Not that the first season was bad, but this season has been a huge improvement. The first season’s overall arc didn’t seem to really kick in until the last few episodes and it all seemed a little, I don’t know, random. The second season occasionally suffered from the same problem (Certainly Sam’s powers came and went without any discernible reason), but as stand alone stories, the episodes this time around were much stronger.
The chemistry between Jared and Jensen is fantastic too. Despite looking not even remotely similar, you could really buy that they are brothers. The “Tall Tales” episode was an absolute riot and generally there was humour in every episode. They also know how to pile on the emotion and the last five minutes of “Heart” with both the brothers in tears was very moving. And the season finale was very clever in that it has given the upcoming third season an overall arc AND a deadline. Smart thinking.
I started watching this show primarily for David Boreanaz. I loved him as Angel and he’s easy on the eyes too. When the show began airing, I had never read a Kathy Reichs novel. This was apparently to my benefit as die hard Reichs lovers were none too happy with the changes made to Temperance Brennan and her team. I read a Reichs novel recently and found it to be over plotted and FAR too gruesomely detailed.
Anyhoo, the first season was amiable enough, the cast had good rapport and their banter and interplay made up for some less than inspired storylines. It was never less than watchable and to be honest, it was never more than that either. That all changed with episode nine of the second season, “Aliens in a Spaceship”. Holy mother of God. With that episode, Bones became must see TV. That episode was true edge of the seat, heart in my mouth television. The final moments of it, with a tearful Hodgins confiding in Angela that he couldn’t close his eyes without being back in the car, buried alive, brought a lump to my throat. The rest of the season couldn’t sustain that level of brilliance but it didn’t dip THAT far below it. Quality stuff. Mercifully renewed for a third season, I can’t wait for it to start airing already.
Hmmmmmmm. An odd scheduling idea (six episodes before a thirteen week hiatus, followed by non stop showing of the next sixteen episodes) didn’t really work. Mainly because the six episodes that aired before the break were deeply uninvolving. The cliffhanger, meant to make the viewer desperate for the thirteen weeks to be over, was hopeless. I couldn’t have cared less about anything at that point.
And then the hiatus was over and the show picked back up. I don’t know if they fired the writers in the hiatus and got new ones in but slowly the quality crept up and with the stand alone episode dealing with the demise of Nikki and Paolo, the show finally tipped over into being worth watching again.
And then they delivered the best season finale I think I have ever seen of any show, ever. The flash forward revelation answered some questions, but posed about a bazillion more (not least “if this is the future, how come Jack’s dad is still alive?”) and somewhat more crucially the potential for the final three seasons is H U G E. I am cautiously optimistic that now there’s a definite finish line, the show will stop dicking around and be drop dead brilliant. However, the middling second season is a big reminder that they can take a massive amount of potential and bugger it up completely. And they also pissed off all the LOTR fangirls by killing off Dominic Monaghan. I figured as soon as I read the interview with him complaining he was bored by how little he’d been given to do that his days were numbered though so I was not surprised when he left the show feet first.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
After they announced that Elaine Paige would be taking on the title role in the London mounting of The Drowsy Chaperone, I saw it in NY instead. I happened to be there at the time and I really can't tolerate Ms Paige, so it seemed perfect. I vowed not to see it in London.
However, I know the theatre manager of the show's London home and he got me an insanely good deal on tickets. So I went with a friend to the show last Thursday. In NY, I dismissed it as good but not great. Cute and fun but trying a little too hard.
I don't know WHAT I was thinking. I loved the show when I saw it a second time. LOVED IT. Yes, some of the American accents are ropey in the extreme. But as far as the cast go (with one exception) that's probably the biggest criticism I have. The energy, the enthusiasm and the obvious fun they're having makes anything else very hard to fault. It's MEANT to be over the top and silly. And for the most part, the cast nail the tone and style to a T.
Of course, the exception is Elaine Paige. The title role is one that it is writ particularly large. Beth Leavel found the key to playing a role like that is to take it in the opposite direction is to underplay everything and she did so to huge acclaim and many awards in LA and NY. Ms Paige, on the other hand, thinks too much is never enough and her performance sails wildly over the top. Which is a shame as it deadens the laughs the role provides and makes one wince to see her trying so hard to land all the jokes. You only need to listen to the Cast Recording of "As We Stumble Along" and her Beth Leavel's delievry of "Antarctica? Oh please" and then compare it to Ms Paige to see the difference.
There was one reason I was happy to see the show in London. Bob Martin is recreating his role of Man In Chair. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful performances I have seen on stage. Pitch perfect. He's funny, he's wry, he's charming but the air of melancholy and loneliness tugs at the heartstrings. The last 5 minutes are so beautiful that I actually cried this time around. See it.
