Perception

I sat down to watch this at honestly did not know what to expect. I had refused to read any reviews even though the trailer had me intrigued. If you are getting bored of the shows that have two people who solve puzzles where the storyline doesn’t really make sense then I doubt you will like this show.

People often say that crime and comedy don’t mix, but I wonder how many of those same people laughed at BBCs Sherlock. I am actually one of those people that believe crime and comedy can be mixed, but have to be so in a subtle and delicate way. This show does that superbly. The basic premise of this show is that a professor that is clearly suffering with schizophrenia, and has a love of everything that puzzles him works as an advisor for the FBI.

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The highlight of the show is beyond all doubt Eric McCormack’s portrayal of the vulnerable doctor, Dr Daniel Pierce. His career seemed to stall since the days of Will and Grace but it is great to see him back on our screens and in a role he can show of the extent to which his talent can stretch. Rachael Leigh Cook is OK and nothing more in her role as seasoned FBI Agent Kate Moretti, however there are some moments where the on screen chemistry between her and McCormack carry her through.

The show hangs on plot twists that it hopes the viewer will not see coming, yet the show is covered in moments of “I knew that would happen”. Watching episode three last night, you knew that as soon as they settled on one suspect to arrest it would be wrong and McCormack would save the day, and yet this doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is just a rehash of other shows.

The show combines elements of House, Bones, A Beautiful Mind, and hopes that they will work. If you cast your mind back to House when he was hallucinating his best friends dead girlfriend Amber, you will recall that the show stalled. House had been built on this man have interactions with his own team, belittling every idea they could come up with, yet when Amber came along he became distracted and it felt as if it was a two man show. Perception has a similar storyline with the main character engaging in full conversations with his ex girlfriend thinking through aspects of the case he is currently working on. While it is not spectacular, it is a solid watch that manages to keep you gripped for the 40 minute run time.

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The Dwarfers Return


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I spent many hours of my youth watching the wacky crew explore derelicts and distant planets, and when the special episode, Back To Earth, was shown last year the excitement that came over me had been unrivalled by any other show. However what followed was disappointment. Upon watching it was my horror to discover they had rehashed the despair squid episode from season five. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy what I watched, it just wasn’t what I expected although the storyline fitted in with the despair squid perfectly.

As with every tv show there are certain episodes or at least, parts of episodes that stick in your mind forever. What made Red Dwarf different for me is that there was at least one of those moments in every series. The episode in series two, Better Than Life is a particular favourite of mine. The ability to go in to a video game and live out your personal fantasy is something that almost everybody wants to try, yet while Lister and the Cat are living life to fullest playing golf and dating Marilyn Monroe, Rimmer somehow manages to turn his dream reality in to his own personal nightmare. That episode is only topped by one other, Body Swap; an inventive and hilarious episode which see’s Rimmer steel Listers body so he can live as a normal human for the day. However despite these great episodes the one that really sticks in the memory, in fact the first thing that always comes to mind when thinking of the show is¬†Quarantine¬† it is during this episode that the iconic cameo of Mr Flibbles occurs.

Because the king of the potato people won’t let me. I begged him. I went down on my knees and wept. He wants to keep you here… keep you here for ten years.

When Series 8 finished the show felt tired and almost stretched, Naylor had split from Rob Grant and the show became a lot more about science fiction and while the graphics became a lot better most of the gags where lost. However the creators have returned to what made this show so great, the four main characters alone on Red Dwarf, and it actually felt as if the show hadn’t taken a break from our screens. The show started with a very familiar scene, Rimmer failing the astro-navigation exams, again. Lister and the Cat are again wasting time watching tv and actually spend the entire episode on hold to a droid operated call centre ordering a coffee stir master, a sly dig at how corporations run the helplines today.

Upon discovering a derelict ship, Trojan, they receive s distress call. Rimmer takes it upon himself to answer the call doing his best Ace impression until discovering it is in fact his brother, Howard Rimmer; a captain in the prestigious space corps, or so we believe. This episode was certainly back to its best, it had plenty of moments where you found yourself roaring with laughter. The main story line involving Lister and his brother appears obvious however the twist is well concealed, and if you combine that with Listers side story which is hilarious simply because the viewer knows where it is going then you have a superb show.

