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17 August 2010 @ 07:05 pm

Day 21 - Favorite ship

Runners up: Mitchell/Annie from Being Human.

Whereas Annie's relationship with George is purely sister/brother, with Mitchell we can sense a mutual attraction. They'd make a good couple. Mitchell's being a vampire can be dangerous to his love interests, but since Annie is a ghost, he doesn't have to worry about accidentally killing her.

They sort of half-kiss in episode 1.04 and it is sweet and cute, and although they are both distracted by others in the second series, the final episode shows that they do have a deep connection. It has been hinted that their relationship may develop into something more in the third series.

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I was quite happy to ship Gene/Alex during Ashes to Ashes, but when I started watching Life on Mars I knew this was the real deal. Sam and Gene belong together.

A lot of credit for that has to go to the actors and the people who cast them. I don't think LoM could have been anywhere near as good without John Simm and/or Philip Glenister. Apart from being great actors, they also have fantastic chemistry together. Their body types complement each other and perfectly match their characters' personalities. I read somewhere that Gene is like a bulldog and Sam like a terrier, which is so apt (and something the US remake got spectacularly wrong).

The Sam/Gene dynamic is definitely the most important aspect of LoM. Even the creators have said that the real love story is between them. Although they often fight they develop a mutual respect and friendship, and they need each other to become better people. Gene, who may seem like a big bully but is protective of his team in general and of Sam in particular, shows remarkable patience whenever Sam has one of his crazy spells. Sam/Gene = my OTP forever.

How much do I love this macro?Collapse )

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Save me - Aimee Mann
16 August 2010 @ 06:49 pm

Day 20 - Favorite kiss

This one had me stumped for a while, until I remembered my guilty pleasure show. Out of the many Beecher/Keller kisses on YouTube I picked this one, because it is just a sweet kiss with no added Drama:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8Ix-ylfwk4 (do not click if you don't want to see two men kissing)

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Current Mood: giddygiddy
Current Music: Ses baisers me grisaient - Emily Loizeau
15 August 2010 @ 03:27 pm

Day 19 - Best t.v. show cast

Of course the usual suspects (Life on Mars, The Singing Detective) have a formidable cast, and no doubt several others do as well, but I decided to give the honours to The League of Gentlemen. Three actors playing most of the characters and managing to give each one a distinctive personality is no mean feat in my book.

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Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: The lonely one - Dave Mason
14 August 2010 @ 01:40 pm

Day 18 - Favorite title sequence

I had to think really long and hard before I came up with Six Feet Under and Dead Like Me. I guess I don't pay that much attention to title sequences.

Good theme music, on the other hand, I find very important. Sometimes the music is the best part of the series, and therefore I'd like to change this to: Favourite theme music.

4. "Living It Up" by Bert Kaempfert (theme from Kapitein Zeppos). Kapitein Zeppos was not my favourite Belgian series at the time (that would be Axel Nort), but the theme was ace.

3. Theme from The League of Gentlemen, series 1 and 2 (the soundfile is the second one from the top [ETA: the one entitled "Theme tune from Series 2" — it keeps changing places]; I especially love the second half of it). I was heartbroken when they ruined it made a different arrangement for series 3.

2. Twin Peaks theme by Angelo Badalamenti: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oDuGN6K3VQ (sorry, I can't seem to embed YouTube videos any more, due to my browser being too old). Badalamenti's music added so much to the spookiness of Twin Peaks.

1. Theme from The Persuaders by John Barry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAxvfmGUjuQ. The Persuaders was about two playboys who fought crime, I think, although I seem to recall they were pretty shady themselves. Or maybe that was just the playboy bit. Anyway, I quite liked the series, but I adored the music. Still do.

Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: Theme from The Persuaders - John Barry
13 August 2010 @ 11:22 pm

Day 17 - Favorite mini series

Favourite British: The Singing Detective, and much love also for Casanova.

Favourite American: Angels in America.

Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: tv in the background
12 August 2010 @ 07:43 pm

Day 16 - Your guilty pleasure show

Confession time!Collapse )

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Current Mood: embarrassedembarrassed
Current Music: The riddle - Nik Kershaw
11 August 2010 @ 07:47 pm

Day 15 - Favorite female character

I may have forgotten a few, but Patsy in Ab Fab, Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, Diana in Waiting for God, Delores Herbig in Dead Like Me, Phyllis in Life on Mars, Shaz in Ashes to Ashes, Zoey in Nurse Jackie, Pauline in The League of Gentlemen, and Annie from Being Human are the ones I can come up with for now. Of these, Annie is probably my favourite.

