A few words on The Masked Singer

The Monster, one of the stars of the Masked Singer. But who are they?

***WARNING!!*** This post is about a show that is on primetime British television. As it is a post about a television show there is the possibility that it may contain content some may consider to be spoilers, although you’ve probably found out before you read this anyway. Still, it’s only fair that I warn you before you continue reading in case you haven’t because I don’t want to be THAT person. You know who I mean.

Thank you for reading. And now, here’s the post.

The Masked Singer is crazy.

Bats**t crazy.

Quite possibly the most bats**t crazy thing I have ever seen on TV.

But I’m kind of into it. Sure it isn’t high art, but TV designed for Saturday Prime time TV isn’t supposed to be. Yes it’s another show featuring people singing, but it’s ultimately a guessing game. I admit it is fun trying to work out who they are. My mum ended up making a list of all the people she thought was performing in disguise on the show (she’s about 95 percent certain that the Hedgehog is Alfie Boe, but who knows?). And the costumes the disguised celebrities wear are pretty impressive, however I imagine that at least one of the contestants are baking hot and/or struggle to go to the toilet in them.

If there’s any real criticism, it’s probably that it’s a bit too long at 90 minutes, a length no doubt made so by ITV’s penchant for putting an ad break after every performance and prior to announcing who has won the vote to the next show. There is also the chance that Mr Chow from the Hangover (who happens to be on the panel of the American version as well), could end up becoming very annoying as the series rolls on. But in all, it’s a harmless bit of cheesy fun and we all need something like that now and again.

One last thing, I’m pretty sure John Barrowman is not the unicorn. For one, it would be pretty obvious from the get go that it was him. Plus if it was him do you really think Schofield and Willoughby would have asked him if he was during the first episode of Dancing on Ice, on which he is the newest judge? They’d be stupid to try and give it away and thus ruin the outcome of another TV show, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

You decide:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVIeNMNJiIg

30 Blogs of November: Day 23 – The Day of The Day of the Doctor

So I was going to write a lengthy post about a certain TV programme that was on this evening, but I am finding it hard to get the words together. Plus I feel that if I did go on a lengthy ramble I will probably reveal a lot of things that could be classed as spoilers (I might still do, but I’ll try not to make them too obvious).

So, The Day of the Doctor really was amazing, wasn’t it? Like a lot of Whovians I’d been waiting for the 50th anniversary episode to come along, hoping that it was going to be brilliant. And it was, which I was so glad about because if it had been poor it would have been the biggest  disappointment in television history – well for me it would have been.

The best things about the episode? Well, everything really, but to highlight a few things:

Seeing David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor again.

The chemistry between David Tennant and Matt Smith. The Tenth and Eleventh Doctors made a great double act, so much so that some of us on Twitter think they should make a spin-off series with them.

John Hurt’s War Doctor – a bit of a surprise really. Before the programme, I’d had him down as a very dark – even evil – incarnation from that little snippet at the end of the last full Doctor Who episode. I was actually glad that his dark side wasn’t that dark in the end, as well as the fact there was a bit of sassiness in him (keep reading for example).

Eleven: “Geronimo!”

Ten: “Allons-y!”

War Doctor: “Oh for God’s sake!”

That little glimpse of Peter Capaldi. Or rather that of his eyes.

The various little nods to the past – UNIT scientist Osgood’s very familiar looking scarf being one prominent example.

THAT cameo towards the end of the episode.

And pretty much everything else in it.

One last mention must go to Steven Moffat. Moffat has had a lot of stick in the past and yes some of the episodes made under his reign so far haven’t always hit the mark, but he really did pull it out of the bag and made an episode that was a real celebration of the show.

I’m going to shut up now as I have actually gone into Day 24 writing this. Meh, it was hard writing this without giving loads of it away.  If you haven’t watched it already, go and do it.

 

 

 

 

 

30 Blogs of November: Day 21 – Quizzed.

Have you ever, in a moment of boredom done those online quizzes? You know the ones that determine what kind of personality you have, which character from Sesame Street you’re most like or how much of a hipster you are?

I find myself doing them now and again, usually when somebody on twitter has posted a link to it revealing what they got. I do them mainly for a laugh – the personality tests in particular. Sometimes I read the outcomes and think they’ve got it completely wrong. That Sesame Street quiz for example, said that I was mostly like Elmo. I love Elmo, but I think I am more like Grover myself. Occasionally, they reveal the odd thing that I agree with. Rarely, they get it completely right. But mostly, I read the result and then do it again giving different answers….which more often than not brings up the same score.

Still, it’s a fun way to waste two minutes.  Just don’t be too pissed off if it tells you you’re 95% hipster.

30 Blogs of November: Day 16 – Awkward moment.

So I did write something tonight. But I posted it on my Tumblr instead. DOH!

