Category Archives: TV

Has Seth MacFarlane lost it?

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It does not seem that long ago that Family Guy was making its well-deserved return to the air after a 3 year hiatus.  MacFarlane followed that up with American Dad and more recently The Cleveland Show.  So what happened?  The guy’s still bringing in the big bucks with 3 shows on Fox, but the quality that once was very high has dropped away drastically since his long awaited and triumphant return.

I sit down and watch an episode of Family Guy and I can’t help thinking that ‘damn this show used to be better than this’.  It is understandable, in many ways your shtick is going to become old if you have made 210 episodes, if you then add in 152 American Dad’s and 88 Cleveland Show’s (really 88? You’re joking right?).  That’s a total of 350 episodes of television, 350 episodes of what is basically the same style of show, written by the same guy.  It is just stale (the ratings agree).

It is harsh to single out Seth MacFarlane for producing an inferior product to what he originally created; you don’t hear many people talking about how the 7th season of Scrubs for instance was so much better than the first few seasons.  Animated shows like the Simpsons and South Park have also fallen into the trap of producing an inferior product in comparison to their initial seasons (although both had a longer life span than MacFarlane shows).

Animated shows always seem to struggle with short term memories, where one season Stan doesn’t have a brother and the next season he has a Native American brother quite simply because they thought of a story idea and decided that they would fabricate one out of thin air, or in Family Guy how Joe’s kid Kevin just disappeared all of a sudden and was explained away about 5 seasons later that he was dead, then a few seasons after this he miraculously comes back.  It is just poor short term writing which has occurred because MacFarlane has spread himself too thin.

You watch a season of a MacFarlane show and about 3 episodes out of the season are of a high quality, but that means around 20 are of an average or below quality.  A good example of this is the episode ‘Be Careful what you Fish for’ which stars the immense Ricky Gervais,  giving hope that the episode is not going to be another let down, but inevitably it falls to being another poorly written same old thing episode that I have seen too many times before.  It is worse when Gervais himself (playing a dolphin for some reason) performance and jokes are just awful, when he should be so much better than that.

If you ask me which one of the MacFarlane shows I currently prefer the most it is sad that I am edging towards the Cleveland Show (88 episodes….really?).  I don’t think overall it is his best show I just think that it feels slightly more fresh than the other two.  On the Cleveland Show, I don’t understand why MacFarlane even made the show other than Fox were throwing money at him, because it isn’t that good.  It feels like he thought “I like Family Guy and I like American Dad…..why don’t I make a black hybrid and call it the Cleveland Show!”

For the legacy of his shows I really hope that Seth MacFarlane decides to finish them, give them a hiatus and bring them back at a later date or cancel two of the shows and concentrate on just the one.  I really hope he does one of the latter options, because I know it may not seem like it but I did once really enjoy Macfarlane’s shows and I’d once again like to enjoy them.  Sadly I can’t see it happening any time soon but you can only hope.

 

So what do you think?  Is Seth MacFarlane killing his once great cartoons by bleeding them dry for all the money that is going?  Or am I way off the mark?  All comments are appreciated.

What I loved and hated about Game of Thrones Season 3.

This Season Review naturally contains *spoilers* so read at your own caution.  Just in case you are wondering (any why wouldn’t you be) I have read the books.

What I loved.

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  • The Red Wedding
    • This is quite simply one of the greatest pieces of television I have ever seen (and I knew what was going to happen).  It was always going to be difficult to replicate such an iconic part of the book series but gee golly gosh (not something I say very often) the writers delivered.
    • I particularly liked how throughout the episode GOT lead you into a false sense of security with Walder Frey sort of showing I’m not a bad guy by giving Edmure a pretty wife, making everything seem like it was ok.
    • This sounds weird but I loved how they killed off Robb’s wife.  Stabbing in her in the stomach when she was pregnant just added to the drama and symbolism of the slaughter (his wife in the book doesn’t actually go to the wedding and is a totally different character, Robb got some explaining to do).  It just made the whole event more traumatic and memorable as a Frey comes and stabs her like he’s shiving some guy in prison.
    • Again although I knew Catelyn was going to die, the way the show was shot made it look as if she was going to live but as a prisoner, and then with the last seconds of the episode Black Walder walks up and slits her throat.
    • The credits.  It just hit home the grandeur of the event by not playing any music over the credits, made the happenings seem so much more important (which they were).
    • The performances.  I thought that Michelle Fairley (Catelyn) had a great performance in this scene, one which was only usurped by the amazing David Bradley (Walder Frey).
    • I could write a whole article about this one scene, it is that great.
  • Jaime’s speech in the bath.
    • Added so many more dimensions and sympathy for the character that was always cool but a bit of a dick.
    • Also hand cutting off was cool or as cool as it can be to see someone pretend to have their hand cut off.
  • The fight at Craster’s house.
    • It was generally well done and a good scene as Joer Morment clocked off.
    • I just wonder where they are going to go with Dolorous Edd and Grenn (guys hanging about with Sam) who make it back to the wall in the books but don’t seem to in the show based on what Stannis says at the end.
  • Lots more Littlefinger and Varys.
    • One thing the show has over the books is its ability to follow non POV characters, and two of the best non POV characters are these two.
  • More Olenna Tyrell
    • Ha sword swallower.
  • Arya
    • She is just one of the best and most consistent characters.
    • Her relationship with the Hound and Gendry.
    • Her going nuts on that Frey guy in the last episode.

