karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
After something like two years on the waiting list, I was finally lucky and got into the stage in which I could apply for tickets and I got some for the recording of episode 6 of the J series!
Figuring that demand would be high (they are giving out more tickets than seats), I took half the afternoon off and arranged to meet Blaze at Waterloo tube at 5. After some positional confusion (I waited at the South Bank tube exit, she was in Waterloo train station), we found each other and wandered over to London Studios where there was a huge queue already. Two queues in fact, one for QI and one for Alan Carr (it was slightly chaotic but we had joined the correct one after all). While we were waiting, the weather turned and it started to rain but thankfully didn't last long.
The queue finally started to move at around 6:40 (10 minutes later than scheduled) and we got in. They were in an obvious hurry, they just grabbed the ticket off me without checking how many we were or even if the printout I gave him was an actual, unique ticket and there was no airport style security check as in the BBC buildings, not even a bag check so up the stairs and into the studio we went. The auditorium is quite large and we were about halfway up and had a reasonable view. There were also loads of monitors that currently showed bits of trivia and during the recording the picture of the active camera (which was useful as sometimes the dolly arm was in the way).

The QI set
This is what the set looks like in ambient light

(This will be the spoiler free version. I'll be typing up a lot more but only publish that after the episode has aired.)
Proceedings started just after 7:30 with the floor manager giving a pep talk about when and when not to applaud etc. and then Stephen Fry came on, talked a bit, recorded the audience participation audioboo (can you guess what we were saying? I didn't even know the word but it begins with J), and introduced the presenter of the Swedish version which will be aired in September. He then introduced the panelists: the ubiquitous Alan Davies, Sue Perkins, Ross Noble and an Australian nobody knew (Julia something, Spanish sounding last name). There was some banter between them and then the recording proper started with the QI theme being played in and Stephen Fry starting his Goooooooooooooooooooooooooood evening thing, introducing the panelists and buzzer sounds, just as you see it on TV. The whole actual QI bit ran in one go without interruptions but for almost 90 minutes so a lot of it will end up on the cutting room floor. As I said there were no breaks but obviously bits where some of the panelists (especially Ross Noble and Alan Davies) would go off on a tangent or throw in some other remark that was highly entertaining but obviously not really suitable for the end product. They might even take out one or more of the questions entirely.
The whole thing went smoothly and there were no pickups at the end, either. It was really enjoyable and very funny, especially Ross Noble was on high form. The chemistry experiment was fun, too and nobody died. Details after the episode has aired. :o)

I'm very glad I made the journey (ticket was free, anyway), had a brilliant time and another little insight into how one of my favourite TV programmes is made.
Even more lucky, I managed to catch the 22:15 train and the last bus home so was home well before midnight.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
As far as epic fantasy on TV goes, it was epic indeed. Hell, not just TV, any major film release since LotR, really. The production design and photography were absolutely stunning (as anyone who's seen the trailers will have guessed), except possibly the matte paintings/CG backgrounds of the cities which looked a bit plasticky.

I'm completely new to SOIAF (never been a big fan of doorstopper epic fantasy books and prefer the more off-kilter stuff but I'm a huge fan of related films) and I thought the first episode established the characters and settings well indeed. I already either love or loathe all the characters so they've done a wonderful job with them. For example, I really can't stand the Lannisters, except Tyrion (he's probably just as power-mad and scheming as the rest but he's likeable in his ways whereas I just want to punch the smug faces of all the others), and I'm intrigued by the Targaryens (although the brother needs to be strung up by his balls).

As with many HBO productions, it doesn't hold back on gore and skin but done well and with context.

Definitely looking forward to what's to come.

