Archive for Caprica

The Pie Man Television awards 2011

Posted in BBC, Being Human, Caprica, Channel 4, Chuck, Dr Who, Game of Thrones, James May, Misfits, Outcasts, Sky, Stargate Universe, Torchwood with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by pieman70

Hey you thought I’d forgotten, about the TV awards or the blog, or both, you decide.  I sometimes wonder if I should keep doing this since it’s more than likely that In the Night Garden or Rastamouse will eventually feature, since they dominate what’s on my TV at home at the moment.  Saying that there was a particularly good episode of Octonauts that…

Sorry, will carry on, as always, I will not shy away from spoilers so if you don’t want to know the results, look away….. Now.

Its not that the pickings have been sparse this year, although there is definitely less TV I like going around, I’m also scuppered by opportunity.  I never managed to catch Fringe, Eureka or Warehouse 13 which is a shame as these seem pretty good and are propping up the schedules nicely.  On the other scale Sky graveyarded the last series of Caprica and were damn late with SGU.  Oh well, let’s see how I do.

 

Best TV show.

There were some obvious ones to go for here.  In my view Stargate universe gave a good last season, Misfits Season 2 was worth watching as well we also had The Walking Dead and since I have decided to give everyone else a chance and give Game of Thrones the Best new Show.  Still, Misfits made a good effort and Being Human was damned close, however the winner is.

Doctor Who

The latest season of Dr Who has divided fans, critics and commentators.  Critics say it’s too complex and confusing.  The split season lost momentum and they dislike the cast.  I disagree

This season wrapped up the River Song arc, finally explaining her origin and relationship to the Doctor.  While not straight forward I would dispute confusing.  It’s a bit of a no-win scenario, you make things too simple and people criticise for being simplistic, add in an arc and some more complicated plot elements and it’s over complicated.

In this series, when episodes have been strong, they’ve been really strong.  The opening 2 parter had mystery, excitement and a real epic scale (The filming in the US really paid off) Similarly Epic were “A Good Man goes to War” and “The Wedding of River Song” and it contained the knockabout fun and breakneck pace of stories like “Let’s kill Hitler”  There were also some good character pieces like Neil Gaiman’s “The Doctor’s Wife” and “The Girl who Waited” overall quality was high and while some episodes didn’t quite make the grade, for example “The Curse of the Black spot” was disappointing and the “Rebel Flesh” 2 part story suffered from padding. (Although I suspect if it had been cut to one episode it would have seemed rushed)

The finale had a slight feel of Deus Ex Machina to it, and indeed was guessed by some fans but has left us with the rather nice idea that the whole Universe thinks the Doctor is dead.  A good way of undoing the slightly tired plot device of the Doctor turning up and basically saying “I’m the doctor, Boo” to scare off his enemies.

Cast wise, Matt smith does well, although is occasionally written too close to Tennant for my liking.  Amy has annoyed less now that they’ve finally dropped her lusting after the Doctor and Rory has been a real standout, definitely my favourite of the two companions.  Alex Kingston put in a great turn as the many personalities of River Song, clearly enjoying playing the younger evil version of herself.  She’s a bit of a divisive character but I liked her.

So, hopefully we’ll have something next year, Due to the Unique way the Tories are trying to shaft the BBC we’ll see what we get.

 

Best New Show.

Ok, I won’t pre-amble too much.  While picking were thin I still caught some new stuff, and any other year the Walking Dead would have walked this, however in order to talk about more than one show, this got best new show..

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is a stunning example of what Commercial stations should be doing and the risks they should be taking.  It adapts the first of George RR Martin’s dense and complex “Song of Ice and Fire” series of books and does a grand job.  There are so many places they could have gone wrong, as it’s short on action but long on talk they could have cut the lavish production values, they didn’t.  They might have thought to add in a bit more action and less talking, they didn’t, and they might have shied away from killing their biggest name actor and the guy on all the posters a few episodes from the end of the series.  Again, they didn’t.  Why other networks don’t take risks like this is beyond me.