Basically a bubbly, fun-loving and caring personality, somewhere along the line Annie has become a shadow of herself. Turning into a ghost after her deadly fall from the stairs has done nothing to help that, and she feels confused, insecure, lonely and trapped in the house she died in.

Then George and Mitchell move in, and she gradually regains her self-confidence with a little help from the boys. Coming to terms with the truth about her death, she steadily becomes more assertive, until towards the end of the first series she discovers she has some rather impressive powers of her own. Go Annie!

A lovely Annie picspam can be found here.

Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: The ghost who walks - Karen Elson
10 August 2010 @ 09:32 pm

Day 14 - Favorite male character

Oh god, where do I begin? The fun thing about this meme is that it makes me think of series that have all but disappeared in the mists of time.

Tom Conti's character in The Glittering Prizes (WHY has this only been released as a region 1 DVD??), Derek Jacobi as Claudius, Sir Humphrey in Yes, (Prime) Minister, Special Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks, Benton Fraser (and Dieffenbaker) in Due South, Michael in Arrested Development, Blackadder from series 2 onward (and let's not forget Percy and Baldrick), David Tennant as Casanova, Gene Hunt in LoM/A2A... no doubt I have overlooked many more.

Bill Nighy is a scene-stealer in most everything he's in, a.o. as Cameron in State of Play. Then there were a few minor characters in Being Human that didn't get nearly enough screen time for my liking: Gilbert the emo '80s ghost who spoke in Smiths songtitles; Mark the sarky hospital chaplain; and the very suave vampire (and Kate Bush fan) Ivan. Which reminds me BTW that Herrick is my favourite baddie.

Sam Tyler is my favouritest character though. Somewhere during the first series I fell in love. I don't know exactly when it happened (that's the problem with watching a whole series in one day, it all becomes a bit blurry); at the very latest it was episode 1x06, but I think it was probably much earlier than that.

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Is she really going out with him? - Joe Jackson live
09 August 2010 @ 08:20 pm

Day 13 - Favorite childhood show

Ja zuster, nee zuster ("yes nurse, no nurse") ran from 1966 to 1968 and was an extremely popular children's/family programme written by Annie M.G. Schmidt, with music by Harry Bannink. I remember always watching it together with my mum on Saturday afternoons, and I still have the LPs with the songs and a book containing four of the stories.

Although some of the songs and outside scenes were shot on film, most of the episodes were recorded on Ampex tapes, which due to their expensiveness were used over and over again. Therefore very little has remained of the series, which no doubt has helped it acquire its legendary status.

In the early '90s, I believe, an appeal was made to viewers to check whether they had any recordings of the original series, and a surprising amount of material showed up. Unfortunately, most of it was in very bad condition, as the atrocious quality of this clip demonstrates: Stekkie van de fuchsiaCollapse )

Another series I loved to bits was Thierry la Fronde. According to Wikipedia it was also broadcast from 1966 to 1968 in the Netherlands. Hmmm, I thought it was a little earlier than Ja zuster, nee zuster. Anyway, I was madly in love with Thierry and oh, how I wanted to be Isabelle!

Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Current Music: Stekkie van de fuchsia
08 August 2010 @ 05:25 pm

Day 12 - An episode you’ve watched more than 5 times

More than five times, hmm, that is quite a lot. I have watched the whole first series of Life on Mars 6 times. The second series only 5 times, so that doesn't count.

You'd think older series would have the advantage, but the only episodes I'm fairly sure can qualify are "Beer" (Blackadder II) and "Goodbyeee" (Blackadder Goes Forth).

Current Mood: stressedstressed
Current Music: The architect - dEUS
07 August 2010 @ 06:51 pm

Day 11 - A show that disappointed you

I stopped watching Mad Men after the first season, because although pretty much everything about it was brilliant (gorgeous art direction!), I found all the characters unsympathetic and I couldn't care less about what happened to any of them.

I had high hopes for Pushing Daisies, because it was written by Bryan Fuller, the man behind Dead Like Me. Sadly, the first two episodes didn't do it for me. I thought it was very cutesy and I had to suspend my disbelief a little too much. Judging from the ratings and reviews on IMDb, mine is a minority opinion though.

