Sunday, December 06, 2009

An Observation

Ironside eats a lot of chilli.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ironside Weekend Part 2

Sunday's continuation of the Ironside-fest saw another three episodes watched.

The Macabre Mr Micawber
A rich man is murdered and the only witness seems to be a mynah bird, who of course can talk. So the bad guys attempt to steal him back to stop him blabbing all. Burgess Meredith, best known as the Penguin was in this episode was a downtrodden servant, perhaps one bird too many. Eve's splendid grey and orange striped dress made a reappearance.

Side Pocket
A young pool hustler finds himself working for a gangster in order to pay off his brother's debt. Ironside steps in to save him from this life. The famous pool hustler he beats is played by the man my OH recognised as Grandpa Joe from Charlie and The Chocoloate Factory. Otherwise I found it a rather dull episode - I don't like plots that involve gambling or any kind of addiction. I did some ironing while this one was on - as the OH pointed out I was appropriately ironing to the side.

Sargeant Mike
This episode looked like it was going to be a repeat of the bird episode, but with a dog instead, but it turned out the the dog didn't witness anything, although his owner did. Besides a rather beautiful German Shepherd, the tally of guest stars was added to with Bill Bixby. He was alot smaller than I remembered, although perhaps I was confusing his stature with his alter ego, The Hulk.

Six episodes in two days. Not too bad going but we still have a backlog.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ironside Weekend Part 1

The second season of Ironside is currently showing on Quest, and I've allowed rather a lot of episodes to pile up on our SkyPlus system. So I'm attempting to get through them this weekend.

Price Tag Death
An ex-cop who is living on the street, contacts Ironside when a fellow homeless man is murdered. The killing is soon linked with a forgery of cheques, but what follows is somewhat bizarre. While the team try to track down the forger-killer, we see him going around cashing fake cheques, buying expensive suits and dancing in yet another portrayal of a psychedelic nightclub. For reasons I didn't quite grasp, in order to cash the cheques, he was buying a huge amount of groceries and they were able to nab him by finding some of the 96 bags of shopping he'd bought in a few days (clearly he wasn't shopping at Waitrose!). The club scene introduced another great 60s band "The Poor" (following my discovery of The Hook in the "Trip to Hashbury" episode".

An Obvious Case of Guilt
An ex-girlfriend of Ironside is accused of murdering her husband, but the evidence suggest she has been framed. A tense plot, reminiscent of a Hitchcock film, but lacking the psychedelic weirdness of the previous one. Eve has umpteen outfit changes in this episode for no particular reason.

Eve is shot while buying a birthday present for Ironside. The episode moves back and forwards between her in hospital and the other characters remembering when they first met her, and she went from being a society girl to joining the police. Some great outfits from Eve here, including a beautiful pink suit and a brown, orange, yellow patterned dress that was remarkably similar to our lounge curtains in the 1970s.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kojak and the Little Man in the Corner

On my trawl through the week's schedule looking for things to record, I found a lone episode of Kojak on ITV in the middle of the night/very early morning depending on your perspective.

I watched it last night and it transpired it was one of those shows with a person doing sign-language in the corner of the screen (or the Little Man as my niece used to call this service). At first I wondered if it might be a distraction, but as the episode progressed, I actually began to enjoy watching the Little Man's actions along with the drama.

There were some tense silent scenes where the man just stood there rather at a loss, but in other places, seeing his facial expressions and hand movements actually added to the drama. I don't know sign-language, but having paid attention to this, I can see why a someone who is deaf would prefer this to subtitles - his interpretations clearly expressed the tone of voice being used, which subtitles can't do.

Obviously as a big fan of Kojak, I'm glad that it is being made accessible to a wide audience, but I do wonder if there is any logic to it? Has the bald Greek detective been found to be particularly popular amongst the deaf community? I would love to think so, although I rather suspect it might just be that they sign programmes in these unsociable timeslots.

Vincent - A Beginners Guide to Detectiving

I recorded an episode of Vincent, knowing little more about it other than it featured a team of private investigators.

