The original series of Twilight Zone. It holds up remarkably well, and it takes advantage of its anthology series format to tell a range of stories in a variety of styles.

Rod Serling wrote the vast majority of the tales, along with Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson. Some were original, some were based on short stories written by others, and the vast majority are, at the very least, good.

In fact, the biggest issue that Twilight Zone has is that it's entered our collective consciousness - so many of the stories we know the ending of before we've even seen them - and even the DVD intro menu has spoilers. But it's to the show's credit that even knowing the ending of some stories fails to dull the punch. On top of that, there are still so many good and great stories that we've not had spoiled, that it can still regularly surprise, even when you're looking for the twist.

Some of you will have had this on your 'one day I'll watch such-and-such' list. Well the show's been around for fifty years, those other newer shows can wait a while, make a start.

For my non-spoilery review of the first season, go here.
dalekboy: (woohoo naked dancing)
( Jun. 25th, 2010 07:17 pm)
Okay folks, one of the things that we decided was that when we bought a house, Sharon would get her Thermomix, and I would get a tonne of DVDs, since neither of us would have much cash for a little while.

I have a list in my head of DVDs I'd like to buy, but I'd like recommendations because you may suggest a few things that I have forgotten about, or that I've never heard of but are absolutely tremendous.

Below the cut is the list of what I currently have on DVD to help reduce doubling up, and to give to a feel for my tastes. Generally speaking I don't want to buy TV series, that said, I'd like to buy West Wing and maybe Star Trek (original) and/or Deep Space 9, so Tv series aren't out if they're awesome enough. No need to mention any Doctor Who DVDs :)

Okay, so, recommend away!

Read more... )
I'm going to mention two, and I make no apologies for this.

Pretty easy for me, this one. Time and the Rani is a stand-out stinker from the original series of Doctor Who. Bad in so many ways, from dreadful writing, poor acting, lacklustre direction... there is little this story does well. Pip and Jane Baker are writers who have only written one story I liked, Mark of the Rani, and even that was pretty ropey in places.

From the new series of DW, End of Time stands out. So poorly executed by people who have shown they are capable of so much better that it's insulting to its audience. I liked David Tennant, but this story basically highlights every wrong decision they made with his character through the series and hyper-sensitises you to them, so when you see those minor elements appear while rewatching earlier stories, they piss you off where previously you weren't fussed.

The Bakers were always ordinary writers, but RTD is one of the best of his generation, and as such I hold him to a higher standard. EoT was poo.
I'm going to be a bit anal and loose (gosh that sounds dreadful in so many ways) with this one. I'm only going to choose from the original series of Doctor Who since I made a point of specifically mentioning that the original was my favourite show, and I'm going to pick a favourite story rather than a single episode. I could probably pick a favourite episode, but to be frank the idea of picking one part of a story seems like a pain in the arse.

Of course 'favourite' is dependant on my mood, what I'm feeling like I need at that time. For instance, Warriors' Gate and Frontios are my 'chicken soup' Doctor Who stories, ones I tend to enjoy watching when I want some comfort. I love both The Invasion and Daleks' Master Plan for all sorts of reasons, though I think Kevin Stoney's performance in each is awesome fun to watch. Happiness Patrol and Web Planet are both the sorts of stories that only Doctor Who would attempt, and I love the insanity of both.

This is the problem, whatever I pick as my favourite will be completely different this time tomorrow, and different again next week. But, if I have to pick one...

Revelation of the Daleks is a comedy, one that features Daleks, funerals, cannibalism, Davros, direction by Graeme Harper, and acting from William Gaunt, Clive Swift, Eleanor Bron, and Alexie Sayle. Needless to say, it's a bizarre black comedy, with moments of weird horror. Its flaws are many but they don't really matter because when it works, it's wonderful.

There's the disgraced Knight of Oberon and his foul-smelling servant, Davros stating that telling people his new food supplement was made of their dead might lead to 'consumer resistance,' Mr. Jobel's vanity, and of course, Daleks being killed by highly-directional ultrasonic beams of rock 'n roll.

I think my favourite moment of all the silliness is a small one right near the end. Davros has had his hand blown off. He's about to be taken away by the Daleks to stand trial. As he's about to leave, the Doctor moves as if he's about to shake Davros' hand, and Davros raises his bandaged stump for a moment and then brings it back down in annoyance as if he's just remembered he no longer has a hand.
Ok, going to try to catch up a bit now I'm back from sleeping in forests.

