Gentle Viewers

Suffice to say, I haven't been around much, but I'm not lazy, I've just moved and forgot to tell you -ever so sorry- so if you've been looking for me, I am now here



White Noise: The Light

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!
Not that it seemed like a very spoilery movie… I suppose there were a couple of instances.

Another trip to the cinema, in the lovely calm Welsh winter weather…. Anyway, once we had settled down in our lovely seats, progressively peeled off our wet jackets and watched the enjoyable trailer for Hot Fuzz –which looks awesome by the way- I was ready to see the first mainstream film of the year! Perhaps if I were a fan of horrorish films I would have liked White Noise: The Light more… I am trying to be more open-minded, I swear!

Abe Dale’s (Nathan Fillion) wife and son are murdered by Henry Caine (Craig Fairbrass) for an unexplained reason. Suffering from depression he tries to kill himself, but is brought back to life after having a near death experience (NDE) from this he is able to –in simple terms- see when a person is going to die soon, and being a nice guy, Abe goes and saves three people; but not without consequences.

Best part of the film –hands down, and no offence- was the statistic at the beginning, I do not remember the exact figures, but it was something along the lines of; every American will pass by 1.7 people that will later die that day! How crazy is that!!!

Ok, so for all intensive purposes, I went to see White Noise the Light, because Nathan Fillion is a good actor –plus really cool guy- the director Patrick Lussier, of whom I can’t say I was originally familiar with, was a good choice for the director- after editing so many prolific slasher/horror films, but it isn’t the director who I have a problem with in this film, it’s the screenwriter, Mr. Matt Venne; whose script was absolutely atrocious, I’m sorry but some lines just had me rolling my eyes, because some of the dialogue just felt particularly unnatural… not to mention the absurdness of what was going on.
One thing that did hold the film together however was the editing; which was very good, so much that I thought I should mention it.

On the side of this awful script the acting was almost as bad –the only saving graces of the whole film were Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff (well until her eyes rolled into the back of her head, because I just cannot stand things like that, I couldn’t even stand it in Fahrenheit) out of the whole cast, these were the only two characters that I found slightly convincing; and saying that, Katee’s character was written as a right 40s-esque female character –sorry I must be watching too much Whedon-feministy programmes. Though regardless of the character she was written; she played the character rather well, and the same is said for Nathan; who, similar to Katee, also had some bad lines, but shone through in the role. Personally I cannot say the same for his wife and child who seemed to share no chemistry with him whatsoever –wasn’t believable to me anyhow- except the tiny exception with the home video, but even in that it didn’t seem wholly believable with the wife and child.
Now, Craig Fairbrass did have a nice role, and acted it out pretty well also, but I could not stand his accent; sticking a Londoner in with a bunch of Americans will always sound forced -but Craig’s accent just sounded terrible for some reason- especially when a certain guy did some work in Eastenders.
Otherwise the only thing I have to say about the acting was I was actually hoping for more action from Nathan, because he makes any stunts look like they are happening (watch the ‘Filmmakers Journey’ featurette on the Serenity DVD).

I wasn’t so hot for the special effects; and I felt them to all be a bit bleh, I suppose it was the cheesy way they looked that got me, it could have easily been done with a tunnel; and would have the possibility to look much cooler!

One other thing that I found amazing about the film was its concept; personally I hated the whole NDE angle, not to mention the awful Bible bits too. But what I loved was the idea of seeing that someone was going to die that day; what an amazing concept for a game!!! Sorry, if it’s just me, but I would love that in a game, it’d be sort of like Tru Calling and you’d be able to chose to save a person or not, but you’d need to find out how they are going to die etc… It’d be amazing!! The whole three days later thing has to go though! Definitely so…

Now, I’ll get started on the whole NDE angle; which I hated, everyone that talked about it didn’t sound convinced in the slightest way whatsoever; cept for the one line that Abe said about bringing all of the absolute crap of the film into one sentence, and it was a great line, because his friend’s reaction, which if you ask me was akin to mine.
I think the main problem with White Noise: The Light was it was trying to be a thriller, but also a horror film at the same time, for instance the mass legions of dead people were just inappropriate and unnecessary.

I seem to be saying the same wish of Silent Hill in regards to White Noise, but I felt that if the last 5-10 minutes could be cut off, it would have been a better film. I loved the fact that Abe was killed; because that doesn’t usually happen, but that doesn’t mean he should be helping beyond the grave, see in my version he was shot, he also shot Shelley, the vicious cycle ends. The End! Instead it came off as cheesy, I do not like cheese!

