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My house now has two thousand quid's worth of steel rods holding it up at the back. It better bloody work.

I have Amazon Prime, which means as of about a day ago, I have Amazon Instant video thingie, the new one.

So I decided that I would watch Chris Carter's new pilot The After. For a treat, like. I wasn't going to but I am weak for Aldis Hodge, who is the main name.

Basic plot: an odd assortment of people find themselves in a hotel elevator which gets stuck. When they force open the doors, they are trapped in a parking garage, all doors locked and car alarms blaring. Among this assortment are a police woman, a French actress who just wants to go home to see her daughter; a gay clown; a rich older lady; who is constantly referred to as "the old lady" GGRRRRR; a slimy lawyer and a prostitute who I just BET is going to turn out to have a heart of gold; an escaped prisoner; and a Irishman who is such an IRREDEEMIBLY VILE, DRUNKEN HUMAN BEING that if this were the seventies, I would suspect it of being secret MI-6 propaganda. I think we are supposed to find him swaggeringly irreverent and funny, maybe?. He's a knob.

Every one of the men swears like crazy because this is EDGY don't you know.

Honestly, I feel like I am turning into my mother, but I hated it. It's boring. It's a word you can take out and nothing changes because if every adult male is doing it every five seconds, then it doesn't tell you anything about the character.

And unless you're Malcolm Tucker it's not clever either. It is just unimaginative bollocks, which is a shame because there are some deft touches in the script - though nothing as characterful as in either Millennium or The X-Files, where you knew who those people were straight away and wanted to find out more. It's reasonably well put together and has some gloriously creepy behind the sofa moments.

I am unclear how Aldis Hodge, who says he is an innocent man, and probably is ends up in the parking garage but when he gets there, after a tense standoff, he joins the motley crew. It is unclear how much time has passed but when they break out of the garage, something awful has happened. Communications are down and people are out of their cars, but the cars still drive so why did they get out of their cars? There's no explanation as to why thousands of people are not just cursing out their cellphone companies/IT depts and just getting on with their days, but I guess we may find out eventually. Maybe. There are no planes falling out of the sky (though a wee helicopter prang/fireball) and no mushroom clouds on the horizon.

Gigi is our viewpoint character. This is good because she is mostly sensible, though her characterisation is almost entirely MUST GET BACK TO FAMILY. She lost me a little when she went back to her hotel room and got a potentially dangerous man to break in her door rather than doing herself with a fire extinguisher, then not changing into sensible clothes and stuffing her pockets with energy bars, but she did empty the minibar food into her suitcase, so six out of ten there.

After post-apocalyptic steal-an-ambulance-and-drive-to-the-rich-person's-house shenanigans, our heroes boggle at the lady's wealth. There is some gratuitous nudity and everyone turns out to have a birthday on March 7. The Irish fellow proceeds to be a total four-letter-word-for-ladygarden-starting-with-T and there's a dead bee moment.

(I know we're supposed to think of the elevator going to 1013 and a dead bee as cute callouts, but I'm just tasting the faint tang of my decade-old disappointment, like the morning after burn of a dodgy kebab.)

The lady's maid Graciela returns to her house with four Latin American or Mexican gangsters straight out of Dodgy Stereotypes R Us (Free Handlebar Moustaches and Flannel Shirts With Every Purchase! ) and the post-apocalyptic survivors run off into the woods for reasons I am not 100% clear on. People shoot at them.

There Gigi is sitting having a mope when a creepy grey hand appears on her shoulder. Fortunately Aldis Hodge is there with his shotgun to attack owner of said hand, which turns out to be a bizarre tattooed demon. Some of our cast of characters see tattoos on the demon which they have on their own bodies.

Despite being shot, it contorts its body and scuttles off, proving that someone was paying attention to how the audience gave a collective horrified EEEEEEUUURGH! and GRAAAAAAAARGH! during the really icky bits of Prometheus.

Anyway, the demon whispers "Alea Iacta Est". I think we're supposed to go look it up on t'internet if we are insufficiently erudite to know already, and be suitably banjaxed. THE DIE IS CAST!

Whatevs.

