Archive for The Deep

The Pie Man Television awards 2010

Posted in Ashes to Ashes, BBC, Being Human, Channel 4, Chuck, Defying Gravity, Dr Who, Heroes, James May, Lost, Misfits, Reaper, Sherlock, Sky, Sparticus, Stargate Universe, The Deep, TV, Virgin 1, Wonders of the Solar System with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2010 by pieman70

Ok it’s a bit late, but since the US is slowly disbanding the traditional dates of seasons it has meant that I have had to wait a bit before really trying to pull together last years TV, so technically this covers late 2009 as well, basically think of it as covering any TV that was made after last years television awards.  As always there is an SF bent to proceedings, and this year things are a bit sparse, not because of a lack of new shows, although there is a bit of that, but because with me now having a family I just can’t log the hours of TV I once managed.  So, arbitrary awards ahoy.  As always this will be littered with spoilers, spelling errors, bad grammar and generally poor quality writing, proceed if you dare.

Best TV show.

This one was tough, although truth be told the US isn’t nearly pulling its weight like it once was.  So what did we have, well there are many shows I liked, but how many would I actually judge as “best?” Ashes to Ashes was definitely good in its final season, Stargate Universe has become must watch TV even if it took me a while to get into my head that it wasn’t like the last two Stargate series, Lost had a great final season, Being Human S2 was great and of course we had the two masterful newcomers in Misfits and Sherlock which nearly qualified for best show on their first years.  Instead I’m going with…

It’s a bit of a hard one to judge, see if I have my timeframes right, and if I don’t tough, my 09/10 period catches 3 of the specials and the new series, so I’m spoiled for choice.  I know the specials weren’t as well received by everyone, although there is very little hate for Waters of Mars the Xmas and New year end of time 2 parter has taken a lot of flack.  It was a little flawed and very overindulgent in its last act, but it was a goodbye to the team that have brought our show back, and for that I can forgive anything, I cried manly tears.  Then we have the new series with Steven Moffat at the helm and Matt Smith and Karen Gillen playing the Doctor and Amy Pond, and you know what, its different, but Matt Smith has definitely taken to the role like a duck to water meanwhile the feel of the show is different but also much fresher, perhaps a little more kiddie friendly as well which is no bad thing, it is a family show.  The standout episode of the series was “Vincent and the Doctor” but credit where credit is due, the final 2 parter was great, with a mix of action, drama and comedy.  In fact that could be said of the whole series.  Downsides are the iDaleks and a slightly off 2 parter featuring sort of Silurians but in general I wait with baited breath for the Xmas special.

Best New Show.

Again, a little spoiled for choice, and again very much dominated by British TV, obviously Stargate Universe is an option, and I’d even consider Caprica, although I have to confess that I gave up half way through and came back at the end, none the less, while it took its sweet time to get going I was warming to it.  Truth be told it was very nearly Misfits, Channel 4’s ASBO superhero show, and if I can’t come up with an award for it from the usual categories then expect a spurious award near the end because it deserves some love.  However, best newcomer is non SF, it was short, but daring and once again it’s Steven Moffat.


This was a surprise, the BBC were running a set of new dramas, some one offs or week long events like The Deep, but then there was Sherlock, a modern take on Sherlock Holmes.  Epically named Dominick Cumberbatch took on the role and gave a great young Holmes in his performance, managing to keep the character enjoyable even if you know in real life he’s pretty unlikeable.  Martin Freeman took the role of Watson, now a veteran of Afghanistan drawn into holms’ world.  The show had a real energy and pace, so much so you really didn’t notice its quite staggering 1hr30mins running time per episode, yes each episode was a mini movie, that in itself is bold enough and kudos to the Beeb for letting them try it.  So far we only got 3 episodes but with a further 3 planned these could be short bursts of brilliance.

Best Finale

We had quite a few series end this year, or indeed be axed.  In the end though there were two real contenders for this prize, and oddly enough both had similar finales.  Lost didn’t win it, now I’m not a hater of this finale, yes it was a bit annoying that the island’s secret was basically “It’s a magic island” and I know that many found the “Alternate” flash sideways turning out to be the afterlife a cop out, and I would have perhaps preferred it to be a parallel world and the solution not to be turning the island off and on again, but regardless Lost’s finale was emotional and offered a sense of closure for me at least.  But it’s not the winner, no that has to go to…

So, it was all a sort of limbo for coppers who died on duty and Gene Hunt was to usher them to the next world, it makes sense, fits in with the Life on Mars Finale, and in general works.  It shouldn’t, it should be a cop out (pardon the pun) but it explains so much.  And of course we had the villain of the piece, Jim Keats, the more modern DCI and very possibly an agent of Satan himself trying to lure genes cops away, he managed to really create a nemesis for Gene, initially subtle and menacing his final few scenes where he was all out evil mad were a joy.  Taken as a 5 series story Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes is going to be one of my must own on DVD (Hell I’ve already got Life on Mars) I think re-watching now I know the secret will only reveal even more.