As irrelevant as it is, I liked that rather than call it White Noise 2, they called it White Noise: The Light… sort of like Thief Deadly Shadows, or something a bit more similar. Putting a 2 on the end of the film immediately warns me of it. If they called it Batman 2 it’d be shit… doesn’t count with Superman though…

But as far as horror films go, it’s a standard, with some good acting from a couple of the characters, and many jumps galore for those of a sensitive disposition, so I suppose some people would really get off on the film, I just couldn’t be swayed by its ideas and theories.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 5½ /10
Although it was attempting to be different, it could not escape the cheesy horror film that it was. I can easily recommend the film to fans of Nathan, because he is simply one of the few good things about it, that and the Captain Tightpants reference, which was cute.


2006 Review

2006 Review

With the hubbub of university and such this year has been very busy, though strive I will to write up a review of the year, similar to last years’ recalling the highs and lows in the film scene (which includes television and video game, so maybe it is in fact a review of ‘Charlotte’s World

High points of the year

After the fun I had last year in frequenting the cinema I must say I successfully took the tradition into the next year and I watched far more films in the cinema than I probably ever have in my life.. not to mention the over-gorging on television that I (investigated)  in my opinion of Afterlife. Though the videogame front has become a little quiet of recent, no REAL amazing games have been released, so perhaps next year will be the year for some engaging intelligent games.

Now I can easily say that this year was not a very good year for films; full of sequels, prequels spin-offs and just utter crap, little was to be found –in my definition- that was any good.
Sure there were the massive releases of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 –big sarcastic whoop- but otherwise little else was pre-emptive. ‘Cept of course Superman Returns!!!! Which although came off a tad disappointing did indeed deliver superman-y goodness.
Granted that there were some real gems of ‘less mainstream’ films, Severance was a particular surprise success with some good-old british black comedy. Then of course there were a few (what I will guess 2005 films) good new films shown at the Cramphorn, one of the best being The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada with an great performance by Barry Pepper. Not to forget the delight that was Breakfast on Pluto Neil Jordan’s films never cease to be interesting. Then of course there was the Proposition, Good Night and Good Luck, Capote, Howls Moving Castle (finally!!) and a few interesting films that I managed to see elsewhere; Hard Candy, Walk the Line, Lady in the Water, Munich, Right at your door and Stranger than Fiction. The MUCH anticipated Silent Hill film which was slightly disappointing, but had some good bits; hopefully the next one will be better. Then there was the nice adaptation of V for Vendetta and undoubtedly the best film of the year –in my opinion- The Prestige!
Other than the big films of next year – Sin City 2, Spiderman 3 and the Dark Knight (if it comes out next year)

Oops I gave away my film of the year… well, here the rest is then. Any comments, please post em!

  1. The Prestige

  2. Severance

  3. Superman Returns

  4. Three Burials of Melquiades

  5. Breakfast on Pluto

  6. V for Vendetta

  7. Howls Moving Castle

  8. The Proposition

  9. Good Night, Good Luck

  10. Hard Candy

This of course was based solely on films that I watched at the cinema, as always there were many films that I could not make it to see, the likes of Perfume, Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth and countless others.
So I apologise if you have seen these films, and thought them better than those in my top ten, please, do tell me about them.

Low points of the year

When there is some good in cinema, there is always the bad, and as usual its big studios trying to cash in on complete shit (sorry) Regardless to say I did enjoy quite a few films this year, but there will always be the plain awful! Now don’t get me wrong, I have never seen these films, nor do I wish to. I am basing it solely on how they look. Usually when I see a film I already know that there’s a chance that I should like it. If there is one thing I never do, it’s waste money, and I know how my mind works.. I can tell if I think a film will be crap, or if I will like it.
So here it is, for you to bicker and moan at me, my top ten… Oh-my-god-that-looks-like-shit of 2006

  1. Stay Alive

  2. Jackass no 2

  3. Date Movie

  4. Little Man

  5. Scary Movie 4

  6. Shes the Man

  7. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

  8. When a Stranger Calls

  9. Big Mommas House 3? Whatever!

  10. Beerfest

Now unlike last year, I do actually have some say in the films I have put in this top-ten, it was with much enthusiasm that I placed Stay Alive in the No. 1 spot! I cannot stand films that deliberately try to be cool and cash in on video games –at least Christopher Gans was trying!


I have been watching quite a lot of television series, with many getting me hooked.
So for all of those interested I recommend you these… though they aren’t anything too special, I did really like Afterlife though.

Robin Hood
I’m with stupid

I also managed to watch quite a few good one-off two part-er sort of dramas, so if you are somehow able to get a hold of them, these ones were particularly good. Losing Gemma was pretty funny too, whereas Born Equal sort of left you feeling a little dead inside.

Born Equal
Losing Gemma
Bon Voyage

I also took my spare time to going back and watching some good television shows that I own, well… I managed to get a hold of the complete Black Books finally! I couldn’t help watching Spaced, Buffy and Angel

Black Books
This life

I do not believe that there is much in the New Year in regards to television that I am really looking forward to; after all it is difficult to know exactly what is to be shown in the next year.
I suppose, I am looking forwards to the New series of Doctor Who, and of course getting to see series 3 of Lost when they decide to show it for terrestrial viewers.