It turned out to be a 2005 programme starring Ray Winstone. Had I known that I might not have recorded it. I like Ray Winstone, but find a little of him goes a long way. Suranne Jones is also in it - I've met her in real-life (she wouldn't remember because it wasn't a particularly memorable event and she was drunk) and she is actually alot prettier than she looks on television as her face is often contorted in scenes of Northern misery.

The episode (which I find out later is the last one of the first series) could be divided into two distinct parts. For the first part, the team are hired to follow a man whose wife believes he is cheating on her. What we see is very much the nuts and bolts of how you go about spying on someone, which with my long-harboured desire to be a detective, I found fascinating.

Then the plot takes a turn, and the woman the husband was cheating with, becomes the focus of the investigation, requiring Vincent to go undercover to seduce her. It came more pyschological and switches to being a guide to what not to do as a detective, namely get yourself personally involved with suspect. This part involved Ray Winstone being very Ray Winstone, and lots of agonising face-twisting from Suranne. But I was gripped, and then hugely disappointed to find it wasn't on again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Early Spelling: Honey West

I have mixed feelings about Aaron Spelling. On one hand I do love Charlies Angels (circa Farah Fawcett) and thought I might one day marry Jonathan Hart, but generally I don't like how the type of shows he produced (such as T J Hooker) came to dominate television in the 70s and 80s. The style is formulaic, action-packed, with storylines that fit neatly into their 40 minute or so time slot, with no depth. Spelling didn't produce them all, but he was probably the godfather of that genre that replaced grittier shows like Ironside and Kojak.

But having said all of this, I'm quite pleased at having just discovered one of Spelling's first shows, Honey West. There was just one series of 30 episodes made showing in 1965 to 1966. The show is black and white, has those Spelling trademark plots, but is possibly one of the first shows to feature a feisty independent female lead and was probably rather remarkable when it was first shown. Honey runs a detective agency with her less interesting male friend, who there are appears to be a will they/won't they type of relationship (in the style of Remingston Steele). She drives a sports car (rather like Penelope Pitstop!) and she owns a pet ocelot called Bruce (the only detective to do so, to my knowledge).

I've just watched two episodes and so far her investigations seem to involve rescuing less feisty heiress and actresses from the evil schemes of men. Besides the ocelot, there is a good dose of quirkiness to the show, and some amusing dialogue such as when Honey was rescued by her male associate and she asks him how he knew where to find her, and he replies "I'd already looked everywhere else".
So its easy on the brain but sometimes that is good. It makes a change from the utter misery-fest of SVU.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Style File: NYPD Blue

Slowly working our way through the NYPD Blue back catalogue - currently on Season 2 and I feel I need to comment on the fashion style on the show.

Sipowicz may have been a style icon for a certain type of man. He is mentioned in the Simpson's when Marge tells Homer he shouldn't wear a tie with a short-sleeved shirt and he responds that Sipowicz does. In Seinfeld, George apparently has a picture of Sipowicz behind a door in his apartment. As I said, he inspires a certain type of man - stocky and fictional.

My main fashion interest in NYPD Blue lies elsewhere, with the glamorous secretary Donna Abandando. Her hair, make-up and demeanour are 1950s starlet, whereas her wardrobe is usually pure 80s (the show was filmed in the 90s). I look forward to each new episode to see what garish coloured knitwear or blouse she will be wearing.
Hers is not a look to be copied nor envied, but nonetheless it has a certain charm.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Song of the Week: Bruce Springsteen "Highway Patrolman"

The conflict between family ties and upholding the law beautifully illustrated in this album track from The Boss. In this song, the patrolman chooses his wayward brother over his duty as a lawman, in contrast to the response of most tv detectives, who more often than not turn in their own flesh and blood.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Familiar Names and Faces

My aunt dated a man called John Kelly for years. He was a committment-phobic window-cleaner with an idiot brother and mullet.