Most Improved Show,

This is a tough one this year, possibly because most of the series are either new or the returnees were pretty damn good already.  So I reckon I may be pretty controversial when I say the winner is

You may think I’m just making sure chuck gets an award this year, and you may be right, however stay with me.  Chuck was good already, but I really do think that it has been consistently improving over its run.  S3 gives us chuck with a new intersect, one that gives him kung fu skills.  Not just that but its one of the few series I know that can take getting a sudden series extension and not have the latter half turn out rubbish.

Most Gratuitous T&A in a series

I didn’t catch too much of Dollhouse this year, so I can’t say if it qualifies.  In fact T&A is clearly something ion this age of austerity we can’t afford, or perhaps its just I’m watching fewer shows that lend themselves to it.  I should probably watch the Hawaii Five O remake as it’s meant to be littered with it so I can have this award in next year.  I could use Misfits but what T&A it had wasn’t particularly gratuitous, so instead I’m opting for a non genre show that I’ve watched a bit of, because I like this award.

I’ve seen a few episodes of this and wow, you thought Knight Rider was bad, women seem to wonder around topless just for the hell of it.  The scene that I thought really exemplified this was during an episode where there had been a drought and at the end it rains once our titular hero has killed someone in a gladiatorial bout.  Apparently in ancient Rome rain made women in crowds fall out of their tops.  Similarly a fringe benefit to being rich was that you could have topless slaves hanging around your house and your wife wouldn’t bad an eyelid.  I get the feeling at script meetings someone did ask ‘How can we get more boobs into this series?’

Best Factual series

I’ve realised I watch a lot of documentaries, due to the unique nature of various channels I often don’t know if I’m watching something new or something ages old.  I have also decided to have two separate categories.  Shows like the excellent Wonders of the Solar system are clearly factual, however entertaining they may be while something like Top Gear is technically factual but is first and foremost entertainment.  I thought this was an important distinction.

This year I’ve been fairly spoilt for choice.  A good start was the badly advertised and barely plugged “The Digital Revolution” presented by Dr Alex Krotski, this had a lot going for it, not only was it an interesting insight into the social impacts of our information age but it was presented by the presenter I liked the most from 1990s games review programme Bitz.  Mythbusters is also a worthy candidate, straddling the boundary between factual and Entertainment factual with aplomb.  The winner this year must be.

This is one of these things that the BBC has everyone else beaten by a country mile.  Professor Brian Cox takes us through some of the wonders of the solar system.  That’s kind of it.  The content was factual but presented in such a way that it wasn’t stuffy or dry.  Brian Cox is an excellent presenter and speaks with a genuine and infectious enthusiasm for the subject matter and the visuals that are presented are truly awe inspiring.  Seriously try to watch this.

Best Entertainment Factual

And so from the less noble end, again we have Mythbusters as a possibility and the ever present Top Gear, in fact all we were short of were a few drama-documentaries which seem to have been in short supply.  However my award goes to.

I’m a big fan of James May, I think he’s a good presenter, particularly when given a subject matter he is interested in, he can usually add a touch of humour to whatever he’s presenting.  This series spun off from three one-off programmes he did, concerning toys.  In this he takes a toy, tries to convince some kids its fun and works towards a giant challenge.  This series had May building a life size Airfix model Spitfire, building a bridge over a river using only Meccano, re-creating the brooklands racing circuit full length but using Scaelextric, Living in a house made entirely of Lego and re-instating a branch line in Hornby double-0 gauge.  His success sis often varied but in the process it was nice to see kids taking an interest in toys and the way James May and a TV crew could get families and communities out together.