So perhaps there has not been as much movement in video games as there was last year in terms of releases… unless you live in America or Japan
But the release of the long awaited Nintendo Wii came with amazing fun, as well as a few good waves of 360 games. Not to mention, the cute and stylish DS Lite, as well as the inevitable pink range of consoles including the PSP, PS2 and DS Lite.
I will take the time to mention a few of the gaming highlights of the year.

The new Sam and Max episodic games seem to be pure nostalgia in the best of forms, playing Sam and Max brought back all those nice warm memories of an amazing period in video games.
This year also saw the amazing Shadow of the Colossus, a beautiful addition to the Broken Sword series, the spectacular Twilight Princess, (game of the year hands down) PSYCHONAUTS, (because I can still mention it) and Dead Rising –which was great fun, and had some great music-. The year was pretty good for the 360 actually, with the aforementioned title, not to mention Oblivion, Hitman Blood Money –cannot wait for the next instalment- Rainbow Six Vegas, Viva Piñata, Gears of War, Saints Row and countless other titles.

Similar to how I have with films, there are also a great number of games that I am anticipating. First of course the new game from Double Fine Productions is at the top of my list; and if it’s anything like Psychonauts… well, then I’m in love! (Especially if just as many promotional items get released on their store)
Not to mention games on the way such as Bioshock, Mass Effect and Burning Crusade to only name a few!

When you look back on a year, you always forget just how many people died, here are just a few of the people that we had to say goodbye to in 2006.

Peter Boyle  
Joseph Barbara
Richard Fleischer
Steve Irwin
Jack Palance     
Robert Altman
James Brown     
Charlie Drake
Chris Penn

So, the old year is over, I hope that this new one brings much fun and excitement, especially from the few more conventions I will get to go to! (showmasters rule ^_^)
I’ll leave wishing you all a happy new year, and many great ones to come.


The Prestige

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!
Because with the Prestige you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled.

Unfortunately there is not an Odeon in sight around Newport; which leaves us with the City Cinema (delivering only the mainstream) and the Cineworld. Never being to a Cineworld in the past I must say that I was extremely surprised at the layout and style; being very, very different to the more traditional design of Odeon’s. Hell I used a toilet with Emma Thompson’s name on the door!

It was also strange to see adverts different to those always featured at the Odeon; not to mention two 360 adverts, one for Gears and the Cops and Robbers one. Though I must say Cineworld suck with trailers! (Which in my opinion are one of the main reasons for watching films at a cinema; more than two trailers should be obligatory)

Being a considerable fan of Christopher Nolan from Memento and his previous team-up with Bale (and Caine) in Batman Begins, I thought it would make sense to go and see The Prestige, primarily as Nolan is really one of the few directors making good distinctive films of recent, that and so far Bale has never ceased to astound me.

The story follows the rivalry of two magicians -Alfred Borden (Bale) and Robert Angier (Jackman)- and the effect obsession has on many different people, as the two attempt to better each other in the discovery of the ‘best’ trick.
Very obvious to the film, are its recurring themes, rivalry is inherent throughout, with the main characters Angier and Borden, as well as Tesla (Bowie) and Edison, this rivalry also feeds off the central theme of obsession, this theme is exemplified through the character Chung Ling Soo, who was so dedicated to magic that he need put up an act for his whole life; only so that it would remain believable (and if that isn’t a bit obsessive I don’t know what is) this strongly links to Borden. Angier’s obsession leads to his abandonment of his life, similar to Tesla’s life story, and although it may be argued the film has too many themes going, most of those present only add to the film’s story.

The film; with a well rounded cast, boasted a large amount of non-Americans –though strangely only on the male side- in the supporting cast; which I find very welcoming from Christopher Nolan’s films. With the likes of Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Michael Caine, as well as Andy Serkis and David Bowie the film has nothing short of a most excellent cast, and although I am not that big a fan of the brunt of the actors, I am warming to Michael Caine, and Hugh Jackman’s character was interestingly self-destructive. The same can be said for Bale’s who once again took his character completely seriously as well as fully encompassing himself in the role. Borden was, to say the least very interesting towards the middle of the film; when you begin to understand why he is always so indifferent; stoic at one part, then utterly charming the next, Bale plays the part extraordinarily.
Just thought I would also mention David Bowie who gave a rather interesting performance as Nikola Tesla.

Although I am a little unsure of Bale’s accent (I don’t believe I’ve ever heard him do cockney before) the same can be said for Bowie and Serkis’ equally distinctive accents, but saying this, none were so distracting enough to remove overall focus from the film; so they were not bad, just a little strange to hear.
I suppose I should also mention Scarlett Johansson, who had a small role in the film, nothing amazing though.

