Highlights from This Week’s Being Human Panel at the Paley Center For Media

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On Wednesday, The Paley Center for Media held a panel discussing Syfy’s Being Human. If you’re not familiar with the show, feel free to check out MLD’s previous primer on the series. I should preface all of this by saying that I’m not fully caught up on Being Human, but that has more to do with only seeing the few episodes that Syfy offers online than anything to do with the show. What I have seen of the show I’ve liked, and after seeing this panel, I’m hooked.

I’ve always had a soft spot for shows where it’s clear that the cast is having fun making the show and enjoys the subject matter, and it’s clear that Being Human is one of those shows. Watching the cast interact together and describe the show, I can honestly say they love it as much as the fans.

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MLD Recommends: Being Human

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So a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost walk into a bar…

All I kept thinking while watching the pilot episode of the American version of Being Human, which airs on Syfy, was that the basic premise of the show should be a bad joke or silly sitcom from the Sixties. In the new series, a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all come to reside in the same apartment as they struggle to hang onto their humanity and look towards each other for support. All they needed to do was throw in a zombie or a creature from some dark lagoon and hilarity would surely ensue. Instead, the series has proven surprisingly intense for Syfy; a network better known for bad made-for-TV/DVD movies like Mega Snake than compelling series. Dave Maietta, sci fi fan and guitarist from Bleed Radio Bleed, joins MLD for a discussion of the show.

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Wait, there’s more!

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Here’s a quick weekend follow up to two of last week’s posts.

Just when you thought the puzzle was complete, Marvel filled in three more little pieces that could turn Spider-Man’s world upside down in 2010.  Is that Peter and Mary Jane’s long missing baby?  Would Marvel go back to this story after dropping it like a radioactive potato 13 years ago?  Only time will tell, but while I’m incredibly excited for things to unfold I’m reserving judgement.

Doctor Who – The End of Time has aired in its entirety in the U.S. and an international trailer for the next season is now available from the BBC for all to see.  Some exciting things are planned for the new Doctor and as far as I’m concerned they can’t get here soon enough.  Looking through the chatter regarding the trailer, Matt Smith already has some fans as well as detractors, but I’m willing to trust the show in the hands of new executive producer Steven Moffat, writer of some of my favorite episodes including The Girl in the FireplaceBlink, and Forest of the Dead.

More on Doctor Who 2010:
2010 Season Preview / The Eleventh Hour


The End of Time Itself!

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I just finished watching the second chapter of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special. Splitting the special to two nights was something new for the show and truly deserving given the epic nature of the story. I waited to talk about it until after I’d seen the whole thing and could consider the story in its entirety.  It was, in a word, spectacular, the *like category doesn’t really cut it with this one.

The episode was in many ways not at all what I expected, but I certainly have no way of describing what I was expecting. It’s better that way, because what I would have come up with wouldn’t have been nearly as good. Five years of episodes that have aired since the series returned in 2005 culminate in this tragic tale that pushes The Doctor to the breaking point. All the seeds that were planted along the way pay off as the show’s executive producer makes his exit with this story. The Master’s stolen ring, his widowed wife Lucy Saxon, the secrets of The Time War, the Ood’s warning, and the prophecy of The Doctor’s demise all play out beautifully and stand as a testament to brilliant planning since Doctor Who’s return to television.

It’s more than that though. More than ever before, these episodes harken back the classic Doctor Who series. The Time Lords, The Master’s entire history, and his relationship with The Doctor are all critical elements to this story. In some ways, we learn more about their history than ever before. The final confrontation between the principal characters is brilliant and should provide a real treat for long-time fans.  Knowing where these characters come form and what they’ve been through adds so much to the story, but it’s so well put together you won’t miss a beat if you’ve only seen the “new” Who.

It’s no secret that this story marks the end of an era for the show, but knowing that makes it no easier to watch David Tennant’s exit as The Doctor.  These things are never easy, however, this one is particularly heart wrenching.  Having waited through the show’s absence from 1996 to 2005, it was amazing to see it return with Christopher Eccelston in the lead role.  His departure after one season was saddening, but David Tennant’s entry solidified the show’s return for me.  He has been simply amazing and despite being the tenth actor to play the role, it’s difficult to imagine anyone else as The Doctor.  His run ends with an incredible homage to his adventures before we meet Matt Smith in the episode’s final moments.  Episodes with the new Doctor should begin airing this Spring.

Doctor Who – The End of Time Part One replays Saturday January 2nd at 6:45PM with Part Two following at 8:30PM on BBC America. In fact, a marathon of nearly the entire series is running right now through the airing of the two part epic tomorrow night. The DVR will allow me to sleep tonight.


How I spent my Christmas Vacation…

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I feel stupid writing this post to introduce people to a tv show that has been on the air for more than fifteen years (according to Wikipedia), but no one I’ve mentioned it to has known what I was talking about. Earlier this week I woke up to discover a marathon of a show called “Later… with Jools Holland” on a cable station I never even knew I had called Ovation TV. It’s channel 155 on my Comcast Digital Cable. Not that that information helps you necessarily. Halfway through the first episode of this program I became unbelievably jealous of British people who have been able to watch this show for almost two decades on BBC 2.

If you’ve never seen it, the stage of the show is a giant circle with about five bands set up around it and a camera in the middle. The studio audience is seated in between and behind the bands. The show opens with all of the bands playing a short jam together while the camera spins around showing off the set up and who will be performing that evening. From there, Jools Holland introduces the first band who typically performs their latest song.

Here’s a clip to show you what I’m trying to describe:

After the first band finishes, the next band immediately starts. For the next hour it’s just one song after another by all of the bands. Once in awhile Jools will interview one of the headliners, but that’s the only break from the music.

And the bands that I caught in the last few days are amazing and varied from headliners like Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Metallica, Snow Patrol and Tom Jones to bands I love like The Who and The Hold Steady. There were world music acts from Africa and folk artists and everyone is talented… oh plus former Catwoman Eartha Kitt and Jamie Foxx. Yeah it’s crazy and I loved it.

Here’s an awesome clip:

In case you didn’t know it, Jools Holland spent the eighties in the band Squeeze, which you know for the song “Tempted.”

Considering all of the stupid shows the U.S. has imported from Britain and remade (Coupling, any Simon Cowell production, the Office), it kills me that there doesn’t seem to be a market here for an American version of this show. It just shows how dead rock is in the United States right now.

Support Ovation TV and this show.

There are YouTube clips for basically every good successful band ever playing this show. Check them out if you get bored.