So far it's been interesting how closely [ profile] angriest and I match. When I was thinking about this topic, my first thought was 'something like The Footy Show.' Then I decided that I'd go for something I hated that I had actually watched more than a bit of.

There's V the Series from the 80's, which is a text book example of how not to make SF TV. Seriously, think of any mistake you've seen appear regularly in TV and SFTV, and V made them all.

Dollhouse I found to be misogynistic and painful to watch. It had it's good moments, but it really felt like Whedon's problem was that his whole starting premise was flawed and hard to build into a decent show.

But in the end it really is a toss-up between Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise, because what I really, really hate in most shows is watching something that's crap because of lacklustre writing and missed opportunities - things where the show could easily have been good, because it wasn't a problem of budget and the like hurting it - ST:V & Ent have both in abundance. While they do have their occasional good episode (or in the case of Enterprise one good season, the fourth) overall both are weighed down by show-runners who were lazy, uncreative, and uninventive in the extreme.

In the end I feel I have to go for Star Trek: Voyager, since Enterprise did at least manage one good season.

ST:V also had the initial theoretical advantage over Enterprise in that ST:V had no history it needed to try and conform to. On top of that, you have a concept to die for - two crews with opposing viewpoints are flung to the far reaches of the galaxy and have to work together on board a single ship with limited resources as they make their way home through unknown space. With the effects technology of the day and such a fabulous premise just brimming with potential drama, Voyager literally had more scope to tell fabulous, stunning, and human stories than any Star Trek series ever created, including the original.

By the end of the pilot, both crews have agreed to work together under Federation guidelines, and they do so with barely a hiccup from that point on. The next two episodes are built around temporal anomalies, which many SF series resort to when they have no other ideas. Through the series, episode after episode hits the reset button so that by the last episode, the titular ship hasn't changed a jot, even with everything it's been through.

It ran seven years, continuing to do lame, half-baked, stories that usually failed to take advantage of a stunning premise. Being part of the Star Trek franchise, it had the chance and backing to do really brave confronting stories, and instead usually did run of the mill dreck.

And I can't help but wonder how many other well-written and thought out shows could have been made with the resources allotted to Voyager.

For a slightly more detailed rant, with extra swearing, look here.
Need to jump in early with this because I go bush tomorrow morning, and will be away for a couple of nights.

So, do I really need to tell you the answer to this question? Really?

Okay, for the new person who doesn't know me and only discovered my LJ through twitter, or the odd friend who is criminally thick, my favourite show ever is Doctor Who.

To expand on this a little, it has been my favourite show since age seven. To expand on it further, and to be anal about it, the original run of the series is my favourite show ever, the new series is not quite there yet, but it's pretty good.

I don't think there is another TV show that, when at its best, can be so inventive and different. It runs the gamut from comedy to drama to action to thriller, sometimes all in the one story. Plus it features a hero who, when at his best, doesn't use weapons but instead his brains to win the day.

And the show changes organically with the world we live in, the ways of telling the stories change, the lead actor changes, everything changes so that the show you're watching now is not the same show you were watching two years ago, and it's not the show you will be watching in another two years. And if you don't like what it becomes, just hang around, it'll change again.

Nothing else has had the positive impact on my life that Doctor Who has had. And while I may be able to judge the show more critically than when I was seven, I still love it just as much.

You will see Doctor Who mentioned a few more times in this meme.
Only seen a few new shows this year, Archer, K9 Adventures, Happy Town, and far and away the best has been Stargate: Universe.

Let me say, to begin it started slow. It wasn't bad, and it was trying to be realistic, but it didn't quite grab me. It's taken time to grow on me, in fact it was only around episodes 14-15 that I started to really like it, prior to that I merely thought it was good. And now, with episode 20, I'm actively hanging out for more.

I've only every seen bits of the original Stargate series, which seemed fun, and I saw all of Stargate: Atlantis which was dumb but enjoyable enough to keep me going, but Stargate: Universe, even when I wasn't enjoying it as much as I am now, was good.