I absolutely loved the setting of the film –though of course integral to the novel and overall story- but then most period films are very enjoyable to watch, because if they get the mise-en-scene and the dialogue correct, the film can be the most believable in the world, and for this you also get really involved with the characters, not to mention the story.

If there is one thing present in all of Nolan’s films it’s his trademark non-linear narrative, and The Prestige is in no way different to that of Memento or Insomnia (or I am guessing Following). This of course left me to get completely confused and almost disorientated with the film. Wherein the actual scheme of what was going on left me bewildered; viewing one of the characters reading a journal of the other character, who was in turn, reading the previous character’s journal (which I think also makes little sense how I have written it), what really got me was trying to differentiate between past and present… which isn’t very good. But my sister tells me she was fine following the film; so it was just me.
But a non-linear storyline can also be much fun; most of this is had when trying to unravel exactly what has happened, while watching the story unfold before your eyes, by showing us the end and taking us back to the beginning.

I felt that cleverly a lot of tension was built in the film following Borden in jail, as with such a film -where you are required to feel some form of sympathy for the characters- there is most definitely a large expectation that Borden will actually escape; after all he is a magician.
If there’s one thing the film is not short of, it’s good quotes, not to mention the last line –as quoted at the beginning of my review- which is nothing bar awe inducing, I also adored the repeated lines throughout the film. “Are you looking closely”, and my personal favourite “No one cares about the man in the box, the man who disappears

Nolan’s loathing of special effects is a welcome opinion in my world of film, and The Prestige could have easily been full of special effects, thankfully those used were just Tesla’s lightning, and the double effect thing (to my belief). Basically everything present was required; there was no substituting special effects or action for story –yahoo!

When the film was over, I came out slightly confused, somehow I did not feel completely fulfilled, I suppose I felt that it was a tad anti-climatic, but the more I think about it; the film was not about revealing some big unexpected twist at the end, but allowing you to unravel the events, and comprehend what exactly has been going on.

The Prestige is a hard film to peg to a particular audience, similarly I cannot see everyone watching Memento, but the audience at our cinema was particularly varied, so it depends on the person I suppose. As long as you have an attention span, which does not crave action every five minutes, this should be the film for you, an engaging storyline and an amazing cast embodying fascinating characters; a good piece of cinema to rival a lot of the crap getting released at this time of year.

I could literally go on and on about the film, but I feel I’ve said enough

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 7 ½ /10
Don’t get me wrong, The Prestige was a very strange breath of fresh air, but I couldn’t help the strange feeling about it once I left.

So now I simply await Nolan’s return in the Dark Knight!


A Name Written in Water (The Conclusion of afterlife)

There will be spoilers herein, I mean come on! We are talking about possibly the final episode of afterlife ever!

Well the final episode came and went; and boy did it go with a (predictable but also) unexpected bang!
We all knew from finding out of Robert’s tumour in Lullaby that there was no way about it; he had to die, but strangely enough, no one really believed that it would actually happen.

I was particularly shocked to find that the beginning of the episode was exactly as to how I had imagined it in my head –which most certainly means too much drama- though I expect that with the specific subject matter it would have been impossible to deny the focus on Robert. Unfortunately that meant that the storyline of the night nurse was greatly underdeveloped; though granted, without the night nurse the episode would have probably been short of one fantastic scene with Lesley, as well as lacking the resolution that occurred close to the end.

As much as I hate Jude –sorry Anna, its not personal I swear!- she had a great deal of limelight in the episode, and her character seemed to have been healthily fleshed out compared to how she had been in the past. The same can be said for Barbara who –albeit like Jude acted extremely bitchy towards Alison- gave a great performance for the couple of minutes that she was on-screen.
It would be a crime to not mention Lesley’s heart-breaking performance, she was absolutely mesmerising throughout the whole episode! It’s difficult to mention Andrew Lincoln, who spent much of the duration lying down, but he did indeed give a heart-wrenching send off for his character, and as much as the episode left me feeling slightly numb, the acting makes it my second favourite episode, only to Mind the Bugs Bite –of course.
I am not entirely sure what to make of the final episode, as much as the series has had me completely enthralled, and feeling great sympathy towards the characters, I was unable to cry for them…
Which to me, makes absolutely no sense as I find myself unable to ‘get over’ the conclusion to the series, Lesley and Andrew’s acting was superb, the music amazing, and the script fantastic, but I couldn’t even shed a tear… perhaps I am broken.
Although I did not feel complete and utter –breakdown- sadness like some people… perhaps in situations where fans of the show cried, I was sitting there; my mouth agape… episode seven was really sad, but at the most I was just really shocked at all that was happening.

I must say it is a bit silly; looking on afterlife communities everyone appears to be denying Robert’s death, with the most plausible answer to the episode’s conclusion being that it was in fact a vision of Robert’s death, other possibilities including that Alison is also dead; which I must say I was under the belief that this may have been the case when I was watching it, but I prefer to be far more rational, Robert died! No way out of it.

