British Shows that I Adore

The British have introduced us to some great television – The Office anyone? I’m a fan of many of their shows that I’ve managed to see on Netflix (thank you Netflix streaming!). Here’s just a few gems:

Doctor Who
I dedicated an entire post about my top ten favourites, and it’s hard to believe that  when I started the first series I kept thinking I wouldn’t last the entire thing. But, a few things happened and well, by the time David Tennant became the Doctor I was hooked!

Doctor Who follows a time traveling alien (The Doctor) who travels back and forth through time – usually with a human companion – and often finds himself saving some planet or helping someone in distress. It’s a very smart show, and I love the continuity through-out. The writers do a wonderful job on all the episodes. I particularly like the ones set in the past, where the doctor assists historical figures; and the way the episodes always seem to fit with history. It’s smartly written with just enough corniness to not be taken seriously, this makes the show endearing.

Torchwood
I suppose you can call this a spin-off from Doctor Who. Captain Jack Harkness is featured numerous times in the series. Torchwood is a secret organization; a group of human who deal with aliens on earth. I guess it’s a bit X-files like in that sense, and it’s definitely more serious than Doctor Who, but there is still that corniness to it that makes it endearing. I haven’t caught up with the current series, but I hope to do that sometime this year.

Sherlock
A recent love, great writers, actors, story … all around lovely. Sherlock puts the world’s greatest detective into a modern day setting. There is really nothing I can say but, excellent, excellent retelling. The actors have great chemistry on screen, the writers did a great job translating a well loved story to modern times.

The IT Crowd
This comedy is about two IT guys, their relationship manager and the shenanigans that they get themselves into. I’ve finished the episodes on Netflix, but every now and then I watch it for a good laugh. It’s a bit of dry humour, not entirely geeky or nerdy so anyone can get it (I think). However, I can see its appeal to the side of me that worked at a computer lab in college… Oh the stories.

Monday Monday
The only drama that I watched (I just can’t get into Downton Abbey), it’s finished I believe, but it was good while it lasted. A bit of a laugh, a bit of office drama. I absolutely love the fact that it was short and to the point. I’m not really into the long, drawn out dramas, especially since I can only take so much, so this was the perfect one for me.

Marple
I love a newer version of Miss Marple. Geraldine McEwan does a great job as a Miss Marple, I really enjoy this entire series. Agatha Christie is a favourite of mine, so I’m glad that I finally found a version of it for TV that I enjoy so much. It appeals to my mystery-loving side. =)

Well … that’s all there is – for now! If you know of any shows similar to these, definitely let me know, I’m always looking for good, new shows.

And the Gold Medal Goes To …

Some of the memorable highlights of the opening ceremony!

The theatrics in the beginning… I especially loved the Maypole and the different scenes in the grass – picnics, rugby … and the transformation. It’s a shame that NBC didn’t do a good job showing the different scenes depicted in this display of historical Britain before the introduction of the industrial revolution. I mean, real sheep on the set? What’s not to love?

The forging of the rings. Definitely a fan of this! Flying rings of fire gets the gold for sure.

The world’s greatest nanny – Mary Poppins – coming to save the day! This tip of the hat to the NHS and to famous British children’s literature, a segment that started with J.K. Rowling reading from Peter Pan was fun to watch. Especially identifying the different villains. Of course, it’s not without it’s controversy as some  – who will not be named – seemed to believe that  it was a blatant political move. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, all I saw was some very lucky kids having a lot of fun at the Olympic opening and some hard working doctors and nurses honored for their work and Mary Poppins (my favourite nanny), a symbol of imagination. Also, some really awesome umbrellas that I kinda want.

The Queen and James Bond and some cute doggies. Oh that Queen, shocking the world with her sense of humour.

Mister Bean and Chariots of Fire. In true Mr. Bean style, this segment had me laughing at his hilarious facial expression and running scene.

The way the torch was lit!

What a way to light the torch! Why isn’t there more talk of the symbolism behind this? One torch lit by 200 and some tiny torches, burning brightly for the remainder of the games!