No spoilers in comments, please.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
When Outcasts was first announced, I had high hopes for this original (as in produced by the Beep, not in the sense of an original idea) Sci-Fi series on the BBC because the trailers looked good and the premise interesting if basic (after Earth goes boom, colonists find a new home on another planet). What it turned out to be was a boring, turgid mess, stretched across eight episodes. The first half was shown at prime time on Mondays and Tuesdays but when the ratings dropped, the last episodes were shifted to Sunday nights at 10:30.
It wasn't quite as bad as The Deep (of which I only managed to watch two episodes) but it just wasn't exciting. I stuck with it because there was a little bit of plot in each episode that made me wanting to find out more. Now that it's over and there won't be a second series, I shouldn't have bothered because it ended in a cliffhanger that didn't resolve anything. None of the questions were answered and even more came up. Another problem was that I didn't really feel for any of the characters which is always a bad sign, the only exception was hate for the main baddie.

I think they could very easily have condensed the "plot" into two or three parts and it could have been an entertaining, brainless Sci-Fli flick.

The locations (filmed in South Africa) were stunning, though, and the production values reasonable (even if the guns looked like airsoft cast-offs), just a shame the rest was a waste.

In contrast, Marchlands on ITV about a haunted house, set in three time frames (60s, 80s and present day) was really rather good. Nothing really original there, either, but done well with some high suspense and some truly creepy moments and it all made sense at the end.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
Americans, is this getting any better after the second episode? It's rubbish so far but I'd like to give it a chance.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
Mark Gatiss' adaptation of H.G. Wells' First Men in the Moon (just finished on BBC4) was a marvellous piece of TV. Such a shame it was hidden away on a digital channel because it would have made a fine cinema experience, too.
The characters were great and considering the usual budget of these things, the production design was fantastic, especially costumes, props, gadgets and the details of the sphere design, even the CGI Selenites were OK and, as [livejournal.com profile] miss_s_b said, reminiscent of Harryhausen's skeletons.
I don't think I've been glued to the TV like this for quite some time. Very well done indeed.

If you haven't seen it, are in the UK and have only a vague interest in (retro) SciFi, steampunk or just a fab fantasy story, go to iplayer and watch it.

The original story by H.G. Wells is available as free download from Project Gutenberg.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
was fantastic. After years of applying, I finally "won" a ticket for this week's show.

I managed to get out of work early, caught the 4:45 to KingsX, the tube to Wood Lane and when I came out of the station I already saw where I was supposed to be going: where the queue was on the opposite side of the road.

Turned out there were two queues, one for Later... and one for Buzzcocks. Having found the right one, the first bit of waiting started. At about 7:10, things started moving, we got given wristbands and had to put our stuff through an X-ray machine like at the airport before we were allowed into the "audience foyer", basically a big cafeteria type space with cloakroom and a food/drinks counter. Oh, and a gold Dalek. ;o) After more waiting, we filed through the back door towards the studio complex, and after more waiting outside the studio we were finally let into Studio 1 being sent between set dressing and wall to our corner.
The studio's quite big, a rectangular space, with a stage on each side, with the audience in the corners, smallish speakers (like monitors) hang from the ceiling pointing into the corners. I was in the corner between Steve Miller and Janelle Monáe.

There was a funny grey-haired and -bearded bloke explaining what was going to happen (they do the recorded show first and then do the live bit that goes out on Tuesday evenings) and what to watch out for ("mind those cables, they can trip you up and kill you"), when to applaud (and when not to), that sort of thing.

They started a bit earlier than advertised as they recorded the alternative (NSFW) version of Cee-Lo Green's F U for the website first. He's a funny man, a really cool guy in an awesome pink suit and has an all female band.
Then the recording for the Friday show started(, with a recording of the audience applauding, just in case we all died before the show ended). They repeated the jam in the beginning (Duane Eddy's Peter Gunn) because it didn't quite work but the second take did and there was a bit of a pause in between when it turned out that Janelle Monáe had lost her voice and couldn't do her second planned track and schedules had to be moved around a bit. CW Stoneking filled the spot and did a second track instead. Otherwise, everything worked and it's really all recorded live and in one go. The sound quality was good and what really surprised me was the lights. They are a lot less strong than I expected, modern TV cameras must have a good sensitivity/noise ratio. Speaking of cameras, there are a lot for a reasonably small space: two large ones, one boom camera and two handhelds roving around.