I believe that it is safe to say I was no where near as distraught as some people; granted it bummed me out a bit and I was a little shocked that he did indeed die, but if there was one thing I was really horrified about, it was that we never got to hear what Robert had written on the manuscript for his book, I almost felt cheated when the credits rolled! Another part of the episode that I found particularly unsettling would have to be Alison’s rant at Robert, telling him that he must wake up so they can have more arguments; that just broke my heart… no tears though…

Regardless of the loss of crying on my part, I did find it a very sad finale of the series indeed. Robert was perhaps the one person to actually give a damn about Alison, and now with his departure she is pretty much alone, and if Mr Volk is going to leave it at that, then he is an awful, awful man!

I feel good that the series has come to an end, though I am not sure what to make of the prospect of a third series, I am just glad that I can now carry on leading  my life normally; waiting for Saturdays to roll around was absolute torture, especially in anticipation for this particular episode.

This whole article/rant/entry whatever you wish to call it was pretty pointless, I just wanted to tell all you guys what I thought… Not that I have ever met anyone that watches the show let alone heard of it –though saying that I was in the British Heart Foundation charity shop in Newport and two old ladies were talking, and one of them was saying how they had watched afterlife the night before; which was cute ^_^

So, um… thank you everyone that made the show possible, it was one of the best supernatural-y programmes that I have ever seen on British Television, let alone ITV!

I am absolutely dying to watch it again; I should have taped it really, at any rate I wont get to see it again for a good couple of days, which is awful; because my television caused me to miss a couple of lines every now and again; especially when Robert had woken up; he was speaking so softly I couldn’t hear a thing. Regardless of that fact; I always seem to need to view afterlife a couple of times once I have seen it, its just that good!



Rarely do I get sucked into a television programme so much that I cannot wait for the next episode - but as I am sure my sister can tell you- with afterlife that was very much so the case. -to the point of annoyance with her I am sure.

A couple of years ago I would have scoffed at a show like afterlife –it’s one of those wannabe X-files type programmes that British broadcasters create to imitate the successes that America have revelled in. I faintly remember other attempts; Bugs, Sea of Souls, Spooks alongside countless others that I have not bothered to learn the names of.
But only up until recently have I really discovered the miracle that is television of the British variety! (I apologise for the numerous references to the X-Files)

The phrase British television for me would always conjure up the drivel that we get -the soap’s- Eastenders, Corination Street, Casualty, Emmerdale… the list just keeps going, but I believe that at the discovery of Doctor Who (or perhaps of allowing to open my mind a little more) something in me has changed. Through thoroughly reading the Radio Times I’ve watched amazing docu-dramas, discovered Jimmy McGovern, great one off pieces such as Longwood, drama series’ like Vincent, Torchwood, Robin Hood, I’m with Stupid (which I loved) and countless other amazing programmes.
This increase in viewing has also led me to discover tens of thousands of great British actors, writers and more. A few months ago, I did not really know the likes of Lesley Sharp, Andrew Lincoln, John Simm, Samantha Morten, Liam Cunningham, Mark Benton, Jason Hughes, Marc Warren, Paul Abbott and Jimmy McGovern to name a few; and it’s also peaked my interest in British cinema as well! Not to mention being able to stand Robert Carlyle (even if its only for his amazing performance in To Be a Somebody; I found a lot to love in Cracker)

So how did I begin watching such a show? Well actually before they started showing the second series on ITV they had begun to repeat the first series Sunday nights at 9pm. I was slightly interested in watching it from knowing of Lesley Sharp from the Second Coming; she’s one of those real British actors, the kind you would never really find from America.
Watching the first episode I was slightly hesitant; after all, the series is about a psychic medium who communicates with the dead. (Already my warning bells are going off to stay well away from the show) If there is one thing I can not really stand it is mediums, psychics all those kind of supernatural spiritual things; personally –no offence to mediums- they always feel so fake to me, and so I felt that this could only be more so magnified in a television series –similar to the awful show Most Haunted, I cannot stand things like that.
Once the show had finished my thoughts were very different from what I had expected. Sure it did seem a tad fake, but could I expect any less from a show about something I abhor. And then you have the Mulder/Scully angle with Robert and Alison, which also seemed to work rather well with Lesley and Andrew.
Of course subsequently ITV decided a repeat of afterlife did not pull in enough viewers, and opted to show Poirot instead, which I just as soon obliged to; though I was actually looking forward to seeing the rest of afterlife, and didn’t manage to until I rented the first series out.

The show pretty much lives off the relationship that Robert and Alison hold; without Robert’s rationalisations the show would seem far too out there for my tastes; there’s something about a person denying what is obviously going on around them that makes good entertainment… when Scully started to believe, the magic of the X-Files sort of dithered away.

