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  • Brian Alex Clark 7:22 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bbc, , doctor, , , house, hugh laurie, miniseries, ,   

    Fortysomething Episode 1 Review 

    To start things off right, I watching the entire first episode of Fortysomething, a miniseries staring Hugh Laurie (House) as a doctor (yes, doctor) named Paul Slippery, thinking that his character’s wife, Estelle Slippery (Anna Chancellor), was played by the same actress that portrays his House foil and love interest Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). They looked so similar I just thought Hugh brought his previous costar to share the screen with him again on American television screens.

    So, once we collectively get past the mistake we’ve all made (read: the mistake only I made), does Fortysomething live up to the legacy that is House?

    Unfortunately, while it is good, it is not on the same level as the bitingly perfect television series Hugh Laurie is most commonly known for. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s upsides. Fortysomething is the story of a doctor in his mid-40s who is all too comfortable talking about sex and drugs with his 3 sons, but who recently has started losing his memory about certain things (like when the last time he had sex with his wife was). To top it off, at the start of the episode he starts hearing people’s thoughts.

    I’m not sure if this will be a running theme through the series because halfway through when he asks his coworker if she thought what he heard (that he looks like he hadn’t had sex for 6 months) she corrects him quite honestly (she thinks he looks like he hasn’t had sex for a year) and he doesn’t have any more “mind reading episodes” for the episode. If it is something that will continue into other episodes, it wasn’t handled very well.

    During his troubled day off (he forgot he doesn’t work Tuesdays) during which he acts as what can only be described as House Jr. (he tries saving a patient who doesn’t need saving), his wife goes to the first day of her new job only to find out the position she was hired for isn’t needed anymore and his oldest son Roy (played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch–the reason I had to check out the series) has to deal with his younger brother Daniel trying to sleep with his girlfriend. It’s strange and fun to see Roy get calmed down and convinced to wait downstairs for nearly forty minutes while they pretend not to hear Daniel succeeding. It’s the kind of thing that would make me never talk to my brother again forever, but Roy seems to forgive him by the end.

    So through an episode filled with 23 fridges being dumped on his lawn and his wife going AWOL on a walk through the park while he is desperately trying to get a hold of her driving him to come to the lesbian conclusion, it’s definitely not a boring show. But having seen it just yesterday, I’m already not interested in continuing on, which I can’t explain.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is something you might want to check out. After all, I remember enjoying it while watching it and Hugh and Benedict were very good, but ultimately it’s up to you whether to put it in your Netflix Cue or not.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copy:

    Fortysomething, The Complete Series

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  • Brian Alex Clark 6:16 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bbc, , british television, , , , , the inbetweeners, twat   

    The Inbetweeners Episode 1 Review 

    British television is quite brilliant in it’s way of getting people to keep coming back every week. In it’s second season, Luther edited clips from the next episode into the credits sequence. The Inbetweeners, a show about a school reject trying to make friends at a new school, doesn’t wait that long into the episode. In the first minute while the main character Will McKenzie (Simon Bird) is still doing his voiceover listing his woes about the coming year, we get what can only be described as a funny highlight reel of things that won’t happen this episode, but later down the line. That’s the benefit of a 6 episode season: everything’s filmed before you air.

    But is the actual show interesting enough that you want to stick around to find out what caused all these glimpses into the future?

    In a very short answer, yes. In a slightly longer answer, The Inbetweeners is a great example of brilliant television programming. We follow Will, a kid that screams “bully magnet” so intensely that his own newly estranged mother doesn’t believe him when he tells her he wasn’t bullied at his last school (I’m not sure we’re supposed to believe him either) and who on his first day can’t walk down a hall without at least 5 different people insulting him on his clothes (posh wanker) or his suitcase (Charlie Bartlett would call it an attache case) or the big, green, stupid button the school makes all the new kids wear. AKA Will and “The Freaks” as he calls them. Even an 8th Grader gets in a shot. Hell, even the teacher gets in a couple good ones. This definitely isn’t a school that screams “the children are our future.” Punching bags would be more accurate.

    So how does Will’s first day go, besides the “not bullying?” Not well, I’m afraid. The school day consists of him trying to wedge himself into a group of three guys who just barely register as better than The Freaks that were trying to be his friend from the start. There’s a school tradition where all the underage kids go out to a pub on the first day, but this group of cool cats can’t be seen with him. After all, they consist of Simon (Joe Thomas), a guy with a slightly off hairdo who gets a boner just from talking to the girl he likes, Neil (Blake Harrison), the tall stupid guy with some surprisingly excellent dance movies (that comes later in the series), and finally James (James Buckley), the one guy in the group who’s actually gotten laid “loads of times.” In fact, he’s so experienced he knows you don’t just go balls deep (which is difficult enough according to him), you go balls in. Otherwise, as Neil’s heard, “it doesn’t work.”