This association has coloured my perspective of the first series of NYPD Blue where the main character is called John Kelly. NYPD Blue's John Kelly is quite different from my aunt's John Kelly, although both seem to consider themselves a hit with the ladies, for reasons beyond my comprehension.

NYPD Blue's John Kelly is also played by David Caruso, never my favourite CSI actor. Here he is younger and more carrot-topped (all that Florida sunshine seems to have lightened his hair). He is less prone to staring off into the distance, but he still fails to charm me and everytime another character mentions his name, I expect my aunt's former beau to appear.

Still this isn't enough to spoil NYPD Blue for me. Dennis Franz as Sipowicz is a tour de force and the supporting characters of Martinez and Medavoy are great too. And whilst it is not quite in the same league as The Wire or Homocide, it has shocked me a few times, and there are 12 seasons of it, which should keep us occupied for some months to come.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Christmas Wishlist

It has now turned October. My sister contacted me weeks ago to ask what I want. So I feel justified in making my wishlist now.

1. Ironside Season 2 - this doesn't seem to be available over here yet though but Region 1 may do the job,

2. Kojak Season 1 - my sister has her name down to buy this.

3. Streets of San Francisco Season 1 - this is available cheaply so perhaps my other sister will oblige.

4. Life Season 2 - unhelpfully not released here until 28 December. A new year treat to myself perhaps.

5. Longstreet (the one about the blind detective) given a DVD release, please.

6. More George Gently, please BBC.

Slight Return of the Shouty Man

The previous series wasn't particularly good, so Waking Dead wasn't as much "must watch" as in the past, so I managed to miss the first two weeks of the new series. I may have missed out as the two stories I did see were rather good.

A A Gill praised Waking the Dead in the Sunday Times, mainly for the acting as he isn't keen on the gruesome murders, and I agree it does seem to have become increasingly and unncessarily gruesome. He described it as a British CSI which at first I would have contested, but on watching this latest series, I can see it has become more CSI like. Lots of dependence on science plus the beautifully dressed cast. You are investigating a brutal murder - surely one day you might come into the office in slighly creased clothes and not bother with lipstick?

Whilst the storylines were exciting, the two I saw both involved plots personally relating to members of the team, which added to the unbelievability of it. By the last one, Spence had had enough and transferred to CID, possibly to avoid it being his turn next. Who can blame him though - seven series of being yelled at? I wouldn't have lasted this long.

With the final episodes being called End Game, I presume we've seen the last of Boyd, Grace and co. Of course, I may find time to watch the episodes I missed on the BBC website, but I think it is probably time for them to call it a day. Future careers as models for Boden or Next could await them all.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The show must go on

Detectives have been on the back burner while I've settled into a new job. I've been comfort-watching The Wire and Homicide (perhaps rather gritty depressing shows for comfort-watching but I've seen them both before so don't require any great brainpower).

Earlier in the week, I caught an episode New Tricks. I haven't seen this for a while and am confused by the disappearnace of the character Jack (James Bolam). It has been alluded too but I suspect he isn't returning, which is a shame.

This particular episode was about the theatre. I nearly cried watching the episode. Not because of the murder or the human emotions. It was full of stereotypical luvvies and drama queens. But it made me miss my old job in the theatre industry.

I doubt there will be any detective shows set in the interesting world of third sector second-tier support organisations. Unless I've just spotted a gap in the market.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We're off to see the wizard...

We've started to watch Oz. Obviously a good decade after it was made, but since the sad demise of The Wire and the Sopranos (and even the timing-fillers Prison Break and The Shield), we need a new series to get our teeth into.

Oz has the immediate advantage of featuring loads of people we knew from elsewhere. So far, we've encountered Carmela from the Sopranos, Falsone from Homicide, Brodie from The Wire, the black guy from Ghostbusters and one of my favourite actors J K Simmons, who pops up in Law & Order as Dr Emil Skoda and is Juno's dad in Juno. Unfortunately, my nemesis B D Wong has also turned up, this time as a priest, but no less of a know-it-all than when he's playing a psychiatrist.

