to watch; Lord knows if was only created and shown today for the first time it would be packed with too many smiling faces, reality stars, and a multitude of other reasons to not watch. When it first aired in the UK, I was 12 years old (arggghh) and it was a pretty big hit amongst certain groups of my peers. I remember a lot of people in school talking about it, and although most of the people who were talking about it were those whose opinions I didn’t care for, and although they made it sound much worse than it actually was, a few people whose brains I actually did trust also loved it. In short, I’m not sure why I eventually decided to watch it – I’ve never been one to give in to peer pressure, the show sounded rubbish, but for some reason I watched it. And when I did, I was hooked.

What people who haven’t seen Friends don’t realise is that it isn’t a simple, standard sitcom featuring unrealistically pretty people in unrealistic situations. While it was trendy, while the people involved are too pretty, and while many critics and fans did focus on the more shallow and less important aspects of the show, it was, and still is an incredibly well written show, and features exceptional comedic performances. Much of the humour is zany and offbeat, but not in the obvious way and not in the ironic way seen nowadays. It was a very slight touch – often only a single moment in a single episode. While I never really got wrapped up in the who’s dating who aspect of the show, the characters did grow on me quickly, and I did eventually want certain characters to end up with each other. The show played this card a little too often over the ten years, and a little excessively towards the end, but at its peak it was extremely good at being charming and making the viewer root for someone they loved.

Arguably my favourite funny moment of the show is something that no-one else would ever think of. It was in one of the first few episodes, and Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe appear to be having a sleepover on their balcony. The girls are a little tipsy while talking about relationships. Rachel leans forwards and her cushion falls off the balcony; there’s a beat, and the group continue their chat. For no greater insight into my personality – I’m laughing my nuts off thinking about it now, while you are staring at the screen wondering why that’s funny and thinking what the hell is wrong with me. As I continued to watch, I got into the swing of the dialogue, grew to love each of the friends, saw the highest of high quality of the writing, and even got drawn into the various love duels – one in particular.

Yes, in another time I may say I’m ashamed to say i got drawn into such things, especially as everyone else was talking about the will they, won’t they nature of Ross and Rachel, but for a couple of Seasons there it was wonderful. Even though Ross is a bit of a knob who almost falls into all those ‘Nice Guy’ tropes and traps, there is still something loveable about how inept he was, and it was clear for everyone that he was perfect for Rachel. This all peaks of course in The One With The Prom Video – a flashback episode where the gang find an old Video featuring their younger selves preparing for Prom. For some reason Ross really does not want to watch the video, but everyone else does. We assume for much of the episode that Ross is simply embarrassed about everyone seeing what a doofus he was, but the selfless act at the end leads to one of my favourite moments in the show. But before that, we get plenty of hilarious moments which the writers would revisit with lesser effect throughout the series – Monica’s weight, Chandler’s attraction to trends, Ross’s gradual steps from one strand of geekdom (and his music which is visited later to excellent effect) to another etc. As the Prom video progresses we see that even then Ross was infatuated by Rachel and is upset when he sees that Rachel has been stood up by her date. Upon his parents’ insistence, Ross gets dressed in his tuxedo to offer to take Rachel to the prom (with comedy stair-falling), but just as he is about to come downstairs to ask her if she will go with him he catches Rachel leaving with Monica and their dates – it turns out Rachel’s date was simply late; Ross is broken and the video is turned off. We see that this is why Ross didn’t want the gang to see the video, but as he readies himself for a comic backlash, Rachel approaches him and gives him one of the greatest kisses in TV history. Yay! Fade to black and end the series on a high! Ah, I’m tearing a little at the memory of it, and I still remember the feeling of joy now.

Aside from the main characters, the show had a large and varied cast of recurring characters – some excellent actors who would appear in a handful of episodes, or others who would continue to appear over the 10 Seasons – the various parents of each character, Janice, Gunther, Carol and Susan, Julie, Pete, Mr Heckles, Estelle, Emily – all of them and more felt like real people and not simple two-dimensional figures thrown in to serve some random plot. The show also drew the best of Hollywood as guest stars – Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, George Clooney –  the list goes on, and each made a lasting impact. The show was a cultural phenomenon and everyone wanted a slice. Arguably no show before or since has seen such adoration from fans and critics, and seen so many A-Listers falling over themselves to be a part of it.

