The Monday Mess – The 2012 TV roundup – 10 Dec 2012

The Monday mess, aka me, is looking  forward to the return of “Justified” in January. Although I like my deep, layered drama shows, I also love this one. It has a great mix of fun, good dialogue, good characters, story, and guns. I suppose that implies the show isn’t multi layered, thoughtful, like The Sopranos was, or The Wire was. Well it isn’t, but it never tries to be. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. It is pretty much an Elmore Leonard novel correctly brought to screen (the character is Elmore’s from his short story “Fire in the hole” which Elmore used again inspired from the series, in the recent novel “Raylan”). It is great. Hmm. It inspired me to give some thoughts on this years TV drama. Run away if you wish, but here they are, with added highly useful / useless, three word summary:

One reason for January to hurry up...

One reason for January to hurry up…

  • Justified – Maybe not as rounded a story as Season 2, but still great. Criminally ignored at the awards shows in favour of supposedly more serious fare. Loved the show. If you recall the line “They are saying I disarmed him”, you’ll know what I mean. – 3 word summary: Crisp dialogue king.
  • Breaking Bad – Short 8 episodes, but sweet as you like. The drama seemed a little bit rushed in some ways due to the reduced episodes, but there were plenty of good set pieces, wow moments, I cannot believe they did that moments, and the usual great acting. It opened with a clever scene from a year further down the line, which we have still to get to, and ended with a good cliffhanger. Cannot wait for the final 8 episodes next year. If you have netflix, and haven’t seen this show, catch up now. – Walter, Holy sh*t.
  • Mad Men – Back after a break and still on form. Slight dynamic change, some interesting character endings and repositioning of characters. Roger’s acid trip perhaps the highlight. Clever and stylish still. Again,  if you have netflix, and haven’t seen this show, catch up now. – stylish, cool, thoughtful.
  • Game of Thrones – Beautiful to look at and well acted. Some things trimmed from the second book, some moments appearing in different form from the early part of the third. Looking forward to how they deal with the rest of the third book. Best episode this time was the episode focused around the assault on Kings landing, was the best.  – Tyrion, the tall.
  • The Killing – Finished off the story. Improved on the first season in some ways, and made mistakes in other ways, like the “mad for a day” moment the two main characters had in separate episodes. One also took a bad beating but seemed ok enough a day or two later. The show was cancelled after this. That I wasn’t disappointed, says it all. Glad its over.
  • The Walking dead – perhaps on it’s strongest run so far. Good stories, good zombie kills / special effects, more tension between human vs human characters which drives the story much better.  Nice ending to the mid season finale. Looking forward to this one coming back. – No, Andrea, no.
  • Boardwalk Empire – Despite that they killed off my favourite character at the end of the previous season, I think I enjoyed this season the most. This show for me has always been very stylish, but maybe lacks the tension and tight dramatic drive of other shows. It is still decent though, employs great actors, for example Stephen Root who did a great job this season, and I loved the way they wrapped this season up. Great to see Richard involved. Interested to see where they go next year, as I was a little apprehensive to begin with this year. – Go Richard, go.
  • Hell on Wheels – Beautifully shot, never really had the dramatic tension that it ought to have. Quite a bit of it is well, a bit obvious. I tend to know where this is going most of the time. I will still watch it if it returns for another season. Needs more tension.
  • Treme – Have this season on the recorder but not watched it yet. Nothing to add. – Better watch it.
  • Homeland – Half of the season watched which was excellant. They changed track, but really this had to happen in the story. I have heard reports that the second half of the season is a bit weaker, but I guess I shall see. – Better catch up.

My Fave show of the year through nonet:

Oh sunday evening drama time

what a great selection to see

but when I look back and think

which of these is my fave

gut feeling selects

the dialogue cool


Its back

soon 🙂

Have a nice week, and tune in somewhen further down it for the next brainsplats blog post.

Lexicon word of the day: specious.


TV Vegetable – 11 April 2012 – adventures from the edge of the couch

 Welcome to this weeks tv vegetable, my (sometime) weekly round up of some consumed tv, where Raylan says

“they say in the office I disarmed him”

– Boo, Hoo, Hoo! – That’s me sobbing as Justified has come to the end of another fabulous season.

Justified (FX)

So Quarles didn’t shoot the cop. It was Arlo, thinking he had shot Raylan. Arlo then took the fall for Boyd, protecting the son he wished he had, not the one he actually had. Yet he still saw to apologise to Raylan. After this season we now have more clues as to why Raylan is the way he is.

Quarles has been an excellent villain but if anything, his story ought to have ended a few episodes back. By this episode the focus was more on Limehouse and Boyd. Still Quarles had some great moments. Hijacking the van (the mom played by Vic Mackey’s wife from the Shield), negotiating the guns from Raylan (first asking for Ibuprofen, “No course not”), then the final showdown in Limehouse’s barn (“Ha, Ha, a real piggybank”). The gun up the arm was dealt with in the most unexpected way. Raylan grabbing the arm, but Limehouse cutting it off before he had chance to use it. The look of surprise on Raylan’s face, then him slowly moving the arm away, like Quarles was going to take it back, was an all time classic Justified scene, both shocking, surprising, and funny in the same moment.

