Wednesday May 8, 2013
What’s cooking on TV?
By MELODY L. GOH
A detective who’s funny and celebrities who bicker around the kitchen sink – hey, it’s only TV.
LOCAL TV channels did a good job in covering the 13th General Election last Sunday. Sure, there were some mistakes made by either field reporters or show hosts/anchors, but overall, the newsrooms did well in getting viewers all the information we needed.
Now, back to regular programming.
British investigative comedy Dirk Gently (ITV Choice) is a current favourite on this reviewer’s list. It is based on the character Dirk Gently, a private investigator who owns Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, created by author Douglas Adams (he of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy fame).
Played by the funny Stephen Mangan, Gently is pretty much a bumbling “holistic” detective who solves cases based on the belief that everything is connected to one another. Because of this rather unorthodox method, he sometimes ends up in the most hilarious of situations, much to the chagrin of his sidekick Richard MacDuff (played by Darren Boyd).
Although the agency does get some big cases – mostly from eccentric clients or those who have tried all other means of solving their problems – they are few and far between. Last week’s episode saw Gently’s agency in a dire financial situation, a constant problem he can’t ever seem to get rid of.
Dirk Gently received positive reviews when it premiered as a teaser episode in Britain way back in December 2010; this prompted ITV Studios to produce three more episodes (they were shown in 2012), which in British TV terms may be considered as a “full series”. Unfortunately, positive reviews from critics did not manage to keep the series alive as Dirk Gently was not commissioned for a second season.
One show that’s currently in its second year is MasterChef Selebriti Malaysia (Astro Ria). The show follows the blueprint of the original British MasterChef series, from the rules and regulations right down to its kitchen plan, which is actually quite nice. There are currently more than 30 countries with their own versions of MasterChef, but Malaysia and Australia (where the show is hugely popular) are the only ones that have a “celebrity” edition.
If you have ever seen MasterChef Malaysia before, you would know that the cooking standards of some of the contestants are ... well, let’s just say they could be better. Much better.
The contestants themselves are not that exciting either and always don’t seem to have anything interesting to say.
However, in MasterChef Selebriti (facebook.com/masterchefselebritimalaysia), things are lot more dramatic and the dishes look more appetising. The contestants are, after all, entertainers so each one of them knows how to work the cameras and make things more entertaining for viewers. The celebrities are also, perhaps, more exposed to other cultures and have travelled the world, so their knowledge of food is better.
Last year’s series was won by Datuk Fazley Yaakob; it’s difficult to pick the top three competitors yet from the current batch of celebrities – among them are Datuk Aznil Nawawi, Shanie Hisham, Radhi Razali, Rozita Che Wan, Norish Karman, Celina Khor, Michael Ang and Cat Farish – since the show just debuted on April 22.
Unfortunately, the judges for MasterChef Selebriti Malaysia are as dull as before. Chefs Zubir Md Zain and Moh Johari Edrus, who have been with the franchise since it began in 2011, have improved slightly in terms of their hosting skills but are still a little stiff.
Chef Adu Amran Hassan is a lot more animated and charismatic but doesn’t seem to jive with the other two chefs.
Let’s hope this will improve soon, or it’s burnt toast for the show’s future (cue lame joke sound effect).
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