The Simpsons has a claim to this of course, but roughly since its 10th Season the show has become a depressingly awful abomination

The Simpsons has a claim to this of course, but roughly since its 10th Season the show has become a depressingly awful abomination

Another favourite memory of mine is the double Wedding episode set in London. Rachel has rushed to London to stop Ross from marrying Emily and the series ends on a stinking cliffhanger. I remember that when this was first shown in the UK, there was a break between when this episode ended and when the new series began. I can’t recall what the delay was  – it may have been only a week, or it may have been a few months. Luckily one of my friends and me had RTE – the television service of the Irish Republic, which just happened to be showing the new episode of the new series that very night – just after the British broadcast ended. Remember that this was before all the internetting and Tweetbooking we have nowadays, so being one of a select few who were able to catch the new episode and get the resolution to the cliffhanger was a real coup.

Over time though I gradually lost my way with the show. The show began to re-tread similar ideas and I began watching other stuff. I would still tune in the odd time to catch an episode or two, but I didn’t like what I saw – there seemed to be a shift in the humour, the performances were too self-aware, and stories of the actors being paid ridiculous amounts of money all pissed me off. The show seemed to have hit its peak and wasn’t going anywhere. It wasn’t until after the show had officially ended that I returned to it. My girlfriend at the time (later to be my wife) had most of the Seasons on DVD so we had a bargain that I would watch all of Friends with her if she would watch all of Buffy. It was win win for me then as I already liked Friends  and was interested in watching it all again, and I love seeing people’s opinion’s of Buffy changing as they inevitably fall in love with it (took her until the 2nd Season like most people). It turns out that I was right and wrong about the final seasons of Friends – yes the show did become bloated, the actors did become overpaid, but the writing for the large part shone through. Although none of the major plots gripped me as much as the early season plots did, there were still a lot of highlights – Ross and his keyboard, Paul Rudd coming on board, and many other smaller moments, and there were some low points – Rachel and Joey’s relationship being entirely unconvincing and silly.

Nope

Nope

So, for a few years there in my early teens Friends became required Friday night viewing, with each episode being discussed with…ahem… friends on Monday morning. It’s been a few years now since I’ve watched any of it, but I imagine it is still as fresh as ever, and those pieces that may not be so fresh will be saved by nostalgia – funny is always funny if the writing and performances are good. The show is definitely seen as a watershed of the 90s, but it was so smart, and had such an easy and smooth transition between slapstick, satire, pathos, romance, and tragedy, that it’s quality will always ensure it will be watchable. Anyone who ignored the show for any of the reasons I give above, or any other reason, I would advise you to give the show a try – a brief run of episodes in order would be best to get accustomed to the characters and not what you imagine them to be. Some of the acting in the first series isn’t great, but that is greatly improved by the time Season 2 comes along and many of the gimmicks are dropped. It’s a quick and easy show to watch, and there’s bound to be something you’ll enjoy in there.

Did you watch Friends religiously when it was first broadcast, or did you come to the show later? What are your favourite moments, episodes, and memories of watching? Let us know in the comments!

June 30, 2015 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

Manic Mondays – 29th June 2015

‘Teacher starve your child, P.C. approved/As long as the right words are used’

PCP

June 29, 2015 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

John Ritter – September 17, 1948 – September 11, 2003

John Ritter may be famous for being an accomplished TV and film actor and comedian, but most who knew him remember him as being a good, grounded, humble man. Appearing in countless TV series and films, winning an Emmy, A Golden Globe, and many more nominations, he was also an accomplished voice actor, is will be remembered fondly for his performances as a father figure and straight guy placed in over the top, ridiculous comic scenarios. Personally, I will always remember him in two of my favourite movies of all time – as Ben Healy in Problem Child, and as Ben Hanscom in It, and of course for his memorable performance as Ted in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. 

Feel free to leave your thoughts and memories of Ritter in the comments section below.