Now, there is quite a lot of mixed opinion in regards to the overall acting quality afterlife gives. If it isn’t ‘Lesley doesn’t feel comfortable with the material’, it’s that ‘Andrew can not effectively embody Robert’.
Personally I felt that Lesley created a strange alluring person; with the most vital, dose of slightly crazy –which, may I add really picks up in the second season, episode 6 in particular- Alison is a great character, and if Lesley were not playing her, I am sure the series might have been crap.
In regards to Andrew I am unable to see any real problems with his performance... So I could go a miss with his overly emphatic hand gestures. But otherwise I do not understand what is wrong, sure he’s a little easy on the eyes, but I’m not very tolerable of a no-brained pretty faces –and I hope I stick to that too- after all if I wanted that, I could go and watch some WWE (oh sweet jesus those guys are awful!)
Alison and Robert were literally brought to life by Lesley and Andrew; they are believable characters, and really, can you ask for anything more?

The music and overall soundtrack for afterlife is fabulous; if its not the absolutely beautiful main theme, then it’s the ‘sadder’ theme; all strings and whatnot sounding absolutely beautiful, and if there is one thing that was done well to the highest extent in the whole series it was the music; composed by Edmund Butt.

So, ok I admit some of the programmes I have gotten into of recent are not amazing creations of unique genius; as entertaining as it was, Bon Voyage was simply a horror film, and as much as I keep watching Robin Hood I know that deep in my gut Maid Marian was more realistic…
But when a fairly good writer gets on board with a TV show, the actors merely compliment the process; and all the magic bursts from the scripts.
Good writers and convincing actors are what propel afterlife. With most episodes in both series’ written by creator Stephen Volk (something that very rarely happens in a television series and for that I commend him) you can usually tell when they are written by him; the dialogue is usually snappy, the tensions high, and a slightly spooky occurrence is taking place. The episodes written by others are in some senses weaker; but all close in on the same territory, though perhaps placing emphasis of the show in different areas.

Though in saying this, the change that afterlife has undergone through two series’ must be mentioned; whereas the first series was primarily based on the ghosts Alison must help to pass over (in particular to the running theme of Josh, Robert’s departed son) the second series was a lot more character central which personally I do not mind;( as long as a show has well written characters, I could watch them do anything. After all, nothing really frightens me, so a series just about a bunch of ghosts would turn me away, which is where afterlife makes a difference) granted some people do not like this particular aspect. But I never really watched the X-Files to see what new alien/monster is popping up; I watched it for the dynamic between Mulder and Scully.

I’m sure I’ve said this a thousand times over in my other rants/opinions of numerous media; if there is one thing I love, its humour, I’m never too good with overly serious, but neither can I do stupidly funny. I always prefer a bit of laughter to break the ice, and although afterlife gave more humour in perhaps uncomfortable situations, I loved it all the same. If the X-files had been deadly serious all the time it’d get boring, there would always be a snap of quick humour here and there, and afterlife does exactly that too.
One small comment as well is, if there is one thing that almost scares me every now and again in episodes of afterlife, its Alison’s clothes; granted I am not the most fashion-conscience person around, but some of what she wears is very… interesting to say the least, which granted is a good thing; it really shows her character!

As with a lot of television programmes I find numerous uncomfortable moments; segments in a show where you will sit there and think ‘oh god that is silly/embarrassing’ after all it happened in Doctor Who more than enough times, and the séance in the finale to the first series of afterlife did exactly that to me; but it didn’t stop me from enjoying it any less.
Afterlife as a show has received some good and bad press; I think it’s really you love it, or you hate it, all boils down to everybody’s taste.

Afterlife also did something that has not happened to me in bloody years; and that’s one episode in particular genuinely surprised me which as an awful person -I am always trying to figure out the narrative of a story- completely blew me away! I was focusing so much on the episode, but did not see it coming in the slightest way whatsoever! Which for me; makes the show that bit more amazing.

So now that’s over and done with; I’ll leave you with a bit of banter of my opinions of each episode, and I hope you enjoyed reading and that you will go out and watch afterlife, maybe tell me if you think I’m wrong on my opinions.

Series One
More than Meets the Eye – being a first episode; they never seem to be very good always introducing the characters and whatnot especially in dramas, though the story itself was good enough

Lower Than Bones – was a good insight to Alison and her actual abilities, though the conclusion was a little off; I probably would have preferred it with perhaps a different conclusion

Daniel One & Two - great episode! Taking Alison back to a psychiatric ward, some nice interactions, and a good conclusion

Misdirection - was nice in terms of an insight into characters, and the overall point of the episode was nice but a little silly; I actually felt the title misdirection would have suited the next episode far better. Though Mark Benton as a guest star was a definite plus!

Sleeping with the Dead - bit iffy in terms of Alison’s abilities, though the episode as itself was all-round decent.

