Considering we’re now 9 days into May, this article comes a bit late, but I’ve just not had time to do it.
Yes, it’s time once again for Stuart’s Entertainment Review of the Month…of April.
So here’s a rundown of what I’ve been watching/playing since the last update.
The Big Bang Theory: Well you all know that I love BBT and thankfully, the past few episodes have maintained the level of consistency that I’ve come to expect from the best comedy on US TV. I’ve got to say though, the show would be better without Raj, who offers practically nothing these days. Not too keen on his new love interest either. She’s one of these actresses who gets jobs based on her looking a bit weird rather than because she’s a good actress.
Britain’s Got Talent: Can’t say I’m enjoying it as much this year. The whole thing just seems too staged, and that’s most likely because it is. When you’ve got members of the audience microphoned up to react in exactly the way the producers
want, you have to ask questions. Similarly, people backstage have mics on them for them they say “wacky” things to each other. As for the ‘talent’, well I’ve not been bowled over. For me, the clear choice right now to win is the Shadow Theatre from the first week. They were tremendous. And as always, let me say that I hope no singers get through – they should stick to the X-Factor.
Castle: I’m all up to speed with Castle at US pace now. The 100th Episode – the one with the Rear Window theme – was one of the best they’ve ever done. Funny and with a great twist. I have to say though that I was very disappointed with last week’s one. Castle does not need a clip show FFS!
Community: I would say it remains inconsistent. Some of the episodes – like the one with the puppets – were pretty bloody poor. They relied upon a gimmick rather than writing an interesting and humorous script. However, the last three – The Christmas, Freaky Friday and Origins episodes – have been of a higher standard than we’ve seen all season. Let’s hope it gets saved for another year!
8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown: I enjoy 8 Out of 10 Cats as it is, but the Countdown episodes have been superb. Unfortunately Sean Locke was ill when they were filmed, but he was replaced by “Comedy Panel Show Captain For Hire” Lee Mack. Best bits as always are when Joe Wilkinson turns up. I must track down the sitcom he’s in.
Grey’s Anatomy: After a shaky start to the season it’s back to some level of form. Have to say though that it’s getting a little bit far-fetched with them now owning the hospital. Also, you’ll notice that Arizona has done a Paul Robinson and is walking around forgetting she’s supposed to only have one leg. One thing I found interesting about the most recent episode was that they had a teenager needing a stomach replacement as a result of a dry-ice cocktail gone wrong. So the writers read the papers then…
Happy Endings: Many expect Happy Endings to be cancelled at the end of the season, and I can’t say I’d be too surprised. While it doesn’t churn out rotten episodes like How I Met Your Mother and Parks & Recreation seem to do with alarming regularity these days, neither does it ever produce anything really funny. Indeed, it’s all a bit samey. The only characters I like are Alex and Brad.
How I Met Your Mother: *Shudder* Did any of you see the Time Travel episode? Possibly the worst episode they’ve ever done, and that’s saying something. Yes, they are desperately running out of ideas to keep the series going until Ted finally meets his wife, but having him hallucinate time travelling versions of himself and Barney in the pub just makes him seem like he’s mentally ill. Which he is of course. HIMYM really has become a pitiful TV show.
Parks & Recreation: On a similar note, Parks & Rec is becoming a pale shadow of its former self. Like I said before, it seems to be a case of turning the characters into caricatures. I think to be fair since I last did one of these articles they did the
wedding episode, which was good and had the brilliant “You’re On With Ron” TV show, but the past few have been painful to endure. If they want to improve it, they need to get rid of stupid characters like Councilman Jam and Jean-Ralphio’s sister.
Samantha Who: Watched a few episodes on NetFlix when I was bed-ridden with food poisoning. Not a single laugh in it.
Sons of Anarchy: Similarly, I gave Sons of Anarchy a try. In truth, I watched the first episode about a year ago and couldn’t be bothered going back to it. Then six months ago I did the same with the second one. But since I had nowhere else to go and nothing else to do, I knuckled down and watched the whole of the first season. And…I didn’t like it. I dunno if it’s the unattractive setting, the unattractive cast or the repetitive nature of it all, but I just couldn’t get into it. When the season ended and I saw the synopsis for Season 2 on NetFlix I just decided I couldn’t be arsed with it. So instead I moved onto…
Suits: Now this is what I’m talking about! Suits – a show about a bloke with an eidetic memory who scams his way into working in a top NY law office despite not going to Harvard – is tremendous The best new TV show I’ve seen this year so far.
Engaging plots, interesting characters, a nice setting, good actors and plenty of twists, this has it all. Stuart Recommends Suits!
The Office: For anyone who has been reading my Top Sitcoms list, you’ll know I got back into watching the US Office after a couple of years off. It’s been superb. There’s been a quality and consistency in Seasons 7-9 that most sitcoms could only dream of. What I particularly like is that they’ve softened the relationship between Dwight and Jim compared to what it was at the start, and it looks like Dwight will get a proper send-off, having been made manager in the most recent episode. But there’s been so much to praise it for in the episodes I’ve just watched. The love triangle with the Senator, Angela and Oscar, the slow burning Pam/Jim marriage troubles, the Robert California stuff, anything involving Kevin and also the fourth wall breaking stuff with the boom mic guy. Indeed, the episode where Pam breaks down at the end was pretty gripping. And you know what? It works better without Michael Scott. When I watched the Season 7 episodes with him in it, I was bored with the character. He’d been done to death. The show ends next week, so let’s hope it goes out on a high, and let’s be thankful The Farm (the potential spin-off that had a back-door pilot in Season 9) didn’t get turned into a series.
WWE: I’ve been a fan of WWE since 1991. But I have to say that creatively, the show is the worst it’s ever been right now. I find Raw to be a chore; something that I feel obligated to spin on through on a Tuesday rather than a show to enjoy. It’s just the same old shit every week, and it needs to change or they’ll lose me as a viewer. Last year I stopped watching Neighbours, and I’d been a viewer of that since 1987, so me quitting watching WWE is not beyond the realms of possibility…
Not much to report on the gaming front. It’s been the usual case of playing FIFA and Call of Duty, with the occasional pick-up-and-play game on the side.
I got sucked back in to Candy Crush Saga because I refused to be beaten by Level 70. Completing that was a matter of luck ahead of skill though, and it’s clear that they want you to buy the consumables to help you get past certain levels, but sod that. If a game is free, then I’ll beat it without parting with my cash.
Over on my iPad, I got Six Numbers, which is a free game based on the numbers round from Countdown. Simple in its execution and easy to get lost in, it’s worth your time.
The only other new game I gave a shot to was Bioshock: Infinite – a game that received rave reviews and was mooted for Game of the Year.
But I just didn’t enjoy it. It seemed a case of Style over Substance and another one of these games that offers the pretence of being free roaming, but you’re really moving in a straight line the whole time. Also, the combat system is awful. People have told me to stick with it, but I already feel the game is lost to me.
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