RIP

June 26, 2015 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Hilarious Lyrics Translations – June 2015

All About That Bass

I’ll be honest, and proud, at the outset to say that I’ve never actually heard this song. I’ve heard pieces of it, and I’ve caught snippets of the video, and those crumbs have been enough for me to know that it’s terrible. Any song with a title like that is already off to a bad start because nothing is ever about bass. Insert bass beer pic with ‘except this’. Also, all those pastel colours and smiling and dancing makes me want to whip out the old hockey mask and go Voorhies on them all. But maybe it’s all ironic… irony still exists in pop music, right? Surely not everything glossy in the top 40 is shallow and pretty and about humps and booty and swag – note to self – contact Michael Mann and see if he would entertain the idea of a movie featuring a bank heist perpetuated by a sinister group of Dromedary and Bactrian camels.

EVERYBODY ON THE FLOOR NOW, HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACKS! HOOOOONNNK!

I am aware that Trainor has made some other song with a similar video, so I assume these colours and dresses and smiles are just her thing, or the thing which her publicity team tells her should be her thing. Not to be a complete testicle, lets give the lass the old college try and read through the lyrics to see if we can gleam any insight into what it means to be a successful young woman in the entertainment industry in the Genesis of our 21st Century. Maybe I’ll even listen to the song!

The Original

Because you know I’m all about that bass, ‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble. I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass

Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two, But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase. All the right junk in all the right places
I see the magazines working that Photoshop, We know that shit ain’t real, Come on now, make it stop
If you got beauty beauty just raise ’em up, ‘Cause every inch of you is perfect From the bottom to the top
Yeah, my momma she told me don’t worry about your size, She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,
So, if that’s what’s you’re into, Then go ahead and move along

Because you know I’m all about that bass, ‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass

I’m bringing booty back Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches Hey
No, I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat, But I’m here to tell you that,                                                                          Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top Yeah, my momma she told me don’t worry about your size                                                                                                                                                                                             She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night                                                                                                      You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll, So, if that’s what’s you’re into Then go ahead and move along

Because you know I’m all about that bass, ‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass

Because you know I’m all about that bass, ‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass

Because you know I’m all about that bass, ‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble
I’m all ’bout that bass, ’bout that bass

The Translation

Because you know I’m around the bass, ‘Bout the bass, treble, I’m all’ bout the bass, ’bout the bass, treble.

I’m all ’bout the bass,’ bout no bass, treble, I’m all ’bout the bass,’

Yeah, it’s pretty clear bout the bass, I is not size two, but I can do it, shake it, shake like I ‘and m ‘Cause I boom boom all boys chases.

Because you know I’m bout that base, “I’m all about the base, there is no treble
I base that bout, ’bout the base’ bout all that bass’, the bass bout, “I’m more treble, but not all, there is no treble
That bout base ‘, the bass bout’ all I

Hey, I’m going to get the loot back to their skinny bitches
No, my mom told me not to worry about her, I just know I’m playing I think you fat, but I tell you that I am your size here perfectly all of you from the bottom to the top. Yeah, she inches The boys are a little more loot what’s next move if you go with him, you know I can not hold a night stick figure more silicon Barbie dolls, like so says

Because you know I’m bout that base, “I’m all about the base, there is no treble
I base that bout, ’bout the base’ bout all that bass’, the bass bout, “I’m more treble, but not all, there is no treble
That bout base ‘, the bass bout’ all I

Because you know I’m bout that base, “I’m all about the base, there is no treble
I base that bout, ’bout the base’ bout all that bass’, the bass bout, “I’m more treble, but not all, there is no treble
That bout base ‘, the bass bout’ all I

Because you know I’m bout that base, “I’m all about the base, there is no treble
I base that bout, ’bout the base’ bout all that bass’, the bass bout, “I’m more treble, but not all, there is no treble
That bout base ‘, the bass bout’ all I

The WTF

The human body is inherently disgusting. I know we can’t all be Adonis-like, but even at our most pure and fit, we’re still little more than flesh held together by oozing, bacteria covered cellophane with more damp, dark unmentionable places than on the face of the planet. I understand that this is yet another song proclaiming love for yourself no matter how you look, and how there is so much emphasis placed on image in any business these days, but particularly within the performing arts. That’s all well and good, and I applaud that part of the message, but I can’t applaud celebrating the fact – we’re all simply skeletons waiting to break free of our fleshy prison. The song also suggests than being bigger is better than skinny, so any message of self-respect goes out the window. It’s terrible that we think these things are important, but at the end of the day we like to look at things that our pretty so that our minds don’t implode at the horror of the truth.

