Wednesday March 6, 2013
By MELODY L. GOH
British TV has more to offer than just Downton Abbey.
BRITISH shows are simply wonderful. The actors, participants or contestants in most British shows – except, perhaps those in Downton Abbey (Diva Universal) – are usually “real people”, the kind that one would not be intimidated by if one were to bump into them on the street or at the grocery store.
You know, people who don’t look like any of the Kardashians, the Hiltons, the Jonases or ... Nicki Minaj (now that would be one scary encounter).
Yes, the folks in shows like River Cottage: Summer’s Here (Asian Food Channel), Murdoch Mysteries, Miranda, Lewis, Coach Trip, Are You An Egghead?, Britain’s Best Dish and Come Dine With Me (all on ITV Granada) are more about the content and less about the look of the presenters or actors.
Okay, perhaps Are You An Egghead? – a quiz show from 2008/2009 that pits really clever contestants against even smarter people for the chance to be the best ... quiz team (no, seriously) – doesn’t actually have the kind of content that would appeal to the “regular” viewer, but if you’re a sucker for really hard quizzes then you’d enjoy this.
It’s a tad boring, though, as it’s all business and no flash unlike American quiz shows like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader.
If, however, you prefer something less ... tiring on the brain, then check out the Come Dine With Me series – the one that’s currently playing on TV is Come Dine With Me Ireland.
Each week, the show features four strangers who will host a dinner for one another in their own homes. At the end of each dinner, the three invited guests will score their hosts based on the menu, quality of food, entertainment and the host’s general hospitality.
When everyone’s done hosting, whoever has the highest score is rewarded with £1,000 (RM4,700).
The best thing about the show is the narrator, Dave Lamb, who is just wonderfully sarcastic! The contestants themselves don’t hold back when giving comments, and are not afraid of showing their “real” self – most are a little quirky, some are boring and a few, creepy – not just to their guests but to the camera, too.
Sometimes, you wonder if the contestants even realise that they’re being filmed.
At the end of one Come Dine With Me Ireland episode last week, a cheeky little song came on and it goes something like this: “You have a face for radio, but I know you like to think you’re the best in everything...”. Funny.
Also on the funny side is Miranda, a British sitcom created by and starring comedian Miranda Hart. The show made its debut in 2009 and is currently in its third season in Britain. In Malaysia, what we’re now getting is a re-run of the first season (it was shown sometime last year).
The sitcom is loosely based on Hart’s personal life and features actors Sarah Hadland, Patricia Hodge, James Holmes and Welsh actor Tom Ellis, who has starred and guest-starred in countless TV shows, and appeared in movies like Buffalo Soldiers and Vera Drake.
There are a lot of things that make Miranda a fun watch.
There is the central character herself, who is a 185cm-tall woman who is so uncomfortable with her size and social ineptness that she jokes about them all the time in order to, well, be comfortable.
With her unbearable little mother always on her case about her career (she wants Miranda to have a “proper” job even though the former owns a joke shop) and love life (she’s worried that no one will ever marry her “giant of a daughter”), Miranda seeks solace in her best friend Stevie and Gary, a guy she fancies who works next door to her shop.
At the moment, Miranda and Gary’s relationship is just starting to blossom, and it’s cute as cuddles!
Not so cute last week, however, was the movie Kill Bill, shown on Ntv7. Quentin Tarantino’s two-part, cult favourite of a film is infamously known for its violence.
Despite the fact that the movie shown on public TV was heavily censored, there were still some scenes that were pretty graphic with its depiction of violence, but not so terrible that an average viewer couldn’t handle.
These scenes were also integral to the story so cutting them out would mean screening a film that was totally incoherent.
Kudos to Ntv7 for putting it at a later time slot, but perhaps a rating would help unknowning viewers figure out just what they’re in for (Kill Bill Volume 2 is on this week’s schedule, by the way).
While we’re on the subject of movies, the original Karate Kid was shown on HBO last week and it definitely brought back some fond “wax on, wax off” memories.
Also on the nostalgia trail is the Bond movie Live And Let Die (TV2), starring Roger Moore, as well as the numerous Tan Sri P. Ramlee films that channels like TV2 and Astro Prima screen on the weekends.
These gems, along with a few other choice movies that were on last week’s schedule – American History X (Cinemax), Wall-E (Fox Movies Premium; this movie has been shown repeatedly but it’s still good) and Layar Lara (Astro Prima) – do make up for irksome shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (Discovery Home And Health) and The World’s Richest People (TLC).
Seriously, do we really need to have a show that follows the misadventures of a seven-year-old beauty pageant “veteran” or one that highlights how extremely rich people go about their daily lives?
We already have problems keeping up with the countless Kardashian series on the E! channel, folks. n A big thank you to those who tweeted @MyStarTwo with their TV show suggestions. One stood out – a Canadian police drama called Flashpoint which used to be on HyppTV’s schedule. We’ll be on the lookout for it if it ever returns to the schedule. In the meantime, keep those suggestions coming!