Monday, May 28, 2007
As the television viewing year draws to a close, I thought I would post about what's been fab and what's been drab this past few months. As the shows in the UK all have different air dates, there will be more updates in the future. But for now....
The third season of the show and it’s not showing any signs of wear and tear at all. I may have some issues with how some storylines were handled but I’m reserving judgement as said storylines are still not concluded and the rumour mill suggests that they will be in season 4 (which starts in the US next month but won’t be in the UK for bloody ever, annoyingly enough).
I discovered this show completely by accident, randomly channel hopping one night and stumbled across the season 1 episode where the guys all fix Tommy’s neighbour’s porch. I enjoyed the episode so I immediately added the first season to my Lovefilm queue. I watched it in the space of about a week and then couldn’t wait so I bought season 2 from the US. Ho. Lee. Shit. Season 2 was fricking incredible, ramping up all the elements that season 1 put in place. The final episode’s arc of the death of Tommy’s son in a drink drive hit and run, the disintegration of his marriage (again) and the retribution against the driver who killed his son was breathtaking. I didn’t think season 3 would be better. I was wrong.
As if killing his only son wasn’t enough, season 3 saw Tommy deal with the return of his crazy sister (a knockout turn from Tatum O’Neal, Paper Moon is but a distant memory) and the death of his brother, killed in the line of duty. The finale with him at the mercy of the screamingly bonkers Sheila as her house burned down around them was intense stuff. This season was a little guest star-tastic (Marisa Tomei, Kate Burton, Susan Sarandon) and some of those arcs didn’t really feel complete, though apparently Ms Sarandon is making an appearance in season 4. It will be interesting to see how the other unfinished arcs all pan out, particularly Mike’s sudden gayness which was somewhat fumbled. The only duff note though in an otherwise fantastic show.
Oh and some of the guys are HOT.
The Dresden Files
I really don’t know why I started watching this. I am not a fan of anybody in the cast nor have I ever read a Harry Dresden book. And yet I thought I would give it a whirl. So I did. And after a shaky start (though I never judge any brand new show on its opening episodes as I may have said before) I actually enjoyed it a lot. Paul Blackthorne is an agreeable enough presence as the titular wizard and he has a good chemistry with Valerie Cruz. Some of the effects are a scooch ropey and some of the resolutions in the occasional episode felt a little rushed. But other than that, a fun way to pass the time. I couldn’t seem to find a definite answer on if the show is coming back for a second season, but here’s hoping.
Well it’s been an exhausting week. Regular readers on my blog will know I live with a disabled lesbian. She has fibromyalgia and lupus as well as two separate back injuries. When she moved into the flat we’re living in now with her emotionally fragile and batshit crazy sister, she took the smaller bedroom, allowing Crazy to have the big room. Moving into the flat, by the by, was what caused back injury numero uno, leaving her bedridden for a year.
So, when the crazy sister moved out, I moved into her bedroom. Taking into account, the second back injury and her battle with the insane lupus flare up, the disabled lesbian has been bedridden for the best part of four years. As she’s now feeling a lot better and is slowly getting back out in the world and no longer has to kowtow to her insane bitch of a sister, she made noises about maybe swapping bedrooms. The noises coincided with my parents coming back to the UK for a month to do a house swap with my aunt who is passive aggressively keeping all my stuff up in her loft. So the first weekend my parents were here, they bought all my stuff to me. So I now had a whole crap load of books, DVDs and CDs and nowhere to put them as my big bedroom was, at that point, furniture-less.
So we agreed to swap rooms, after she made the very good point that emotionally she would benefit from not being in the bedroom where she’d spent so long being ill and in pain. I don’t really care what room I’m in as long as I have a bed and my stuff, you know? However, I absolutely hate hate hate living amongst unpacked boxes. So on Friday, my friend Ruth and I went to Ikea to buy me some furniture.
Before we could do this though, the room swap had to take place. Due to having tickets to see The Drowsy Chaperone in London on Thursday night (more on that later), this had to take place on Wednesday. So I spent the best part of Wednesday evening dismantling both beds and putting them back together in their opposite rooms. I was dreading moving my superking size bed into what looked like a much smaller room. After getting her bed out though, it transpired her room only looked so much smaller because it was packed to the gills with the most spectacular amount of crap. I am still reeling with how much unnecessary madness she managed to shoehorn in. So, bed flip completed and measurements for furniture taken, Ruth and I set out for Ikea.