Enough ranting, lets examine the lyrics. The original is typically modern pop poor pap with the shocking revelation that when she is talking about bass, she’s really talking about ass, which is ironic as that’s where you’d typically expect such crappy lyrics to come from. With the translation, it almost sounds as if someone who heard the song once, got drunk and angry, then began to sing and mock the song by randomly shouting bass and treble every few words. That, or a child trying to singalong and both failing and being better than the original. With the chorus being repeated so many times, you’d expect a lot of repetition, but oh no, my friends, that isn’t how online translation works. First, we get the standard ’bout that base, no treble’, but soon it changes to ‘treble, no bass’, until finally we get confused to the point that ‘bass’ becomes ‘base’ and the world folds in upon itself. The main verse hints at more thievery (caIl me, Michael Mann) as there appears to be some sort of robbery by a bunch of thin, unsavoury women, involving human trafficking and assorted toys. At least we know what this year’s top Christmas gift will be – Night Stick Figure Silicon Barbie! I have no wish to listen to the song now.

Go To Hell

 MI0003516000

Alice Cooper is a God amongst men; Between Quickenings and Gatherings, in the eternal battle of immortality he is currently on top, his blade cutting ever deeper in Keith Richards who appears now to be more dust than man. Cooper, for those who don’t know him, or know anything about him beyond Poison is the stage persona of Vincent Furnier. Furnier was the singer for the old Alice Cooper band who started in the 60s, before deciding to take the name for himself and disband the group. For six decades now he’s transcended genres and had a hand in the creation and success of psychedelia, heavy rock, heavy metal, prog, punk etc etc. When I hit shuffle on my iPod, the live version of this came up front he Brutal Planet tour, but the song comes from the 70s record Alice Cooper Goes To Hell. It’s the title track and first track from that album, not a great song but a decent concept album. A semi-autobigraphical track, but based around the antics of the Steven character, the lyrics are essentially a list of crimes followed by the punishment refrain of ‘you can go to hell’. I’m sure there will be something hilarious once we do the old English-to Korean-to English translation.

The Original

For criminal acts and violence on the stage. For being a brat, Refusing to act your age
For all of the decent citizens you’ve enraged, You can go to Hell
For gambling and drinking alcohol constantly. For making us doubt our parents authority
For choosing to be a living obscenity, You can go to Hell
You’re something that never should have happened, You even make your Grandma sick

You’d poison a blind man’s dog and steal his cane
You’d gift wrap a leper, And mail him to your Aunt Jane
You’d even force-feed a diabetic a candy cane, You can go to Hell
You’re something that never should have happened, You even make your Grandma sick

For criminal acts and violence on the stage. For being a brat, Refusing to act your age
For all of the decent citizens you’ve enraged. You can go to Hell

The Translation

Please violence and criminal behavior on stage. If the guys, refuse to act your age
For all you raging decent citizen, you can go to hell
For gambling, drinking alcohol constantly. We doubt the authority of our parents for a decision
Choosing to live obscenity, you can go to hell
There’s something you should not have happened, you are hurting your grandmother

You will poison a dog of a blind man and steal his wand
Gift wrap is going to leprosy, and aunt Jane-mail him
You will even force a diabetic candy cane supply, you can go to hell
There’s something you should not have happened, you are hurting your grandmother

Please violence and criminal behavior on stage. If the guys, refuse to act your age
You have anger for all decent citizens. You can go to hell

The WTF

Ah ha, now this is interesting. It’s another example of the translation tool completely flipping a song’s meaning on its head; with the original, some outside force is judging Cooper (or us) for our actions, but with the translation it is Cooper (and us) throwing judgements back at the accusers. It’s almost like a lost Sex Pistols song – a manifsto before they came to their senses and did God Save The Queen instead. It advocates violence, crime, and disobeying social norms, it points the finger at the obscene lives of untrustworthy parents, and says that the birth of the parent was an affront to the grandparent. Ha, take that mum and dad!