7:59 Club - best episode in the season in terms of character development, we find out loads about Alison, and a bit more about Robert. As I’ve mentioned I did not really like the séance; it was nice to see Robert believe in Alison’s powers, but it didn’t make me believe them any more.

Series Two
Roadside Bouquets - amazing episode! Nuff said, though the time change between 7:59 and then was a little; ‘5 months later’ kinda thing (so cutting corners in a way), loved the episode though

The Ratman - another amazing episode, with a partially chilling ‘bad-guy’, and more delving into Alison’s past/character, though the resolution was a bit quick for my liking.

Lullaby - could have been something more; the side story with Robert was rather dominative, and I can’t say I felt much towards the couple with the child, but was first episode of the second series written by someone other than Volk, perhaps would have been more shocking to watch if I hadn’t of missed it when it was on TV; and watched it after seeing up to episode 6

Your Hand in Mine- again a bit of an iffy episode, though none-the-less an enjoyable episode, Liam Cunningham was a plus as well.

Mirrorball - a rather controversial episode it would seem from response on the net; full of some –close to- graphic sex, I must say it was also not my exact cup of tea. But it did have relevance; either way, an interesting episode, if you forget all the sex.

Mind the Bugs Don’t Bite; one of the best episodes ever! Not only does it make great use of flashbacks to tell us about Alison’s past –I really loved the tone of the flashbacks- as well as the events surrounding her mother, and the eventual passing of her. Hands down, amazing episode!

Things Forgotten - similarly to other episode’s that I felt a little detached with; it was not written by Volk, and the young boy’s story; if not a little predictable on my standards, was almost pushed to the background and seemed to come off as a little less important with a lot focus being put on Robert; for good reasons too, with a shocking ending; though it had to happen sooner or later. The inclusion of Claire Rushbrook as a stereotypically fake medium was great fun though!

A Name Written in Water - I wait in anticipation for it to be shown; the last in the current and perhaps whole of the series, and there are still 11 hours to go as I write this, but personally I cannot wait to see how Volk leaves us –especially after the ending of the first season.



I thought that I would attempt to resume my blogging to coincide with the arrival of Torchwood -a spin-off of the recently revived Doctor Who- sort of like Russell T DaviesAngel to his Buffy; that’s how it very much seemed to me anyway.

So, I thought I’d get a review in before the internet is swamped with them and here it is. I’ll say it now, I kept out as many spoilers as possible, and so you should not spoil your potential viewing experience if you read my opinions.

One quick bit I’ll get out of the way, relating to the many questions over the speculation of the show’s target audience; and many parents were asking over the internet if they should allow their children to watch it.
To clear things up, if I had children they would most definitely not be allowed to watch Torchwood; as I previously said, its like Angel. And if anyone is familiar with the two shows, you’ll know that Angel was the much darker, much more adult version of Buffy, and that is very much what Torchwood is, except with maybe a bit more sex, and a tad more blood when it is present, though I must make it known that these elements were not dominating the show.
I must say though, it is refreshing to see a science fiction programme that is adult in terms of sex, violence and language, not to mention a lot of the sexual overtones were not just heterosexual in nature; which is bound to turn some heads, but once again; it is refreshing.

With a show first starting out, I for one can never judge much on the first episode; especially when the creators have the arduous task of setting everything up and starting the ball rolling, which made a particular saving grace that the BBC chose to show two episodes rather than one.

The two stories were fairly straightforward… well I say that, and I became a little confused in the first episode, mainly due to its ‘twist’. Anyway, the first episode set off with our main character; much like Doctor Who’s Rose, Torchwood gives you Gwen Cooper as your emotional link to the show. The first episode basically informs the audience of who Torchwood are, what they do, as well as the main characters of the show, and it manages to do this effectively in about 20 minutes, -very efficient- while at the same time, setting up a series of mysterious murders; but these are put on the side for the main part of the episode. Long story short Torchwood gets an opening, and Gwen takes the job.

Episode two: Gwen’s first day on the job, so of course she messes up as quick as possible; setting a parasitic-gas-sex-alien thing free from a recently crashed meteorite. The episode focused on Gwen’s role in Torchwood as their link to humanity. (similar to in Angel how Cordelia always goes on about how Angel is so detached from the world, and need to get back into real life)
Now this episode in particular is where the show gets fairly adult, did I mention this parasite has pretty much sex on the brain, it successfully takes control of a young girl and pretty much goes and has sex with a bunch of people, killing them in the process (gave me the vibe of Lonely Hearts - coincidentally the second episode of Angel)

The first episode was basically an introductory episode, and the second episode was good -the whole alien wanting orgasmic energy was a little iffy- and if there is one thing the show did, was it had good actors that successfully carried the show; unlike some programmes that we get over here in England.
The first two episodes had rather interesting stories, most definitely showing that Torchwood is indeed much more adult than Doctor Who. (there were thankfully no farting aliens) On the topic of aliens, all those present looked rather good; special effects wise (I’m talking CGI and good old prosthetics here), especially the weevil; whose face was amazing!

