Showing posts in Waiting For the Fall

TV Trailer: Breaking Bad: Season 4

By Sam Bathe on 2 Jun 2011

Mad Men might get the column inches, but Breaking Bad is as much to thank for AMC’s newfound frontrunner reputation as it’s 1960s sibling. Now back for a fourth season, the conclusion to the third was explosive to say the least, and returns at last on July 17th, though watch out for spoilers in the trailer if you’re not up to date.

Here Comes The Fall: The Hills & The City

By Sam Bathe on 9 Oct 2009

When we were invited to a première of new episodes The City and The Hills on Tuesday, hosted by Whitney Port, it was certainly contrast to the other event that evening, a screening of Trainspotting in a Glaswegian drug den decked out Shoreditch club. Show the rest of this post…

For those who haven’t heard of The Hills, it’s a reality TV show that shadows the rich and wannabe famous spoilt post-teens in Hollywood. While some of the action might play out as Audrina and friends life it, when the show airs in the UK, broadcasters are forced to disclaim ‘some scenes are created for entertainment purposes’. And yet, as trashy as it is, for some reason, it can be hard to peel your eyes away. At least, throngs of teenage girls seem to think so.

Outnumbered 100 to 1, I was the pretty much the only guy in the Curzon Soho as Port took to the stage to take questions from the literally screaming fans packed into the auditorium. A veteran of perhaps 5 episodes, I hardly consider myself an expert on the series, though The Hills could easily slip into guilty pleasure territory if I stumbled into anything approaching a double figure of episodes.

Number 6, an unaired episode of season five subtly titled “It’s On Bitch!”, was everything that makes it unmissable. ‘Perfect couple’ Heidi and Spencer were as vile as ever and Audrina unlucky in love as so-called friend swooped in.

The City is a little less successful. If The Hills feels set-up, multi-camera phone calls and all, The City’s ‘stars’ should be credited as actors, and the reality series called a drama. Whitney Port will still pull as many fans but her life around her feels all too fake.

A tonne of fans will tune every week, no doubt, but for now, I’ll be leaving a guilty pleasure slot open for The Hills, rather than its NY spin-off.

New episodes of The Hills and The City start on MTV from October 18th at 9pm.

Waiting For The Fall: How I Met Your Mother

By Sam Bathe on 11 Sep 2009

How I Met Your Mother

Attempting to fill in the gap between January’s run of great TV shows and the annual fall onslaught, I’ve been working our way through some shows I’ve missed over the years and have only now found the time to catch up on. So far we’ve explored Judd Apatow’s cancelled but highly regarded shows Undeclared and Freaks And Geeks and dark comedy Eastbound & Down so next up is something a little more light-hearted and fun, and possibly the funniest show of the lot… Show the rest of this post…

Following the classic ‘bunch of friends in the city’ route that is so overused amongst today’s sit-coms, How I Met Your Mother stands heads and shoulders above the crowd thanks to witty, entertaining writing and, what on the surface might be generic stories, thanks to funny quirks and wonderful acting, a hugely compelling and utterly hilarious plot.

How I Met Your Mother takes its name from the initial lead-in into the show. Built around central character Ted Mosby (Radnor), throughout the opening season, each episode starts with a brief interjection set in the year 2030 within which Ted retells his children the titular, how he met their mother. The rest of the show is then set in the present day as Ted trudges on a seemingly never-ending quest to find love.

Though Ted is a great character on his own, it’s with his four other best friends that really sets the show apart. Jason Segel plays romantic Marshall Eriksen, his love interest Lily Aldrin is played by Alyson Hannigan, one-time mother candidate and TV-presenter wannabe Robin Scherbatsky is played by Cobie Smulders and the funniest of the bunch, womaniser Barney Stinson is wonderfully brought to you by the hilarious Neil Patrick Harris.

As a group, the central ensemble do a fantastic job in the weird and wonderful situations they’re presented with, but it’s Neil Patrick Harris that takes How I Met Your Mother to greater heights. With his many Barneyisms, such as telling his friends to ‘suit up!’, giving high fives and the catchphrase ‘legendary’, breaking the word up into its syllables, one time, splitting each half between seasons, Harris will have you in tears with laughter not merely a handful of times a season but a handful of times each episode.

Recently starting in the UK on digital channel E4, it has been billed as the next Friends, and while over the four season you’ll build up a very strong affinity with Ted et all, as you did for Ross and the gang, Friends was much more of a comedy-drama, where as How I Met Your Mother is a straight out sit-com.

Learning from their critics, the show starting with a truly excellent debut season, creators Carter Bay and Craig Thomas developed the narrative, slowly cutting out the future scenes with Ted’s kids and further bring Barney to the fore alongside Ted.

As the fifth season approaches on September 21st, if there’s one frustration it’s that we still don’t know who the mother is yet, and in the fourth season in particular it felt like Ted took one step forward then two steps back, but the signs are this upcoming run will at last shed light on the mystery woman. Still, if to reach season double figures it’ll have to take Ted that long to find his dream girl, I sure don’t mind. How I Met Your Mother has quickly become my favourite sit-com of all time, a big claim to make I know, but it really is worth the praise. Season 5 is going to be legen… wait for it… dary!

Waiting For The Fall: Eastbound & Down

By Sam Bathe on 8 Sep 2009

Eastbound & Down

Attempting to fill in the gap between January’s run of great TV shows and the annual fall onslaught, I’ve been working our way through some shows I’ve missed over the years and have only now found the time to catch up on. So far we’ve explored Judd Apatow’s cancelled but highly regarded shows Undeclared and Freaks And Geeks so next up is a show that is very much alive and kicking… Show the rest of this post…

Created by director Jody Hill and actors Danny McBride and Ben Best, after getting to know Will Ferrell and Adam McKay through their last film together, The Foot Fist Way, Ferrell and McKay presented the trio’s ideas to HBO who roundly ordered an initial 6 episode season.