Best UK Network/Channel

To be fair there’s only a little competition in this, Virgin/Channel one are improving but look set to be dismantled after a Sky Buyout, Living will probably qualify for a Pirate Bay award next year, Channel 4 made a good effort with Misfits and now that Big Brother is gone I expect wonders.  Sky1 itself is on a bit of a decline, having far fewer shows that I’m interested in this year than last now that Lost is gone however their recent purchase of exclusive rights to all of HBO’s output is promising even if their proportional budget on home grown series is miniscule.  Bravo is still Bravo with nothing particularly new or interesting and with SyFy running V, Eureka and Warehouse 13 its fast becoming the channel filled with series I should watch but don’t.  No, the winner this year is,

Its not perfect, and there are criticisms, but this channel this year has given us, Dr Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Merlin, Sherlock, Ashes to Ashes, Top Gear, James May’s Toy Stories, The Digital Revolution, Survivors, Vexed, Miranda, Charlie Brooker’s Screen Wipe and many others.  All thoroughly entertaining, all home made.  It runs very few bought in series these days which is good as all the money from these series goes straight back into the BBC and into British pockets, surely worth supporting.

The RIAA award for harm caused to Bit-Torrent

Most networks are beginning to understand that getting stuff on screen as soon as is humanly possible after US screenings is the best way to stop people downloading stuff.  So this year the award has been flipped to recognise those who do their best to keep you off the Bit Torrents.  A credit here should go to ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC who have made their on demand service for catching repeats available to as many people as possible (Living only allow on demand on premium packages and sky only allow their Anytime service on sky) Sky have got anytime and have the best record for putting shows on usually in the same week they air.  I’m torn though.  See Sky’s protectionism is driving people like me to bit-torrents when we miss things (There were a few episodes of Lost I had to catch up on through “Alternate” means) it’s a small thing but it’s the only thing this year that pushed me to Bit Torrent.  In the end it has to be

Both are as good as each other, most of the channel’s main output is available, most are on for a week at least and they have back catalogues available for free or very little.  This could well be the future of TV.

Only the Good Die young award.

Not too many entries here.  I could say Defying Gravity but I may sound like a broken record next award.  Instead I’m going to go for,

I know it was 2 seasons old, but it was really getting moving.  They had found a groove, were building a mythology, and now we’ll never know how it was to end.  I miss my dose of supernatural fun.

Never given a proper chance award

This one should be obvious

It was shafted by Fox, let down by the Beeb, graveyarded and left to die.  A shame because this was a series that really got under my skin.  Space exploration where exploring space is the main source of peril, it was drifting near documentary territory at times.  I just wish everyone involved had been a little more confident in the series to push it harder.  I think this could have been a classic.

Most Promising 1st Season.

Again, a crowded year, Sherlock, Caprica, Stargate Universe, Defying Gravity. But in the end of the day the series which had a season that made me sit up and take notice was.

It shouldn’t have worked, it was badly marketed, with the creators seemingly telling as few people as possible about the show, it epitomised the joke Channel 4 Mindset of any new series being something crossed with Skins and the cast seem pretty dislikeable from the get go, but it worked.  A good combination of humour, drama and character this series drew you into its world.  A mysterious storm gives a group of youngsters on community service Super Powers, but how will they use these abilities and how will they explain why they killed their hulked-out probation worker.  See, the premise is even hokey, and it often had a “Storm powered person of the week” format that reminded me of Smallville’s early “Kryptonite powered baddy of the week” format, but it worked, and worked well.  The characters grew into full fledged personalities and the final episode in particular, which involved an evangelical Christian able to turn anyone who could hear her to her way of thinking had a real night of the living dead vibe to it.  Season 2 has shown no dip in quality either.

Most off the Boil series.

No pre-amble it has to be

So off the boil its been axed, Heroes, I would say its not you, its me, but it is you and I can’t do this anymore, I can’t sit through dross just to have the one or two great episodes, it just isn’t working for me.  Yes, I gave up through Season 4.  Can’t fault the networks decision here; however I have a concept for a sitcom starring Ando and Hiro if you’re interested?

The Reilly 2040 worst padding award

It’s a tough call, I could hit Heroes a bit more but that would be cruel, and if Padding was the only problem with “the Deep” it would be a mercy.  It could be Caprica, I don’t know because I faded out mid season and came back nearer the end.  No, it’s a tough call but I think it will be

I suppose it usually wasn’t a padding episode, but more some episodes were padded, So much of the Earth based body swap stuff is just tedious and most of the time you’re just waiting to see people in dark corridors whisper at each other to let you know that you’re seeing the interesting bit.  If you extracted the padding and re-distributed destiny sub-plots I reckon you could have shaved a couple of episodes off this series.  Overall though USTV, you are improving.