But overall. it is a great show. Very gritty and grisly - I could have done without seeing a completely burnt corpse. It has an interesting narration thing going on that might become irritating and I'm not sure is sustainable, but I'm looking forward to watching more of it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This week I recorded five episodes of Kojak and today, I set about watching them. They were all from Season 4, following on from the episode I watched last week.

10.00am: I start watching the first episode "Out of the Shadows". It is about a serial killer whose victims at first seem motiveless, but it turns out are all people who've ripped him off. We are shown a divorced man having a breakdown who may be the killer. The episode is good, but I still manage to leaf through the Guide and magazine sections of The Guardian. No sign of any lollypops or his catchphrase "Who loves ya, baby".

10.45am: I move straight onto the next installment, "A Need to Know". This is about a chauffeur for a foreign consulate who molests children in his spare time. The cops catch him leading another child away but then the FBI step in, declaring the man to have diplomatic immunity. Kojak and the Captain are enraged, and Det. Crocker still tails him. It turns out he is more than just a driver. Kojak calls the FBI agents "baby" in a less than respectful way and he produces a lollypop when he is trying to soothe a child, but the catchphrase isn't used.

I break off here to do some gardening for an hour or so, then have a shower and a spot of lunch.

1.45pm: I resume with "An Unfair Trade" which is about a cop shooting a Hispanic youth, and then coming up accusations of racism. Tired by the gardening, I lose concentration and fall asleep for a while.

On waking, I take a break from the marathon and watch a film instead. It is a romp from the 70s with Robin Asquith - its pretty awful. The OH, who is spending the day elsewhere watching cricket, texts to ask how much progress I've made.

4.30pm: Refreshed, I return to "An Unfair Trade". It really is very good - I'm impressed by the depth of characterisation they fit into an hour show and its ability to tackle the big issues. No lollypops here and still no catchphrase.

5.15pm: Moving onto "A Hair-Trigger Away" where another troubled cop (these seem to be a recurring theme) is on a one-man mission to ride the world of drug dealers, because his girlfriend is a heroin addict. Its all very overwrought, but the cop does have a great dinning room furniture set which looked like Eero Saarinen's Tulip table and chairs. The girlfriend is played in great thespian style by Lynn Redgrave. One of the crooks turns out to be Dominic Chianese, best known as Uncle Jun from the Sopranos, but I only find this out on IMDB afterwards and I've already deleted the episode so too late to check him out. A smattering of babies but no lollies. I'm beginning to think this catchphrase is a myth.

Another break, this time to watch the episode of Oz I fell asleep in last night (more on that separately). I make my supper (vegetable chilli if you are interested in such things) and then onto the final leg.

8:00pm: Last one of the day "By Silence Betrayed". The setting is the docks, rather similar to Season 2 of The Wire, which I'd re-watched earlier in the weeks. The dock workers operate a code of honour of standing together and not talking to the police, but they also live under the threat of violence from the gangster who they steal crates of cargo for. The episode features a big slow-witted guy who talked about seagulls in a way Eric Cantona would have admired. It all ended badly. Actually a lot of the episodes end rather bleakly. I'm wondering whether watching so many in a row is a good idea.

So that is the Kojak-athon complete. One lolly, fair use of the word "baby", but I've given up on the catchphrase.

There are another five episodes next week, but I think I'll spread them out a bit more.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Grey Day = Tea + Detectives

Summer has retreated, leaving in its wake a grey day that isn't fit anything other than drinking tea and watching television. Luckily I had a couple of programmes put aside for a rainy day.

Quincy - an episode that took the classic murder-mystery formula of a group of people all with one thing in common, gathered in a remote house, with a murderer killing them one at a time. Quincy was there with his new wife (I had no idea) and the others were judges, a detective and a lawyer, who had all been involved in a fraud/murder case. The convict had escaped prison and here will all of the people who helped put him away, gathered in one place. There was also a mute servant, who I misssed the significance of, having missed the first five minutes of the show, but who was shown to look guilty/spooky/shifty at every opportunity, but turned out to be completely blameless and unconnected.