More importantly, it's Star Trek: Voyager done right. In SGU there are genuine issues with food and water, there are problems with the ship, there's real conflict, disagreements, bad decisions, and all these things have consequences. And on top of that, you have an ongoing power struggle between the military and the civilian sections of the crew. None of these people want to be here, and they aren't happy about it or having a good time.

All up, good stuff.
Dirty Jobs starring Mike Rowe does exactly what it sets out to do - show the audience at home the sorts of jobs that people have to do in order to make life work for the rest of us. Roadkill pick-up, sewer maintenance, bell-making, horse insemination, salt mining, plumbing, this show deals with them all.

What really makes Dirty Jobs work is the charm and likeability of its host, Mike Rowe. He's an educated guy, and ex-opera singer, and with only very rare exceptions he gets in and does every aspect of every dirty job they look at, no matter how vile, hard, or dangerous. And he does it with great honesty, humour, and a fabulous turn of phrase.

Most importantly of all, he always shows respect for the people who do these things day in and day out. When he visited the San Francisco transfer station (processing and sorting garbage for recycling and landfill) he made a point of talking to a bunch of the people working there and getting them to list the physical cost of working in such a harsh environment - knee and back operations, bad cuts, lung problems, and so on.

Dirty Jobs is currently showing on ABC 2 at 6:30pm, Monday to Friday. Well worth the look.

Embedded video below cut... )
I pinched this from [ profile] angriest who pinched it from a bunch of others. Figured it might be a way to get some posts out of me. Of course, I'm vanishing for a couple of days over the weekend, so that'll mess things up a bit, but we'll see how I go.

There were so many choices I could have gone for, so many good or just unusual or interesting shows I could have picked. Normally I would have gone for Alien Nation because it was a truly great TV series. But since Grant has already snaffled that one, and everything he says is spot on, I figured I'd go for -

The Middleman
I think what I liked most about The Middleman was that it was a joyous show. Not cynical, or mean spirited, but fun and full of whimsy. Its humour came from fabulous characters and weird situations, not embarrassing circumstances or people being horrible to one another (unless you count Ida, an android locked in 'domineering schoolmarm' mode, who was delightfully horrible to everyone).

The main characters of the Middleman, Wendy, and Ida were well drawn and realised, and the supporting cast got their moments pretty much every episode as well. Plus it played against the stereotypical laziness of TV writing without ever cracking a sweat, easily passing the Bechdel test, as well as Deggan's rule.

It played knowingly with the tropes of villains and heroes from comics, TV, and film, but with the deft touch of someone who loves the genre and isn't trying to show how smart they are, but how enjoyable the genre is. Some episodes were 'themed' so that subtle references to a specific show or book were scattered throughout - one episode grabs its names from Dune, another from Back to the Future - the real wit of this was that they seldom went for the obvious references.

Was it a perfect show? No, but it certainly wasn't bad and it had a lot more heart than most TV. Most of all, one came away from The Middleman feeling happier, and not many shows can do that.

Embedded videos... )
* Today I get three wisdom teeth out!

* My teeth tend to lock into my jaw with curved and hooked tooth... thingys. So for one, they actually have to saw away a small part of my jawbone!

* Weirdly, I'm not nervous at all. I honestly expected to be. Read more... )
A definite improvement, darker and more interesting, drawing on concepts used in the original series while adding one that would not have been out of place in that show.

5/10 as a Prisoner remake
6/10 as a TV show

Major spoilers below the cut... )
dalekboy: (Motivation Hazard)
( Sep. 5th, 2009 11:25 am)
We've yet to watch the special 13th episode that's on the DVD, but Sharon and I have now seen to the end of the first televised season.

While it had its moments, overall we've been left unimpressed and unengaged. No major spoilers, but chunks of criticism that may give away elements... )
dalekboy: (Default)
( Aug. 2nd, 2009 12:33 pm)
Had chills and been substandard the last two days. Blah!

But I needed to watch through a few things before the The Best TV Shows That Never Were panel I'm on at C5, and being sick suddenly means I'm better able to make the time to do so. Just rewatched the pilot of the 2000 series The Invisible Man (also known as I-Man in some countries), and pretty much instantly remembered why I enjoyed the show. Read more... )
dalekboy: (Rod Serling & books)
( Jul. 3rd, 2009 03:27 pm)
[ profile] angriest is doing his The best SF television of all time II, again over on his LJ. After I wrote in, I got curious and came across a pretty good list of titles, dating back to 2006. I added about twenty to the list, then sent it to Grant, but know full well I'll have missed lots of stuff.