Pie Man Special Award

This is an award for something I think is good but has been sidelined by better, newer or just by accident.  This year it is

It nearly warranted the “Worst Treatment” award, see last year Team Chuck only thought they were getting 12 episodes, wrote a tight 12 episode arc and once ratings were ok were then surprised with another 10 eps.  I don’t give the award because wheat we got from this was something more akin to 2 seasons rolled in one.  It may have actually removed some padding.  Chuck is still a Joy, and a greater involvement of the extended cast meant we got more Buy More antics, a greater involvement for Morgan and best of all, an end to the will they/won’t they Chuck and Sarah question, they did and it stuck.  Plus we got at least 2 new Jeffster Numbers.  I can’t say this enough but a Jeffster Album?

Graceful Retirement Award

I think we only had one real contender, Heroes’ retirement being anything but graceful the award goes to

It was big finale time, and to be fair a cracking final season, obviously there is some disappointment from not having the Island’s secrets revealed in any way beyond “Magic” and the flash “Sideways” transpiring to be the afterlife was a slightly wasted opportunity, but it left me satisfied and gave a sense of closure which was welcome.  The story is complete; we need not worry about Lost any more.  And I for one cried like a baby at the finale, although the way Michael giacallo Scores episodes I’m sure he could make the Go-Compare adverts seem like stirring pathos laden masterpieces.

Worst Treatment of a series

Virgin/Channel One were a possibility, but chuck wasn’t as badly treated as last year.  I reckon Living are already getting much of my Ire for next year over Chuck as well, so lets have a different perpetrator this year.

The BBC has had one major problem this year.  Its Schedule or lack thereof.  It seems that either the IPlayer has spoiled them or they it is in fact incredibly difficult to put a programme on at the same time every week.  For its big hitters like Sherlock ad Dr who it’s often a matter of 30mins or so but I really shouldn’t be checking an EPG to see when Dr Who starts this week.  For others like James May’s Toy stories, it roved quite freely, so much so that I watched every episode on IPlayer.  But the worst has to be their treatment of Defying Gravity.  It was graveyarded, that I don’t mind, but there were some weeks we got two episodes, some one, some none, never at the same time, sometimes on different days.  Again IPlayer was my friend but how the hell can we be expected to support a show when it isn’t on the same time every week.  The BBC really needs to sort this out even if On Demand is the future.

Biggest Missed opportunity

I was tempted to say Caprica, but it was improving towards the end of S1, instead I think I’ll shoot at a one off Drama the BBC produced initially as a 5 day TV event, but were so worried about its poor quality that we had to endure 5 weeks of torment.  I speak, of course, of.

The Deep

James Nesbit, Minnie Driver and a crew of other “Him off of that things” take a submarine to the Antarctic undersea volcanoes to try and find out what happened to the previous mission (Containing Nesbit’s wife) and carry on their research.  What followed was a horror of dodgy premises, poor acting, poorer scriptwriting and mind boggling stupidity.  Note to writers, you should not see a twist and say “Was that meant to be a twist”

Various plot elements only made sense if you accepted that someone would pay to shove idiots underwater.  Here are two examples, presented in time honoured “Choose your own adventure Style”

You are on an evil giant Russian sub that looks suspiciously like that factory they film Dr Who in a lot.  To repair your sub and get everyone away from the soon to explode nuclear reactor you need to find the last sub and salvage a part from it.  You are using two pods to double your search chances.  One is your own, its controls labelled in English but it lacks the ability to dock with an airlock.  The other is the Russian one; it can dock but has all its controls in Russian.  You have two pilots, one, Clem speaks no Russian, does not know what part to look for and will have a long drawn out trauma about his wife who was killed on that sub, the other, Svetlana speaks Russian and knows what part to find.

If you put Svetlana in the Russian pod and Clem in your own, go to Paragraph C

If you Put Clem in the Russian pod and Svetlana in your own, go to Paragraph B

B Congratulations, you are churning out daft decisions suitable for a writer of The Deep, situation 2 is here.

You are a sonar operator and know your boss is on the take to corrupt Russian oil barons.  You suspect your boss knows you are on to you when he comes in holding a pistol, but the slide is frozen.

If you rush your boss to try and wrestle the gun from him before he can free it up go to Paragraph C

If you stare at him with a gormless expression, akin to a cow looking at a slaughterhouse wondering what goes on in there, go to Paragraph D

Paragraph C Bad luck, your decisions are good but do not draw out enough “Drama” you will never make it as a scriptwriter of “The Deep”

Paragraph D Well done, you are probably dead, of your own stupidity, but if you have survived the terrors of using a spoon to eat breakfast you could have a future writing any sequel to “The Deep”

Think this sums up what I thought of the show, it could have been interesting, educational, tense and claustrophobic, but it failed to hit any of these.  The money should have been given to the poor.