It was no surprise to me that Boyd got off, although I wondered how this might be at first. The interplay between Boyd and Raylan has been a key component of this show. That Ava and he do not know that Johnny was plotting against them should play nicely into next season. I would also be surprised not to see Limehouse back, given Johnny’s comments to him over the phone. Note also how Ava has stepped up as a criminal having killed at least two people across the two season’s and now taking to beating her own prostitutes when she feels they have wronged her.

And to add to that I nearly forgot how fantastic that opening scene was with Raylan and Wynn Duffy. Wynn lost any kind of cool he might have had for this scene, and it played out perfectly. Wynn was involved in three fabulous scenes this season if you count this one. The other two being “You know the conversation we were going to have… this is it” and “Next one’s coming a bit faster”. I hope he is also back, but really ought to be doing jail time for the car bomb.

Oh – I also read this morning that the the second gun Raylan had, was the gun that killed Gary (that Raylan had hidden). When he said to Quarles, “you can keep that one”, that was what he was referring to. So I guess that ties that up. The writers also seemed to have covered the link with Boyd, as Boyd (with exposition dialogue) described whilst being arrested. However would Arlo taking the wrap still give a suggestion that Raylan is dodgy, even though we the audience know he isn’t?

Justified is a fabulous show, so much more than I ever thought it would be when I started watching it.

– My wife says: Eurggh and Oh (when Limehouse opened up the piggy bank.

– I say: When’s it coming back already? Oh well, I’ll have to make do with the “Raylan” book for now.

Mad Men (AMC)

I remarked last week how Don seems to be starting to look old. Are they doing something with his suits? This week he seemed to look older again. And that was before the coughing and fever.

This week had a take on the Richard Speck murders. Little Sally got scared and ended up sleeping under the couch (imitating how the only survivor from the massacre hid under the bed). Don had the feverish dream during which he strangled to death his former lover, after sleeping with her. Personally I guessed this was all in his head the moment she turned up at his apartment and got put into the service elevator. I just didn’t get how she would know where he lived. I’m assuming the purpose of this was to get to Don’s fears. We / he know that he had plenty of affairs whilst married to Betty, and is worried that his weaknesses will appear again with his current marriage.

Also playing on this theme was Ginsberg’s take on the Cinderella story, one of terror and nightmare. Interesting.

Joanie finally split up with Greg and I was actually surprised to have her refer to the forced sex back in the original mad men offices some seasons back, as this seemed to have all been forgotten about. “You were never a gentleman”. I also found it a bit odd that Greg turned up to meet his son, and within two minutes had ushered him out the door with Joan’s mum. Joanie and Roger hooking up in some way soon?

Speaking of Roger, is he going to spend the season giving away the large cash in his pocket? This week Peggy gained $400 for a weekends work, which would have been a lot in 1965. Pretty good negotiating from Peggy who is clearly currently secure in what she brings to the company, though I suspect this might be challenged by Ginsberg in the coming episodes. Also interesting was Peggy kindly taking Dawn home rather than leaving her to sleep on Don’s couch, yet still having the moment where she left her handbag on the coffee table, and felt as though she was suggesting Dawn might steal from it. Even if she wouldn’t. Personally I don’t know why she just didn’t pick the bag up commenting something along the lines of “I’ll move some of this junk out of your way” or something along those lines, but then there wouldn’t be the drama, huh?

– My wife says: OOOooooooooooooooo. I wanted to watch Titanic: The final word.

– I say: – At first I though Mad men was losing it’s edge, but upon review there was plenty to think about with this episode.

Game of Thrones (HBO)

Plenty of Tyrion, now feeling more secure on the one hand, promoting Bronn to the head of the city watch, and a little less so when Varys was pointing out how he knew of Tyrion’s woman. I did like how he questioned the baby slaughter, and found out it wasn’t Cersei who ordered it.

Theon Greyjoy’s story is starting to open up. There was a bit less of him with the girl on the ship (and why he was using her), and flirting with his (then unknown to him) sister, than there was in the book. His father was well played by Patrick Malahide. His castle was maybe the best to look at thus far. Nice to see Arya’s story too. Her’s is one of my favourites from the second book.

– My wife says: Nothing she doesn’t like this show.

– I say: I’m liking Yoren and his dagger skills. Davon is pretty cool as well.

tv dinner (the rest)

The Ultimate Fighter (FX)

Highlights – Decent fight. The one who’s father died a few weeks back got the win on the decision. For me he easily won both rounds. The slightly annoying tickle fights next week.

Lowlights – I cannot remember any of the in house stuff. Oh yeah, this weeks fighting hairy bloke (see above) has a friend on Cruz’s team. His friend would not give up his fighting secrets. Respect.

