Despite numerous assurances that last night would be the end of Life on Mars, the BBC has confirmed a “sequel” – I think they mean spin-off but are too ashamed to use those words – starring DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), the star of the show, this time in 1981 and in London. They are replacing Sam Tyler (who decided he’d rather die in a coma than come back to life) with a female “sexy sidekick”. I think we can all sleep soundly in the knowledge the new series lose the working title “Ashes to Ashes” and will in fact be called “Life on Venus”. At least that explains the really poor finale, they had to end it that way to make out Gene’s world is better than reality, hence chance for a sequel/spin-off. No wonder Philip Glenister described British TV industry as “screwed up” and run by “a lot of fools”.
A pretty good series, heavily watered down by them playing silly buggers with the final hour. Yes the “John Leslie” bad guy was funny and they get major kudos for the Robocop reference but other than that the episode was a sad (as in poor) end to a good series. Let me break down the final hour:
First 10 minutes: As predicted Gene is a tumour. Kill him and you can escape.
Main 40 minutes: Erm, we don’t have anything left. No one believes he is really in ’73, so let’s hope to fool some gullible person with an overview of the main themes in Total Recall (you know, the film Paul Verhoeven directed right after Robocop). Hell, Total Recall was even set on Mars!
Introduction of key information minutes before end: Barman says “you’ll know it’s real if you can feel it”. Slightly later than normal episodes but it is the last episode.
Final 10 minutes: Need a final ending. Okay, let’s rip off not-very-well-known Spanish film Abre Los Ojos. Oh wait, didn’t Tom Cruise remake that as Vanilla Sky and even have the top-of-the-building shot, panning around before he runs and jumps? Damn, let’s hope nobody notices.
Very final thought: Actually, I prefer the dream world of 1973, I’d rather give in to the tumour and die than live in the current day.
My initial reaction was the ‘waking up’ segment was actually a dream, or lighter part of the coma, which he experiences as they come closer to saving him. The then rejects it and gives in to the deep coma and death. It seems the writers didn’t mean this, they meant to show that he did wake up – meaning the ‘I can’t feel a knife in my thumb’ scene was just contradictory as it was real. He then kills himself by jumping off the building so he can have one last second in his imaginary world (which will last an eternity in his mind) before he dies.
I haven’t seen a final episode as bad as this since they destroyed eleven year’s work with the final five episode story-arc of Frasier. Tonight’s episode was “written” by the co-creator so they no one else to blame other than themselves. A very sad way to go out.
I can proudly reveal the ending to Life on Mars tonight. How? Because, although it is highly enjoyable, it’s quite predictable when the do a plot. Usually they just introduce a new fact 15 minutes from the end that helps them solve the case. For those who don’t want to know what happens, look away now!
1. Gene is a manifestation of the brain damage that Sam has been fighting off. He is all the bad things that you would do in Sam’s policing world. When he finally defeats Gene, he comes out of the coma.
2. The temporary DCI (Morgan) is the surgeon and WDI (Annie) is a nurse who has been looking after Sam. She has always looked out for him.
3. We somehow find out that Sam has in fact been back in time, perhaps by the use of a photograph.
Now let’s check back in a few hours and see just how right I was!
The Unit, an excellent show about the uber-secret Special Forces unit Delta Force, has been picked up by Bravo for screening in the UK this Autumn. The show is based on the book Inside Delta Force written by the special unit’s former Command Sergeant Major Eric L. Haney and is created by Pulitser Prize winner David Mamet and creator of the outstanding cop drama The Shield, Shawn Ryan. The whole ensemble is very strong and while dealing with delicate issues it is no where near as gratuitous as brutally-realistic The Shield. You really don’t want to miss this show, although it would have been nice if it had of been picked up by a terrestrial channel that could show it in HD…
The film has now been seen by the critics. The words being used are “dud”, “stodgy”, “grim” and “wieldy”. The plot is described as “cumbersome” and “plodding”, while Tom Hanks gets called “wooden”. Daily Variety attacks the film as “an oppressively talky film that isn’t exactly dull but comes as close to it as one could imagine with such provocative material”. Who’d have thought respected actor Tom Hanks would have his performance and film out shone by former wrestler The Rock, as his film Southland Tales has been nominated for the Palme d’Or. That makes director Richard Kelly, of Donnie Darko fame, the youngest person ever to be shortlisted for the award. It seems with all the hype of the film, critics are also coming out and slating the book too. Novelist John Mortimer dismisses the novel as “unreadable”. He clarifies this by saying “The first page is terrible. It is so badly written, it couldn’t be read by anyone who respects the English language”. Even Edwina Currie said she found it impossible to get past the first page! She complains “It is extremely badly written – full of cliches. It was actually painful to read”.
Very sad news. The Simpsons has been renewed for a further two seasons. This year, half way through an episode, I actually turned it off and said out loud “this is *shite*”. I’d actually physically had enough. For almost five years now I’ve been bitching saying that the show had gone on far too long and desperately needed to be ended once and for all. Yet for some reason I kept watching and listening to the incredible poor dialogue, the trite and uninteresting story lines and screaming at the lack of any form of ending as the writers were unable to produce anything other than third rate gibberish that doesn’t even resemble jokes. The sooner Fox pull the plug on a show that is so far away from its peak it’d need a telescope to see it, the better. Do I blame Matt Groening for continually receiving massive cheques while the airwaves are being polluted? Only partially as he should have fought a damn sight hard to save Futurama, even cancelled The Simpsons to save Futurama. That said his better creation is coming back to TV (26 new episodes go into production soon) which will push The Simpsons down to the fifth best cartoon on TV (1. Family Guy, 2. American Dad, 3. Futurama, 4. Every other cartoon on TV, 5. The Simpsons) so hopefully that will cause the show to die sooner rather than later. You can all help too – stop watching The Simpson forever!