Sean bean plays Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, who is recruited by the King of the seven kingdoms to the job of Kings Hand after the previous hand dies in mysterious circumstances.  Meanwhile the two remaining children of the deposed house Targaryan plot to return to Westeros and take back their kingdom.

I can’t praise this series enough.  However extra credit has to go to the Actors.  Sean bean gives his usual gruff performance but never drifts too far into Boromir or Richard Sharpe.  However the real praise has to go to Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, also known as the Imp.  He doesn’t just steal every scene he’s in; he takes it over, as if it was always his.  It helps that Tyrion is one of the more interesting characters from the books but Dinklage really deserves every scrap of credit he gets for this role.  Jack Gleeson also deserves credit for his portrayal of the heir Prince Joffrey Baratheon.  He is either a hugely dislikeable person in real life or a fantastic actor.  I would prefer it to be the latter.

I could go on, there are lovely touches, take the opening credits, an animated map shows you key locations of Westeros, adding some such as the Aerie and the Twins as they feature, shows a pictorial representation of the Rise and fall of house targaryan and the extra touch of having the sigil of their house next to the names of each cast member.  The only downside it that it has set a very high bar for any other fantasy series to meet.  Camelot has been the first to fall well short on just about every level.

 

Best Finale

This was a tough one, which season ended on an absolute high?  Tempting to add Being Human again but there were other stronger contenders.  Chuck was close on this as well, however the winner is

Being Human

Being Human was one of the absolute standouts this year, managing to outdo last year’s spectacular season.  Due to the events of last season our spooky trio have moved to Wales and taken up residence in an old B&B.  It was a nice touch that, quite realistically much of the season looked at the aftermath of Mitchell “Falling off the wagon” surprisingly enough the police tend to keep looking when a trainload of people are killed.  This combined with the return of Herrick from S1, Werewolf fights and a zombie made for an interesting series.

The finale had the events of the Box Tunnel massacre finally catch up to Mitchell, all the pieces set up through the season fall into place.  Herrick finally recovers his memory and naturally goes on a rampage, mysterious vampiric agents shut down the Box tunnel investigation and Mitchell is arrested and photographed.  By the end the final scene with Mitchell choosing to have George kill him rather than be turned into an agent for said vampires was touching.  Overall a great end to a good series.

Most Improved Show,

.Again, a tough call, more so because many shows didn’t so much improve as maintain the level of quality.  However, I reckon the prize has to go to

Stargate Universe

Is this the second season?  Was it just season 1A?  Sky 1’s dubious scheduling has me all ahoo.  Anyway, this season solved a lot of its normal problems.  They had a greater sense of peril and more action, but thankfully without sacrificing character and plot.  There was some neat use of Time travel, which lead to arguably one of the series most satisfying stories, finding the lost civilisation of their own ancestors, similar to an old DS9 story but taken to extremes.

The robot drones made a good enemy, really making the crew of the destiny seem trapped and outgunned.

Finally, the ending, yes it ended on a cliff-hanger, and arguably a small, low key affair, but again, I rather liked it.

 

Most Gratuitous T&A in a series

So many contenders this year.  Camelot, from what I saw was trying for a Spartacus’s crown but forgot to add the decent plotting, instead just dubious use of T&A.  Similarly Game of Thrones proved that to be an HBO TV series you have to allow nudity and sex.  Indeed one of my only criticisms was that on occasions it was pretty unnecessary (Even, Gratuitous?  Quiet inside voice) However, the winner managed to win without showing actual sex or nudity.  The winner is

Chuck

Chuck may nab a second award, but, as in all seasons, chuck has several goals.  Amongst entertainment, Genre references, fun and action it also requires to have Sarah either appear in underwear/bikini or dress up in a slinky outfit at least every other episode or more.  It’s the best sort of gratuitous; it’s gratuitous with a self referential mocking nod.  I expect the next season to have Sarah dress up as a Nurse, French Maid, Policewoman and air hostess all in one episode, with added sarcastic comments