– My wife says: I want hairy man to win.

– I say: But he’s on Faber’s team not Cruz’s.

The Killing

Slightly odd episode with Holder going off the rails a bit when he thought no one, including Linden believed him. Linden had quickly realised her mistake and was trying to get hold of him. They seemed to be back together in the end so we shall see what they come up with next week.

Stan also seems to have reconciled with some mafia types who he had tried to break free from in the past. It seems to be that they may have had a hand in Rosie being killed and that this was the price Stan had to pay for trying to break free. Or maybe I’ve misunderstood.

– My wife says: Is the wife seeing visions of Rosie or is it someone else?

– I say: Why is it still raining? Does it really rain that much?


Titanic – The Final Word – Where we got to see Jim “bossy pants” Cameron have his final word on Titanic. Actually this was pretty good. There were a team of experts providing opinion so they could work out as much as possible how the titanic broke up and sank. The explanation with a banana was particularly illuminating. The did a new animation showing how they believed it had happened. Jim pointed out with the new evidence what was wrong with the film. Good documentary, recommended.

– My wife says: Yeah, Titanic!

– I say: Ok. Ok. This one was actually very good.

Lexicon word of the day: Lambent.

TV Vegetable – 04 April 2012 – adventures from the edge of the couch

 Welcome to this weeks tv vegetable, my (sometime) weekly round up of some consumed tv. This week it’s cold up north and hot somewhere south east. – Yeah, Game of Thrones – nerd! But as I cannot be bothered to move round the formatting, we start with…

Mad Men (AMC)

Oops, Don suddenly looks old. He don’t get no Rolling Stones. He’s worried that the kids are going to become wild and do some silly stuff. He’s probably right. No hang on, this show is set in the past. Thankfully he’s wrong. Well mostly. Will Don have a crisis of marketing confidence in the new world as the season progresses? He’s smart, so he’ll probably get past it. It should be fun watching.

In other news. Pete played a smart trick on Roger, tricking him with the Mohawk airlines account, and making his point in front of everybody. Peggy got to interview a smart new creative guy who will be working the Mohawk account. He managed to annoy her, but I suspect those to will be nobbing each other at some point in the future. Given his background (and father) it ought to be awkward and interesting, and not too easy for Peggy. Peggy seems far from the secretary we championed (as viewers) when she rose through the ranks to her current position

No Joanie this week. Plenty of Betty. Has Betty really put on all that weight? I know she is pregnant (or was) during filming, so there were some obvious wardrobe cover-ups. However I think the weight was done with clever make-up as January Jones is one of those types who doesn’t seem to put on much weight. If it was make-up it was damn good make-up.

– My wife says: Nothing. She was in the bedroom watching something else.

– I say: – Um Betty, what happened to you? Why do you screw up your brow all the time?

Game of Thrones (HBO)

So this week on Luck. No hang on, check it out, Game of Thrones is back. I cannot believe how much I was looking forward to this. The odd thing is I’ve read the second book which will be pretty much the second season, so I know what will happen here. I haven’t read any of the others yet other than the first one. Truth be told, that takes something (surprise, most likely) away. But it is so impressive to look at, who doesn’t want to see what HBO did with it? I shall avoid spoilers for things not happened yet.

So, Tirion moves into position as the hand of the king. He is many people’s favourite character. He is witty and clever, but also more humane than most. He is more interesting by being essentially one of the good guys, but positioned in the nearest to “evil” family in the book. But without the backing of his family he is nothing, so he tries to do the best for them whilst being as reasonable as possible. Ok, spoilerish, he will likely be featured more this season.

A couple of other notes: Joffrey seems even more of a tw*t onscreen than in the book. The dire wolf looked a bit CGI but also kind of cool. There was not enough Arya, but the story suggested we would catch up with her next week. Erm, also spoilerish, her story is kind of cool this year. The killing of the babies (King Robert’s bastards), was horrific to watch, that kind of stuff really is worse to view as a parent. Dany’s story = boring. Game of Thrones is great.

– My wife says: I don’t like this show.

– I say: (shaking my head after having given up trying to explain what is good about it). When shall I read book three? Shall I wait until after this season has aired?

Justified (FX)

A lot seemed to be going on today with double, triple, quadruple crosses. Quarles is totally losing the plot, and ended the episode shooting a cop. Raylan must feel he had a big part of that for not catching up with Quarles earlier. – Funny to see Wynn now the more confident one in that pairing, trying to see what he can get out of it.

Whilst mostly an excellent episode I was slightly baffled by the opening. With how smart Boyd is, I just don’t get why he would have Quarles chained up in trailer by only one leg, and with a really big chain. I realise they needed him to escape, but Boyd is smart. Actually Boyd’s poor prisoner planning allowed Dickie to escape later as well. Oops.

