Oh, Blogger’s down for maintenance. There goes the big stick of the immediacy of being online for my writing exercise posts. It’s back to composing in Word, so I can get these thoughts out in a timely manner. Still, since I am online—in a pathetic kind of dial-up way—at the moment, perhaps between checking email and Bloglines I can still retain the same sense of urgency.
So many new television programs have started this week and last week on free-to-air, that I’m in something of a tizz. How do people cope with Pay TV, I ask you? There is already too much to watch.
I missed the first episode of Jamie’s Kitchen: Australia last week. I’m not sure why. Something to do with that being the day of the thesis prospectus presentation and collapsing in a heap for a few seconds before picking myself up and marking that stack of assignments. Anyway, I watched the second episode last night, and I remembered my thoughts when I watched the first Jamie’s Kitchen. Bloody hell, some of those kids have lived the worst lives, no wonder they’re so spitting mad. Of course, being a chef won’t be a life of glamour. Crap hours, crap pay, not so great conditions of employment, and the discerning public?—well let’s not go there.
In a way I feel like I’m watching my brother’s trajectory. When my mother remarried, after me and my sisters had left home, she chose a right bastard, a freakin’ sociopath. Suffice to say, my brother’s life wasn’t that great and he ended up leaving school and home. He got work as a kitchen hand and managed to turn up to work often enough to prove himself capable of committing to an apprenticeship. He was helped by some really good people and so he became a chef. I think that’s why I have a soft spot for this show and the work Jamie Oliver does. But it also seems to me that the whole Fifteen concept is just a good, socially-committed thing to do.
I know it’s wrong to begrudge the prospective students the oysters they spit out during the tasting sessions, but I am weeping for the unappreciated briny, creamy morsels. Give them to me! Give them to me!
By making the decision to watch Jamie’s Kitchen, I had to forgo Celebrity Survivor. Normally I would tape one show while watching the other, but it’s a long sad story about the DVR, the resurrection of the VCR, and the stack of videocassettes I threw away a long time ago. I still haven’t watched the last episode of Boston Legal; I’ve got half of Rome to watch and all of the first episode of the latest season of The Sopranos to watch—even though I’ve already seen the first three episodes of this season. I make no sense.
After Jamie’s Kitchen, I switched over briefly, and caught the extinguishing of Guy Leech’s torch. No tears from me. He and Wayne, the former motorcycle champion, got my goat the way they were always plotting to get rid of the women. There was such a sense of entitlement about their own right to be there, as if it was obvious the women should go. Not to me. It always fascinates me about Survivor that perceived physical strength or lack thereof is the sole criterion for wishing people off the island, as if the challenges don't test mental acuity and balance and flexibility, which women are pretty good at. Witness the challenge where the contestants had to stand on a beam in the middle of the ocean. The object of the exercise was for each person to take a quoit from one end of the beam to the other, while making their way around their team mates standing along the beam. Who made the bright decision for Imogen to sit that challenge out? Tiny and flexible would have won the day, instead that (unmentionable) David Oldfield thought he would go first and clearly he isn't terribly balanced. (Well, I amuse myself). It has been quite interesting watching Oldfield the politician at work I think.
Another program I missed the Australian season premiere of this week was Oz. Again with the cassette problem. I'll have this worked out by next week. Of course, Oz has been over for years in the US; it's probably for sale on DVD at some ridiculously discounted price.
I switched back to watch the premiere of Jericho, just in case it turns out to be must-see-TV. My first impressions are that it's a strange amalgam of Cold War and post-9/11 paranoia. The Cold War aspect arises from the premise of a nuclear explosion (possibly multiple) and the notion of the post-holocaust survivors trying to come to grips with their fears. In terms of its tone it reminds me a bit of Z for Zachariah, even though there are a lot of survivors. It could be the children.
The post-9/11 paranoia aspect is evident in the representation of the town of Jericho as a microcosm of contemporary America after a devastating attack. Politicians bicker amongst themselves; emergency service personnel are ubiquitous; and the buzzword is 'terrorist'. At this stage there are a couple of outsiders who have already displayed great leadership potential. Jake Green played by Skeet Ulrich is the estranged son of the town's mayor. His father deems him a wastrel, and we're not quite sure of his past, but we know he saves a bus load of children, so he's alright. The other mysterious character who has an air of competency about him in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust is new-to-the-town African-American man, Robert Hawkins played by Lennie James.
Jericho also borrows from Lost, which itself borrowed from Survivor, in the creation of an 'island' community and trying to solve a series of mysteries, while ensuring their personal survival and that of their civilsation.
This post will be finished soon, but I couldn't stop without mentioning how much I've come to love Bones. Yes, it's very much in the vein of a gazillion other forensic investigation shows, but it's the characterisation that makes this one stand out. Dr Temperance Brennan is an unapologetic over-achiever and even when she shows emotion it's not in the context of sappy sentimentality àla the two episodes of House I've watched. Her involvement in her cases arises out of her intellectual curiosity rather than clichés about emotional females.
I've also had a bit of a fan moment with the appearance of David Boreanaz as FBI agent, Seeley Booth. Of course I liked him in Buffy and Angel, but seeing him play a regular guy—one that eats and drinks, no less, to say nothing of going out in direct sunlight—well, I love his comic ability. It's perfectly suited to drama.