Basically, the post I made was referring to the fuss over Lily Allen’s new video (which I posted on here the other day) and the opinions of a certain section who are critical over it. They are entitled to their opinions, of course, however I do feel that they have misunderstood it somewhat. Not going to go into it any further because I’m too tired to go into full rant mode and my brain hurts. I will however, direct you to this brilliant post by Jameela Jamil on the whole thing.

On another note, just had this random thought: If NaNoWrimo participants are referred to as Wrimos, does that make us NaBloPoMo participants Pomos?

30 Blogs of November: Day 8 – The John Lewis Christmas Advert

 

The John Lewis Christmas advert has become as much a part of the run  up to the 25th of December as the Coca Cola  “Holidays are coming” advert and the latter stages of the X Factor. Such an event it has become that teasers for this year’s ad, showing a bear fast asleep,  have been popping up in virtually every break on ITV,  complete with  the now obligatory twitter hashtag (this one being #sleepingbear, of course).

The advert gets its TV premiere tomorrow night on ITV, during one of the X Factor ad breaks.  It’s said that the whole of that particular ad break (around 8:10pm) will be taken up by it – yes people, it’s that big a TV event.  But if you can’t wait for it, or just don’t want to watch XF to catch it, John Lewis has already put the full advert up online. And it is pretty special.  The company have clearly pulled out all the stops for this, hiring animators who have worked for Disney to create the tale of The Bear and The Hare. The style of the animation reminds me a lot of Watership Down and The Animals of Farthing Wood, which is a very good thing. To top it all off, it is soundtracked by a version of Keane’s classic anthem Somewhere Only We Know performed by Lily Allen which, I have to admit, I am not entirely sure about. I guess it is because I know and love the original so much, but fair play to her for giving it a bash anyway.

Most of all, the advert captures the spirit of Christmas perfectly. The cynics and Scrooges of social media will no doubt maul it and take the mick out of it (and some already have), but you know what? Screw them.  This is one of the loveliest things I have seen for some time and if your heart isn’t the slightest bit warmed by it, then you probably don’t have one.

Yes I am a softie and I am not  ashamed.

 

Batty

As some of you might know if you follow me on there, I like Twitter. I like the way it comes alive when certain TV shows are on, the way people have conversations about anything and everything regardless of how geeky/controversial/mundane they are and generally like a lot of the people I come across on there. However, there are some occasions when I would gladly like to collectively bang the residents of the Twitterverse’s heads together too.

I found myself wanting to do this when I woke up yesterday morning and logged on Twitter to find the whole site abuzz with the news that Ben Affleck was to take on the role of Batman in the next Superman film. A lot of the reaction was not entirely positive – in fact there was a fair few who were apoplectic at the very thought of Affleck as the Dark Knight. Their reasons? Well he played a superhero in a film about ten years ago and it wasn’t very good. Then there was that really terrible film he did with Jennifer Lopez when he was all loved up with her, which was also about ten years ago. I mean, those are enough reasons to stop him from playing a character that is so iconic and loved right?

I must admit, I am not too bothered either way about the decision to cast Ben in the role. While I am a fan of Batman, I don’t really care much for the film franchise, being more of a fan of the cartoon and the 60s TV series as well as the comics themselves. However, it does get on my nerves when people start chucking their cyber toys out of the proverbial pram over someone who’s been given a prime acting role before they have even actually played it. Yes Ben Affleck was the lead in Daredevil. It was a poor film, but he wasn’t bad in it. He’d have been even better if the script wasn’t so dire. And Gigli was pretty much not the best career decision he ever made. But those films were made a decade ago. The actor who appeared in them is a different actor now (heck, he‘s an award-winning director now, too). In any case, you shouldn’t write somebody off just because they appeared in a few notable duds. Every great actor has one or two flops under their belt. It’s from doing them that they learn to be better actors.

In general, slating actors before they’ve even had a chance to prove themselves in the role they’ve taken is getting tiresome. You would think that people would have learned by now, given that most of those that have been slagged off prior to their appearance as a major character have turned out to be very good in the role. When Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker, the internet was full of cries of “EWWWWWW! THE PRETTY BOY FROM BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN AND A KNIGHT’S TALE?! HE CAN’T BE THE JOKER!” It turned out to be Heath’s best performance – and sadly, his last. When Daniel Craig was chosen to play James Bond, it was all “NOOOOO! HE CAN’T BE BOND, BOND IS NOT BLOND!” Yet Daniel helped give the franchise the kick up the backside it needed, and for me at least, he is now one of the best 007s – if not the best. The news that Matt Smith was to be the eleventh Doctor was met with horrid comments before he’d even donned his bowtie, all from a section of (mostly female) Whovians upset that they would no longer be able to swoon over David Tennant. And recently the news that Peter Capaldi was to take over from Matt had a small section of (mainly young, female) fans crying “EWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!! HE CAN’T BE THE DOCTOR HE’S OLD AND NOT CUTE!” This latter reaction made me want to hunt down every one of those fan girls, stick them all in a room and make them watch every available episode of the Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee eras. Or any of the old school Whos even.

