Have You Been Watching… Titanic?

"Are you sure we should be wearing these sacks stuffed with bricks, captain?"

First of all, a confession. This article asks “have you been watching” and although my answer is “yes, of course I watched Titanic Episode One, TV Event of the Year”, I’d also have to mutter “But I was playing Skyrim at the same time so I’m slightly confused about the vast numbers of ice trolls and draugr below decks. And why those dragons kept hampering rescue attempts”.

So any inconsistencies in this series catch up are my own. In fact, let’s pretend they’re intentional comedy asides, so please chuckle accordingly.

First of all, Titanic (or ‘Drownton Abbey’ as Twitter wag MrsStephenFry cleverly titled it) plays fast and loose with linear storytelling and perhaps it’s still too soon in the series run to see whether it really works. Read more of this post

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Have You Been Watching…Whisker Wars?

"Aargh, someone get these ferrets off my face. They've taken my chin clean off"

By Tom Revell.

Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit is one of the most hotly anticipated big screen releases of 2012. If you can’t wait until December to get your fill of wall-to-wall beard action, ITV4’s Whisker Wars is the perfect warm up.

Rather than a band of bearded dwarves led by an equally bearded wizard, Whisker Wars introduces us to Beard Team USA, a group of competitive beard growers led by Phil Olsen – the chairman of the beard. This is the story of America taking on current beard dominators Germany in the world championships.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll itch. Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching…Shameless?

It's Jesus!

The current run of Shameless finishes tomorrow at 10pm on Channel 4. Matthew Laidlow takes a look at the Gallagher phenomenon.

Back in 2004, Channel 4 launched Shameless. Set in the fictional estate of Chatsworth in Manchester, the show focussed on the Gallagher family. Would it be thrilling TV if the clan were respectful, hard working and positive? Don’t be daft; instead storylines looked at merry subjects such as drugs, intimate affairs, alcoholism and generally how to make more money to spend in the pub by pulling a scam on someone.

If you’ve never watched the show, you might be surprised that it’s still going strong. We’re halfway through the ninth series in 2012 and it successfully transferred to the US where it’s just been renewed for a third season. But how many times can an audience watch one person go mental on LSD and heroin? Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching…The Fisherman’s Apprentice with Monty Halls?

"You're a lightweight. You're fired"

Monty Halls is a marine biologist. This means he studies conservation and stuff. It’s complicated. It’s also not really important, as he’s jacking it all in for eight months to become a fisherman, to ‘learn the way of the sea’.

Every day starts with Monty peering into a hand-held camera and telling us how early in the morning it is. Ok, you get up really early every day. We get it. We’ve seen The Apprentice.

Nigel Leg, one of five skippers in Cornwall’s Cadgwith cove, has agreed to mentor Monty. Nigel is endlessly tolerant, like a kindly driving instructor in wellies. But to succeed, Monty’s going to need to earn the respect of the other skippers. Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching….Let’s Dance for Sport Relief?

So many Joneses, so little time...wait, sorry, so MUCH time.

Don’t be fooled by the title. This is less dancing for charity, more the life and times of minor celebrities. It’s Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, via Children in Need and This Is Your Life…with a little bit of Strictly at the start.

Five acts, individuals or inexplicable duos (Olly Murs and Scott Mills with special guest star The Hoff, anyone?) perform dance routines to various pop hits, each approximately four minutes in length. So around half an hour total, allowing time for a quick out of breath debrief. And yet the show is an astonishing 80 minutes long. Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching….Homeland?

We live in an age of anti-heroes. No one gets to be a good old-fashioned knight any more: strong, true and brave. The only thing you can be sure of is the nagging suspicion that even the best person out there is only marginally better than the alternative.

Enter Homeland, which is all about shades of gray and features a hero so flawed she’s basically a villain. Claire Danes plays the lead, Carrie Mathison, a FBI agent so damaged she makes Lindsay Lohan look like a model for well adjusted living.

She has a schizophrenic-esque mental disorder, no regard for legal propriety, doesn’t care about her colleagues, uses her sexuality as a  desperately blunt tool to advance whatever she thinks is a good idea at the time, is a raging egomaniac and she likes jazz.

Jazz, for God’s sake! Read more of this post

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