The music:
- Janelle Monáe: A lot of fun, didn't sound like the stuff on her myspace at all. Rather classic, with elements of Soul, Rythm'n'Blues, Jazz and Swing. Her band is a lot of fun, too, and always danced and clapped along when the other bands were playing.
- Cee-Lo Green, the big man in the even bigger pink suit: Again, classic Soul, great voice, huge smile, cheeky bugger, fun! Was mostly goofing around when other bands were on.
- Steve MillibandMiller Band: Don't really need an introduction. He first played two tracks from his new album, Bingo, classic Blues Rock, really well done and Abakadabra to finish as well as The Joker at the end of the live bit.
- CW Stoneking: Fantastic, old-time music, somewhere between old Jazz, Cabaret/Vaudeville and mountain music, with a bit of Tom Waits thrown in. Dobro/Banjo, upright bass, trumpet, trombone and bass drum. Quite melancholic but fun.
- Jim Jones Revue: were a bit crap, to be honest. Screechy Rockabilly made by twats. Sounded OK but I wasn't too fond of the band's personality (is spitting on stage cool again?).
- Cheikh Lo: low key, guitar, bass and sax, with lots of African influences (duh). Very enjoyable, shame he only got one track.

So yeah, good fun and an excellent glimpse behind the scenes of one of my favourite TV programmes, all for the price of a travelcard.

The live bit from last night is on iplayer and if you know where and when to look and the shape of my head, you can see me in the background in two shots but you'll have to pause or it's gone too quickly. ;o)
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
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First of all, I wish people would proofread those questions before they submit them, especially when poor/missing grammar makes them ambiguous. :P
I assume there's a you missing in the first question and that the question in the second refers to series that haven't been renewed (or it wouldn't make sense to ask).

Returning: Sons of Anarchy (started this week in the US), Big Bang Theory, Dexter, Fringe, Merlin (this Sat, yay); I'm in two minds about Supernatural because it should have ended last season
Cancelled: Legend of the Seeker (it was tosh but entertaining tosh)
New: The Walking Dead. AMC haven't produced much original material but what they have put out (Mad Men, Breaking Bad) is top notch so I'm having high hopes.
Current: True Blood, Eureka, Leverage, Warehouse 13, Haven

Duh, I obviously forgot Treme in my list, which presses a lot of my buttons. It's set in New Orleans just after Katrina centering on the titular neighborhood and deals with the residents' struggle to rebuild their lives. It features large parts of the production team (and some of the cast) of The Wire and shows the same commitment to realism and depth of the characters. Add to that the superb music (most of the main plotlines feature musicians of some sort), fine acting and the high production values typical for HBO and it's a winner. Cameos by actual NOLA musicians just add to the feel. Actually, it feels more like a documentary than a drama series. It's hard hitting in its political statements but there's a bit of comic relief, too and the music scenes provide some balance as well.
I hope the BBC will pick this up but won't hide it in a late night slot like they did with The Wire.


3 Jul 2010 03:00 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
1 - Futurama gets the Lego treatment

2 - In case you didn't, it's been revived as a TV series and currently runs Thursdays on Comedy Central in the US (unfortunately no complete eps on the website). I've watched the first three episodes and they're OK, I guess. Nothing special, the same tropes, with a few rather cringeworthy bits, although the Apple pisstake in ep3 wasn't bad. Still, it's Futurama, so yay.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (RAWK)
The glorious Anvil is on BBC4 at 10 this evening.
I almost missed it because it's listed under the main heading of Storyville.
Watch it, it's awesome. Reminiscent of Spinal Tap in places, with the difference that it's actually real.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
We finished O's WHFRP campaign last night and an epic ending it was, with betrayal, revenge, exploding vampires, an epic battle against the Ork army, PC deaths and a lot of fun, played using a barebone D6 system.