Updated: It seems the info gave out by Billy West on Futurama returning to TV is in fact wrong Instead the previously announced four Futurama straight-to-DVD movies is the resurrection he was thinking about. Ah well, at least it’s back on one medium.
I am delighted to confirm that The Shield *will* be back this year. On Tuesday there is a big season finale on the US channel Fx and it is being billed as bringing everything round to conculsion, notably the resolution of the massive incident in the very first episode. Shawn Ryan was interviewed on Fresh Air (a radio show on National Public Radio in the US and online) and confirmed there will be ten further episodes of this series either being screened in the states in Autumn (that’s Fall to any US readers) or possible hold them off to an artificial sixth series next year. Half way through making those next ten episodes he will decide whether or not to wrap everything up then or do one final series. As they are being filmed in a few weeks time (April 2006) I would imagine if the show comes back this year it will mean there will be on final series in 2007, if not I’m guessing that the last ten being held off will be the final episodes. I’m preparing myself for this great show to end next year. No word on when five (nee Channel Five) in the UK will start screening the fifth series.
Not a phrase you usually associate with Sir David Attenborough but the morning before Planet Earth launches on BBC1 (Sunday at 9pm, repeat on Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC2) he said the series contains footage that will “blow your mind”. Do you know what? He’s exactly right. The first episode showed a heard of over 3 million mamals from the air, a flock of one species of bird that contains every single one of that species and a great white shark leap several metres out the water while snapping a seal that was slowed by forty times – all in exceptional quality. If you haven’t watched it yet don’t miss the repeat and just to get you interested, he’s a wallpaper that shows one of the remaining forty wild amur leopards left in the world (there’s a second one in the show too, but it’s heart-breaking to think a species will soon disappear out of existence because of humans).
STOP!!! I’ve just learnt that most of these DVD rentals are available through quidco.com, an affiliates site that gives the money they earn back to you! All you need to do is register with quidco.com and go to the Entertainment section and then DVD rentals. You can now click on the links and register with the companies, not forgetting to add in the special codes otherwise you’ll get a shorter lesser trial. In about two months time the money will be paid into your quidco.com account for you to withdraw (less an annual £5 fee but that only happens when you earn over £5). If there’s no cahback just click on the link to get the better trial. NB: Lovefilm offers a great £13 through quidco.com but only for a 2 week trial. If you want the longer month you have to click the Sainsbury’s link and you will not earn £13 (I think the £13 is a far better deal).
Below are all the details you need to get over five months of free DVD rentals. If you’ve never used a DVD rental service before, just start ploughing into them. If you have used one or two before, beware that Screenselect and LoveFilm power many other smaller sites (including Tesco’s) so you should double check you haven’t used them before trying to get a free trial from them (as they won’t give you one and may charge you). Most of this info came from Martin Lewis’ excellent website, moneysavingexpert.com – well worth bookmarking (after phillg.com of course). Enjoy!
|Provider||Duration||Discs At Once||Limitation||Time to Cancel||Number of Days to Return Discs||Code or Link||Quidco Cash Back|
|Lovefilm (using Sainsbury’s front end)||1 month||3 at a time||Unlimited||1 day before end of trial||1 day before end of trial||Sainsbury’s||£13 but only 2 week trial|
|Blockbuster||1 month duration (possibly two)||3 at a time||Unlimited||Cancel day before||Upto 28 days after cancelling||monsav151 (try “ST65447″ for 2 months)||£15|
|Screenselect||30 day duration||3 at a time||Unlimited||Cancel two days before||None||TDV30||£12.50|
|1DVD||1 month||1 at a time||Unlimited||Cancel 5 days before end||2 days before end of trial||1dvd||Nothing|
|PostaDVD||2 weeks||3 at a time||Unlimited||Cancel day before||7 days after cancelling||www.postadvd.com||Nothing|
|Cinema Paradiso||1 month||2 at a time||Max 4||Cancel day before||7 days after cancelling||Quidco.com||50p|
|MyMovieStream||2 weeks||2/3/5 at a time||Max 4||Cancel day before||1 day before end of trial||Quidco.com||£3|
If you use all these links you have over five months of fun, giving you somewhere in the region of 60 DVD rentals (based on an average of three a week) and an unbelievable £44 cash back for doing it! You’d have to be certifiably insane not to do it…
I’m a bit too late to remind everyone that the excellent BBC Four show, The Thick of It, will now be shown on BBC2 on Monday nights. The first series (only three episodes) have already gone, but the second series starts this Monday, 23rd Jan at 10pm. It is some of my good friend* Armando Iannucci’s best work. The night before Family Guy and American Dad return to BBC2 and carry on with some great episodes. If you’ve never seen either before, sit yourself down this Sunday and prepare to laugh. In other BBC2 news don’t watch Hyperdrive because it’s rubbish, or more aptly, hyper-rubbish.
* = He’s not really my good friend, although when he signed my book he wrote “Phill, Sweety lovey fluff-pup. Armando”. It’s a long story.