Possibly my favourite part of the episode was finding out more about Limehouse. He was manoeuvring to get some people out of his way and leave his guys alone. It was a reasonable plan to get Dickie, Boyd, Quarles, and co in one place to see who winds up dead or in jail. Unfortunately several of the players were smart enough to spot it. However when it came down to getting rid of Raylan, he had to own up to where Mag’s money went. It turns out he was doing the decent thing all along, following her wishes and had given it to Loretta. It showed Limehouse to be somewhat honourable, although looking at where the pieces landed at the end of this episode, how will he react when challenged in the final episode? I loved that both he and Raylan seemed to easily know what was going on. I loved how Raylan pretty much knew the bank job would not happen and that Limehouse wouldn’t have his money there anyway. If it wasn’t for Mad Men and a Game of Thrones, I would be missing this a whole lot more after next week.

– My wife says: Did the girl have the money?

– I say: Only one episode to go (sob, sob).

The Ultimate Fighter (FX)

Mostly training stuff this week. I’m actually struggling to remember what happened in the house. I think there was a segment about a lifestyle coach or something. What? You are trying to talk to a bunch of guys who like kicking other guys in the head about lifestyle?

Highlights – Good fight again. This was was drawn after two rounds. It went to a third and an odd split decision giving a first win to Faber’s team. It should have been a straight win as he dominated the third round. I don’t know why the third judge went the other way. – Next episode, chap who’s father passed away a few weeks ago, gets to lump someone.

Lowlights – The five minutes of commercials after the second round, and before they got on with the third round.

– My wife says: Who won?

– I say: Ha loser. You’re only one up now.

tv dinner (the rest)

The Killing – Got some abuse last year for 1) having almost a weekly red herring, 2) Ending the season with a murder solved, oh no it isn’t, 3) Linden constantly about to move away when clearly she wasn’t. This season started with a two parter. It was a little slow to get going but had an excellent second half. Linden leaving was instantly changed, there is now some corrupt police drama going on. Linden’s partner separately discovered this, except she thinks he is dodgy and won’t speak to him. He realises he needs her but she won’t speak to him. Oops. Also the police keep seeming to screw over Rosie Larson’s dad. Strong opener.

– My wife says: What happened to the bag?

– I say: Why is it always raining, like for all 14 days so far?

My big fat gypsy wedding – Not as funny this week and a little more on the side of why many people (in the UK) get annoyed with gypsies. First there was some gypsies being moved from site to site, which is to say they would turn up and park on someone’s field which wasn’t fenced, then leave plenty of rubbish and horse sh*t around, and complain when they are asked to move on again. Why are people having a go at us they ask? – Perhaps because you are trespassing and leaving a mess.

Then there was some weird horse cart racing where they illegally block up roads, abuse horses, and care little for causing an accident (pictured below).

People don’t have any problem at all with gypsies when they respect everyone else and their property, and abide by the legal rules that everyone else has to, i.e. like many of the other gypsies featured in the series.  It is the stuff above that annoy people. Sure we like to laugh at your funny dresses and strange culture (like not teaching all the women to read), but that, you are welcome to do back to everyone else. Just don’t abuse others then have the cheek to moan once told off about it.

– My wife says: I think I understand why gypsies are often moaned at now.

– I say: That’s what I’ve been saying. It’s a shame, because this show whilst often a bit comedy, it does show many nice people. Sort of.

Lexicon word of the day: Inviolate.

TV Vegetable – 28 March 2012 – adventures from the edge of the couch

 Welcome to this weeks tv vegetable, my (sometime) weekly round up of some consumed tv. This weeks comes with a roar: ROOOOOAAARRRR !!

Mad Men (AMC)

What season are we on? Five. Already? In the show it is nine months on from the end of the last season (18 months I think, for the viewer). Don is now married, Joanie is now with child. As usual everyone is worried about their position. But this is Mad men, and watching everyone try to appear comfortable, whilst struggling to maintain some thing or other from their lives, is all part of the fun. Well that and the sixties setting. We are now in 1965 and the sixties as presented in “sixties nostalgia” (i.e before I was born) is finally beginning. This also means civil rights protests. This episode cleverly opened using a real life incident as reported in the New York times, where agency Young & Rubicam thought it was amusing to pick on, play tricks on, some of the protesters. The “And they call us savages” quote also came from the story. Clever as Don and co placed an ad in the paper about them being an equal opportunities employer which led Joan to visit, worried about her position, and many black people to turn up expecting a job to be available. It is this mix of real life events and fiction which give an authentic and fun appeal to the show.

Highlights of the episode were Megan giving Don the song and dance (it made my toes curl thinking Don would be dying inside), the sequence of greetings and hellos when Joanie visited the office and brought the baby in (Pete and Peggy with what might have been? Roger “There’s my baby”), Harry insulting Megan then thinking he was going to get fired (funny negotiations with Roger – Harry: “You’re going to owe me.” Roger: “No, I’m not. I just gave you a lot of money. This is a transaction”).

Mad men still knows how to play the subtleties, and play with our emotions in a clever way. Fine opener, to one of the best shows on tv

– My wife says: Nothing. She hasn’t watched it before and is not interested.