Unfortunately, the second verse treads into risky territory and shows a remarkable amount of ignorance, claiming that blind people are magic and encouraging others, like an Aunt, to get in on the act. The final line is vague, seemingly damning everyone to an eternity of torment, fire, and brimstone – who has anger for all decent citizens? You? Me? Is decent a false concept? Please discuss.

June 25, 2015 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

Best Sound: 1964

Actual Nominations: Goldfinger. The Lively Set. My Fair Lady. Father Goose, Becket. Mary Poppins. The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

Again I’ve merged the two sound categories together, editing and mixing. Mary Poppins and Goldfinger stand out this year with Norman Wanstall getting my vote for the Bond film due to the outstanding melding of music and effects to create a cohesive score. The sounds used in many of the special effects are memorable too.

My Winner: Goldfinger.

My Nominations: Goldfinger. Dr Strangelove. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. A Hard Day’s Night.

My Winner: Goldfinger

June 24, 2015 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Sh*t I Watch – Game Of Thrones

In this latest series of posts, I’m going to talk briefly about some of my favourite TV shows of yesteryear, and some which I’m watching at the moment. In ‘Sh*t I Used To Watch’ I’ll reminisce about some TV shows that I used to watch, from my childhood up until roughly the time I graduated from University – by and large these will be shows that I haven’t watched since that period, or have only caught a small numbers of episodes of. In ‘Sh*t I Watch’ I will talk briefly about the shows I’m watching at the moment, and will deal with both current series which have not yet been cancelled or completed, and those which I am catching up on having missed first time around. I’ll try to post one of these each week, but as regular Glancers will be aware, my regular posts are fairly irregular.

Some of the shows in both categories which I’ll talk about will be ones you should all be familiar with, while others will be extremely niche and I can only imagine about three other people will have ever heard of. It’s my assumption in these posts, perhaps more than all the other junk on this blog, that you will get a murky picture of the person I both am and once was, and that maybe in a wider lens you’ll get a higher level look at the White, Western, child of the 80s. I’ll let you make your own conclusions, but the most obvious may be that we are what we consume, and our lives are rarely more than a procession of vicarious experience. Drill deeper though and we find a less bleak vision, seeing a communal, shared, loving experience as the most important moments of our lives as a species are no longer things like ‘Which Side Won The War’ or ‘Who Got To The Moon First’ or even ‘Why Are We Here’, but rather ‘Will Rachel And Ross Get It Together’ ‘Who Killed JR/Laura Palmer’ and ‘ WTF is Laddergoat’. Actually, that is kind of bleak. Today’s post is going to briefly summarize the show in question, and list a bunch of TV shows that I haven’t yet watched but which are on my ever-growing list. Between reading, writing, watching movies, playing guitar, playing videogames (on top of the real stuff like living, working, breathing, being married, and being a dad), there isn’t much time for me to watch TV. It used to be that any time a new, interesting show came out, I was first in the queue to see it, but now I tend to wait until a show has finished before I even start the first episode. We’ve all been burned in the past by a heinous cancellation, leaving unanswered questions and beloved characters forever suspended in a black hole of fan fiction and speculation; it hurts. A certain part of me only wants to invest my time in a show that I know has, or will fully run its course. I don’t need any more doubt, or imagination to take up my brain power.

My brain when Firefly was cancelled

My brain when Firefly was cancelled

Today’s show is a juggernaut, and arguably the most talked about and respected TV show of the last five years. Game Of Thrones is an epic tale featuring a massive cast of characters and places, with conspiracy, murder, deceit, boobs, and what am I even talking about you already know more about it than I do. I’ve known about the show for a long time, but until this year I hadn’t watched a single episode of it. I still haven’t read a single word of the books which the show is based on. My wife bought me the first three Seasons on DVD for Christmas and as of time of writing I have only seen up to the end of Season 3. I’m not going to give away any spoilers in these posts, either the ‘Sh*t I Watch’ or ‘Sh*t I Used To Watch’, hopefully, and so let’s try to keep the comments Spoiler free too! I don’t know why it took me so long to watch the show – I think it’s a cultural thing – I’m not a huge fan of the country I was damned to and if people from here try to claim something as their own, or latch on to something in a popular way, I will generally go in the opposite direction. Of course, that isn’t being fair to the show itself, and it was clear that there was overwhelming critical praise, so after watching a bit of the pilot I decided to give it a go. As expected, it is a treat, but I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan, and I certainly wouldn’t say it is without its faults. For my two cents, I think there are too few episodes per Season, and I feel that something as large as this appears to be could easily be expanded into a few more episodes each year. For me, there seems to be too much rushing in each episode, and too little time spend with each set of characters. That’s obviously a personal and minor squabble because the show still works wonderfully well. There is a terrific cast of actors, the effort going in to making the show believable is second to none, and it’s always great to see violence and boobs. Do I think it’s better than Buffy? Well no, because nothing is better than Buffy.