Watching Breaking Bad. I'd heard good things about it but at first wasn't convinced by the description. It came up again in my recent request for recommendations so I looked it up and boy is it good. Bryan Cranston (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle) is outstanding as the middling chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin Walter White. I'm almost through Season 2 now (S1 and 2 are available on amazon and play.com for not a lot of money, Season 3 just finished showing in the US) and it's going from strength to strength. Sure, there's the odd slower episode but usually it keeps you at the edge of your seat. Some of the bits involving Walt's useless partner Jesse are a bit contrived but they provide much needed comic relief. The writing is excellent but it's definitely Cranston's performance that keeps it going. His two Emmies for the role are well deserved indeed.
Oh, another awesome thing about BB: Walt's son suffers from cerebral palsy and so does the actor playing him. I mean, it's obviously not awesome that he does but that they actual cast someone with a disability. You don't get that very often.

Sacrilege is this Friday, come along to the best goth club in town.

Mentioning clubbing, mark the 16th of July in your calendars, when Taff, [livejournal.com profile] raggedy_man and I will be presenting the first TBA, a night of heavy music (both metal and electronic) at the Q Club. Taff, [livejournal.com profile] raggedy_man and guest DJ Mark will be delivering the hard hitting guitar based and crossover stuff and I'll be finishing the night with Powernoise, Glitch, Breakcore and the weirdest stuff I can find in my collection. Let's test the dynamic range of the Q Club's system to the max. ;o) I'll keep it dance/stompable but I can't promise not to finish with Navicon Torture Technologies. ;o)
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
I just watched Pulse (written by Paul Cornell) and it rocks. It's a bit slow off the mark until the story is established but there's a nice creeping sense of unease and suspense until the big finale.

Both production values and acting are great for a small BBC effort. Highly recommended. (it's on iplayer until the 15th, catch it while you can)


26 May 2010 12:57 am
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
From the RadioTimes description of the first episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand (or Spartacus: Blood, Tits and Gayness as [livejournal.com profile] oml404 put it):

The first hour passes in such a blur of boobs and bullet-time camerawork that you wonder where the drama can now go to top this.

With me being so busy at work today, I forgot to mention it, it's on Tuesday nights at 10 on Bravo, the first ep aired today.
karohemd: photo by me (Science)
I've been looking forward to Wonders of the Solar System for a while and the first episode is finally on BBC2 on Sunday.

Interesting bit in this article: The Voyager probes are soon to enter interstellar space proper, 33 years after launch, which is all kinds of awesome.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
Now that was fantastic. What a nailbiting finale and a fitting end, too. I hope they're going to repeat this on Channel 4 because more people need to see this. I was sceptical at the premise (asbo superheroes) but it turned out rather fine indeed. Excellent, tight and funny writing (Nathan just banged out one oneliner after another today) and reasonable acting, too.
In case you missed it, you can watch it all on 4oD (or buy/rent the DVD). I highly recommend it.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
The Big Bang Theory has found its feet again. After a few rather mediocre and puerile episodes, last night's was brilliant (starring Leonard's mother). Yay.

This was the last US show I regularly follow this year. Everything else has either finished (SoA, Dexter) or is on break until the New Year which means I won't be missing anything while in the land of slow internet (my parents' house). I'll miss the next bit of End of Time but that will be on iplayer and Merlin finishes this Saturday. I'm sure someone will torrent Statuesque (the Neil Gaiman silent short starring AFP and Bill Nighy on Sky1 Christmas Day).

Bed now.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
Dear writers of Heroes,
that's how you write a character who can turn back time. Watch and learn.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
Holy Shit! What a season finale. This has been awesome.
Here's an interesting analysis by Kurt Sutter. Do not read this until you've seen the last episode. More from Sutter incl. some vague plans for season 3 here.

Season finale of Dexter next week, everything else (Supernatural, V, Heroes except Legend of the Seeker) is on hiatus, although I still haven't watched the last two eps of Heroes as it's still crap.

Again thank you to [livejournal.com profile] uberredfraggle for alerting me to this series.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
Last night I caught up on the "Hunters and Hunted" episode of Life which again had some utterly mind-boggling footage of things I had neither seen nor in some cases even heard of before like the fishing bat, the stoat hunting and killing a rabbit three times its size(!) and the amazing agility of the young ibex escaping a fox.