Measurements for furniture is one thing. Measurements for the flat pack boxes and the back of Ruth’s car is quite another. I bought a gorgeous bookcase but after 15 fruitless minutes trying in as many different positions as possible, we had to admit defeat and take the bookcase back to the returns dept. There were 25 people in front of me. We had time to eat dinner, come up with a plan b for my room, go back and actually BUY the new bookcase and re-park the car, all before my number was called in the returns queue. Ikea is about an hour’s drive from my flat. We left at 5:45pm and we got back a little before midnight. Fun.
So anyway, on Saturday I planned to spend the day being a DIY madman and sorting out my room. On the Wednesday night, as well as flipping the beds, I only took the vital necessities out of each room to last a couple of days. So I had to move out all the mountains of crap from what was now my room before I could start putting together my bookcases. Luckily, I woke up at some ungodly early hour and so I started Operation Bedroom at 7am. I figured I’d be finished by the afternoon, could then take a shower and a nap before heading to work for my four hour overtime shift 8pm-midnight.
Throughout the day, it did not cease to both amaze and amuse me how solidly the bookcase and DVD unit were made and how many screws and bolts it took to hold them all together. Why am I so amused? My bedframe, my superking size metal bedframe from Ikea is held together with four small screws. Anyway, I toiled all day long, moving all the crap out of my room (which took a looooong time! I kept finding stuff in little nooks and crannies. It was truly unbelievable), putting all the furniture together, and then taking all my books and DVDs out of what used to be my room and unpacking them all. Unpacking was, I have to say, highly therapeutic. This whole operation did take longer than anticipated and by the time I had my room looking how I wanted it, it was after 6pm and I was still not showered. If I was going to make it to work for 8pm, I would really have to get a wriggle on.
One last thing remained to do in my room and that was change the bedding. I had bought some new sheets in Ikea and wanted to put them on the bed. As my bed is so big and I am in a smaller room and I appear to be terminally single, I have the bed up against the wall under the window. So in order to change the bedding, I had to move my bed away from the wall. I did this, changed all the bedding and then moved the bed back. At which point, it broke. When I bought the bed, it needed a lot of extra securing of the midbeam to the frame as the Ikea idea of a sturdy bed is very different to the rest of the world’s. Moving it to another room was the final straw I think. The slats would no longer stay on the midbeam on one side. I attempted to fix it a couple of times, the slats refused to stay put. I came to the sad realisation that in order to actually have somewhere to sleep, the bed had to go. So I had to take it apart and take the frame down and store it in the garage. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to work. I was absolutely freaking exhausted by this point, after 13 and a half hours of this madness.
Luckily, the crippled lesbian decided to rejoice in her new found bedroom largesse by investing in a superking size bedframe herself. Copycat. She went to the website where she purchased her old bed from and they were having a completely insane sale. She got herself a wrought iron work of beauty for £200. Reduced from £1200. We then found a bed frame for me for £100. Reduced from £800. I refuse to believe it will be any less sturdy than the Ikea bed. Hell, if it were made with paper mache and held together with paper clips, it would be sturdier than my Ikea bed.
That's right. To make up for some blog silence, I'm kickstarting the week with not one hottie, but two. I recently watched and squeed over the season finale of Supernatural so I thought it only fair to pay tribute to its eye candy, both of whom one could call shirtless hunks.
See? Were it not for the fact his hair looked ridiculous for most of the second season, Jared would be the hotter of the two. As it is, right now, he's runner up. Anyway, enjoy the hotness and come back soon for some proper updates.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Here's a crush I have never really been able to explain. But ever since he appeared on my radar in 2000's Road Trip
(which as it stars Breckin Myer and Seann William Scott, I shouldn't really have even noticed him in), I have had a crush on geeky Mr Costanzo. He was one of the two saving graces of Joey and he captured the nerd geek perfectly in it. Which of course made me love him more.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The Coast of Utopia
The Little Dog Laughed
I’m both surprised and really really REALLY pleased that Little Dog was not forgotten. If anything other than Utopia wins, I’ll be shocked.
No surprises here though. Apparently Legally Blonde’s omission is something of a shock. Really? A show that opens with the song titled “Oh My God You Guys” before reprising it twice throughout the show has been overlooked. I’m stunned.
Best Book of a Musical
Curtains - Rupert Holmes & Peter Stone
Grey Gardens - Doug Wright
Legally Blonde The Musical - Heather Hach
Spring Awakening - Steven Sater
I’m stunned it got a nomination here over Poppins, that’s for sure. I can see Doug Wright winning this one I think.