Of course, there were some huh moments, like the cover of Come Together, was it just me, or did they sound a little low energy? And, Hey Jude, I mean,  I love The Beatles and great for Paul McCartney for singing at the ceremony, but, I am sure there were many more songs that he could have sung than Hey Jude. And please don’t say it’s for the sing-along value, a lot of people in the world know many more songs and if they wanted people to sing along they just had to put the words up somewhere. I mean .. they have the entire stadium lit, it’s not impossible!

Overall it was enjoyable. Different. Unique. A great display of history. And of course, it was also fun to watch it while having a running commentary on Facebook with a few friends. My status because Olympic size, totaling 1006 comments. Not bad for seven or so people.

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Images from Reuters

TEN Favourite Doctor Who Episodes

“Don’t worry, I’m The Doctor.”

It’s not a secret, I’m a Doctor Who fan. I initially started watching because it was streaming on Netflix and a lot of folks on my twitter feed were talking about it. Originally, it was a little on the corny side (it still is at times) but, I can’t deny that it has gotten under my skin. The show is creative genius and I absolutely love the Doctor! I’ve narrowed down the long list of episodes to my top ten favourites. If you want an idea of the show, watch these. Did I mention that it’s streaming on Netflix1?

Tooth and Claw

The Story: The Doctor and Rose end up meeting Queen Victoria on the Scottish moors. They all take refuge at Torchwood Estate, unaware that it has been taken over by some monks and … wait for it … a werewolf! The monks plan on infecting the queen and creating an “Empire of the Wolf”.

Why I love it:

  • The scene in the library, “You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have – arm yourselves!”
  • The brave lady of the house who refuses to cower at the threat in her home. The head-strong Queen Victoria. The beginning of Torchwood.
  • “We are not amused.” (»)

The Girl in the Fire Place

The Story: The TARDIS lands on a spaceship that seems abandoned. However, the spaceship seems to be stalking a certain young girl, Reinette, through her fireplace. The girl turns out to be Madame de Pompadour and the aliens – humanoid forms that seem to be made up of gears – want her brain.

Why I love it:

  • Steampunk! The aliens in this episode are reminiscent of clockwork machines.
  • The dresses! The masquerade!
  • Plucky Reinette! (»)

Love & Monsters

The Story: Elton Pope is a fan of the Doctor and this episode is told via his video blog. He met a group of people who had all seen The Doctor and they became quick friends. They are all hanging out, having a great time until Victor Kennedy shows up. Throw in a body sucking alien, some funny chase sequences and you have a memorable episode.

Why I love it:

  • To be honest, I loved this one because the feel of the episode was a bit like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
  • “The truth is, the world is so much stranger than that, so much darker and so much madder … and so much better” (»)

Blink

The Story: The Doctor isn’t featured a lot in this one, but what is featured are the Weeping Angels, an alien race that look like stone angel statues that move only when they aren’t being watched. Not a problem, as long as you don’t blink.

Why I love it:

  • I’ll never be able to look at angel statues the same way again.
  • The creation of the instruction video. I love alternate time lines.(»)

Voyage of the Damned

The Story: Imagine if the Titanic was a space ship that took alien creatures to orbit earth and observe our ways?

Why I love it: 

  • Space ship Titanic
  • Loved the companion on this episode, too bad she wasn’t on more! (»)

The Unicorn and The Wasp

The Story: Take the Doctor, Donna Noble (one of my favourite companions), add Agatha Christie, an alien bug and a jewel thief called The Unicorn and you get a fantastic literary episode.

Why I love it:

  • A murder mystery dinner party.
  • “I’m British, I carry on.”
  • “Yeah but think about it. There’s a murder, a mystery, and Agatha Christie.” Enough said! (»)

Silence in the Library

The Story: This is the first of a two-part story. The Doctor gets a distress call to a planet that looks like a giant library. The place seemed desserted and we soon learn that River Song made the call for the Doctor. So much happens in this episode – the shadow monster, meeting River Song, the library’s connected to the imagination of a little girl. A complex intertwining of alternate universes proceeds.