Dempsey and Makespeace - Makespeace is gorgeous, Dempsey is gorgeous. Everything and everyone else is drab. Its no wonder they fall for each other. Even the woman Dempsey describes as a fox in this episode is lacklustre. London is grey rather like today. I suppose England was like that in the 80s, in Thatcher's Britain, although the drabness is probably more a reflection on the production methods, lighting and actual weather than a political statement. The music however is rather exciting. It chimes in forcefully at the chase sequences just in case you hadn't noticed they were supposed to be thrilling. The plot was something to do with a right-wing group trying to overthrow the Government by hyper-inflation, but it didn't have much depth and is merely a backdrop to the simmering chemistry between the two leads.

Kojak - The episode was entitled "A Summer Madness" and all the characters sweated their way through the episode. In just an hour, it managed to create a drama with impact and believeability. It featured a troubled cop, his wife driven made through grief, a murdered lover and a junkie musician, set against the sweltering heat of New York in the summer. This was great stuff. Ultimately depressing, but excellently done, rather like Ironside. I'm hunting through the schedule for more, otherwise this may be next on my "To Buy" list.

Monday, July 06, 2009

RIP Karl Malden

This blog is in danger of becoming "Burying the Detectives" as another star died this week, The Streets of San Francisco star, Karl Malden.

Not quite as sad as Fawcett's death as Malden did make it to a ripe old age, but a shame nonetheless. I thought one of the cable channels may have dug out a few episodes of The Streets of San Francisco in tribute to him, but none here had, so I was forced to just watch two poor episodes of Murder She Wrote yesterday, which was no kind of tribute to anyone.

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Farrah Fawcett

Somewhat overshadowed by the news of Michael Jackson's death, I was saddened by the news of Farrah Fawcett's death. Although she wasn't my favourite Angel and I never wanted her iconic haircut, I only liked the show when she was in it.

Here is the opening credits from the pilot episode.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Goodbye The Shield, Goodbye Prison Break

So two series that I've watched in their entirety have come to a close.

First, The Shield. My love-hate relationship with Vic Mackay and his gang has been well documented. The very end of the penultimate episode knocked me for six and I began to think that perhaps I'd been too harsh about the show, but then the finale was the rubbish I've come to expect.

I was hoping that there would be some loophole that would allow Vic to be jailed afterall or that some angry gang-banger would blow him away. But no, Vic's punishment for countless murders and single-handedly raising the crime rate of LA, was a desk job. It ended with him in agony because he was not longer out the streets, banging heads. Were we suppose to pity him or feel that this was the worst punishment for him? I struggled to believe it was worse than the fates of the rest of the strike team; murdered by your own colleague (Lem), blowing your own brains out after killing your pregnant wife and child (Shane) or jailed for all eternity for just going along for the ride (Ronnie).

I worry too that without Vic behind bars or in the ground, the makers may reconsider and bring him back.

Then Prison Break ended. A good few series after it should have. I only continued to watch because of my crush on Mahone. The final episode was the usual rush of meaningless excitement with the rather naff ploy of bringing back some old favourites, ignoring little details like the fact that they were supposed to be dead. So it all ends nicely with things cleared up, then Michael's nose starts to bleed again. I thought the Company used advanced technology to fix his brain bug but clearly it didn't work, making me wonder just how powerful they were afterall. The implication being that he doesn't have long to live. I had time for a quick cry (it was largely hormonal although it did seem incredibly mean that he'd gone through all that to be killed off) and then it cut to his gravestone, to help anyone for whom the gushing nose was too subtle a clue.

But there is an epilogue to this ending. Prison Break the Final Break (or something equally silly). A one-off special that filled in the time between that nosebleed and the tombstone. This was dross. Perhaps if we'd had a break of a few months and had time to miss the programme, we might have enjoyed it more, but watched so soon after the "real" ending, it was pointless. But at least I know this one is over for good.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The end is nigh

The pennultimate episode of The Shield. It continued in much the same way as the rest of the show; lots of unintelligable shouting, running about, rubbish dialogue, and below par acting.