Best Original Score
Music: John Kander
Lyrics: Fred Ebb, John Kander & Rupert Holmes
Music: Scott Frankel
Lyrics: Michael Korie
Legally Blonde The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Music: Duncan Sheik
Lyrics: Steven Sater
And here. I guess Poppins was overlooked as not all of it was new. I haven’t heard Curtains. Grey Gardens has some outstanding songs in it but it also has a few forgettable tunes too. Spring Awakening is a concert. The songs work better out of context. Go figure. Ultimately, if only for "Another Winter in a Summer Town", I would like to see Grey Gardens take this one.
Best Revival of a Play
Inherit the Wind
I’ve seen none of these, but I do hope Journey’s End being nommed improves its box office. I love Hugh Dancy so it would be nice if the show found an audience.
Best Revival of a Musical
The Apple Tree
A Chorus Line
110 in the Shade
I have only seen Apple Tree out of this list. I don’t see it winning somehow.
Best Special Theatrical Event
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only
Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway
Say no to puppets.
Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Play
Boyd Gaines, Journey's End
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Brían F. O’Byrne, The Coast of Utopia
Christopher Plummer, Inherit the Wind
Liev Schreiber, Talk Radio
I managed to miss three of these five shows on both sides of the Atlantic. Quite a feat, that. My money would be on Langella here, but Brian F. O’Byrne might get it because he didn’t win for Doubt. Plus Utopia is going to clean up. Kevin Spacey is notable by his absence here. Good.
Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Play
Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Swoozie Kurtz, Heartbreak House
Angela Lansbury, Deuce
Vanessa Redgrave, The Year of Magical Thinking
Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed
I am absolutely fucking elated that Julie White got a nomination. However, if anybody but Angela Lansbury takes home this award, I’d be HUGELY surprised. Marian Seldes is probably sticking pins in a doll of her right now.
Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, LoveMusik
Raúl Esparza, Company
Jonathan Groff, Spring Awakening
Gavin Lee, Mary Poppins
David Hyde Pierce, Curtains
Yay Gavin Lee!
Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Musical
Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde The Musical
Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens
Audra McDonald, 110 in the Shade
Debra Monk, Curtains
Donna Murphy, LoveMusik
A couple of notable omissions here. Firstly Kristin Chenoweth for The Apple Tree. Good. Her performance had an air of “I’m really good aren’t I?” about it that drove me up the wall. Secondly, Ashley Brown for Mary Poppins. That was considered a guaranteed nomination. Ultimately though, this award belongs to Christine Ebersole.
Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Play
Anthony Chisholm, Radio Golf
Billy Crudup, The Coast of Utopia
Ethan Hawke, The Coast of Utopia
John Earl Jelks, Radio Golf
Stark Sands, Journey's End
I can foresee Utopia doing a sweep of the Play awards. Anyone else? Shame that Hugh Dancy didn't get a nod. And Michael Sheen.
Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Play
Jennifer Ehle, The Coast of Utopia
Xanthe Elbrick, Coram Boy
Dana Ivey, Butley
Jan Maxwell, Coram Boy
Martha Plimpton, The Coast of Utopia
I love me some Plimpton. Almost as much as I love Jennifer Ehle.
Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
Christian Borle, Legally Blonde The Musical
John Cullum, 110 in the Shade
John Gallagher, Jr., Spring Awakening
David Pittu, LoveMusik
It would be nice if Borle won so he and Sutton could have matching his and her’s Tonys.
Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Musical
Charlotte d’Amboise, A Chorus Line
Rebecca Luker, Mary Poppins
Orfeh, Legally Blonde The Musical
Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens
Karen Ziemba, Curtains
Orfeh! Fucking hell. She’s a tiny woman with a BIG voice who has never really been lucky enough to land a long running show. And ok, she’s in Legally Blonde, which is not the best, but she’s been nominated. Good for her.
Best Direction of a Play
Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon
David Grindley, Journey's End
Jack O'Brien, The Coast of Utopia
Melly Still, Coram Boy
It'll be Jack O'Brien. I hope that considering it as one play doesn't detract from what a HUGE achievement Utopia is.
Best Direction of a Musical
John Doyle, Company
Scott Ellis, Curtains
Michael Greif, Grey Gardens
Michael Mayer, Spring Awakening
I was bothered by the lame direction for some stuff in Gardens and I flat out HATED the direction in Spring Awakening. I would imagine John Doyle will take this award.
Rob Ashford, Curtains
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear, Mary Poppins
Bill T. Jones, Spring Awakening
Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde The Musical
Yay Stephen Mear! I used to work with his sisters (his actual relatives, I’m not being super gay when I say sisters). Go figure. For the choreography in “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Step In Time” alone, he deserves to win. The Spring Awakening choreography was occasionally inspired but mainly horrible.