Things I liked

  • It was nice to see ser Barristan Selmy back.
  • Tyrion
    • Generally he is the best character in the show (or that was the way of it for the first two seasons anyway) but he felt out of place or maybe over used at times.
    • Why is he in liked?  Well how can you put Tyrion as a negative?
  • Davos
    • It’s tough he is one of my favourite characters in the books and on the show and when he shows up I get a bit giddy, but I feel he is not in it enough.
    • Maybe that is a good thing just look at my Tyrion comments.
  • Joffrey in general
    • What a dick.
  • Bran embracing the warg.
    • Embrace the warg Bran, embrace it!
  • Dany
    • I liked Dany’s general storyline; much like Bran embraced the warg, Dany embraced her new role (embrace the wig).
    • She got crazy ass dragons that burn rude bald men (WATCH OUT LARRY DAVID!!!!)
  • Tully’s
    • The Blackfish is just beast (especially with a bow and the ladies, even if they are yucky Frey’s).
    • Edmure is funny as hell.  I wonder if he will say to Walder Frey “Es tu Walde”.

Things I disliked.

  • Robb
    • I like Robb, why wouldn’t you.  Handsome, nice beard, Scottish what’s not to like?
    • Well cause you asked, his story was just sort of shit.  I don’t blame Robb (I blame someone else which I shall get onto later) but until the Red Wedding I don’t think he added anything.
  • Not enough Bronn.
  • MacKenzie Crook
    • A couple things annoyed me about this.
    • Firstly Orrell never goes over the wall in the book, nor does Tormund Giantsbane.
    • Secondly and more importantly you get a good and highly reputable actor such as MacKenzie Crook and you waste him in a role that is barely beyond an extra.
  • Mance Rayder
    • I felt that Ciaran Hinds looked too old to play the character of Mance.  I like him as an actor and hope I am wrong, but so far I have my doubts.
    • Dominic West apparently turned the role down and in my mind he would’ve been perfect but maybe I’m just missing McNulty.
    • Also he was not in the show enough and when he was in it they didn’t make him seem like that big a deal.
  • Robb’s killing of Rickard Karstark
    • I just felt that the beheading of Karstark is meant to be a major event and instead it didn’t come across as being that.
    • It is difficult for a TV show to delve into the details that a book does, however the show didn’t highlight enough how this was a major deal.
  • Too many characters and not enough screen time
    • Too many characters stories felt rushed or spread thin over a number of weeks.
    • Namely Bran, Sam and Tyrion.

Things I hated

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  • No Fat Belwas
    • Say what!
  • Talisa……ugh
    • I really don’t like this character and I was scared she might not die at the Red Wedding; thankfully the writers didn’t fail us.
    • It is hard to fathom why she received such a large role in the show.  It seemed like every scene Robb was in ah shit there is that annoying Talisa cow as well……ugh.
    • She is the Megan Draper of GOT.
  • The first scene of the season
    • If you read the book you were expecting an epic fight between the Night’s Watch and the White Walkers, which concludes with the what is left of the Night’s Watch getting on their horses and jumping over their enemy to escape (I know sounds awesome).
    • Instead we got a random singular attack on Sam and that was it.

 

There you guy that is what I loved, liked, disliked and hated about this season of Game of Thrones.  If it hasn’t come across I very much liked this year’s GOT.  I’m sure I will have missed stuff that people have loved and hated about this year’s edition.