Best Factual series

Sadly I’ve not been watching as much factual TV, unless you count Aunt Mabel telling me how we get Marmalade in “Come Outside” or Katie Ashworth explaining where cheese comes from in “I can Cook” (For those without kids, these are kids shows, I long for when they want to watch Horrible histories) and sadly I missed Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe, however there was a particularly good factual series I did catch.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

Phew, clunky title, not exactly tripping off the tongue, but a fascinating look into the way machines have affected our lives and how we perceive and interpret the world around us.  It looked at those who believed we could have leaderless utopias or self regulating ecosystems and indeed critiqued some of these ideas or showed where things went wrong.  Deep, challenging and eye opening.

 

Best Entertainment Factual

This award almost has a usual suspects list, Mythbusters, Top Gear and something with James May, however the addition this year was Channel 4’s 10 O’clock Live, which I still intend to blog about.  Sadly it didn’t win, nope it’s that James May again.

James May’s Man Lab

In this series James May explores “Manly Pursuits” From building bars to serenading women.  It’s a bit like the sort of disposable “Man skills” or Dangerous book for buys” stuff you might get for Xmas made into a TV series.  But it works.

The show covers a wide variety of subjects.  The less than instructional DIY segments, combined with on once occasion cookery, are performed in the “Man Lab” which they actually build around themselves as the series progresses, installing a kitchen and bar.  Outside bigger tasks are attempted such as bomb disposal, rescuing someone from a beach or serenading a woman.  There was an extra feature (Sadly not carried to the second season) where a celebrity man had to perform a “Man task” against the clock, such as assembling IKEA furniture or changing a tyre.  Overall fun, informative and very watchable.

 

Best UK Network/Channel

Have clearly been responding to criticism that they just buy the best shows by making more of their own output this year.  However, so far it’s been fairly forgettable.  Their placing of all of HBO’s output on Sky Atlantic could have qualified them for this award but you’ll see in the next award why not.  In the definite running was Channel 4, who do seem to be trying new and better things since they axed Big Brother.  I’ll mention Channel 5 as well for not being too proud to buy up second showings of walking dead (Other free view channels should follow this lead) however, looking at the awards so far is it any wonder the winner is

The BBC

Good gods they’re not perfect, budget shenanigans, the infamous wondering timeslot and good old fashioned graveyarding aside they have produced the Best TV this year outside of HBO (And much of their work stands well alongside that) Yes, we had misfires (Outcasts) But they are trailblazing in nearly every field, Documentary, Comedy, Drama, Kids, at the moment the beeb does it better.

Sadly how long it will last is questionable, the budget has been cut in real terms with the govt freezing the license fee and dumping the world service on to the BBC’s books.  They are cutting down many cheap daytime programmes, but the problem with cutting something cheap is it inevitably only saves a little money.  We already know Dr Who is taking a hit, and with Spooks and Hustle finishing its doubtful any replacement will have the same money behind it.  Similarly there will be less money for expensive experiments like Outcasts.  Overall, we could be in for some lean times from Auntie

 

The Pirate Bay Award for services to Bit-Torrent

I changed this award last year because so many networks were doing well. Sadly a network that was the trailblazer against using Bit-torrent has now fallen afoul.  Yes the winner is

Sky

Sky made a number of slipups.  Now it is fair that Anytime isn’t free to all, although if you can get sky channels (Say with Virgin) its not unreasonable to want to use their on demand service for what you pay for, but no matter (Virgin would do the same if they owned any channels) however Sky made a couple of big mistakes this year.  First was Sky Atlantic, in principle a very good idea, buy all of HBO’s output and bung it on a new channel.  New series even premiered near the US airdate.  What’s the problem, it was Sky subscribers only.  N matter how much you pay you can not get Sky Atlantic on Virgin.  Some said this was a clever way to drive people to Sky but those people seem ignorant of the advent of the Internet.  I wouldn’t expect Atlantic to be free to non sky subscribers like sky 1 and Living are, but to take it completely off?  You might as well say “Just Torrent the damn thing”

Second problem, Sky have been jigging around the channels a bit.  Part of it is to make more sense, Sky 1 will be mostly their own output, Living will be imported shows not from HBO like Chuck, and Atlantic covers US imports (mainly HBO) but sadly this has meant delays to the start of some series, such as Chuck.  As anyone knows, delay too long from the US and once again people go to torrents.