    So after a waterfall of bad luck, Will finally makes SOME ground when his future pals meet his mom, who is “so fit” and immediately start talking about getting with her. They go so far as to ask Will if he’d shag her if she wasn’t his mom, but he’s unwilling to accept the groundwork for the “what if” scenario question. It’s probably the one smart choice he made the entire episode, since doubtless he would have opened himself into a whole tirade of Oedipus-inclined mockery if he hadn’t.

    Alas, things don’t go smoothly after they go out. Not only do they land themselves at the wrong pub, but at both their first location and the second one (once they finally relocate) no one but James can get a drink, because only James thought of getting a fake I.D. That and the other 40 or so classmates they find at their final destination. It shouldn’t have to be said that this is the breaking point for Will, who gets so frustrated he outs every single person at the bar for being the underage blokes they are thus locking in his role as most-hated by everyone including–unfortunately for his future–the crazy psychopath of the school. Unfortunately for poor Will, his mother says the boy seems nice after Will tells her he just threatened to kill her. Parents.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is a show you can definitely devour. And it’s a plus time-wise that there’s only 2 seasons totaling 12 episodes, though I wish the E4 Network had’t been so clever when they chose to keep the 3rd season off Netflix, forcing people to buy the 3rd season through other means if they wanted to be all caught up for the coming movie. Though it’s not perfect in that sense, the first two seasons are definitely something you should bookmark on Netflix.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the hilarious movie trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here is a helpful link to the physical copy, as well as extra links to season 3 episodes:

    The Inbetweeners – The Complete Series

    Season 3, Ep 1: The Fashion Show
    Season 3, Ep 2: The Gig and the Girlfriend
    Season 3, Ep 3: Will’s Dilemma
    Season 3, Ep 4: The Trip to Warwick
    Season 3, Ep 5: Will is Home Alone
    Season 3, Ep 6: The Camping Trip

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 2:13 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bbc, , , KIDS, MTV, skins, ,   

    Skins UK Episode 1 Review 

    It’s going to be strange reviewing this considering I’d seen the first few episodes of the US adaptation prior to this one episode and I’m pretty sure I liked the US pilot better.

    The basic premise is simple: Skins is the british version of the movie KIDS. It’s a bunch of drug doing, sex crazed underaged teens. It’s the validation of every psych paper saying that our youth are becoming more irresponsible and acting less mature than any previous generation. Big whoop, these kids would say. Is it really so wrong to enjoy sex?

    According to this group, not at all. Hell, it starts with the main character Tony Stonem (Percy Jackson‘s Nicholas Hoult) waking up with his blanket pulled tight. What might be on the blanket of a sex crazed underage kid? Sexy Wonder Woman perhaps? Nope. His blanket is the shoulder down picture of a naked man and a naked woman. And yes, this kid stays with his parents. No emancipated minor here.

    After making fun of his main “girlfriend” Michelle (April Pearson) for her weird nipples and checking out the naked older lady across the street (the lady knows of her admirer, by the way), he gets moving with the day’s mission: pop his best friend Sid Jenkins’s cherry like it’s a balloon and he’s got the needle. Because if his friend is still a virgin by his 17th birthday, they obviously can’t be friends.

    The plan is simple: they go a party where his Sid (played by Mike Bailey) is the big kahuna supplying all the weed and they hook him up with their recently-released-from-the-mental-hospital Cassie Ainsworth (Hanna Murray), who agreed to it because… well, Michelle said it was going to happen. It’s too bad it’s obvious Sid is in love with Michelle.

    Did I mention Slumdog Millionaire is in it, too? Yes, it’s Dev Patel as Anwar Kharral, a young sex crazed Muslim boy. In fact, the first time we meet his character is in the middle of prayer when he answers his phone and starts asking if there will be a lot of pussy at the party later.

    As you might imagine, things go worse than could be hoped. Sid is pressured by the drug dealer to take three ounces instead of one, and on credit too (he’ll have 48 hours to pay it back), the party they end up at is hosted by a snobby girl who can’t have smoking in her house because of the new new wallpaper “mommy just had flown in”, Cassie has a lot of fun on a trampoline then tells Sid he better fuck her fast because she took a lot of pills, and finally they steal a car from the party so they can dump her at the hospital doorstep but when she wakes up fine they end up driving it into a lake and down it goes. Along with the three ounces of pricey weed, I might add.

    So being a sex crazed underage kid is hardly the glamorous life we’ve all been led to believe it is. But it is interesting. The only criticism I might have is the casting of the Tony. Though I am a fan of the actor’s later work, the character is supposed to be a real lady’s man and the actor is a much better fit for the not too confident type that rises up to become a hero. This might be because I’ve seen a bit of the US version and the kid playing the main character is such an overconfident and womanizing asshole that the original just doesn’t measure up, but nonetheless it’s about 5% off from perfect.

    Personally, I think while it’s not as good as the US Pilot, which I can remember rewinding because some of the moments were so good, it’s definitely something people can get into. Most of the heat from fans of the UK series is just that: they were fans of the UK series and it’s not exactly the same.