The theme that had been developing over the past few episodes that I'd dubbed "At home with the Vendrells" finally made sense. We had endured multiple scenes of red neck racist thug Shane and his money-grabbing wife enjoying tender moments of domestic life whilst on the run, committing murders and robberies in front of their infant child, at the same time worrying about his future. I struggled to care about their fate. They have not been sympathetic characters and seeing them gather around a piano in a house they've broken into, isn't going to change that for me.

But then we had the pay-off for this.

(don't read ahead if you haven't seen it yet and intend to watch it)

Shane blowing his brains out, then the discovery of his wife and son dead, laid out on the bed, her with flowers in her hands, the son with a toy that we'd seen Shane purchase earlier.

It shocked me and I will admit almost brought me to tears.

And I think this may crystalise my problem with The Shield. It isn't all bad. Sometimes it is very good. It had the potential to be really great television, but mostly it squandered that in a chase for cheap thrills and ratings.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I caught one of the Law & Order meets Homicide Life on the Streets crossover episodes the last night. A woman living in Baltimore was murdered and her body dumped in New York which brought together the two squads. And gave the writers a great excuse to bring together Det John Munch with Det Lennie Briscoe, two of my favourite ever characters. The old hands paired off leading to some great banter for example discussing the victim:

Munch: She was a blonde
Briscoe: Top and bottom
Munch: That's what I like about you. You're succinct.

Even minor characters joined in. The investigation takes them to a lesbian bar:

Munch: I never believe a woman is a lesbian until she has personally rejected me.
Female in bar: You must know a lot of lesbians.

Det Rey Curtis was left to partner Det Rene Sheppard, who didn't seem pleased about it.

Curtis: Last time I was with Falsone. This is an improvement
Sheppard: You think?
Curtis: You're taller at least.

Unfortunately the screen chemistry was ruined when it moved over the lawyers section with Sam Waterstone draining the episode of any interest, but it was brilliant while it lasted.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

What I've Been Watching

Life has been getting in the way of my detective viewing, so apologies for not posting for ages.

I've been working my way through the Morse box set. I think I have watched most of it, although I have been watching them in bed late at night so keep falling asleep in the conclusions. The only full episodes I've not watched are the one where Morse thinks the Masons are out to get him (seen it loads of times), the one where there hasn't been a murder at all and the supposed victim is wearing a face mask (sorry if that ruins an episode for someone, but frankly it was nonsense) and the final episode "Remorseful Day" which I'm avoiding until I feel in the mood for uncontrollable weeping.

We are continuing with The Shield, which is drawing to a gripping and no doubt overblown finale. I still hate it but it will still leave a void in my life when it is over. So if anyone can recommend something else implausible with badly written dialogue to take its place, I'd be interested. Actually, I've just remembered that Prison Break is back on so that will fit the bill nicely.

For a bit of variety last weekend I watched a pair of Mary Higgins Clark Mysteries, dubious television movies, featuring plucky heroines (one was owned a wine company, the other was Clint Eastwood's daughter). They were rather silly, but there are worse ways to spend a Bank Holiday.

Song of the Week: "Midnight on the Murder Mile" by Carter USM

I thought this feature had died (a natural death, it wasn't murdered) as I'd ran out of appropriate songs. Then last night the OH and I were discussing The Kills and their song "The Murder Mile", and he mentioned the Carter song of a similar title.

Most of the songs I've featured have been ones I've liked. I was never a big Carter fan myself, but I will dedicate this to my OH and revive this feature.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PhotoFit Up

Just about made it through two episodes of The Shield.

A photofit of two criminals (I'd lost track of what they'd done) looked just like the comedy duo Mitchell and Webb.

This was the highlight

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm Listening

Not another Frasier detective episode. That may have been preferable to this new show, "The Listener".