With the dialogue in the show I must say I was a tad disappointed; expecting the amazing stuff I found in Doctor Who I came back a little empty handed, nothing was really bouncing out at me; but then I must also say that can be a good thing, (going off in a babble) waiting for Torchwood to start I switched on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen -on C4 at the time, and this is a film mind you- Mr Hyde had just been caught yada yada and he changed into Dr Jekyll and I just thought ‘Dr Jekyll at your service’ and right out he went and said it and literally blurted out “eurgh” and turned over. Sure it happens a lot, you can predict lines in films and television alike. But there’s something I find with a good writer and that is that you do not predict their lines, very much the case in Torchwood; writers like Russell almost create characters that are alive… not just hollow shells full of ‘writing clichés’ if I can call them that, so in actuality I really did like the dialogue in the show.

The music of the show was nice; fairly contained and its low mechanical tones kept in with the mood of the show particularly well, the same can be said for the intro; which is lovely and short. I must say though, that I am very bad with sound, although I have now been told in many of my lecturers pay close attention to sound, I always end up getting so caught up in anything I’m watching the sound becomes insignificant so, sorry Mr. composer.

The acting is always a big priority, not above the writing of course but either way, I must comment.
Torchwood is explicitly set in Cardiff and they aren’t making out its London, which is great fun because all the actors are actually Welsh; I love welsh accents, actually scratch that, I love any of the UK’s accents!
But yes I digress; unlike Afterlife (which I’ve been watching) which is made with actors from all around the UK I find that occasionally the guest stars can be a bit stale though Torchwood seems to have gotten a hold of the cream of Wales in my opinion. So I’ve gotten that little rant out the way; the guest stars were good, but what about the main characters.

Captain Jack Harkness one of the most fun characters to emerge from Doctor Who; he had everything…. and then he was ‘kicked’ off in the first season… but then given his own series.
I must say from watching Torchwood I miss the old Jack, understandable he is now far less trusting, and you can see the old Jack in there vaguely but he doesn’t seem as fun. What the show now needs; if you ask me is an episode to delve into each character, and by that I mean each member of Torchwood… though it probably won’t be doing that any time soon.
Gwen’s character seems fairly well rounded, and Eve (from being host to the Gelth in episode three of Doctor Who 2005) seems to be doing a fairly good job as cop-cum-torchwood operative, same can be said for Barrowman and the rest of the Torchwood gang.

Fun was definitely had; I was hoping for a few more laughs, -I love to laugh- I watched When the Wind Blows the other day; and although it was a terribly chilling and disturbing little animation I found some occasions where I could laugh out loud. I love that. Doctor Who gave me that every now and again, but Torchwood didn’t have anything laugh out loud funny, and saying that both ‘dark’ situations and humour fit very nicely into Angel which is what I loved about the show, so I can only hope to see more humour in Torchwood, not to say there was none evident in these first episodes; there was and some rather funny situations, but nothing overbearingly funny.

Now if you’re paying any attention to what I’ve written you’ll have noticed that I keep referring to Angel, now here is where you find out why. Littered throughout Torchwood were tens of thousands of high aerial shots of Cardiff at night, not to mention how everyone seemed to end up standing on roof tops looking rather reflective, now this just screamed Angel to me –granted none of them were progressive, but still I must have it known, and hence have mentioned it.

So what can I say; I enjoyed Torchwood, it kept me watching. There were thankfully no ‘Oh-my-god-I-must-roll-my-eyes’ moments, and the acting and writing were both pretty solid, I can only hope for the show to get better.
Reflecting on the show, I am actually glad that it is not as comical as Doctor Who was and that it is not as boring as –can’t ever get into it- Spooks. I find there’s something about action/adventure/serious science fiction that I can never get into when it comes from the UK.

Just a small rant; I adamantly refused to watch the ‘next week spoilers’, because it is effectively a spoiler! Why must they show them, if I watched the show and enjoyed it then I’ll tune in next week, but don’t spoil the episode for me. Next thing I know television programmes will start copying Battlestar which just gives you the whole episode at the beginning of the show, why do that!?
So I hope to see more; great looking aliens (though I think next week is a ghost story) and more Angel-esque stories.

Now it will probably turn out that I am the only person enjoying Torchwood or something; I’ve been following the BBC’s recent Robin Hood as well, and even though its not as amazing as some people thought it should be, I’ve found it entertaining… sometimes I feel that I can watch anything and still get something from it, though personally Torchwood seemed miles better than Robin Hood.

Torchwood is on Sundays on BBC3 -repeated a lot on that particular channel. And Wednesdays on BBC2