Only time will tell if Ben Affleck is the right man to play the Caped Crusader, or if Peter Capaldi will be the perfect Time Lord. Let’s all wait until the respective films and shows come out before we pass judgement on them or anyone else who suddenly finds themselves picked to play a major character and in the meantime, reserve our anger for things that really do deserve it, like the existence of Piers Morgan, Katie Hopkins and Big Brother.

That Blog About That Puppet Game Show

Earlier this evening (as I write this), I watched the first episode That Puppet Game Show, a show on BBC1 that was made with the Jim Henson Company. Being a big fan of the Muppets and pretty much everything their creators have done since childhood, I was looking forward to watching this, as virtually everything that they are involved with has some great moments in it.

I thought the show was quite enjoyable myself. It wasn’t brilliant –  there were certain things that didn’t quite work, notably some of the “backstage” sequences, and one or two of the characters are a bit forgettable, but it was fun to watch all the same. It did have a couple of flashes of greatness. The sketch featuring a puppet family, sat at home watching the “Lights Out” game (a game in which guests Jonathan Ross and Katherine Jenkins, clad in suits covered in lights, try to punch as many of them out as they can), was quite funny. And out of all the characters, the two that stand out for me the most are an armadillo called The Amazing Ian, who is the show’s “mental agility expert” (and appears to like a drink) and Clyde, a crab who delivers the scores (who also happens to be a bit, well, crabby). While I thought the show was entertaining, I seemed to be in the minority, if what I saw about it on Twitter was anything to go by. A lot of the tweets I saw were fairly negative about the show, labelling it another bad piece of Saturday night TV. But a common theme seemed to run through most of them, namely that it wasn’t The Muppet Show.

Ah yes, The Muppet Show, easily one of the greatest family entertainment shows ever created. I loved that show. Kermit the frog was my childhood hero (yes I looked up to a muppet, what of it?) I watched practically every episode, including the ones where I didn’t know who the special guest was (who was Madeleine Kahn, for instance?) There is nothing I would love more than to see Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and co on my TV screens again. Thing is though, it ain’t gonna happen. Because save for an odd TV special, The Muppets are a bit too big for television now. And even if a brand new series was made, it would probably never live up to the original. Remember Muppets Tonight? I personally loved it, however looking back it was doomed to fail because of  some of those who remembered the original fondly not giving it much of a chance.  It’s not surprising that this latest offering is getting this reaction. It could be the most amazing programme in TV history, and people would still be going “It’s no Muppet Show, is it?” Its this kind of attitude that stops you from fully enjoying things. How can you fully take in someone’s newest film, TV show or record if all the while you’re comparing it to what they’ve done before?

Yes, That Puppet Game Show is nowhere near of the standard of The Muppet Show. I don’t expect it to be, but I won’t write it off as bad either, as it does show promise. I will keep watching it  because even a below par Jim Henson Company production is better than a lot of the dross that gets served up on TV these days.

I’ll end this post with a clip of one of the more crazier moments of the programme. Scottish, Proclaimers singing hot dogs, anyone?

The Nintendo Download Rip-Off.

I love my Nintendo 3DS. I particularly love the fact that you can download games onto it via the Nintendo e-shop, as they have made a lot of old school NES and Game Boy titles available to download. Thus I have ended up buying the titles that I missed out on when I had both these consoles back in the day, as well as one I did have (I had to get the original Super Mario Bros again).

Recently Nintendo have started to make new titles available to download, which I thought was a pretty good idea. It made sense to me that they should do this, why should it just be the oldies that are available to play within a matter of clicks? I expected that they probably would be around the same price as the physical version, if not just slightly cheaper than the physical. I mean, the digital one doesn’t have any packaging around it, right?

Today I was looking at some 3DS games online. I am interested in getting the new Luigi’s Mansion game, so I was looking at Amazon et all and comparing the prices. They were all just over £30. Around the price you might expect for a new Nintendo 3DS title. Not bad, I thought, but could I get it cheaper?

It was then I decided to switch on the 3DS and had a look for it on Nintendo e-shop. I found Luigi’s Mansion 2 was available. It was £40 to download.

Forty bloody pounds.

I couldn’t believe it. Sure I expected it to be around the same price as the physical, but nearly ten pounds dearer? How can Nintendo justify making a digital version more expensive than the standard? Especially when it is exactly the same version of the game, just delivered in a different format. For a few quid more, I expect some bonus levels and power-ups, like a deluxe edition of an album gives you extra tracks for a bit more money. If you’re just going to give the same old, then sorry Nintendo, but I’ll be sticking to the good old fashioned cartridges. Hey, you’ll still be getting my money whatever. And I’ll still be purchasing retro games via the game shop, which are quite reasonably priced. However I am still waiting for you to make Duck Hunt available. That old NES classic deserves to be revived surely?