Recently Craig Charles was interviewed and insisted that Red Dwarf X will hit the spots of its faithful fans while also attracting new ones. “The new series is good, but our lips have been sealed on plot details. Not long to wait now eh. Red Dwarf has moved on in terms of tech and what we can do with a small budget. I thought Back To Earth looked great, the effects had a filmic quality. Believe it or not I liked Series 8 and Back To Earth, they had good energy. Series 5 and 6 were about the best and Back To Reality was a real high.”

I personally hope this is a sign of what is to come. There have been rumours that the return will only be for one season, but if Doug Naylor can keep coming up with storylines like this Red Dwarf could be back for a while.

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The Walking Dead.

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What started as a small time graphic novel by Robert Kirkman has exploded in to a world wide epidemic. Zombie films have always been popular, especially since Night of the Living Dead by George Romero. Many people have tried to create something similar and have failed, even Romero’s latest work, Survival of the Dead springs to mind, leaves a lot to be desired.

When Kirkman was interviewed he said he was inspired by the helicopter scene in the Dawn of the Dead. He found himself asking questions about who was on the helicopter and where it was going? That led him to write as he describes “a never ending zombie movie”. A story that follows a small group of survivors as they struggle to come to terms with the new world around them, and the trials that they face in everyday life. It is also the only zombie storyline that retains the same characters throughout. Kirkman was insistent that he didn’t want to use the word zombie, he had created a world where the Romero films had never been made, and as such people had no idea what to do or how to kill these things that they where faced with.

The main characters throughout is Rick Grimes. A small town police man who is shot, and ends up in a coma while the world falls apart around him. When he wakes he finds himself in a deserted hospital, the atmospheric brilliance of the opening scenes should not be understated, and it sets the show up superbly. Upon leaving the hospital he finds his wife and son gone, he heads to Atlanta upon hearing rumours of the military having control of the city. The first season, only six episodes long, tried to pack in as much emotion and as many zombies as it could, and while it made fantastic viewing, it didn’t give much room for character expansion. One of the men responsible for bring The Walking Dead to our screens was Frank Darabont.

He worked tirelessly on season one and actually wrote the pilot episode, however he was fired before the filming of season two started. In an interview he joked that he had been fired because of his constant moaning about the network cuts, after the network had already announced to the producers that they would not only be cutting the budget of the series from $3.4 million to $2.7 million but demanding an increase from six episodes to thirteen. The cast and crew where informed of the decision at a lunch meeting and given the simple explanation of “It’s not working”.

Season two has given us the chance to learn more about the characters and has really brought them to life. The television network expanded the show to 13 episodes in season two, and while some fans have complained that it is now too slow, others have loved it. I personally am happy with what they’ve done – of course everyone wants to see zombies lurking behind every corner, which is fine in a Hollywood film, but in a television series we need to know the characters.

Having been a fan of the graphic novels for a few years, I was concerned when I heard that Andrew Lincoln was to be cast as Rick Grimes. I have no doubts that he is a fine actor, but a British actor playing an American? Thankfully it has worked, he has played the part fantastically well, and his accent is a lot more convincing than Hugh Lauries in House. But the real plaudits have to go to Jon Berthnal for his role as Shane, he has to portray a man of real evil, a man that would kill anyone to survive and he is my personal favourite.

The second season recently started again, and nobody could have asked for a more emotional beginning. With the first half of the season centred around searching for Sophia, to find her in the barn was a fantastic touch, and for Carl to say that he would have shot her himself shows what a cold world the survivors now face. What has surprised me is how different Kirkman the first season to the books. Out of the original 20 members of the camp, only 10 feature in the book. He has started to bring it more in line with the novels now, starting to show that while the walking dead to pose a huge threat to our survivors, the real threat is from each other.

With the show starting to come more in line with the books, the story line could become similar as well. In the books, once they have cleared the barn, they leave in search of their very own sanctuary. On their travel they find a housing estate, which has already been alluded to in this season when Shane and Andrea went looking for Sophia. They meet more survivors and wind up taking refuge in an abandoned prison. Now I obviously don’t want to delve in to this story too much but if they have taken the end of season two in this direction, or even plan to take season three there, it would be fantastic. It shows how much danger humans pose to each other, and would compliment the scene in the bar.

The Walking Dead is already filming the 3rd season, and with the introduction of the Governor it promises to be explosive. I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of the show so far, and I really hope Kirkman gets to do the show justice. One does have to wonder how long Rick will survive, while he hasn’t died yet Kirkman was quoted in a recent interview saying “If I keep doing all this bad stuff to him, I’m going to have to kill him”.

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