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Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: I don't want to go to Chelsea - Elvis Costello
06 August 2010 @ 10:14 pm

Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

This is becoming repetitive, but: The Singing Detective and Life on Mars.

The Singing Detective was broadcast in the Netherlands by the VPRO. In a preview they showed part of the "Dry Bones" scene (see yesterday's post), I think it was the girls in the chorus line. I immediately dismissed it as "sexist" and refused to watch it.

My mum did watch it and said it was great and I really ought to see it, but I did not want to step in later. Fortunately the VPRO had received so many requests for a repeat that soon after the series ended they aired it again. This time I did watch it and the same scene that had got my hackles up when shown out of context now blew me away with its brilliance.

Something similar happened with Life on Mars. I had missed the first episode, but I decided to try the second episode anyway, even though I thought the premise sounded pretty ridiculous.

While the chase down the canal was amusing, I was appalled by the police brutality during the interrogation, and later on, when the superior officer practically pressed his subordinate's nose into a pool of blood on the street, I decided I'd had enough. Too much testosterone for my liking, the TV equivalent of lad lit.

If it hadn't been for the third series of Ashes to Ashes, I would probably never have given Life on Mars a second chance.

My initial refusal to watch these series due to sexism/testosterone overload is not the only thing they have in common, BTW. Both protagonists are lying in hospital and "escape" to a previous era, where the music of the period plays an important part. Both have daddy issues and work through childhood trauma. Both are detectives and fight crime. And both series are brilliant, of course.

Current Mood: soreheadachy
Current Music: In a broken dream - Python Lee Jackson
05 August 2010 @ 08:22 pm

Day 09 - Best scene ever

Until recently I considered this the best scene ever:

It is from the first episode of The Singing Detective (1986). The writer Philip Marlow suffers from psoriatric arthropathy. He is lying in a hospital bed and the pain and fever give him hallucinations.

This clip is quite long, over 9 minutes, but I prefer it to the ones that just give the song, because some context is needed and it perfectly shows the condescending attitude of the medical staff.

I remember that the first time I watched it, my jaw just dropped and I declared it the greatest thing I'd ever seen on television.

Lately though it has been replaced in my affections by a scene from the first episode of Life on Mars:

SPOILERS under the cut!Collapse )

Current Mood: enthralledenthralled
Current Music: Life on Mars? - David Bowie
04 August 2010 @ 11:34 pm

Day 08 - A show everyone should watch

Once I tried to convince someone she should really watch Angels in America. "It's almost as good as The Singing Detective", I told her. "Hmm, I didn't like that one either", she replied, and I was utterly shocked that an otherwise reasonable person could not love that series.

Some time ago I lent Due South to my BF and he found it enjoyable enough, although he thought the scenes in which Fraser has conversations with his dead dad ridiculous nonsense.

So I should have known better than to force Life on Mars on him, and indeed, while he likes the regular cop-show bits, he doesn't care for the weird stuff (which is exactly what distinguishes it from your regular cop show and makes it brilliant in my, and no doubt most fans', eyes).

And so, finally, lesson learned: there are no shows that everyone should watch, because no shows can cater to everyone's tastes.

Current Mood: apatheticapathetic
Current Music: The worker - Fischer-Z.
03 August 2010 @ 09:37 pm

I've decided to do one post for yesterday's and today's questions, because they are connected and I can't say much about either of them without giving away spoilers.

Day 06 - Favorite episode of your favorite t.v show

The first time I watched Life on Mars my favourite was 1.06. That changed upon rewatching, when my favourites became 1.01 and 1.08. 1.01 is a fantastic series opener. A little full perhaps, but absolutely brilliant. 1.08 is a bittersweet (more bitter than sweet) episode in which some of Sam's (and the viewers') questions are answered. A great season finale.

Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show

I find 1.03 as a whole not very compelling, although it has some great moments. 1.07 is really good, but very grim, with little room for humour. I prefer the somewhat lighter episodes.

In other, related, news, I finally started my Ashes to Ashes marathon yesterday. I was rather shocked to find how much the early episodes simply rehash Life on Mars. Very lazy writing. Also, I had forgotten how annoying Alex is in the first series. No wonder the fans weren't happy with this watered-down spin-off.

Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: When you are a king - White Plains
01 August 2010 @ 04:21 pm

Day 05 - A show you hate

Oh dear, this is not going to make me very popular. "Hate" is a big word, but I really, really, really don't like Doctor Who. I understand it is a British national treasure, and I'm truly sorry, but that's the way it is.