Finally, their poor treatment of Stargate Universe and Caprica.  Ok they knew both were axed, but universe returned with little fanfare and Caprica was Graveyarded.  Both were shown significantly later than their US counterparts as well.

Overall these 3 mistakes have meant more bit-torrenting and lower ratings for Sky.  Hopefully they’ll improve things by the next awards

Only the Good Die young award.

Not too much for the axe to fall on this year, but it claimed a few scalps.  I was going to give this to Caprica, but I’m still debating the Good part of that.  No the award has to go to

Stargate Universe

Ok, it was a massive diversion from the parent show, but it had found its feet and was growing well.  Sadly as far as we know destiny is drifting between universes for all eternity, or until someone stumps up the money for a TV Movie.

Never given a proper chance award

Well, it wasn’t SGU, so it had to be

Caprica

Now, Caprica, for the most part hadn’t impressed me.  But it had potential, and S2 was gaining momentum.  However a graveyard slot by sky made watching difficult and its axing means we’ll only know where it was going by a quick summary at the end.  A shame because done correctly we could have been into S3 Caprica now ready to segway into the proposed Cylon war series.  Sadly it was just too different to Galactica

The Reilly 2040 worst padding award

Again, not been too bad this year, more sires are avoiding padding and getting to the point.  However, there was one culprit.

Torchwood: Miracle Day

This US/UK co-production saw a world where nobody died.  Interesting concept, shame they padded out the series so much.  It left the view of a series that had would pick up pace.  “Now we’re getting somewhere” you’d think then next thing you know we’re plodding again.  Probably not as poor as Series 1 torchwood but this bloated beast was no match for S2 let alone the excellent “Children of Earth”

Pie Man Special Award

In an effort not to make this the Special award for Chuck, it has been disqualified from the special award this year leaving room for

Misfits

The second season of Channel 4’s anarchic Super-hero comedy/drama really went from strength to strength.  While still remaining largely episodic there were some interesting stories carrying through, such as the Superhoodie reveal, in general though past episodes are referenced more than anything.  It almost became a running joke that Nathan, now immortal, is killed once an episode but it was done with such a sense of fun you knew it was a running joke.  An underrated addition was the new probation worker (No 3) who in contrast to the past two is simply uninterested, presumably why he has survived significantly longer than the other two.  For a comedy Misfits manages some Pathos, Alisha’s relationship with Simon/Supherhoodie is well played and there is occasionally some real pathos (Kelly and the gorilla for example) The series finale has a suitably apocalyptic feel where the Asbo 5 reveal themselves to the public and face off against a guy who can telekinetically manipulate dairy products.  Yes you knew Curtis’ time jump power would undo everything but seeing a previously unknown Lactose intolerance used as a Deus Ex Machina is something that only happens in Misfits.

Next series is interesting (I’ve seen it, it’s been on already) using the idea of Seth the power broker from the Xmas special to mix up the powers a bit.  The series will also be surviving without Nathan, but I’m less worried since he was often used as a comedic crutch by the writers.

Worst Treatment of a series

Will keep this short because it’s the same complaint as last year,

The BBC

Ok, let’s nail this down.  Dr Who is a flagship show, one of your biggest ratings hits.  Is it really that hard to set aside the same slot every week for the run of the series?  How hard can it actually be, make up a damn schedule.

Biggest Missed opportunity

Again, no pre-amble here, the culprit was obvious

Outcasts

I wanted to like Outcasts, Original British Hard SF drama, high production values; it’s what we’ve been asking for.  I blogged about this a while ago and it still annoys me.  Hackneyed old SF plots, unengaging characters and a feeling that the writers had no idea what they were doing.  They could have done so much better.  At least it wasn’t the Deep

 

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