– I say: I love Mad Men. I’m glad it is back.

Luck (HBO)

Final episode of Luck due to the recent cancellation from horse deaths, during filming for the second season. This episode was not written as the end, but functions quite well as one. Plenty of stories are still open, but the narrative of Luck was never one of a start and end of a story, but kind of like entering in, to a story in progress, to view some of the chapters. In a way it is good, for example, to know the Foray stables gang ended on a high note, even if they pointed out they would probably lose it all. Escalante had a good day on the track with two wins, but an unfortunate one off of it with Jo losing the baby. The scene of mutual respect between Escalante and Nick Nolte’s Walter after the race was well done. The race itself between the two horses was awesome. Full of tension, extremely well shot, a finish partially based on subtleties, we didn’t know who had won and had to follow with everyone else at the track. In fact, both races were extremely well done, with Rosie coming from behind and getting her moment of glory in the first race.

Despite this, the main focus of this episode was on the assassins tracking Ace. Gus was smart in trying to keep Ace safe and had a lucky, if not slightly paranoid spot as they left the hotel. Interesting that because if the assassin had made his shot, he would have been out of there and on the plane home. The scene in the restaurant was clever, particularly the reference to an earlier time something similar had happened for Ace and Gus, and the immediate acting out a phone call, come argument. This led the assassin to what he thought was following Ace into the bathroom, only to instead be jumped by Gus. Gus just about managed to kill him but gave a resigned look, presumably wondering why he was still doing that at his age. Unfortunate for the assassin that he had not gotten that earlier shot.

Ace’s Grandson turn up at the hotel (played by Dustin Hoffman’s real life son), arranged by Michael, a means to telling Ace that they can get to him in many ways. Michael Gambon is superb as Michael. It is a real shame we will not get to see this play out further. The show was really finding its feet. This final episode was strong. It is a shame it had to be cancelled.

– My wife says: What if someone comes into the bathroom?

– I say: I was wondering that as well. – “You’re back from the toilet quick dear” – “Yes, there was a bloke strangling another bloke in there, so I thought I would go later”.

Justified (FX)

A bit of a moving pieces episode, prior to the last two. Quarles seems to be on the way out as the marshal’s service now have a real charge they can put against him (kidnapping and torture), Wynn Duffy has finally realised he is better off manoeuvring himself out of the way, Detroit mobsters are after him, and Boyd, well Boyd captured him. I suspect he may escape some how, which I hope, as I would like to see a clever shootout with Raylan (I suspect Boyd might let Raylan in on the gun up the sleeve trick).

Great to see Michael Ironside as one of the mobsters. He had an amusing (and misunderstood) conversation with Raylan in the opening sequence and a further amusing sequence as he was arrested later (like Gus in Luck, referencing his age and diminishing skills).

Also great was Art joining Raylan for the day. I love how Art is partially annoyed by Raylan, but also likes him, and therefore tries to defend him. The conversations they have are often highlights of episodes. This show has some of the best dialogue on tv.

– My wife says: I was tired, I think I fell asleep and missed a bit.

– I say: This is a show when it first aired that I never expected to be much. It is so much more. You may like this anyway, but if you like Elmore Leonard, you really need to see this show.

The Ultimate Fighter (FX)

With no family deaths to report on this week, the in house, training type footage was mainly made up of pranks and training. Ok I suppose but nothing to exciting. Faber’s guy lost again although he was up against the one of the favourites to win the thing. I’m not sure the fighters are allowed contact with the outside world. I’m not sure why.

Highlights – Nice fight. The “better” fighter started ok, seemed to be getting nowhere as the first round progressed, only to pick it up and comfortably win in the second round. Truth be told, he deserved the win.

Lowlights – Like last time, the one I wanted to win got knocked out.

– My wife says: I do want team cruz to win.

– I say: Um, I’m not that bothered (i.e. as Faber’s team are already two down).

tv dinner (the rest)

My big fat gypsy wedding – Yes I know this one aired in the UK a month or so back, but this blog is on US aired TV. – Anyhoo it’s one of these shows my wife likes to watch so she can laugh at the idiots contained within, and their relative lack of taste. Check out the Palm trees and pineapple dresses for these two:

Overdressed? Nope, gorgeous. – Thelma, dress maker to the gypsy community, based in Liverpool was thankfully back. She knows she is making some shall we say, odd creations, but who cares, she gets paid for it right? Well she knows what she is making so I don’t think she cares either way so long as her clients are happy.

The highlight of the episode for me was the beauty contest. Some odd looking chap who was supposed to be aged 34 but looked 44 was trying to arrange a beauty contest. It was to be a big event with the winner likely getting “a lot of” exposure to go on to better things. He secured some quality judges in a local modelling agent, his own wife, and two male hairdressers. Class. Presumably his wife was there so it’s not just him ogling some scantily clad women. Anyhoo, don’t worry, the contestants kept their end of things. The four that showed up, and couldn’t have been above age 15, managed despite their own nerves at such a big show, to keep calm enough to wander in front of the judges. The judges were even able to pick a winner. See if you can guess which one:

That’s right, it was the one second from left.