So leave your comments about the list, the show or whether you are looking forward to next year’s season 4; all are appreciated.

Shows you missed and should really be watching.

Moone Boy                                                        Moone Boy; Series 1

Moone Boy is the semi-autobiographical show from Chris O’Dowd (of IT Crowd and Bridesmaids fame) centred around a small boy from Ireland who has an imaginary friend (stay with me).

It sounds shit, let’s be honest it really does but it is not, it is actually really good.  Like many TV shows of this kind it is really quirky.  Lazy evaluations would compare it to Father Ted in terms, but really other than being Irish there is no major comparison.

They so far have only produced one season and have made a second one to be shown later this year.  The problem with Moone Boy is simple, it is shown on Sky One (and not at all in America as far as I can see) and the audience availability just isn’t as good as on network TV.

Moone Boy is definitely worth a watch and with only 6 episodes currently available it makes a nice little taste in case you don’t want the full meal.

 

Breaking Bad

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If you read my previous post about the top 5 current TV shows (which based on views not many people have, thanks mum) you will know that I think that this is not only the best show currently on TV but also potentially the greatest show ever.

So why is this on your TV shows you may have missed? I hear you scream.  Well the simple fact of the matter is that in the UK Breaking Bad is no longer even on a channel and you have to watch it on Netflix.  In the USA the viewing figures have been average despite the fact that Breaking Bad has had huge critical acclaim.

You really are missing a trick if you do not watch this TV show, it really is that damn good.

 

Episodes

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Epsiodes stars Friends legend Matt Le Blanc as the struggling actor Matt Le Blanc (funny how art imitates life) who gets thrown into a role that he is totally unsuitable for, much to the dismay of the husband and wife writing team (two Britishy people you may know from Britishy things).

Episodes basically is based on the events that many writers suffer from when they create an idea (or in this case have created an idea and have it converted for American TV because for some reason American’s can’t just take the foreign version of the show so have to make a brand new American version of the show which let’s be honest is never ever as good) and the networks basically destroy it and make it into another generic TV show, much to their horror.

It’s shown on Showtime in the USA and yet somehow still has really poor viewing figures despite critical acclaim and the fact Matt Le Blanc is in it (and also really good in it as the past it actor).  The British viewing figures are better but still not great considering it is on BBC2.

This is a gem of a show which has went about its business without much noise and really does give a sort of inside look into the world of TV production from a writers and actors standpoint.

 

Bob’s Burgers

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Bob’s Burgers is a weird choice for the list for me because it is a show that I haven’t really watched. (What?).

I think I have maybe seen about half the episodes which I hadn’t realised until I seen that they had made like 3 seasons (which is 1 season more than I thought).  Honestly I just don’t really know when it is on in the UK, I know it’s on E4 but somehow I must have missed it by accident.

Nonetheless regardless of my babbling at the lack of my awareness for shows I like, Bob’s Burgers is really good.  It looks a bit shit (graphically), but much like old episodes of South Park it has a charm to it and carries the graphics along with good funny stories and good characters.

Although it is part of the Fox animated comedy line-up, it doesn’t get the same viewing figures as a Family Guy or an American Dad even though the quality of Bob’s Burgers is much higher.  I have already listed my dismay at Bob’s Burgers position on British TV and just feel like people are missing out on what is in my opinion currently the best animated TV show available.

 

Curb Your Enthusiasm

curb your enthusiasm

Much like Breaking Bad Curb is one of my favourite shows ever.  Yet somehow it does not get the recognition it deserves for just being so damn good.

Curb is a stalwart of HBO and the 8th season seen it’s viewings more than double and yet still not enough people have seen this piece of comedic genius.  It’s buried away on More 4 in the UK and has recently been re-shown on Sky Atlantic.

Larry David is a comedy God and how one man can make such an amazing show after being half of the genius that brought us Seinfeld is beyond me.  If you are a fan of Seinfeld then you will also be a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  It’s almost like a George Costanza spin off show but with no George Costanza (except when Jason Alexander shows up).

Season 7’s Seinfeld reunion theme makes it a must see if for all Seinfeld fans and every other season is a must see for anyone who considers themselves a comedy fan.

 

 

So what do you think?  Have I missed a gem myself?  Do you feel some of these shows really don’t belong in here?  All comments are appreciated and welcome.