So, have a look and see what you can add. The original list did not include animation, so feel free to start filling the gaps by replying in comments with any titles you can think of to add. For clarity, and an (A) after the title for animated series.

500+ titles below the cut )
Just some extra things I forgot to mention...

* While seated and holding Lex in the kitchen the other week, he head-butted me, driving my head back into the wall. *Whack* *Thud*
"Nice one, Lex," I said, prompting him to do it twice more in rapid succession. *Whack* *Thud* *Whackthud!*

* Lex is now shit scared of my dalek.

* hehehehehe...

* Lex only started to properly crawl a week or so back. Within a couple of days of nailing crawling, he started to pull himself up to standing using things like the couch. A day after that, he started trying to actually climb up onto things like the couch. Too fast!

* Tomorrow night at 7:30 on SBS is the Botswana episode of Top Gear. If you've never seen the show, or have seen an episode but didn't like it, try this one. This is the one that turned Sharon into a fan. I've been married to her for over a decade, and I have literally never seen her laugh so hard for so long. She was in real pain by the end.
Basically, if this episode doesn't get you in, Top Gear will never be a show you'd enjoy.

* She's sitting beside me and giggling now, just thinking about it.

* I have decided that at some point, within the next few years, I will have to get a theremin.

* Continuum 5 seems to be shaping up well. We're going, who else is?

* Lex also gets to listen to Uncle Terry on PaleoCinema fairly regularly.

* Four Lex pictures below the cut... )
Films and tv shows usually rely on suspension of disbelief.

To me, if one is going to maintain the suspension of disbelief, you have to obey all the ordinary everyday rules that people know and understand. One can believe an massive alien invasion with giant biomechanoid floating death cannons, so long as the world rules beyond that are consistent. But if a human character, in avoiding one of these cannons, jumps off a ten storey building without any sort of aid, or interruptions to their fall, and land unharmed and run off - that's the deal breaker. One knows that's not possible, and suddenly one is left questioning that moment, and by default, the rest of the film.

I mentioned in a post yesterday that I hate it in films and tv when medics use the defibrillator paddles on a woman to try and restart her heart, and they are using them through material - bras, tank tops, etc. - rather than on bare skin. It pulls me right out of the moment, because I know it's not right.

I also mentioned hating when people can just break passwords when they have no information on the person, which has become really common in shows. Any computer whizz can break any password, within a relatively short time.

Another one I hate is when someone who is driving spends time looking at the their passenger rather than paying attention to the road. Quick glances are fine, but when they're maintaining eye contact for whole big chunks of conversation it annoys me. If you regularly did it in real life there's no way you wouldn't crash.

[ profile] king_espresso mentioned that he hates when people don't wear ear protection on board military helicopters, which is a great one. Well, except now I'll be looking for it and getting annoyed by it.

[ profile] kaths brought up the way people type madly on computer keyboards to do things that the rest of us would do with a mouse. We're in the internet age, everyone uses computers, we know they don't work this way.

[ profile] kaths also mentioned the way they can zoom in on a small section of a photo, blow up that section, sharpen/clean it up, and suddenly have a incredibly clear and detailed picture. It's the equivalent of being able to blow up my icon for this post to read all the book titles.

So what about you? What regularly used, unrealistic film and tv conceits pull you out of the moment?
dalekboy: (Brainscan)
( Dec. 16th, 2008 10:39 pm)
* Between Lex and selling stuff, I've had bugger all time to post. So here are a bunch of things I wanted to do proper posts about. Nothing of vital importance in here, move along... )
I got an infringement notice for downloading Stargate: Atlantis! MGM doesn't want people downloading their stuff, which when Channel 7 doesn't want to show it, is basically the equivalent of MGM not wanting people to watch their stuff.

Here is my reply to them Read more... )
Tonight's Top Gear was better than sex. They had to drive three second-hand across Africa, and it was the funniest thing I have seen in ages. Sharon laughed so hard she nearly coughed up a lung.

That is all.


dalekboy: (Default)


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