– My wife says: This show is even better than Hoarders (maybe).

– I say: Um, if you say so.

Lexicon word of the day: Kowtow.

TV Vegetable – 21 March 2012 – adventures from the edge of the couch

 Welcome to this weeks tv vegetable, my (sometime) weekly round up of some consumed tv. Don’t worry, it’s not too in depth – blah, blah.

The Walking Dead (AMC)

Fabulous episode this week. The farm got overrun with a zombie hoard. The group briefly got split up. It was madness as to who might survive, and who might not. In the end two anonymous people died, none of the main cast did. I’m not even sure who they were, but one might have been the wife of Otis, and the other, just some bloke from the farm. I suppose we did get Shane dying last week and the old fella the week before. – Andrea did get separated from the group. I didn’t think she was going to die as they focussed too much on her escaping, then going on the run. As she was about to be killed I was expecting someone to save her, which happened. I wasn’t expecting the person saving her to look as “it did”:

I’m aware this character is in the graphic novels, but I’m going to try to avoid spoilers to find out who this is and where from. Really, I thought this was a great episode, which moved things along to a new context and setting for the next season. The farmhouse is gone, they are without food, and most of their useful items. The zombie fighting was well done, and the makeup was up to it’s usual high standard. If I had some concerns it would be with how accurate everyone suddenly seems to be with their shooting, and where is all of the ammo coming from? Hershel seemed to have a lot of ammo in that shotgun until they needed him to reload, putting him in danger, only for Rick to save him. I shall look forward to next season.

– My wife says: Why is everyone so annoyed with Rick?

– I say: Why didn’t Rick just say, “Shane tried to shoot me in the back so I had to defend myself”.

Luck (HBO)

Due to a third death of a horse and ongoing safety issues for other horses Luck has now been cancelled mid way through filming the second episode of season 2. The production crew are people who like horses, they are not prepared to continue filming whilst there is a risk of more injuries. Whilst this is disappointing in terms of the show, I can only respect that choice. Will it be permanently cancelled? There is talk that they may be finding a way to make the track safer. I guess we shall see.

Meanwhile in this weeks episode, more focus was away from the track than on it. Ace managed to gain a small upper hand against Michael in his not quite clear plan regarding the race track, gambling and something or other about making money. Personally I find Dustin Hoffman a little hard to take as a gangster. The guy is 5 foot 5 inches tall and looks even shorter. He ought to have been given an ashtray like scene, himself. I’m not sure about this quiet menace. Although on the other hand the scenes where he spoke to Michael were great so maybe I am sure about his quiet menace.

Jo nearly or might have lost the pregnancy which is a bit unpleasant to anyone who has had a child and the ultrasounds that went with the pregnancy. It was kind of interesting watching Escalante stepping up. Part of this might have come from the conversation with Ace, where we learned they had crossed paths before. There was a shift in positions for Rosie getting a ride on the escalante horse owned by the gang of four. Not the derby race itself, but the derby day. There might have been some clever politics going on there. I couldn’t quite follow that. It sets up the big derby race between Ace’s and Nick Nolte’s horse. I thought Nick Nolte was going to burst a blood vessel and collapse on set with his wheezy outbursts. I shall presume that to be acting. One episode to go. It’s good, I will miss it if it doesn’t come back.

– My wife says: I wasn’t paying attention

– I say: I liked the way escalante described ET as the boy with the monkey on the bike flying past the moon.

Justified (FX)

I love this show. I love how it’s a modern western, I love how it keeps the dialogue in the style of Elmore Leonard. I recently described it a a guilty pleasure without the guilt. There are not many episodes of this season left, only three.


This episode was right up there with the best of the season. Jim Beaver, at the beginning of the show, demonstrated the thing this show does better than any other, which is to make “the confrontation” seem original and enjoyable every time. It might be clever dialogue, or clever positioning of characters, or a little twist, but there is always something. In the early confrontation, it was diffused with some clever talk from Jim about how he was dying of cancer so he was prepared to go, which was of course nonsense, but clever. In the final confrontation between Raylan and Quarles, started with a fantastic “Why wait?”, it was stopped by Lindsey (the bar owner) and likely saved for one of the final three episodes. A confrontation being stopped by the bar owner is nothing new, but that set up the following scene between Raylan and Lindsey (“Sure it’s not one of the hazards of being you?” ). I cannot help feel that when Raylan and Quarles finally face off, the up the sleeve gun will be involved, and the one or two questions he has had about it jamming, might cast an influence.