Bruce Coughlin, Grey Gardens
Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening
Jonathan Tunick, LoveMusik
Jonathan Tunick, 110 in the Shade
I am not going to pretend I even know the first thing about orchestrations.
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bob Crowley & Scott Pask, The Coast of Utopia
Jonathan Fensom, Journey's End
David Gallo, Radio Golf
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
I wonder if the nominations and I’m sure eventual wins being showered on Utopia will result in a commercial Broadway transfer?
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Christine Jones, Spring Awakening
Anna Louizos, High Fidelity
Allen Moyer, Grey Gardens
I do love the Poppins sets, I have to say. I mean, they’re HUGE. I know Grey Gardens is handicapped as it’s a much smaller show but I did think their sets were a little flat.
Best Costume Design of a Play
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
Jane Greenwood, Heartbreak House
Santo Loquasto, Inherit the Wind
Catherine Zuber, The Coast of Utopia
I can’t imagine Utopia’s streak will be broken here.
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Legally Blonde The Musical
Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Susan Hilferty, Spring Awakening
William Ivey Long, Grey Gardens
Spring Awakening, really? They’re school uniforms, for crying out loud. I would say this is a race between Poppins and Gardens.
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, Coram Boy
Brian MacDevitt, Inherit the Wind
Brian MacDevitt, Kenneth Posner, and Natasha Katz, The Coast of Utopia
Jason Taylor, Journey's End
Like I know anything about lighting, other than to go “oooh pretty”.
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, Spring Awakening
Christopher Akerlind, 110 in the Shade
Howard Harrison, Mary Poppins
Peter Kaczorowski, Grey Gardens
Monday, May 14, 2007
Over the weekend, I started watching season 3 of Grey's Anatomy, which I have been downloading (sssh!) for weeks now. For all the talk about McDreamy and McSteamy, the hottest guy on the show is Justin Chambers, aka Dr Alex Karev.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Cate Blanchett's entirely terrifying appearance is for the title role in the upcoming Cancer Vixen. Her involvement in the project was announced as early as last September so I don't know how I managed to miss it. It doesn't feature on her IMDb page, other than in the message boards though. ANYWAY, point is she's not fallen foul of the insanity sweeping through Hollywood, rather she's doing a Christian Bale. Albeit, for what sounds like a more worthwhile project.
Many of the comments left on the post I made about her appearance pointed me towards articles detailing the project and one person stated that their first thought was "she's doing it for a role". It's funny that the anorexia epidemic in Hollywood has reached such a horrifying level that my first thought when I see a newly thin celebrity is never "that must be for a role" it's always "fucking hell, Rachel Zoe got to you too?"
Thursday, May 10, 2007
While Ms Blanchett has never been someone you look at and think "ah, so THAT'S who ate all the pies", it's a little alarming to see that she has fallen foul of the starvation army currently marching through Hollywood. Don't believe me? Well here she is, 8 years ago as Susan Traherne in the London revival of Plenty:
and here she is, earlier this week at the Met Costume Institute Ball:
Terrifying, no? Her hair is clearly begging for some nutrients, her skin is no longer luminous but deathly pale and she looks like she's about 200 calories from death. That the Rachel Zoe inspired cult of scary and unhealthily thin could warp the minds of the young and impressionable Hollywood set is bad enough. That it has seemingly also broken the mind of the adult and intelligent Cate Blanchett is truly frightening. I hope she lives long enough to see the awards glory that will be showered upon her next year for The Golden Age though. The trailer gives me chills. Check it out for yourselves:
Monday, May 07, 2007
Saturday, May 05, 2007
It's been a non update week here at PCB Central. Things have taken a turn for the majorly sucky and I have not really been in a happy place and felt like updating. Hopefully that will all turn around soon. To try and bring myself out of the deep blue funk though, I have spent some money on stuff to cheer me up. To wit:
A big widescreen TV. Look how simultaneously big and thin it is:
I've added some extra space to the lounge AND seriously enhanced my viewing pleasure. That's what I call a win/win.
I also bought a new phone. I've been using my old old old phone on a pay as you go SIM card for a year now and it has slowly driven me up the wall. This isn't the best picture, but goddamn the new phone I got is so sexy. And speaking of thin:
It clocks in at a mere 9mm in width. I love it. It's only a matter of time until I lose it or snap it in two by sitting on it of course. And finally:
A new watch. It's gorgeous. I'm having to learn to tell the time all over again due to the fact the dials on this baby go anti clockwise, but it's worth it.