Then I tried to watch Paradox which looked vaguely interesting but gave up half way through. Now, there are things like Bonekickers that are so bad they are good because they are funny in a silly way and then there are things that are just bad. Some people found it funny for the wrong reasons (and I agree with a lot of things in that review) but I couldn't stand it and switched off half way through. Ridiculous characters you don't care for, ridiculous setup (a non-networked computer receiving data from the outside etc.), a plot that neither made sense nor established an air of mystery along the lines of "OK, this is weird, I want to know what's going on" like it's been done quite well in Lost or Flashforward and was predictable at the same time (I didn't watch it til the end but now know that what I thought would happen did).
The #paradox page on twitter reflected the general bad impression, especially Charlie Brooker's comments ("it'll be on iplayer. Or, this being a PARADOX, repeated last week") were hilarious. I retweeted a few others, too, the best one being this one:
@catvincent He's an arsehole physicist, she's a cop who can't deduce her way out of a paper bag. They fight crime. *From the Future*.

I then watched Monday's (in the US) episode of The Big Bang Theory which, while not particularly thrilling (Howard's antics and practical jokes aren't my thing) was still a lot better. BBT sadly seems to have hit a bit of a low point, last week's episode was full of old stoner jokes but those were remedied by some Penny/Sheldon character development.

Speaking of US TV, Sunday's Dexter was WTF/Holy Crap/edge of the seat awesome. Bloody hell...
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (TV)
- After only two episodes, the new reimagining of V is excellent. I hope they keep this up. I hardly recognised Morena Baccarin, though, she's so skinny now! :o(
- Flashforward is a bit meh but seems to be moving on a bit so I'll keep watching
- Still can't get into Dollhouse Season 2 and now it's been cancelled (not surprising, really). Shame, it showed potential at the end of first season.
- Dexter is moving along, too. They are all screwed in the head. Good thing that Trinity has stopped killing, though, because I don't think I could have handled more naked Lithgow.
- Sons of Anarchy continues to be scary and gripping. I really don't understand the poor ratings on TV.com.
- Supernatural Season 5 is trundling along. I hope they're picking up the Lucifer/Apocalypse timeline again soon but the Trixter episode was good.
- Big Bang Theory was a bit cringeworthy this week but I find Sheldon more and more sympathetic
- Venture Bros. Season 4 rocks (so far, after three episodes, haven't been able to find the 4th yet)
- Heroes continues to be meh. I'd hoped this season would be all about the backstory but instead they introduce this half-baked new character who meddles in everything with seemingly no purpose. I don't get it and Hiro is just annoying me now.
- Haven't quite caught up with True Blood Season 2 yet, am about halfway through.
- Ooh, just remembered Legend of the Seeker Season 2 started last week. Eeek, something else to keep up on.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Captain Future)
Further on to my Big Bang Theory post last nightthis morning, I wanted to talk a bit more about the Tomei Animation TV series from the late 70s (in Germany it was first shown in '80). For me, it was obligatory summer TV watching and it could be ever so nice outside but the neighbours' kid and I would usually meet at his (their TV was bigger and he also had an Atari 2600 and other cool electronic toys) to watch it and if we weren't watching it, we would pretend-play it (like normal kids would play Cowboys&Indians) - my first foray into freeform roleplaying without really knowing what that was ;o).

The European versions are also unique in that it had their own soundtrack. For reasons unknown, both dialogue and music were on the same track in the Japanese original so Christian Bruhn wrote a completely new score for the German version to which some people also contribute part the success of the series as it was much more appropriate to Western ears than the J-Pop original. I have this on CD and have even played tracks from it at various events.

It had various inaccuracies due to incorrect translation and transcription from the Japanese original (like Joan's last name which is "Randall" in the pulps but was transcribed as "Landor" and the constant confusion of "world" and "planet" and other terms) but it was a lot of fun for early teen me. While the pulps are set in our solar system, the series' verse was much larger and e.g. Megara was a very distant planet so they had to modify the Comet with a new fancy universe and time bending drive to be able to get there.

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