We also got to know more about Quarles and his forced rent boy beginnings, in the great scene in the winnebago. Then got a brief but disturbing end scene with the boy he captured. It’s amusing how Wynn Duffy was a bit of a crook but now looks like the sane one compared to Quarles. Plus there was great Boyd and the election scenes (Jim Beaver there again, this time with varying levels of comfort in the bar), Raylan’s courtroom speech, Dickie being freed, and more manoeuvring from Limehouse. Oh and more amusing dialogue from Raylan’s boss – “Did that go the way you rehearsed it?”

– My wife says: I didn’t like this show at the beginning, but I like it now.

– I say: It’s justified and erm, therefore it’s justified – I love this show.

The Ultimate Fighter (FX)

I mentioned last time that this is my first experience of this show. It appears to be a mix of reality in house / training type stuff, leading to this weeks “live” fight. This week, one guy was fighting another seemingly better fighter, only for the latter to leap in looking for a takedown just as the other was beginning to kick him. This resulted in a knee to the head and a clean knock out win for the underdog. Sorry I cannot be bothered to look up the fighters names for you. Either you watch it and you know who I mean, of you don’t watch it anyway.

The rest of the time was mostly taken up with in house stuff. One of the fighters had lost his father over the weekend so the show generously allowed him the privacy of having a camera shoved in his face, presumably so he could cry in peace – with us watching. Tough it up man, this is the ultimate fighter. They did allow him to go to the funeral and come back again and continue. They know how to look after their fighters in the UFC.

Highlights – I got into the tension and emotion of the fight, and then, Bam – knockout!

Lowlights – The one I wanted to win got knocked out. Also, of course if your dad has just passed away, you are going to be emotional. You don’t really need me watching you going through it.

– My wife says: I think I want team cruz to win, he seems a nicer person

– I say: But Faber is the california kid, support your local team woman!

tv dinner (the rest)

Strange addictions – I don’t know if this was a new one or a re-run but we saw an episode of this on sunday with two fabulous weirdos. The first spent her time sniffing gasoline. But wait, as if that isn’t enough, she also drinks it. Yes, she sips on gasoline. Despite the fact that it burns her throat, has enlarged her liver, and is destroying her nervous system to the extent that she couldn’t feel needles being stuck in her arm.

The other carried round a little dolls head that she liked to sniff and rub against. It had a broken eye which made it seem even more disturbing. Look here she is:

I don’t know where they find these people.

– My Wife says: This is gross. What channel is it on? I’m turning it on in the bedroom as well.

– I say: That baby head looks like it’s made out of chocolate. Mmm, chocolate….

Hoarders – Was not on this week so disappointingly, again there was no toilet turd mountain, this week. I should have mentioned last time that this was human turds, in a toilet. The water in the house had been long since turned off. A total mix of cringing laughter and horror.

– My Wife says: WHY ISN’T HOARDERS ON????

– I say: Oops (little smile).

Til next time, enjoy!

Lexicon word of the day: Provost.

The 10 best drama shows of the last decade – tv vegetable

No really this is, the ten best drama shows of the last decade. If you’re looking for something to watch, check the list to see if there is anything you haven’t seen.

Or in other news I wanted something more lighthearted to write about today. Something I thought might add a little information about my interests in terms of tv, relevant to the tv vegetable posts. So in an additional feature for my new tv vegetable section, here is the list. The rules for this one are:

  • The show must have had episodes in the last decade which unfortunately excludes British classics like “The Singing detective”, or “Boys from the Blackstuff”, and would include “The X-files” although that is not in the list.
  • The show must have aired more than the first season. This therefore excludes good one offs that got cancelled after a season such as Terriers (this is on Netflix streaming so check it out if you missed it), and the recently cancelled HBO show Luck (cancelled due to a third horse death during filming, not due to ratings or creative disputes, it is even possible this show might yet be back).
So the list will be as follows and to add a little  more to it, they are in order, starting with what I consider to be the best:
  1. The Sopranos – ” Woke up this morning… got myself a gun”. Really for me this was a super close call between this and the number two selection. But as modern dramas go, the Sopranos led the way. With no commercials on HBO, the sopranos was a film on tv, but with the increased running time, came much deeper characters. It went against being episodic in nature with each episode being essentially an instalment of the whole season, rather than an episode per se. There were individual stories in episodes, yes, but never self contained. You needed to see a whole season to get it. Many shows since have followed this model, but The Sopranos made it popular. – Then there are the characters, Tony Soprano himself, a beast of a man, but as we followed his viewpoint, someone we could sympathise with whatever bad deeds he did. Paulie Walnuts, Sal, Uncle Junior, Carmella, Ralph Cifaretto, the list goes on. This also gave the “no-one is safe, anyone could die model” which shows like “A Game of thrones” have today. The Sopranos was full of classic moments and scenes. I would list some but this blog piece might never end.
  2. The Wire – Almost the top spot. Easily the best show giving viewpoints from multiple characters, easily the best cop show, giving equal time and billing to the villains. Except there are few villains as such, only characters forced into bad deeds as a victim of the circumstances they were brought up and live in. Even the cops have their bad moments, the characters are all shades of grey. Across the five seasons (each one with a different focus area), perhaps no show examined the American experience (or cultural pie) as well as this one. If you have never seen this show and don’t mind having a slightly slow moving, but highly detailed show, you really should check this out. Be introduced to Mcnulty, Bunk, Stringer Bell, Omar (I think I read he was President Obama’s favourite character in a drama), Prez and a whole load more. A true modern classic.
  3. Mad Men – The first entry that is still going, and about to restart in just over a week (yay!). Set in sixties Madison avenue advertising men, this show examines the America of then, through the eyes of now. It tears down the misty eyed view of that time, showing it to be just as awkward if not more so, as now. This show has a lead character in Don Draper, a drinker and womaniser, but very clever ad man. He has difficulties and troubles, successes and muck ups. We get to see it all in it’s fabulous vintage glory.
  4. Justified – Currently broadcasting the third season. Perhaps the only onscreen place to capture Elmore Leonard’s characters and dialogue like they sound on the page. It stars Tim Olyphant as US Marshall Raylan Givens, who seems destined to be stuck in rural Kentucky. He’s the “Hillbilly whisperer” as his colleagues would have it. It’s a little like a modern day Clint Eastwood western. It manages the balance between episodes that are self contained, yet still having an overall story arc, perhaps better than any other show. It’s worth watching for the dialogue alone. Prior to watching, I never thought this show would be that much. It’s now like a guilty pleasure without the guilt. It’s brilliant.
  5. Breaking bad – A show I only started watching on re-runs before they broadcast the forth season, so I’m a relative newcomer. A master of tension, and focussing on a few characters. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are superb as the two main characters Walter white, and Jesse Pinkman. If you want to know why being a meth producer or meth supplier can ruin you (and how?), watch this. N.B. The first season almost made me wander round greeting people with “Yo bitch”. You kind of have to see it.
  6. Deadwood – HBO’s western loosely based on real characters, and a real place (Deadwood Milch). This was sadly cancelled prior to a final season due to production costs, yet it still features in the list. It has more swearing than any show ever but don’t let that put you off. You will soon get used to it, and the rest of the dialogue more than makes up for it, almost Shakespearian in places. Fabulous looking show, great characters, little details, again, no character is safe. Tim Olyphant is in this one too, as Seth Bullock, but Ian Mcshane is arguably the best character, a real smart nasty piece of work called Al Swearengen. Many of this cast have since appeared in Justified.
  7. 6 Feet Under – A great show set around a funeral home and a family trying to rebuild itself after the death of the father. Each episode started with a death of some kind (often leading you to guess the how), which would be the body being worked on or connected to family members that would appear in the episode. It was however much more than this each family member experiencing a journey of their own for example Michael C Hall (who went on to further success in Dexter) as the gay brother trying to find his way, or Lauren Ambrose as the screwed up younger, artistic sister. The show even had a proper ending.
  8. The West Wing– Aaron Sorkin political dialogue in full flow. If you don’t like his style, you likely won’t like the show. However this was a clever political drama and foreshadowed Obama becoming president, in this case with Jimmy Smits. Maybe not the full depth of drama and empathy as some of the other shows listed here, but often fast paced and clever instead. Elizabeth Moss who was the presidents daughter had further success in Mad Men (as Peggy Olsen).
  9. Treme – Co created by David Simon who was one of the creators of The Wire. Another slow moving, but detailed show, this time set in New Orleans beginning three months after hurricane Katrina wiped most of it out. Well written, well acted. It has several actors who were in the wire and also best supporting actress oscar winner (2011), Melissa Leo.
  10. The Walking Dead – Zombies and some surviving humans. Based to some extent on the graphic novel. Good with tension, very good with make-up. It perhaps does not have enough depth on all the characters, but makes up for this with zombie visuals, and all that comes with it. About to hit the season two finale tomorrow.

So there is the list. There are some other shows around the edges. I’ve not seen Battlestar Galactica, but this is reckoned to be very good. It is on Netflix streaming so I may try it out soon. The Shield was excellent in beginning but misses out due to losing the plot a bit in it’s final two seasons. It did have an ending, but didn’t quite do it for me. Walton Goggins went from this to Justified (he was / is excellent in both)  Game of Thrones I absolutely love, but it is simply too new. If the second season is as good or better than the first, this might be replacing something above. Rome was good but after being cancelled for the end of the second season, had to rush a bit to finish things off. Boardwalk Empire, was a close call, excellent in places but a little lacking in tension for me. Plus they killed off my favourite character at the end of last season so that might take away something for me. Terminator: The Sarah Connor chronicles was much more fun than I thought it would be, and might have been a contender had it not gotten cancelled without an ending. Lost was top fun but had a crappy ending that didn’t explain enough for me and just didn’t do it justice for me either. That was a shame as the shortened final seasons had mostly been a joy.

And that is it. Disagree?

See you next time on tv vegetable.

Lexicon word of the day: venerate.