Hi!

Hi!

I raise the Buffy issue as that’s the benchmark I use for all TV now – no other show has affected me on so many levels as it did, and does. It remains the funniest show I’ve ever seen, with the most well written characters, the best dialogue, the most brilliant plots, and has such a huge emotional power compared to any other show I’ve ever seen. GOT is far from being a comedy, and there are rarely any moments of humour – that’s fine, humour would be out-of-place here. GOT is all about the drama, but in drama you need to have elements of horror or tension, and certainly an emotional connection. I have found it difficult to truly ‘like’ or align myself with any character in the series so far – there are people I like and people I love to hate, of course, and maybe that is also supposed to be the point. Buffy did the same thing though – every character was flawed, but it didn’t make you love or hate them any less. One of the things GOT is also known for is something which Buffy doesn’t get the credit for (outside of the fandom) even though it can be argued that it started the whole thing – the idea, and the reality that no-one is safe. Major characters are killed off at will during GOT, to the point that, similar to The Walking Dead, we genuinely don’t know if anyone is going to make it out alive, and much of the tension in an episode is from our belief that someone we like could have their throat cut in the next scene. GOT has a massive list of characters, and many of those characters do not survive more than a handful of episodes. Buffy had a massive list of characters, alongside its spinoff Angel, and a tiny number of those survive to the end of the show.

I came in to GOT not really knowing much about it, and hoping/expecting a world similar to LOTR, a world of fantasy with Dragons, Orcs, and the like, but in reality those fantastical elements have been, so far, kept to a minimum. They are in the background, or they are older than the apparently modern, civilized world which the characters now live in. We do get Dragons, we do get creatures, but the series’ strength is in the clashing of the various houses and their respective values. In that respect the world mirrors our own, and there is a constant sense of fragility, a sense that a single injustice, misplaced word, or relationship gone sour could have apocalyptic ramifications. Like the real world, we have people who live only for honour, and those who only live for glory; those who seek personal gain at any cost, and others whose lives are merely more than a futile journey of vengeance. The best shows allow us to see ourselves, and our friends, and our world in what is presented on-screen, skewed just enough that we are happy to say at the end of an episode that ‘I would never do that’ or ‘that would never happen in my country’. Perhaps GOT’s greatest lesson is that we don’t always have control over our lives, and even the best laid plans can fall apart disastrously due to the smallest unexpected intervention; I think we can all agree that this lesson is one which is inescapable even in our own secluded lives.

Living only a few minutes drive from some of the shooting locations of the series gives an interesting additional dynamic to watching the show, both as a fan and as a fan of the craft; it’s fun trying to spot places you know and it’s cool knowing that there are talented people just down the road making positive history. I’m keen to see what happens in Season 4 and 5 and I’m keen to get started on the books, and while I’m not going to say I’m a GOT nerd, I will say I’m a fan.

Bonus Material Alert! Below is a list of shows I haven’t yet watched a single episode of, but which are on my list. Feel free to let me know in the comments what you think I should watch, or add anything which I haven’t listed – if it’s recent, I probably haven’t seen it.

24

Arrested Development

Boardwalk Empire

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Deadwood

Dexter (watched 1 episode but wife decided she didn’t want to watch any more)

Entourage

Eureka

Falling Skies

Friday Night Lights

Fringe

Generation Kill

Hannibal

Jericho

Justified

Mad Men

One Upon A Time

Orange Is The New Black

Parks And Recreation

Penny Dreadful

Person Of Interest

Rome

Spartacus

Sons Of Anarchy

The Americans

The Pacific

The Sopranos

The Shield

The Wire

True Blood

True Detective

Veronica Mars

Z Nation

June 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

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