The lead character is psychic. He can read minds. He listens in on people's thoughts. Hence the title. When we join him this power has just become stronger and for the first time he finds himself caught up in a crime because of his gift, and then uses the power to solve it.

I didn't like it. Even though he was using his power for good, there was something rather creepy about The Listener. There is a back story about his past which is also starting to come back to him and would potentially be interesting if I didn't find him so creepy. He has a mentor the only person who knows about his secret skill. I don't know if we are supposed to not trust this guy, but frankly I don't. He is even more shifty than The Listener.

There were two women characters who look like being regulars; a police detective and a doctor. Neither looks old enough to be doing their jobs and both were inexplicably angry. And they didn't even know that this guy was listening to their thoughts.

I just don't think I need another show about a psychic. Medium covers pretty much the same ground but in a somehow more sympathetic way. And then Psych pretends to the same powers but isn't a creepy weirdo.

Not one I'll be watching (or listening to) again.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

In the Criminal Justice System, there are two...

The big news in the world of tv detectives this week was the start of Law and Order UK. The Dick Wolf franchise has come to ITV.

The introduction is the same. The format is the same. The incidental music is the same. The setting is London.

The episode opened strongly with two security guards finding what they think is a suspect package. They open it, and recoil in shock. It is then revealed to be the body of a baby.

The rest of the episode failed to live up to this dramatic start. Mostly due to the casting.

The cops are played by Bradley Walsh (hard to take him seriously, he's no Jerry Orbach) and Jamie Bamber (easy on the eye, but fancies himself so much he looks like he is fighting the urge not to eat himself). The lawyers aren't much better; Freema Agyeman never convincing although hampered by some awful dialogue and Ben Daniels being too reserved to ever excite much drama. Bill Paterson is the only one worth watching, excellent as ever.

The story unfolded quite predictably but then I suspect I may have seen the original episode on which it was based. Which is my problem with the show on the whole. I don't see what the point of it is. I'd rather watch the original. But if you don't have access to Channel 5 or the Hallmark Channel where Law & Order is shown, then I suppose you could do worse than Law and Order: UK.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Begining of the end: The Shield

The Shield Season 7 is showing on television, which I should be grateful for as it has saved us spending money on it. This is to be the final season, bringing to an end my love-hate relationship with the show.

It was business as usual with the first episode with all of its hallmarks present and correct:

  • Gratuitous violence – Vic poking someone in a bullet wound with his gun and gang members with limbs hacked off.
  • Ridiculous Dialogue – “We need to make the Armenians think the Mexicans are the worst thing since the Turks”
  • Vic and co creating more crime than they are preventing - (see above)
  • Stellar bad acting from Vic (Chiklis) – worse than the dialogue are his angry silent pouts.
  • A sub-plot involving Dutch that is much more interesting than the main part of the show - great story involving an old case and Billing's suing the department.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What I'll be watching

The OH bought me The Complete Morse on DVD for my birthday.

So that is my viewing taken care of for the foreseeable future!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fair Cops

So which television detective do you fancy? Its a puerile question, but one that I've been pondering a while.

Here are my top 6 (I did have five but I thought of someone else!) that I wouldn't mind being hand-cuffed to! Be warned I have strange taste.

6. Jeff Randall in Randall & Hopkirk Deceased (Mike Pratt)
His partner may be the more traditionally good-looking, but there is something about Randall's craggy face that I find attractive. I also love his 60s bachelor pad. He's the one not wearing a white suit, in case you don't know.

5. Rebus (John Hannah)
John Hannah era only. Ken Stott is a good actor, but even I'm not going there. I think the Scottish accent holds a lot of the appeal.

4. Shaun in Psych (James Roday)
I've actually checked and in real life he is only a year younger than me (I thought he was a lot younger), so I don't feel so bad about fancying him. I find him very funny, which is probably much of the appeal, but he has a nice line in t-shirts too.

3. Mike Kellerman in Homocide Life on the Streets
I've already rambled about this before. He lunges from one crisis to another, completely out of control, but I like that.

