October 17th, 2008

Not bad at all

Don't watch that, watch this...

Is it just me, or is there quite a lot of decent telly on at the moment? Whatever it is, it makes a refreshing change. Here's a round-up of what's been keeping me glued to the sofa lately.


Merlin
This is my latest guilty pleasure, and by the looks of my f-list, I am not the only one to be enamoured of its winsome charms.

Yeah, I know, it's not an accurate representation of medieval Britain, but it's not meant to be: it's handwavily set in the magical land of Albion, thus excusing pretty much everything from dragons to luxuriant hairdos. I'm also quite happy with it being a newfangled rehash rather than a telling of the original legend, because hey, I know the classic plot inside and out, but I don't know how this one is going to pan out. And the individual storylines are tackled in a refreshingly straightforward manner, without the rather smug wink-winkiness that prevented me from getting into Robin Hood.

Add to this the lovely scenery (I was delighted to find that Camelot is a real place and not just CGI!), the pretty young men (clearly designed to make me feel like a pervy old lady, hem hem), and the geek-pleasing supporting cast (Giles with a crown on!), and there's plenty to fill your teatime viewing. As for the blatant slashworthiness of the whole endeavour, any gags I could make about being in love with your manservant are rendered superfluous by such on-screen shenanigans as Collapse ).

I'm still waiting for the female characters to get up and properly do something, rather than just fretting about the boys, but my undemanding inner teenager remains extremely entertained. So much so, in fact, that Merlin mini-icons should be coming this way shortly. Watch this space...


Heroes
I am aware that there's been a certain amount of fannish whining over season 3 of Heroes, but I don't care, because I am loving it. The more it becomes a ridiculous superpowered soap opera, the better it gets, in my book, and every source of escalating silliness so far has only made me squeal louder with glee.

I was particularly delighted with Collapse ) Then they went and hit me with Collapse ) Overall, I'm having a whale of a time, and only hope that the rest of this volume can keep up the cracking (and cracky) work.


Last Man Standing
I adored the first series of this, and now it's back, hooray! For the uninitiated among you, it's rather like a cross between Bruce Parry's Tribe and Gladiators. Six young men (three British, three American), with impressive athletic credentials and endearingly overblown senses of their own importance, get to travel the world, meeting fascinating people and taking part in a series of extreme tribal sports, which range from "difficult and painful" to "really quite amazingly difficult and painful".

The Richard Hammond voiceover from series 1 is now gone, to be replaced by Ralf Little, but all of the other elements are present and correct. The fascinating details of world culture. The people hitting each other very hard with big sticks. The slightly gruesome bits when they have to eat goat's testicles or be made to bleed copiously because it's manly (or because the producers think it's good telly). The amusement value of rather poe-faced "this is EXTREME, man! We are totally going to BRING IT!" guys having the piss taken out of them by local four-year-olds and passing old ladies who mock their lack of elite fighting skills. The heartwarming moments when they bond with their tribal hosts, as they often do. The half-naked muscular men rolling about in mud. I have no interest in sport, and I'm also quite squeamish, but I'm totally gripped. Give it a try if you've got BBC3 -- you never know, you might enjoy it.