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this is something I would check out. I’d say wait till I assess both the US and the UK versions, but America went into a giant hissy fit over it and it got cancelled in it’s first season, while this show is already in it’s 7th Series (season in british) with the first 6 already on Netflix.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence, check out the trailer below. Keep in mind this is a promo and doesn’t show glimpses into any of the actual scenes, but you’ll get the idea of what the show is all about from watching it. Cheers. 🙂

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are some helpful links to physical copies of everything mentioned above:

    Skins UK, Vol. 1

    Skins US: Season 1

    KIDS

    Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [Blu-ray]

    Slumdog Millionaire [Blu-ray]

     
  • Brian Alex Clark 2:34 am on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: american adaptation, bbc, being human, Blog, , ,   

    Being Human UK Episode 1 Review 

    It’s the safe bet that the majority of U.S. audiences who have heard of Being Human is thanks (or no thanks?) to it’s American adaptation. The premise is simple enough: What happens when a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost split an apartment? It’s probably what lent it such an easy crossover onto American television screens. It’s not the first show that’s taken the route. Back in 2005 The Office came to America, inspired by the 2001 UK version. In 2011, Skins came to MTV based on the 2007 UK version while Being Human was a more successful American import on the Syfy network, adapted from it’s much more recent 2009 UK version. According to those who were familiar with the UK versions (or at least, according to the majority) the US adaptations are always lacking.

    Luckily for all of us, ALL SIX SHOWS mentioned above–Being Human UK, Being Human US, Skins UK, Skins US, The Office UK, and The Office US–are available on Netflix. Oh, it is good to be an American (even if our adaptations don’t seem to be as good).

    No matter what is said from this point on, there is one fact: the US version of Being Human IS lacking when places side by side it’s UK counterpart. With the average UK episode clocking in at 57 minutes, the US equivalent (44 minutes) is lacking about 13 minutes a viewing. For those who can get a little impatient, this will seem like a plus: UK episodes with the fat cut off and minus the funny accents. If you go American, you won’t have to worry about getting bored by the “slow parts”.

    Except having seen the pilot to the original version, I can’t say there are any slow parts to be afraid of. In fact, I’m happy it had 13 more minutes of breathing room because I was definitely appreciating the world building it got to accomplish. I’ll be able to see later on, but I can’t imagine they were able to get as much done with the US pilot (for obvious time reasons). And to add an upside for you, the American writing team has kept a strict diet: they have abstained from watching the second season of the UK show. That means for lucky us (at least starting at the second season of the US version) we’ll be able to enjoy two varied stories. But I’m getting offtrack. What did I think of the episode? Is it another shining example of British television (ala Luther) or is it good that American writers were given a chance to redeem it by starting over?

    Gladly for me (and the hour I spent watching) it was very good. It’s rare you get this, but it felt like watching actual events instead of TV on my computer. And remember, we’re talking about werewolves and vampires here. Of the three characters (Annie the Ghost, George the Werewolf, and John the Vampire) this first episode focused more on the Vampire side of things. But don’t get me wrong, they didn’t skimp on the Ghost and Werewolf plots.

    I have say, I’ve seen the pictures of the US cast and I prefer this group of blokes (British television has an effect on my slang). From what I’ve been seeing, British television is much more focused on getting actors for their parts while US TV prefers stereotypical looks. For the comedic werewolf, the US got Jimmy Olsen from Superman Returns and for the handsome vampire, they gave us a… generic vampire faced guy. You know the type. Big cheek bones and the impression that he always puckers his lips for the camera like a bad male model.

    Suffice it to say, the UK version makes me much happier. To give you a little nugget into the first episode, Annie the Ghost has to deal with seeing her (ex)fiancee for the first time after her death, George the Werewolf finds himself without his usual safe house for his “time of the month” when the hospital he and John work at put it under construction for some new renovation, and the previously mentioned Vampire has to deal with keeping his hunger in check (par for the course) and the dangerous repercussions of turning a friend of theirs into his kind. Also, it seems the vampire community really wants to creep onto his turf. So many dying people they could save, after all. One high ranking member even throws out the idea of making their presence known to the public (True Blood, anybody?).

    To boil it down, this is a show that I am very interested in watching more of. I love a show that can nail it on the first episode. I’ll go so far as to hate a series when one of it’s ardent fans say an equivalent of “it get REALLY GOOD starting with the first season”. I know it’s not an easy thing, but good television should START as good television.

    So, was Being Human great British television or should you hop over to the US version in hopes it got it right?

    If you have Netflix or are considering the 30-Day Free Trial, this should definitely be hanging around the top of your list.

    And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.

    If you’re still on the fence (or the pond) about Being Human, check out the trailer below.

    Let us know what you thought about the show by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.

    Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Netflix-Critic-Review for future reviews.

    For those who like their Special Features and Audio Commentaries, here are some helpful links to physical copies of both versions:

    Being Human UK: Season 1

    Being Human US: The Complete First Season

     
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