2. Sgt Ed Brown in Ironside (Don Galloway)
Not my type in real life as he looks like he's stepped out of a catelogue but ridiculously good looking.

1. Sam in Life on Mars (John Simm)
I've alway liked John Simm, but put him in 1970s clothes, and its even better.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Style File: Jeanie Hopkirk

The biggest influence on my clothes at the moment isn't a celebrity, model or designer. It is the character Jeanie Hopkirk in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). I've always loved the fashions of the Sixties, but Jeanie Randall is a weekly reminder why.

She wears a fantastic mixture of shift dresses, mini dresses, pussy bow blouses and cute macs. She has great hair and make-up too. Perhaps a little too fond of lime green, but she can carry it off. Obviously it helps that she is played by the beautiful Annette Andre.

Today she wore this outfit with the amazing headscarf. Sometimes the storylines might get a bit predictable, but Jeanie's wardrobe is always worth watching for.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Found It! Longstreet

A while ago I came across a series called Longstreet in a book I was reading about a blind detective from the 1970s. It isn't available on DVD but I've found some clips from an episode on Youtube.

It is an episode called "The Way of the Intercepting Fist" which stars Bruce Lee, hence its popularity on the web. Here is an extract. The whole of this episode is online but broken up into YouTube sized chunks, but I will watch it all at some point soon.

Song of the Week: "Theme from Ironside2 by Quincy Jones

There hasn't been a song of the week for a long time. This week is can only be one thing, the theme from Quincy.

I usually avoid just doing theme tunes, but I've pretty much ran out of other tenously connected songs, and this one is by the legendary Quincy Jones so I think deserves its place here.

It is a great dramatic opening to the show and the theme is then reprised through the episodes in different forms to indicate the mood. I do love it but ten episodes into the boxset, it is beginnign to grate on me slightly.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hometown Detective

Imagine my surprise when I turned over to watch George Gently and saw the name of my hometown appear as the caption for the episode. South Shields, 1968.

I've never seen a detective programme set in my home town before. It was most strange. It was about racism with locals and immigrants from the Yemen (my town was also the site of the first UK race riots - not something they put in the tourist brochures). The episode featured a seedy bar on the beach called The Shoreline, which I was sure was a real place and having checked with my mother, it was. She went there once, thought she was too good for the place and then tripped on the step on the way out.

I guessed what was going on quite quickly, rather ruining the plot for myself, but I still enjoyed the episode. I'm a big fan of Lee Ingleby, who plays the sidekick, Bacchus.

I wondered if every episode would be set in "canny auld Shields" as it is often referred to up there, so investigated further. It turns out that the series is set in Northumberland (except obviously this episode as South Shields is not in Northumberland at all), but is based on books set in East Anglia (where I went to university coincidentally), but is filmed in Ireland. So it wasn't probably wasn't South Shields afterall, but it looked just like it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Old Beginnings

In the last week I've seen the pilot episodes of two shows. Unfortunately they aren't the discovery of new shows, but just that I've finally seen how two old favourites began.

I was given the boxset of the first series of Ironside for Christmas (hurray!) which begins with a feature length pilot episode which shows Ironside receiving the gunshot injury that leds to him being in a wheelchair. I had assumed that much of Ironside's tough-talking cynicism came from being disabled, but this episode showed that the pre-shooting Ironside was much the same. He gave a great welcome to new recruits to the police force that told them they'd either be corrupt or assumed to be corrupt, and unappreciated until they were shot in the line of duty. He gave the nun nurses in hospital a hard time, he gave his colleagues a hard time and then he caught the person who shot him.

ITV4 continues to show no logic in how it shows Randall & Hopkirk Deceased and completely out of sync throw in the original pilot episode in the middle of the series. Whereas Ironside was disabled, the first episode here shows how Marty Hopkirk ended up dead and wearing a white suit. Marty is killed in what appears at first to be a hit and run, but he returns to haunt Jeff to tell him that it was murder. It is a great introduction to the premise of the series, that would have been better had it been shown at the start of the series!