Why I love it:

  • Stay out of the shadows!
  • Giant library with everything ever written inside. (»)

Amy’s Choice

The Story: Amy, the Doctor and Rory are trapped in a two universes where Amy gets to decide which world is real and which is a dream. If they die in the dream they will wake up in the real universe.

Why I love it: 

  • The first episode that really sold me on Amy and Rory being companions of the Doctor.
  • It’s a bit of a tear jerker, and definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. (»)

The Pandorica Opens

The Story: Based on Pandora’s  Box, the Pandorica is believed to hold the  worse prisoners of the universe. This begins a two part story that concludes in The Big Bang – which I particularly loved. This also completes the cracks in the universe arc which I thought was fascinating.

Why I love it:

  • Closure to the cracks in the universe
  • The last centurion! (»)

The Impossible Astronaut

The Story: The Doctor invites his companions to witness his death. It sounds like I’m spoiling it, but to be quite honest this episode made the entire sixth series pretty much amazing. The finale and how it tied into this episode was genius. I’ll leave it at that.

Why I love it: 

  • Sets you up to get your mind blown at the series finale.
  • Makes you want to view the entire series when you reach the finale. (»)

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1 The top ten from the first six series (starting with the ninth doctor)
notes: images taken from bbc.co.uk/doctorwho and screen shots from episodes

FIVE Reasons to Watch Sherlock

1. The Writer: Steven Moffat is a genius. (As was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) Moffat writes the show and does an amazing job! The episodes have elements of the original work but is set in modern day time. A fantastic adaptation.

2. The Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, a very good fit. Great actor, and that voice! Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson. They have great on screen chemistry.

3. To the Point: Short series (seasons). There have been two seasons so far, each with three episodes, that cover a number of stories. Each is an hour long, what more could you want?

4. The Setting: Modern day retelling of an already amazing story. If Sherlock Holmes was living in modern day, this show has his number.

5. Filming Location: Set all over London city – especially awesome for people who like London as much as I do. =)

Fall Lineup: Who Made The Finale?

Last fall I posted a post about my fall shows. Not everything made it to the Finale, and since I just saw the final season finale on hulu, I thought I’d do a recommendation post. Just because1.

Bones2

Bones has always impressed me. It has the perfect balance of drama and investigation. I love the way all the characters work together, they all have great on screen chemistry.

This season Brennan and Booth finally get together. *confetti* But, along with that lovely happening and the beautiful addition of Christine, there is a lot of smart cases and interesting solutions.

One thing I always love about Bones is the killer finales, and this season delivered. Bones is framed for a crime and they leave us in the middle to cross our fingers and hope that the crime is solved in the first episode – or at least the first two or three ones – of the next season. I for one, cannot wait! This one was good … a computer hacker genius, a clue left in spit! Pretty creative stuff.

Parks and Recreation has that dry humor with just enough adorableness that keeps you interested enough to go back for more. Every new episode I found myself wondering if I really wanted to watch and after watching, I always am glad I did. The cast work well together and you can’t help but find each character endearing.

Modern Family 3

Shot in the same documentary style as The Office, Parks and Recreation follows a group of government employees, lead by Leslie Knope, the ultimate overachiever. This season Leslie is running for office and nothing can stop her from winning – or, trying to win.

This season finale wasn’t explosive, but there were quite a few heartwarming moments. I can’t wait to see what Leslie has up her sleeves for next season!

What can I say about Modern Family? It just keeps getting better and better. It’s hard not to love this crazy family.

The big shocker this season was Lilly’s sudden aging, however, that was easily overlooked after a few shows. There were a lot of great episodes this season – Claire’s stop sign wars has her running for councilwoman with hilarious outcome, Haley’s college woes, that “period” episode, visiting Disney (um, can I have those shoes, Gloria?) and Cam and Mitch’s adoption attempts.