I'd watch a series, I know I would, though I feel a little foolish saying so. I am not sure how far I would get before I gave up on even Aldis Hodge's effortless charisma. I quite like Gigi and Dave the clown, but everyone else is either a bit nondescript or actively AWFUL. We don't know why our brave crew of panicked extras representing TEH WORLD!OMG! is acting the way they are and believing the end is nigh. It could be for [reasons] or it could be because Chris Carter thinks it looks cool and has no intention of explaining. It could be brilliant. It could be incoherent bollocks masquerading as profundity again.

We are, after all, playing plot-sense roulette with a Chris Carter script. He's won big a few times but that was quite some losing streak at the start of the noughties there.

Back on the horse again. [personal profile] vonniek asked:


- What do you think about the prospect of the new Doctor Who with Capaldi on board?
This is very exciting. I do feel a wee bit sad that we didn't get Capaldi 15 years earlier when he was incredibly good looking but this is a selfish thought since he's still rather a dashing fellow and his acting gets better all the time.

[The new returning character who may or may not be a companion, who knows, is very good looking so maybe he's totty for the ladies who do not leer at men beyond the age of 40. He's also a good actor, so win all round there, I'd say.]

And what if getting Capaldi 15 years earlier meant no Malcolm Tucker? The horror! I can watch The Thick of It forever, though not much of it at a time. It's like Private Eye magazine: it's hilarious and scathing but if you see too much you think the world is corrupt and hideous beyond redemption.

I am looking forward to seeing what Peter Capaldi does with the role, how it changes the dynamic and what happens next. I'd quite like to see a showrunner changeover though. I think you can tell how thin-stretched Steven Moffat is by the quality of some of his scripts for both Doctor Who and Sherlock. I'd rather see him do something else and another writer recreate Doctor Who.

I'm in non-fannish mode with Doctor Who at present. Steven Moffat is one of my favourite TV writers but not one of my favourite Doctor Who showrunners.


- Wax rhapsodic about whatever has you most fannishly excited about right now.



I am at the running-on-fumes point with almost everything at the moment.

I watched all of Stargate and then read all that fandom and that was amazing because there was so much great stuff but I've read it all. I could go spelunking and read slash by people I don't trust not to be awful to women, but then I might read people being awful to the female characters and that would not be happy-making. So I've got a sliver of slash left to read and I couldn't give a crap about Atlantis, so that's that.

Then I watched all of Sanctuary, which had an amazing premise, periodically splendid writing, a wodge of genuinely seriously terrible writing and obvious lack-of-cash issues. And then got cancelled and that made me very sad indeed.

Even though that was the show where my friend M would say "what's that awful Canadian sci-fi show you watch?" in this specific tone of voice and I knew which one he meant, even though I watch many shows from the people's republic of Canadia.

And yet when it was good, it was really good and Helen Magnus was so fabulous...

Over summer I watched all of Coffee Prince. Even though the series was about seven hours longer than it needed to be for the amount of story, it was adorable. They did such a fantastic job of making all the characters understandable and sympathetic, with even the minor roles well drawn.

I should've been so impatient with Choi Han-Kyul, with his 'all about me' angst and anger but we always understood why he was acting that way, and you could see how he would grow up into a fine man with just the smallest of pushes, because the kindness was there.

Also, if Lee Sun-kyun was the voice of Siri, I'd be talking to my phone an awful lot. Just saying.

This entry was originally posted at http://finisterre.dreamwidth.org/190411.html. All comments welcome anywhere. comment count unavailable.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
vonniek
Feb. 28th, 2014 04:58 am (UTC)
AV Club gave that Chris Carter Amazon show a decent review so I was wondering if I should check it out! Uh, maybe not? It sounds like it might be more entertaining to read you rant about it. :p

I am not as anti-Moffat as it seems faddish nowadays, but I found the last season of Doctor Who an almost complete wash, capped by that Christmas episode, which I thought was a nonsensical and self-indulgent heap of rubbish. Poor Eleven -- he deserved a better send-off than that. Like you, I'm rather excited about Capaldi, 'cause he's an excellent actor and appears to be cut in a different mould than the last few, but I do wish someone else was running it.

Awww, Coffee Prince! I will forever have a huge soft spot for it. For such a cute show, it made me cry rather a lot, but they did such solid character work with everyone, it all felt earned rather than manipulative. To this day, I go all flaily when I come across that one Azure Ray song that played during that scene at the beach. (MY HEART!) You are making me want to rewatch!

Edited at 2014-02-28 04:59 am (UTC)
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