The only Doctor I remember from my youth was Tom Baker, and I don't think I watched the series regularly even then. I never cared much for science fiction, unless it was comedy.

Even David Tennant, whom I had seen and loved in Casanova couldn't convert me when he became the new Doctor in 2005, although I tried several times.

Of course, for my John Simm project I had to watch the episodes he appeared in as the Master, so I looked them up on YouTube, but ten minutes into "The End of Time" (yes, I started the wrong way around — I blame the screencaps) I gave up and just fast-forwarded to his scenes.

It did give me a clearer idea of what makes Doctor Who so unpalatable for me. For a large part it is caused by the in-your-face (ear) music: this is a Dramatic Moment - this is where you must feel Sad - this is where we want you to be Scared - ugh. It rubs me entirely the wrong way. But I've later learned that Doctor Who is regarded as a children's programme, which really surprised me. Teenagers and up, I would have thought.

All that said, "The Sound of Drums" wasn't so bad, actually. And John Simm was a great Master.

Gratuitous Master gifCollapse )

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Current Mood: rushedrushed
Current Music: Goodbye, blue sky - Pink Floyd
31 July 2010 @ 02:03 pm

Day 04 - Your favorite show ever

Ever since watching it for the first time three months ago, Life on Mars has quickly become my all-time favourite. As there are several more 'favourite show' questions to come in this meme, I'm not going to elaborate now.

Mind you, 'favourite' and 'best' are not the same in my book. I still think The Singing Detective is the better series, but the mad, passionate love I feel for Life on Mars is simply unequalled. If this were the only series I could watch for the rest of my life I don't think I'd mind.

Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: Gloria - Them
30 July 2010 @ 08:45 pm

Day 03 - Your favorite new show (aired this t.v. season)

What with my preoccupation with Life on Mars and all of John Simm's other works I haven't been paying much attention to TV. The only new show I've started watching is Rev, because I like Tom Hollander, who plays the lead.

The series deals with the trials and tribulations of a city vicar. I must say I liked the first episodes better than the later ones, but all in all it is enjoyable, if not earth-shattering. The sixth and last episode is scheduled for next Monday.

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Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
29 July 2010 @ 07:15 pm

Day 02 - A show that you wish more people were watching

I take this to mean a current show, in which case I say none. However, I have often felt a bit lonely because my TV choices are usually out of sync with what my friends and colleagues are watching. If a series is not broadcast on a Dutch channel it apparently doesn't exist, and if it is picked up by a Dutch channel, it gets overlooked anyway. The League of Gentlemen was an example of this. I loved it to bits, but nobody knew what I was on about.

The only time I remember discussing a series was when Twin Peaks was on the BBC. A fellow student and I were the only ones who watched it, and when one of the commercial Dutch channels picked it up, most of the others in our class started watching it too, because our enthusiastic weekly discussions had made them curious.

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Current Mood: soresore
Current Music: The ghost who walks - Karen Elson
28 July 2010 @ 11:59 pm

Today callmemadam posted the questions to the thirty-day book meme that's been doing the rounds and while I find that one too much hard work (not to mention the fact that I haven't even touched a book in three months), it did inspire me to do its twin, the TV meme instead. Maybe posting the answers for thirty consecutive days will help me kick-start my LJ again.

TV meme questionsCollapse )

Day 01 - A show that should have never been cancelled

Personally I think most TV series (particularly American ones, because of their long seasons compared to British series) go on well beyond their sell-by date, with every new season being less good than the previous one. A phenomenon I find quite interesting is that eventually even the best comedy series turn into a soap (All in the Family being a case in point).

But occasionally TPTB pull the plug on brilliant shows that deserved a longer run. Arrested Development, which in my opinion is the best American comedy series ever (perhaps with the exception of the legendary Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), was axed in its third season. Knowing that it was broadcast by Fox, of all companies, perhaps I should be grateful that it ran for as long as it did, but no. I am still bitter. Fortunately this comedy about a dysfunctional family is so chock-full of humour that one or even two viewings are not enough to catch all the jokes, so it stays fresh.

Dead Like Me is another of my instant favourites that died a premature death (har har). It's about an 18-year-old girl who dies in a freak accident, and instead of being allowed to move on to the afterlife straightaway, she must first become a 'reaper' on earth: harvest the souls of people who die so they can safely pass on. The series only lasted two seasons, but I clutch the DVDs to my bosom.

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Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Alors on danse - Stromae