One thing Modern Family can guarantee the viewer is a good laugh and this season was not a letdown. They did manage to leave us with that tiny shocker in the finale … oh the fun things that can happen with a new addition.

I had a hard time making it through Community this season, but, I made it! I think my favourite episode this season was Remedial Chaos Theory with the different timelines. I really liked what they did there.

Of course, Community won’t be community without it’s alternate universes and animated episodes, and they did not disappoint. The ending(s?) were great to watch, so much so that I’m going to keep Community on my list of TV shows for next fall. Safe!

Nick and Hank at a Crime Scene4

In the season’s Raising Hope, Jimmy and Sabrina are finally together – eh, it doesn’t matter either way. To be quite honest, Burt, Virginia and Maw Maw are the stars of this show. Their comedic timing, and the funny situations they get into left me chuckling. I’m definitely going to keep this one on my list!

Finally, the fairytale shows! Grimm and Once Upon A Time are both staying on my fall list! What amazing shows! They took completely different takes on the fairytales and they both did an awesome job.

Grimm was investigative, so if you’re a fan of detective shows, Grimm would be a good fit. Nick Burkhardt, a homicide detective starts seeing strange things when his Aunt shows up and informs him that he’s descended from the Grimm brothers, and that the tales they chronicled are based on real incidences. The creatures in Grimm are dark and dangerous and the writers did a great job weaving the creatures into the crimes that Nick and his partner were investigating.

Once is a bit more on the dramatic side. The fairytale characters are under a curse from the Evil Queen. She banished them all to Storybrook – a place in the human world – to destroy Snow White’s happiness. It seems a little extreme, I know… and Emma’s (the heroine, Snow’s daughter) sudden belief in the fairy-tale world was a little unbelievable. The reason I liked watching it, however, was for the fairy tale timeline. I loved what the writers did with the characters, how they gave them pasts and interwove their stories. Chris Colfer’s new book The Wishing Spell, actually reminded me of Once – though, his version is more tamed.

Well, that’s about all the TV shows I had time for. I had to give up on Fringe, it was getting a bit stale and repetitive. Castle also fell into that stale, repetitive cycle, and the drama between the partners wasn’t spectacular. Why can’t they just be partners and that be the end of it?

I also stopped watching The Secret Circle and Pan Am, pretty early on into the show. They both lacked in grasping my attention, though, if Pan Am had more of that spy story line that they were developing, that might have been fun!

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1 It’s my blog and I can do whatever I please.
2 Image via Fox.com
3 Image via Modern Family’s Facebook
4 Image via NBC.com

2012: The Year of the Archers

It started with Katniss, fighting for her life in the Hunger Games. Then Hawkeye showed up in Avengers, with his dynamic arrows, avenging the earth. In June, Princess Merida will capture our hearts with her fierceness in Brave (well, I assume, I haven’t seen it yet … but, Pixar, I won’t mind a preview *hint hint*).

I think it’s official, 2012 is the year of the Archer. I wonder how the archery business is doing.

The problem with Snow

By now you have probably seen the Hunger Games. If you haven’t, then it’s time to come out from under your rock!

There has been a lot of talk about the actors/actresses that were chosen for the movie and how they don’t fit the characters in the book1, and to be honest, I think people have missed the biggest casting flaw!2

Donald Sutherland as President Snow!?

image via eonline

Look at that face. He looks so trustworthy, I’d want him to run my post-apocalyptic nation! There goes the dystopian world!

Snow is described as small, thin, and “pretty much creepy”.3 He mouth smells like roses and blood, he’s a perfectionist and a cruel tyrant. Basically, he’s scary!

Donald Sutherland can offer kids candy from the back of a truck and moms will let him. Basically, not scary!

image via MirandaFear

Snow is evil. Sutherland is well like a teddy bear4. And that’s my problem with Snow.

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1 Didn’t you know it was a book? How are we acquainted again?
2 To be honest, why the issue in the first place, all the actors/actresses did a great job!
3I’m certain I’m quoting directly from the book here.
4 Who did a great job portraying Snow 😉