Fronted by McBride as Kenny Powers, Eastbound & Down follows Powers’ fall from grace as the once record breaking baseball pitcher throws his career away after spiralling into drugs and gambling. With his reputation in tatters and nothing left in the bank, Powers is forced to go back to his hometown, and sleep on his brother’s couch. Refusing to sell his one prized possession, a gleaming white jet ski, the next course of humiliation is finding a job, and making use of whatever sporting skill he has left, gets a job as a sports coach as the local school. From there on in, the show’s about Powers struggling to adapt to town life, and how inappropriate his teaching methods are for young students.

Boasting dark and brutal comedy, very similar to Hill’s recent directorial effort Observe And Report, Eastbound & Down certainly has a quite specific target audience, but anyone who finds unconventional and uncomfortable comedy hilarious will get a lot out of the debut run.

HBO has already renewed the series for a second season so be sure to catch the first 6 episodes before that starts next January and get in on Eastbound & Down before it become the next cult comedy everyone is talking about.

Waiting For The Fall: Freaks And Geeks

By Sam Bathe on 6 Sep 2009

Freaks And Geeks

Attempting to fill in the gap between January’s run of great TV shows and the annual fall onslaught, I’ve been working our way through some shows I’ve missed over the years and have only now found the time to catch up on. We’ve already waxed lyrical over Judd Apatow’s second foray into TV on Undeclared so now’s the time to go back to his roots… Show the rest of this post…

Executive producing for creator Paul Feig, Freak And Geeks was the first sign of Apatow’s real talent for comedy, as well as introducing a number of now hugely successful actors. Set in high school, the show follows two groups of friends, the ‘freaks’ and the ‘geeks’, and in particular the lives of brother and sister Lindsay and Sam Weir. Lindsay (Cardellini) is top of her class, a star member of the mathletes and plays life by the rules, but she wants a change. Befriending ‘freak’ Daniel (Franco), she swiftly integrates into the bunch of slackers and away from the mainstream. Sam, however, wants to move the other way. Friends with a-typical ‘geeks’ Bill (Starr) and Neil (Levine), the trio are desperate to mix into the popular crowd and would do anything to be socially accepted.

With the likes of Jason Segel and Seth Rogen playing ‘freaks’ and the aforementioned Martin Starr, Sam Levine and James Franco, Freaks And Geeks is awash with comedic talent, despite the relative inexperience of the entire cast. Snappily written with situations primed for hilarious dialogue, the whole ensemble really come into their own in the grounded and harsh high school setting to create a wholly relateable show.

The casting team rightly won an Emmy for the remarkable collection of actors brought together although it’s the many cameos and early side roles for further future stars that will have you sneak and extra grin. Shia Labeouf, Ben Stiller, David Koechner, Kevin Corrigan, Jason Schwartzman, Samaire Armstrong, Lizzy Caplan, David Krumholtz, Rashida Jones and Ben Foster all appear at some point along the way, evidently building relationships with Apatow and the show’s leads that has seen them contribute to each other’s recent projects.

Cancelled by NBC after only 12 episodes of the 18 episode run, in a similar vein to Apatow’s follow-up project Undeclared, Freaks And Geeks built up a big cult fanbase following it’s home entertainment release and is now widely regarded as one of the very best TV shows of all time, never mind launching the careers of some of Hollywood’s finest current crop. A must see for all fans of Apatow’s films, both produced and directed and a wholly realistic, and laugh out loud funny, take on finding your place on the social ladder during high school.

Waiting For The Fall: Undeclared

By Sam Bathe on 15 Jul 2009

Undeclared

Every year, bar LOST’s now January season premières, the TV-loving public waits with baited breath to see what the fall would bring. The finest of America’s new shows, after being hyped up over the summer, crash down on the schedules from September and October as eager viewers search for their latest obsession. Sadly, if you check your calendar, we’re in July.

After January’s new shows and the conclusion to last year’s big hitters earlier in the year, we’re now left with the summer schedule. New seasons of True Blood and Entourage are doing their best fill the gap but over a whole week, they’re struggling to make up for what is usually a strong line-up every night as winter draws in.

To stave off the need for fall fever, I’ll be working my way through shows I’ve missed over the years and only now have found the time to catch up on. In the coming weeks I’ll be catching up on How I Met Your Mother, The Wire and Freaks And Geeks, but first Judd Apatow’s second TV breakthrough… Show the rest of this post…

Starring many of the actors now propping up Apatow’s ever successful film productions, Undeclared follows the life of Steven Karp, played by a remarkably young looking Jay Baruchel, during his first year at college, still undeclared on his major story. Experiencing the trials and tribulations of freshman life, Undeclared is suitably packed with the humour that has made Apatow such a big draw at the box office, but he’s suitably aided by Baruchel and the supporting cast.

After his work in Freaks And Geeks, which was also unjustifiably cancelled after one season like Undeclared, Seth Rogen plays Steven’s geeky dorm-mate Ron. Jason Segel also plays a minor character and along the way there are cameos from Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Martin Starr and Kyle Gass.

Undeclared feels like it paved the way for current underrated show Greek, but this is certainly more of a cruder offering. Hitting audiences with its honesty, some of the situations Steven finds himself in will have you in tears as the show manages to still feel up to date.

Initially Undeclared struggled to find an audience on TV, and Fox cited poor ratings for it’s cancellation in 2002. Since it’s release on DVD, however, the show has found a cult following similar to Freak And Geeks, and is just the thing for a dingy summer’s day. Or to be honest, a bright summer’s day.

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

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